Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by jbx1
- Sail Date: September 2018
- Destination: Transpacific
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View with Balcony 2B
I had read the CC reviews about the age of the Milennium, but some peeling paint etc just adds character to a ship and didn't concern us. However, we had two cabin issues that probably linked to the age of the ship and these were an unpleasant surprise. Firstly, our balcony cabin had an adjoining cabin door and the noise insulation was really terrible. You could hear the couple next door talking and I am sure they could hear us. Guest Services said there wasn't much they could do about this except get the cabin attendant to turn down the volume on the TV to minimum. (I had spent hours on the first night listening to what turned out to be the ping ping music of the Celebrity TV Channel that the attendant had turned on to welcome the other couple back to their room.) The second issue was the mattress which was ancient and caused me to have bad back ache. It took me a week to isolate this as the cause and Guest Services were really helpful. They arranged for the senior housekeeper to inspect and confirm the same day, and then they replaced with a brand new and mercifully comfortable mattress.
Embarkation was smooth except we hadn't realised that we needed a USA visa as well as a Canadian visa- I knew that Sitka was in USA but, in my mind, we were travelling from Canada to Japan. There were a lot of other passengers in the queue for emergency USA visas and one Chinese couple were unable to get their visa for 3 days so they lost their cruise- terrible for them.
We had travelled on several Solstice class ships and didn't feel that the Milennium design was massively different- the buffet was much better designed on the later ships and I am sure they will correct this during the January re-fit. Food in the Main Dining Room was generally great. Entertainment was also much better than I had expected- I had thought that Celebrity would cut corners on a repositioning cruise but I saw no signs of that. We went to the main shows and the talks by a naturalist. We also tried the talks on Japan but the lectures were poorly structured, and I don't think the lecturer knew that much about Japan. A shame really as Japan is so different from most other countries and a really fascinating culture- Celebrity should aim to improve this aspect I feel.
Service was pretty impeccable- Celebrity staff manages to deliver a top class experience every time we go on a cruise, and this really adds greatly to our enjoyment.
It was a bit chilly and rainy on the cruise, so no one wanted to use the swimming pool, with the result that other areas of the ship became pretty crowded at times. Especially, the gym in the morning, though it was fine in the afternoon.
We enjoyed ourselves in the ports, doing our own thing. Japan is so well organised for transport, and everyone seems so helpful and honest, that it was far easier to travel on our own than we had expected. Eating in Japanese restaurants is great fun!
We missed the last port due to a typhoon but had an extra day in Yokohama on board ship, and that worked our very well.
We traveled to Tokyo by train using the free shuttle at Yokohama. I was really worried about our quantity of luggage as we had four suitcases and two small bags, but it was a Sunday and the Yokohama train station they use is for the normal train rather than the bullet train, and these have far more luggage and were not crowded either. I was annoyed that the Celebrity (paid) shuttle to Tokyo was not included within shore excursions but rather in Guest Services, and I only found out about it by chance 5 days before the end of the cruise, by which time it was booked out. In the end, the train worked much better for us, as our hotel was next to Tokyo station, whereas the Celebrity shuttle would have needed a 30 minute taxi ride to the hotel.
After the cruise, we had a few days in Kyoto. We used the Japan Tourist offer of a hotel and bullet train tickets and this was both good value and a great service. The main sites in Kyoto are very crowded but there are lots of minor temples and other sites that are simply lovely. We hired a guide and that was a great investment. We must have fired 500 questions at her over the course of the day and she was so articulate in explaining how and why Japanese people think the way that they do. (Her employer is Chris Roworth Guides).
This review sounds a bit negative, but we had a great time and felt that the cruise was a great way to get a sense of the distance to Japan, and was great value for money. I brought two crates of sparkling water on board as the cost of the drinks package would otherwise have negated the value for money side of things! We also used the internet very sparingly.
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