We are a professional couple, in our 50's, have cruised several times before on several different lines. This was our first cruise experience that included a 4 night pre-cruise land package- Celebrity #6 package. We also added a night in Vancouver before flying home. This was our first Alaska experience.
Amazingly, we had great weather the entire time. No rain, 60's and 70's and mostly sunny.
Our land tour director Pat was great. She was with us the 4 days, and was very knowledgeable about Alaska, and made the experience fun. She was also very helpful with making suggestions about what excursions would be best for us.
We started our land tour in Fairbanks. We live in Florida, so it was a very long travel day to reach Fairbanks. We stayed at Sophie Station hotel, very nice apartment style hotel. We started day 2 with the arranged Riverboat tour and then the Goldmine tour. We really enjoyed the Riverboat, especially since it was relaxing, and we needed it after our travel day. The Goldmine tour was sort of corny, but they made it fun.
We then took the Celebrity train to Denali. This was a first class experience. The car operated by Celebrity was very spacious and comfortable. The dining car was great, and so was the breakfast. It gave us a chance to really see interior Alaska in first class comfort.
We arrived in Denali, and went right to the arranged Denali Park tour. It was a total waste of time- just like the boards had warned. Most of us in our group were disappointed. Celebrity needs to get more creative with this time and tour experience. We then went to our hotel, The Grande Denali Lodge. We had a spectacular view from our room. Accommodations were good, very nice public areas. The restaurant was a disaster. Lots of excuses, bottom line, very short on help. We arranged for a helicopter tour with Glacier Landing. We went with ERA booked through Celebrity- this was the highlight. We are very glad we decided to do this in Denali. The glacier landing was amazing. We also got to see Mt. Mckinley it was such a clear day. We also did the Jeff King Sled dog experience. It was a great experience and Jeff is quite the entertainer. I would recommend for all to try to fit in.
We then took the bus to Seward to embark. Bus was comfortable, and Pat our guide and the bus driver really make the drive fun. It was a great chance to see the landscape of Alaska. We arrived at the Millennium about 5:30, and within 45 minutes we were on-board.
The Millennium looked great. We were surprised how easy it was to get around. We never felt crowded. The public areas all seemed to be in good shape, and the staff were always friendly. We really enjoyed the indoor pool and hot tubs outside of the Aqua spa.
Our room was very nice, bed was very comfortable. Our cabin attendant was very good, not always visible, but anytime we needed something, we just called and he appeared. Very responsive.
We opted for Select dining, and were glad we did. Since Alaska is port intensive, there were several days we were glad we were not constrained by a set time. The wait staff were very good, and we never had a problem getting a table. I would suggest making reservations each day. It ensured we did not have to wait, and we always got the location we requested.
On day 2 of the cruise we had our cruise critic get together. We had the senior officers meet with us and offered us all invitations for a bridge and galley tour. My only disappointment with Celebrity was they never followed through with the invitations. We are resourceful and found our own way to schedule the tours through the Concierge desk. For the Hubbard glacier viewing we went out to the helicopter pad in front of ship for viewing. The Cruise Critic group got access before everyone else, that was nice. Altho it was cloudy, it was an incredible viewing.
Overall this was a great Alaska experience. We were very happy with our pre and post cruise packages through Celebrity.