I just got off the Millenium and wanted to supplement Bob's reviews. This was my third New Year's Eve cruise on Celebrity, however my last cruise was on Crystal, and in my opinion this cruise compared very favorably to that cruise! Here are some thoughts, some of these might be perceived as negative, overall this was a wonderful experience but I want to be as honest as possible.
1. The good news is that Cat. 3 is even better than everyone has said. The balconies are not all the same; they get bigger as you go lower on the ship.
Also, all of the balconies on staterooms on the back of the ship were huge. It will be hard to cruise again in another category. We met a couple with a guaranteed cat. 6 that ended up with a 3; if you really want it keep calling for cancellations.
2. The ship was very croweded, 2400 with 450 kids, but you really didn't feel it. There were always many empty deck chairs, although maybe not on top of the pool. And the spa pool was off limits to children. There were few lines
yet the cruise benefitted from the high energy of the crowd.
3. New Year's Eve was great, even though it was the first night. It was fun to see fireworks off in the distance (don't ask from where, I have no idea).
4. The buffet was not great at lunch and breakfast; the food wasn't hot, although I read that the executive chef, Michel Roux (sp?) does not believe that food should be served hot because it takes away from the flavor. Can't believe the eggs were intentionally cold, but I like this ship so much, so what?
5. Yes there were vibrations, but again, so what? Even though I was in category 3 where they are supposedly the worst, they weren't that bad and I would book this ship, and that category, in a minute.
6. The production shows were by far the best I have ever seen on a cruise ship.
7. The ship had over 900 non US citizens. This lead to some cultural differences that I found slightly annoying but were not the fault of the management: my table at late seating was surrounded by other tables with
at least a dozen young children. These kids had a hard time sitting still and ran around the dining room and threw crying tantrums now and then. Also, these parents all seemed to have high powered walky talkies which they used constantly all day, everywhere. Finally rules weren't obeyed about non-smoking areas; I watched staff members ignore these infractions rather than confront these guests. (I asked to be moved to another table and the matre 'd laughed at me, said there were 300 people waiting for late seating, however, he did move two people at my table who must have been more persuasive than me).
8. It was great fun to have Regis and Joy Philbin aboard; they showed up for many activities; I played trivial pursuit with them . They were both very generous in greeting people and certainly added to the experience. (Did you notice that Crystal has been advertising Regis' appearance on their ship for almost a year!) On a prior Celebrity sailing there was another celebrity on board, so you never know!
9. Bring your sneakers because the gym was great for every fitness level. Be careful with spa appointments, make sure you know what you were getting because I was disappointed.
10. When we boarded we were told that the itinerary changed, according to the Captain's note, 'partly because many stores and attractions will be closed on New Year's Day'. The line should have told us about the change because we left NY in a snowstorm, if we did not make the ship we would have gone to Key West (and had a big surprise). I don't know how this effected those who made independent plans for shore excursions, drivers, etc.
11. I am not a fan of open seating at breakfast because I think the service lacks without the incentive of tips. I also find it hard to talk to strangers first thing in the morning, and I had a hard time when I asked for a table for 2.
Finally, thanks to this Message Board we met many nice people on board, especially Bob and Roberta, which added to our overall great experience. I hope I do not sound too negative; the line did many things right, we had a great time, and in many ways the experience was even better than Crystal. To all those yet to sail on the Millenium I wish you as great a time as we had.
Paragraph #7 of your mini-review. You state that you asked the maitre 'd to move you from your table. Was this because of the children????? Or was it because some of the non- North Americans were smoking in the dining room????
Thanks Marva.. I always find it helpful, to get the good AND the bad
Thank goodness we have confirmed late seating! I love kids and had two of my own, but would rather skip the experience of eating at a table with a cranky 6 year old. Glad you had a fun cruise!
Thanks for the report! I always appreciate hearing "both sides of the story". It was a pleasure to read a balanced report of your cruise.
In my view there's always good and bad, and fortunately when it comes to cruising, normally much more good!
I have been excited over cat 3's ever since seeing my first Millennium brochure and deck plan. I can't wait for my Alaska trip on Infinity in cat 3. Our family has booked all four cat 3's on the 9th deck. Thanks for adding to the suspense!
Babette, I asked to move because the kids were driving me nuts running around and screaming. I had bad luck being surrounded by so many; a quick scan of the dining room proved that. Nobody should be too upset about this problem; it was aggravated by all of the families on board who had late seating, I am sure on a more traditional cruise this would be less of an issue. As far as smoking in the dining room, I only noticed it a couple of times at one particular table and this was at the end of the meal.
We did try the Olympic; it wasn't perfect (the cheese course and the dessert were served at the same time) but the room was beautiful and the experience was fun and definitely worth the $25 per person.
In the Med we had two 9th deck rear balconies, one for us and one for a cousin and his wife. We were in 9152 and I think they were 50. The only thing we eventually wished for was a way to unlock and slide the partition between the balconies so we could open it up, book a dance band, and have a party for 50!
We found that the huge balconies made room service a much more attractive proposition for breakfast, especially on port days when we had a full schedule. Also used room service for early evening snacks and parties, since we had late seating.
Marva, Question for you on a comment you made about the balconies. You stated that "all the balconies in the back of the ship" were large. Did you mean just the Cat 3's that face the very back of the ship, or do the balconies get larger as you move from starboard to aft. The reason I ask is I have a Cat 2 booked on Infinity for May 1 (hopefully) and am wondering if I select a cabin farther aft if the balcony will be larger.
Susan, it looked to me that all of the balconies at the very back of the ship, facing out (not on the sides) were very large. The differences were as follows, those cat. 3 in the corners were the largest in that they have a corner that stuck out (good for sun lovers), and the balconies on the 8th floor were longer than the balconies on the 9th floor, and the 7th floor balconies seemed even a bit longer than the 8th floor, although regardless of the floor all of the balconies were huge and wonderful. From what I could see all of the balconies had two lounge chairs, two regular chairs and a small table: the corner cat. 3's seem to now have the same plus a larger table (they seem to have lost some chairs). Hope this helps.
Thanks that helped. One additional question to anyone out there. For the balconies that aren't in the CAT three or at the very rear of the ship. Are they all the same size or are there variations based on what floor they are on, or where they are located on the ship (aft, mid ship, stern) or if they are a CAT 1 versus CAT 2, ABC etc... Any help anyone can provide would be helpful since the CAT 3's seem to be booked on both Mill and Infinity for the next year!
Regarding cat 3's being widely sold out on Millie & Infinity, I can only say from my own experience that I've obtained cat 3's by contacting the Celebrity Group Department. Often times, TA's with blocks of group space also include cat 3 in their allotment. I've reserved cat 3's on two different occasions, and it was the Group Department that put me in contact with the TA who was holding the space.
While in some photos and plans it looks like the stern-facing balconies on the lower decks are larger (because they "stick out" farther), I'm pretty sure that's not the case. What's happening is that the length of the entire deck increases the lower you go, so the entrance to the room is further back relative to the decks above. But the room and the balcony are basically the same size, just set back further. That's what gives the "stepped" look to the design of the stern. That said, these balconies are very large, period.
As to the corner stern-facing rooms with the even larger balconies, our steward showed us one of those, and they're considered "family" rooms, with essentially two rooms (Pullman style) and two large beds. The balconies are absolutely huge, it's true, but check the layout of these rooms before booking. They're different, but great if you have kids.
The room might be the same size on each floor but the balconies are not; just count the panels on the dividers between the balconies, there are three panels on the 9th floor between the balconies, 4 on the 8th, and I think that there were 5 on the 7th.