Over-worked, tired, stressed out Mama, daughter, sister, private chef in need of a long-overdue getaway flew into Ft.Lauderdale and arrived in Miami just shy of noon on sail date... cruising solo for the first time, I was thrilled to be joining Celebrity for my second cruise. Having sailed on the Solstice last Spring, I was hooked on Celebrity and cruising from the get-go but was a little wary of what I'd find on the smaller, older Millie. I trolled the CC website for weeks prior, reading everything I could get to, wanting others' opinions on her. Finally deciding that I just might like the smaller ship, I was keeping an open mind as I went through the embarkation process. It went smoothly, and yet still seemed a little slower than the Ft.Lauderdale terminal. Arriving onboard, the usual Champagne/Mimosa greeting was fine, the staff seemed friendly and I headed to the pool deck to wait for the cabins to be finalized. My first stop however was the ladies room and it was the first disappointment for the Millie. NOT a good impression when what I saw lacking could so easily be fixed with a little paint and attention. Then there was the funky odor in most of the public areas. So, I parked myself in the smoking section of the pool area and waited to meet what I hoped would be my new lifetime friends just as I had on the Solstice. That didn't happen- the passengers on this particular cruise were from really wide spectrums of the world and age ranges, and with the exception of a few people, I was disappointed in the mix. The Millie had tables and chairs rather than the wicker seating areas that the Solstice had, and so it wasn't quite as welcoming to sit and get to know your fellow passengers.
Once the announcement was made about 1:30pm that cabins were ready, I headed down to what I quickly began calling the basement. I'll NEVER cruise that low again- as it appeared to be where the "rift-raft" on the ship were housed. I guess you really do get what you pay for. In spite of several complaints to Guest Relations, I was awakened every night by other passengers running, screaming and being completely insensitive into the early hours of the day (think 3-4am) and hearing my next door neighbors through the walls. The overall appearance of the cabin was great- and my housekeeping staff was adequate, not what I expected of Celebrity but still nothing to complain of in that area.
The food, which was probably THE most important facet of my cruise was disappointing in the MDR, just okay in the buffet and fabulous in the Ocean Grille- then there was The Olympic which was amazing on the final night of our journey. I would have missed that however, had it not been for having to adress my miserable cruise with the Director of Guest Relations who comped the visit to try and make things better for me. The service in the MDR wasn't at all up to Celebrity standards and it got to be a scary thing for me to go to dinner waiting to see what would get messed up next.
The ports were like night and day, although the scenery was beautiful, the people of Jamaica (our first stop) were friendly and of sweet spirits, where the people of Grand Caymen were rude, harsh and greedy with their "Tour Here" signs and behaviour. The little "village" of Falmouth will be amazing once its completed- but I saw lots of potential, fell in love with the people and will definitely go back- sans cruise ship. The Turtle Farm in Grand Caymen was worth every moment of grief it caused to get there (please pick your taxi drivers carefully) and 7mile beach was too crowded. Tendering into GC wasn't at all problematic, and back to sea we went.
Overall, the highlights of this cruise were a 'few moments" and a "few people". Mellissa Snow, the Captains' Club hostess was above and beyond exceptional, MetroPark was awesome and engaging with the crowds, Phillip Holmes, the Dir. of Guest Relations was kindness walking, (in spite of what didn't get fixed for me in a timely manner, he did eventually do what he could to help.) Maria, our Activities Director from the Solstice was on board, and I simply can't say enough good things about her- so I'm still a HUGEly devoted Celebrity fan, but not the Millie... If these staff members are still on her when the renovations are complete, I might (MIGHT) consider giving her another shot- but will definitely spend the money required to be on a higher deck. You live and learn, and I've learned much this trip.. till next time, happy sailings to you and yours!!