Where do I start? This was supposed to be the best holiday us a family where ever going to have!My financial situation won't allow me to save that money again my eldest daughter said she would never do that trip again.Schools will only allow term holidays now or your fined.And the most important point, my Husband is disabled and has a degenerative spine condition he will never be able to travel that distance ever again!!
This was a surprise holiday for my Husbands 50th Birthday to his ultimate destination Hawaii.My father in-law was a merchant seaman and had recently passed away,my husband sat with his dying father and he reminisced about the time he spent at sea in Hawaii and how his Son should visit this beautiful part of the World.So know I knew what to do for his 50th.
It took me a year to save for this trip it was a surprise, I couldn't get any financial help from Hubby he didn't Know! Firstly we travelled from Liverpool 4hrs drive to London Heathrow.Then 11&1/2hrs flight to San Diego.In San Diego Airport was our first queue 1&1/2 hrs in a small room, packed with people to get through customs and then our First US Customs Form.We got outside to pandemonium trying to find our hotel transfer so we could use our Celebrity's Transfer Voucher USELESS!Nobody wanted to take it,instead we used the Sheraton's bus transfer.
The Sheraton was our Pre cruise hotel which was lovely,room,Staff,food (of which we paid for.)Stayed overnight.We were being picked up 12pm in the Afternoon.Got on the coach our understanding was we were visiting San Diego's Street Pier B then going straight on to Ensenada where we would board the Celebrity Millennium's 5* ship Pfft!Anyway back to horror that was Street Pier B.The coach literally drove round the corner (could have walked). As we pulled in, the Millennium was in Dock.We immediately thought we were boarding here.Some passengers Said no that can't happen,others said we must be,because it would take way too long for the ship to get to Ensenada. It only took 2-3hrs depending on the Border by coach, so we would be there before the ship!This confusion carried on for the next 4&1/2hrs most of this was spent in another QUEUE, FILLING IN MORE FORMS (so that's 4 forms x four people=16 forms to fill in whilst queueing with nothing to lean on) WITH CHILDREN, WITH NOTHING TO EAT OR DRINK!at the end of the queue we got seapass cards and a piece of paper with the No 49 on it.When I enquired what was it for? The lady said look on the clip board for your number.I informed her the numbers stopped at 46, which stated the time 6:30pm. She then informed me we would be there long after 6:30 then!There where very uncomfortable metal seats in this room toilets where a mess, some not working,no food or drink left that celebrity had put on.This was Horrific and I had paid for this!Finally the coaches started boarding about 4:30pm so that's 12:15-4:30!!!!Got on the Coach set off thank god,well so you would have thought.
The coach had no Toilet or A/C and we were on it for 5hrs stuck between approx 50 coaches at the Border no sorry, this bit was the Horrific part.We finally arrived at Ensenada and other people must have suffered the same toiletry denial, because I am not exaggerating the toilets in this port had excrement on the floor where I think some of the older passengers had not been able to hold on any longer. Sorry, this bit was the most Horrific Part.
Then we crawled to the ship,to be greeted by staff who wanted us to have 'Welcome aboard Photos, Please! You should have seen the state of us. Other staff trying to force their restaurant vouchers or spa deals.I couldn't believe they where doing this, they must have known what we had just been through!
There where four of us in our party 3adults 1child, I booked a Family Deluxe Stateroom with Veranda, sound big enough for 4?It did to me.I have seen bigger bathrooms!We couldn't all unpack there just was not the room.It was tiny could not swing a cat!The trundle bed my daughter had to sleep on was broken we reported it,it never got changed.I asked for a larger room but was denied they said nothing was available. I didn't believe that I think they thought I wanted it free!I would have gladly used my spends so we could have been comfortable.We were met with no empathy at all!
We were as sick as dogs for 2 days I was told you couldn't feel the ship moving, rubbish! when we did get on deck my son wanted to get in the pool every person in the pool glared at us as we got in shaking their heads one person then pointed at the pool sign, at the 'No Children' part.We made a hasty retreat before they drowned us and went to the other pools. Every single one had 'No Children' On the signs.Some people had a real moan about children being on the ship and they shouldn't be in the pool.I tried to think of a clever comeback,only SHUT IT,came out!Oops.I was concerned about insurance if something had happened in the pool would we not have been covered because it says no children? But nobody tells you this when booking.
The food I thought was very bland and repetitive, staff couldn't be bothered.We where told by other passengers if you made complaints about specifics the staff would lose their jobs so I did not want my husband who was now at teeth baring frothing mouth ,angry looking pitbull dog stage, to go and complain.I had to constantly calm him down.Stress-less travelling not on your Nelly.
Entertainment, One word actually there`s three OUT OF TUNE!In the Theatre singers out of breath dancers falling over had to leave before we where thrown out for laughing!
Then after 5days at sea we had arrived at port in Hawaii yay.Got a letter in the room to tell us to meet at Deck 6 at 7:30am guess what, another queue with more forms!We queued and slowly made our way up to deck 11 where 1 US border official was trying to process 2000 passengers unreal!We had an Excursion to get to at 9am, more Stress! Eventually 4 more US officials arrived, nobody could get off until it was done.
