It has been 12 years since we sailed on Celebrity (Mercury), so it was fascinating for us to see how things have changed from then, We booked B2B SNG to SNG for Indonesia then it was SNG to Hong Kong. We were in Aqua class but as we booked late, we had to accept that we had to move from deck 11 to 9 for the second leg.
Embarkation was painless other than the new port at Marina Bay, You do seem to have to walk a very long way to get to the ship compared to the port at the Harbourfront - its location too seemed more out of the way too. Getting back on the ship was a pain as the security was either over the top or highly inefficient as there were always long lines once through customs to get back on, as was the case in most ports of call. The Singapore customs were also causing long lines as passports and baggage is checked everytime you get on or off the ship, and although they are efficient, long lines are the normality especially when there is another ship there. Getting back on the ship was a constant problem throughout the cruise. X are very good at organising tenders and disembarking but poor at getting back on. In Bali, folks were waiting 2 hours in the sun for a tender. All the trips and tours arrived back at the same time and we were told that there were 6 tenders working. They lied, there were 6 in total and were dropping off one at a time and even the last passenger tender had to wait some 15 mins bobbing about alongside the ship waiting for the crew and equipment to be unloaded first. We were also told it was always like that there - ??? sort it out X
We used the ships tours for the first leg as we were late getting on this cruise. Compared with doing your own or joining a CC trip, they were very disappointing and the weather was constant rain. I looked at the weather forecast for the area and it showed rain and thought I was just unlucky, but to our dismay at each stop we were told it was the middle of the rainy season !! Shame on X for doing this itinerary way too early. The second leg in Vietnam and HK was down to 10*C with rain which did spoil things but this was just bad luck and not the ships fault. In Hanoi when we got back to the ship we were greeted with chicken soup!! We used Smile tours for the second time for the 3 stops in Vietnam. Cant recommend them highly enough
Ship :- Millie is a well used ship and in places it is dated and worn. Having said that, it is being constantly cleaned and is in good condition for its age.
Cabin :- We were on deck 11 and when it rained, which it did alot, it poured through the balcony doors into the cabin. We reported this to the steward who said there was nothing they could do as all the cabins were like it !! Maybe stay clear of the rainy season would help. The cabin itself when not drenched was fine and the cabin steward was very helpful. When it came to moving we were told that we would get help in moving but on the day there was no-one to be seen so we moved ourselves which didnt take long. Our cabin on deck 9 had seen better days with some of the doors not fitting correctly and that smell of damp in the bathroom. We knew the balcony was smaller than normal as it was next to the hump, but the condition of it was disgusting. We found also the overhang to be way too big that there was no chance of any sun getting to it. As it was so cold we didnt use it anyway
Dining :- As we were in Aqua, we dined in Blu. I find the concept to be very good (hoping not to pile on too much weight), but its execution was poor. Rarely did you receive the food cooked as you ordered it and saw many a plate being returned for that reason. You ended up ordering not what you wanted but how you thought it would arrive. The avocado and arugula salad would arrive without the avocado and the chicken salad was chicken and a few lettuce leaves etc etc. The first leg they ran out of many items but not on the second. Blu shared the kitchen with the main dining room which seemed to be at the root of the problem. We used the MDR only for lunch which was fine so cant comment on the evening meal. The buffet was the usual fare and with the constant announcements about Novo, you would think people would be careful - but no, it was the usual scramble with people handling the food and putting it back if they didnt want it. X didnt help as the trays were so far at the back of the serving counter that people were putting there heads under the screens to get at it - hence it was rare that we ate anything there. Olympic was nothing short of fabulous. At $45 a visit, at first it seemed mighty expensive for a speciality restaurant, but we thought it was worth every penny and also had a couple of lunches there. Q Sine was a novel concept at first, but after dining there 3 times, the novelty had worn off and although glad we tried it, we wouldnt re visit it, The Cafe was good in the mornings but the afternoon staff didnt know how a coffee should be made. We had to send several back as they were that poor. We ended up not going in the afternoons
Staff:- The staff everywhere were probably the best we've sailed with. We found them so friendly and welcoming especially in Blu - officers were thin on the ground, but would make small talk when you did see them
Photographer :- What a pain in the butt they were. I appreciate that there are folks who want their picture taken but we dont do that anymore. It was bad enough being interupted during dinner but 3 times in one evening ???
Entertainment :- We are not ones for shows but on this occasion we decided to go and have a look. I now know why we dont do shows. It doesnt help when they are hyped up to be the best in the world and then the juggler starts dropping his props and you can see how the magician does things etc. Didnt go to the cabaret style show so cant comment
Disembarkation :- like the embarkation, it was painless other than the new port at HK. You have to walk miles with your carry - ons and taxis were hard to come by. Again the old port of Ocean terminal was a much better port for the passenger.
Would I go on it again? If the itinerary was suitable and it was a good price the yes I would. For all its failings, they are acceptable as long as you can either avoid them or accept it was a good price and expect less because of it. It was certainly not 5 star but again I didnt pay the 5 star price. If sailing with X again I would do Aqua but not on Millie, and would give deck 9 and its overhang a miss