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15 Celebrity Holiday Cruise Reviews

I will start on a positive as we have cruised on the Eclipse four times now. As usual the staff really made the cruise as they are so gracious, interesting and hepful. Also the cleaniness of the whole ship was good. The ports were as good ... Read More
I will start on a positive as we have cruised on the Eclipse four times now. As usual the staff really made the cruise as they are so gracious, interesting and hepful. Also the cleaniness of the whole ship was good. The ports were as good as usual with no delays despite turning back to Curacao due to a medical emergency. The proceedure on and off the ship was efficient. We feel like many others that the cutbacks on the ship made our experience quite different. We tried for the first time the choice to dine when you wanted to and found the experience better than we anticipated. It avoided the rush to get ready for early dining as the other is too late due to a gasterol illness. There was no wait and we had the joy of meeting different people each evening. Also meant that it avoided sometimes sitting on an empty table. Like many others we did enjoy the food but somehow was not so special as often delays and feeling that the staff were too few. We actually ate in the buffet one night for the first time ever in the evening. Obviously the dress code has dropped very significantly which is a shame. The brunch is no longer in the Sonata and is now in the Ocean View Buffet Restaurant and was a shambles. There was nowhere to sit as full and when you did find a table to share all the dirty plates were still there so had to take to plate station so could set down own food. We loved the food and ice sculptures in the old brunch set up! Please bring it back. Also when asked whether everything was satisfactory we said the new tea bags were terrible as even with two there was no flavour. Three people took our Cabin No. and no-one came back. One gentleman working in Murano Restaurant high up said he would get loose tea and pot to us. We were so grateful but nothing. Would this have happened in days gone by - no never. We went to Sales Office to set up a forward passage but are home now and still heard nothing despite filling in form etc. on chasing it up on ship were told they had a pile to work through. Guess it is not going to materialise now! We probably will not go with Celebrity again despite Elite Status after seven cruises with them as wondering if it is worth the premium.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
A little about us: This was cruise #21. #7 on Celebrity. This was our first cruise where our 24 yo son came with us, and first time with three in a cabin. We normally book inside or outside cabins. This time, we booked a verandah and ... Read More
A little about us: This was cruise #21. #7 on Celebrity. This was our first cruise where our 24 yo son came with us, and first time with three in a cabin. We normally book inside or outside cabins. This time, we booked a verandah and snagged cabin 6155, with the oversized verandah on the front reverse “Bump.” This was our first “Christmas” cruise. If you just want the summary just scroll down to the end as this is rather long. We flew to Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise. Southwest was on time with an early arrival. We stayed one night at the Ft Lauderdale/Plantation Hampton Inn. They picked us up at the airport. We traveled with local friends to the cruise port on Sunday morning as in total we were a group of eleven. Despite countless e-mails and text messages from Celebrity with their “Board by decks” and “Delayed boarding” warnings, we arrived at the port around 10:00. Our luggage was taken immediately. Our big “Wait” was waiting for the security screeners to open, which they finally did around 10:45(?). We were promptly processed, given our boarding cards, and directed to a seating area for “Select and Elite” members. At about 11:30 we noticed those in the “Suite” boarding area were being let on the Reflection. Five minutes later we were allowed to board. Immediately upon boarding, we confirmed our dining reservations for a table of eleven in the Opus dining room. Table 325 was confirmed. We also arranged to have dinner the first night in the Tuscan Grille as advance reservations could not help us due to our group being eleven. We enjoyed lunch in the not yet crowded Oceanview café (after the Muster drill it was a zoo!). We explored the ship and before the muster drill our luggage was delivered and we were unpacked. We met our room team and they suggested that they would put the mattress from the overhead bunk onto the couch, to give our son a nice bed. This worked out great and he slept soundly the entire trip. In fact, we were surprised how well the three in the room worked out. We were still able to access the verandah even while he was in his “Bed.” Dinner at 6:00 in the Tuscan Grille was fantastic (as expected). We attended the first night’s show which was a guest entertainer who was quite good as a vocalist and as a pianist, but we enjoyed the vocals more. Sunday morning we used the pools (which were way too cold the entire cruise – what is with the solarium pool being cool?) and hot-tubs early before breakfast. After drying off breakfast in the Oceanview was enjoyed. The ship is very impressive and further, I was surprised to find that at 10:00 not all the pool chairs had been claimed by “Chair hogs.” While we saw some signs of chair-hogging on this trip, it was nowhere near what we experienced on the Summit to Bermuda a few years back. At 10:15 we had our roll call meet and greet. The Captain and many other officers paid a visit. This was a nice gathering and many of us stayed until after 11:00. I attended the first of the “Behind the podium” talks on football and found it interesting. When that was over, I looked around the ship for our group and finally ran into one outside the Opus. I was able to belatedly join half our group in the Opus for lunch. The other half were in the Oceanview. Lunch in the Opus was okay. At this point we were very positively surprised and started to think we were on a five star cruise! We tried to call the dining room to arrange for no added salt meals for two of our party and were rebuffed “Just tell your waiter tonight.” Dinner in the Opus, however, dashed the hopes for a five star cruise. This was the first formal night. First off, our table had ten settings rather than eleven. The maître de insisted on double checking each of our five room’s table assignments, before admitting they had erred. They reset the table. Our waiter appeared and it was obvious he did not want to be there. At the end of the meal we learned he was a “Head waiter” who was filling in for someone who wasn’t feeling well. A “Head waiter” should mean outstanding service, right? NOT. Most everyone’s entrée was edible at best, and the menu sure didn’t reflect a “Formal night” type of menu. The Apple Pie dessert was made from tasteless apples and crust that tasted like cardboard. It was not edible. By now it was 8:15 and the second seating is at 8:30 so we were rushed out. While sitting at Café El Bacio for some good dessert, we realized the two ladies had not ordered (nor seen the menu) for the next night. Back to the dining room where we found one of the assistant managers who we informed about tonight’s meal situation and also took care of the special orders for the next evening. We hoped that would correct our dining disappointment… We attended the show, the first with the production company. After 10 minutes we all walked out. If they are trying to reach a younger audience, they failed. My 24 yo son said “What the h*** was that?” Monday was another bright sunny December day. We had a nice breakfast and enjoyed being around the ship. I attended the second of the “Football” talks. We didn’t arrive in San Juan until 3:30 PM so this was really a sea day. After the ship was cleared, we enjoyed a walk around Old San Juan including along the waterfront which we had not previously done. We were back on board in time for dinner. I admit I was surprised that Reflection did not offer “Open dining” as we were in port during the entire dining hours. In any case, our real waiter was serving us and he is on the ball. Dinner tonight was a winner and enjoyed by all. The special orders for tomorrow evening were taken efficiently. The maître de visited to make sure all was well. Have our dining issues all been resolved? While sitting at Café El Bacio, we saw one of the chefs checking the supply of pastries. A few of us engaged the chef in conversation and it turned out he was the executive pastry chef. Our question was “Why are these treats so good when the desserts in the dining room are subpar?” We gave him examples of that evening’s “Chocolate lava cake” that was the size of a US Quarter (I am NOT kidding) and the prior evening’s “Cardboard Apple pie.” He seemed shocked and told us the Apple Pie is made fresh each day. He picked up his phone and spoke to someone and told them to bring two pieces of pie to the Café. He also told us that if you see “SPE” next to an item, that means it is very small as it meets certain dietary standards – so avoid SPE if you want more than one chew! Well, those two slices of Apple Pie were the opposite of the previous night. The apples were tasty, the crust thin and flaky. At least 4 out of 5 for this pie! We thanked him profusely. These were the only good apple pie slices we had, though. I ordered the pie two other evenings and while not as bad as the first night they were nowhere near what we received from the chef. Monday’s show was a Pianist. He was actually quite good and we stayed for about 30 minutes of his show before fatigue (its tough being on a cruise!) set in. Tuesday morning we docked in St. Thomas. It’s a rare day when you are on board the only ship docking that day in St. Thomas! We had prearranged a private charter for our group to explore the out-islands. Alas, that was not to be. A taxi-van took us all there only to find a captain with a smaller, shade less boat than what we had booked. Alleged “Electrical problems” were keeping our boat from sailing. Okay, so no boat trip today. The taxi took us to Sapphire beach where we had a wonderful morning. The taxi was there at noon when we were ready to head back and we reboarded the Reflection. We tried the grille for lunch and the burgers are passable but nothing special. After the burger we explored the Oceanview for something better. We thought about going out to peruse the shops near the dock but never did make it ashore. We enjoyed the pools while many were still ashore. It’s a great day in the Caribbean sun! The day remained great but the evening not so much. The highly recommended fish dinner in the Opus was served (including the two special orders without salt) and the fish was smelly and tasted like it was spoiled. These were all sent back. I had also ordered the everyday steak which was okay. The two ladies replaced the fish with Salmon but they were both served with raw insides, like they were placed on a grille for 30 seconds on each side and served. By the time they received an edible plate, it was 8:00 and the clock was ticking… After some post-dinner discussion at Café El Bacio (can you tell we like that venue?) the three men went to guest services. We spoke with a very polite representative and made it very clear that we wanted to speak with someone from management about the two dining room disasters we had experienced. We were assured that if we came back after the show we could speak with a guest service manager. We went to the show, a much hyped production “Momentum.” After about 20 minutes we knew it wasn’t getting any better so we left. We went back to guest services and had a very nice meeting with three people. Long story short, they promised our meals would be personally reviewed by the executive chef and that all would be well the remaining three nights. Will they??? Wednesday is Christmas Eve and we are in St. Maarten! We left the ship about 9:00 and were treated to “Snow” on the gangway and pier. Many team members were there in Santa hats wishing everyone a great day. We were docked opposite the Silhouette and it seemed the two ships were competing to see which group was more “Christmassy.” It was fun. We took a taxi into town and walked the main shopping street several times. We also visited the bay-front promenade, but in the bright sun it was quite warm. Our immediate family visited the “Yoda guy” museum. We are Sci-Fi and “Star Wars” fans and this was a fun stop. We purchased a few pieces of his art and toured the excellent museum. We didn’t get out of town this trip and looking back that is one thing we will do on any future visit. After a late lido lunch, we went out to peruse the shops at the port. We returned to Reflection and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at the pool and for sail-away before getting ready for dinner. Dinner in the dining room was outstanding and the best Opus meal of the cruise. The show was Pianist Antonio Salci. Pianists are not my thing, but he was very good and talented. Thursday was Christmas day. We enjoyed the elite breakfast and then headed poolside to get chairs where we could watch “Santa” come by on his “Sleigh.” His arrival was promised for 10:00 and he was punctual. It