Miami-Roatan-Cozumel-Miami on Millennium again confirmed our preference for Celebrity. The cruise line seems to fit our "happily married, fifty-something" preferences. Not too many children, nor too many octogenarians.
For the two of us, this five night itinerary is more for resting than sight-seeing or activities. We find it very relaxing to read and watch the waves without phone or email interruptions. We flew into Miami the morning of departure and took a cab to the port. We usually come in the day before to reduce potential travel interruptions but had adequate cushion this time on the day of travel. A taxi from Miami Airport to the cruise terminal is now $25 due to a $1 fuel surcharge. It took about 35 minutes.
Check-in at noon took less than 15 minutes with our roll-aboard luggage. The concierge-level line was actually longer than the other lines, so there was no benefit. The buffet opened at noon but we waited in the Air-conditioned library until our rooms were made available at 12:30. Then we went to eat and wander around the ship. We like the food quality and variety on Celebrity. We also like that they serve us to minimize the hands-in-the-food contamination. (We still watched one of the clueless reach into a serving dish and pick up a handful of dry toppings with his bare hand). The only disappointment was the Thai-inspired soups or rice dishes. They should just call them Asian, because they are not quite truly Thai in flavor.
Millennium is a fine ship but is ready for its upcoming refit and "Solsticization. " It is basically identical to Infinity in layout and design. We are looking forward to seeing the upgraded Infinity during an upcoming Panama Canal cruise.
We have watched departure from an upper deck to see both sides of the port of Miami. However, we are now content with watching the views from the privacy of our balcony. Celebrity has won our loyalty primarily by not allowing smoking on the balconies or in the staterooms. We enjoy the balconies at extra expense and detest the smell of cigarette or cigar smoke. One smoker on a balcony impacts dozens of non-smokers.
The food in the dining hall also is great and the service is exceptional. Our table-mates were pleased with every soup, appetizer and entre ordered. As usual, the left side of the menu remains the same each night. The right side has an excellent variety of seafood, beef, lamb, chicken and veal. I had a steak that was as good as any I have had in the finest specialty restaurants. The service continues to be slow (two hours each night) since each order is cooked to order. The quality is obvious, but we would prefer a bit quicker service to get back to watching the waves.
The activities and entertainment are fine. We do not see why so much profanity-laced "entertainment" has to be provided during prime time, and then rebroadcast throughout the next day. Relegate them to a midnight show in one of the lounges.
Another quick rehash of the concierge level discussion. There is no real value added for the extra cost. We were given the same towels and shampoo we had our last cruise on deck 7. The room attendant expressed the great inconvenience of granting our request for the provided shoe shine and feather pillow option. She also didn't like making room in the fridge for our cokes and lectured us why we shouldn't be drinking cokes anyway! The rest of the week was fine since we didn't ask for anything else. The room was clean but the bathroom smelled musty. The afternoon canapÃ©s would be better if we had a choice. Maybe a fruit and cheese option one day, chips and salsa option another day. The flowers are nice but I dont see the need for concierge level again.
The seas passing Cuba were a little rough so don't forget the Bonine (like Dramamine without sleepiness). Information about Miami, Roatan and Cozumel is below.
Surprisingly, we were not able to book next fall's cruise on board because the routes are not settled. Also surprisingly no allowance was made for those of who wanted the upgrade and OBC advantages of booking on board.
Overall it is a great cruise. We chose the express departure since we travel light. We were off the ship and through customs by 6:30 a.m. We were at MIA in plenty of time for standby on the 0745 flight out.