We have just come of what should have been a fantastic trip....It was good, but not great...It was the ports that made the trip.
After a very bad time on a Costa ship 12 months ago, when deciding to book we really checked things out this time...at the time of booking the reviews for the Millennium were pretty good, lets just say as we got closer we noticed the reviews were not getting better, and we did start to get concerned
The ship itself was not the problem, it was a nice ship, not badly appointed. The staff were friendly enough..if not very attentive..they need to make sure if they are going to have a punch up in the buffet, to make sure passengers and children do not witness it..
We booked two interconnecting balconies on deck 8, and these were basically a decent size for the seven of us...however between 6pm and 10am, it was a complete waste of time and money having the balcony as the sofa bed, completely closed off the sliding door and you couldn't get out at the end,as the fixed desk and chair got in the way...if you climbed over the bed, you risked falling and breaking your neck..so we didn't get to spend time watching the sunset with a glass of wine on-board our balcony..as I twisted my knee three times trying to get out....however it did make a good place to hang my washing line as everything dried real quickly
If you were in the vicinity of our cabins of 8025/8029 we had a very friendly cabin steward, however we and others that we spoke to, did notice things going missing...not quite sure about our neighbours and what they lost...however my son had his wallet removed from the cabin, which should have been in the safe, however he did have it hidden in the top drawer, hidden under his clothes...I thought there was no smoking on the balconies, but there were some people still doing it..as it used to waft back into the corridors...and I am a smoker
I guess our most major complaint, (and i have read it from others before) was the fact they have put adults only on all their swimming pools....so when travelling with 5 children, who all want to swim, we were subjected to quite a lot of abuse from the older patrons, which by the way was approx 90% of the ship..when we approached the guest relations desk, we actually asked which pool can the children use, they stated except for the inside adults only pool/spa all other pools and spas were communal...well try telling that to the oldies...celebrity themselves caused this problem, and refused to do nothing to stop it, IE..sticky tape over that part of the sign would have fixed it and made it enjoyable to everyone..it was bad enough that the larger pool was 6 foot deep and over, and most children could not swim in it, but the smaller 4 foot deep pool with splash area for children was constantly full of older patrons who were laying in the splash area or complaining they were getting wet..get real people you are in a pool....they even closed the kids pool off so the older patrons could play volleyball...the children had no choice to sit on the sidelines...why they couldn't do it in the bigger pool is beyond me, as they did it before....
Not that there was many children on board anyway i think a total of 47 but 22 were babies
my other complaint was the elderly people on the ship.. I realise that it is not celebrity's fault that we must have had some of the most obnoxious people i have ever seen..but wow...these people were extremely rude, and we found we were not allowed to enjoy ourselves because we had children.....one group, even went into the kids club area and complained about the noise...go figure that one...
The adults who should have known better were constantly pushing children out of the way to get there first..most did not believe in lines...we found we even had to follow the children into the toilet 2 metres away, to ensure that they actual got to go, as rude adults would push them out of the way rather than line up...my children are children, and though I may be biased, we were complimented many a time on how well behaved they were and polite...
The food was so so...and i think the whole ship heard the gentleman on deck 3 complaining about the food at the pool grill, and that was even before we left Hong Kong,(we didn't think it was to bad, the two fellas working there were lovely) we dined in the main restaurant about 4 times, and though asked for somewhere differently each time, if we were with the children, we were always put in the most dark and furthest corner...The lighting was terrible, and I think its to disguise the fact that they don't always change the table cloths between diners (during very long wait times between courses we watched, this is of course when they bothered to make up the tables..sometimes they just stayed full of dirty dishes whilst there were a lot of people lined up outside waiting)...my time dining was pretty useless, we booked before we sailed for seven people, and not once did we actually get to eat at the time we booked for let alone a table actually made up for 7...and it took 2-3 hours each time to eat a 2 course meal..definitely not worth the pre-paid grats we were forced to pay, we even had a assistant waiter spend the whole service calling my husband a baby because he couldn't eat the anything on the main menu so had no choice but to order from the kids menu..I guess she thought it was funny
the buffet wasn't bad, for my husband who cannot eat many things it was hit and miss, as everything is marinated or heavily spiced...the cleaning staff need a kick up the bum as we often had to clean the tables to be actually able to use them..
the lady in the starboard ice cream section was a sweetheart and always remembered what you like to eat...the drink waiters however were very attentive...we ended up with a bug on board, typical with the amount of people...they took protective measures but the company can only do so much...they cannot control the passengers who refused to wash their hands, or re-sanitise after sneezing or coughing on their hands..we even saw some passenger use the napkins as tissues...the people behind the lines began to serve you, but they begrudged doing it..if you asked for a knife and fork, we had it thrown at us, then they demanded why we couldn't do it ourselves...they need to make their minds up, to take protective measures or not...not half half...
We enjoyed the shops, i think the gentleman in the apple store loved us, as my whole family are apple fans, and love their products, all 5 children spent a lot of their spending money in the store,
We found that a lot of deals advertised were always previous deals...for example the soft drink package...three of my children saved to buy this package, especially for the souvenir cup..but when we asked, where it was, we were told its an old deal, because they now had cans...however it was showing that it was part of the deal on the website when booked, plus on the paper the bars were handing out on the ship, even the email i received..my children would have broken even with the cost of the package, but it was an added bonus for the cup and because they expected to get one, they didnt purchase one on board
the same in the photo section...they had signs up etc, but when we went to order the family package suddenly it didn't exist...lucky we had a paper one of the photographers had given us stating the times for professional photos that actually stated the package so they were forced to comply....the package included a voyage in review DVD, not sure about everyone else, but ours is a load of rubbish, and no way near worth its money...they include a special tour of Cambodia on it...funny enough the ship didn't go to Cambodia...so i think they have given us the wrong one..
Basically the whole cruise was enjoyable because of the ports and the itinerary, we didn't worry about the distance travelled as my children just fell asleep..most of the tours i organised privately, the ship's ones were highly priced and with 7 of us were quite extreme, we got a private company to match the tours in Ha long bay, Hue and Ho Chi Minh as the ones celebrity offered (in fact we were at most places the same time) however all three cost the same amount as the one celebrity tour in Ha long bay so it was pretty good...we did however use a ships tour for a day trip to HCM on the second day, on the odd chance we were late getting back, that we know the ship would wait...we found out in Singapore however that the ship didn't wait for a passenger in Bangkok, my parents met him in Singapore waiting for the ship to arrive...
Would we go on Celebrity again...possibly....but maybe the Solstice...I don't want to condemn a company just by one ship..