was actually a lot of fun watching Santa and his many elves (dancers from the ship’s company?) and a few musicians make their way around the lido with a parade of followers including many families with children, Captain Peppas among them. They eventually headed down to the showroom and we did not follow. Our group had “Christmas lunch” in Murano. This was spectacular with both food and service beyond compare. We were in a private room well-stocked with wine along the walls. Everything was superb and lunch was greatly appreciated. Christmas dinner was the second formal night. We took photos around the ship and enjoyed another excellent Opus dining room meal. The holiday special Turkey was very good. The Scallop appetizer was very tasty. Desserts were the best dining room desserts of the cruise. After dinner the “Guest choir” performed a number of holiday tunes in the grand foyer. They were joined by many of the ship’s officers “Caroling” in the foyer. The snow-maker was in use and it was a bit of a magical moment. The evening show was a “Holiday show spectacular” and it was very enjoyable – especially as you consider this show, put on by the various ship’s performers from every venue on board, do this just once per year. Somewhere along the line I’m sure we were at El Bacio but I don’t recall the details. At the close of the show it was hinted/announced that there would be a special performance in the grand foyer at 10:45. We stayed for this – and still don’t understand what it was all about. The dancers were dressed in “Sci-fi” type of costumes and the male dancers looked like robots. But there was no storyline and it just seemed weird – and we like Sci-fi! Friday was the last day of the cruise heading back to Miami. We again did the elite breakfast, enjoyed relaxing at the outdoor pool where friends joined us to listen to the Xtasea party band at noon. Some of us even did some dancing on the pool deck. We had some lunch in the Oceanview (their large lunch croissants are delicious) and tended to the end-of-cruise packing chores. We also enjoyed live music anywhere we could find it including one last time at the Sunset bar for “Five O’clock Somewhere.” Our final dinner in the Opus dining room was a disappointment however. Perhaps not quite the horrendous meals from early in the cruise but nowhere near the quality of the prior two days. One thing we appreciated is there is no last night “Parade” or rah-rah for the culinary team. On our first few cruises we really enjoyed that but at this point for us that is old and we often avoid the dining room on the last night for this reason. We just don’t understand how “Modern luxury” means that only three out of six dinners in the dining room were enjoyable. After dinner the show was “Reflection – the show.” This was much hyped as the “Highest rated show on any cruise ship.” That is quite a boast when you know the types of shows that are now on the mega-ships, so we certainly went to check it out. It was certainly the best show put on by the production cast this week, we will give them that. Music from the 70’s and 80’s along with a bit of a story line made it interesting, and some of the aerialists are very talented. But the “Best show on any cruise ship?” A number of shows on our last cruise on the HAL Westerdam were better in terms of enjoyment, at least for us. Saturday morning we did the express disembarkation and were impressed that there were many customs inspectors and thus no lines at all. We were off the ship at 7:00 and curbside by 7:10. Conclusion: Well, this is a very hard cruise to rate. The ship? Five stars. Clean and meant to impress. The one thing though that I really disliked about the ship is the “Crow’s nest” area. There is no view whatsoever to the port side due to the high-priced cabins they put into the space. Our cabin? Five stars. We were surprised by two things: One, we did not use the oversized verandah very much at all. Two, we did not feel “Crowded” by having three in the room. Entertainment in the main showroom – Three at best. Entertainment other than the main showroom – 4 ½ stars. Specialty dining? Five stars – but it HAS to be five stars if you are paying $45 per meal over and above your cruise fare! The Oceanview café? For a buffet, it was overall very good – Four stars. The Opus dining room? Two and a half stars. This one really hurts as “Dinner” is a major component on a cruise, especially when traveling with friends. Three great meals were offset by two horrible experiences and one that was mediocre at best. Café El Bacio – Five stars. One of the best features that Celebrity has. On board Customer Service – 4 ½ stars. Everyone we met really tried their best to help with any voiced concerns. Pre-cruise Customer Service and website – 0 stars. “Modern Luxury?” I think not. The pools - COLD! We could use the pools but our friends who live in Florida found the pools were just too cold - even the Solarium pool. What is with that? 2 stars. Overall – Three and a half stars for this Christmas week cruise on Reflection. The concern we have is that the lower rated aspects of the cruise should not have been affected by the fact that this was a holiday cruise. After three “Excellent” cruises this year on HAL, it will be a while before we seriously consider returning to “X,” especially with their current pricing. Paying more while getting less is not how we prefer to spend our vacation dollars. Would we recommend the Reflection? With reservations, yes we would. But we feel there are better choices for a one week Caribbean sailing.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call and wanted to try our luck with Celebrity. Plus we liked that the ship stayed in ports for multiple days. This was our 7th cruise (first with Celebrity) and we have traveled extensively. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call and wanted to try our luck with Celebrity. Plus we liked that the ship stayed in ports for multiple days. This was our 7th cruise (first with Celebrity) and we have traveled extensively. Staff on the ship was friendly, courteous and very attentive! Our state room attendant Schubert and his assistant were excellent and seemed like genuinely good guys! Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze. This was a Christmas cruise and the ship did a very good job providing for the kids. Both our Kids 5 and 9 years old had a fun vacation. Ship layout was easy to navigate and possessed the usual cruise ship flair. The ship is bit old and shows its age. Our room was 9156, a family veranda with an extended balcony. It was spacious with a separate sleeping area for our 2 children which included an extra television. We would have been quite happy. However, the room was infested with bed bugs. Many of them were mature and we were all badly bitten. We were immediately removed from the room. All of our luggage and clothing was put in plastic and taken away to be cleaned. We were moved to a much smaller room. We were told our original room would be ready in a few hours. A day later, our clothes were delivered to the smaller room without an explanation. After several calls to guest services, we were informed our room would not be ready. Then only after complaining, we were offered 2 rooms side by side but not connecting. I would have preferred that our family be together in the same room but at least we were comfortable. The new rooms were clean and serviceable. Our new rooms were 6027 & 6029. 9156 was offered back to us after a few days but we elected to stay as packing up again didn't appeal to us. We essentially missed a day and a half. The ports of call were amazing cities! We had prepared for the long distance 2 - 3 hours bus or car rides each way but many were complaining. More time to compensate could have solved the problem. The ship was in port overnight on many of these occasions. We spent 2 nights in a private hotel in Bangkok. We wished we had done the same thing in Saigon. Hanoi needs an extra day. We missed the port at Da Nang because of inclement weather. The food at the restaurant was generally OK. There were some disappointments. The food at the buffet was not good. Snack food was terrible. Everyone at our dinner table liked our head waiter Alberto. His assistant Nadan was also extremely nice and should be recognized for giving outstanding service! We didn't eat at any of the specialty restaurants. The shows and entertainment are exactly what you should expect on a cruise ship. The lounge acts were marginal at best with the exception of the one man guitarist/singer who plays in the main foyer. He was exceptional! We had our issues. None which we didn't overcome. We met some very nice people and had a nice time. Somehow we expected more...   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Celebrity Millennium – Holiday Cruise- Dec 21, 2013- Hong Kong- Singapore (SE Asia) I wanted to share our experiences on the Celebrity Millennium Dec 21- Hong Kong- Singapore Holiday cruise. This is an honest assessment; the good, the ... Read More
Celebrity Millennium – Holiday Cruise- Dec 21, 2013- Hong Kong- Singapore (SE Asia) I wanted to share our experiences on the Celebrity Millennium Dec 21- Hong Kong- Singapore Holiday cruise. This is an honest assessment; the good, the bad and the ugly. This was my second Celebrity Cruise after sailing on Celeb Reflections this past summer on a Med Cruise. After our Reflections sailing, we felt we had finally found our cruise line and booked this cruise along with another Celeb Med cruise in June 2014. Our port was the new Kai Tak cruise terminal in Hong Kong. It’s brand new and they don’t have their operations down yet. Suffice it to say we did not get our luggage until nearly 10pm. By which time, we were too tired to do anything but eat at buffet and go to bed. Not off to a good start and Celebrity seriously needs to get with port authorities to figure out how to expedite luggage to the cabins. Many fellow pax groused about the same thing so already they got off on the wrong foot with their customers. If you sail in our out of this port, be advised there are not many taxis around. Try to pre-arrange if possible. I found a great online private transfer service- www.blacklane.com who specializes in Asia. They act as a broker with private drivers in many, many cities. I booked them for Hong Kong airport pickup to Kai Tak port while at my airline club in Shanghai waiting to board fight to HKK and 3 hrs later when I landed, I had a text that my driver was waiting. They were flawless and prices very competitive. For example, a 9 pax van from Singapore port to airport was $45; ship quoted me $160. First impressions when walking on board, the ship was definitely showing its age but the public places were still clean, if dated. Cabin- Our cabin 1140, an Aqua Class on Deck 11 was small but had an awesome balcony. It was an aft cabin with by far the largest balcony of the Aqua Class cabins. I highly recommend this cabin if you sail her and balcony size is important. It was right over the deck 10 aft bar (never did find out its name- we called it the Sad Café), but we were never bothered by noise. Probably because the staff at that bar was so disinterested, that no one really cared to sit out there for any length of time other than smokers. More on this later. Cabin was small and unlike Reflections which has overhead storage over bed, this cabin was egregiously lacking in storage. You have to bring a lot of clothes on a 15 day cruise; not sure where we’re supposed to put them. Bad layout to say the least. Not sure when these cabins last had a makeover but if it was recently, they did a lousy job. Our cabin steward was nice and perfectly competent and unobtrusive. As someone else also mentioned in their review, the thermostat never really worked properly in our cabin either. Dining- We obviously were entitled to eat at Blu and did so only 3 nights for a variety of reasons. Some days we got back from tours so tired and late, that we didn’t have it in us to clean up in a hurry and those days we ate at buffet. Other days we spent off the ship (total 4 nights overnighting in Bangkok, HCMC and Halong) The food at Blu while good, was not up to the standards that had been set on Reflections. It was good, not great and IMHO, certainly not worth the extra charges for an Aqua Class cabin. The service was awfully sloooow. Again, an entirely different experience than the one I had on Reflections. Maitre’ D was very nice as were all staff. It just took forever to get service and once we placed our orders, the dishes were brought at record speed so that you could finish your meal in less than 30 min. Just in time for that glass of wine you ordered an hr earlier. ‘Nuff said. QSine and Olympic however were stellar. QSine’s staff was phenomenal and service excellent. Sommelier was great. Food was very good, not quite up to Reflections, but very good nonetheless. We ate here twice Olympic- Food was phenomenal and service was STELLAR. What you would expect in a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Paris. Whoever trained that staff needs to be walked around the ship and give refresher courses to staff at other dining venues. We ate here twice. Il Bacio Coffee Bar- great coffees and excellent service. I think barista’s name was Annie, make sure SHE makes your coffee concoction. Service phenomenal here as well. Buffet- Food selection was fantastic and