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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The itinerary was the reason we chose this cruise The upgrade has been done to a very cheap budget The staff as always ,wonderful service always smiling. Main dining room , good food and service Layout of ship because of size ... Read More
The itinerary was the reason we chose this cruise The upgrade has been done to a very cheap budget The staff as always ,wonderful service always smiling. Main dining room , good food and service Layout of ship because of size was a bit strange. Had to walk through casino to get to some places !! Would have loved to have seen more space for dancing Poor band and disco stuck on the floor near the bar but no room for dancing. Think they should consider moving the second bar near martini bar for dancing. It was rarely used , most were watching the entertainment and itching to dance by the railings. Enjoyed the trivia etc The theatre entertainment was very average. There were 2 standout acts, but on the other nights, it was mediocre at best One of the tours we went on was dreadful. So bad most got partial refunds. But, I got 30% others got between 40 and 100% I don't get why the different refunds!!! Such a shame. Ive never had an issue with any of my celebrity cruises before, I just feel they've dropped the ball on this one Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I am a very frequent cruises, having been on more than 50 cruises so I am a little jaded. When I travel with younger ones Royal is my top choice, so I have been on their sister line Celebrity about 6 times including this cruise. I had ... Read More
I am a very frequent cruises, having been on more than 50 cruises so I am a little jaded. When I travel with younger ones Royal is my top choice, so I have been on their sister line Celebrity about 6 times including this cruise. I had been on two Millenium ships previously, including one within the past year so I can comment on the refurb. I really would give this 3 1/2 stars, not 4, but I didn't want to do 3, so 4 it was. We paid for an upgrade and ended up with a Royal Suite which was very nice. It included free unlimited laundry and free specialty dining which was very nice. The room itself was nice...you can see pics on cruise critic and the decorations are personal taste of course. Some find it nice and clean, others boring. I will say that I heard from many fellow passengers some of the things they did in the room didn't seem well thought out for a cruise ship and I will echo that sentiment. They put a glass shelf loosely attached in the shower and put big bottles of shampoos and conditioner and body wash on it and it will be breaking within the next 30 days(a few months after done). There were some other things like that, all minor really to me but things that made you wonder how it happened. The things I really liked about the cruise: 1) The service in Luminae. I really cannot say enough good things about the service in this restaurant. Kind of funny because the food is on my "bad" list. But everyone from the maitre D', to the waiters, to the bus staff, to the drink person---impeccable. 2) The itinerary which included overnights in Beijing(2) plus Kobe., and we got off the ship and were able to immerse ourselves in the culture. That was great. 3) Our state room attendant was great. I found most of the staff in the buffet to be very friendly and courteous, and most of the staff throughout the ship to be that way Things I was mixed about: 1) Entertainment. For a bigger ship, the quality of entertainment was meh at best. That applies to the specialty acts at night, their singers and dancers, and the live entertainment throughout the ship. Also the activities on board, I did enjoy some, but thought there should have been more. The lecturers were not that interesting. The DJ did some music trivia and he was hilarious. 2) The Buffet. There were parts of the buffet I quite liked---having an outdoor seating area was great, the made to order eggs in the breakfast with a reasonable line, the views from the windows, the scones in the late afternoon were fantastic, the free gelato and ice cream and extensive choice of foods. But it was overcrowded often and you had difficulty finding a seat, the food was definitely hit and miss with easily as many misses as hits if not more. 3) Qsine. Love the concept and some of the food was really good. Unfortunately some of it was not. So this one I'd put more in the pro list then the con list, but some of the food not being so good made me not be able to put it there. Things I wasn't a big fan of: 1) The food at Luminae. They only offer you a choice of 4 items for apps, and 4 for dinner. That's it. If you know enough, which I did, you can ask for something from the main dining room menu. So it was kind of limited in that way and I wasn't impressed. Also I found the food quality there to be lacking. Their Baked Alaska was just bad. Something they had 'special" for Luminae. A shame because the service really was that good. I constantly told them the food was good or fine as they kept asking....but I didn't want anything else. 2) Tuscan. It's a shame because I enjoy this restaurant. Never crowded btw. There's a reason. Food can be good, but every time I have eaten there I and every one I was with have gotten wicked heartburn after. So it has to be on the "bad list" especially with only 3 specialty restaurants and one of them is a sushi place that doesn't have cooked meats, so really kind of limited. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the Asian itinerary. Was on a Japan tour in 2017 on the Millennium and disliked the food and the weary shoddiness of the ship.. Happy to say everything is improved. The food is so much improved in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Asian itinerary. Was on a Japan tour in 2017 on the Millennium and disliked the food and the weary shoddiness of the ship.. Happy to say everything is improved. The food is so much improved in the main dining room. Only quirk was that a special Captians dinner had all the favorite foods on one night--Lobster, Rack of Lamb, and Beef Wellington. How strange that the Oceanview buffet was not as good as before. The new "pods" took away from the amount of seating and it was very annoying not to find seats for breakfast. Specific stations were incomplete. Only the front fruit station had pineapple???. Only the front "bakery" had breads. The only negative I found with the "refurbishement" Activities: Beyond Trivia 2-3 times a day, there wasn't much to do. The Bingo was always scheduled at the same time as triviia. There were very few active things to do. Service both stateroom and martini bar was excellent. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Hi everybody. My name's Alex and to be honest, this is a first for me. I've never reviewed so much as a toaster before - let alone a 2 week cruise - so you may have to bear with me a little... Before I start, a little ... Read More
Hi everybody. My name's Alex and to be honest, this is a first for me. I've never reviewed so much as a toaster before - let alone a 2 week cruise - so you may have to bear with me a little... Before I start, a little background info. Several years ago I was diagnosed with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Although I still look perfectly healthy my mobility is - to my endless annoyance - getting steadily worse year by year. I knew that with regard to disabled access visiting the Far East (especially China) was rapidly turning into a case of now or never. My parents have been cruising for many years but recently my mother had both hips replaced and didn't want to fly long haul any more. My father, however, still wanted to go on holiday... So with the backing of my wonderful wife and 3 young children it was decided that me and dad would do the cruise. (This, of course, was with the understanding that I would bring back many, many presents) We booked the cruise directly with Celebrity instead of going through a Travel Agent. It was very straightforward to do through their website although if you're disabled you have to discuss it with them over the phone if you want an accessible cabin or suite. Luckily for us there was an Offer at the time of booking for both of us to have the Classic Drinks Package and free shipboard Wi-Fi included in the price. We then booked the flights separately using Travelup.co.uk as they happened to have the best deal on flights. To get a head start on the jetlag (and also see more of Shanghai) we flew out of Heathrow on 28th March giving us a day and a half to see the sights while staying at the Radisson Blu New World as recommended by Celebrity. The hotel kindly booked us a taxi to Baoshan Cruise Terminal to meet the ship. I have no idea if it was a good price or not but we were charged 200rmb for the 45 minute drive which seemed quite reasonable. Embarkation at the cruise terminal was very swift and from arriving at the Terminal to being in our Cabin took less than 30 minutes. I should point out that the only perk (if you can call it that) of being disabled is that you do tend to be able to 'jump the queue' for things like cruise embarkations and airport security. Trust me, I take no pleasure in it and would rather queue and have my health any day of the week. My first impression of the cabin was that it was very well planned and laid out and amazingly quiet considering it was bang amidships and literally back to back with the elevator. We quickly unpacked and then set off to explore the ship. I've only ever been on one other cruise ship which was P & O's Adonia - a much smaller ship with only 500 passengers so Millennium was a ship on a whole different scale. I really should have had a plan on exploring the ship but instead settled on random wandering (probably sub-consciously looking for the nearest open bar). I'd seen pictures of Millennium before the refit but none since and I have to say I was extremely impressed by the quality of the furnishings and decor throughout what is, in reality, a 20 year old ship. The only advice I would give with regard to moving around the ship, however, is to use the staircases whenever possible. If you use the elevator each time you want to change decks, you will be spending half the cruise waiting for one - they are always very, very busy and don't always stop on the deck you wanted! In giving a review of the individual venues on the ship I can only comment on where I visited. For some unknown reason I never ventured up to Decks 11 and 12 except a brief visit to the Cosmos Lounge (which does have excellent views over the bow). Deck 10 has the swimming pool and Jacuzzis which were very sparingly used due to the weather. I also found that Deck 10 just forward of the midship staircase has the strongest Wi-Fi signal on the ship (and is a nice quiet area) if you're looking to skype or Facetime those back home. Deck 10 is also home to the Oceanview Cafe which wraps around nearly the entire rear half of the ship. There are many pros and cons to the OV cafe. At breakfast time on Port days and for most of the day on Sea days it can be a very busy place indeed. However, for lunch during Port days and for late night snacking it