This cruise was NOT up to Celebrity standards! I have sailed Celebrity several times before as well as other cruise lines and this was the worst cruise I have ever been on. Celebrity should be ashamed.
First the good - Our Cruise Director, Steve Gada, was the best we have ever had. He did an excellent job. The evening entertainment was very good to excellent and the guest speakers were all excellent. We had a lot of sea days and Steve made sure that there was plenty for the passengers to do.
The Captain's Club parties were also excellent with plenty of drinks, music and dancing.
Our cabin attendants were excellent; always smiling.
Now the bad. The Millennium was built in 2000 and isn't that old but she is showing her age and looks tired. Celebrity says they Solsticized her in 2012 but all they did was add Aqua Class staterooms, a Martini Bar, a Cellar Master's Bar and a Qsine Specialty Dinning restaurant ($45 per person).
The wood railing on our Veranda (balcony) is attached to a metal plate that was solid rust. Rust was running down the other metal and mildew and dirt was on the floor and chipping paint on the sliding doors. The doors were loose and leaked cold air and creaked. The sliding doors and the glass partition under the railing were so dirty that you could not see out of them. I can't imagine when was the last time they were washed.
The service in the Metropolitan dinning room was very slow and one could not get out in less than 2 hours; bread & water was only offered once.
There seemed to be a moral problem with the waiters in the Ocean View Grill (buffet) Waiters would come by the table, stop and look at the stack of dirty dishes left by the previous diner and walk on by without clearing the table. Dirty dishes would sit on tables for 30 min. or more and I saw people clearing dishes from previous diners off the table so they could sit down.
The food in the Metropolitan dining room was good but just usual fare. I would have thought considering our itinerary to Japan that there would be an Asia selection or two from time to time but there wasn't.
The food in the Ocean View buffet was terrible. The selections for breakfast and lunch were the same every day. Unless you had soup or the stir-fry all of the food was cold (less than room temperature) and I never saw anyone checking temperatures of the food. This goes for the eggs, meat and vegetables.
Now the ugly. This was a sick ship with the Norovirus on board. This cruise had 3 back-to-back itineraries: Hong Kong to Shanghai; Shanghai to Seward, Alaska; and Seward to Vancouver. About mid-way through the Shanghai to Seward portion the ship took charge and implemented enhanced cleaning measures but according to passengers who got on in Hong Kong the Norovirus came on board then.
I must say the ship did all it could to try and contain the virus including waiters serving the food and drinks in the buffet and even taking the salt and pepper shakers off the tables and handing out paper packets instead. The rest was up to the passengers to sanitize their hands and wash them often.
The problem was there were a lot of people on board who did not know how to cough and coughed into their hands and touched everything or coughing all over you. There were also a lot of colds on board.
The really ugly part was that Celebrity was very unorganized and gave people wrong information.
Check-in in Shanghai was very slow, poorly organized and hot. I understand from other reviews that the same applied to Hong Kong.
We were told by Celebrity that we did not need a Chinese Visa because we were in transit, landing at the airport and going to the ship and sailing. THIS IS NOT TRUE! We got to the LAX airport and were denied boarding because we did not have a visa. Long story short, we had to go to downtown L.A. get a visa, miss our original flight, loose our seat up-grade, take a mid-night flight through Taipei and then to Shanghai. Taxi & expedited visa cost us over $500, dragging our luggage around with us as well as a 5 hour layover in Taipei. At the LAX airline counter I called Celebrity Emergency Travel and the man told me "you do not need a visa because you are in transit." After talking with the ticket agent he then decided that maybe we did need one.
We were not the only ones this happened to. Celebrity "forgot" to pick up 25 passengers who had Celebrity transfers from the Shanghai airport to the ship. They had to fly to Jeju, then to Osaka, get hotels & transfers while waiting for the ship, all on their own nickle.
Immigration in Kobe, Japan and Petropavlovsk, Russia were also nightmares. In Russia people who had 9AM & 11AM shore excursions were not cleared to go on their tours by the Russians until 4:30PM & 5:00PM in the afternoon; they sat in the theater all that time waiting. The Russians took a long lunch hour and had lunch on the ship up in the buffet. The ship was supposed to sail at 5:30PM and at 11:00PM we were still sitting at anchor waiting for the Russians to clear the ship.
I realize that the cruise line can't control foreign immigration but this isn't the first time they have sailed to these countries and they should have known how it was going to work and been better organized.
In Japan everyone had to get off the ship no matter if they were going ashore or not and clear immigration. No one was allowed back on the ship or out of the terminal until everyone was cleared. It took over 2 1/2 hours standing in the terminal. People had left their excursion tickets, cameras, jackets,etc. on board because the ship told everyone that they could re-board and get their things and this was not true. There were a lot of upset people. There were also sick people, people in wheel chairs, etc. that had to wait in the terminal all that time.
We were not able to make our port of Jeju, South Korea because of high winds but the ship did not attempt to make up the missed port as I have had other cruise lines do.
I can't believe that Celebrity dropped the ball this bad and this many times. We did a lot of expensive sailing around for a couple of ports.