for most part, all dishes were excellent and very tasty. Best pizza I’ve ever had on a cruise ship. Great omelets as well. Good choices of salads and sides, gourmet sandwiches…etc. No complaints here. Great alternative to formal sit-down dining. Entertainment- Didn’t go to a single show but was told by other cruisers the entertainment was very good. Can’t help you here. Bars and Lounges- Generally speaking, most bars seemed understaffed or they just weren’t making an effort to ask pax if they wanted to place a beverage/drink order. Many pax I spoke to felt that was because so many of us were on Bev packs, that Celeb may have issued an edict not to offer up drinks to pax that have bev pckgs and to let us work for them. We were all just scratching our heads because it certainly was a recurring theme in most bars/lounges and egregious at the Deck 10 Sad Café. Cellar Masters, their wine bar was our meeting place for pre-dinner drinks. Service was good when you mosey up to bar and ordered a drink, otherwise pretty nonexistent if sitting at a table. We learned quickly that we needed to go to bar to place orders and then, they would bring drinks to table. Wine choices were terrible. Just really pedestrian wine at inflated prices but we made do. Reflections had a much more extensive and robust wines-by-the-glass list. Michael’s Pub- Supposedly a “craft beer” bar. Pretty pedestrian choices here as well, but since I’m not much of a beer drinker, it didn’t really matter. Sad Café- Deck 10 Aft- And then there was this bar. Don’t even know where to begin but this bar needs an overhaul. Most days you could find the staff joking amongst themselves while their pax died of thirst and neglect. Not sure what the problem is here but if there was one thing that turned off almost every single fellow pax I spoke to, was the absolute lack of service and overall staff demeanor at this bar. Dirty dishes would sit on tables for hrs at a time, no one would pick them up, things would get blown around and I would see the same French fry for 3 days on the deck. One day it was raining and dirty breakfast dishes were overflowing with toast, egg yolks, pancakes- you name it- on to the tables and eventually the deck. And those dishes sat there accumulating rain for HOURS. It was disgusting and provided a hell of a view from my cabin directly overhead. This is one major reason why I will rethink future Celebrity bookings. I expect that of maybe an MSC, but certainly not a line that prides itself on being a “premiere” liner. I can’t quite figure out if it was just a poorly run ship, if this is standard for Celebrity, or if Reflections was just an exceptionally run ship. Guest Services- Staff was very congenial and professional but seemed incapable of responding to major issues. More on that later. I do want to recognize Raul and Sandra who were both very responsive to any of my needs or inquiries. Itinerary- PERFECT!!!!!!!! I cannot say enough about what an ideal itinerary it was. It was the perfect amount of time in port for a “taster” of that given city. We booked an overnight junk through a private operator in Halong Bay and it was the highlight of our trip. Fellow pax that went to Hanoi regretted it because roads were so bad and trip took too long. We had an amazing overnight cruise on the Victory Star, which I highly recommend. Our ship skipped Chan May Port (Hue/Danang/HoiAn) because of weather and we ended up spending 2.5 days in HCMC/Saigon. We had originally planned on a 1.5 day overnight in Saigon and used the extra day to go to Vung Tua which was a great little beach city about an hr from Phu My port. Bangkok we overnighted 2 nights (NYE/NYD) and that was a treat. Laem Chabang is 2.5 hrs from Bangkok so make sure you arrange your tours before you arrive. I cannot tell you how many pax were stranded on the ship because the ship’s tours were sold out and all private tours were sold out. We used Oriental Escape (www.orientalescape.com) for our transfers and arranged private tours with them and could not have been happier with their services. Anyone on future sailings that has private tour questions, feel free to PM me. Happy to help. I am hooked on sailing and exploring this part of the world. I would actually take this cruise again in Dec 2014 were it not for the ship. I won’t sail Millennium again. Too bad Celebrity can’t substitute a different ship for this itinerary. You can do this sailing 4 years in a row and always have new things to do. If you’re contemplating a SE Asia trip, don’t think it through any more, just do it; you’ll be thrilled beyond your wildest dreams. Lastly, I do want to warn anyone sailing on this ship in a balcony veranda cabin, that my friend traveling as a single in a dbl occupancy cabin on Deck 7, got locked out of her balcony at night when the ship was swaying in rough seas. The sliding glass door slid shut and the handle popped into the locked position leaving her stranded on her balcony for 30 minutes until her cries for help were eventually heard by the people in the cabin next door. We reenacted the situation several times and each time the balcony door would pop into the locked position. Although she made Celebrity aware of the issue, they seemingly downplayed it. A warning should be on each and every door that the handle needs to be in the down position if you step outside. The response from Celebrity was simply unacceptable. My friend was traumatized. She asked to speak to the Hotel Mngr who never called, asked to get a copy of the incident report- nope- Celebrity wouldn’t do it. Just deplorable customer care. Her hand was swollen to three times the size because she banged on the door so hard trying to be heard. She eventually went to get acupuncture onboard and asked Celebrity to at least pay for that. Nope. Not even a future cruise credit for her nightmare. Shame on Celebrity. Parents and fellow travelers consider yourselves warned... In closing, I boarded this ship as a Celebrity loyalist with intentions of sailing Celebrity whenever possible. I leave still in search of a cruise line I can call my own.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was the first time Celebrity was done this route and it showed. The ports were all terrific with overnights in Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hanoi, and Hong Kong, but Celebrity was comically disorganized at port calls ... Read More
This was the first time Celebrity was done this route and it showed. The ports were all terrific with overnights in Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hanoi, and Hong Kong, but Celebrity was comically disorganized at port calls in general, getting people ashore, running shore excursions, and handing out passports. Hotels: Fairmont Singapore-Nice, but pricey Renaissance Bangkok-dirt cheap, and incredibly nice hotel Caravelle Saigon-cheap, and nice, but not as nice as Renaissance Sheraton Hong Kong-Expensive, but a very nice hotel Ports In Singapore, we did some nice tours before we got on the ship, including a city tour, and a tour of the World War II sites (Kranji was very moving). But I will focus on what happened once we got on the ship. We had planned to go to this nice new aquarium on Sentosa, since our ship didn't leave until 2 PM the next day. Unfortunately, we would soon learn that we had to be on board at Noon, which was never told to us when we booked. It was very misleading, and the beginning of our discontent with Celebrity's port operations. Apparently, there are 2 different aquariums on Sentosa. We accidentally went to the old one, which like everything else on the island, didn't open until 10. Because we had to be on board at 12, we didn't have time to go to the new aquarium instead. To add insult to injury, the ship ended up leaving port 4 hours late because all passports needed to be turned in, but a group of Russians (if you believe the scuttlebutt) failed to turn their passports in and were lounging at the pool despite constant announcements and impassioned, angry pleas from the captain. So, we had rushed for nothing. In Bangkok, all 4 members of my party were booked on the "Essence of Old Bangkok tour, which left at 10:15 A.M. My youngest son and I planned to stay overnight in Bangkok and just have the bus leave us there at the conclusion of the tour instead of going back to the ship. We were worried about getting our passports in time (you needed to collect your passports in order to stay overnight ashore as the hotel asks for them) since they were set to be given out at 10:30 A.M. Thus, I talked to guest relations and they assured me that our passports would be the highest priority and we would be able to get them at 10:15. Still concerned, I went to the shore excursion desk and told them my situation, and they once again assured I would get the passports in time, and if not, they would book me on a different tour which was "Overnight Bangkok on your Own". Long story short, we did not get the passports in time because Celebrity was so slow and inefficient at distributing them. As time marched on, I returned to the guest relations desk to ask about my so called priority status. The woman at the desk (can't remember her name, but she was Peruvian) told me that they were in her supervisor hands and we would get them soon, and that we should wait by the desk to receive them. 20 minutes later no passports. We went back to the place where passports were being distributed and had to wait even more time to get them. The Peruvian had blatantly lied, a tactic we found was used often by our crew who could care less about our experience. When we finally got our passports, we rushed to the shore excursion desk to make sure we got on the "Overnight Bangkok on your Own" tour. There was now no room left, and without any aid from Celebrity we were forced to find our own transport to Bangkok. It was very expensive, but we did get to the city in time to see the Grand Palace< the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The next day we went to Wat Arun, The National Museum, the Marble Temple, and the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo before returning to the ship. We would later learn that the tour we tried to get on was delayed so much due to passport issues that it did not arrive in Bangkok until 5 P.M. according to some of our fellow passengers. So, it was a blessing in disguise that Celebrity had failed to get us on that tour, as it saved us from further incompetency from them. The exception to the rule of bad shore excursion, passport and gangway issues was in Saigon. We had booked the Saigon Overnight tour (a bargain at 295 dollars) after enjoying staying overnight in Bangkok so much, no thanks to Celebrity. Our tour guide, Hoang, was just great. He was the best tour guide on the entire cruise. He spoke very good English, was kind, courteous, and gave lots of information and interesting anecdotes about his hometown. We saw all the usual sites on day 1 (Presidential Palace, History Museum, Water Puppet Show, Market, Church, etc.) and stayed at the Caravelle Hotel that night, which was great. My son had wanted to visit the highly touted War Remnants museum, which we didn't have time for the first day. However, it did open at 0730 the next day. We rushed there and thoroughly enjoyed our brief 45 minute visit. Next, we went to the Cu Chi Tunnels which was fascinating. It was incredible to see how the Viet Cong constructed this massive system with such little resources. The best part though was the shooting range they had where you could fire a wide range of weapons from the Vietnam War era, including AK47, M16, and M60s. We picked the AK47 and the M60 and it cost 68 dollars, not cheap, but incredibly fun. I had fired the M16 and M60 before, but never an AK, which was so unique since obviously I was not exposed to that as an American. There were no real issues with passports or disembarkation we experienced in Saigon, so that was a relief. After a day at sea, we arrived in Chan May, the port for Da Nang and Hue. We booked the Imperial Hue tour. This was the tour from hell! Our tour guide, Tran, had an absolutely incomprehensible accent and had an overall poor command of English. After paying hundreds of dollars for my whole family to go on this tour, I expected better from Celebrity. Could they really not have found a single guy in all the Central Highlands who spoke English better than this? If you listened hard, you would be able to make out about 30 percent of what he said. For example, "bla bla bla bla Heavenly lady Pagoda bla bla bla" So when he explained things anywhere that day, it was utterly useless. First went to the aforementioned Heavenly Lady pagoda, where I listened to another tour guide who actually spoke English. Next we went to the imperial palace. I hired four rickshaws to take us there from where the bus left us because my wife has a bad knee and cannot walk well. The rickshaw guides had quoted us two dollars each to go to the palace. Unfortunately, they lied. Instead of taking us to the palace, they take us on this one hour long wild goose chase around the streets of Hue despite my constant urgings to take us straight to the palace. When the tour finally ends, they want 1 million dong apiece, like 48 dollars. I am incensed. I did not want this whole long tour, I wanted to just be taken to the palace and pay my 2 dollars. I give them a million dong for all four of us, but they won't