really is a very nice space and has a huge amount of choice including the usual Carvery, Indian, Pizza, Pasta & Salad stations etc. There is also permanent tea, coffee and juice on tap plus when it's quiet there are always staff waiting to take your bar order if you fancy a nice glass of something cold with your lunch. Decks 9, 8, 7, 6, 3 & 2 are all largely guest accommodation and it is here that the Cruise Critic forums are worth a mention. I found out (as a cruising novice) that there is a 'Roll Call' forum for each individual cruise on the Cruise Critic website - you get to chat with the people you will be cruising with, exchange tips and even make plans for shared excursions. It's pretty obvious who the Old Hands are and they really do have some very useful advice (my favourite - being a fireproof ship the walls are made of metal. Use fridge magnets to stick up the daily activities programs!) I felt the important thing was that even before we boarded I already knew a whole crowd of interesting people from all over the world that I wouldn't have met otherwise and it was amazing putting faces to the people I had been chatting to for many months (You know who you are!) Also, if there are over 50 people on the cruise 'Roll Call' then Celebrity arranges a Meet and Greet for all concerned on the first sea day. After that as a group we also had a 'Slot Pull' where several dozen of us all crowded into the casino to try our luck (the ship broke down just before we started - perhaps we should have taken it as a sign as we didn't win a bean...) Also arranged through the Roll Call was the 'Cabin Crawl'. This was not the noisy and boozy affair I had envisaged originally but involves having one of the Roll Call members from each grade of cabin or suite allow their fellow cruisers to have a good nose around their home at sea. Obviously this is not to everybody’s taste but I found it a brilliant way to get to know my fellow cruisers a little better and have a look at all the different types of accommodation (The top grade suites are just amazing) My cabin seemed a lot smaller with a dozen people in it all chatting away at the same time! Decks 5 & 4 are where most of the activities and socialising goes on. It’s worth mentioning that there is a Celebrity app available for smartphones. It gives all the details of what’s going on and where while on-board and you can set reminders for shows and activities and even use your phone as your room key if the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are activated. It took a couple of days to remember what was on which deck and I ended up in the Art gallery several times when I'd meant to be in the Casino. Furthest forward is the Theatre. This is a huge space that covers both decks and is really well decorated with very comfortable seating and small fixed drinks tables. It has very good sound and lighting for the shows, talks and films (more on the entertainment later). There is also (non-disabled) access to the helipad from the Deck 5 level for those lucky enough to get invited to view the ship docking from the bow. The only small criticisms I have of the Theatre are that to enter it without going outside you have to either walk through the Art Gallery & shops on Deck 5 or through the Casino on Deck 4 as both are the entire width of the ship and the Casino can end up as a bottleneck before and after any performance. The only other annoyance was that during any films, talks, shows etc. the overhead spotlights were left on which caused a very bright reflection from the drinks tables if you were sitting in the Deck 4 level of the Theatre. Like I said - very minor niggles for a very impressive venue. Moving back from the Theatre on Deck 5 are the shops. These are the usual mix of high-end clothing, watches and fragrances. I assume somebody must be buying these things otherwise the shops wouldn't be there but they always seemed to be deserted. Back from the shops is the Art Gallery. The artworks are changed daily and there is usually a varied mix on show. There is also a huge touchscreen where you can browse all of the artwork on board. Aft of the Art Gallery is the 'Grand Foyer' and central staircase that descends from Deck 5 down to Guest Relations on Deck 3. It's very impressive and creates a very bright and open space right in the heart of the ship. On either side of the staircase on Deck 5 are the Gelateria on the port side and the very popular Cafe al Bacio on the starboard side. The cafe serves a huge variety of coffees, liquors and wines and has, without a doubt, the most comfortable seating on the entire ship in the shape of several huge wing-backed chairs. Many times I walked past and saw my fellow cruisers snoring away! The only gripe I have with the Grand Foyer area is that at night quite often there was a DJ playing music from the Deck 5 balcony over the stairs. This was often loud enough to make conversation difficult and saw people deserting the area in droves. Back past the cafe is Cellar Masters. During the day this is the place to go for Wine tastings (which occur almost daily but at a price). It's got a sort of cosy wine-bar feel at night and usually has live music in the evening - normally a duo or trio so nothing overwhelming. The bar usually opens around 5pm and was always staffed by the ever cheerful Arie who is one of those amazing people who has the capacity to remember everybody’s name. Unless using the Aft staircase or elevators you have to walk through here to enter the Metropolitan dining room. A quick tip - If you’re eating in the MDR then fixed-time diners are seated on Deck 5 and anytime eating is Deck 4. I went for the anytime to stay flexible and never had to queue. Also if it’s just the 2 of you then you can ask for the extremely comfy 'Dalek' chairs right against the big back windows. Moving down to Deck 4 and back from the Theatre is the Casino. As I've said before, the Casino spans the entire width of the ship (presumably to catch passing traffic) and has the feel of a mini Caesars Place or Monte Carlo casino in Las Vegas. It's a very comfortable place with a large bar and TV screens showing either news or sports. It was never overly busy or crowded and the few times I visited I pretty much had the pick of whichever opportunity to lose my money I wanted. There were 2 nights during the cruise that each passenger was given a $5 free play on the slot machines (always nice to gamble with somebody else’s money) and somehow I managed to walk away $18 up at the end of the cruise! Again only a single gripe with the Casino and that is that the bar service was for some reason much slower than the rest of the ship. Aft of the Casino is the middle level of the Grand Foyer. On the port side is a large amount of comfy seating and on the opposite side of the Staircase is the very popular Martini Bar. With its frozen bar-top and bar staff who juggle bottles and perform all sorts of drink pouring-related tricks it's often very difficult to get a seat from early evening onwards. Just for sheer entertainment value it's worth hanging out here for a while if waiting for dinner or a show. Past the Martini Bar and aft of the midship staircase is the Rendezvous Lounge. Also the full width of the ship, this space is, as the name suggests, a great place for meeting up for pre-dinner drinks in the evening as there is a very large bar and a huge amount of comfy seating with waiters constantly circulating with drink requests. More importantly during the day this is the place to go for daily Board games, Trivia quizzes and various presentations. It really is a very pleasant, bright and airy place to meet and socialize. Aft of the Lounge on the starboard side of the ship is the Anytime diners entrance to the MDR where the staff welcome you and hand you off to a waiter who will escort you to your table. Each table has a Waiter, Assistant waiter and a Sommelier who is responsible for a small group of tables. We were always seated in the same area and so usually had the same staff each night which was a real pleasure as they seemed genuinely enthusiastic in their jobs (especially the sommeliers Manuel and Jelena who always made us feel so welcome after a long day exploring ashore). I've seen the pre-refit pictures of the MDR and I have to say it now looks so much lighter, fresher and more modern. Deck 3 has its public spaces around the base of the central staircase and includes Guest relations, Destination concierge and Shore Excursion booking. It's also usually where the gangplank ashore is located. Guest relations always seemed to have a queue regardless of the time of day or night but the staff were always tirelessly helpful and cheerful. Many thanks here to Caesar. In Beijing one of the straps on my rucksack snapped so when back on board I went down to Guest relations with a rather odd request and asked Caesar if it would be possible to source a couple of cable ties for a temporary repair. Within 5 minutes the ships electrician appeared with a whole selection - very impressive service! My review of the food is rather short - we simply found the food in the MDR to be of such high quality and choice that we didn't visit any of the speciality restaurants on board. When the MDR was open at lunchtime we ate there. If closed we used the Oceanview Cafe. As I've already mentioned, the food in the OV cafe was hugely varied and of very good quality. The food in the MDR however, was on another level. There was a 'core' menu of 4 starters (Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, French onion soup & Escargot) and 3 mains (salmon, chicken breast & sirloin steak) that were always available. The rest of the menu - 7 starters & 6 mains - varied on a daily basis. I can honestly say that every single meal was a pleasure and I was consistently impressed throughout the cruise by quality and variety of the food. The portions were on the small side of what I was expecting but this is in no way a criticism as it meant that there was always room for one of the many choices of desserts. Again, a rather short review for Shore excursions. Looking at the excursions on offer from Celebrity, it seemed that they didn't actually offer much for rather a lot of money. We therefore decided to risk doing our own thing at each port of call and didn't book a single excursion through Celebrity. The only time we made use of them was a free - but very poorly advertised - shuttle bus from the Port of Incheon into town and the same in Yokohama. It was the Immigration processes for each Country that the cruise failed miserably on. Obviously it was in no way Celebrity's fault as they have no authority over the immigration process. Going ashore once primary face-to-face immigration procedures were completed was fine - you could literally just walk straight off the ship. However, initial arrival in each country seemed to take an inordinately long time. For example the ship docked in Kobe, Japan at 9:00am but we didn't actually walk out of the Cruise terminal until 11:45am by which time our plans for travelling to Kyoto for the day were totally ruined. The only area where I felt that Celebrity themselves were very much below par was the on-board entertainment and presentations. The opening item I saw was the first in a series of talks about Buddhism. The advertising for it sounded very interesting and I was looking forward to attending. However, within 10 minutes of the start of the presentation I, and several others in the audience were fast asleep! The poor presenter had one of those voices that is so quiet and monotonous that you can't help but nod off. I kicked myself afterwards for not recording it to play to my children when they won't go to sleep at bedtime... Suffice to say, the following presentations in the series were very sparsely attended. The evening productions in the Theatre unfortunately appeared to be extremely amateurish with some of the singing little better than a karaoke night down the local pub. Very often I'd leave after a few excruciating minutes along with a fair number of others. As mentioned before, the DJ in the Grand Foyer was way too loud and fortunately only appeared near the beginning of the cruise. Perhaps Celebrity took note of the mass exodus? The same unfortunately goes for the rest of the singers and musicians spread around the rest of the ship - Celebrity seems to have very much gone for the Quantity over Quality approach and I think they have badly let themselves down with this approach. Only one act actually impressed me (sorry, can't remember their name but it was a couple of chaps doing a silent comedy routine) and they only came on-board for a single performance. The entertainers on-board weren't actually terribly bad, but neither were they any good and certainly didn't make me want to sit and listen to them. And so to briefly sum up - the ship was absolutely fantastic, the food, crew & facilities were top notch and above all the company of my fellow cruisers was a total pleasure. If you're not too fussy about quality on-board entertainment and organized excursions then I can absolutely recommend Celebrity and I will certainly be cruising with them again at the earliest opportunity. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as part of a land/cruise package starting in Beijing. Embarkation at Shanghai was the longest we have ever experienced lasting over two hours. Passengers were being put through the priority lines regardless of Captains ... Read More
We chose this cruise as part of a land/cruise package starting in Beijing. Embarkation at Shanghai was the longest we have ever experienced lasting over two hours. Passengers were being put through the priority lines regardless of Captains Club status. Once on board we found that the items we preordered for embarkation had not been delivered. It was a disappointing start to the cruise but things did get better. The food in the Main Dining room was good albeit the menu was somewhat limited. By far the best food was found in Qsine and Sushi on 5. The lunch menu in the Ocean View buffet was very good with lots of specials going on such as lobster rolls. Unfortunately the evening menu was bland and repetitive. Our concierge class cabin was good and clean. However there was a metal bar above the bed that was irritating. I believe it once held cushions as a sort it head board. Our cabin attendant was average and on several occasions did the evenin turn down at 4:30 in the afternoon. Each time he removed our canapés before we had the chance to eat them! Apart from two shows the entertainment was average. As usual the production shows are over amplified and in many cases mimed us the “click” system. The Rock City show was an example where the cast yelled the rock songs at us rather than singing them. Less is more. On the plus side two shows were very good. The fairy tale show wad fun and the cast actually looked like they were enjoying themselves. The best show of all featured two Ariel artistes and acrobats/dancers. We like to attend the quizzes but the two activitiy hosts were extremely irritating. Shore trips were good but as this was Chinese New Year the locations were very crowded and we encountered a lot a jostling and pushing. Hing Kong in particular was extremely busy which ruled out a visit to the Peak. In addition many museums/places of interest were closed. Moral of story - avoid Asia at time of the lunar New Year. Disembarkation at Singapore’s was relatively quick. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose tour because never had been to Southeast Asia. Lots of cities. Unfortunately, not much time in each city because of transportation time from ports to cities. Not the cruise's fault. As most people who have cruised know, ... Read More
Chose tour because never had been to Southeast Asia. Lots of cities. Unfortunately, not much time in each city because of transportation time from ports to cities. Not the cruise's fault. As most people who have cruised know, there's less quality and quantity with every passing year. Maybe because much less money coming from casino, bingo, and jewelry sales. There were very few people doing these on cruise. Had a cabin with a porthole. Porthole was so dirty on outside, we could hardly see out of it. Enrichment speakers, psychologist and speaker on Buddhism very good This ship is very old. Upholstery in buffet and cabin dirty and stained. Thought buffet might include dishes related to countries we were in. No such luck. Indian an Mexican stations every night. Several days with no bananas in buffet. No whole grain breads. Coffee and drink stations occasionally empty. Food in main dining room average. One night had a piece of fish so small, I ate it in 3 bites. Guest relations very helpful with issues. Cast shows with Celebrity entertainers were inappropriate for demographic of older cruisers. Took independent excursions. Celebrity's much too expensive. Heard people complaining about quality of Celebrity excursions. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
40th wedding anniversary thought it would be a wonderful treat but it was very disappointing ship old, cabin tired in need of refurbishment. Fresh linen everyday but the towels small and grey, bathrobes I’ve seen better in a charity ... Read More
40th wedding anniversary thought it would be a wonderful treat but it was very disappointing ship old, cabin tired in need of refurbishment. Fresh linen everyday but the towels small and grey, bathrobes I’ve seen better in a charity shop. Dinner room San Marco service slow, food good Buffet, chairs were often sunken and need replacing, staff fun, food excellent. Public areas all good position sun beds taken before 9 in the morning, Outdoor cinema show films but it took on average 3 trys to get a seat, people lying sleeping oblivious to people wanting to watch a movie. Ports of calls hours from the alleged ports of call for example 2 1/2 hours from Bangkok. If you didn’t buy ab excursion then there was little or no information as to get anywhere. No maps given customer relation and shore excursions desk staff were unhelpful and abrupt Poor customer care in fact a total shake down Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose cruise because of itinerary and previous pleasant experience with Celebrity. On a positive note - nice cabin, excellent steward and friendly, helpful crew with the exception of shore excursion staff. However from the moment of ... Read More
Chose cruise because of itinerary and previous pleasant experience with Celebrity. On a positive note - nice cabin, excellent steward and friendly, helpful crew with the exception of shore excursion staff. However from the moment of boarding, incessant pressure to upgrade. Pestered to take out drinks package. If you have drinks package, pressure to upgrade to premium package. Constant pressure to upgrade dining package. Smoothie for breakfast? - $10 please! Mundane activities in daily programme - cycling in gym **Fee applies. Yoga class**Fee applies etc.etc Outrageous prices of drinks, internet and shore excursions. Shore excursion staff snotty and so far up their own backsides. Unhelpful to the point of being obstructive if not taking their tour. Little or no provision for independent travellers wanting to do their own thing ashore - scant interest/help/direction/maps on ports of call. Several so called city dockings in Vietnam and Thailand actually up to 3 hours travel from city with docking at an obscure cargo terminal with minimal onshore facilities - presumably Celebrity saving on docking fees and increasing pressure to use their shore excursions. Food choice repetitive. Meat and fish invariably overcooked and dry. Culinary highlights poached eggs, water melon and ice cream! Overall ship's appearance OK but a little tatty in some areas with tired/worn upholstery Comfortable recliners on sun decks. My second, and last, cruise with Celebrity Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Went on a far east cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. Firstly, our taxi didn't turn up to take us to the hotel for our overnight stay. When asking anyone from Celebrity Cruises they couldn't help us as they couldn't ... Read More
Went on a far east cruise on the Celebrity Constellation. Firstly, our taxi didn't turn up to take us to the hotel for our overnight stay. When asking anyone from Celebrity Cruises they couldn't help us as they couldn't speak English. (we werent the only ones this happened to) While waiting to check in and board ship in Shanghai, we was shunted from place to place with no where warm to sit. (it was very cold) The staff was amazing so no issues there what so ever !!! But the price on board ship was so extortionate. The WIFI and Excursions was so overpriced. If we hadn't got a drinks package in place, I have no idea what we would have done. The ship docked in cargo type docks in the middle of nowhere. So, if you didn't have an excursion booked then you had nowhere to go. We ended up taking two trips just to get of ship. $49 just take us to Danang for a 4-hr trip which got cut to 3hrs which was not good enough for the amount they were charging. We complained and got a 30% refund. The second one was Singapore night at a glance, which most of it was done on foot and cost a grand total of $99 each for 3.5 hrs long trip. They only had American dollars on boardship. They should have had the relevant monies needed for each port docked at. The food on board was mainly rice type dishes and stir fry, very little of anything English. And you need very long arms to get the things from the back in the buffet. Ridiculous to have to pay to go in speciality restaurants. ( Just my opinion) To top it off we had to wait in airport for our flight home for over 12hrs because of turn around. All in all, very disappointing as this was for our 30th wedding Anniversary and my Husbands 60th Birthday. we saved long and hard for it. A big let down !! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose Celebrity as we preferred not to have the very formal nights that some ships have. We also loved the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We will definitely sail with Celebrity again in the future. The food and service from ... Read More
