Embarkation in San Diego was flawless. The cruise terminal is within sight of the airport, and a Rite-Aid drug store for last minute Cokes and forgotten toiletries is just a short walk away.
The ship itself is nice. It never felt crowded- much different than the feel of Carnival's Magic (for example). Food service was fine, with the quality and delivery of food in the dining certainly above average. The stateroom we had was in an excellent location- mid ship on the lowest level. Cabin service was excellent. Both the head and assistant cabin attendants were hard working and friendly. The view was very good, looking out directly on the waves. Seas were at most moderate, so there was almost no movement in our cabin. There were no annoying mechanical noises to interrupt our sleep. However, the room was small, making us believe the largest rooms for the money are on Carnival. We initially had no air conditioning, but the staff had that repaired in short More
On-ship entertainment was average, with an above-average cruise director competently directing events. Celebrity does have a couple of unique offerings in its entertainment line-up. There was a string trio- performing both in the lounge and a classical performance in the theater. A concert pianist performed a couple of times in the theater. These were unlikely performers for the venue, but well-received by the large audiences attending.
The first two destinations, Cabo and Puerto Villarta, are both fairly uninteresting places. Guatemala is overwhelmed by poverty. Costa Rica was nice, with a variety of shore trip options. Panama did not disappoint as the main destination. A casual daytime crossing through the canal was well documented through a guide over the PA system. The next day in Colon gives everyone a chance to see anything in the canal zone that they missed viewing from the ship. The final stop in Columbia was just OK. All the destinations except Panama prompt an uneasy feel- but as long as you stay in close contact with your guide, it seemed safe enough. The guides at all stops are working very hard to see everyone is treated to a pleasant experience. And guided excursions are available at all stops on the dock for much less that the ship charges.
Again, we never had the feeling of being crowded on this ship. It may not have been full. Buffet seating was generally available, even at the popular lunch hour.
Now- the bad news. Internet access was barely working. We bought a package to reduce the extortionate $.75/min price to a barely palatable $.60/min. Service was intermittent and unreliable at best. It typically took 8 minutes log in and read (yes, just read- no replies) 4 or so emails. Luckily, we found reliable and fast Internet service on-shore at all ports, close to the ship and reasonably priced at about $1.00/HOUR. Internet access may be a cash cow to Celebrity, but it is simply terrible. We complained at the end of the trip, and to their credit, a nice young man at the Customer Relations desk refunded our entire payment charge without question. He offered that the Internet service for that cruise had been highly unreliable, so others had certainly complained before us. Less
Celebrity Millennium Cruises to the Panama Canal & Central America
Second deck- lowest deck for paying customers. Mid-ship. Quiet cabin with no irritating mechanical noises emanating from machinery they don't tell you about when you book the room. Very little cabin motion. Good view out of generous window.
Here, you get off the ship, and at the end of the cruise dock, get presented with the same tour from everyone. You join a group of about 20, and with a guide, get on a bus for a city tour. Everyone gets the same tour. The price is the same for everyone- $20. Same tour on the ship is $60. Our guide was great- well spoken English, and funny.
Found a guide off-ship. He drove us all around for $100. Took us over to Panama City. We stopped at the new observation site for the new widened locks being built on the Atlantic side. Very impressive. As usual, the guide was hard working and honest.
Costa Rica has a rich variety of interesting things to see. Book a tour off-ship. Everyone has their hand out for tips. Ask about entrance fees before you start your tour. We had a great lunch at a seaside restaurant with our guide and driver.