Celebrity Millennium Hawaii Cruise Review
October 22 – November 2, 2013
Wow! What a great cruise. I cruise a lot and this has to be one of my best cruises ever.
I am 50 and traveled with my elderly, disabled mother. We have cruised many times before on NCL, HAL, Princess, and Carnival. Gone are our Carnival days. We prefer to travel with adults with polite mature behavior. No seat saving in the show room, no wall to wall kids with no parents in sight, no drunks making scenes. Celebrity is it!
This was our second time on this cruise. So we were prepared for the San Diego/Ensenada transfer. It is just a necessary evil with this cruise. However, the cruise is so wonderful it makes the difficult transfer worth it.
We flew to San Diego on the day of the cruise. We arrived around 11am. We had to wait around 30 minutes for the bus to the pier. The pier area was a zoo. There was one very long line. The check in area was just not large enough. It took us nearly an hour to get thru the check in procedure. We were given boarding number 27. We then had 6 hours to kill before our transfer would leave. Celebrity had a lovely lunch station set up with water, lemonade, and sandwiches. We were going to go out for lunch but this was free and delicious. After lunch we went for a walk down to Seaport Village, and looked around in the shops etc. It was quite a walk but we had nothing better to do. Finally we had nothing else to look at so we went back to the pier. The pier area was mass confusion and it was so crowded you could hardly move. The cruise pax had no idea what was going on and nether did the employees. We just sat and waited. There was no PA system and employees would walk around yelling out the bus numbers. Finally our bus was called and we were boarded. No one asked to see our boarding number and later I heard many people just boarded whenever they wanted even tho they had a later number. Dishonest people chap my hide. My mom and I were very excited to be on our way. We were having fun and on vacation. We tried to joke with the bus driver but he was not in a good mood at all. There were a few people around us who also were in a good mood but the majority of the bus were full of sour people. Come on people you are on vacation and heading to your cruise to Hawaii! What could be better?
The border crossing was quite fast, however the drive was long. After around 2 hours we finally made it to our ship. You should have heard the collective groan as we arrived to find a line of around 20 buses ahead of us. We had to wait another 1 ½ sitting on the bus. Only one bus was allowed at the ship at a time. It took around 10 minutes for each bus to unload. Finally a Celebrity rep came on our bus and told us what was going on. Me and mom were joking with him, however the rest of the bus was ready to string him up. Poor guy.
Finally it was our turn to get off the bus. We went thru security and finally boarded the ship. We were given free champagne. Then we had an ½ hour wait for the elevator to take us to our cabin. We found our cabin no problem. We had a lovely outside cabin on deck 6. We were exhausted. We knew it was going to be grueling. I think we arrived around 9pm. We then had to go to the muster drill. The dining room had open seating however we were too tired. We ordered room service to our room (which was very good) and relaxed in our cabin. We slept late the next morning. We then had a lovely 5 days at sea to rest up.
Our room steward was from India and was wonderful. He always said God Bless you, which we appreciated. He kept our cabin clean , our beds made and never bothered us. Whenever he saw us coming down the hall way he would run and open our cabin door for us.
Dinner was the highlight of our day. We had the most wonderful dinner companions and we looked forward to visiting with them every night. The food was exceptional. Our head waiter was Manny and asst was Andres. They were excellent. If you didn't like something he encouraged us to order something else. If we didn't know what to get. Manny would always have a suggestion. Many times I would just tell Manny to bring me what was good and he would. His suggestions were spot on. Soon the asst waiter knew what we wanted after diner and we wouldn't have to ask. He would just bring it. My mom loves dessert and she would order 2 or 3 every night. This was no problem at all.
They tried to push the extra pay restaurants but we never went. We thought why pay extra when the dining room food was so exceptional. We never had a bad meal. I ordered two lobster dinners thinking the lobsters would be tiny. Imagine my surprise when our lobster came and the one tail filled the plate. And we had ordered two. To say we were stuffed is a under statement.
One night we had fillet minion which was the best steak I think I have every had in my life. The shrimp cocktails were to die for and we ordered them every night.
Mom and I would always order room service for breakfast. We only ordered toast. But you could get eggs, bacon etc. It always arrived on time and was never incorrect once. We would usually skip lunch and then go to dinner. There was just too much food. We couldn't eat non stop like everyone else seemed to.
The ship sparkled and was so clean. At night I would see the crew washing the walls!
I purchased an Internet plan. It was quite expensive as it is on all ships. I had some trouble getting hooked up at first but got some help from the Internet office and then had no trouble. It was slow (as usual) but I never had trouble getting service. I could use my lap top anywhere on the ship. In the theater, in my cabin or on deck.
They had some special speakers on this cruise. One man had climbed all these tall mountains and spoke of his experiences. They had Hawaiian Island talks, however, this gentleman had such a heavy accent I had trouble understanding anything he said.
Entertainment was excellent. We didn't make it to the welcome aboard show on the first night but made it to every show after that. Some shows were better than others but they were all good and entertaining. My favorite were the production shows, and the Hawaiian show we had one evening.
Rich was the cruise director. We really liked him. He was the cruise director on this cruise last year too. Every night after the shows he would be at the exit of the showroom if you wanted to talk to him. Lots of people seemed to want to complain to him. Not us. We made a point to tell him what a wonderful time we were having and how everything on the cruise was wonderful.
We had a nice meeting for cruise critic. I was embarrassed as everyone was still complaining about the transfer from San Diego. It was 4 days ago, get over it. The cruise director all the senior officers and the captain attended. I was able to talk to the dining room senior officer and arrange large print menus for my mom. I had told special needs of my request but they didn't get it done. One word to the proper person and my mom had large print menus that night and every night after that. Funny thing was we all wanted large print menus at our table as the printing in the regular menus were small but it could have been the very dim lighting. So mom's large print menus got a lot of use at our table.
All the staff on this ship were so nice. Not fake nice but they seemed genuinely eager to please. Just walking down the halls, all the room steward even if they weren't your room stewards were so friendly.
I did a stupid thing in Kona. I left my cell phone in my rental car and didn't realize it until I was back on the ship. The ship was leaving in 30 minutes. Security wouldn't let me tender back as no ships were going back to shore so late. The port agent tried to get my phone as the rental agency was right across the street from the pier but the car key was already put into a lock box and they couldn't retrieve my phone. The concierge on the ship were excellent. They let me call the rental agency on the phone several times and didn't charge me a cent. They didn't have to do this as this whole thing was my own fault. Thanks to them letting me call the rental agency I was able to get my phone back. The rental agency mailed it home to me. It made it home before I did.
We rented cars in all the ports except Honolulu. It was inexpensive and it gave us the freedom to go where we wanted when we wanted. We would hit the beach, snorkel around, sightsee, drive down the road hit another beach etc. We were free to go to Hilo Hatties or K-Mart for some quick shopping sprees and not have to wait on their busy free shuttles.
My watch broke in San Diego so I bought a cheap $10 watch on board. I had to return the watch twice because they kept quit working. I finally got a refund with no problem. Such is the nature of cheap watches. I finally bought a watch at K-Mart.
We talked to the cruise director and he said they will not longer be doing this cruise from Ensenada as San Diego and Ensenada are not able to meet Celebrity's needs. Next year this cruise will be from Vancouver. No transfer will be involved and Canada Place is a huge and very nice pier to depart from. We are already booked on this cruise. :-)
Perhaps we had such a wonderful cruise because we are so easy to please. Feed us, make our beds and at the same time take us to wonderful tropical ports of call and we are happy people.
Celebrity is a class act and I can't wait to cruise on them again.