We chose Celebrity as we preferred not to have the very formal nights that some ships have. We also loved the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We will definitely sail with Celebrity again in the future. The food and service from the food and beverage teams could not be faulted. The staff in the San Marco restaurant were amazing and could not have done any more for us. The food and drink everywhere we went on the ship was faultless. The size of Constellation for us was ideal. We have cruised on larger and smaller ships but we now realise that this is our preferred size. We also loved the fact that aside from the buffet (which is to be expected), at no point did we feel that the ship was crowded. There was never an issue with sunbeds even on sea days and there is space if you do not want to be too close to others. The ship is a little old and this is noteable in places, particularly in the cabins but this did not put us off and the cruise was good value. The downsides that I would say are that the linen and towels in the cabin were worn and that is something that should be addressed. The linen was also not changed as frequently as we would have liked but if we asked then of course it was no problem. I don't know if this is an area where Celebrity are trying to cut costs. We had the Classic drinks package included and for us this was invaluable. I did also upgrade to Premium as I wanted to ensure we didn't have only a small selection of wines to choose from. In fact, wines were good but they did not have any of those on the lists and no French wine so I don't think this was worth it. We did drink the more expensive spirits as we could but could easily have stuck with the Classic package. We loved the coffee bar and this is something we have not seen on other ships we've been on. It was great to be able to go after dinner and have coffee and/or drinks and a nice cookie. Many nights, we did a takeaway and this was great too. All included in the Classic package. We did a couple of tours from the ship which were not great for different reasons but I think some of this was outside the control of Celebrity. My final point where I think Celebrity could improve is their communication. I was disappointed to find that whilst in Hong Kong you could see the new year fireworks from the ship and if we had known this we would most certainly have returned to the ship instead we hung around in town to watch. I also feel that it is a missed opportunity for the Captain not to communicate a little more to the passengers regarding what is going on when leaving port etc. There were no sail away parties which is unusual and there was not even an announcement to say we were leaving. On sailing into Singapore for example it would have been nice if there was a little information given. I sailed into New York on Cunard and it was so interesting having the sights pointed out and knowing when the pilot got on the ship, what was happening etc. but maybe this is just me. That said any negatives were most definitely outweighed by the positives. A great trip! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call, China, South Korea and Japan. This was also our first cruise with celebrity after previous cruises with P&O we were looking forward to the "step up" in the cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call, China, South Korea and Japan. This was also our first cruise with celebrity after previous cruises with P&O we were looking forward to the "step up" in the cruise experience. The ship herself was a little tired but nothing to put us off . Our cabin was 9027 ,deck 9 forward and was on a par with our experience with P&O,the main difference was the lack of tea and coffee making facilities. There was room service of course and you could book a time for the coffee to arrive,we used it about four times but decided the coffee and any food delivered ie toast was pretty grim by the time it had traveled from the kitchen to our cabin. We were using anytime dinning,this proved to be very useful and well run,we eventually booked a particular table at a set time because of the service team for our table. The food itself was,well,ok,just ok. We had expected it to be something really special after reading reviews and actually talking to to a couple of friends who had traveled with celebrity several times. Our group of 6 decided the food was pleasant enough but certainly not any better than we experienced on our previous cruises with P&O and sometimes was in fact, not as good We used the buffet at times , mainly occasionally for late lunch. Like most buffet's it was a bit of a bun fight and the selection of food was fresh and well presented. We used the speciality restaurant once,quisine,it was superb,it quality, service and suprise delivery was quite wonderful. Our group had various drinks packages,they worked well,it was just as well as the drinks were hugely expensive with a 18 percent service charge. The shows in the evening were of a good standard,but the was a definite lack of entertainment other times of the day,most other entertainment was designed to sell you something. A running joke was ,at least breathing was free. There seemed to be a constant effort to sell you something. The crew were absolutely brilliant,their interaction with customers was second to none, every member of the crew seemed to be working hard to please us. Overall a nice cruise,the ports of call superb even with the security and long waits to get off the ship. Would we sail with celebrity again? Probably not, unless there was a particular part of the world we wanted to see. One of our group has decided for her 60th birthday,it's a cruise to the Carribbean but with P&O. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We took this cruise from Shanghai to Tokyo on Oct, 2018. The cruise started out on a bad note. On the check in at the Shanghai port, passengers were made to wait in line out in the sun, with only a couple of portable toilets. This may ... Read More
We took this cruise from Shanghai to Tokyo on Oct, 2018. The cruise started out on a bad note. On the check in at the Shanghai port, passengers were made to wait in line out in the sun, with only a couple of portable toilets. This may be the fault of the Shanghai port or the Chinese immigration, but we certainly started off with a bad taste. The bad vibe continued once we were on the ship. On the safety drill we were told to go to the wrong gathering spot. This lack of or wrong information continued several times on board. The ship itself was old (this ship was going to be retrofitted soon). There was no self-operated laundry on board. On a 14 day cruise this is unacceptable. The worse part of this cruise was the food quality. It was just average, or sometimes below average. After about 10 days (with 3 days at sea), this became quite noticeable. Finally, when we disembarked at Yokohama, there was not enough taxis available. We waited at the taxi line for close to an hour, and finally gave up and walked to the subway station. A long line was still waiting when we left. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Well, picking a cruise is always a mixture between: destinations, length, mixture between Seadays and poets, cruiseline and of course rates. We always like to go with Celebrity and we do like smaller ships. This cruise had China and ... Read More
Well, picking a cruise is always a mixture between: destinations, length, mixture between Seadays and poets, cruiseline and of course rates. We always like to go with Celebrity and we do like smaller ships. This cruise had China and Japan, both were on our bucket list plus South Korea which was an addon (and a pretty nice surprise). Millennium is an older ship, however we red before in other reviews that it is well maintained and we can confirm. We stayed in Shanghai for three days upfront, which was sufficient to see a lot, for the trip to the port we took a taxi, it’s the easiest way, cost was as far as I recall about 20 USD. Embarkation was good organized, as the ship was a little bit late in disembarkation and it took longer before we could board they offered for ConciergeClass (and above I assume) a free shuttle to a nearby hotel, because the port of Shanghai has not good waiting areas. We nevertheless decided to sit and wait and in the end we waited only additional 30 minutes. For Concierge Class they offer lunch in main restaurant at embarkation day, which was nice and more relaxing than in the self service. The port of calls were all very interesting, although especially for Beijing it is a pretty long 3-4 hour drive from the cruise terminal (depending on whether you go straight to the city or to the Great Wall first, as we did) so it is a really good idea to stay at least 1 night in Beijing. We’ve stayed 2 nights together with a small group we found through cruisecritics, which was less than half of what celebrity charges for such an excursion. Everything we visited could have been done in 2 day/1 night, however having 2 nights is a little bit more relaxing, as I said it is a long drive. Doing it in 2 days/1 night would bring you back to the ship probably middle of the (second) night. Service on board was fine as always with Celebrity, we did have some minor shortcomings which we mentioned and - as usual - they were very responsive and took prompt care to solve all issues. That’s something I really like with Celebrity and which I did miss on other cruiselines where even real complaints were handled less responsive. Food quality in the main restaurants was good, however over the years I have the impression that at least the selection and diversity of the meals getting slightly worse. Another disappointing point was the drink package, we had the classic one and had to found out, that they lowered the included wines from 11UsD per Glas to 9 USD, well as they do not really tell you upfront what is included in the package, nothing really to complain, although we knew from prior cruises. However we found out that they do not nickle and dime on the orders, so we sometimes did get drinks from premium package without paying the 1 or 2 dollars extra, seems that staff does have some flexibility. Regarding the ship, as mentioned above, it’s an older ship, but everything was pretty well maintained and clean. There is a good ratio between nu,bei of guests and public areas, so we always found a nice quiet place to sit and relax. However, the ship will be completely renovated in January 2019, when it stays in dry dock for more than a month. We only had one shore excursion with Celebrity for visiting Hakone national park and Mount Fuji, which was disappointing (although we had a great view because of very good weather conditions) the tour included a short boat trip (“cruise” on a lake), the ship was so overpacked that we hardly could move around to enjoy the tour, actually I am sure there were more people on board than allowed. We mentioned this to the cruise excursion desk and they actually reimbursed us partly, which was not our goal, we rather want them to change this for future tours. However our experience is (with all cruises and cruiselines we have been with so far) it’s always better to organize something on your own or with a group from cruise critics . All together: we very much enjoyed the cruise, we were absolutely lucky with the weather, we had fabulous service, seen many interesting places, gained some pounds and are looking forward to the next cruise with Celebrity in January. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Older ship getting an upgrade. Ships is older but well maintained! I will start with the cons; main dining room was ok for dinner. Escargot and French onion soup where excellent but with so many food options on and off the ship for this ... Read More