let us leave and attempt to physical restrain us. A poor plan since both my son and I have at least 7 inches and more than 80 pounds on all of them. My wife gives them 500k more dong and we leave. We only have 30 minutes left to see the Imperial Palace, and without a guide, no matter how bad, to show us around. Tran comes looking for us and he is not happy. We aren't actually late but he must just have had a bee in his bonnet about it. We get back to the bus roughly on time, but he still looks like we shot his water buffalo. We travel back across the Perfume River for lunch at a "4 Star Hotel", really a 2 star in my book. The food was of poor quality and little variety. The drinks were long passed expired and when we went down in the elevator we found ourselves stuck behind a buffet table. Oh my. After lunch we travel to the Thien Mu tomb to hear some more garbled explanations from Tran. We then return to the ship to recover from our trying day. The next day was much better. Although there were issues with tenders the next day and our excursion was delayed an hour, which was cut off from our tour, Ha Long Bay by Boat was simply stunning. All these little islands jutting out from the water were breathtaking. When we arrived at the island with the big cave, there was a 45 minute wait to get in, due to our late departure. It was worth it though. The cave was the largest and most spectacular I had ever seen, and different colored lights were put in it to further the mystique. We then visited a floating village where a local boat came up right next to ours and the kids from the village jumped on to our boat to essentially beg for money. It was heartbreaking, but at the same time fascinating. The next day we traveled to Hanoi (3.5 hours overland) which was great. We saw the Hanoi Hilton where John McCain was imprisoned, took an electric cart through the busy market, and saw Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum. We couldn't go inside as it is only open in the morning, and we couldn't visit his cottage because of some military exercise that was going on. In the words of our terrific guide Hung, "This is a communist country. They just tell me it is national security and I can't do anything about it". We did get to see the lake where John McCain took a "swim" according to Hung, which was cool. Afterwards we returned to the ship. Two days later we arrived in our final port, Hong Kong. We took a great tour the first day there (Highlights of the City with Dim Sum Lunch). The next day we disembarked and went to Ocean Park which was incredible, if a little expensive at 280 HKD. They had 4 different pandas which was mind boggling, a great aquarium, and a thrilling cable car ride. We didn't have time for much else there, since my wife wanted to go shopping for fake purses as Christmas gifts, but my sons really enjoyed shooting water cannons at people on the River Rafting ride, a bargain at 10 HKD per session. Next, we were on our way to lunch when we were approached by an Indian trying to sell Fake watches and purses. My wife couldn't resist. He led us into a seedy apartment building, up to the 6th floor. There were bars on all the doors and led us into his apartment where he had an impressive (read: frightening) surveillance system and 3 of his goons guarding the door. We bought a nice purse bargained down from 250 dollars to 180, which I still thought was too much. After a delicious late lunch of Pho at a Vietnamese restaurant, we journeyed on to buy even more crap at the Ladies Market. My two sons went to the Hong Kong Museum of History instead, which they said they thoroughly enjoyed, and only cost 20 HKD total, less than 3 bucks. The Ship and Cruise Experience Having previously cruised with Celebrity on the Century in 07, where the service was out of this world, I expected to be treated as a valued guest. Unfortunately, even though I was in a suite, I was treated more as cattle. The service was really no better than Royal Caribbean or Princess. But at least they make up for it with great activities and entertainment. On Celebrity, not only was the service underwhelming, the entertainment and activities were the worst I've ever seen. There was really nothing to do when the ship was not in port that was worthwhile. Just opportunities to give Celebrity more of my hard earned money. No good shows, no fun activities or game shows, not even the Newlywed game! A travesty, in my eyes. The comedian, Joel Osborne, was Fifty Shades of awful. He couldn't handle the crowd and was criminally unfunny. The other shows were similarly poor, except for Mario D'Andrea, a guitarist/vocalist who was great. The trivias, which my son loves, were almost exclusively during the day, when we were in port, and were not even that good when we were there. No real variety in subjects, no entertaining staff. Not even an exciting game show format. Worse yet, the food was not particularly good. The alternative restaurants were absurdly overpriced at 40 a person, though Qsine was an experience. The food outlets were not open frequently or long enough, with the Pool Grill closing at 6, the dinner buffet at 9:30, and Ice Cream at 10. The main dining room wasn't very good. The service wasn't as good as on other cruises and the variety was lacking. There was little for my vegetarian wife. The quality of the food wasn't overly good either. And overall, the staff didn't go out of their way to help you. You had to take the initiative to get them to act if you needed assistance after they made a mistake. Conclusion All in all, it was an enjoyable cruise, not because of the ship, the service, activities, or entertainment, but because of the ports. As much as I might complain about the onboard experience, I didn't take this cruise for the ship. I took it to see Southeast Asia. A cruise is a great way to see it, and the overnights really made the trip for me. It would be very difficult and expensive to see all those places on your own, and you would be stuck eating local food all the time which you may not like. I'd rather a bad steak on Celebrity than chicken feet in some random place in Vietnam! I do hope Celebrity learns from this. The service may never get better because they simply do not care enough, but they certainly should improve the tendering, passports, and port operations. Their problems with that were simply ridiculous. In the future, I will look to book Princess or Royal Caribbean, because Celebrity has simply lost its edge. It is no longer a "premium" line. Its service is average at best and the food is somewhere south of that. Celebrity never was good at entertainment or activities, but this cruise was truly awful in those categories. If you are considering taking this cruise, I would urge you to lower your expectations. And I would certainly avoid the Millennium if you are cruising more for the ship than the ports. Unfortunately, no other cruise line is doing a similar route (except for Holland America, yuck) so if you want to cruise Southeast Asia, at this point, you have to stomach the Millennium, to enjoy the rich experiences ashore. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I would say I am ambivalent now about cruising and will only do luxury if possible in the future. This was a Christmas cruise on celebrity constellation. Embankment took about an hour. Had two insides that adjoined with our adult ... Read More
I would say I am ambivalent now about cruising and will only do luxury if possible in the future. This was a Christmas cruise on celebrity constellation. Embankment took about an hour. Had two insides that adjoined with our adult children which made the spaces more livable. Cabin was ok except for the cots they called beds. Cabin service was excellent but that was the only excellent I would give. We enjoyed the food but had to haggle to get the early dining requested the ten months before in booking. Celebrity needs to do open seating...they will need more restaurants to do this. Late seating wide open. The Christmas buffet was wonderful, but dinners were not as impressive as past cruises. No lobster tails and the $40 pp to get into their specialty restaurants was a bit much for family of four. Seems like everything is extra now on board Entertainment was ok. No quartets lounge singer only and beyonce christmas songs till i wanted to jump overboard. It also pissed me off that formal attirecwas not enforced...i had to wear dress and cart suit etc.. some men no ties or jackets. eithervend it or enforce it. The days at sea did not have lots of fun things to do like cooking demos or napkin folding etc. some trivia and bingo was a real joke. Bingo prizes small and cramed into small theater. No drink service there and had to beg for it in the casino. Spa service hard sells...get indivual services as two together not as good as each separate. The food and service were way better then holland but like I said I will step up next time. The ship overall was nice for older ship and they had Purcell everywhere which I appreciated very much. Unfortunately we did not realize Jamaica had Boxing Day holiday so the island was crowded. We did our own excursions and had a good time but grand cayman had six or seven ships in port...insane and not enjoyable. I take responsibility for not checking that out somehow before. We had a good time because we were together as family and we were all in need of a vacation, but I will never do Christmas again and will save up to step up to luxury lines.Together and were all in need of a vacation but I will never do holiday sailing again and will save up to do luxury next time. FYI I have had cabins of all kinds family , sky suites, verandas and insides. Again will ask whether cots or beds next time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My husband and I have been on many Celebrity Cruises and always enjoy them. We flew into Miami the night before and had a wonderful stay. This cruise did not seem as well prepared as most Celebrity Cruises we have taken. Embarkation ... Read More
My husband and I have been on many Celebrity Cruises and always enjoy them. We flew into Miami the night before and had a wonderful stay. This cruise did not seem as well prepared as most Celebrity Cruises we have taken. Embarkation was fast. We were on the ship by 11:30. Lunch at the buffet was wonderful. No lines and servers were all had a smile. We were in our rooms by 1:00. The Concierge room was beautiful. Our room attendant forgot quite a few things that should of been in our room. There were no red wine glasses so we used our champagne glasses. When we went to drink our champagne he had taken the dirty glasses and never brought clean ones. He did not bring our canapes the second day. We sat on our balcony and waited but they never arrived. One of our breakfast meals were forgotten. Food in the MDR was great but we were very disappointed there was no escargot, lobster tail or filet mignon on this cruise. It was a three day cruise and I would of thought they would of put out their best each evening. There was no captains club event and there was no formal night. To me it was not as exquisite of a cruise as other Celebrity cruises. We went to Michael's Club the first night to try their fantastic new beer menu and were served potato chips with our beer. (Not very classy) In past cruises we have enjoyed mixed nuts and trail mixes. We attended two shows and were not very impressed. The magician was very childish and the singers were so so. Due to the weather we were unable to dock in the Bahamas. No one can control the weather and it was no fault of Celebrity. Celebrity decided to compensate the passengers by having open bar for 1 1/2 hours. This became a free for all. All the bars were chaotic with people yelling for free drinks. Celebrity has a beautiful private Island. There were plenty of chairs and lots of shade was available. We really enjoyed the indoor pool. We had no problems finding chairs. There were no children in this area and it was relaxing and peaceful. All in all I think Celebrity really fell short on this sailing. Maybe after a few runs the Reflection will prove to be the high standard of her sister ships. Embarkation was fast and easy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We had high hopes as we boarded the Reflection. The ship is beautiful. Our balcony cabin spacious, and the interior cabin for our children also a good size. The physical presence a nice place to call "home" for the week. ... Read More
