Loc: Tucson, Arizona
We returned on Sunday, November 18 from Eastern Caribbean itinerary on Celebrity's Millennium. With immediately preparing for holiday houseguests, this is my first opportunity to post my (personal) opinions and impressions of this ship.
We have sailed previously on the Mercury and considered it to be our favorite ship. I was very anxious to see this new Millennium class since the fourth, the Constellation, in this class will be inaugurated next year.
San Juan, St. Thomas, Catalina Island (Celebrity's new venture into the "private island beaches" and part of the Dominican Republic) and Nassau.
I had not been to San Juan for about six or seven years and found not many changes with the exception of the addition of "outlets" in old town such as Dooney & Bourke, Ralph Lauren, etc. Since we have done most of the "touristy" things previously, I took the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping and then meandered over to Hard Rock to recoup.
St. Thomas is St. Thomas. Having been there twice this year, again, I took the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping as I have acquired some favorite shops I enjoy.
Catalina Island. Certainly not in the same league as other cruise line's private islands. Improvements lacking. I would speculate that Celebrity will continue to improve.
Nassau. I am ashamed to say that, again, since we had been to Nassau earlier this year, we chose to stay on board. Actually, I love the ship when most passengers are in port. Additionally, there were five ships in port and in attempting to recall passenger occupancy of each vessel, I calculated close to 10,000 passengers enjoying the fruits of Nassau and decided to avoid that throng of humanity.
We were berthed in a category 1A located on the Sky Deck. It is the larger of balcony cabins available with 191 sf as opposed to 171. The fare difference was only $50 and I decided a good value for an additional 20sf for a week. Two single beds converted to a king, a wonderful bath only typically found on Celebrity ships with a large shower, beautiful faux marble vanity with lots of storage and wonderful lighting. Between the bed and balcony sliding glass doors, there was a well lite vanity (I must say that it is one of few where the lighting was adequate for applying makeup, etc.), a single sofa/sleeper and small cocktail table. One nice change from category 2 cabins on the Mercury is the balcony doors are "sliders" allowing one to easily leave the door open at night to enjoy the ocean air and sounds. The balcony has two chairs and a small (very small) table. Below the balcony railing are clear glass panels to not obstruct ones view while seated. Again, more storage in the cabin than I could utilize and that's making a statement for me! Closet area made up of a double full length hanging (also had a fold down bar midway on each side to convert to double hanging) and third closet door contained six drawers and the programmable safe. The refrigerator was conveniently tucked in the corner with t.v. on top.
Having had the opportunity to "explore", I found that if one is not opposed to having a cabin located aft, I would recommend any of the 1A thru 1C balcony categories located there. On each deck there are approximately four tucked between category 3 cabins. In that location, they benefit from the cat 3's having extended balconies. Also, there are a couple balconies tucked between Royal Suites that due to the ability to be a connecting cabin, are docorated the same as the Royal Suites.
I do not recommend (would not book again and recommend against to my future clients) cabins located on the Sky Deck. One deck above is the Resort Deck with the Buffet, pool area, jogging track, etc. First, the Resort Deck is wider and there is approximately a ten to fifteen foot overhand immediately above balcony cabins located on the Sky Deck. Secondly, there were occasions where you could hear joggers in the early morning and folks dragging chairs around in the Buffet. Lastly, in the passageway, there were food odors that wafted down. Typically not obnoxious except in the afternoon with hamburgers and fries. For some reason, greasy fried food aroma was not appealing to me.
Room steward was wonderful and as I generally do, tipped a greater amount than the line recommends.
We were assigned the upper balcony of the dining room for late seating. First, we were at a table of twelve that I find to be difficult for conversation. You find due to the length of the table, there are really two tables and two conversations. If you chose to converse with someone at the other end of the table, you must shout. Round tables for either six or eight are my choice and recommendation.
I must be candid and say that the waiter we had was one of the worst I have had. Dinner on two nights took the best part of three hours. Early, we offered feedback to the assistand Maitre'd who missed a wonderful opportunity to "fix it", but did not. I also must say that the food I did not find to be as outstanding as that we had enjoyed on the Mercury! It was good, and in comparison to some other lines, exceptional, just not as good, in our opinion, as that on the Mercury.
We took the opportunity to eat in the Olympic Specialty Restaurant on one evening. There is an additional charge per person of $25 and reservations fill very quickly. We made our reservations the day we boarded. This is a four course meal with the most unbelieveable service I have experienced in any gourmet restaurant anywhere in the world. Many items are prepared tableside. We had Steak Diane and I had crepes for dessert, again prepared tableside. The meal takes approximately three hours and was well worth it. I strongly recommend it!
I am embarrassed to admit that we did not make one show. Due to late dining and our magnetisim to the casino, we didn't work it in. However, since I had a group of passengers on board, I did get some feedback that the shows were very good with exception of one, not bad odds!
The Dining Room is beautiful and well laid out. In many areas of the dining room, service stations are completely enclosed. This makes for a nice visual effect of not seeing stacked dirtly dishes, etc. during meal service out in the open. With location aft, full windows across the entire back. Did detect slight vibration on several evenings.
The Casino is large and, frankly, one of the first to be "kind" to us. We left with "their" money!! Lots of slots and all tables available.
Both the Platinum Club and Roude Voux Louge were great and always appeared to have adequate seating. The only exception might be the first night with "free" samples at the Martini Bar.
Cosmos, much due to location on Deck 11, is a great room for quiet time during the day and at night it serves as the Disco. It is also the room used for Captain's Club private party and repeaters cocktail party.
Pool area did not appear to have enough lounge chairs on sea days. Three hot tubs. My favorite thing in the world about Celebrity is you never feel "hasseled" with bar waiters while on deck and never, never hear the PA blaring at you either hawking bingo or the greatest, last chance sale. (By the way, on board shops were pretty nice. Some of the nicest I've seen with huge selection and, actually, some exceptional values if you like Logo clothing items!)
The Buffet area actually accommodates four lines. Each side is set up with the start point at each end. Moves passengers well. Omelet station (also serves as pasta station during luncheon buffet) is at the far end of the buffet. Several seating area choices that were lovely.
I will prefice my comments by saying that I am an extremely critical person and a "perfectionist".
This ship is approximately eighteen months old and I saw some wear areas that I found disappointing. First several broken tiles in public area locations. On Deck 4, the Entertainment Deck, there is a "bridge", if you will, that crosses the open atrium area and overlooks the lower deck. It has glass panels, two of which were broken.
Each time we walked to our cabin, we passed two Sky Suites. One had a terrible large stain in the carpet right in front of the door. It remained even after carpets were shampooed. My thought was that if I were in a Sky Suite and had to look at that each time I entered and exited my cabin, it would "turn me off"!!
Now, to most people, if that is all, it's no big deal! Like I said, I'm a perfectionist and those types of "first impressions", are negative to me!
Overall, the ship is beautiful and never has a "crowded" feel. All public areas are well designed. Significant heightened security. Prior to disembarkation in St. Thomas, we had to go through immigration (re-entering U.S.). Even though only birth certs and photo id are required for most Caribbean itineraries, I strongly urge anyone to now consider a passport. Makes it much easier!
Again, this is far too long. I am happy to respond to any specific questions.
Best Regards and Bon Voyage!!
Bonnie Buchanan, MCC
CruiseOne/San Antonio, TX
Bonnie Buchanan, MCC
CruiseOne/San Antonio, Texas
Master Cruise Counselor
CruiseOne Tucson Arizona