We last sailed with Celebrity in 1999, I thought it was time to pay a bit more for a cruise and try them again. Was I happy I did that. We sailed the Millenium on its last Alaska cruise of the season.
We departed from Vancouver, check in was very fast and easy and our rooms were ready at 1pm...bonus in my eyes. What was great about this port is that you could drop off your luggage but go and explore around Canada Place and Coal Harbour before checking in...which is what we did.
We were upgraded to Concierge Class - ok - I don't know that the cabin was bigger but nice bathrobes, clean sheets and little snacks along with champagne and a complimentary bottle of wine was fine by me.
It was gorgeous and sunny the day we left, I went for a swim in the pool - talk about cold...but I digress, we were greeted on board with a glass of champagne and headed to the Oceanview Cafe for lunch. Nothing big for us - turkey sandwich for me, pizza for DH.
Our room was nice and our room steward - Sam greeted us straight away. DH set up his laptop so he could play his computer game (argh sigh), I went off to explore the ship and in particular the gym. I have lost a lot of weight and wanted to maintain my fitness schedule. Very impressed with the gym and I immediately signed up for 4 sessions of the boot camp - I did plan to run outside on the track but to be honest glad I didn't given some of the weather that happened. I didn't do any spa treatments - although maybe a massage would have been good after those boot camp sessions.
To me the service was excellent, we had late dining and our waiter Ben and his assistant Robert were excellent. The Maitre'D - Razar came by every night not just the first and last like some other cruise lines to see how we were doing. Our travel agent booked us at a table for 2 - at first I thought I would miss the camaraderie of a large table but in the end it was nice to dine just with DH - we lead busy lives and don't often have a chance to have a good chat. May our sommelier was excellent, the bar server was a little late but Ben or May always ensured he came by if we needed him. We also ate at QSine one evening - wonderful experience but the portion sizes were huge! We felt like stuff hogs after that dinner.
53 people signed up the cruise connections party but only 23 showed up. The time was early - 10:15 which conflicted with my boot camp - so I was late. Not sure if the early time or the fact that if you didn't look carefully, the location - Michaels looked dark and empty. Too bad as many of the key officers including the captain came. Oh well, I enjoyed it and meeting my fellow cruise critic posters.
I really do encourage cruise critic posters to attend these gatherings if you sign up...it is a great opportunity to have a semi-private session with some of the key players on the ship.
I attended a few wine events which I enjoyed, we both attended two of the shows which were entertaining, nothing fancy but good enough. We enjoyed relaxing in the lounges and listening to the musical acts playing there.
Ports were interesting - again Alaska is fantastic. We did our own thing and saved money and had some wonderful experiences as a results. The weather was rainy but we didn't let that stop us.
Juneau: We used Harv & Marv for a whale watching expedition. Excellent, saw whale tails, sea lion colony. Captain Russell was great. Ironically, while relaxing in Celebrity's sauna a few days later, I saw a whale breaching 3 times! No camera of course
Skagway: Using Chilkoot Tours, we booked a full day train ride and tour up to the Yukon. It was worth every penny. Our guide James was very entertaining. I don't think the ship's excursions went as far as the Yukon. It was nice to have someone else take care of the details. Emerald Lake was amazing.
Ketchikan: We had booked a flightseeing tour to Traitors Cove with Island Wings, but with the fog it was cancelled. So making lemonade out of lemons, we booked this trolley ride for the grand sum of $25 each. Marco took a bunch of soggy cruisers to a local beach where we saw sea lions, to a salmon run and we saw a black bear getting his dinner. Not bad. Entertaining too. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
All in all a great cruise and we will definitely use Celebrity again.