by Al Root
September 8, 2003
The Millennium is a gorgeous ship, superior food, great service, and nice cabins. Everyone was very attentive and genuinely interested in providing the best of service.
Check-in at Barcelona was very easy and straight-forward. Even though there was a Captain's Club check-in line, everyone in that line was fed right into the regular counters like everyone else. In all fairness though, check-in was still fast and efficient.
This itinerary, starting in Barcelona, Spain and ending in Venice, Italy was wonderful but very busy. If one is interested in a relaxed cruise with most of the time spent on board, this isn't the itinerary for you! After a "sea day" upon leaving Barcelona, the next four days were so jam-packed with places to see that everyone was beat. The fifth day was a "sea day" and hardly anyone on board was up and going before 10am. The itinerary included visits to Villefranche, France (Nice and Monte Carlo) Livorno, Italy (Pisa and Florence) Civitaveccia, Italy (Rome), Naples, Italy (Capri and Mt. Vesuvius) Santorini, Greece, Athens, Greece, Dubrovnik, Croatia and Venice, Italy. The cities were beautiful and interesting. The shore excursions arranged by Celebrity were way overpriced and not that good. With just a little adventure involved, all of the ports can be seen much better by doing them on your own. Use the shore excursions booklet provided by Celebrity to decide what you want to see and then talk to the "Shopping Desk" people to find the best way to see it on your own. You'll save hundreds of dollars and have a lot more fun!
Plan on arriving in Barcelona about three days before the cruise to see this extraordinary city. Or, if Barcelona is your disembarkation port, plan to stay for a few days after the cruise. You won't be disappointed! The people are friendly and helpful and the food is very good. Drink some wine and eat some "tapas" for a great time. Prices are generally about the same as in any major U.S. city for meals and hotels.
Venice is a great city for exploring..but start be getting a good map of the city. We found the people to be "ungrateful" for the tourists but at the same time loving the money that the tourists bring. Everything from food, trinkets, and accommodations was much more expensive than you would find in any U.S "tourist" town. An almost "cash only" city, only the more expensive places take credit cards. On the other hand, you'll find a cash machine on almost every corner. We would still recommend spending two or three days enjoying the city. A water taxi from any hotel in about the center of town to the airport will cost about 90 to 100 euros and another 5 euros per suitcase for the porter at the airport.
We are experienced cruisers and enjoyed the Millennium and very much. The dining room staff and the Martini bar servers learned our names after the first day. Even though the ship was fully booked, it never felt crowded and there were never lines to get into the dining room as we've encountered on other ships.
We rate the Millennium at an overall a nine on a scale of ten for this cruise. Even though they "nickel and dime" you to death for a cappuccino and other small items, and they've raised the price of a martini a dollar and made it a little smaller than it was a year ago, it's still a great value and we had a wonderful time!