We had high hopes as we boarded the Reflection. The ship is beautiful. Our balcony cabin spacious, and the interior cabin for our children also a good size. The physical presence a nice place to call "home" for the week. Overall, it was a nice vacation. Was it worth the expense? Not really. It has been awhile since our last cruise, and whether it was this cruise line or cruises in general, it was no longer the relaxed, all inclusive vacation I remembered. To me, it has become a week long sales pitch. As we boarded, the pitch for drink packages. While we waited for our cabins to be ready, we were encouraged to walk around. At the spa, there were plenty of packages and services available for a fee. At the gym, more services available for a fee. Hungry? You have the buffet and main dining room, but why not try one of the specialty restaurants - all for an added fee, of course. And don't forget the shops, casino or one of the many bars. The general activities were a mixed bag. Zumba was popular poolside. We enjoyed the "friendly" feud and chef's cookoff. The musical entertainment was generic shipboard type - nice, but not outstanding. The evening entertainment shows were oddly timed. Early seating for dinner was 6 and late at 7:30. The evening shows began at 7 and again at 9:30. For those eating at 6, you either missed dessert or a good bit of the entertainment, or you waited until the later show. We did appreciate Santa's appearance Christmas Day. He had a gift for all of the kids under 18. It was a nice touch! While the ship had almost 800 children on board, I don't think the cruise line is geared toward truly accommodating older children (ages 11 and up). My youngest was offer the kids club upon boarding. It was basically a yes/no question. No real pitch to make her want to participate, and she said no (an itinerary of the club's activities was left in her stateroom each night - they never could get her age group right, and I don't think it would have mattered). Service: While the staff were accommodating, it felt more like job function rather than attentive. Robotic. At the end of the trip, my youngest celebrated a birthday, and our waiter had to ask her name before they sang "happy birthday." That said, there were a few who created a signature. The assistant maitre d -Gozde - offered to show my daughter how she created a signature hair style and was ready with bobby pins the next night. Our assistant waiter, Annamarie, knew names, preferences, and was genuine in her service. Food: It was good and several items excellent. The buffet quality was above expected. Pizza and french fries two items the entire family voted as tops. Both my kids loved the fruit infused soups. We dined one night at the Tuscan Grill. The food quality was very good - worth the extra $30 per person? Probably not. The Masthead grill was a popular spot, serving hot dogs and hamburgers. A wait line was more common than not as was a line at the ice cream area. On ship shopping - Nothing spectacular in terms of merchandise, with sales clerks who were very pushy. Library - a nice area with plenty of reading material for cruisers to borrow. the Hideaway - a nook, but not really a place to hide. From other reviews, we thought it was a quiet area, but it's out in the open and a good gathering spot - not a quiet spot. the Lawn - an interesting space for a game of bocce or rings. In hindsight, we likely picked the wrong ship for a family vacation. I think the Celebrity caters more to the older and "couples" crowd, not really family centric. I also question if the value of a cruise is still there. All these add on fees and constant badgering to purchase this meal, that drink and the like does cause a reason to pause. While the cruise was not exactly as expected, we did have a good time, eat well and were able to relax - the intent of the vacation.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We have been on many cruises and most recently have done our last 4 cruises on Celebrity because we find that this company provides what we are looking for in a cruise holiday. Embarkation - a pleasant trouble free experience - no ... Read More
We have been on many cruises and most recently have done our last 4 cruises on Celebrity because we find that this company provides what we are looking for in a cruise holiday. Embarkation - a pleasant trouble free experience - no complaints here. Cabin - we were in a C2 cabin 9038 which I chose due to the irregular shaped balcony. It was a lovely cabin and the extra room on the balcony was fantastic, we had lunch there several times. The overhang is large but didn't bother us in anyway. The Cabin Steward and his assistant were very friendly and kept everything spic and span. Food - Unfortunately in the MDR we were not impressed (we were on Select Dining) The service was not very efficient, a lot of waiting on some nights between courses, and also the quality of the food was not the standard we have enjoyed on previous cruises (our last one being in the summer on the Equinox). We did eat in the Tuscan Grille and Ocean Liners, both were substantially better than the MDR and the service and food was excellent. We also ate in the Creperie on Deck 5 some nights and this too was a much more enjoyable experience - unfortunately the menu choice was rather limited. The food in the Sunset Grille was fine for breakfast and lunch but awful at dinner in the evening (hardly any choice - pasta or pizza it seemed every night). The layout of the cafe is much nicer on the Equinox too. I think the Christmas dinner in the MDR was the most disappointing for me, about the only edible thing on the plate was some turkey breast - perhaps the Americans don't really 'do' Christmas dinner. Entertainment - there were a few highlights. Perry Grant was entertaining in Michael's club (the Piano bar), one of the production shows was good and the Christmas show was nice. Unfortunately our 17 year old son and his 18 year old cousin were with us and this provided a problem which Celebrity seemed less than efficient at solving. Our son wanted to spend time with his cousin in the evenings, the place to go was the nightclub 'Reflections', unfortunately at 11.30pm they would tell anyone under 18 to leave. This meant our son came back to the cabin early and missed spending time with his older cousin. We did ask if the rules could be relaxed but although we were told someone would get back to us, nobody did. We were upset to find out from other parents that their children under 18 had managed to avoid being ID'd and were able to stay late at the club. We did complain again to the cruise director and she apologised and amazingly for the last 2 days of the cruise suddenly no one was told to leave the nightclub ... we did ask for this much earlier in the cruise and it is such a pity that we had to wait until the last 2 nights of a 14 night cruise for something to be done .. a shame for us Celebrity fans because our son ended up unhappy and saying it was 'his worst cruise ever'. Overall- our holiday was OK and we did enjoy the ports we visited and the staff on board (particularly the cabin staff and those in the speciality restaurants) were really friendly. We have been on the Constellation before but will not choose the ship again because we prefer the Solstice Class more. I don't like being negative about things and I have to say I did meet some lovely people on board but we would not sail on Constellation again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our fifth consecutive Holiday cruise. We enjoy traveling as a family during the holidays, and booked two balcony cabins on deck 8, one for my wife and I, and one for our 19 and 21 year old sons enjoying a break from college. We ... Read More
This was our fifth consecutive Holiday cruise. We enjoy traveling as a family during the holidays, and booked two balcony cabins on deck 8, one for my wife and I, and one for our 19 and 21 year old sons enjoying a break from college. We have had many very positive experiences with Celebrity, both as a couple and a family and previously found Celebrity a step above similarly priced lines. We've enjoyed not being inundated with announcements all day, found the quality of the food quite good, and the service generally excellent. And while we loved our vacation because it gave us time to spend together, Celebrity disappointed in several areas. And while we'll probably cruise with Celebrity again, I hope they address some of the truly disappointing aspects of our trip. Our embarkation process was extremely easy, from taxi to ship in less than 15 minutes. This is consistent with our past Celebrity experience and so much more civilized than other embarkation processes we've experienced. We did stop for a quick lunch at the Oceanview cafe, and found the quality, selection, and layout to be generally very well done. The service of the waiters, however, was very weak, with plates stacked on empty tables for too long. Additionally, all the ice machines were down at one point, and some of the drink machines never worked for the entire cruise. We found the coffee much improved. After lunch we walked around the ship, and were in our staterooms when called by 1:45 or so. Our luggage arrived shortly thereafter and we found the space available well-designed. We enjoyed our room and found it well designed. The beds were comfortable and the deck furniture was nice. This was the first time we did not sail in Concierge class and while we missed the better towels, we agreed that our staterooms were fine and would not consider Concierge class unless it was a nominal upcharge of $50 or less. While the design of the room was outstanding, the service was the worst we ever experienced on a ship. For example, on several occasions, we were left with no soap or shampoo and had to request it. One day we had no toilet paper, but had 3 extra boxes of tissues! What we really didn't like was the number of different people in the room and the time it took them to do the service. On every other cruise, the attendants were friendly, hard working, and efficient. On this cruise, the quality was terrible, with them taking two hours to service the room in the morning and evening. They would do the towels, then return and do the ice bucket, then return and leave information packets... We never received our disembarkation information, nor our daily calendar consistently. While we appreciate the fact that the cabin stewards have a difficult job, Celebrity needs to provide the training so they can manage their jobs effectively and at least meet guest expectations. And the worst offense? leaving dirty cleaning microfiber cloths in our son's room. Given previous noro issues on this ship...this is the kind of thing that can certainly spread viruses and should be a basic expectation of hygiene. The entertainment was both outstanding at times and horrible at times. The English juggler was terrific, one of the best acts we've ever seen on a ship. And the production shows were professionally done. But the so called impressionist singer, Sean O'Shea was the worst act we've ever seen. And we don't understand why the sole comedienne only performed a single show and only at midnight? But, all shows were detracted by the horrible cruise director and his inane banter. This was also the worst cruise director we've encountered. He lacked engagement and failed to create a positive vibe on the ship. And Stuart, please stop singing! We did enjoy some of the activities. But we also enjoyed our time together playing a cruise-long card tournament that ended up leaving our sons $10 richer. The highlights of the activities included trivia and the glass show. We met a lovely couple from Palm Beach and thoroughly enjoyed meeting them for various trivia contests. We won 3 of the contests together, but seemed to have as much fun on the one's we lost as the one's we won! The glass show was a nice surprise. We found the commentary, especially by the young lady to be simply fascinating. The layout of the ship was terrific. We never really felt crowded and could always find a quiet spot to lay in the sun, or play cards. Well, perhaps not too quiet. While most of the children on this holiday cruise were very well behaved and pleasant, there were far too many who ran amok, with no supervision, and no manners. Parents, you know who you are, and you should be ashamed of yourselves. There were also a number of people who didn't seem to have "please" or "thank you" in their vocabularies. These folks work hard for us, and a smile or word of appreciation is always in order. We also believe Celebrity needs to either enforce "rules" or not have them. For example, many people smoked on balconies and in non-smoking areas. Children screamed in the Atrium pool all day, yet it was supposedly an adult-only area. And dress codes? Either have them and enforce them, or don't have them. We enjoyed open seating in the main dining room and found the service to be outstanding! The food was generally excellent, with only a few misses, but always nicely presented. We had three different waiter/assistant teams and all were excellent. However, the team of Rajesh and Roxana with whom we dined on the last 4 nights were simply outstanding, and reminded us that the old Celebrity service that brought us back to Celebrity still exists. Thanks to you both for such outstanding service. Note that we made reservations for dinner in advance of the cruise, and the reservations were honored immediately every time. We didn't sample the specialty restaurants. The ports were fine and we had a nice time in all of them. Due to heavy winds (35mph+) and high seas, we were about 3 hours late to San Juan, arriving just at sunset. An announcement was made, and an apology made, both by the captain in his announcement, and with a card in our staterooms. We found that a sincere gesture. We also found the captain to be very engaging and charismatic, with a great sense of humor...just what Stuart the cruise director needs! We spent a nice day at the beach and shopping in St. Thomas, a bit of the same in St. Maarten, and took a brief walk in St. Kitts, not our favorite island from previous visits. Disembarkation was easy as well. Overall, we had a great family vacation and enjoyed being together in such beautiful weather in a wonderful location. Celebrity enhanced that experience in many ways, and detracted in others, as mentioned above. So, will we return to Celebrity? Before this trip, I would have answered affirmatively. Now, I'm not that sure. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
