This was me and my husbands second cruise together, our first cruise was on the Constellation the sister ship of the Millennium. We have both traveled fairly extensively on land based holidays and tours. The itinerary for the Far East Cruise was excellent taking in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore. This was a lovely way to see the Far East in a short space of time and enjoy the comfort and luxury of a cruise ship.
Hong Kong - Booked flights and hotels independently.
We arrived in Hong Kong on the 13 February and spent three nights at the Langham Place Hotel in Mongkok. The Club L rooms have amazing views of Mongkok and came with the exclusive use of the Club L lounge for breakfast, snacks and drinks. The hotel was excellent and the shopping mall attached to it had access to the MTR from the basement .
The weather in Hong Kong was unusually cold for this time of the year but we did bring coats and warm clothes with us! it was also very foggy so we did not go up the Peak but explored Mongkok and went to Ladies Market, lots of fake handbags and the usual souvenirs. Walked along the Avenue of Stars which had great views of Hong Kong Island.
With great anticipation we took a taxi from the hotel on Sunday 16 February to the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. It is so big and involves a lot of walking but not very busy and still being built up in places. Arrived at 1200 midday and joined a fairly small queue for Aqua Class passengers, check in was quick and efficient. Having been on the Constellation we knew the layout of the ship fairly well, had read a lot of negative reviews of the Millennium but she is definitely not the ugly sister! The Millennium Class ships are gorgeous the atrium is so grand.
Our cabin 1100 was everything that we had hoped, actually liked it more than the sky suite we had on the previous cruise. Still fairly new, lovely decor and furnishings and also lots of storage space. Mario the cabin steward was brilliant and requests for extra coat hangers and clearance of the fridge was done straight away.
The Aqua Class cabins appealed to us because we were then able to have breakfast and dinner in the Aqua class restaurant Blu. The flexible dining option was excellent, tables for two were also good and we never had to wait for a table to become available. Tables are very close together though! Breakfasts in Blu were really good especially the smoothies and parfaits. Always had a table by the window and it was a lovely start to the day! Evening meals were a bit hit and miss. Did not enjoy any of the soups and the desserts are now all from the MDR menu. The kobe beef meat loaf was outstanding and some of the steak meals also.
Had a classic non alcoholic drinks package which was really good value though could be confusing especially when ordering some soft drinks. Some bars had different ideas about what was included and what was not! But Cafe l' Bacio was wonderful really excellent choice of speciality teas and coffees. The cakes and pastries that are served complimentary with drinks are the best on the ship!
Went to both speciality restaurants Qsine and the Olympic both really good but Qsine though novel was only worth doing once. Never went to MDR but had some nice lunches in the Oceanview cafe. Lots of choices curry dishes, pasta, sandwiches the list was endless and always cooked well.
Really enjoyed most of the shows some were outstanding especially the acrobats and the guitar player. Also saw some fairly new films in the theater. Did not attend any of the on board seminars or activities.
Ports of Call
Booked all excursions except Hong Kong through Celebrity.
Halong Bay - This was our first port or tender in this case. Such an amazing place, the scenery was breath taking! Went on a half day boat trip around the bay and also visited a cave which had very steep steps for access but the views were worth it!
Rural Vietnam and Hoi An - Had to meet in theater for all excursions and tours, this was really well organized and we were giving a coach number and then proceeded to coach when called. Danang like most of the ports on this cruise is a container port. Went to a typical Vietnam village which was interesting and the surrounding country side was scenic. Hoi An was fascinating would loved to have spent longer there. Also went to China Beach, quite interesting the history and its connection with the Vietnam War. Quite a long day but an interesting perceptive of North Vietnam.
Hoi Chi Minh - Still prefer to call it Saigon! The museum tour was good saw the Mummy, which was very well preserved. The former palace or Reunification Hall as it is now called was really informative, the museum contains some interesting pictures and information on the fall of Saigon. Most of the excursions involved very long days of touring but were well organized and the lunches included were really nice.
Bangkok The Grand Palace and Venice of the East - Bangkok was so hot! The boat trip was excellent saw the Temple of Dawn, you could walk up the steps of the temple though quite a climb down! We also saw the big gold reclining Buddha and the gold monk. Lots of gold! The Grand Palace was stunning but very busy. The temple containing the Emerald Buddha was beautiful.
City Tour - Walked around the Arab district, and the Garden by the Bay which was spectacular.
The ship was docked at the Marina Bay terminal which has amazing of the Singapore skyline and the Marina Bay Hotel.
Disembarkation - Very long queues to clear customs but the terminal does have air con and the queues moved fairly quickly. Flight was not till 11pm so we pre booked a day room at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Changi airport. Really nice airport hotel and a relaxing end to our cruise.
Really enjoyed this cruise and we met some really nice people, from all over the world. Lots of different nationalities on board. They did have problems with noro virus on the ship but procedures put in place to deal with this were effective. The Millennium is a lovely ship and all the staff on board were friendly and attentive. Would sail with Celebrity again but would probably go on one of the solstice class ships next time.