Our Christmas-to-New Years cruise on the Celebrity Millennium was, well, according to my critical wife: A+. Yes, we found fault with some things: a few unclean public restrooms, a ship that needs the overhaul that it's scheduled for during the coming year (worn, hardware in some disrepair). We're not kind critics by nature, yet still signed up during the cruise for another, using the (unexpected) no schedule deal whereby we can cruise on any future Celebrity route (no expiration) for a $100 deposit -- and not only $300 on board credit for us, but also for two of our guests.
No, we don't work for Celebrity. This was our second cruise with them, though. Here's why we committed for another journey, details tbd. Our first major cruise was with Carnival and the contrast continues to amaze.
1. Despite some remarks in Cruise Critic reviews, we found the service (and food) in the main dining room to be exceptional. Our waiter even served up a third entree for the two of us, to demonstrate that his recommendation against that entree was well placed. (Certainly surprised his assistant waiter, when two eaten entrees and another barely touched had to be cleared from our table!)
2. We were surprised to find that we looked forward to the cheeseburgers and fries at the poolside grill each day. No, we don't normally chow down on such fare. But, the burgers were not your typical McDonalds variety and were served with sufficient fresh condiments and vege salads to make a satisfying if not entirely healthy meal. And, the buns were toasted.
3. Our steward was effective but invisible. Our stateroom (inside: we're not rich) was made-up as ordered and serviced punctually. Our only disappointment was that on the last night there was no towel animal, as we'd seen on other cruises. But, given the gruelling workload of the staff on these voyages, we could hardly complain.
4. We took this trip with Celebrity even though we'd already been to one of the ports of call (with Celebrity) -- because it was the only cruise available when my work permitted. We actually enjoyed staying on board while the soccer moms and their kids went ashore, leaving a true luxury experience for those who stayed behind. We wouldn't deliberately take another cruise with a familiar port of call, but to our surprise it was a very nice way to spend time "in port".
5. In summary: There's a reason why one sees in travel guides that Celebrity is the highest rated major cruise line. We're sold and hope to take an extended trip with them in another 18 months, maybe on a relocation cruise that entails a lot of days at sea -- we love that.
One last note: My wife and I spent our 21st anniversary on this cruise and I'm certain it helped cement an already close relationship. What more could one ask?
P.S. As for the comment here that the welcome champagne was served outside and was warm... well, that's also where the embarkation photos were taken and we even bought a copy because the natural light made us look so much better than the flash photography inside!