This was our first trip on the Millie, and also our first repo. We had sailed before on the Century, which had immediately felt like an old friend, as well as Century's sister ship, Mercury, now renamed and sailing in Europe. Millie is a larger ship, and was looking very spruced up thanks to its recent dry dock upgrades.
We took the train to San Diego and stayed the night before at the Courtyard San Diego Downtown. It was a very nice hotel, but being a Saturday night, we were woken up by drunk guests walking to their rooms at 11 pm and then again at 1 am yelling in the hallway. That is the nature of hotels in general, I am afraid. It was a hike up the hill from the train station and then down again to the pier the next day, but we plan to stay there again next year before going on another cruise planned on our beloved Century. The hotel was close to Horton Plaza and many shops and restaurants. We had lunch at Old Spaghetti Factory, which DD and DS didn't care for, but which DH and myself enjoyed. We had snacks at Baja Fresh which is on Broadway just up the hill from the port. We have been to San Diego before, so we just went to Sea Port Village. We recommend the USS Midway for those who have not yet visited that great piece of history, and also Balboa Park.
Getting on the ship was easy. There were lines, but things moved along quickly. Our cabin was ready, so we dropped off our luggage (we carry all ours on ourselves), and went to the buffet which was not too crowded and which is similar to the set up on Century and Mercury. At dinner, we were assigned to a large table of 12. We had never been asked what our table preference was when booking, but last time we sailed together on the Mercury we had a table for four, so I didn't think to ask Captain's Club about it. Families traveling together who want their own table should inquire beforehand.
Both DD and myself are vegetarians, so finding an entree at dinner is a challenge. There was a vegetarian selection offered each night, however, all of them were spicy, so I skipped the entree each night, whereas DD asked for Fettuccine Alfredo one night and received spaghetti with Alfredo sauce instead. The same thing happened to me years ago on the Oceanic- must be the go-to choice for chefs. To his credit, our waiter did ask if there was anything else they could get me- that was nice, but I didn't take him up on the offer. I did order an extra salad or fruit soup sometimes instead, but he didn't bring it. I guess you are only allowed one choice from each category on the menu. He also forgot to bring DS' fruit soup one night which he loves, so that bummed him out. I think our wait staff had too many people to serve- others had mentioned this in earlier reviews. It is too bad really, the staff has no time to speak with you individually and share stories/experiences, or get to know your food preferences as they did in the past. Also, the tips are now charged to your account each day, and there are no longer any vouchers issued as in the past which you had passed out to the crew on your last night. It does seem that the crew knows what they will be earning in advance, so there is little effort to go the extra mile.
We had an interior cabin near the library. We really liked our cabin. The location was perfect. The only issues I had with the cabin was the rust on the tile in the bathroom which needs to be replaced during the next dry dock, and also the toilet seats needed to be replaced during dry dock and weren't. That would have been a simple upgrade. When the ship was moving at a fast pace, there was a creaking noise from the ceiling above the beds, but when the ship was going from Victoria to Vancouver at a much slower pace, the noise stopped. Anyway, I managed to sleep through it.
I enjoyed the Persian Garden offered for $79 for the five night cruise, however, on the last night it closed an hour early for "deep cleaning". I was the only one in there and DH told me that if several others had been using it, they probably would have closed it down station by station instead of just telling me they were closing. That was a bummer. The ladies' changing/shower room nearby was also closed, so you had to walk back to your cabin wet and feeling dirty. They also didn't tell you that a 15% tip is added to the bill- you find that out when you get your final statement on the last night. If you have a day spa near your home, you can probably skip the Persian Garden, but for those of you who enjoy the spa experience, it would probably be money well spent.
A must-do experience on the cruise was the Bistro on Five. John was our waiter both times we dined there on port days when we were too late for the MDR. Even though he wrote down our order, he kept forgetting to bring some of the dishes, however, he was very attentive so we simply ordered some dishes for the second time when he came around again. No one left hungry, in fact, poor DH ate so much on the first visit that he left uncomfortably full and remembered to order fewer dishes on our second visit. The brownies are served in whipped cream- very good. The best dish is the Italian Crepe made with bananas and Nutella. Also recommended are the Cowboy and Spanish Crepes. The chef came out to visit and she was very pleased to hear from DD that her crepes were better than the ones DD had in France. Bistro on Five is well worth the $5pp charge- best deal on the ship.
Regarding the ports, for San Fran we booked a tour on Alcatraz directly with the National Park Service. Wonderful tour, everyone should experience this interesting piece of American history. After that we walked around Pier 39. We had walked up to Coit Tower in the morning to try to see the wild parrots, but they weren't around.
In Victoria, we just walked around since there wasn't very much time to spend in port that day, and DH and myself had just been there two years ago. We recommend the castle for those of you who enjoy old historic homes, tea at the Empress for fans of high tea, and Butchart Gardens if you love flowers.
We arrived in Vancouver on time, and had an easy exit off the ship. We spent the day in Vancouver and then took the afternoon train to Seattle. On the way, I saw my first Bald Eagle from my window seat. Lovely train ride along the ocean. We spent two nights in Seattle at the Courtyard Pioneer Square before flying home. We had a very nice room in a corner with a nice view of the city, this time without any noise in the hallway. We would stay there again. We recommend the Music Experience for music fans, Smith Tower, the Underground Tour, the Space Needle, and taking the monorail. The people taking the Duck Tour also sounded like they were having a lot of fun as they drove by.
Overall, we had a perfectly nice vacation on the Millie. I never felt at home on the Millie as I had with the Century, but that is a typical experience with me. Sometimes I just never feel that I have seen the whole ship. The upgrades done in dry dock made the ship very pretty, but I hope they finish fixing all of the little things- especially the clocks which mysteriously all seemed to tell a different time. The buffet lunch in the dining room presented one day was very nice- almost as good as the midnight buffets of long ago. The Baked Alaska in the MDR was also a nice surprise. The buffet had the same food every day, but there was always something to eat. The pizza was better than what you generally find in the buffet or pool side. We only saw the first two shows, but we enjoyed them, as well as the backstage tour of the theater done for Select members.
We have sailed three times now with Celebrity and will continue to do so. Celebrity represents a good value, and even when things aren't perfect- you can still have a perfectly good time.