Celebrity Millenium vs. RC Explorer, Voyageur, Navigator of
My wife and I (I am 36, she is 31) -- first time cruisers -- are considering the Celebrity Millenium vs. RC Explorer of the Seas, Voyageur of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas. We will be going February 8 on a 7 day Carribean cruise (Western if possible) out of somewhere in Florida, assuming there is still room when we book. We want to get the best price possible, and it seems like waiting until 6 weeks out can lead to the best prices, though often room selection is not great. It seems that we should be able to get a great deal for Feb. 8, as it's after the holiday rush and before Spring break.
We are more interested in a great boat and itinerary than a great room. An inside room or lower end ocean view will be fine. My priorities are the best ship possible, service, activities, exercise facilities, food, and other people with similar interests to meet -- in that order. My sense is that the food on Celebrity is better, but that the exercise facilities on the 3 RC boats listed above may be better (especially a greater number of cardio workout machines). Someone told me that the Millenium is "closed off" and does not have a lot of outdoor space compared to the RC boats. We don't need 5 star restaurant food, but we want the food to be good. My sense is that Celebrity draws a slightly older crowd than RC, though Celebrity seems to be diverse in age. We would like a good number of people in their 30s and 40s, though we don't want a bunch of rowdy young 20-somethings.
Any suggestions on what types of rooms or even particular room numbers on the Millenium that are cost-effective yet decent (e.g. middle of boat)? Also, any recommended travel agencies?
Re: Celebrity Millenium vs. RC Explorer, Voyageur, Navigator
The "feel" of the two lines are different. Celebrity is a premium line, a more toned down experience, the ships are far less glitzy, there's none of what some call the "wow" factor on Celebrity (RCI has very high atriums with inside glass elevators where Celebrity has 3 deck foyers and the glass elevators view the outside). For me the Millennium is a different class of ship, something that feels luxurious though understated and woody while the Voyager/Explorer/Navigator type of ship feels like a deluxe modern hotel, more brass and glass, and a fair amount of flash. There's not as much attention spent to presentation and formlities in RCI style than Celebrity, and RCI waiters are more likely to be entertaining than Celebrity's, which tend to be more professional.
For me Explorer was too big. I'm not a huge fan of the Royal Promenade that feels like an interior mall to me but others found it to be one of the most wonderful features on the ship. The big RCI ships main feature that distinguish it is this promenade. There's all sorts of stuff in this ship. Much is made of the ice-skating rink and rock climbing wall but these two features aren't as prominent as the promenade, and aren't used by as many passengers as the Royal Promenade which is pretty much used by everyone on board.
The Millennium has plenty of workout equipment but the big RCI ships probably have more.
The overall difference is the feel. I feel you would be a bit happier with the RCI ship, many go on Celebrity for the food and service aspects of the line.
Best rooms are always in the middle and low on the ship in terms of not feeling motion. I think one fallacy is that you don't feel motion on big ships. You can and do if the ocean gets rough enough and I haven't found that the big ships with their shallow drafts ride better than the lower, smaller ships, especially older ships with deeper drafts. Most cost effective rooms are inside rooms.
There is no best here, it is what is best for the cruiser's expectations, lifestyle, budget, tastes. For me Millennium is a wonderful value, Explorer is also a wonderful value, but for quite different reasons.
And please, call these large vessels "ships", not boats.
Re: Re: Celebrity Millenium vs. RC Explorer, Voyageur, Navig
For what its worth...since you are looking into value and timing...I've just booked the Millie for departure on February 9th for $480 pp+port charges. As a Captain's club member I get a little upgrade, but not much (10). But at those per diems, who'd care?
I've roomed in the class on this ship before, and at 172 feet square you learn to enjoy the ship a bit if you get my drift. If you can get to Vista, you'd be in great shape.