Older ship getting an upgrade. Ships is older but well maintained! I will start with the cons; main dining room was ok for dinner. Escargot and French onion soup where excellent but with so many food options on and off the ship for this cruise, you can pass on the main dinner for most of your trip. The buffet is excellent with different options each night and great food. Looking for late night, hit the pizza bar. Room service is good but limited. Specialty restaurants where all great, get the 3 night package before you arrive, quality and amount of food where excellent. I really like the sushi restaurant. And Q cuisine with lots of options, try the lamb and also the escargot. I was a single passenger and had ocean view room on the third floor and room was great with no issues and a great view. I also did the premium beverage package which basically gives you anything you want to drink on the vessel, except anything in your room. On that note go to any bar and get a few bottles of avian and put them in your room fridge. Off the ship I did my own thing, from taking and car to riding the train system which is excellent in China and Japan. I tend to travel in the fall for the great weather and change of season and this trip did not disappoint! See photos. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I would have rated this cruise a 3.5 overall. strong points being the destinations (fabulous) which were various, many and interesting, the staff (very trying their utmost and always available on Celebrity), the food at oceanview and at ... Read More
I would have rated this cruise a 3.5 overall. strong points being the destinations (fabulous) which were various, many and interesting, the staff (very trying their utmost and always available on Celebrity), the food at oceanview and at that extra charge Italian restaurant (cant already remember the name, but the food was awesome). A special kudos to the Blu staff, overall excellent (better than the food which was ok). The destinations were awesome but we enjoyed our time mainly when we took a private tour guide away from the cruise shore excursions (to the exception of Jeju Island, very nice). We did with the boat a 3D/2N excursion of Beijing with hotel... really disappointing, always running, never the time to enjoy a site (literally walking through the Imperial garden without stopping), hotel was ok but nothing special, worst than everything we ended up all 3 days in low quality Chinese restaurant that no Chinese gourmet would call that Chinese food... it tasted like cafeteria food in huge rooms of 300 cruise passengers (more like a wedding banquet without the nice part).. they even brought us in a restaurant where there were 20 coaches on the parking (I counted) which was just located within ... a huge JADE shop... tourist scam no less!!! Entertainment on the ship was unequal.. one day very good (like 2 Russians acrobats) another day pretty much the same than the day before (same dancers and singers just having a different act, but good overall, just not various).. it was the day entertainment which was disappointing.. nothing much organised except events to bring you in the spa, shop, casino to spend more money under the pretext of some seminar of some sort... And a lot of future cruises presentations!! This cruise overall was average, usually my wife and I chose the boat as much as the destination... it was our 2nd cruise on this ship and I dont find it improving... chose it for the amazing ports/destinations but do organise your visits on your own. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Having done a number of Celebrity Cruises in the past & thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience, we had been looking forward to our latest voyage of discovery. Unfortunately toon many cost saving issues spoilt the overall experience. ... Read More
Having done a number of Celebrity Cruises in the past & thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience, we had been looking forward to our latest voyage of discovery. Unfortunately toon many cost saving issues spoilt the overall experience. Bearing in mind our yardstick was past Celebrity Cruises we were truly disappointed. The following issues, small as they were in some instances, combined to spoil our trip:- Blu Restaurant Experience - Too many customers for too few tables. On too many occasions we had to wait to be seated despite the best efforts of the Maitre’d. Sommelier not to past standards, had a passing knowledge of wines only. Kept the wine glasses full but when busy struggled to keep up. Limited menu selection of 4 items only with 3 constants many times too similar to offers on day. Description on menu not a true reflection of food on offer eg. Soufflé heavy & stodgy, better description would be a dumpling. Seared Duck, skin hadn’t been near a hot pan only fit to be cut off meat & left on side of plate. Some food presented cool not hot. Have to say service was excellent throughout. Speciality Restaurants - Qsine: Given a key table & then provided with blankets to stop freezing to death. Even when we were moved complete with blankets, it was still uncomfortable. Order of selections made was bizarre ie. Started with fish & chips followed by Escargot, followed by the largest meatballs ever seen (with unusual texture). Surprise Dessert, apple crumble (how disappointing). Tuscan Grill - Great experience on 1st visit. Return visit (due to experience one) unbelievably poor. Very poor service (almost forgotten). Main course left under pass for too long (medium rare tuna arrived at table as well done tuna / Medium well done steak arrived as dry, well done steak). Complained to Maitre’d who acknowledged complaints as genuine, made efforts to change service but server refused to relinquish our table. No problem but service got worse! Offered a return night but was not followed through. Entertainment - 3 of 4 soloists average singers at best with choreography likewise. Occasional guest entertainers generally very good. Shore Trips - A little disappointing overall. Too much travelling for too little experience. This didn’t help with very poor weather on occasions but surely if it’s thick fog at high level couldn’t the iterary be modified at the last minute (or at least be offered another option) instead of sticking with the original itinerary with zero visibility!!! Poor Japan experience! I could go on but I guess you now get the message!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Arrived into Shanghai the day prior to the cruise and took a taxi directly to the Sheraton Grand hotel in Pudong - about 45 minute taxi ride - cost around 160 Yuan. The next morning we were up and on the subway at 7AM to head to the ... Read More
Arrived into Shanghai the day prior to the cruise and took a taxi directly to the Sheraton Grand hotel in Pudong - about 45 minute taxi ride - cost around 160 Yuan. The next morning we were up and on the subway at 7AM to head to the Bund and central Shanghai. Subway system is very easy to use and we managed to get to where we were going with few problems. We returned to the hotel around 1PM and I checked my email - Celebrity had sent a communication stating that embarkation would be delayed as the ship was unable to port due to heavy fog. Celebrity was very good about providing hourly updates. In the end we were told to not show up to the port until 8PM for embarkation. They also advised that they would provide a $50 stateroom credit to cover any meal costs due to the delay. Embarkation was relatively smooth - lots of grumbling from fellow passengers about the delay but it was beyond the cruise lines control - I think people just like to complain sometimes. Not a lot of space in the terminal so everyone was seated in an area prior to checking in and we had to get up and sit down again as we moved towards the check in area - a bit confusing but it worked. Finally got onto the ship around 9:30PM we were exhausted as it was 7AM back home. First day was a sea day which was nice as we relaxed and adjusted to the the new time zone. Incheon/Seoul - Celebrity provided a bus from the port into Incheon and dropped us at a local market. Not much to see but fellow passengers took the subway into Seoul which was about an hour ride. We chose to return to the ship after a couple of hours and enjoy the peace and quiet onboard. Beijing 3 Days - Ported in Tianjin which is about 3 hours drive from Beijing - we chose to leave the ship and go into Beijing for two nights on our own (many fellow passengers did the same). We had booked a private transfer directly to Beijing with a company I had found online. There are taxis at the port that will take you into Tianjin to catch the bullet train to Beijing. They will try and bargain starting rate is 300 Yuan but the metered rate is only around 180 so be careful. Beijing was cold - it had snowed on the great wall that day. we spent 2 days in the city touring on our own and then took a taxi to the Beijing South railway station - Bullet train fare to Tianjin was around 60 Yuan each and then taxi fare from Tianjin to the port was 165 Yuan Jeju Island - They call this the Hawaii of Korea and it was our first day with warmer weather. Weather had warmed up to around 19C. We had a free transfer into town and ate at a local restaurant and returned to the ship. Nice destination Kobe (2 Days) - the overnight was nice as we had decided to go to Hirsohima for the day when we arrived on the bullet train. Hiroshima is about 200 miles from Kobe. There is a monorail that will run you into the main train station - we bought our Kansai/Hiroshima area passes here. These are 5 day passes for that part of Japan on the trains and include the bullet train between Osaka and Hiroshima. Cost if you buy prior to arriving in Japan was 13,500 Yen or about $135US - amazing price if you are there for 5 days. On our second day we got up early and took the train to Kyoto but were limited in time there as the bullet train was not included in the pass. Shimuzu/Mount Fuji - due to our limited time here we booked a shore excursion through the ship as we wanted to go to Mount Fuji which was about 2 hours away. Unfortunately Mount Fuji was surround in clouds and we could not see it when we arrived. Apparently it is visible less than 100 days per year. After a Gondola and boat ride across Lake Ashi we headed back to the ship for a 1.5 hour ride. About 30 minutes out the clouds around Mount Fuji started to dissipate and we had an incredible view of the mountain from. Was worth the trip just to see it. Hospitality was amazing - cultural shows on the dock and as we were leaving the portset off fireworks Tokyo/Yokohama - We were flying out of Narita which is about a 1.5 hour drive from the port. Taxis would be extremely expensive. We were advised in the terminal to take a taxi to the YCAT station was about Yen 2,000 and then took a bus to Narita for Yen 7,200 Overall was a great experience we saw many cities in Asia. This was a great way to decide where we would like to visit again. We will return to Japan - the people are wonderful and helpful. This is our 5th Celebrity cruise in a row (2nd on the Millenium) and the onboard experience has detiorated over the last few years in my opinion. Food in the Master Dining room was inconsistent some nights it was good and other nights not so good. There was also a constant sales pitch to upgrade to packages Premium drink packages, specialty dining packages, photo packages , lunches on the specialty restaurants etc. Drink service was difficult in the master dining room you were lucky to get your drink order before the main course was out. We just started in the lounge prior to going to dinner and brining it in with us, One night a couple with us ordered a bottle of wine for dinner that never showed up. I am not sure if Celebrity has reduced their staff in the dining room but the staff were run off their feet it seemed. The crew when you got the chance to interact with them however were wonderful. Said hello everytime you came into contact with them and we had a few nice conversations with crew members when we had a chance. I will sail with Celebrity in the future as I have been happy with them in the past (on the Soltice ships mainly) not sure if the inconsistent was due to the Millenium class ships or staff shortages Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Overall a great experience. Our ship was held up initially due to fog, we were reimbursed and updated regularly via email. The ship was pleasant enough and quite layed back. The on board drinks and excursions were extremely expensive ... Read More
