This was our 3rd Celebrity Cruise but the first one on a Millennium class ship. We had 3 nights in Vancouver prior to the cruise which we enjoyed very much - a truly lovely city.
Embarkation was a disaster. There were 3 ships at Canada place so it was never going to be easy but the distinct lack of organisation and notable absence of Celebrity staff caused chaos. Thankfully we were early and had priority boarding which helped a little, from what we gather it got a lot worse.
Once on board we were wowed by the lovely Millennium. She was spotlessly clean and we thought it was a very good layout. She has everything that the Solstice class have - just a thousand less passengers. We had a window on deck 3, a bit of a trial for us to see whether we would actually miss having a balcony - and yes we did!!! The cabin was kept pristine by Vazio who was really good.
The staff on board were all so friendly and efficient - especially the bar staff in all the lounges. They all remembered our drinks straight away and every time we turned our backs they had lined them up again for us!! The Martini bar is a lovely lively place to have a drink - we spent far too much time there and consumed far too much Gin....
We had chosen select dining and it worked really well for us, we booked a table for 2 on the first night and when we left booked another table for 2 the next night. Gabriella on the door was amazing, so friendly and amazingly efficient. Despite her frantic job she remembered our room number and that we wanted to stick with Wayne (another really friendly efficient member of the crew) and got us a table for 2 every night - although some nights it was a table for 6 just laid up for 2.
The only problem we had in the dining room was getting wine. There were only 2 sommeliers for the whole upstairs and it simply wasn't enough. They were stretched far too thinly and Celebrity need to address this. It was a common complaint from many people we spoke to. One night the sommelier walked past and picked up my empty glass and just walked off. Didn't ask if I wanted another one - which I did desperately!! We have found this is not unique to the Millennium or the main dining room, we had the same complaint on Equinox in Blu.
We enjoyed both stops on Vancouver Island,Nanaimo was pretty enough but the locals made us feel so welcome and laid on free buses. Victoria was so pretty and just a nice place to be. The area around Fishermans wharf was so nice with the houseboats and seals. We were very lucky with the weather, it was sunny and warm everyday except the sea day before San Francisco when we hit a fog bank.
Sailing into San Francisco under the Golden Gate Bridge was a great experience - up on deck with new friends in the morning sunshine - this is why we cruise.
Unfortunately it all went a bit wrong with US Immigration. Now we all know that this process is never going to be fast or fun, especially for non US citizens but Celebrity got this one horribly wrong. We queued in a corridor on deck 3 for 2 HOURS which really is unacceptable. Again a distinct lack of staff to advise what was going on and no announcements.
The rest of the cruise went (far too quickly) without a hitch, we enjoyed evenings in both the Rendezvous lounge (listening to Take Note who were really good) and Cosmos being far too well looked after by the bar tenders!!
Cafe al Bacio was a lovely space and again, the staff were friendly & efficient, we thought this area felt bigger & nicer than on Solstice class, the lifts were a bit more discreet and there seemed to be more tables and less people sitting without actually ordering coffee. The only problem was that we never saw the string trio as they played at the same time at the same place everyday.
I think that the musicians should have been rotated around the different venues at different times so we had a bit more variety - just a thought.
I liked the Oceanview, it didn't quite have the full range they do on Solstice but it was nicely laid out and it was never that busy that we couldn't get a table, for the first time most days we could go and get our food together without having to go in shifts to save the table.
Overall we loved this cruise, the ports were all close to the ship, no need for buses and excursions, the weather was lovely, and we loved the ship. One thing I noticed was that there were never any dirty cups or plates around the deck, it was always clean and tidy and empty beds with towels were cleared, we never struggled to get a sun bed as there was just so much deck space. I do think they could have used a bit more imagination with the new area created above the Aqua cabins, it is just a big empty square. Perhaps a Solstice deck with nice seats??
Would I cruise with Celebrity again - try stopping me!! Since returning I have barely been off their site trying to see where I can go on a Millennium class ship - although I don't really care where it goes as long as it has a martini bar....