This was a cruise that we have booked more than a year in advance because of the itinerary. The ship was going in the first leg from Shanghai to Jeju Island in South Corea, Kobe and Yokohama in Japan, Petrapavslok in Rusia and Seward in Alaska. The first leg took 16 nights.
The second leg was for 7 nights from Seward to Vancouver.
Unfortunately the ship was unable to dock in Jeju Island due to strong winds. Also in Petrapavslok we were not allowed to disembark unless we had an organized tour or had booked the overpriced ship's excursions. This meant that we have traveled so far to Asia to visit only Shanghai, spend two nights in Japan and to have lots of sea days. We enjoy sea days but If we would have known this in advance, we would have not taken that cruise. We would have chosen a different itinerary.
The itinerary for the second leg of our cruise was very nice. Alaska was amazing and we have enjoyed the natural beauty of the area.
The Celebrity Millenium has received the so called "solsticitation", which for this ship mainly means that some public areas have been changed to fit more rooms. I was on the Millenium last year and I had noticed that the ship needed a renovation in the staterooms and in the public areas, for example the bathrooms next to the main dining room. Unfortunately I could not notice any improvement in those areas.
My main critic in relation to our journey with the Celebrity Millenium refers to the scarcity of ingredients to prepare the well known dishes, that Celebrity advertises in its cookbook. There was an scarcity of fresh products like fruits and vegetables. The whipped cream had been replaced by a lower quality cream. However, nobody felt responsible for adapting the names of the dishes if an ingredient was not available. For example the dish would promise "Ceviche with avocado" or "Ruccola" and no avocado or ruccola was available. So oft we had to hear, "sorry it is not available anymore".
The quality of food was also not to the standards from Celebrity. Even the sushi bar, was substandard. Only available were sushi rolls (lots of rice, few shrimps, or other ingredients). Specially on the first leg of our cruise, which touched Japan, we would have expected better quality by the sushi.
At first I thought that the ingredient scarcity was because of the transpacific leg only, however things did not improve for the Alaska cruise. As a summary, we had the feeling that this was a tired ship arriving with the last strenght to Vancouver. I think Celebrity should think very well before offering those itineraries, like a transpacific, if they have the means to maintain the quality of services its clients are used to. This is specially important since this was not a cheap cruise and implied also expensive and long flights to Shanghai. I guess the expectations could have been lower if the transpacific would have been sold as a "repositioning" cruise with accordingly lower prices.
Another area which strongly needs improvement are the production shows. As frequent cruisers we have seen the Boogieland, the Ibroadway and the Ballroom dances so many times, that we know them by heart. It was annoying to have them repeating during both legs. It was also annoying to see that the tango choreography includes a women being dragged by the hair on the floor. Independently of providing a misconception on tango, it is not politically correct. Apparently we were not the only ones to notice this, because we have heard some "buh" during the presentation.
On the other hand we were very fortunate to have Profesor Lisa Didier as a guest speaker. Her presentations were well visualized, so informative and fun to hear. Guest performers were very good.
We have taken a couple of ship's excursion and they were good. In Alaska, the visit to the Taku lodge was amazing!
Very positive was that the officers were always around talking to passengers. Cruise director Steve made a very friendly impression. Crew members, cabin attendants and waiters were also amazing. They had to cope with Norovirus on board like all of us (we were fortunate not to get the disease) and they did their best to take care that the disease does not spread more. The managers at the restaurant did such a good job accomodating people according to their wishes. The human capital that Celebrity has at all levels is one of the reasons why we have become loyal customers.