Overall a great experience. Our ship was held up initially due to fog, we were reimbursed and updated regularly via email. The ship was pleasant enough and quite layed back. The on board drinks and excursions were extremely expensive though. The ports were often along way out of the tourist areas so do your homework as we did and get your own tickets and trips booked before you go. The entertainment was really good and the lectures on sea days were very informative. I really enjoyed relaxing in the Sauna area too! The meals got a bit boring after a while, however there are plenty of other restaurants on board at a price. The ship was very clean, it was the right size and not too busy. Disembarkation was a bit of a nightmare with Yokohama customs but fortunately we had allowed plenty of time to get to the airport. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
For the ports of call and, that it was a celebrity cruise. Every member of staff on board were excellent with some being exceptional. Everything was spotlessly clean and of a very high standard. The food was delicious exciting and ... Read More
For the ports of call and, that it was a celebrity cruise. Every member of staff on board were excellent with some being exceptional. Everything was spotlessly clean and of a very high standard. The food was delicious exciting and very varied, always lots of choice and available all day every day. The selection and amount of restaurants gave you lots of different places to eat so you would never be short of different cuisine.. We particularily enjoyed the night life entertainment and stage shows which were fantastic and very proffessional. We also used the facilities in the gym and had some great advice from doritya our personal trainer who was very knowledgable and patient and a joy to be with. Getting on and off the ship was a very smooth process and it was nice to see the faces of the friendly staff welcoming us back on board, great holiday, thank you celebrity. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
SHIP : We choose this cruise because of the ports of call. However, I found the ship a bit old and "tired" and generally everything on the cruise was a bit "tired & old". CABIN : We found the cabin adequate but ... Read More
SHIP : We choose this cruise because of the ports of call. However, I found the ship a bit old and "tired" and generally everything on the cruise was a bit "tired & old". CABIN : We found the cabin adequate but somewhat small. DINING & CREW : However, the dining room crew should be commended with top ratings - especially JJ in QSine. In addition, the staff and ambiance at the Japanese restaurant was very good. CAPTAIN & NAVIGATION : To be commended or giving us a comfortable sailing through rough seas. DISEMBARKATION : The handling, or mishandling of the unfortunate disembarkation process at Shanghai was frustrating and not efficient with many people turned back by Immigration because they had missed their fights home. Those with flights should have been allowed to disembark first. As it was, we narrowly caught our flight which we had rebooked for 6 hours later. Many others were not so fortunate, WOULD I SAIL WITH CELEBRITY AGAIN? : The market is very competitive! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Our holiday took place in the second half of October until a few days into November, it was arranged through CruiseCo and was one of their , ‘Tailor Made’ range of holidays that included some land based days as well as a 14 night ... Read More
Our holiday took place in the second half of October until a few days into November, it was arranged through CruiseCo and was one of their , ‘Tailor Made’ range of holidays that included some land based days as well as a 14 night cruise. The title of my review is a good indication of where we went and I have to say on behalf of both my wife and I that as a first real venture into the Far East we really enjoyed ourselves and at no point did we feel at all uneasy in any of the countries that we visited. One thing in particular that significantly helped to make things enjoyable was that all the major transfers were included in the package. There were language difficulties throughout, but, it proved very easy to spot a man holding a sign with my name written on it, waiting to escort us to our hotel, port or airport. However, there were two main problems that we encountered along the way and I have included those in my day to day review. We arrived in Beijing on Saturday afternoon and our hotel location was slightly downtown. I decided that it would be good if we could get to see Tiananmen Square as all day Sunday was taken care of with our package trip to the Ming Tombs and The Great Wall. Having no Chinese language skills at all we managed to explain to the concierge where we wanted to go and he kindly arranged a taxi for us. So that, evening feeling a little unsure, we boarded the taxi and crossed our fingers that we would arrive at our destination. Fifteen minutes later the driver stopped the taxi and said Tiananmen Sq. We paid what seemed a ridiculously small amount and alighted the taxi into the Beijing night. After a couple of minutes looking around we realised he had dropped us on the far corner of the sq. and commenced walking. The roads all around the sq. were closed to traffic and we soon came to a security check point and all the Chinese people seemed to be producing what I assume were their personal identification papers. We thought perhaps our sightseeing was over before it had really begun. We approached the checkpoint, held out my wife’s handbag and my camera bag, to our surprise they simply waved us through, I guess it was very obvious that we were not Chinese and had no papers to present. The closer we got to the entrance to The Forbidden City at the far end of the sq. the more the crowds increased. You got the sense that this is a very special place for the Chinese and the entrance gate to The Forbidden City in particular is regarded almost as a shrine. The weather wasn’t great and it rained on and off throughout, but we had no intention of letting that spoil what turned out to be a lovely evening. Finally, we were left with the problem of getting back to our hotel, we returned to our drop off point and somehow managed to hail a taxi, showed him our hotel card and he returned us to our hotel safe and sound. The following day, Sunday, we left our hotel at 6.00am, far too early to have had any breakfast, for a 15-20 minute walk to another hotel about 800yds straight down the road towards the city for our pick up point at 6.40am. After waiting about 30mins and with no one else waiting with us we began to get concerned, although the hotel receptionist had confirmed we were in the right place. Eventually a van turned up, having been sent to the wrong hotel, but, apparently with the same name. At that point I thought we were being transferred elsewhere to join everyone else on the main coach. Oh no, it soon became apparent that our whole days excursion transport was going to be, what we all regularly see speeding past us on the motorway, a vehicle normally used for transporting ground workers. At our second pick up our Chinese guide joined us and immediately made my wife and I change seats to accommodate her and her paperwork. After a few more stops we were joined by a Vietnamese couple, four South African men and two American couples. Presumably by this time we were already well behind time. Our first stop on our ‘Full Day World Wonder Tour’, CruiseCo’s words not mine, turned out to be the Ming Tombs. Now, I’m not sure if our guide was trying to recover lost time, but we seemed to progress through the tombs complex at quite a fast pace and were not allowed to spend any significant time in any of the buildings or temples. That was with one exception, we seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time being told about the main tomb still being underground at the back of the complex. What we were looking at was a grass and fir tree covered hill that left a considerable amount to the imagination. Next we moved on to the obligatory selling stop, a Jade Factory, where it also turned out we would be stopping for lunch. I’m not quite sure, but, I think we must have been there for at least 2 hours of what we all regarded as completely unnecessary, even the food offered left a lot to be desired. Finally, we set off for the Great Wall at Badaling. The guide hand mentioned earlier, as we drove out of Beijing, that everywhere was very crowded because ‘today is the Chinese equivalent of a Bank Holiday’. When we eventually arrived at the cable car that would take us up to the Great Wall the crowds were enormous. The guide then announced that we would be stopping for 2 hours!!, that included queuing for and ride on the cable car. In addition she also made it quite clear that she would not be hanging around for anybody that wasn’t back in time. At this point both my wife and I lost our cool a little and pleaded with her for a longer stay, her response was simply to keep repeating ‘but we always stop for 2 hours’, making no allowance what so ever for the length of the cable car queue. We lost almost 30 mins of our 2 hours either queuing for or riding on the cable car. When we reached the Great Wall we found the whole section either side of the cable car was totally congested. It was like the crowds doing Christmas shopping in Oxford St, everyone pushing in different directions, only much narrower and steep. We tried to make the best of our allotted time, but, as this was the main feature of our ‘Full Day World Wonder Tour’ we returned to out transport on time, feeling that