The Excursion I just mentioned was purchased through the ship and it included a visit to Pan'e'wea Zoo where we would see a rare white Bengal Tiger couldn't wait, so after Akaka falls (lovely)and a Macadamia nut factory visit(could have done without.)We then where on our way to the Zoo.We arrived I and the kids ran to Namaste's(tigers name)enclosure,to find it was Namaste's day off he was'nt there!(I know... close your Mouth)
Then the days the ship tendered was a queueing nightmare as well.They would tell you to be at a certain point at a certain time but nothing was ever ready the staff would say it's not worth waiting here, because the backlog of people was huge.They advised, to go to a public place so you could here the announcement of when it was ok to disembark. So we did as was asked and went to the pool area to wait for announcements and low and behold the tannoy system didn't work!When we did finally get to leave it was scary getting children and yourselves on lifeboats banging against the ship on a very rough Ocean.
Nobody ever apologised ,no announcements or apologises for the San Diego/Ensenada horror no apology for US Customs Hold up no apologies for hold ups trying to disembark.We even sailed through a Tsunami we where thrown around our cabin had to put my son in bed with us before he flew out of the bunk bed.We found this out of other passengers what had happened through the night,again no announcements saftey warnings or apologies from the Captain to see if every one was OK.My husband found screws and metal sheets in the pool which could have caused damage to somebody.He called a member of staff to show him what he had just fished out of the water,Staff member just shrugged his shoulders and walked off.Hubby did get pictures before staff member took it.
The final straw for me was the first day in Honolulu. We got up a the crack of dawn we where heading to Waikiki beach(It is Gorgeous!)We were starting our journey back home the next day so we had a couple of hours on the beach then had to make our way back to the ship to check in for our flight using the ships computer,it was going to be busy, a lot of people where departing the next day.So I'm told to go the ilounge Deck11 when I get there are people visibly distressed they said the computers Internet kept disconnecting but they where still being charged.Being Charged? That's news to me.
Now I had organised an Excursion for the whole Family to a Hawaiian Luau traditional Hawaiian dances,food,craft making in Paradise Cove couldn't wait great photos for us to remember for years to come. Got into the ilounge approx 1:30 told the others to start getting ready for Luau at 3:30-3:45.
The Internet kept cutting off but carried on charging me.The printer broke down somebody went down to guest services to tell them we needed help.Nobody came!When I finally got on to the Airline site there where only preferred seating left which meant I had to pay, my oldest child had to sit miles away from us and I had to pay for our 3 seats $49 each. I didn't have my credit card with me, luckily my daughter came in to see why I was taking so long.I got her to run back to our CUPBOARD Sorry Cabin to get my Credit Card.Then my Husband came up to see why I needed my Card, when I told him why he started to get agitated because as far as he and I was concerned I'd already paid for my seats.
It was now 3:35 I gave up trying to print boarding passes phoned guest services to ask if they could let the Ships Excursion staff know we were on our way She Said 'No i can't the phone lines are down' and proceeded to put the phone down on me. The tears just started rolling down my face, I could not hold them back any longer!I was trying not to show the family how upset I was, but this usually care free,happy woman had finally broken down!And then when they see the Woman who holds them all together break down they break down!We ran crying all the way through the ship up the gangway down three flights of stairs into the port to meet our Excursion for the Luau and they had gone!!!It was just after 3:45.
We made our way back to the ship absolutely gutted so upset.We arrived at security which was just in front of guest relations the security guard was shocked to see us back so soon and crying.I headed straight for reception and let rip then a member of staff came with a walkie talkie and said 'you want to go on excursion' in broken English we all shouted yes!She said follow me.Which we did all wiping tears away and the excitement at going to the Luau was back.We again ran up the gangway down the stairs and there was the Excursion staff, we thanked the guest relation lady she ran back to the ship we then looked at the excursion lady and said 'we're so happy thought we missed you''You can't go on the Luau' she said 'they are 20 mins down the road Our jaws hit the floor!She tried to put us on another one but we had done them all, I had spent $1328.00 on excursions.I demanded our money back she said she would try.I glared at her and said you make sure you try very hard or else.We did get a refund for the Luau.
It cost me $45 to use the Internet, disgusted! We spent our last night wondering the shops in Honolulu nice but not what we had dreamt of!
Our suitcases where picked up at 11pm that night and we were told to meet on Deck3 at 7:15am to leave the ship.
So another early rise 5am get ready, queue for breakfast, get to rendezvous. We where kept waiting again they said it was US customs holding us up not the baggage because that had been done last night the staff had worked all through the night, he said. So we could leave efficiently but by now I didn't believe a word the Celebrity staff said.
When we were finally told we could leave, which was after 9am.We got down to the pier to find not one suitcase or bag ready to go...Liars!!! There was no Celebrity Staff to direct us to transfer coaches it was a complete mess again.
Most passengers said I can't queue anymore I can't argue anymore, I'm getting my own taxi to the Airport which was 20-25 mins away.
WE WILL NEVER CRUISE AGAIN EVER!!I think I wasted Â£10,500 the rest I spent was excursions and costs and I'm glad I spent that, as we would not have seen some of Hawaii. Hawaii was the only positive thing about the Cruise in my opinion. It feels like we need to go back it is as though the bad things that happened have overshadowed what should have been an amazing Journey.
When sitting on the transfer coach we heard this tale,A Lady on the cruise celebrated her 60th birthday on the ship and her wrapped birthday presents and cards where stolen out of her cabin.
One elderly couple we met at LA airport said he'd been on Celebrity Solstice and was told by the medical officer he was having a heart attack, because he was light headed and the doctor noticed a small bruise on his arm and rushed him to hospital. When he got there they dismissed the heart attack straight away but the ship had sailed without them so he and 83 year old wife had to organise their own flights home not one member of Celebrity helped them get there.CELEBRITY SORT YOURSELVES OUT!!!!