Canadian Rockies and Alaska Northbound cruise August 2011
We chose Celebrity Millie because we love the cruises that we have taken before: all on Celebrity ships. In 2002 we took an Alaskan cruise tour on the Summit, seeing wonderful Alaska by sea,train, and bus. We loved it. This time my husband wanted to see the Canadian Rockies so we chose Celebrity to organize this tour. The awesome Rockies were beautiful and majestic. The only complaint that we had was the hotel choices that we had. Elegant and opulent the Fairmonts lived up to their reputation. We purchased meals on our own and most of them had to be taken at the hotels and were more pricey than we could imagine. The hotels were out of the towns and difficult to get into town even by shuttle. We stayed at the Calgary Fairmont Palliser, Banff Springs Fairmont, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge in Jasper, overnight on the Via Rail(dinner and breakfast included) into Vancouver, and at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria BC. We had exciting tour stops all along the trip. Stopping at Calgary Tower, More
Banff gondola, Ice Explorer in Jasper (neat walking on the glacier, cold too), train ride including an overnight bunk bed compartment, bus tour of Vancouver, ferry to Victoria including the lovely Butchard Gardens, then the next morning it was off to Canada place to board the Millie.
Boarding was quick and painless, lunch in the buffet was very good. The ship seemed in good condition to us and the service was top-notch. Our waiter and Asst. waiter worked very hard to keep us happy and full. Never went away from the table hungry. The sandwiches on the back of deck 10 were delicious as was the pizza. We didn't go to the shows or other activities on the ship, so I can't really comment on them, except our table-mates said they were very good. The big brunch on sea day was incredible, if you could think about a food it was there somewhere. The tables were crowded, but the waitstaff seemed to be clearing the tables as soon as people left. There was a Chocolate Buffet that was said to be amazing with all its' offerings. (we didn't wake up to go at midnight). We had a wonderful cruise except for a fishing tour my husband signed up for which was very disappointing. The check out seemed to work out ok as we took a Kenaii tour on our way to the airport. The flight home was uneventful and we arrived in Chicago on time. We would go again to Alaska, but would not do the Rockies again with Celebrity. We enjoyed Alaska land tour more. Less
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Cabin review: Celebrity Millennium Concierge Class Vista Deck (7)
Cabin 8078, a concierge cabin was nice, with a nice balcony, Noise was not a problem. The canapes were probably not worth the extra charges, but it was nice to have the fruit and flowers. There was a built in shelving area about 18 inches across with metal bars to keep stuff on the shelves for storage for our camera, binoculars. Bring your own binoculars as the ones provided were broken. I had my own and didn't request new ones. There was also a hand held hairdryer that they replaced when I told them it didn't work. I don't know if our balcony door was broken or not, but it stayed open and it was very nice to have it open when the weather co-operated.
Port and Shore Excursions
Icy Straight was a tendered port. It was easy to get off the ship. In this port we hired Teckk Outfitters for a Bear Watch. We saw bears and beautiful scenery. We took a walk through the woods, over some shallow waters, and down animal trails. I was worried because my knees give me trouble sometimes, but I was able to navigate the whole trail without difficulty. We saw salmon breeding in the streams some of them were already dead. It was quiet and peaceful in the woods. Our guide was mindful that we were in bear territory and had a gun with him, to keep us and the bears safe. The windy road/some paved and some gravel might be a cause for concern if you get carsick, but I do and didn't have a big issue with it. If I had known it was that windy I would have prepared with taking a Bonine with me. The walk back from town took quite a while and it is better if you take the shuttle. We didn't want to wait for it and decided to walk, about halfway back to the port I decided I should have taken the shuttle, too late, we walked the rest of the way and slept really good that night.
We did this port on our own, Our ship docked right outside of town near the Mt. Roberts Tram. We took the MGT bus to Mendenhall Glacier for $16.00 each, about a 30-45 min. drive and it dropped us off near the Visitor Center. Then we walked around on our own at our own pace. We saw bears, glacier ice in the water, and took lots of photos. We were able to stay until we felt we had seen everything we wanted to. Nugget falls is awesome, worth the walk. No wait for the bus to go back to Juneau. We then took the tram to the top of Mt. Roberts, but felt it was a little too much money for what we did up there. The scenery was very nice and a great little gift shop. Then we took the tram down the mountain and I went to a quilt and yarn shop. Both were very nice and I spent some money there too. We didn't want to do a whale watch this time because we did it before in 2002. We were trying to do different things than we did that time.
My husband did a Halibut hunt arranged by Celebrity here. As usual the weather was rainy with heavy rains and winds. He thought maybe the tour would be cancelled, but it wasn't. The tour company did have heavy rain gear for all the guys on the boat (there were 3 of them), The boat was a 20 foot open boat and they were exposed to the weather much of the time, the waves were strong and the fishing poor. Now we know that if you are fishing you aren't guaranteed that you will catch something, but all the guys felt this tour should have been cancelled. A couple rock fish and a turbot were caught, no Halibut. So our word of advice would be to check on the policy of cancellation, and what type of boat you will be fishing in before signing up for a fishing tour. I had a wonderful time, despite the rain, shopping at the local quilt shop and souvenir stores. I was prepared with a good rain jacket and a water repellent tote bag to carry my purchases. There is plenty to see in town in Ketchikan.
We weren't expecting to have a city tour in Seward. We had signed up for the Kenai Fjord tour with lunch offered by the ship before our drop off at the Anchorage airport. of course it is raining again. Our bus picked us up by 8:30am then we were all dropped off in town where we had to find something to do for 2 1/2 hours. My husband and I opted for a tour of the Seward Aquarium. We had seen it before and it was a dry, comfortable place to spend our time. When the bus picked us up it was off to the Kenai Fjord tour. Now if you are prone to seasickness, be sure to take some precautions well before your tour leaves. It was rough out in the Gulf of Alaska. We saw whales, eagles, puffins, otters, and other sea birds. The all-you-can-eat lunch consisted of Salmon, Prime rib, salad, bread and butter and dessert and a beverage was very good. The upper and lower viewing areas were enclosed with tables and chairs for sitting and visiting. There were open spaces out on deck, but it was rough and raining so not too many people took advantage of the open areas. They also had a naturalist on board looking for wildlife. They offered a neat little program for the kids on board to become Jr. Rangers. 2 kids completed the requirements (don't think it was too difficult) and they had a ceremony and were awarded pins and certificates. Those 2 were really happy and proud. Just a neat thing to do.
We did this port on our own rented a car at Avis. Downloaded Murrays guide and it was very helpful. We went to Emerald lake and it is as beautiful as everyone says it is. The color was simply a beautiful shade of blue/turquoise. We wanted to look at the Suspension Bridge, but didn't because it cost $27.00 and just to look it seemed too expensive. It was cloudy, misty when we started out, but once we were over the mountain and into the Yukon the skies cleared and we had a beautiful day. Easy crossing the borders, just have your passports available. Once back in town we went to the Rushin Tailors quilt shop. The fabrics in the Alaskan ports are so different from what we have in the lower 48 that it is well worth it to try and find the shops.