Celebrity Cruise Lines - Cruisemates Reader's Cruise Reviews
Celebrity Cruises

Millennium
by Dick Pittenger
April 29, 2002
Western Caribbean

I'm writing this letter to express both praise and complaints about our second cruise with Celebrity Cruise Lines, but first aboard the Millennium.

THE EMBARKATION:
All looked quite organized at first glance; however, as
new members of the Captain's Club, we became irritated
right from the start. We entered the waiting area and took seats near the door marked "Captain's Club and Suites". After about thirty minutes, the doors opened and we joined a line of about twenty five people. As we approached the door, the agent told us there were too many people and we'd have to join the regular line, which was now quite lengthy...so much for the Club's benefits. The check in process went quite smoothly after that and we boarded about 40 minutes later.

THE SHIP:
Was quite beautiful, seemed well laid out and handled the full compliment of passengers, around 2,000, quite smoothly. My only complaint would be the public restrooms. They were in need of some obvious repairs, doors' locks inoperative, lights burned out and in constant need of cleaning. Very surprised on a ship only 18 months old.

OUR STATEROOM:
We had two adjoining balcony rooms, #9073 and 75. The
large sliding door was a nice plus and the room quite comfortable. We were impressed with the speed our room steward and assistant were able to get in and out in the morning after leaving the rooms very neat and clean. My only complaint here would be that we had asked on the first day, that we have ice delivered every afternoon around 5pm, but only received it once or twice in eleven days. We had to call every evening and were only able to get through about half the time. As tacky as it may seem, if the passengers had access to a machine as you do in a hotel, it would cause a lot fewer problems in the long run.

DINING:
We only saw our Maitre' D the first evening. When we traveled on the Century in '97, we were visited by him almost every night, very impressed with that. We weren't impressed with our waiter, Garrie, at all. He spent very little time with us, difficult to understand, made no eye contact with the table and spoke so fast explaining anything on the menu that we had to ask him to repeat himself. When my wife asked to have just an appetizer versus a main course one evening, he said it couldn't be done. After that, we didn't bother making any special requests. We were at a table for ten, and all of us felt dissatisfied with his service. As a result, six of us only ate a total of seven meals at his table. We did however, greatly enjoy the Olympic Room. We dined there twice and felt it was well worth the extra expense. The other alternative eating areas were also a pleasure. The food was good and the crew kept up with the cleaning of dirty tables for others to dine. The pizza stand was quite good and the hamburger/hotdog area was a hit with anyone we talked to...couldn't beat their french fries anywhere in the world.

ENTERTAINMENT:
The Cruise Director, Jim Cannon, was excellent. I can only guess that he's well compensated for the job he does, as he could easily be entertaining elsewhere with great success. He was knowledgeable in many areas, including cameras, computers and dancing class instruction. He had a great voice and was always enthusiastic in his presentations. The pianist and comedian in the Celebrity Theater were great; however, there should definitely, be some thought given to other decent entertainers for a voyage of a week or more. Howard and Rose in the lounge, as well as The Vibz at the pool were terrific. The movies shown in the theater, other than Pearl Harbor, were quite second/third rate. I believe there were only three different titles spread out over eleven days. SPECIALTY ROOMS: The computer room was laid out nicely with plenty of machines to go around; however, I'm sure the fifty cent per minute charge kept the crowds down. There were a number of classes given by a very knowledgeable staff member. The library needs some looking into. It seemed as though the hours of operation were very poor. I'm not sure why there is a need for a crew member to be present to have it open, as the selection of books is quite limited. When we traveled on the Century, the doors were open at least during the day and early evening without a staff member present. It just makes a nice quiet area to read even if you bring your own book(s).

FINAL THOUGHTS:
The Good-
The ship was laid out extremely well, easy to get around and very well decorated. There didn't seem to be any problems with waiting in any lines, things flowed quite nicely. The Olympic Room was a major success. The Bad- Our server in the Main Dining Room was the biggest drawback. Fortunately, we had nice dining experiences in other parts of the ship. Never approached by the Maitre' D and asked about the service at our table. Generally felt that the attitude of the crew was much different from our experience in '97 aboard the Century. We are thinking that possibly since the merger of Royal Caribbean that year, the training has gone more towards RCC's standards. We've been on two of theirs and that was our complaint with them, very insincere. The Ugly- The Captain's Club advantages were a rip-off. The point of early boarding and disembarkation was a major misrepresentation. The disembarkation needs some organizing. The color coded bag tags works well until you find that nobody pays attention at the gangway. If you at least had to show your claim checks, I believe it would cut into the large number of people that leave at first call, yet not belonging to that group. Then once you arrive at the baggage claim area, the aisle for walking was down the center, but the bags were grouped by color on both sides of the traffic. If they were grouped either one side or the other, it would have made finding your luggage without crossing back and forth "through traffic". After retrieving your bags and kin, street side was a mess. Those who tried to be civil while finding a cab, ended up getting run over by others who were stopping them in the middle of the street. I strongly suggest that there be a line set up with ropes on the sidewalk and a representative taking people in order to access a cab. Things were getting stressful for everyone.