Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by RnDGravenstein
- Sail Date: July 2019
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Aqua Class
I opted for the AquaClass due to the feedback I've seen here at Cruise Critic and some other research I've done. Neither me nor my husband like going to a spa, but I was looking forward to Blu - its the only reason why I picked AquaClass. The SuiteClass was a bit too pricey so AquaClass was the best we could afford. I also booked kind of late - about 30 days before the ship date.
We flew to Anchorage on Thursday afternoon and booked a bus to Seward Friday morning. There are other options such as taking the train (no more seats available when I looked 30 days prior to sail date, so if you want to take the train, book early). The ticket price I saw was $238 for the gold service for 1 person. The other option was to rent a car from Hertz (apparently its the only car rental place in Seward and they wanted ~$400 for a compact car for that 2.5 hours that it would take to drive from Anchorage to Seward). I read somewhere there's Uber and Lyft available but I did not explore that option. The bus ticket (with ACT) was $126 per person for a direct transfer and they still had seats available. The bus also had a touring option which would extend the trip to 4 hours, but I just wanted to get to the ship and start the cruising experience so I chose direct transfer from the Anchorage airport to the port in Seward. They also have the option to pick you up at your hotel but the pick up time was too early and so I opted to just go to the airport (11AM). We just took the hotel shuttle from the hotel back to the airport that Friday morning. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott.
The bus got to the port around 1:45PM. We did the expedited check-in and it was smoother than I thought. No lines whatsoever. The entry point lands at Deck 3, and we were welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine. Note this was our first cruise so we didn't know what's going on. We were not sure if there's a passengers gathering or whether we could go straight to our cabin, but then again we didn't know where to get our room keys. Since we were surrounded with cruise employees, we just asked and everyone was just so willing to help and answer questions. We were pointed to the nearest elevator and were told that our room keys will be at our door.
We went exploring and found the OceanView Cafe. Based on research I already knew this was the buffet with no additional charge - but my husband was floored when I told him everything he sees in there was free. The food at the cafe was okay. The only thing I did not like about the first day experience was almost everyone was really trying SO hard to sell the drink package. I was getting flustered in having to say no to so many people. But this selling was only on the first day, as I dont recall anyone asking again for the remainder of the cruise.
Note: We did not purchase any drink package as we are not big on drinking. We thought about getting the non-alcoholic package but then again I was really only drinking 2 watermelon tropics a day, and 2 coffees in the morning between the two of us from Blu. We also brought two 1 litre of Aquafina with us onboard which lasted us a couple of days. After that we were happy with tap water from the cafe so we couldn't justify even the non-alcoholic package.
This was the reason why we ended up in AquaClass. For an entire month I have been looking forward to eating as much good food as I could. So when dinner time came, we headed up to Blu. The food definitely tasted so much better than the cafe. Also - nobody tried to sell us the drinking package at Blu. We ate here almost every morning and every night. Some dinner menu items changed daily (lobster, halibut, veil, ribeye steak) while some items are static (herb roasted chicken, new york strip, salmon). Breakfast menu is the same all week but our favorites were eggs benedict and berry-pecan pancakes.
Note: Lunch is not served at Blu nor at Luminae (exclusive to suiteclass).
We did not bother going to the Metropolitan (which is the main dining room) because the line starts building up 30 minutes prior to opening, when we could just walk-in at Blu and be seated right away (or at the cafe and find a seat somewhere). I also read somewhere here that the food at the cafe is just like the food served at the main dining, so I did not feel like we were missing anything.
We only had 1 lunch at the Qsine when they were having a King Crab feast. We paid the $45 for each of us and we got two king crab legs. I thought it was all you could eat king crabs so I was a bit disappointed that we only got 2 legs. It was good, but I havent decided whether it was worth the $45.
We did not try Tuscan Grille (fully booked on embarkation day and did not bother for the rest of the week). We also did not get to try Sushi on Five - maybe next time.
We booked 3 excursions with Celebrity (as I did not want to stress about getting left behind). We went hiking in Juneau (4.45 hours hike) and got a good view of Mendenhall Glacier. We were fortunate enough that it did not rain too much (just small sprinkling, then again we were in a Rainforest). This was categorized as a strenuous activity and they did not lie. So please know that you're getting yourselves into before booking.
