Forget all of the bad things you heard about the Celebrity Millennium and it being a dingy, old, ship. Yes, it is older but it is far from being dingy.
DH and I went on the 10 May sailing from Seward, Alaska. We stayed overnight in the Hotel Seward had a very relaxing evening. The next morning we went to eat breakfast in the hotel restaurant (had the best sausage gravy in my life). In talking to the woman who was the chef there, we mentioned that we were going on the ship. She said that we might want to check with the cruise line because the ship came back and had been quarantined. Uh oh. So, after having heard that, we went upstairs to our room and I posted on Cruise Critic about it and found out that there had been an undisclosed outbreak reported by the CDC. Thank you Cruise Critic members!
We still had to drop off our rental car so we decided to drive by the ship to see what was going on. We asked one of the security guards there and he said they weren't going to allow anyone to board until after 2pm at the earliest. We went ahead and turned in the rental, got a ride back into town and had a few drinks at the Seward Alaska Brewing Company. We had some very tasty beer. After that we walked down to the Alaska Sea Life Center and did the Marine Mammal Tour. We got to go behind the scenes and even pet a seal!!!! It was awesome! In fact, even if you do the regular admission it is still awesome. You can touch starfish and all kinds of wild, underwater creatures. The aviary is cool with the birds too - just be careful of where you put your arm if taking a photo....I was wearing a red jacket that all of a sudden became covered in white bird poop ?. Nothing a good scrub couldn't get out.
Finally, around 3pm we decided to hop on the shuttle in the town and asked the driver to drop us at the rental car facility. He couldn't drop us right there but he dropped us just a short walk away. Hertz was holding our luggage since we couldn't put it on the ship at the time we dropped off the rental. They had their own shuttle which took us and our luggage to the ship. When we got there, it took the longest I've ever had it take to check in. The line was sooooo slow. But, we grin and beared it and by the time we did check in, everyone was allowed to board.
We FINALLY got on board and had our welcome champagne. The ship smelled overwhelmingly of cleaner which wasn't too nice but we did get used to it. First stop for us - the Martini Bar. This is where we met Marko who was a true mixologist. He turned DH onto some vodka he hadn't tried before and turned me onto his own martinis. I don't think I ever did order a martini off the menu that week. After having a couple of drinks, my we went upstairs to check out the buffet. The crew had to serve everything from the drinks to the food due to the norovirus. This made it all a bit of a pain in the butt all week but not a super huge deal. It wasn't Celebrity's fault.
After eating a light snack we went back downstairs to check out Blu but nobody was around so we went ahead and stopped at the coffee shop and sat and had our coffee. They had a gentleman playing a guitar and singing. He was excellent! Then we went up to the spa to look at the Persian Garden room and see how that was since we were in Aqua Class.
The Persian Gardens are very different on M Class ships as opposed to S Class ships. The S Class has the beautiful view of the ocean...the M Class is more 'dungeon-like'. However, the aromatherapy was NICE and the sauna and steam room were both very nice. The steam room was HOT!
Our rooms were finally ready so we went to check it out! We had cabin 1103. It is your standard type cabin and there wasn't anything overwhelmingly special about it. It was clean.
At around 7 or so we headed up to Blu for dinner. All I can say is that Blu was fantastic the entire week! I cleaned my plate for every course, every time. The steaks were cooked to perfection. The lamb was cooked to perfection! OMG - I love dthe food. I thought I would miss my escargot from the MDR but the appetizers were so good in Blu that I never even asked if I could get the escargot. After dinner we headed back to the Martini Bar, had another drink and then settled in for the night.
The next day we went to Hubbard Glacier and although the ship couldn't get up too close, it was very cool going through the ice to get there. Some of the ice the ship hit even made it shudder, it was great! It was a pretty cold day but we sat out at the Sunset Bar, had drinks and took in the views for about 3 hours.
I have to mention that there was a Naturalist on board. His name was Dirk. I found Dirk to be extremely boring. It was almost as if he was reading a script. His voice droned on and on leading me to sleep....
