I posted a galley of photos of the public rooms on the Horizon taken on our cruise the week of 12/14/02. I had a hard time finding current photos before I left and hope that this will be of interest to future cruisers.
The ship is very nice but does not have the "wow" factor of ships such as the Constellation. It is tastefully decorated and very well maintained. The crew is very friendly, and we found the food and service to be very good.
I think that the Horizon could use a dining room upgrade (dining room looks dated and dull) and that the striking showroom lounge needs reupholstering. I also find the Plaza area a bit dated looking, a little to much white/cream. Otherwise, she's pretty wonderful.
I think the Connie is the weakest of the Millie ships. Crude harsh carpets in her foyer, and so-so carpets all around including the strange purple carpets in the stairwells and landings. Her dining room, though similar to her sisters, seemed weaker as well, too red and bright yellow/orange and again carpets not up to snuff. All the public areas seem "tropical" in the color palette and that just doesn't go that well with her furnishings. She lacks "La Normandie" of the Summit and the rich bordeaux burgundies, more sophisticated blues and patterns of the Millie and the Millie also has the crystal chandeliers in her restaurant that her not as expensively furnished sisters lack. I think the going for "wow" with the gold leaved areas makes the Constellation seem to try too hard. I never thought of Celebrity ships for a "wow" factor (leave that to RCI with their Centrums and marble/brass look and Carnival with their loads of stuff look) but more having a sense of chic style and/or richness, a sense of an updated sophisticated look of a traditional liner, and above all *understated* approach to design. I think the Horizon does a better job of this than the Constellation. I like the Horizon as a ship better than the Constellation even with the Connie's advantages.
> I think the Connie is the weakest of the Millie ships.
Wow. I can't wait to sail on her sister ships. After 15 cruises on other lines, I thought the Constellation was the best ship we ever sailed on, including Crystal's Harmony. The colors are vibrant but to us, it worked, while other lines like Carn Evil had colors that looked guady and overbearing.
The Harmony is a better ship than Constellation, at least in the sense of passenger space ratio and the quality of the appointments of the stateroom. The Harmony, a ship designed in the late 1980s and went into service in 1990 can not be compared to the Constellation, a ship designed in the late 90s and going into service in 2002. The level of appointments and material quality have gone up as well as advances in some aspects of design. The new Serenity will be a better guage of Crystal's ship quality vs. Celebrity. A ship like Radisson's Seven Seas Navigator is a luxury ship, fairly close in design when the Millennium was designed, and reveals the quality and appointment diference between a 5 star premium ship like the Millennium and a 5 plus or 6 star luxury ship from Radisson.
The areas on the smaller ships are more crowded. Somehow, that makes them friendlier. When I was on HAL's Veendam one of the most popular spots on the ship was the piano bar. Now, given that it was the performer, the pianist/singer/caberet entertainer that brought the people in it was also the intimacy of the small piano bar area that made the place feel special. We all could see each other, we could all connect with the festivities a lot easier than if the place was twice as large. In this way the small areas promoted this feeling of festivity and enjoyment. While it is nice to have spaciousness in some ways I think the bigger ships with their bigger spaces lose this very important connection with people.
I think the Horizon loses nothing to any of the newer ships in the newly designed areas done in 1998. Her Michael's club is as luxurious and as nice as any of Celebrity's ships, it may be smaller than the Millennium ships, but it is no less luxurious and actually has finer detailing, the ceiling for example. The same is true of her library and card room. In fact, I like her library better than the Millie ships. The furniture is an appropriate size for the room adn there are writing desks. But, what I really like is one can go in this quiet room providing you get there early enough, sit in the luxurious, comfortable wingback seats, and enjoy a view out of the window. There are no ocean views on the Millennium. I'll take library views over those stupid elevator views anyday (I think the library should be where those elevators are)
I'm looking at my tape I made aboard the Zenith and asking myself, and I know a sound like a broken record, just what *is* it that the Millie ships don't have. Here's an example. I looked at the Cova area, what used to be Harry's Tavern. And I saw that the entry way was on the side, curved, with wonderful picture windows and wood posts. Inside there were arches around the murals, there are nicely partitioned booths around the club, the whole room was just a certain size, you never really felt that far away from anybody. It felt like a friendly neighborhood place. You are close to the musicians that play there wherever you sit. And I feel that on the Milie ship and even to some degree on the Century ships, some of the public lounges are a size where you can not feel that connection with everyone, or at least a good amount of people or most people, in the lounge.
Also, the way the furniture is placed in the Rendezvous and the shape of their aft lounges. The Horizon angles the furniture and has distinctively two areas in the lounge. The Millie has only tub seats, and the same type of tub seats, no banquet or bench seats to add variety. It also has wonderful window treatments, wonderful drapes and sconces to warm up the area, and that's lacking in the Rendezvous of the Millie class, both the angling of the furniture as well as anything appoaching warming up the room with interesting window treatments. They also have interesting etchings on their mirrored walls that correspond with other areas of the ship, Millie class does nothing like this. These Rendezvous lounges I'll take any day compared to the Rendevous lounges on the Millie, the only one I like better is the dramatic muraled wall, confetti carpeted, vibrantly colored Rendezvous lounge of the Galaxy. I love louges on ships. That's my thing. Lounges by evening and night, teak deck areas on different levels of the ship, fore and aft, by day, weather permitting. And, I like lounges of a certain size and no larger, and I like a variety of them, here's another area where the Horizon beats the Millie. More lounges on the Horizon.
I also love the inside promenade decks outside of the casino areas, loss on the newer class of ships.
Yes, the Zenith and the Horizon are more modest. They don't have the dining rooms, their dining rooms aren't anything special. They don't have balcony cabins and as many suite categories. They don't have foyers, their pool areas are a bit cramped. They don't have thellasotherapy pools. So, some of the pampering elements aren't there. But, they *do* have an intimacy in their lounges and other public areas and they have their own special style. And, as I said earlier, their refurbished areas are as luxurious as, or even more luxurious than, any of the ships in the fleet. One steps into a different experience aboard the smaller and oldest of the fleet, but by on means old ships in any way, of the fleet. They *do* have some advantages of the fancier, more open new class of ships of the fleet, and also their successors, the Century class.
I guess the one thing that bothers me about people is the embracing of the new and sometimes the dismissal of the previous or older. I think people should look past the new and do a more indepth comparison of the new vs. the older. There are usually advantages and disadvantages to both, though I understand that overall most may find the new to have the most advantages.