We booked the White Pass trail (train ride) when we got to Skagway. This excursion requires passport as we crossed the Canadian border.
Our favorite is the zip rider when we got to Icy Strait Point. It looked intimidating as its the worlds largest zipline but it's not scary at all! (Note that I'm the biggest chicken out there and I hate heights and roller coasters). The only reason why I got brave enough to do this ride is because of the videos I saw on youtube. The way they did this ride (with at seat that they buckle you in) really takes the scariness away. I felt really secure and I didn't feel the 60 MPH descent from the top of the mountain. Really, I would go back to Icy Strait Point, or do the whole cruise again just to do this zip rider again.
We did not book anything in Ketchikan as I didnt find anything interesting. We heard the Lumberjack show was good.
Activities on the ship:
My husband enjoyed the gym and the basketball court on decks 11 and 12. We both went to a couple of wine tasting at the Cellar Master and enjoyed both. My husband discovered a his new favorite whiskey and I had the best Old Fashioned I've ever had.
We opted for the Self-assist and carried our luggage down the gangway ourselves. This also went smoother than I had thought, so kudos to the people who planned the logistics.
I cannot say enough good things at the service we got at both Blu and the room service from Gusti and his team. They were all very accommodating and very friendly.
The only other thing I did not like is the way they had setup the exit and entry at the ports (after the embarkation day). Seems the porters (?) had no problems keeping the lines long by waiting on unprepared passengers to look for their Seapass cards and keep the rest of us waiting in line despite having our SeaPass cards on hand. Our first port was Juneau and there was this family who couldn't wait to get out of the ship and actually CUT IN LINE only to find that they didn't know they needed their Seapass cards to get out and so everybody waited for them to finally find it in their jacket pockets and purses. The entire family was clueless! You would think the porters would have told them to step aside so the rest of us could scan our cards and leave the ship - but no! Everyone ended up waiting! It was even more irritating when we were getting back from our almost 5 hour hike and it was cold and started to rain and we were being held up right outside of the ship because a couple of the passengers could not find their Seapass cards that they have tucked away somewhere in their thick layered jackets. I would think the porters have done this multiple times before and they would know its more efficient to just let the people who are READY and had the cards on hand to board/deboard the ship while the unprepared passengers are set aside until they get their act together. This is the only thing that could be improved, and the only reason why I am leaving 4 stars out of 5 on this review.
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Just like the cruise employee had told us, our room/cabin keys were all packaged up in a nice small envelope with our excursion tickets. The cabin itself was smaller than I thought but again, this is our first cruise so its not like I have anything to compare it with. I am 5 ft (flat) and my husband is 6'5" with a wing span of 6'6" so I was skeptical whether he would be comfortable in the shower - but he survived with the occasional "outch!" or "dammit!" when he would hit his elbows on the shower walls. I read from reviews that the Millennium ship had gone through a renovation and it really looked new. It was very clean and smelled nice. We had an unopened welcome sparkling wine and a pitcher of cold iced tea as well as two bottled water. A couple of hours later, there was a knock on our door with a plate of hors d'oeuvres. The plate had shrimp, cheese and fruits. A couple minutes later, another knock on the door, but this time it was our main room service person (Gusti!!!!). He asked us if we needed anything or if the room is to our liking. He also reminded us of the mandatory safety presentation and gave us specific instructions on how to get to the meeting area. I was also a bit worried as I found out a couple of days after booking that our cabin is right under the pool deck. So I was afraid we're going to be rudely awakened by the noise of the crew cleaning or people stomping, but it was fairly quiet the whole week, so I was worried for nothing.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Zip-liningThe one we booked was called Scenic Mountain Ascent and World's Largest ZipRider as there's other ziplining excursions available. This was the highlight of our trip.View All 45 Zip-lining Reviews
Mendenhall GlacierStrenuous activity but good view of Mendenhall glacier and great experience with the Rainforest.View All 876 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
KetchikanCould not find anything interesting on the available excursions and the town was really small and all you could do was either shop or eat.View All 1,762 Ketchikan Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Ketchikan Cruise Port Review
White Pass Scenic RailwayThe one we booked was called White Pass Railway & Klondike Highway Journey. This required our passport as we crossed the Canadian border and a couple of border patrol officers had to see our passports.View All 1,085 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews