by Stephen Salkof
December 18, 2005
It's been three days since our return from the cruise and I still can't get over the wonderful time we had on the Millennium. What can I say....everything was just perfect. The food, shows, the Celebrity Dancers/Performers, activities, more food, etc., were enough to satisfy even the most finicky of us for a long time a'comin'!
Let me start with the departure from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The transition from plane to transport to our ship was as smooth as the wind. Upon arrival at the baggage claim area, we were met by several individuals from Celebrity. They, in turn, guided us to a designated spot to await bus transport. We didn't have to wait long. Soon our bags were loaded up and off we went.
I should mention the fact that I entered the needed personnal information online with Celebrity prior to our venture. This saved lots of time upon arrival and didn't have to fill out any forms on site. I highly recommend all to do the same if you have access to the internet. It's very user friendly at Celebrity.com.
I would safely say that from the drop off point to boarding the ship took us under an hour. Not bad considering that the ship was filled to capacity. It was an enjoyable wait and not bothersome at all. Go with the flow I always say. Don't let the horror stories of long lines discourage you in anyway.
Once boarding the ship, and finding our room (9134 on the 9th level, sky deck) we were amazed at the cleanliness and spit-shine perfect the room was in. Everything was neatly arranged and fresh. This was around 2:00 PM or so. Our departure was scheduled for 4:30 PM. We left port on time without delay. The only draw back was that we didn't receive one of our luggage until 8:00 PM that evening. I thought it was lost for sure, but after dinner it finally arrived. This was all due to the shipping tag missing. It must have gotten torn upon loading. I also made the mistake of not adding our room number on the tag, so I cannot blame anyone but myself. I'll know better next time. Please remember to fill out the tags completely to avoid this issue.
I must also mention our stateroom attendant, Lourdes. She is the greatest! She helped locate our "lost" luggage and made sure our room was neat as a pin everyday. If you happen to have her as your stateroom attendant as well, be sure to tell her "Steve" said "Ca mousta ca", which is a greeting in her native language (Tagalog). A wonderful human being indeed.
Our room was aft directly opposite the elevators. This was ok with us and not a bother at all. The noise level was at a minimum and didn't interfer with the quietness of the room. Again, don't worry about the stories of rooms being too close to the elevators. I don't know about the other cruise lines, but it's not an issue with the Millennium.
We brought along some seasickness meds, but didn't need them at all. We were told that being aft we would feel the motion of the ship more. This was not true at all. The ship's journey was very smooth and didn't encounter any rough waters. Lucky for us.
The food choices onboard were abundant. You had your pick of buffet style, Sushi, Pizza, healthly dishes, fruits, veggies, breads, deserts...you name it. Fresh coffee and juices were available 24 hrs a day. The only "negative" was that you had to pay an extra set fee (30.00 I think) per person in order to drink sodas for the duration of your trip.
We didn't choose this option and were glad of it.
The Millennium Restaurant was supberb! We also had a special dinner (extra charge, of course) at the Olympic. Both were very pleasing to the palate. Our waiter, Singh, made our experience even greater. He catered to our every needs and made sure our dishes were ordered to perfection. Don't be shy in turning anything you do not care for away. Think nothing of it. A new dish will always be readily available.
Our first day at sea allowed us the time to check out all levels at our leisure. Beleive me, there is plenty to do to keep you busy. Lot's of activities for young and old alike. The exercise room had plenty of workout machines and was never overcrowded. There is also a very knowledgable Yoga instructor onboard to offer lessons. Although we didn't try out the Spa, we heard some great comments by those that did.
We made stops at Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic, San Juan, PR, and Nassau, Bahamas. We did try some of the shore excursions (Eco Tour, Horseback riding through the Rain Forest, and the Rainbow Reef Snorkling). The next time we'll just do things on our own. I found that the excursions were too short and were rushed through too fast. They are somewhat costly as well. Think twice before doing the same. You would probably be better off venturing off on your own and spending the same money on goodies, if you so desire. Oh, and one thing...BE ON TIME for departure! If they say be onboard at a certain time and depart at a certain time, you can be sure that the ship will leave right on time!!
Take some time to browse through the various gift shops onboard as well. There will be several sales specials on selected merchandise from day to day, especially on the last sailing date. These prices are comparable with market values. You won't be disappointed. They had some really nice amber jewelry for sale, too.
Be sure to have a bite to eat by poolside (11th level). Good wholesome delights. Afterwards, take a nice relaxing dip in one of several whirlpools available (hot tubs, if you like to title them). If you like a nice secluded spot in which to do some early morning exercise (T'ai Chi for example) go to the 11th floor, out doors to the jogging track, then up again one more level. Up front you will have a large area that is wind protected by a barrier. I was able to do the T'ai Chi there every morning around 7:00 AM without any disturbances.
Well, I could go on and on, but I think this is enough for now. All in all, a very wonderful, enjoyable trip. The Millennium is tops in my book and we intend on sailing with Celebrity again in the not too distant future. Have a great day all!!