A little about us: this was my 4th cruise but my first on Celebrity Cruiseline (recent last 2 were NCL and 1 Carnival Cruise back in my 20's). This was my husband's 2nd cruise, his first being NCL Epic. We are in our early ... Read More
A little about us: this was my 4th cruise but my first on Celebrity Cruiseline (recent last 2 were NCL and 1 Carnival Cruise back in my 20's). This was my husband's 2nd cruise, his first being NCL Epic. We are in our early 40's, no kids. We are somewhat health and fitness minded so while we like to indulge while on vacation, we still stick somewhat to routines such as working out in the gym and balancing lighter meals to compensate for some of the higher calorie meals and drinks while we are vacationing. We probably don't represent the majority of cruisers which seemed to be about 45% families with young children/pre-teens and 45% who appeared to be couples in their late 50's and up without children. We did see some young couples around our age without children but not many. So my review will have more weight around items that fit our profile vs. what others may be looking for (such as children's activities, etc). The boarding process. We came in the night before to avoid any travel delays getting to the Ship. We stayed at the Marriott Biscayne Bay (very nice hotel and fantastic sleep in the "heavenly bed"). A short cab ride over to the marina and we arrived about 10:30am. The Port is always chaotic what with the Cab drivers with baggage handlers and cabbies fighting with one another. Last year when we went on the Epic, we witnessed a little spat between a passenger and a bag handler and whether or not it was coincidence, one of their bags never made it on the ship. We opt for over-tipping the baggage handlers and my husband joked with the man that he was paying insurance to ensure our bags all make it on the ship. Our bags were available almost immediately on the boat. Back to check-in. Unlike NCL, where we lined up outside, Celebrity allowed us inside the terminal. I did the pre-registration easy pass thing prior to leaving and we were scanned in, setup the credit card and ready for boarding in 5 mins. We had to wait approx 10 mins before being let onto the ship which was about 11am or so. Our cabin wasn't ready but I didn't expect it to be until 1pm or so based on other reviews I had read prior to sailing. The bars were open so we immediately started with a beverage while we explored the ship. First thing I noticed in comparison to NCL Epic was the drink had plenty of booze in it and that the bartender was not too friendly. On the Epic, the alcohol in the mixed drinks was practically non-existant but the bar tenders were very friendly. I'll take a good drink over friendliness so not a bad trade-off from my perspective. The Spa As mentioned we like to work out and we also like to enjoy Spa amenities such as the Sauna, Steam Room and Jacuzzi after a good workout. This Spa, sadly couldn't hold a candle to the Epic. We opted not to go with the Aquaspa Class Cabin since we had done the Spa class on the Epic and felt it was not worth the extra cost when anyone on the ship could purchase the Spa pass and have the same amenities. On the Eclipse, we purchased the Spa pass for the week which entitles you access to the Serenity Room. Honestly the Serenity Room/Spa Pass was a joke. I was very disapointed. First off, NO TALKING in the Serenity room. It is posted on a small sign when you walk in, very easily missed so if you miss that sign and comment to anyone with you about the room you will be glared at by the people in there as if you are with monks taking a vow of silence. Zip it. Okay, we got that and learned to mime all week when we would want to signal each other to go in the steam room or stay in a chair. The Serenity room has 1 small unisex steam room. There are 2 curved benches. 1 bench can seat approx 4 people and the other can seat 2. Very inadequate for a ship of this size. My gym at home had a much nicer and larger steam room. The floor of the steam room had some sort of debris floating around the fist day which didn't help my opinion. There is another tiled room entitled the Aromotherapy room. Guess what? No aroma at all. Not sure what it was for. So for $205.85 for a couple, you have access to a quiet room, a small steam room and heated chairs. Should this really be an extra charge? Mens/Women's Shower/Locker Rooms. We visted the gym everyday bringing a change of clothes, etc. The ship does not supply flip flops or slippers whether you are having a "treatment" or not. So while there is Purell being pushed on you wherever you go, there is no attempt to curb spreading foot fungus in the steam room and other shared areas. There is also no complimentary razors or products as you will find in most Spa changing rooms. There is the usual dispenser in the showers with shampoo, body cleanser and conditioner, but again nothing special. 3 out of the 7 days I visited, they did not have lockers available so had no choice but to lug my bag with me into the gym or choose to leave it on the floor in the changing room. Cabin. The cabin was nicely designed and the bathroom larger than on the Epic. We had a balcony out the back of the ship which was very nice. The bed was extremely comfortable with very nice linens and the room was pretty much soundproof. We slept well. Definitely alot less storage than the cabin on the Epic. One set of small drawers. 2 overhead bins above the bed and a closet. The Room Stewards were very nice and the upkeep of the room impeccable. Surprisingly, on the Epic our bathroom smelled so bad of urine I had to ask them twice to please do something about it and they were very lax about replacing supplies (we had to call for toilet paper) so Celebrity cabin stewards were more on the ball than NCL. Room Service. We enjoyed ordering room service directly from our TV. It was very nice to have breakfast in bed and/or on the balcony. One word of warning, pay attention to quanties when ordering. For instance, select Egg, Select Quantity (we choose 4 for 2 eggs each) and we received 8 eggs not realizing, "Egg" is actually 2 Eggs. It was very confusing. It seemed on some days, the eggs automatically came with Bacon and Sausage but we would also have 2 more sets of Bacon and Sausage in separate plates. Quite embarrassing to have the Room Steward cart in 12 plates for just 2 people! Room Service was great. Dress Code. I don't know how I missed this but I didn't know about the formal dress code and we didn't pack anything dressy so we pretty much were left to eat in the Cafe (buffet) for almost all of our meals. 1st night was Cocktail Attire, 2nd Night Formal Attire, 3rd & 4th nights were "Smart Casual" which I would say is similar to business casual, then back to formal attire... I understand the majority want to glam it up but personally I prefer a look that is more neat and casual. Unfortunately, we didn't go to any restaurants because I felt underdressed. We met other cruisers who told us not to let that us stop us from going but the reality is that I go to fancy dinners all dressed up for my job and it's not necessarily what I want to do on vacation. Also, I don't remember this coming up on other cruises but apparently no irons are allowed on board and if you want something pressed, you must pay for pressing which is fine but you need to plan ahead, if you want it back before 24 hours, it is double the price. We tended to wear clothes that were the least wrinkled rather than deal with sending clothes out for pressing. There was one day in the Celebrity Daily news where they offered a Laundry Challenge, stuff 1 laundry bag with as much as you can fit for $40. This was a good deal and it was nice to not have as much dirty laundry to bring back with us. Cafe Buffet. I'm not a food snob but have to say the buffet was blah, mediocre at best. Same food every single day. There were a few Indian selections, your typical Pasta offerings, 1 carving station and a large salad bar with very wilted, sad and dried out looking cukes, tomatoes, etc. It was okay and edible but nothing special. Soda is not included. Coke, Diet Coke, etc. is $2.00 per can plus automatic gratuity. 1 Liter of Evian $4.00 + 15% auto gratuity. 15% auto gratuity is added to everything. If you drink 1 bottle of water out of your cabin fridge, you are still paying the 15% gratuity. We would have loved to have a casual eating option such as a Sports Bar (Epic had a great Sports bar with Darts, Pool Tables, etc.) with ice cold mugs and draft beer that my husband really enjoyed. One night in the casino, there were throngs of people surrounding a tiny television where a game was on. It would have been nice to have a casual grill/pub style restaurant with appetizers, etc. Deck/Pool Area. It was a challenge to find 2 chairs together in sun no matter what time you went outside however, it was easier than on the Epic. The Pool Butlers were very good about removing towels from chairs that appear to have been held or abandoned so while we had to canvas 2 decks searching for chairs, it wouldn't be long before we would find some. We thought the grass area would have been better used for chair space than for the lawn area. Entertainment. We enjoyed New Year's Eve out on deck with singing and dancing entertainment. We particularly liked the acapella boy band. We didn't go to any of the shows because we just didn't see anything that looked interesting or anything we haven't already seen elsewhere. Can't comment too much there. Ports. We arrived late in the day for San Juan, PR. We spent some time in the casino there. After we each lost about $250 each, my husband went to use the Restroom and was turned away because he did not have a casino card! He thought there was a misunderstanding and explained we had just spent $500 in the casino and should be allowed to use the rest room. He was told that did not matter, go get a casino card and we'll let you in. He was forced to go next door to Senior Frog's to use the bathroom. We spent some time in the Old Harbor Brewery and met some super nice locals, my husband had his icy cold draft and I was able to get a nice grilled chicken salad and the best margarita I've ever had. This made up for the casino. St. Martin. 2nd time to St. Martin, same old chaos trying to get transportation to the beaches. Lots of yelling and fighting between the taxis and the people coordinating passengers. We chose to go back to a Marriott Resort where we spent the day on the beach last visit with rented chairs and an umbrella and beach bar nearby for cold ones and frozen drinks. Very nice. St. Kitts. Loved the little monkeys we saw everywhere. We went to Frigate Bay and again rented chairs and an umbrella. Beautiful beach day and area. One caveat was the price for food, 1 burger with fries was exactly $21.00 and it was no special burger either. Disembarkment We chose the Express option where you get off the ship with your bags. This means you must report to the Theater at 6:30am. We were off the ship in 2 minutes and at Miami Airport around 7:15am. While all in all, we had a terrific vacation, I would go back to NCL next time only because of the Freestyle dining and cruising style. Not to mention the Spa on the NCL Epic was incredible with huge hottubs and hot/cold baths, Steam room, saunas, etc. Hope this review helps!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This review comes with a huge caveat--if you were age 55-85 and a member of the Captain's Club Elite, this was a completely different cruise for you than it was for me. The itinerary of this cruise was designed for people 55-85, and ... Read More