we had been extremely short changed. Then, to add insult to injury, our lady guide decided to wait 20mins for the 4 South Africans and even went searching for them. But that was to prove merely a starter before the ‘piece de resistance’. Unbelievably the reason that she had demanded that we must return in 2 hours quickly became apparent, another selling stop, this time back in Beijing at a Chinese Tea House. There, we were presented with about 8 different teas that we felt obliged to drink, despite the fact that most of them were foul, and we were expected to consider buying tea caddies of the varieties tasted, at prices that would make your hair curl. The following day we took a China Air flight to our next destination and cruise departure port, Shanghai, for an overnight hotel stop. The following morning we had enough time, before boarding the ship, to take a stroll down part of the Nanjing Rd to the river front which turned out to be a very popular sightseeing spot for both the Chinese and international tourists. The viewpoint looked across the river to Shanghai’s financial district of numerous tall buildings including the Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai Tower. We returned to our hotel to await our taxi transfer to the port, at that point we were oblivious to the situation that lay ahead. We arrived at the port about 30 mins before our allotted time to board the ship. What greeted us was a large mass of people, far more than expected, many of whom had completely ignored Celebrities staggered arrival time instructions. There seemed to be a lot of confusion and some difficulty in understanding why there were so many people milling around. Eventually we managed to establish exactly what was going on. Apparently, the ship had been outside the port entrance since about 6.00am awaiting permission to proceed into port, but because the cross winds were so strong it was considered unsafe to do so. Permission had only been given shortly before our arrival at about 1.00pm; therefore passengers were still disembarking and cleaning of all the cabins had only just commenced. All those passengers waiting to board were ushered onto coaches and taken to local hotels to await further instructions, which we understood was likely to be 4 or 5 hours before everything was ready for us to board. We were escorted by some very junior members of Celebrity Millennium’s crew, who in very testing and unusual circumstances did their best to keep everyone calm and orderly. This included the issuing of hastily prepared dockets to schedule an organised return to the port when authorised by their superiors. What followed during our enforced confinement were examples of human behaviour at its most unsavoury. Basically, people behaving like greedy animals, whether it was the clamour associated with the provision of tea and coffee or the even more degrading scene of people scrambling over sandwiches as if they were absolutely starving, the behaviour of a small minority was staggering. Finally, just to cap it all, when our return to port was eventually authorised, the 2 sets of dockets that passengers were issued with had identical number sequences, but one set differed, with the inclusion of the word priority. Needless to say, when the young ladies from the crew began to call groups forward to board coaches and return to port it became a complete fiasco as people either deliberately or through language problems did not understand the word priority only the numbers being called and trying to board the coaches became a free for all of people all jostling, and pushing and shoving on the hotel forecourt. We eventually boarded the ship between 8.00 and 9.00pm over 6 hours after our initial arrival at the port. I assume this was a most unusual situation that Celebrity had to deal with, but, there are certainly lessons to be learned, not least in having 2 sets of boarding dockets with the same numbers and understanding human behaviour when hundreds of people are cramped together. We found the best way of dealing with our unfortunate plight was to remain calm and just observe the antics of the people around us. We just let the whole situation just wash over us, safe in the knowledge that, however long, we would all eventually board our ship which would not be going anywhere until every single passenger was on board. Nevertheless, it is not an experience I wish to repeat. The first day of our cruise was a day at sea, so everyone had a chance to wind down, relax and get to know our surroundings for the next 2 weeks. It also provided an opportunity for the captain to do his utmost to apologise for the previous days hastily arranged solution to a problem that was totally outside of his control. Our first port of call was Busan in South Korea. We opted to do our own thing and took the shuttle bus into the town centre. From there we wandered around. Firstly to the very large Jagalchi fish market, where one fellow passenger commented that ‘It seems like half the sea has been emptied’, such was the amount and variety of sea dwellers on view in tanks, waiting to be sold. Moving on we went into a large modern shopping precinct, where we sat and watched a water fountains demonstration with musical accompaniment, before, taking the lift up to the roof garden that offered terrific views all around the city. From there we wandered on to visit The Busan Tower and observatory in Yongdusan Park. Finally we made our way back down to the shuttle via the many stalls of the Gukje Market. This is South Korea’s 3rd city and it was definitely a very nice port of call. After another day at sea out next port of call was the island of Taiwan, where we docked at the port town of Keelung. From there we caught a local express bus to the modern city of Taipei. After arriving at the bus terminus about 40 mins later we made our way to the outstanding sight soaring above the city, The Taipei 101 Tower and observatory. The observatory is housed on the 88th to 91st floors and offers 360 degree panoramic views of the city and the countryside & mountains beyond. There is much to see and enjoy in the observatory, our only disappointment being the closure of the outside viewing platform due to the weather. Once again another day at sea. This was followed by our next stop, including an overnight stay in port, in the islands of the Philippines, namely the capital Manila. Again we chose to do our own thing with just a 10min walk from the port, through the city wall and into the centre of the old city of Intramuros. We chose firstly to walk to the church and museum of San Augustin and after spending some time there we continued our sightseeing tour with a visit to Manila Cathedral, modern by most standards, completed in 1958, and well worth a visit. Finally, we completed our day with a visit to the ruins of Fort Santiago, apparently Manila’s No1 tourist attraction. Within its walls, buildings included remains of a prison and torture chamber used during the regime of the Spanish rulers where the dungeons were located alongside the Pasag River. Here history recalls the loss of about 600 American & Philipino POW’s, during the Japanese occupation of WWII, deliberately allowed to drown by the rivers rising tide and flooding of the dungeons. Also, within the fort is a statue and shrine dedicated to the islands writer and national hero, Jose Rizal, who was imprisoned here before his execution by the Spanish. After our overnight stay in port we again left the ship and walked alongside the city wall to the Manila Ocean World complex, that supposedly included a shopping mall, oceanarium and numerous other attractions. What we found was a somewhat run down area where only the oceanarium seemed to be operating, very few visitors but a large contingent of local school children. We decided to leave this area and walked a little further and across the busy main road into Rizal Park. So named because this is place where Jose Rizal was executed and entombed and includes a memorial to his passing. There were quite a large number of, presumably, homeless people living amongst the trees on the edge of the park, similar to what we had seen along the perimeter of the city wall the previous day. The park itself was well laid out and very neat and tidy and busy with local people, both sightseeing and generally passing the time of day. At one point there were signs suggesting a zoo area, but, this also appeared to have closed down. After this we made our way back to the ship to await our afternoon departure. Once again another day at sea followed, as we made our way to Vietnam. The next day we docked at the tiny port of Chan May, at this time still a largely commercial/industrial port. We knew in advance that there would be little to see or do at Chan May so we had booked to join a ships shore excursion to the 3rd largest city in the country named Da Nang. Our guide had lived all his life in Da Nang; he spoke good English and was very proud of his city and country. He talked quite a lot about what he and his countrymen regard as the occupation of their land by the Americans as we visited/passed specific points of interest on our tour. We made our way into the city and parked with many other coaches alongside the Han River and Dragon Bridge. From here we all took a ride in a local vehicle called a cyclobike, essentially a 3 wheeled tricycle with a wicker seat on the front. The single passenger cyclobikes pedal off enmasse amidst all the other traffic like the start of a grand prix for a slow trip round the streets and sights of the city centre. Certainly an experience not to be missed. Next, our trip included a lunch stop at a local restaurant situated in a modern area of apartments and office blocks. After lunch we returned to the city centre and spent some free time in a local market area before commencing our hour plus journey back to the ship. From the little we saw and the very positive attitude of our guide it does seem that Vietnam is very much a country on the up. Our final day at sea followed, before we docked for the end of our cruise in Hong Kong. Therefore it would seem the right time to say a few words about the Celebrity Millenium that had been our home at sea for the past 2 weeks. After our initial problems of getting on board I would say everything thereafter was all positive, it really is a very nice ship. Our cabin was exactly what we had hoped for, and being close to midships was always an advantage for smoothing out any of the choppy seas. We felt both the main dining room and breakfast buffet restaurant were fine and the pool grill was also a handy additional option. I cannot comment about any of the speciality dining areas as we did not find it necessary to consider them. All the other facilities available that we made use of were entirely satisfactory and there was nothing missing in terms of onboard home comforts. The entertainment provided throughout, both daytime and evenings, offered something for all tastes and as with all cruises the shows put on in the main theatre were first class, whether it was the ships company or star artistes performing. Elsewhere the entertainments team worked extremely hard and did a great job throughout the cruise to provide a variety of activities to keep all guests thoroughly