When we decided to book an Alaska cruise almost a year ago, it was decided that we should shake things up a bit by looking at lines that we had not yet travelled with. We know what we like so far and thought Celebrity would be a good fit for us. This based on reviews here on CC and by word of mouth of friends who always seems to point out Celebrity as being on par or superior to our previous experiences. Coming back from our first Celebrity cruise I question the comments about it being superior. Not that it wasn't a fine product but it was the little things that just always seem to stick out.
We sailed on the fourth voyage of the Millenium just out of drydock and yet it didn't look as if it had been in for refurbishments. There was a musty smell in our cabin that we originally thought was just the cleaning agents that the staff used. My partner suspected that it might actually be a sewer backup problem which I started to believe may be the case as the cruise went on. It wasn't strong enough to make us change rooms but it was there. Our balcony cabin had some wear and tear. The outside decks had some noticeable rust issues which on other lines I had always seen crews working away on.
Much of the staff had been on board for just two weeks - many told us so. It showed. While they were always pleasant, always smiled and tried their best we noted the holes in the service. Also, our previous experiences showed that much of the cleaning of the ship is a flawless exercise to be done at hours that most passengers do not see the activities. We laughed when we saw the girl with the carpet sweeper and spray bottle cleaning the rug around the martini bar during happy hour. Washing down the decks should not be taking place during late afternoon when most people stroll before dinner. My past experiences had been that such activities take place early morning or overnight when very few people are about. It was stuff like these that seem to keep happening all the time.
I barely saw the cruise director - on just about every other ship I had been on the cruise director is everywhere.
There were positive aspects too. The food in the MDR ranked just as high as the other lines we sailed. We did the specialty restaurant - The Olympic - one evening and I would rank it as one of the better specialty restaurants I have tried. The public spaces were pleasant to the eye - the choice of decor and the use of modern art was done tastefully. The crew truly was international and, despite the newness, mostly everyone wanted to do their best to serve you.
In the end we had a good trip. Would I sail on Celebrity again based on this one trip? Perhaps. While I cannot say I rank Celebrity as one of my favourites at this time I would consider the line again dependent on price and iteniary in the future.