Vacation of a lifetime!
My sister and I traveled on this vacation together. It our first time on Celebrity. I was a bit leery going with Celebrity since it has a reputation of being the cruise line for older individuals and my sister is in her mid twenties and I am in my early thirties.
The check in process was very smooth. We arrived at the port around noon and there was not much of a wait at all. The only thing I would say about it is the individual who checked us in was not very pleasant. I was afraid it was a sign of things to come but I couldn't have been more wrong.
From the moment we boarded the Millennium, we were pleasantly surprised. The dEcor of the ship, which I had read many negative things about, was nice. We spent some time at the pool before they announced we could go to our rooms. We had an inside room which was very nice. Plenty of room for two girls. My only complaint was there was no real place to store our suitcases for the week.
We had been scheduled for More
early seating and once we boarded the ship decided to change to select dining. The first night we were seated with two older couples. We enjoyed their company very much. The challenging part was my sister is a vegetarian and her options on the menu were very limited. We found our dining experience just average. The food was just ok and the service was marginal.
Our second night on the ship was formal night. Since we didn't have the best experience the night before, we decided to skip the dining room and have the buffet for dinner. Once again, plenty of choices but the food was just ok.
Our third night we decided to try the dining room again. We were blessed to be seated with a FANTASTIC waiter and assistant waiter. If you are doing select dining, you MUST request John and Luciano. I can not say enough about our experience with John, Luciano and Nicolus (the charming assistant matradee) starting that night and continuing the entire duration of the cruise. From the first moment we met John, he knew our names, and who was who! John went above and beyond night after night to make sure we were happy with our dinner. He offered my sister numerous vegetarian options each night and encouraged her to try new things.
We only attended one show on the ship and found it average. We also attended a movie in the cinema. It was crowded and very uncomfortable. The chairs were close together and straight up. If someone would have told us the movie plays the next day on the TV, we would have skipped the "cinema" experience.
All in all, cruising with Celebrity was incredible and by far our favorite cruise experience to date. We truly felt like "celebrities" everyday. We debated staying on and making it a back to back experience, if only there wasn't a little things called work standing in our way! Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We went on a local tour with a lady named Madi. We stumbled across her in TripAdvisor. She picked us up outside of the port gates, in a red jeep 4x4. What a great day! First, we stopped at a local grocery store to get a beverage for the day. Then she toured us around the island. We went very off-roading on the drive to the Natural Pools. Bring your swimsuit because it's a beautiful swimming area. Although Madi jumped in with all her clothes on! We then continued a tour of the island. The tour was about 5 hours. After the tour with Madi, my sister went horseback riding with Rancho Notorious and did not have a good experience. The van never picked her up, as they had arranged to the tourism employee ended up giving her a ride to the ranch. Once there she went on a few hour ride with a tourguide who had only lived in Aruba a few weeks and knew nothing about the island and was not able to answer any of her questions. Once the tour was complete, they asked her to fill out a comment card which they proceded to read aloud and argue with her regarding her comments. I would avoid them. They look a long time to return her to the ship and she was the last one to board the ship that day.
We did a catamaran tour with Sail Calabaza. What a great experience. Cute staff and nice boat. We took a taxi to the boat. The taxi driver was not affiliated with Sail Calabaza and we found him unpleasant. He almost left without us as a matter of fact. Once we arrived to the boat, we were served fresh banana bread and then sailed to two different snorkeling areas. Afterwards, we went to a different area and swan with the turtles. A delicious home cooked lunch was served and then we had more time to swim, go to the beach or relax on the boat. The entire time the crew had an open bar for us. Great day!
Our least favorite island. We found the locals very unfriendly. We were quoted an extremely high ($150) for a taxi ride, to the Ostrich Farm, approx 15 minutes away from port. We finally joined another couple and arranged a taxi driver for the day to numerous stops. Our first stop was Hato Caves. It was very interesting but very far out of the way. It took us longer to drive there than it did to tour the caves. Our second stop was the Ostrich Farm. Very disappointing. We paid for a guided tour through the farm, which ended up being about one city block. It took us a LONG time on the tour because the guide had to explain everything in three different languages. I wouldn't go there again. Our last stop was Curacao Liqueur factory. It isn't actually a factory, mearly a store that sold a few items. Again, very disappointing. Once we arrived back to the ship we had lunch and again got a taxi to Cabana Beach. It was a $3 "cover charge" to even enter the beach. The beach was very, very busy and very rocky. We were there about 45 minutes when we decided to just go back to the ship.
We took a water taxi to Grand Anse Beach. First, we walked to the local pharmacy to pick up some additional sunscreen and aloe. Then we walked back to the beach. There were many venders on the beach and they were all very aggresive. The beach itself was just ok. We rented two chairs and umbrella for $15. Altough, it was disheartening to see local dogs walking around the beach, clearly not being taken care. Many dogs, all skin and bones. Overall, the locals were not very friendly.
We took a tour with Cosol. They picked us up just outside of the port in numerous van's. Our driver was Cosol's brother, Yellow Bird. He was AWESOME! Even though it rained, it was a great day. We drove around the island and learned many interesting things. We went by a banana plantation where Yellow Bird gave us banana's right off the tree. Delicious! We drove through many fishing villages and even spent some time of the beach. We would absolutely go with Cosol again. You can do a google search for him and find his website. On a side note, St. Lucia has excellent local beer called Piton's.
This was our second time to St. Maarten. It's never been an island I love. This time we took a taxi to Pinel Island. Actually, we took a taxi to the ferry to Pinel Island. We arranged for the taxi driver to come back and pick us up at the end of the day. There we rented kayak's for less than $10 and kayaked to Pinel Island. Pinel Island was a bit dirty (cigarette butts, drink straws) and smaller than I imagined. We rented two chairs and an umbrella and spent the day on the beach. We had lunch at a restaurant called "Up On The Key" which was good. If we did it again, we would have spent more time kayaking around the island and less time on the beach.
We took a ferry (which is a very short walking distance to the left of the port) to Virgin Gorda. The ferry included a taxi ride, once in Virgin Gorda to the Bath's. We walked through the Bath's. It was nice but NOTHING like I had imagined. We did continue on walking to Devil's Bay, the beach at the end of the Bath's. It was a nice beach, and quiet, because not everyone walks that far through the Bath's. We spent the day there and had fun on the beach. There were two routes back from Devil's Bay. Walking back through the Bath's or walking down a trail to the parking lot. We took the trail, but wouldn't do that again. It was very far and took twice as long as going back through the Bath's. Also, we took the last ferry from Virgin Gorda and made it back to the ship with plenty of time to spare.