This review comes with a huge caveat--if you were age 55-85 and a member of the Captain's Club Elite, this was a completely different cruise for you than it was for me. The itinerary of this cruise was designed for people 55-85, and that is exactly the age range of most passengers. BACKGROUND: This was our 4th cruise, first on Celebrity. We are in our forties. I am using the review format of another fellow cruiser who already posted his review. EMBARKATION: Took about an hour to get through terminal, all of it was spent standing in line. Many people arrived about an hour earlier than the scheduled time. STATEROOM: We had an inside room on deck 8, mid-ship, and had no problems. Beds are designed so that you can fit all your luggage bags under the bed. The refrigerator is locked up on the last night after the steward does inventory. Make sure you bring a travel clock since there is no clock in the room(except on the tv screen) and bring a flashlight for when you get up at night since the main room light is extremely bright. Be aware if you book a room on deck 9, you will most likely have a noise problem coming from all the traffic on deck 10. SHIP: This ship is very clean and the only problems I saw were some water leaks on the hallway carpets. Side stabilizers worked very well to limit rocking. The only real noise that occured was the banging on the hull when large waves hit the ship from the side. ANNOUNCEMENTS: The loudspeaker was out in the hallway, so not intrusive. Announcements were in English then Spanish, and sometimes French and German as well. TV: There was English, Spanish, French, and German programing. TV was old style CRT, not flat-screen. There was no tv schedule, so it was hard to know what was showing. Room service on-screen menu system locked up on me(I only used it because the room service phone had a busy signal). DINING: Food and service were excellent. Open seating breakfast is not well attended since the food selection is less than what the buffet offers, and it takes much longer to get your food. Did Select dining for dinner and had great time with excellent group of waiters. One issue--they need to add more diabetic options on menu, not just no-sugar-added options. Interesting note: instead of a mid-night buffet, they have two brunches(lunch and breakfast buffet items combined) and one dessert extraviganza at 10:30pm (overcrowded because it was in the Constellation lounge) You will get asked if you want to buy a drink any time you sit down in the dining area or in a lounge. ACTIVITIES: Ken Williams gave interesting presentations, but they were scheduled at the same time as a lot of other activities(and they failed to rebroadcast the presentation before we reached ports). Celebrity needs to improve their t.v. channel for shore excursion/ship activity presentations(plus reduce the number of Spa advertisements), and make shore t.v presentations available several times during the day and night before we reach port. ENTERTAINMENT: First class production shows, especially on formal nights. They did not, however, record and rebroadcast the shows on the t.v. like other cruise lines. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS: Only took the end of cruise tour to Winery and Coastal cities. Beware, the Winery lunch is overbooked, so you will have 17 tour buses of people trying to have lunch at the same time--which means waiting in lines for food and drink. You only get one glass of wine free, the next costs $5. DISEMBARKATION: Organized, but when we arrived at the airport the luggage was all mixed-up. The signs did not match luggage tags. Make sure you attach something colorful to your luggage so you can find it amoung the hundreds of other luggage items. Santiago Airport does not have free wifi, but they do allow you to bring water bottles through security and onto the airplane (but not if you are flying to the U.S). Also, keep in mind that Chile has food sniffing dogs at the cruise terminal, so don't try to take any food off the ship(one woman was fined $300 for this) unless it is in your porter carried luggage. LIKES: Easy to avoid smoking--it is limited to the open air dining at the stern and the port side of deck 10. Free popcorn in the movie theatre. Gym hours are posted as 6am-11pm, but you can still go in and workout from 11pm to 6am if you want to(doors are left unlocked and lights are kept on) DISLIKES: 1)The long muster call for us was in Photo lounge with no chairs and was very hot and stuffy. I am suprised no one passed out. 2)Gym has halogen lamps, so it is hot day and night. There are no fans in the gym at all, even though previous cruisers have requested fans since 2008! 3) Not enough gym classes. There are 3 classes(on sea days) you can pay $12 dollars a day to take: spinning, yoga, and pilates. The free classes(only on port days) consist of a 30 minute stretching class, and a 30 minute core/ab express workout. They need to add body pump and maybe a kickboxing or beginner bootcamp class. You will start sweating as soon as you begin your workout due to the halogen lamps and no fans. 4) No self-laundry and the very slow internet (dialup speed) is expensive($.65 per minute) If you are an Elite member, you get both laundry and Internet (90min) free. 5) No ballroom dancing at all. They have a ballroom dance class on sea days in the Constellation lounge, but the small round dance floor is metal with a groove pattern in the middle. This means you have no room to move around, and women might lose a heel in one of the grooves. They need to have the class either in the gym wooden floor area, or on the stage with the curtains pulled back. They also did not have any ballroom dances at night--it was disco dancing every night in every lounge. SUMMARY: Celebrity treats its Captain's Club Elite members very well. If you were age 55-85 and you are a member of Captain's Club Elite(requires 10 tier points) you probably had a 5 star cruise experience. If I had to do it over again, I would pay $500 more and go on a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My husband and I joined the cruise late because of bad weather, so we joined at the the first port of call, St Thomas. The embarkation was great, very quick and very personal once we contacted a member of the crew (the Cruise Director, who ... Read More
My husband and I joined the cruise late because of bad weather, so we joined at the the first port of call, St Thomas. The embarkation was great, very quick and very personal once we contacted a member of the crew (the Cruise Director, who was great - very efficient and helpful). Boat very good - pleasant cabin, attractive public areas, clean and nicely decorated for Christmas. Lots of places to lie in the sunshine although those in the shade were at a premium!! Staff excellent - helpful and very friendly everywhere. Customer Relations were particularly good - never had to wait to speak to someone and issues resolved quickly and efficiently. Itinerary good - we enjoyed every stop. We took ship's tours in 3 ports and they were good -reasonably priced, well organised, and covered what was promised in tour description. Lovely pool - unusually, big enough to swim - most cruise ships have pools only big enough for a dip and to cool off. Also, a wonderful thalassotherapy pool, with targetted jets of water and wonderful side areas to lie on the jets - really fabulous. Entertainment generally good and varied - 2 excellent comedy singers, comedy magician and juggler all good. We did not see the crew shows - not our kind of thing. Otherwise very little in the way of talks or enrichment - just lots of trivia quizzes. Library seemed poor - but we did get on late so we might have missed the best contents!! The only real downside was the food which was not up to the usual Celebrity standard. At dinner, some of the offerings were very odd - a good example was the duck served with French toast - that didn't work well, as you might expect. Also, some of the dishes were poor, with very few of them good to excellent. We sent back 1 or more dishes uneaten at about 75% of meals - normally we would never send anything back. The restaurant staff were great - very concerned when something wasn't up to standard, which was often. The main restaurant was never open for lunch on land days and never offered afternoon tea - which meant often that the buffet was the only option. Also, the food in the buffet was OK but not at all special. My husband enjoyed the Asian food but it was too spicy for me. I was trying to eat lightly, to avoid adding weight, and that was very difficult. The worst food was in the pool grill - my hamburger was just a grease sandwich!!!! The saving grace was the Aquaspa cafe which did excellent low-calorie and tasty breakfasts and lunches. Celebrity need to get their act together - I was talking to passengers on another Celebrity boat in December and they also said the food was poor - not sure if it is cheap ingredients or poor menus and recipes to blame Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I am late posting as I have been in communication with RCCL regarding dietary issues but will keep this fair. My wife has a food allergy which means she cannot eat wheat. We have cruised several times before on P&O and this was our ... Read More
I am late posting as I have been in communication with RCCL regarding dietary issues but will keep this fair. My wife has a food allergy which means she cannot eat wheat. We have cruised several times before on P&O and this was our first and last cruise on Celebrity So lets look at the ship first, very good , well it ought to be as it is not yet a year old. Room quite spacious for an inside but not enough storage, lack of drawers was a problem. The bed was very comfortable. Our room attendant did not really greet us and introduce himself as other room attendants have done in the past. We did not really see him a lot until the last few days when he dropped off his envelope!!!!! He did turn the bed down every night though. After the first three days we had to prompt him to empty the bin in the bathroom. Entertainment wise, distinctly average with a few exceptions. The Jazz quartet were excellent as were the acappella group of boys and the classical string quartet. Guest artists were ok but nothing exciting apart from Jamie Allen, a clean scouse comedian and the girl singer from Birmingham whose name I forget. Too much arial stuff in the shows and the male lead singers are past their sell-by-date. The contortionist was excellent but scary. The cruise direct John (American) tried his very best and I cannot fault his enthusiasm. The star of the show was Carl Pucl, a young Canadian guy who did a talk on the Titanic over three one hour presentations, arranged a passenger choir and loads of other things to many to mention. A future cruise director if ever I saw one. No we come to the main issue, food and dietary requirements. Firstly let me say we are seasoned cruisers but only until 2010 with P & O. The cruise we wanted with P & O in 2010 was fully booked and this cruise was going to similar destinations so we gave it a go. Bearing in mind we have never had any problems with food for my wife on their cruises we were bitterly disappointed with Celebrity Eclipse. Let me say some of the negatives should not put you off but the dining experience is a major part of any cruise. The buffet restaurant for breakfast and light lunches never posed a problem as my wife knows what she an and cannot eat. An order for wheat free toast was always provided relatively quickly. The big issue was with the Moonlight Sonata main restaurant. On the first night we introduced ourselves and highlighted my wife's wheat intolerance and were initially pleased to find out that they were aware having had previous notice from us and our travel agent. Based on this you would think things were going to be ok, not the case. Our waitress Boz was excellent and to be honest towards the end of the cruise she was distinctly embarrassed by the performance of the kitchen. To be told night after night by the Maitre'D that there were no alternatives to starters, main courses and desserts other than to remove sauces, bread products and various parts of desserts was totally unacceptable. Ice Cream every night is not a dining experience. Coq au vin was presented for my wife as two pieces of chicken with no sauce despite the Maitre'D stating a separate sauce would be prepared. The speciality restaurants were a different kettle of fish and nothing was too much trouble. The Tuscan Grill were able to provide superb wheat free foccacia bread, a change from the two pieces of cardboard bread in the Moonlight Sonata and wheat free versions of most desserts. When we queried why they were able to provide this type of bread the staff were astounded as it is all made in the same kitchen!! Qsine exactly the same and truly unique dining experience, you must try it. On a personal note I found the main dining room food to be quite bland. Tasteless prawns (Or shrimp as they call it) and most of the sauces tasted the same. The fish was good though but you don't want it every night. Same with the steaks, very tasty but you don't want it every night. Despite complaints to the Maitre'D nothing happened so we had to raise it with Customer Relations who put us in touch with Simon? The Head of Catering who whilst he was apologetic did not have time to change anything until the last night when some wheat free foccacia bread miraculously appeared. Now then tipping: Tips are automatically taken from your account unless you get them taken off. They are also added on to every drinks bill you get at 15%. So if you buy a bottle of wine for $50.00 your tip is $7.50 which I think is a little OTT. The whole experience onboard reflected this. Some of the staff did not seem as motivated to provide good service as they are on P&O. Drinks prices were ridiculously expensive on the whole but as we are not big drinkers it did not bother us. Having read some other reviews I find that the special dietary requirements have proved to be an issue before. Having registered a complaint with RCCL I had to e-mail the CEO in Florida as the UK side were taking too long and after 19 days responded by saying they had passed it to another department. Strangely enough after I e-mailed the CEO I had a phone call from Florida and a response the next day from the UK. However, whilst being apologetic, they chose to hide behind their terms and conditions which basically state that they will endeavour to meet any dietary requirement but cannot guarantee to do so. They made what I saw as an empty gesture of offering money off any future cruise with the RCCL group. This wont be happening as we will be returning to P & O in 2011 so I have asked if they would make a charitable donation in the same sum to a British Charity, I won't be holding my breath. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