Juneau - we did the Harv and Marv Whaling Tour and what a great tour it was! We had Captain T (who was in training) and Captain Lewis. Both were top notch! In the beginning we weren't seeing a whole lot but boy did we eventually wind up in the right area! There were whales all around and one even came up right next to the boat!!!! There were porpoises and the Captain starting turning the boat around in figure eights to get the porpoises to play. Within a matter of seconds we had porpoises on all sides swimming along with the boat. They were in the back, on the sides, at the bow! They were so much fun! After that we drove around a buoy to see the sea lions hanging out!
Next stop was Skagway and we were supposed to do a Temsco Helicopter Tour but no such luck as the weather was bad. We paid for the unlimited shuttle ride into town and used this day to do our shopping. We sat in a coffee shop and had some coffee and watched the people go by. The weather would go from rainy to bits of sun and wind back to rain. Make sure you bring a rain coat! I couldn't believe the people with umbrellas everywhere poking into everybody.
On this day in the Persian Gardens we had a bad experience. Folks in there were very loud and they were all laughing and joking. That's fine...but not in there. When we left you could hear them VERY WELL out in the spa area and I'm surprised that the spa folks didn't come in and say anything. We said something to them when we left and a lady did go in. But - honestly - these folks were really loud and I know that they could be heard so I wish they would have just come in and checked out the noise before we had to say anything.
The next day we arrived at Icy Strait, Hoonah. What a great place! We had another whaling tour with Hoonah Adventures planned and met Captain Paul outside the gate. We had a really hard time finding a whale, but while we were trying we saw two sea otters floating and hanging around! That was so cool! When we did find a whale (our second) he put on a great show! He kept coming out of the water and eating and making a big splash... He was pretty neat. The tour was a class act! After the tour we walked around the town....what a neat little town. Not a lot going on but I think the fact that ships are coming in now is fantastic for it!
Our final stop was Ketchikan. We had a float plane ride with Island Wings planned on this day over the Misty Fjord Monument. Wow! This was certainly a highlight! Beware though, DH suffers from motion sickness and thought he'd be fine on this but he wasn't. He normally wears the patch but it has side effects and he took it off the night before. However - the ride was awesome (at least for me) with great scenery and landing in the Misty Fjords was just great! Michelle is the pilot and owner and she took pictures of everyone if they wanted her too. She also had some ginger with her to try and settle my poor DH's stomach. After awhile we were back in the air! This time the way we came was all clouded in so we had to go the long way around. This trip really was a highlight for me....and for DH too but probably in a very different way, lol! Afterwards we went back to the ship, picked up our laptop and went over to the Salmon Landing Market where they have free wifi. This was nice. We hadn't checked our email all week and we some emails we knew would be waiting for us. The wifi was not super speedy but it wasn't bad. We then walked around the town and did a tad more shopping. They have the Hatley Outlet here and I wear all their night clothes. There was a coupon in the book given to us onboard the ship so that came in handy. Also - the kid's Alaskan pillows you see everywhere are $9.99 each here....that is cheaper than the other places unless you buy 2 and then it's two for 20.
Back on board for a snack since it was late and we didn't want to ruin dinner. This was our last port day and it was very sad to be leaving Alaska.
The last day at sea was awesome! We saw some humpack whales, porpoises, possibly a pod of beluga whales, a couple of Orcas - wonderful day for watching the ocean and the scenery! Dirk was on again...my eyes still get tired when I think of him.
Blu was a very unexpected treat and I would love to eat in there again! I forgot to mention that we ate in there a couple of times for breakfast and it was delicious. I was disappointed in the pancakes though. When the server came with the syrup I asked him if it was real Vermont Maple syrup like it said on the menu and he said it wasn't.... Well, hold the syrup then. That was a shame. Why would Celebrity put that on the menu when they didn't really use it. I'm from Vermont. I can tell the difference between real syrup and the fake stuff. Nothing wrong with the fake stuff but don't tell me it's real when it isn't.
Overall the trip was a blast! Even though I have to say that I will never sail on a ship that is coming off an ocean crossing. There were too many people who seemed to have been on board for a little too long. I have also never heard so much coughing in my life!
Millennium may be an older ship but she is still in great condition. Sure, the numbers inside the elevator are rubbing off, and some of the public restrooms could use a little remodeling, but that was about it. Don't hesitate to sail this ship because of her age....she's still alright!
Bottom line - we loved this cruise and we'd do it over in a second!