entertained. After our early morning arrival into Hong Kong harbour we were free to leave the ship for sightseeing, shopping etc, before returning to the ship where we spent our final night onboard. We chose to use the metro system to visit The Po Lin monastery and The Tian Tan Statue known locally as ‘The Big Buddha’, both are situated at the top of Lantau Island, which also houses the International airport. The metro system takes you as far as Tung Chung; this is also the station for Citygate Outlets, a very modern development of shops, eating establishments & other entertainment attractions, almost like a mini town in size. This is also the starting point of the cable car to the top of the island at Nong Ping. The cable ride is simply a must for anyone visiting Hong Kong, at almost 6km long, it includes 2 almost 90 degree bends along its journey to the summit, it is quite simply both spectacular and breath taking at the same time. Once you arrive at Nong Ping you are greeted by a very modern and Chinese version of what I would call a wildwest style town of eateries and souvenir shops including live cattle wandering around among the tourists. A saunter along this high street takes you to either the Po Lin monastery to the left or a sharp right turn leaves you facing a climb of some hundred or more steps to ‘The Big Buddah’ itself. I have to say that at the site of so many steps my wife decided to find a seat at the bottom and watch the world go by whilst I embarked on the climb. Once at the top I realised that it is possible to drive to the statue instead and thus avoid the climb entirely, but I do feel you would be missing out somewhat and not fully appreciate the sheer size of the statue as you approach from below. Having disembarked the ship the following morning, our private transfer to take us to our hotel in central Kowloon for our 2 night stay & conclusion to our Far East Package with a stay in Hong Kong. Our hotel was situated about a 5min walk from Nathan Road, the main shopping street that runs down through Kowloon to the harbour where you can board the famous Star Ferry for the short crossing over to Hong Kong Island. The hotel was also a 5 min walk from one of the night market areas that included the part known as ‘Lady Market’ where all things female i.e handbags are available at very good prices. We spent the rest of that first day simply wandering around Kowloon in the immediate vicinity of our hotel, plus hopping on and of the metro a couple of times to cut down on the walking. It seems as though everything comes alive from about 10.00pm ‘til late, hundreds of people milling around, the metro crowded as if it were the rush hour and a really noisy but a friendly atmosphere all around. For the main attraction on our final day we decided to cross over to the island and visit Victoria Peak, to see the spectacular sky line of Hong Kong from atop The Peak. There are various ways of getting there, we chose the metro to start our journey followed by the tram to take us to the top. Once you get there this scenic viewpoint does not disappoint. There are photographic opportunities at every turn, the many skyscrapers and city, the picturesque harbour beyond the city, Kowloon and the mainland on the other side of the harbour and many more breath taking views. Once again another of Hong Kong’s attractions not to be missed. We chose to descend from the peak by double decker bus, again using our all-in-one tickets to pay. We dropped down into the heart of the city at a leisurely pace with many twists and turns along the way. On our descent we passed by the world famous Happy Valley Racecourse as our bus made its way to the harbour, where we chose another mode of transport, the Star Ferry to cross over to Kowloon on our way back to our hotel. Our final evening of the holiday was the CruiseCo included ‘Symphony of Lights Cruise’ around the impressive Hong Kong Harbour. We were due to sail on an authentic Chinese Junk, but, that turned out to be a normal river cruise ship, that aside, it was a really enjoyable illuminated couple of hours, which included free drinks and boats of all sizes moving to and fro around the harbour. There are so many tourist attractions in and around Hong Kong that our short stay meant we only reached those already mentioned, plus, we managed to squeeze in short visits to the Wong Tai Sin Temple and the Nan Ling Gardens before our departure and were not disappointed with either. I set out on this review thinking it would be completed quite quickly, how wrong I was. I hope that if you have stayed with it thus far and have read everything, then I have managed to whet your appetite for a future visit to what is a very fascinating and welcoming part of the world. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We have traveled with Celebrity many times before, but the quality of services for this cruise was disappointing. Most notably, the air connections and transfers that were planned in our Celebrity cruise package through ... Read More
We have traveled with Celebrity many times before, but the quality of services for this cruise was disappointing. Most notably, the air connections and transfers that were planned in our Celebrity cruise package through Celebrity's Choice Air program were not reliable at all. Our flight to Shanghai was delayed 8 hours, and we arrived exhausted. Then, going home, we learned that our connecting flight was non-existent when we arrived at the airport, even though we had booked it through Celebrity's Choice Air program (and we had a confirmation number) well in advance. As a result, we were left stranded at the airport going home! We used our cell phones to contact Celebrity, but it took a lot of effort and assistance from airport staff to get them to find us an alternative flight home. This is unacceptable! Guest Services on the ship was not very helpful with our concerns while onboard. We had booked a transfer to the airport well in advance, but when we checked the time of the transfer, we found that Guest Services had it wrong, and had arranged for a time that was past the time of our flight. We tried to correct this with the Guest Services staff, but the transfer to the airport never materialized, even though we had paid for it, and Guest Services staff just told us to book a cab on our own.This is not acceptable (still waiting to see if we get a refund since we had to pay for a cab even though we paid for a transfer in advance). While the excursions were very interesting, we were mostly rushed along. The dining experience was only mediocre. We were pleased with the entertainment and with most of the ship's staff (except Guest Relations), and the cabin crew was very good. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This cruise was chosen for the itinerary. Never cruised with Celebrity before. Cabin and balcony good size and our steward was very attentive. Little use made of balcony due to cold weather. Blu restaurant provided good quality food ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for the itinerary. Never cruised with Celebrity before. Cabin and balcony good size and our steward was very attentive. Little use made of balcony due to cold weather. Blu restaurant provided good quality food and service and was our main eating experience. Only criticism is that the breakfast choice never varied during the two weeks. The main reason for going, i.e the three day trip to Beijing, was excellent. However, we found the ship generally very cold. The A/C did not seem to work properly on our deck. Ocean Café food was generally not hot enough and choices very 'samey' Also found the counter staff to be surly on occasion. Ship was very noisy...few quiet places; library not big enough. Staff always seemed to be clashing machinery or kitchen equipment. Overall the ship felt a bit tired and dated. The shorter daily excursions were not good value for money and several tour guides not informative enough. We had a problem with Guest Relations who were convinced we were 'back-to-back cruisers' and were very assertive in this opinion even though I provided documentation to prove that after the cruise we were staying independently in Hong Kong and flying home after three days. They apologised when it transpired that we had been confused with another couple, with the same surname, who were apparently on a different ship! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Celebrity should be disgraced by the quality of your rooms. To put it into a short paragraph - 'Our best experience of our 14 night South China Sea cruise was the 2 nights we stayed at the Hilton Hotel at the Beijing port'. I ... Read More
Celebrity should be disgraced by the quality of your rooms. To put it into a short paragraph - 'Our best experience of our 14 night South China Sea cruise was the 2 nights we stayed at the Hilton Hotel at the Beijing port'. I think that sums up the bad experience. Like our cruise with Celebrity last year (when the boat was taken down by Rotavirus and we were all prisoners in our staterooms) I found Celebrity have NOT learnt any lessons and still allow poor hygiene from the guests. If guests are physically ill and showing clinical signs they should NOT be allowed to eat in the restaurants but AGAIN Celebrity allowed this to happen, just like it did last year. Fortunately for Celebrity, the whole boat was not taken down by the rotavirus BUT they're were still many sicknesses including myself (I don't smoke or drink and eat healthy foods, exercise everyday and am married to a doctor so not only are my personal hygiene protocols very high but I rarely get ill - if I ever get sick then it is amazing). So the fact that even I caught a cold says that Celebrity's hygiene protocols are substandard. I self quarantined myself and ensured I did not pass on any of my germs. When this doesn't happen Celebrity should enforce this for the goodness of the majority of it's guests rather than worrying about upsetting the few. We stayed in stateroom 1119 which is Aquaclass. The room is very old and the heating does not work properly BUT this is only a problem if you are in a cold area. There is also a terrible draft which I ended up blocking each evening with cushions and towels. The toilet would not flush every time which was obviously an issue and the room was generally old, especially the bathroom. As with Aquaclass, the BLU restaurant is the best part. The Persian garden was good but quite small and only $79 dollars for 2 weeks so not much of a perk of the room. The ports were amazing and the best part of the cruise bar far. We will NOT be sailing with Celebrity again after this second poor experience. I feel bad about this as the staff are excellent but are let down by the ships poor condition and their lack of attention to detail. Like last years cruise with Celebrity, a lot of people got sick and this is another reason for NOT cruising again with Celebrity. They do not seem to be huge followers of good hygiene protocols and my wife and I are so we were uncomfortable most of the time. I must stress that this could be more 'us' than Celebrity as I work in the health industry and my wife is a Doctor so maybe we are hyper sensitive. Read Less
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