DH, DD and self were on the Millennium 7 night Holiday cruise from 12/23/07 to 12/30/07. Overall we had a wonderful time, someone once said 'I don't think you can ever have a bad cruise', but the ship was definitely ... Read More
DH, DD and self were on the Millennium 7 night Holiday cruise from 12/23/07 to 12/30/07. Overall we had a wonderful time, someone once said 'I don't think you can ever have a bad cruise', but the ship was definitely overcrowded and the level of service we expect from Celebrity (we are Select Members) was lacking. 12/22/07-We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before and spent the night at the Renaissance. We weren't overly impressed with the hotel. We were stuck in a smoking room in what was advertised as a non-smoking hotel. Also, the gym was very lacking in the weight department, some free weights and some type of weight machines my DH and self had no clue on how to work. For our DD, disappointment in the pool and hot tub was closed for repair. Why they chose the week before Christmas to work on the pool, I'll never know. 12/23/07-Embarkation was relatively painless. It took us 35 minutes from leaving the shuttle to sipping our champagne. It would have been shorter as our paperwork was filled in on-line, but they had us fill out a health questionnaire at the counter. Once on board, we went up to the grill for the first of many hot dogs and fries for DD. At this point, there was hardly anyone on board and we felt it was our own ship. How quickly that changed! Muster drill was fine, always remember safety first! At this point we realized just how crowded this cruise was to be. People everywhere, I know this cruise was a holiday cruise, but we took a holiday cruise in 2004 which was nowhere near as crowded as this one. 12/24/07-DH and self up early to walk on the jogging track. We love to walk in the morning as the sun rises. We were walking as the ship pulled into Nassau, Bahamas. We purchased tickets through Celebrity for The Pirates of Nassau Museum, which is just a short walk from where the ship docked. We can't say enough how much we enjoyed Captain Blah Blah and the Museum! He was hilarious and very informative as was the museum itself. We highly recommend visiting the museum. After touring the museum, we went back to the ship and enjoyed the peace and quiet with everyone off the ship. We actually found loungers by the pool in the shade! DH and self had dinner reservations at The Olympic Restaurant to celebrate, belatedly, our 12th anniversary. Needless to say, the service and food were impeccable. I dream of the goat cheese and chocolate soufflEs. They are my favorite. I especially enjoyed the Chocolate SoufflE as on other Millennium class ships they only offer the Grand Marnier SoufflE. After dinner, we collected DD from Fun Factory and then on to bed. 12/25/07-Christmas! Tried out the gym first thing in the morning. My only complaint with the gym, it's not "officially" open until 7:00 am. DH and self are early risers and like to get our workouts over early. Machines were nice, slightly different then what we are used to, but they did the job. After breakfast, we took DD to Kid's club for crafts and to await Santa's arrival. DH and self went to Guest Relations to reactivate my Sea Pass card which mysteriously stopped working the night before. This actually happened three more times throughout the cruise. Never could figure out why. Anyway, while we were there, the Cruise Director came on the PA saying radar had picked up a mysterious looking object. They played it up very nicely for the kids. We picked our DD up for lunch and found Celebrity had given all the kids her age a wonderful over the shoulder book bag. We were very impressed. After lunch, we went to the pool to find DD who had gone up with her new best friend. We had a hard time finding a chair without a person or a book/magazine in it! We eventually found our DD's stuff right next to her new best friends' parents and spent some time swimming. Hi Alan and Marsha! DH went to art auction while DD and I watched the King of the Millennium contest. We used to love the art auctions, but not anymore. DH had picked a few items to bid on and after several hours sitting in the Rendez-Vous Lounge; the auctioneer still had not gotten to them. The auctioneer was hawking the more expensive selections the ship had. Needless to say, we never attended another auction. No amount of free champagne is worth it. DH and self went to The Martini Bar before our first meal in the Dining Room. Hi Togi! It's a small world, because lo and behold who is at our table but our DD's new best friend and parents. Enjoyed a nice meal with all our tablemates-Willie and Avis along with Alan, Marsha and Marni. Waiters brought a cake and sang Happy Birthday for me. Very nice. 12/26/07-DH and self up early for morning walk as we pulled into San Juan. Ship docked at new pier with fancy awning type thing that came awfully close to ship. Decided to make this a sea day for us and enjoyed the pool without all the screaming kids. DH heard there were 1800 kids on the ship I thought I heard 800 kids. Either way, there were a lot of kids. If you didn't get in a hot tub before 9:00 am, think twice about it. At times there would be 20 kids in one hot tub. Too many germs! After a relaxing day by the pool, stopped at The Martini Bar for a quick cocktail before dinner. Since DD's new best friend was sitting at our table, she joined us for dinner. Nice meal and then to bed. 12/27/07-DH and self took a Yoga class in the morning as we pulled into Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic. Ship was docked at a pier right next to a factory spewing out dark smoke throughout the time we were there; not very tropical. As a family, we took the Bayahibe Beach Break, which was changed to the Coral Canoa Beach Hotel and Spa due to work at Bayahibe. After a short bus ride, we arrived at the resort which was very beautiful and well maintained. We had our choice of the pool or the beach chose the beach which was lovely. The beach was filled with people from the excursion as well as guests from the resort. Warning! The clientele at this resort was European, if you go here expect to see some topless bathing. At the edge of the swimming area were some artificial reefs. The same type Mike Rowe (sp?) made in an episode of Dirty Jobs. DH spent a long time exploring them. The only downer for this excursion was the trip back to the ship. The majority of the people made it back to the rendezvous spot by the appointed time. We sat on the bus as 10 minutes went by after the departure time, then 20 minutes and we still hadn't left. Many of the passengers were grumbling to leave. Finally, one woman went to the organizer and asked why we hadn't left. It turned out a couple had had their picture taken by the resort staff and the delay in leaving was to wait for them to purchase their pictures. Needless to say, this didn't sit well. Eventually, we left the couple there. Rightly or wrongly, the couple did not return to the bus in a reasonable time-should all those that did, have to wait and wait for them? A lot of grumbling for both sides was heard on the way back. I did see the couple later in the voyage, so I know they made it back to the ship in time. Cleaned up and went for our normal cocktail at The Martini Bar and then on to dinner. After dinner, took DD to room while DH and self went to Casino to use our Select Member coupons in the Casino. It was considerably cooler in the Casino although not sure why. Anyway we broke even and went to bed. 12/28/ 07-DH and self up early to walk. Got DD, ate a quick breakfast, and then waited in the theater for tender to Labadee, Haiti. Able to get on first tender of day, therefore, able to get some nice loungers in the shade in the first beach on the left. Enjoyed some peace and quiet until everyone else got off the ship and crowded the beach. DH explored some formations in the ocean before everything got disturbed. The family then explored the island. On opposite side of where ship anchors, seas were very rough and warnings posted everywhere. Due to the rough seas and warnings, no one was swimming. We got to see a few zip liners go by, but the winds must have picked up because they cancelled the rest. We paid to do the water park. Not worth it. My advice, don't bother with it. You only get one hour in the park, which they are very strict about. While it's fun, it surely is not worth the money. After the disappointing water park, took a tender back to the ship and enjoyed some peace and quiet by the pool. Stopped at The Martini Bar before dinner, again. After dinner, we were all tired from the day, so went to bed. 12/29/07-At sea-DH and self up early to work out. DH sat at two chairs while I started to pack and fed DD. DD and self took over the seats while DH went to eat. At this point, it was 8:00 am. Seats all around us had magazines, books, etc. on them to reserve them. As mentioned, either DH or self was sitting in our two chairs from ~7:00 am we saw no one sitting in those chairs. As the day wore on, tempers were flaring. The Pool Butlers were very reluctant to remove anything from a chair, even though it was obvious no one was sitting there. Not helping the situation was the washer/dryers for the pool towels had broken over night so towels were hard to come by. Why one person has to take 10 towels is beyond me? I know I've seen this all over the boards, but why do people have to save seats in the shade and in the sun, without using either for several hours? Or save seats at all? And why can't cruise personnel do anything about it? It is so obvious at 8:00 am, when so few people are in the pool/hot tubs, not all the chairs having stuff on them are actually being used by people and are only being saved. It's a never ending problem that I'm not sure will ever be resolved. Tempers were flaring throughout the day; we observed several arguments in our area alone. Adding insult to injury, they ran out of the plastic cups used around the pool deck. Several officers' and security personnel were walking around, but their presence didn't help people's feelings. After a day like this, we skipped dinner, of course after leaving our tip envelopes on our plates as we didn't see our waiter/assistant waiter. We wandered the ship nibbling on sushi, pasta, and salad, whatever we could find. We picked up DD from kid's club, finished packing, placed our suitcases out, and went to bed early. 12/30/07-Back at Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Disembarkation was no problem for us-our flight (through Celebrity) wasn't until 4:10 pm. We were in no rush to leave, but eventually we had to. Spent several, several hours in the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Word of warning, they do not let you check in until 3 hours before your flight. So we sat in the check in area until 1:10 pm at which time we were able to check our luggage in. Positives-The Olympic is always a wonderful experience and well worth the $30.00/person charge. The Pirates of Nassau Museum was very informative and Captain Blah Blah was real funny. Labadee, Haiti. I came into this cruise expecting this to be the weak point of the cruise. How wrong I was! It was a beautiful peninsula, with a lovely beach/cove. Don't be afraid to explore the island as there are more beaches than you think. Avoid the water park and the slide, just lame attempts to get your money. Not worth it. Our Sommelier in the Dining Room, sadly I can't remember his name. Togi the Martini bartender was very nice and mixed excellent drinks. Cepepec assistant stateroom attendant. He always greeted us with a smile and a "How are you?" He kept the room up very nicely. Kudos to all the staff, never met one that wasn't pleasant. Negatives-Too many people! On our plane trip back, people from other cruises made the same comment. It appears that all cruise lines overbooked for the Holiday cruise. We have taken a prior Holiday cruise in 2004 which was nowhere near as overbooked as this one, especially with all the kids. The first day or so, we told our DD not to go in the adult only hot tub, however, when you have 20 or so kids crowded in these hot tubs with no one stopping them, and all her friends are going in them, who are we to say no? One time in the T-pool, I told two kids that this was an adult's only area and they weren't allowed. I even pointed at the sign that indicated you needed to be 18 years old to be in the pool, but they looked at me like 'what do you mean I can't be here? I'm a kid I can go wherever I want!' By the end of the week, there were smokers and kids all throughout the T-pool area. I avoided it, even though it's usually my favorite place to relax. Rudeness was another big negative. People seemed to have forgotten their manners once they got on the ship. They were cutting in line, rushing to get in the elevator before you could get out, saving seats, taking more 20 towels for one person, you get the picture. It was so nice to finally get home and not have to deal with people. Again, overall we had a wonderful cruise. In fact, we've just booked on the Solstice for 03/15/09, eager to try the new ship. Our itinerary includes a stop in Labadee, Haiti; we will definitely stay there longer and explore all this wonderful place has to offer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
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