February 9, 2003
Still at the top. We took our eigth cruise and third with Celebrity on the Millenium. I must admit that we have become Celebrity fans. We are mid- fifties and have cruised with Princess (liked it), Norwegian (ok), Carnival (would never do again).
We were not excited about going on a Mega-ship (2000 passengers reported), having done the relatively small Horizon last year. However the design of the Millenium was such that you always had a sense that there was small quiet intimate spot that you could go to be alone and somewhere else to be in the thick of the crowds. And because the public spaces were all flowing one into the other, you actually got to see the same people several times. That allows for a feeling of community and opportunities to make new friends.
The ship is quite beautiful and I think well kept up. The food on Celebrity is still excellent, though I agree the dinners are the high point. We never ate lunch in the dining room, so I can't evaluate that, but the AquaSpa deli and the poolside grill were both good, if at the opposite ends of the spectrum health-wise (Salads & lowfat entrees vs burgers and pizzas) The Grill not only had great fries , but also Veggie burgers for those inclined. The sherbert by the pool was a nice touch. Celebrity does not try to overwhelm you with quantities of food, but virtually everything we had was at least "good" and much was "excellent"
The service was also excellent. Not only did we have waitstaff in the dining room that knew how to take care of us, but throughout the ship the crew was eager to please. Notably, Carlos, a bartender at the Poolside bar, remembers the names of his customers and their drinks - even those of us who are not heavy drinkers.
The cabin was comfortable. We booked last minute a took an inside cabin because the price was great and it allows us to sleep late or nap as we wish. Those we talked with who had verandas seemed to be pleased also.
Celebrity is more sophisticated and formal(some might argue stuffy, though not I) than most other lines. There are two formal nights in the week and there were alot of tuxes both nights. It is the kind of line for people who want to enjoy elegance and graciousness without dropping the money that Crystal or Seabourn would require.
The Celebrity passenger make-up is not as diverse as on Norwegian or Princess which, as an African American, I found unfortunate. However, in the Dominican Republic a sizeable group of Dominican locals joined the cruise.
My other complaint is about Michael's Club. It is a much touted and formally much enjoyed Cigar Bar, with big plush leather chairs and wood paneled walls. Celebrity has decided a cigar bar is not a money-maker and is changing Michael's Clubs into Piano Bar (NO CIGARS!!). They started with the Millenium, but the change I gather is going to be Celebrity-wide. There were several of us that were ticked off to suddenly be relegated to aft deck areas as our "designated cigar place." It is not a big thing, but the Club was a great spot to enjoy a cognac, a game of backgammon, and a Cuban before returning to the USA! Oh well.