Celebrity Millennium sets the Gold Standard!
I was lucky enough to be one of the first guests on Millennium's Alaska Cruise after drydock in Victoria in 2009, but if anything I would say she is in even better shape now. The ship was gleaming from stem to stern, with staff constantly hoovering and polishing so where people get the idea that she is 'tired and in need of refurbishment' I cannot imagine!! Just hope they never visit my house!!
The food was stunning - Olympic would rival the very best on dry land and I have eaten at hotels in the UK where 1 night and dinner costs about the price of the whole 10 day cruise. But to be honest the food in the Metropolitan was just as good and the brunch was the best buffet I have ever seen (and eaten) in my life.
One plea to Celebrity though - please, please don't give up on 'large table fixed dining' in favour of speciality restaurants and flexibility. If you are lucky, and we certainly were, you make new lifelong friends at the dining table on a 10 day cruise because More
there is sufficient bonding time.
All the staff were so friendly and every waking moment on the ship was filled with excitement; from breakfast (and I was good on some days eating at the Aqua Spa)right through to being last in the Cosmos nightclub, with all the other entertainment in between.
A special mention for Julian Brackenbury, the ship's incoming hotel director - a fellow 'Brit' who happened to sit next to us on the American Airlines flight from NY to Puerto Rico on the way down. He looked after us so well and he must have the best job in the world, presiding as he does over one of the most well-oiled machines I have come across in a long time.
I am not going to say any more - it was just a perfect cruise. Less
Read more Celebrity Millennium cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Celebrity Millennium Review >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Aruba is probably the best port for shopping (we are not shoppers though). Weather was a bit rainy so again off to the beach - well you are wet anyway! Beaches are first class on Aruba.
Also been to Barbados before. Great location for us Brits - did the Kensington Oval cricket ground tour (tried to explain to our American guest colleagues why we found this so interesting, but clearly failed). Then on to lie on the beach outside the Sandy Lane hotel - beaches as good as St Maarten and Aruba. Got a yellow bus back to Bridgetown - don't be put off by the binary driving style ie stationary or foot to the floor. Got back to Bridgetown in about 10 minutes thankfully anaesthetised by the ear splitting thump of base reggae from the modified PA system.
Certainly the prettiest port. We arrived on a Saturday and it was party time with 'Father Christmas' giving it plenty of reggae. The bridge over the seaway is amazing and there is plenty to look at on both sides of the city. The floating market with the ships across from Venezuela is also worth a look. Then as usual off to the beach - aren't we boring.
Poor St Lucia had taken a real beating from Tomas and there was still no mains water on the island when we arrived. Managed to persuade a local taxi driver to take us to the Hotel Anse Chastanet at Soufriere. A scary road trip with the surface out in many places and sliding backwards towards the cliff edge on one occasion. Anse Chastanet is a wonderful hideaway but still with lovely views of the Pitons.
We had been to Philipsburg before, so had booked Celebrity's Americas Cup yacht tour. Sadly this had to be cancelled - something to do with excessive swell following Hurricane Tomas. Decided to spend the day on the local beach which was just perfect; clean beautiful sand topped off with an Aloe Vera back massage.
St Vincent has a lot of competition and its beaches just aren't up to much. Shared a taxi with 2 of our dining room companions off the ship. Taxi took us to the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' filming point where much of the set is still there. One room was completely full(floor to ceiling)with old black telephones - don't remember that from the screenplay. The old fort is also worth a visit.
Got some good exercise wandering about the capital; then found an excellent local bar on the front where we passed an entertaining couple of hours. Then did one of the locally arranged bus tours escorted by 'Captain Morgan' who gave us a great tour of the island. Go easy on the Rum distillery visit though; the white rum might look like Bacardi but it tastes like rough tequila with a kick to match.