December 3 -â€“ 8 Millenium
Having read several reviews about the Millenium of late, we were concerned before we boarded. This was our 10th cruise on Celebrity so we know what to expect. We were not disappointed at all.
Embarkation: It was likely the smoothest we had encountered. We used a Miami parking lot on 7th for $4 a day. It was secure 24/7 -â€“ there were no issues at all. We did have to arrange our own taxi ride for $8. We arrived at 10:15AM and boarded at 11:05. We were at the pool with a drink by 11:15. The Aqua Spa restaurant opened where we had a lovely lunch. It was the smoothest embarkation ever.
Concierge Suite: #8156 Steward - Joseph We wanted to see if there was a significant difference between an inside stateroom that we have often had, and a Concierge suite. We had read that once you experience a balcony, you'd never go back to an inside. That wasn't the case for us at all. Some flowers, a bottle of champagne, a few appetizers daily, 2 plush robes and a better shower head we felt aren't close to being worth the extra money for Concierge class. As for the balcony, we weren't convinced on that either. It was noisier than any inside cabin we've had, but the sliding glass doors did make it feel much larger. We will go back to our inside cabin and take that money to spend it elsewhere. If someone felt claustrophobic, then an inside would not be a good choice. But we like the total darkness, place a towel at the bottom of the door and carefully choose our cabin at the end of a corridor to reduce outside traffic noise. One thing we did like was the bed on the long wall so that will be our compromise. Joseph was superb.
Ship: The ship is getting older so there are signs of wear like some scruffy legs on chairs, some rust on balconies, worn wood around the pool deck. But there is nothing to stop any reasonable person from having a great cruise. If the appearance of the ship needs to be a 10/10, pick a newer ship. I can never understand people who complain about the smallest things that have nothing to do with how to have fun and relax.
Dining: We like traditional dining because we enjoy getting to know our tablemates and have always had wonderful folks to chat with. This time we had 3 couples from Florida with whom we had a great time. As we age (55-60) it is harder to deal with the set times though. Early seating is too early and late is too late -â€“ a real dilemma. Our head waiter was just OK, but never made the effort to go that extra mile, get to know our likes or try to get to know us at all. He was often talking with his fellow head waiters in the corner. We do like that Celebrity continues to offer the chance to adjust gratuities, so we were able to acknowledge our wonderful assistant waiter Andreas. With a wife with a gluten issue, we have had to deal with the matre d' on every cruise. Most have been amazing, going out of their way to manage the dietary restriction. Again, this cruise -â€“ just OK. The food was very good but not excellent -â€“ maybe an 8.5/10 not the 9.5/10 we have been accustomed to with Celebrity. There were misses -â€“ a cold steak, crÃ¨me brulee that was too heavy, too few vegetables on the entrÃ©e. But there were hits -â€“ the Hake in parchment, any of the chilled soups, chocolate soufflÃ©, amazing cookies at the Ocean's restaurant, and Aqua Spa anything. Again if something isn't to your liking, send it back and ask for something else. I suppose some people just like belly aching.
Service: Other than our head waiter, everyone was outstanding. Jonathon, Edgar, Roger, Dennis, Raymond -â€“ all outstanding barmen. Everyone we dealt with had a smile, greeted us, seemed happy and all were a pleasure to deal with.
Ports: I've never understood reviewers who complain about the ports. We all know the ports ahead of time, and pick the cruise knowing that, so I have a hard time understanding the complaining. I do wonder why RCCL invested so much money in developing the port in Falmouth, Jamaica. It is just too sketchy for us although the small immediate port area does look nice even with the same old stores. I think we spent 15 minutes buying some coffee.
Cost: The 2 of us had a Concierge Suite for under $1000 for 5 days with $150 OBC -â€“ where can you do better than that! We parked 35 minutes away from the pier for $20 for the 5 days and our bill was $209 since we used up our OBC and I had the premium package. I drank whatever I wanted and my wife had 4 martinis. Someone complained about not being served when they had a drink package -â€“ I found the opposite. They got to know you and wanted to keep you happy. I walked into the martini bar every night and Roger said, "I'll be right there with your Paradise martini!" Someone complained about the sommelier who ignored them -â€“ I found the opposite -â€“ she was wonderful. At CafÃ© Cova -â€“ they were awesome. Maybe the people who complain don't know how to treat other people and treat them like servants. When you give off an air of entitlement, I can't help but feel you get back what you deserve. We had a wonderful experience with everyone on the ship. These folks work hard!
Entertainment: I had the premium package and made excellent use of it. It doesn't take long with a cappuccino for breakfast, a few bottles of water, 3-4 drinks around the pool, 2 martinis before dinner and a glass of wine at dinner for the package to pay for itself. Next cruise we are Elite so may have to rethink that. We have never chosen Celebrity for its entertainment. But this cruise, there was a marked improvement. The dance band in the Rendez-Vous lounge was awesome, Metropark could really sing, the guitarist was great, and the troupe of singers and dancers were miles above the normal high school talent we often have seen. Usually the boys can either sing or dance -â€“ this time they were great at both. The guest acts were weak- comedian was just fair and the juggler -â€“ well -â€“ a juggler. Celebrity does seem to understand their demographic market better. We don't choose HAL because we are only 60 and act like 50. We don't choose Carnival because we aren't 20 -â€“ 30. We don't choose RCCL because we don't need rock climbing and food quality matters to us. Celebrity seems to get the fact that its market is generally the 30 -â€“ 70 crowd, mostly couples who want service. It was horribly loud around the pool (so we found another area) and there is little to do from 5 -â€“ 7 as you are waiting for late seating. Other than that, we were very satisfied. One reviewer complained bitterly about gay couples. I want to address that. Yes, there were many. SO WHAT! There was no inappropriate public behavior at all. These were well mannered, well dressed, pleasant men who shouldn't be expected to take some "gay only" cruise. If the reviewer was uncomfortable with something, it was likely his own ignorance. Were there people who were put off the ship because of behavior? Yes, there were 3, I believe -â€“ all related to drugs. These guys broke the law -â€“ and knew the consequences. Surely that should matter far more.
Disembarkation: We decided to try the express walk off. What a breeze! We were in our car by 7:10AM having had breakfast at 6:15, walked off at 6:45, and got a cab. We will certainly be doing this again when we disembark the Eclipse in Southampton in May next year. (I just have to convince my dear wife to take one bag!)