On reading some of the negative reviews of the Millennium in this forum, I wanted to share our experience which was beyond fantastic.
Being first time cruisers the whole experience was just awesome.
Now I can feel some you already rolling your eyes - but to set the record straight we have been fortunate enough to have stayed in some truly amazing hotels around the world over the past 27 years and know very clearly the difference between mediocre service and excellent service, between food that is just OK or poor and meals that are plated and served just exquisitely and taste even better.
So when I read some of the reviews complaining about the food, the cleanliness of the cabins, the quality of the entertainment, the friendliness of the staff , general service levels etc - I wonder if we were just lucky and were treated differently (highly unlikely) or that we set out to have the time of our lives and enjoy every minute.
Just after boarding we were lucky enough to find Charlotte (ex Durban) preparing for the ships tour which we eagerly did with two other couples. This was a great early decision as in a very short time we became oriented and never once afterwards had to ask for directions.
From then on - there were not enough minutes in every day to do everything - the biggest stresses were what to eliminate from the Celebrity Today itinerary.
Every day we could we started out in the well equipped gym (minor issue: it would have been nice if the two out of order cross trainer machines were repaired), showered and met up with friends in the Ocean View Cafe for breakfast. Great selection - and boy did we need the gym daily to keep our weight in check. The choice is fantastic, - especially the poached eggs station. There are always tables - never have to wait for one. ALso just loved the tables over the glass floor where you can see straight down in to the water 10 decks below.
Pools get a tad busy on a nice day - so occasional disagreements broke out amongst some passenger who kept heaps of sun beds/loungers to the disadvantage of others. Was told by friends on some other ships, the pool staff are instructed to clear away belongings left on chairs after an hour of being unattended to give others a chance. This policy would have worked well on our cruise but we were lucky enough not to have been affected.
Lunch at the pool is just terrific - the grill bar burgers are my new benchmark. There is also a healthy food station for lunch and breakfast which was just great.
Dinners at the Metropolitan were phenomenal every time - everyone was so attentive - from the young lady at the front desk, to the Matre D to our own waiter Xavier and assistant waiter - Benedict. We were a party of 11 and most nights we ate together - but on the few occasions we didn't, a concern was raised by the Matre D. Every dish was 5 star quality and Xavier and team ran around us like we were celebrities. The final meal really was a testament to all the staff in the restaurants when everyone does the serviette waving - what a great way to say thanks to great people who cant do enough for you and make your holiday special - when they themselves are working over the holiday season - and boy do they work hard.
We chose to also dine at the Olympic and at Qzine. There are no words to describe our experience at Qzine - and I would go as far to say that it was our best anniversary dinner ever. The staff came out in force to sing to us even dragging in the chef to do his own rendition of Gangnam style for us. They then did further numbers for our friends 50th birthday which was coming up 2 days after (BTW when in Singapore eat at the Lighthouse in the Fullerton hotel which is where we celebrated that amazing milestone - when you think things cant get better ....)
It is almost impossible to describe the Qzine experience- all I can say that on its own its worth travelling on the Millennium for. They say the record at Qzine is 17 courses - well at 11 (I think) we called it quits...
This concept needs to be picked up by some enterprising restaurantueur in major cities around the world - Unique as a descriptor does not not even come close.
Wish I could remember the lady matre D's name (she is from Serbia) - but she and her staff and just terrific.
Olympic is a very different experience - posh like the old world cruisers must have experienced - even some of the panelling comes from the Titanic's sister ship who this restaurant is named after. At $40 a head for 3 or more courses - all I can say is that the value is incredible - an equivalent main dish in a similar style restaurant in Sydney, NY, Paris, Rome or anywhere would cost you significantly more. I could speak for ages about these two restaurants - but in my opinion just go there and experience their magnificence for yourselves.
The celebrity Theatre at night was our destination of choice - some outstanding shows like iBroadway and others and some less but all entertaining and enjoyable. The pianist Simon Tedeski is a genius.
The cruise director (hi Steve) - was great and every night explained the ins and outs of the next day which was invaluable information.
Formal nights were great - although getting all dressed up after a day out and about or at the pool was initially challenging we soon got into the spirit of it.
New Years eve was special - a most amazing party out at sea - very special memories.
They did two spectacular brunches - one for Xmas day and one for NY day - if only I could have eaten what I truly wanted - what a spread - and the ice sculptures and fruit and cheese sculptures - these are not only accomplished chefs they are artists second to none.
Pizza station near the aft deck open to 1am which we once took advantage of after one evenings show about midnight - amazing pizza - not sure how we even had an appetite after dinner finished at 9pm - but there you go.
I am proud to say I resisted the ice cream station the whole cruise - but in hindsight - I should have relinquished - they looked just delicious and tasted even better so I am told.
Our cabin (6022) was a balcony stateroom that was just great - and attended to so well by our two wonderful stewards. Its an amazing feeling waking up with the water gushing by underneath you.
I also had a special electrical request so that I could plug in my CPAP machine - and Todor the ships electrician went out of his way to loan me his personal adaptor that he had purchased for one his appliances in Chicago.
Shore excursions were exceptionally well managed - you are told what time to be in the theatre - when your whole party is together you check in and are given a numbers on stickers. When your bus or boat is ready - your number is called and you disembark then and there. No hassles no sweat.
So much to say and impossible to tell you all of it - all I can say is that it was awesome and the best holiday ever and we will most definitely be doing this again and more than likely with Celebrity (I am told the Solstice is even nicer).
So there you have it - a great experience on the Millennium that I would recommend to anyone wanting to cruise.