This was our first time on Celebrity and our first time sailing from San Juan - both were great. We booked our trip online through Celebrity's website and had no problems. Made our own air arrangements online not going through Celebrity, also no problems. The Celebrity Millennium sails around 8:00 pm and that gave us plenty of time for travel that day. We arrived in SJU around 3:00 pm and were able to board the ship by 4:00 pm - a nice leisurely pace with no rushing.
The Celebrity terminal people and crew welcomed us aboard and were wonderful. A nice welcome aboard drink and we were off to our cabin. We opted for the Celebrity Select dining and made dinner reservations for 6:45 each night. You can do this online prior to sailing. So off we go to the Metropolitan restaurant. We were seated promptly in a very classy, well kept dinning room. The entire ship was well kept and clean and in excellent condition. Our cruise was not sold out so it was not overly crowded.
The layout of this ship also gives one the appearance of a less crowded ship. Plenty of space to move around, lots of public seating areas and plenty of friendly crew about to assist you find what ever you need. The fact that this ship has gas turbine engines and diesels to assist means that you feel almost no vibration and noise that you may experience on other ships, a very smooth quiet ship. We really enjoyed how the deck 10 buffet restaurant was laid out. Very spacious and well designed to keep large crowds from being in line at any one place at any one time. They keep many different food options spread out around the restaurant so don't stop at the first buffet line you see, keep walking you may find something else around the corner, its great. We liked that each buffet line had a crew member assigned to that food station to help serve and keep it clean and well stocked. No messy buffet lines here like on some other more popular big name cruise lines. The food was really good. Some of the best we had had, especially the Olympic Restaurant. The Olympic does charge about 35 dollars per person service charge, but well worth it. We made reservations for the Olympic the first formal night and had a wonderful dining experience.
It was not crowded at all. If the other cruisers knew how good it was it would have been filled to capacity each night. The service was exceptional and so was the food. Our cruise was heading out about the time Hurricane Tomas was making a visit through to Caribbean. The weather in a few ports was not perfect because of this and the port of St Lucia was closed because of damage from the storm, but Celebrity made arrangements to call on Martinique instead. Things went so smoothly it was like we were originally scheduled to make that stop from the beginning. The Millennium crew never missed a beat and each stop went like clockwork and we were on time everywhere we went.
The day of departure went smoothly, mainly because we travel lightly with carry-on bags only. They want the guests to fill our a survey a few days prior to debarkation so they will know about your flight times or other travel needs on that day. They then assign luggage tags to correspond with the time they allow you to debark. The ship normally pulls back into San Juan around 6:00 am and they might get clearance to allow you to leave around 7:00 am. Since we had carry on bags we did not fill out the survey and went down to the gangway at 7:00 am and were first off the ship, first through customs and in a taxi on the way to the airport before 8:00am. If you have large checked bags, please don't book air arrangements before 11:00am. We made our own air arrangements for 10:00am and made it with an hour to spare. We always travel as light as possible and let the cruise do our laundry a few days into the cruise, it saves space in our bags and the aggravation of hauling large bags around on our vacation instead of having a good time. All in all our first Celebrity cruise was wonderful and will not be our last. Celebrity Millennium rocks! we will be back. Andy and Lisa