I am a fan of Celebrity Cruises. I try to cruise with them once a year and absolutely love the upscale feel and vibe. And I booked this cruise 11 months in advance - I was so excited! First time traveling solo.
Unfortunately this trip did not live up to my expectations - which was partially because of my own hype.
I had sailed on Millennium when she was first built and was dully impressed. But thirteen years later she feels tired. The public spaces, despite some spiffying-up, look worn. The outdoor lounge chairs are in terrible shape. There are cracks and crevices, and some visible rust. The carpet throughout looks dirty. Millennium is just not a brand-spanking-new ship - and I knew that going in. So that is not really part of my disappointment - just an observation.
My major problem was the food and service. As an Aqua Class passenger, I was entitled to eat in BLU. I had eaten in BLU last year on Reflection and it was wonderful. I'm not sure what happened here but the food was bland & uninspired and the service was worse. I thought it was a one-off thing - so I gave it three tries. After that, no more. I tried the MDR instead - the worst. First meal was okay, service impersonal. Certainly not the food I am used to on Celebrity. The second night I was ignored. Imagine sitting alone at a table off to the side and watching countless members of the staff walking past your table with no acknowledgement. An assistant waiter finally asked me if I wanted to order - um, can I get a menu please? The entree was overcooked and cold - so I walked out mid-meal. Not once in either venue was I asked how my meal was or if I was having a nice evening. Was this because I was alone? I was pretty upset.
I went directly to the Captain's Club desk to make a complaint - something I never do on a cruise. No one wants to be around that negative energy. Make the most of it! But I really had to say something to someone. The Captain's Club desk was closed. Come back tomorrow.
The food debacle was salvaged by my casino hostess (Carolyn, on her last cruise!) who booked me into The Olympic for the rest of the cruise. The Olympic is outstanding. Food, service - everything. Just wonderful - I applaud the maitre d's, waiters, and assistants for making every evening a event! And because I was there every night for a week they kept offering to make special entrees not on the menu! I was pampered and I loved it.
As for the rest of the cruise? It was okay. It was overcast every day. Victoria Peak was closed because there was zero visibility. Halong Bay we couldn't see a thing. HoiAn overcast again. And it was hot everywhere. Oppressively hot. I will say that overnight in Bangkok on a tour booked with BKK Tours we had a terrific time. Ms. Air delights in showing you her country, it was the perfect experience - I can not recommend them enough. BKK Tours in Bangkok, Michele and Air.
The topper of the whole experience was the Noro Virus scare. Celebrity announced that we would have to wait longer to board because prior passengers had been sick. Good. Clean it up. But it didn't stop there. At every entrance or exit from any room we were asked to hand sanitize. The buffet was clogged with people because you could not serve yourselves and beverage tables had been placed in the passageways so people were scattered about willy-nilly. It was chaos. And half of the ships' public access doors were closed to force passengers to walk a targeted path with plenty of Purell.
I am very grateful to the efforts of the whole ship to keep us healthy. I applaud the thoroughness of their sanitizing - kept me Noro free! But it was an inconvenience. A sad part of cruising in today's world - avoiding the germs.
I'm really glad I went - It was two weeks of relaxing and doing nothing, basically. I didn't get to see the fantastic sights of Asia that I thought I would see. But the natives told me we were there in the wrong month for clear weather. Better to go in December or January. (Who knew?)
And Celebrity stepped up to make the dining everything I expected. So everything worked out. I will definitely be back next year - already checking it out!