November 24, 2006
The Memorable Celebrity Staff:
We just returned from the western transatlantic on Celebrity's Millennium ship from Barcelona, Spain to Fort Lauderdale, Fl on Sunday December 10th.
We have done several TA cruises on the Millie and this was just as good as the others. You would think it would be boring to see the same ports all the time but we enjoy getting away and the sea days are very relaxing.
The Millie had a problem with its pod and needed extra time to get to FLL so Celebrity decided to skip Naples to give some extra time if winds and sea conditions necessitated it. We did arrive on time on 12/10 but U.S. Customs did a thorough job of insuring the ship was fit for embarkation. When a ship is away for 7 months the Feds do more checking I was told.
Barcelona: We took a flight to JFK from Orlando and a non-stop flight from JFK to Barcelona on Thanksgiving Day and we arrived in Barcelona at 7:30 am (an hour early) on the day of departure. We were tired and even though I paid for transfers I didn't want to take a 2 hour tour of Barcelona since the ship would not be ready for boarding for 4 or 5 hours. I gave Celebrity our luggage and took a cab to the port (36 euros with tip). It took about 34 minutes to get to the pier from the BCN airport; we arrived at 8:45 am. Since the ship was in Barcelona overnight by the time we arrived most passengers had debarked.
Upon boarding I was reunited with many of the same personnel that we met on previous sailings, Hotel Director, Mr. Renato Chizzola, Captain Karatzas, Chaydee and Delia.
As I said in the past, Celebrity staffers make everyone feel special with hello's and smiles.
We were up for 30+ hours and really wanted to get some rest once we boarded so we took a schnooz for a few hours. It revived us and kept us going till our normal midnight bedtime.
On day 2 we docked in Nice but we didn't get off the ship. It was hard to get up before 1 pm and we decided to stay aboard. The weather was not that nice, raining and cool, so we spent the day in our cabin just chilling out and relaxing.
On Day 3 we arrived in Florence, Italy and met our tour guide, Driver in Rome and 8 of had a great 9 hour tour. Remo did not come but his driver/guide was very good and we had a great tour. There was a marathon that day in Florence and many of the streets were closed so we had to be creative. Lunch was ala carte and Susan and I had pizza and salad. It was good but not great. We got back to the ship in plenty of time.
On Day 4 we arrived in Rome and met the owner Remo for a great tour. Remo was on time and was his usual funny self. He showed us all the sites and took us to his favoirite restaurant for a 5 course lunch. We had lots of wine and had a fabulous time. Remo played his accordion and sang during lunch. It was a fast fun 9 hours in Rome. For each 9 hour tour we paid him (8 people) 72 euros each which is a great deal compared to the cruise ship rates for the same tour.
For the remaining ports, Corsica, Malaga and Tenerife we did our own thing touring the cities.
The Cruise Director, Nick Weir was outstanding and was very visible on the ship. I ran into him frequently and he always engaged me in great conversation. Nick is Simon Weir's older brother and does a 6 week stint on Celebrity every year. Nick is a game show host in the UK and does some Television work in Las Vegas where he lives with his wife. Nick is a class act and great to hang with. The entertainment on the ship was outstanding, Helen Jayne, Mario Andrea and Nick Weir who did a great one man show. Also, the dinner quartet from Poland was outstanding. A new jazz group joined the ship in Malaga and although young, were very talented and did an amazing job. The singer Janelle Monet has a sweet soft voice and can really do justice to any song.
We dined in the Olympic Specialty Restaurant three times and were never disappointed. On night one I had Steak Diane and my wife the lobster/shrimp dish. On night 2 I had the rack of lamb and Susan had the same as before and on night three I had the tenderloin (no spices) with a big baked potato and Susan had the Dover Sole. All the meals in the Olympic were memorable and excellent.
The stateroom was in great shape, the furniture seemed to be reupholstered and the housekeeping staff did a good job of dusting and maintaining the status-quo.
Smells: On day 14, I was on my balcony at around 3:30 pm and was almost asphyxiated with that sewer odor and I called to find out what was going on. It was a sea day and they are allowed to dispel gray treated water which explained the foul smell. The odor was not inside the ship thankfully but it was not pleasant being on the balcony for a few hours.
I would rate this transatlantic a 10. It was nice to see the Millie again after a year. We met some great CC posters and spent a lot of time with them. It is always nice to know a few guests on board and this medium provides us the means to pre-met passengers.
The one big negative is that the ship ran out of Johnny Walker Blue in Europe and couldn't buy any so we were disappointed!!! Had to do without Mr. Blue.
This go around I am putting up some cruise staff pictures so anyone who has cruised X may get to see a face from the past of some staff member they were fond of.
My photo Link: