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36 Celebrity Millennium Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

We just returned from the 15 day Millennium cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego. For us, it was a great success. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and had few negative comments. Here's a brief review. Because we were leaving from ... Read More
We just returned from the 15 day Millennium cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego. For us, it was a great success. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and had few negative comments. Here's a brief review. Because we were leaving from one city and returning to another, we used Choice Air. I did a price check; Choice Air offered the best price and a good variety of flights. No problems at all. Embarkation - smooth! We were informed of potential delays due to immigration checks on the previous cruise, but we arrived at the port around 11am and were walking on board by 11:30! Champagne in hand, we proceeded to explore. Our room was ready by 1:30; our bags delivered by 2pm. Food venues - overkill on Purel! Oceanview Cafe- I am not a fan of buffets, but this one was Ok. Best offerings for me were the waffles and made to order eggs for breakfast, yummy raisen bread and sticky buns in the morning, and the made to order sandwiches for lunch. The service was excellent, with dirty dishes whisked away almost before you finished. Metropolitan Dining Room - early seating - we had a table for eight, with Francisco and Julian taking care of things. By and large the food was excellent, although for someone with a seafood allergy (me!) the selections became more limited. One tip - for meat selections, order at least one degree less than you want (medium rare for medium, for instance) for a better chance of getting it right! It does take time to get it up to the table. I thought the food was far better than Carnival, RCI, or Princess - and no singing/dancing waiters! Specialty Restaurants-Qzine and Olympic - We bought the package of 3 dinners, so we had 2 dinners in Olympic and one in Qzine. Both were excellent, but very different. We enjoyed Qzine - upbeat and trendy, but you really need to go with a group to really enjoy it. The food comes fast and furiously and in great quantity. It is a little overwhelming. Ordering dessert with a Rubix cube us a hoot! Olympic is elegant, traditional dining with style and grace. The chateaubriand was so tender you didn't need a knife. Don't miss the dessert soufflés. Public areas - polished to a high shine! Previous reviews had commented that the ship was showing its age, but it appeared that the crew used the repair time to fix problems and shine things up. There did seem to be recurring problems with elevators, one would get fixed and another acted up. Excursions -we used mostly private excursions, so I will leave that to others for comment. Entertainment - such a personal choice here, so I am reluctant to comment. We enjoyed the comedians, but not the female singer (Michelle Murin); the dancers performed well, but we didn't care for the show that much. The dance music was good - we made a point of going down to dinner early most nights just to listen. I didn't attend the lectures, but others said they were interesting. I enjoyed trivia; Michael kept a nice balance between fun and competition! Debarcation - all went well on the ship, although it was running a bit late. Once off the ship, baggage collection was unorganized and getting to the transfer buses a mess. There needs to be more Celebrity personnel there. All in all, an excellent cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We stayed at Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale which was great. They had a free shuttle from the airport but the shuttle to the cruise terminal was $7 per person. Embarkation was slow because of a computer glitch but we made new friends while ... Read More
We stayed at Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale which was great. They had a free shuttle from the airport but the shuttle to the cruise terminal was $7 per person. Embarkation was slow because of a computer glitch but we made new friends while waiting in line. Our cabin staff were great as were our waiter and assistant waiter at dinner. We had one of the newer oceanview cabins on deck 3 and the window was huge. It was also very central to the lifts, dining room, excursion desk and guest relations. I think it was 3020. The food in all areas was great and the Olympic Restaurant at an extra $40pp is really worth it. The Celebrity singers and dancers were some of the best I have experienced in about 12 cruises but unfortunately the group was leaving the ship at the end of the cruise. The guests entertainers were average but there were some great groups in the bars and lounges around the ship. The daytime activities were the regular ones experienced before but all that I attended were well run and lots of fun. The only negative was disembarkation in San Diego which may not have been the ship's fault. All non US citizens had to be processed before anyone could leave the ship and some people did not go to see the customs officers at the time they should have. We were late getting the train we wanted to catch and I am sure some people would have missed their flight. The ship did not really let us know about not letting people off until the customs procedure was done and I only heard about it from another passenger. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Just returned from a 15 day Celebrity Millennium cruise of the Panama Canal Westbound. Celebrity was great as were the crew whom out of their way to make people happy. This is their job and they did it well. This was my wife's and ... Read More
Just returned from a 15 day Celebrity Millennium cruise of the Panama Canal Westbound. Celebrity was great as were the crew whom out of their way to make people happy. This is their job and they did it well. This was my wife's and my first cruise so nothing to compare it with really. Overall, we really enjoyed it and will do it again. We wondered if 15nigths would be too long. We found around the 8th day that is was seemingly so but you adjust daily and found by the end, it wasn't long enough. Subjective really. Boarding the boat was impressive and fast. I think from the time we left our luggage at the dock, it was maybe 15 minutes before we were in our stateroom. Getting off on the last day wasn't quite as smooth. We were up at 5:30am for a 6:15am immigration session with the border security (onboard), made it to our taxi on the peer by 11:00am even though we had a 9:30 departure time. But, we didn't have a flight to catch so wasn't so bad. Beverage package: Our group consisted of 21 people ranging in age from 18 to 85. Myself, at 52, and not a heavy drinker, was the only one to experiment by purchasing a premium package. The ship won in this regard. The package cost a little over $1000 with the added 15% gratuity. I had pre purchased the package online which was $6 cheaper per day than purchasing on board. However, once on board, they could find no record of my online purchase, (nor could I after spending $6 more dollars to search myself with their very slow wireless), so, I had to pay the onboard price which was an extra $90. Some of us were lead to believe that you had to pre purchase these packages, but we found this not to be true as they'll continue to try and sell you a package onboard throughout the voyage, pro rated of course. For the first 4 days, I attempted to get my daily quota of $59 per day. I went over this limit about 6 days on the entire voyage. I averaged about $45 overall. My wife much less. No one in our group came close to the package total including the drinkers. Excursion days especially as many would drink onshore and have early nights to bed from all the exercise and sun and drinks. With the package, you are entitled to 30% off a bottle of wine and they continually tried to entice me into purchasing some. I didn't quite get the logic though as I could get it at no additional cost by the glass, why by the bottle and pay more? You can take your glass to your room full of wine and didn't have to go far for a refill. The premium package covers anything up to $12 per glass and you have to pay the difference if it is more. I didn't encounter this often in my selections. However, you don't have access to 'every' variety. We found in the Cellar Masters lounge, they had limited varieties of wines on the list to purchase by the glass, more by the bottle and more and better varieties by the enomatic dispensing machines. These machines had several higher end wines I prefer, however, you have to purchase an 'additional' card to get at these. I drew the line there. The premium package covers specialty coffees, teas, water, juices etc. My wife and I consider ourselves coffee connoisseur's like many, and found we preferred the free coffee and tea's in the buffet over the purchased ones in the specialty coffee shop which were roughly $4.5 per serving. If we do this again, we won't buy a package and will simply get out coffee/tea from the buffet that's available 24/7. They have take away cups there too. The biggest advantage of the package is you don't have to sign for any drink orders unless it is over your $12 limit. (8$ on the classic package). This isn't enough to justify it though. As well, the receipt you must sign has a space for Additional Tip on it which does occasionally guilt you into it once you've had a few and your server becomes your friend, and they will all become your friend. This isn't a criticism, it's just the business and did enhance our experience. Excursions We stopped in Columbia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico. All great stops. We booked a few through the cruise line which adds a premium, and was very organized (in most cases). Colon Panama got rained out but we still went and enjoyed it. We then started booking on shore when we docked. The local excursion people will find you no prob and you'll get the same excursion for much less, however, in a smaller bus or taxi. These locals are every bit as concerned on getting you back before the boat leaves as are the ones hired by the cruise line. One example: My wife and I booked an excursion in Cartagena, Columbia, $62 per person. 4 other members of our group walked off the ship, made a deal with a taxi for $50 'total' to which he gave them a private tour (no stickers or flags on a stick to follow) in which they saw more and without the crowd. In Guatemala, 8 of us made a deal for a mini van at $40 per person vs over $100 for the same tour offered from the ship. Some prefer a larger group and feel safer so the cruise offerings are still a good choice. All a matter of preference. One caveate was that we asked the tour guide to take us away from the main tourists stops but, they didn't. I believe it's due to the commissions they get from the purchases made at the shops they strategically stop at. I plan to discuss this in more detail next time, even if the cost is a little more to cover the commissions. One member of our group fell a little ill with a sinus cold one day and didn't make her excursion. We couldn't give the ticket away so passed it back to the excursion operators at the time it was leaving. They later reimbursed her for it. All excursions were sold out that day so maybe they sold it and reimbursed her as I believe there is a cutoff quite sometime before. Another member had a fall on her way out to an excursion and couldn't continue. Celebrity couldn't do enough for her and reimbursed her for the loss of her excursion. Food: We didn't try any of the ala carte restaurants which charge a fee but some of our group did and said they were very good. Food in the main dining room was good (not outstanding), and no complaints with the service. We ate 50% of the time in the main dining room in the evenings, and 50% in the buffet. A sitting in the main dining room typically took us 2 hours whereas the buffet had more variety and of course, take as much or as little time as you like. Service was good here too although we did see one gentleman come unglued because they sliced his bread a little too thick for his liking. Dining room is available for breakfast and lunch as well. Services: My wife used the hair salon and said it was about what she pays back home. She had a bout of sea sickness and tried the wrist bands. She felt they worked but decided to try Acupuncture offered onboard. She said that worked as well and it wasn't overly expensive. I told her not to go in the pool afterwards though or she'd sink. Internet Wireless: We didn't require this service but did use it once as mentioned above. Service and price were very disappointing. It seemed possible that they might make more on the wireless service than the casino's. It's .75 cents per minute if you don't buy a package and they had a computer lounge with Mac's to use. You can buy packages that will reduce it to .65, .55 etc depending on how long a session you purchase. (which you can use at you're leisure, at most locations onboard including your stateroom with your own device , disconnecting when you're done to save your minutes). The wireless was extremely slow, not working a lot of the time and most complained they couldn't access a lot of their data or emails whilst they just burned up their credits.. As mentioned above, I knew exactly where to go to check my Celebrity account to see if my booze package was still there but it took me almost 8 minutes using their Mac's in Port. If you can stand waiting, most ports had FAST wireless in their coffee shops, restaurants etc. They ask you to at least buy a coffee in order to use it. Technology is only so good and on a moving ship out at sea, it's gotta be understandably difficult to keep this up and working, however, the excessive fees were a little over the top. Shops: I myself didn't purchase any items on the boat but people in our group felt the prices for watches, duty free liquor etc was pretty good and they have big sales almost everyday. You'll pay quite a premium for chips, toiletries, cold medicine etc and there wasn't a lot of choice. I did buy some cold medicine capsules for $15USD. NyQuil was $18. A trip to the Nurse will cost you $72 and $45 for a return visit. Any services they provide will cost extra. We didn't use this service, but saw the prices posted outside the nurses station. Our ship seemed to run flawlessly as far as we experienced. One thing I would suggest is the access to the front upper observation deck, deck 12 I think. There is only one stairway to access this. During the passage through the Panama canal, this stairway clogged with people vying for a good view point. This made it extremely difficult for anyone wanting to get up or down and were often frowned upon for doing so. We saw a couple lowering their stroller down over the railing to someone below as they couldn't get it down and then of course had to struggle through with their baby. Either managing with a steward, or placing an awning over the stairs to impede view should help. Would we book on the same ship again? Absolutely. We loved the layout and all that came with it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Overall it was a great trip, but there were some warts. But first about me: I am a 51-year-old guy. I have been on over 10 cruises. I am a good cook so I know good food. I am married. We travel with another couple that is also well ... Read More
Overall it was a great trip, but there were some warts. But first about me: I am a 51-year-old guy. I have been on over 10 cruises. I am a good cook so I know good food. I am married. We travel with another couple that is also well traveled. I expect good service and I am vocal when I do not get it. Now about what we booked: We booked an Aqua Class (A2) cabin, 9114.  Aqua class has a few perks that go with it. In the Cabin it includes and upgraded shower, Ice Tea delivered every day, bottled water (2 per day), H’orderves every day delivered to your room, Flowers in the room. I’m sure there was more but I can’t remember. For the food you get, upgraded room service menu (includes fresh squeezed juices), BLU (more about this later) Some other stuff you get: access to the Persian Gardens (a group of rooms that have a steam room and warmed benches and other spa stuff), your own guest service number for Concierge class and higher guests. Embarkation / Debarkation: Getting on the boat in Fort Lauderdale was smooth. Being Aqua Class we had our own check line. The check in person was fast and very nice. Getting off the boat in San Diego was not. We chose the express check out and carried our bags off the ship. Very poorly organized and a mess. Not good instructions and we waited for an hour for the ship to clear after the time they told us we could leave. We got down to the deck we were told to exit on and it was so crowded that we barely got off the elevator. So many people standing around in a small area we clogged the elevator exit and people were getting hostile because they could not exit the elevator. All in all a bad situation. Food: Being Aqua Class you get a separate dinning room with its own kitchen. This was the best perk of Aqua Class. We never rushed. We did not have to make reservations of have assigned time. Just wander in anytime the BLU was open (Dinner and Breakfast) get seated and enjoy. The food was mostly outstanding. Service was perfect and friendly. My wife has food allergies and the staff was very accommodating. We ate in the main dinning room on night and had a very poor dinner. After that we stayed eating at BLU. The Buffet was good and some times very good. Good selection of stuff. Fine for lunch or breakfast. Nothing special. We ate a both of the specially restaurants, Olympic and Qsine. Olympic was excellent both food and service but not worth the 45 each upcharge. Qsine was weird and not worth the money. Room service was a disaster. Never got the order right and took from 30 to 60 min, one time 2 hours. I complained to the head of house keeping and we got better service but still not good. Cabin: The Cabin was clean small but functional. The cabin attendant was excellent. Bathroom was small but the glass doors on the shower were a nice touch. Shore Excursions: Some good and some sucked. This is where Celebrity really fell short. They washed their hands of all issues on the shore excursions. Offered us 15% refund on a worthless tour that was really an excuse to sell the tourist (us) over priced stuff. I will spare you the details but I will not take another Celebrity shore excursion. We wrote corporate and still no response. I felt taken advantage of by the tour operator. Boat in general: Nice boat. Well maintained. Public areas were large enough to find a quiet corner. On this cruise 40% of the passengers were over 80 years old so most of the ship went to bed early. Staff was friendly and welcoming. Itinerary: Panama Canal from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego. The Canal was amazing the rest was good. That being said I would recommend this itinerary. If you would like more info Email tripreviewguy@gmail.com   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Background Information After a number of Caribbean and Mexican Riviera cruises plus a Med, Baltic and S. America it was time for something different. And the Panama transit has been a dream for years. The timing was right and Pre-Cruise: ... Read More
Background Information After a number of Caribbean and Mexican Riviera cruises plus a Med, Baltic and S. America it was time for something different. And the Panama transit has been a dream for years. The timing was right and Pre-Cruise: Hotel / Travel to Pier I stayed at the Royal Palm Resort in Fort Lauderdale for the two nights prior to the cruise. For the two-night pre-cruise say I found no reason to go anywhere. Nice size room, meal service outside the door by the pool and attentive service. Would definitely go back there again. (Note: the resort caters primarily to the gay traveler.) Embarkation Embarkation was the fastest I've experienced thanks, in part, to there being no line for Select Captains Club members. Within 10-12 minutes I was climbing the ramp and boarding "Millie" and enjoying my welcome glass of champagne. The only downside was the staterooms weren't quite ready (understandable since it was only 12:15pm. As promised, by 1:30pm the staterooms were ready and I was able to drop off my carryon bag. Stateroom We had originally booked stateroom 7180 (Category 2A) because it looked like it had a slightly larger balcony than other cabins in that category. This held true - the balcony was almost twice as deep. A nice overhang from the deck above provided shelter from the rainy days. The only downside: you looked directly down on the extended balcony of the suites on deck 6. Not really a big deal. Otherwise, this was a standard Cat 2A room. But, some "details” had been overlooked when the Millennium underwent her refurbishment. The hinges on the closet doors were loose and so the doors never did close properly. It was obvious one hinge had been replaced at some point (the old one lay on the closet floor). The paint job on the balcony was not in great shape with rust showing in several spots (this was later corrected when the balconies on deck 7 starboard were re-painted during our stop in Costa Rica). Ship Layout / Information The Millennium has been around for over ten years and recently went through a "Solsticeization" with upgrades to most staterooms, many public areas, and the addition of new dining venues. In general she looked very pretty. The pool area had been redone adding nice all weather, faux wicker, lounge furniture with deep cushions. Added cabins on Deck 11 cut the jogging track so it no longer circled the ship. Deck 12 aft was really almost wasted space " wide open but with no deck chairs. The Cosmos has been redone, closing off the port side entrance to allow room for a kid zone. The bar size was reduced so it took up less space (a nice touch) allowing for additional seating and a larger dance floor. The color scheme was also changed to warm blues. The added Wine Masters and Bistro on Deck 5 replaced the former Martini Bar with that being moved to a space on Deck 4 overlooking the atrium. Dining  Metropoliten (Main Restaurant) The main restaurant served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I never tried their lunch but did one breakfast there (the eggs Benedict were good but not spectacular) and enjoyed most evening meals there. Food was generally very good, served by attentive waiters and, for my regular table, an excellent sommelier. The group I traveled with was seated at three tables with each having the same wait staff but different sommeliers (the one for table 112 was, frankly, rather slow and, at times, totally ignored those who only wanted a glass of wine rather than a bottle). The sommelier for table 115 learned very quickly I always had a glass of wine with my dinner and always asked what I preferred for the meal. My favorite meal was the lamb shank the meat literally fell off the shank and was very tender and flavorful. Another very good entre was the prime rib done perfectly, juicy and tender. I was disappointed on two occasions when I ordered steak (once from the "every night” menu, once from the special menu) both times the steak was done as I asked but tasted rather tough and chewy. Two favorite deserts included the chocolate volcano cake (sinfully rich and tasty) and the always-available crème Brule. Another favorite was a very good NY cheesecake. All of the deserts I had were very good. Dining - Olympic I had the opportunity to eat here twice. Service in this specialty restaurant is at a very high level with a very attentive headwaiter and various assistants. Food service verges on performance art and the presentation of dishes is very attractive. ON both occasions, for starters, I had the lobster bisque served in a small pot, which was poured into the waiting bowl. The first night I had the Beef Wellington and it was superb cooked perfectly and very tender. For desert I had a lemon soufflé, also very delicious. The second time for my entre I had veal medallions cooked medium. They were very tender and, with the accompanying sauce, quite yummy. Desert on this occasion was the chocolate soufflé warm and delicious. On both nights we also had a cheese selection served between the entre and the desert. The Olympic offered a wide selection of cheeses from around the world. Unfortunately, trying to many would easily fill me up so I just sampled a couple (the Brie is excellent!). There’s a premium upcharge of $45 for this restaurant a bit pricey but in my opinion, worth it at least once. Dining Qsine Late in the trip I dined with my group at Qsine a new venue introduced on the Solstice class ships and added to the Millennium. The gimmick is the iPad-based menu but don’t let that throw you the food (both presentation and quality) is very good. A word of caution be careful how much you order, you’ll fill up fast. In our group of nine, we decided to order eleven tapas style "entrées” but only managed to actually get through 9. The food is served and designed to share and it went a long way very quickly. It was all very delicious and the presentation was both beautiful and practical. Again, there is an upcharge of $45 per person to dine here and it’s worth it. Dining Oceans Café / Grill This is the "buffet” on deck 10 and boasts a wide variety of breakfast and lunch offerings (I was never up there for dinner so cannot comment on that). Most days started here with breakfast with major choices made between made-to-order omelets or eggs benedict and pancakes, waffles, and/or French toast. Any of these choices were always good and prepared very well. Occasionally, if there were long lines for the omelets or the eggs benedict I opted for the pre-made scrambled eggs (passable) or just fruit and pastry. Lunch offerings ran the gamut from Asian to American to pasta to hamburgers and hot dogs (made on the grill by the pool) with wide selections of fruit and salads and tasty deserts. Most often I opted for either a burger or the hot dog (both excellent) along with crispy French fries (not exactly healthy, but very good). There was also a gourmet sandwich setup that I only used once (for a very good standard ham & Swiss cheese sandwich). At 4pm small tea sandwiches appeared in a variety of fillings, each only a bite or two. These made a great late afternoon snack or, a mini lunch if just returning from a shore excursion. The only down side was that the space was often crowded with people wandering rather aimlessly searching for what they wanted and not paying much attention to where they were going. Bars / Lounges When booking my cruise I took advantage of a Celebrity promotion offering a free Classic Beverage package, which, once I boarded, I upgraded to a Premium package (a cost of $10 per day). It was worth it for me given I really didn’t have to think about any beverage I was ordering whether cocktail, beer, wine, juice, special coffee or bottled water. It also allowed me to sample a variety of wines and beverages I might not have otherwise tried. My favorite bar was the Martini Bar and Crush located on Deck 4 above the atrium. This is a new/upgraded bar with a chilled counter giving a nice frosted surface. Seating is somewhat limited making the space feel crowded most evenings prior to dinner times. Bartenders are often somewhat preoccupied with "showmanship" and it can take a while to get served. While entertaining, I'd wish there were either additional bartenders or there be less time devoted to acrobatics and more to ensuring customers were served promptly. The martinis they made were good. The Cosmo club, forward on deck 11, is completely redone in pale blue tones. The bar, once a large round affair taking up much of the space, has been reduced in size allowing for more seating in the sizable venue. The Cosmo Club serves as a dance and entertainment venue in the evening. While sometimes noisy at night (depending on the entertainment that evening) it was a nice venue for a post dinner nightcap. The Cellar Masters on Deck 5 is new on Millennium taking up some of the space formerly occupied by the Martini bar (the remainder of the space is taken by the restaurant Bistro on Five. Cellar Masters has an extensive wine list and, with the beverage package, I was able to sample a variety of different wines. Not included in the beverage package were wines within a self-serve wine dispenser. The downside to the Cellar Masters bar is that it is laid out as a "pass through" space. Heavy traffic, especially at meal times, detracts from an intimate experience. Still, I enjoyed a pre-cocktail glass of wine here most evenings. Michael's Club on deck 4 is a carryover from the old Millennium but redone as a specialty beer pub. Even with a very pleasant atmosphere, I used this space rarely as it was used most evenings for either football or baseball games. Rendezvous Lounge on deck 4 provided nice entertainment many evenings and a pair of excellent bartenders who made superb martinis and cosmos. Other bars I sampled (mostly to get a midday beer) included the Pool and Sunset bars on deck 10 and the Mast Bar on deck 11. Both are outdoor bars nicely situated around the pool areas. Activities While shipboard activities were pretty varied, I didn’t partack of many. On the eight sea days I spent most of my time reading poolside or relaxing in the Solarium. Service Cabin/Bars Overall, the service in all venues was excellent. Only minor exceptions were with the Sommelier for one table who was quite slow and sometimes simply ignored the fact I wanted a glass of wine. The only other borderline service was at the Martini bar where "showmanship” seemed to often take precedence over getting people their drinks. Entertainment Saw the first production show and enjoyed that very much. Otherwise, I didn’t see any of the shows as the timing just wasn’t right for my pre-dinner plans of meeting folks for a cocktail before dinner. One group I enjoyed immensely was the Beacon Street trio a very talented group (violin, viola, and cello) who played alternate evenings in the Cellar Masters bar or the Café al Bacio. I always enjoyed catching their sets especially with an afternoon glass of wine. Disembarkation I opted for the "Express” departure, which meant I had to move my luggage (one suitcase, a carry on roller bag, and a shoulder bag) myself. Not a big deal and we did get off the ship a bit sooner than others. Disembarkation always seems chaotic but it really was pretty efficient  including a very quick pass through customs and short wait for a cab. Summary I’ve always liked the Millennium class ships and have now been on all of them. "Millie” was pretty and very comfortable. There was plenty to do (or not if you wanted to just veg out). The food was very good, service impeccable and the experience as a whole very pleasant. I’d actually seriously consider doing this one again sometime. Additional Port Reviews (could not choose in Port Selections) Puntarenas, Costa Rica (Arial Tram Adventure) The shore excursion choice here was difficult. I ended up with the Arial Tram ride, which was good but not exactly what I expected. In hindsight (always 20/20) I should have done one of the river trips. It should have been apparent that given it was midday, there would not be much wildlife. We did not see anything except a Macaw and some crocodiles on the bus ride to the conservation camp. There was included a short walk through a beautiful botanical garden with most flowers in full bloom. Puerto Quetzal, Guatamala (Port Selection not an option) 4 stars for port Originally I’d planned on the self-guided tour of Antigua but, at the last minute, cancelled that excursion and joined our group on a private tour that included Antigua plus a Macadamia nut farm for $10 less than the ship was charging. The tour was very good and our guide was superb with excellent English and an in depth knowledge of the area. If you’re going to see Antigua, I’d suggest hiring one of the guide companies located just inside the port terminal. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (Todos Los Santos excursion) 3 stars This was an excursion to a village near Cabo that I hadn’t seen before so figured why not. Well, now I’ve seen it and won’t try to go back. The 90-minute drive there (75 minutes back) was pretty but there really wasn’t that much in the village except for a mission church and the Hotel California where we had a fair lunch. Not really recommended unless you really want to spend nearly 3 hours on a bus.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Last month my family and I travelled on the Celebrity Millenium from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal. We had read many reviews about the ship, I found most were quite negative so we were a little apprehensive about our ... Read More
Last month my family and I travelled on the Celebrity Millenium from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal. We had read many reviews about the ship, I found most were quite negative so we were a little apprehensive about our trip. We didn't need to be. I could not believe how amazing the ship was and the staff couldn't have been more attentive. We were a party of 14 people - 8 adults (ages 41, 43, 46, 73 and 78) plus 6 children (ages 5,7,8,10 and 12). We stayed in concierge class - cabin was a good size, lovely balcony, our stateroom attendant Andy was fabulous. We had an interconnecting room with our 2 children. I think 1 cabin between 4 of us for 2 weeks would have been too tight. The Metropolitan Restaurant food was fabulous. Quality and variety were so much better than expected. We took the option to eat whenever we wanted and rarely had a problem getting a table, even when we all wanted to eat together. Oceanview Cafe - buffet. Food was great considering it was a buffet. Made to order stirfry's, pasta at dinner and eggs, omelette's at breakfast. Plus many pre-prepared foods. We ate breakfast here almost everyday but didn't eat dinner very often. Bistro on Five - crepes. $5 per person to eat here. The Olympic and Qsine were 2 of the top 5 restaurants I have ever eaten in. The quality of the food and attention to detail was unforgettable. I ate lobster 5 times over the trip. The food was ridiculous. Definitely worth buying the 5 night package to enjoy these 2 restaurants. Kids Club - we sailed during Australian September school holidays. USA/Europe had just started back. There were only 15 kids on board of which 6 were our family. It didn't matter the kids loved it. Begged to go everyday and my 5 year old cried when we disembarked because she was going to miss kids club so much. Only issue was the food choices given to them at dinner time. We requested they include sushi otherwise they could only choose from pizza, pasta, hot dogs and cheeseburgers. Gym - lots of treadmills, bikes and weights. Various classes including Pilates, spin, yoga ($12), body pump. Drink package. My husband paid for the classic package $49 per day. Maximum drink cost was $8 so fairly restrictive. At the restaurants there were only 2 types of red, white, sparkling to choose from, if you choose a wine that costs $9 you pay $9 not the $1 difference. If you love your wine go the premium package, which allows $12 and you can pay the difference if you choose a $20 port for example. Cocktails around the pool were mainly $6-$8. Beer $5. Speciality coffee $5. Martini Bar $11-$16. I didn't take the drink package as I couldn't justify it. They provide water, sprite, juice and percolated coffee and standard tea with meals. Pool grill had the best cheeseburgers I've ever had in my life, hotdogs were also a hit. Shore excursions. Cabo san lucas - we did our own thing. hired a boat to take us to land end and then dropped us at Medano Beach. Don't let them talk you into hiring their chairs/umbrella's though. Plenty of restaurants up the beach where you don't have to pay to use the sun loungers and umbrellas plus you can buy cheap beer and food. They came back and picked us up at 3pm and took us back to the port. Cost $120 for 14 of us. We prebooked Puerto Vallarta swimming with the dolphins. Words cannot describe this experience. Thoroughly recommend. Once in a lifetime experience. I would recommend joining the Cruisecritic forum as the group on board the ship seemed to have their shore excursions organized with sensational itineraries. Better than was offered on the ship and cheaper. Although, in Guatemala stick with the ship organized tours as we had a police escort to protect us from would be kidnappers. Apparently a real risk in this area. Costa Rica - bit disappointing. Rubbish all up the Torcoles River and not much wildlife in the middle of the day. Panama Canal - amazing. Colon - the city is frighteningly poverty stricken. The rainforests are beautiful. Not a lot of wildlife again due to us being out in the middle of the day. Cartegena - great city would have loved to stay longer. Theatre shows - comedian's , musicians, broadway shows. All fabulous and free. Our cruise had a Taste of the Sensors promotion so a lot of activities were centered around food. We participated in Coe making, food demonstrations, wine tasting, wine and cheer pairings, cake decorating. Some we paid for some free. They also had degustation menu's with wine pairing at The Olympic. Embarkation was long and arduous. Disembarkation was better. Embarkation and disembarkation at the ports of call was fine. Overall it was hard to fault. All public areas were pristine and well looked after. The staff were fantastic and seemed to go beyond our expectations again and again. Would definitely recommend to anyone.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Preface: This review was composed by weatherguy on Saturday, October 12, 2013, and covers my personal cruising experience on cruise ship, Celebrity Millennium's 15-Night Panama Canal cruise between the travelling dates of September 22 ... Read More
Preface: This review was composed by weatherguy on Saturday, October 12, 2013, and covers my personal cruising experience on cruise ship, Celebrity Millennium's 15-Night Panama Canal cruise between the travelling dates of September 22 to October 7, 2013. I will furnish a shortened version, and then followed by a lengthier, detailed version for those who crave more details. 1.) Shortened, condensed version to the review, first: *** Highlights & disappointments of the Celebrity Millennium cruise through Panama Canal from September 22 - October 7, 2013, provided by weatherguy. ***: Plusses, (Highlights): A.) Service -- Outstanding service, and second to none, with regards to stateroom service and dining room service. They handled everything I threw at them, in both areas. My dining room waiter had me out in record speed time, one night in as little as 35 minutes, when I explained to him that I needed expedited service so I could make it to the 7 PM shows in time, with 6 PM traditional dining time. Stateroom service also was AWESOME, after I explained my expectations of what was needed each day. I was never interrupted in the morning, and he expertly knew when to come & service each day without interfering with our daily plans. B.) Cabin -- I secured a veranda balcony cabin upgrade 3 days prior to sail date, after taking a courtesy upgrade first to Oceanview, one week before sail date. This was a fantastic location on the ship, with NO obstructions to the view, and TWICE the amount of balcony space than those balconies above me on decks 7 & 8. Almost everything in this stateroom cabin worked from the beginning: All the lights, shower & faucet, hot water, drains, electrical outlets, & toilet. The only real problem was the key card didn't work, outside the room, and needed an electrician to re-code the door key access. Air conditioning worked really well. For a 13-year-old ship, the accommodations were really great with new furniture, and I wouldn't have even known this ship was that old, as it is WELL-taken care of. The shower stall is spacious for cruise line standards, with a rectangular-shaped shower stall and shower curtain. C.) Cleanliness of Public Areas: The service staff saw to it that this ship is kept in top, ship-shape! I never remember seeing any visible litter or sloppiness anywhere. Tables were quickly cleaned in the Oceanview Cafe' and I never had any difficulty finding a table -- even when dining in the morning. That's a milestone accomplishment! The décor of this cruise ship is what I refer to as simple. It's not gorgeous like the Crown Princess cruise ship and not flashy like some Carnival & RCCL cruise ships, but just simple and plain. The ship is in remarkably SUPER condition, considering it's a 13 year old cruise ship. The condition of the ship is the best condition I've seen maintained for a ship this old of 13 years. Minuses, (Major Disappointments): A.) Shore Excursions -- This is where 1 of 2 most MAJOR failures were that I experienced. Tour excursions had FALSE advertisement on one of my volcano tours, and the 2nd volcano tour I learned had a 50% failure rate of seeing the caldera. For me, the heart of taking this cruise was experiencing the thrill of seeing volcanoes up-close, and watching lava rivers (Pacaya volcano). This did NOT happen as advertised! Shore excursions botched this big time, failing to take us, up-close and did NOT see lava rivers, as advertised. B.) Food menu selections & food quality -- Again, the 2nd of 2 MAJOR disappointments. Of all my 16 cruises that I have taken, without a doubt, this is FIRMLY the WORST dining room selections offered & well below-average quality of food pedaled-out, during dinner time, in the Metropolitan main formal dining room that I've ever encountered in 16 cruises. Fancy names of entrees could not live up to a fancy taste. I kept anticipating each night, for dinner, it would eventually turn around and get better, but NO WAY! Consistently, BELOW-average quality food each night, along with undesireable & unwanted entrees were offered each night in the main formal dining room. Golden Corral even serves better food than this place, as do many land-based restaurants in the U.S. far exceed the quality of food and food menu selections than this cruise ship! The only saving grace to avoid the poor quality & undesireable entrée selections was to order steaks. This is about the only area that Celebrity Millennium could handle that was acceptable and fairly decent quality. Many was the time I was stuck with having to order from the LEFT side of the menu which was a fixed-menu, vice the variably changing side of the menu on the right side of the menu each night. Be ready to ask for translators to translate in English what these entrees are, on the right side of the dinner menu each night! I finally decided upon dining up in the Oceanview Café a couple nights as an alternative. This was also a major disappointment with menu selection offerings and generally poor quality of food. I'll get in to the specifics later. C.) Entertainment ~~ The entertainment became quite repetitive and predictable from night to night. 3 appearances by vocal impersonators, when 1 show could have worked instead of 3 redundant shows. 2 xylophone performances & 2 pianist performances, when 1 of each would have been sufficient -- so I felt a bit of redundancy of similarly "repeat" shows, when they could have thrown in some more creative variety shows like a hypnotist show, Cirque du Soleil show, sky-dancing contortionists, and even a physical comedian act. RCCL and NCL both have implemented the dynamic, visually-captive Cirque du Soleil shows and sky-diver shows, so why NOT Celebrity?? Because of the lack of creativity, this meant some dull, repeat shows for night time theatre venues, and a rather dated, old approach to the cruising entertainment of yester-year. Zzzzzz! Also you get NO Quest game show, either, with Celebrity cruise lines -- another downer. Evening entertainment seemed rather one-dimensional, outside the Celebrity Theatre show venues. It was either music up in Cosmos lounge or music in Rendezvous lounge or music in Michael's club. What the cruise director should have done is thrown in some variety game shows -- interactive audience game shows, during "prime time" like NCL does. Unless you're a music listener or dancer, you will be BORED -- very BORED with the one-dimensional "prime time" activities from 7 PM onward. Very dull and uneventful evenings, after you're done seeing the Celebrity Theatre nighttime shows which only last about 45 minutes to 1 hour long. Good thing for me is that I am an advanced beginner dancer, and I danced quite a bit in the Rendezvous lounge, but MOST people are not dancers, and thus will become bored. It's pretty sad to see when a cruise line advertises the Fortunes Casino as a highlight activity for nighttime activities. Okay, that's the shortened condensed version of my review. For those who thirst for ALL the nitty-gritty details, about several subject areas, I will pour in to that in my lengthy, extended review of Celebrity Millennium, appearing down below. **NOTICE** -- I don't "sugar-coat" like so many artificial CC member user reviewers do. When it's GREAT I say it's GREAT; when it's BAD, I'll tell you it's bad, too. I tell it like it is. So following down below is the structured sequence of the lengthier review from my 15-Night Panama Canal experience from September 22 to October 7, 2013. I. Background. We're a couple in our 40's, having cruised now, 16 times on 6 different cruise lines, so I'm a seasoned veteran to cruising and have a goodly bit to compare with. We currently reside in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. While this cruise on Celebrity Millennium marks my 1st on Celebrity cruise lines, I have cruised on several of the other cruise lines, and on 15 DIFFERENT ships on 6 other cruise lines since 2002. II. Hotel Information. Our starting port of embarkation for this cruise was San Diego. Since I secured a late reservation, I did not stay near the port, but instead about 20 minutes North of the Pier at the Extended Stay America near Mission Valley Stadium, in San Diego, California, for 1 night's stay. They tried over-charging us TWICE for 2 reservations. After speaking with another couple staying there, they too, also experienced an over-charging attempt. All the accommodations were great at the motel, and is situated in a hilly, scenic area, otherwise, but it's not anywhere near water, though. Morning continental breakfast service was very scant, with only a few pieces of fruit offered, and grab n' go muffins & oatmeal in a cup offered. Coffee was served but no juices. Breakfast is not their strength here. Large rooms are, though, with spacious amounts of space owing to full kitchens and supplied kitchenware. III. Ship Information. This is an interesting story to tell here about the ship. When I boarded this Celebrity Millennium, I did so AFTER the ship underwent recent propeller repairs, & had been out-of-service for approximately one month. 4 cruises before mine were cancelled and 2 cruises before that were interrupted. All this stems from the need for a new 250 ton Rolls Royce mermaid propulsion pod to be installed at Grand Bahamas Island shipyard, in Freeport, Bahamas which took 4 days with 50 manufacturer technicians and 30 ship yard workers working round the clock to ready the Millennium for cruising in time for our sail date, on September 22, 2013. So I consider this the "guinea pig" cruise, as we were the first crop of passengers to board this ship, since the repairs were made. The repairs firmly held-up during the duration of our cruise, and Millennium has been completely restored & fixed now. We arrived at every port of call on time. Celebrity Millennium is a 13-year-old ship, with its inaugural maiden voyage taken on June 17, 2000. It has a length of 965 ft, tonnage of 91,000 tons and a passenger occupancy of 2,158, based upon double occupancy. IV. Activities On-Board the Ship. I was disappointed that there were not interactive, audience participation variety game shows offered at "prime time" during this cruise. Only a couple interactive dancing venues, as in Dancing with the ship's officers and another dance show or two were offered, involving audience participation. So, you're out of luck if you can't dance! There was a decent variety of activities offered during the daytime hours. Many times they offered enrichment speaker & lecture presentations on the sea days, from either an Emile Baladi (strong, thick accent that some Brits & Aussies couldn't understand); or from American, Joe Murphy giving presentation lectures on World War 2. Emile kept more on topic, while many of Joe's presentations were off-topic and didn't have anything to do with our cruise. Nonetheless, I did take an interest in Joe's presentations, especially on the WW2 talks, even though I'm not a history buff -- I was able to connect with his interesting research that he presented, and he was more understandable than Emile. He also gave a lecture talk on Roswell, NM UFO theories that I attended. When it comes to prepping you for the Panama Canal, this is where Celebrity Millennium's presentation staff excelled BIG-TIME!! The day prior, they gave lectures on the Panama Canal, by Emile, and showed a video presentation in addition to Emile's pep talk. The day of the Panama Canal, there was narration given in the public areas on the cruise ship, but could not gain access to the narration in my stateroom, as the volume knob and electrical wiring had a short in it. A listing of activities during the sea days were as follows: Trivia, fitness classes, (yoga & pilates which cost a fee to participate); some other fitness classes are for free, like Zumba; and some for a paid fee; arts & crafts presentations are available; music trivia; bingo; a few health & wellness seminars, including 2 talks I attended on acupuncture. Then there were free dance classes that I attended with weather-GIRL. We always enjoy the dance classes, even if we know some of the steps already. They offered some pool games like volleyball, table tennis, and then there was some Xbox 360 games in the afternoon. There was an occasional inter-active game show offered in the afternoon from time to time but I desired more variety game shows, especially in prime time. They had boutique shop seminars, and there is a basketball court up on top, with an abbreviated jogging track. They eliminated the rest of the jogging track, when they installed new cabins on deck 11, aft, a few years back. I also attended a couple of sessions of modern line dance with Laura, and I attended one session of Zumba, once the instructor finally arrived on our ship. That is really exhausting, that Zumba -- but it seems most the women took a fancy to it, as much a work-out as it was! It operates on the platform premise of Latin dancing, fused with aerobics, but I found it to be much more aerobic-like. By late afternoon, they offered piano & vocals and a Beacon Street string trio of dinner music in Cellar Masters, Deck 5. For those Karaoke believers, I did catch that on the schedule a couple times during the cruise, too. For those of you casino gamers, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in Texas Hold-Em tournaments, lotto draw and slot machine bonus points events. There are art seminars given as well. Excite the Senses was a marketing gimmick designed to get you to pay a fee for their culinary seminars & experiences. Most cruise lines have several activity events designed to generate revenue by charging for their activities and this culinary theme was one of them. Although they did offer a free BBQ, on the pool deck, marketed under this name. I didn't take part in it, because it didn't look any good, and one of my CC members said it wasn't any good -- the BBQ. V. Service. As announced in my shorter, condensed version of my review, dining room service and stateroom attendant service was superior on this cruise ship, Celebrity Millennium. So if I'm impressed, then the rest of you will be too! Many was the time that I needed to get out of the traditional Metropolitan main formal dining room in about 45 minutes' time so I could make the 7 PM show in time to get a front row seat. My server understood & complied with my expectations during the cruise. Communication is often the key to excellent service. Get with Ana on Deck 5 of the Metropolitan for Select dining if you have special needs. I was happy with her service provided. If you're in need of something, then just articulate that with service personnel and find one that is most attentive to your needs and stick with him or her during your cruise and you'll be fine. Oceanview Café service was also attentive on most occasions. They cleaned the tables promptly and juice machines were 90% of the time well-stocked with the juices. A few times, on occasion, they didn't keep the food stocked on the buffet, though. Stateroom service was fantastic, and we had no issues to contend with here, which I can't say the same on all my cruises. Staff made frequent eye contact in the public areas and asked about your well-being, too. In summary, the service on Celebrity Millennium is higher than that on my previous RCCL cruises, and far higher than on NCL cruise lines, especially in the dining room. This cruise marks one of the rarest moments in which I never had to search far to get a table in the upstairs buffet, either for breakfasts or for dinner. That was a really pleasant surprise, as it's usually a challenge to find a table for breakfast in the mornings on my other cruises, during port days; but this was not an issue. Another NOTICEABLE enhancement to service with this Celebrity cruise line ship -->> On port days when it was raining, they have service personnel outside with a bucket of umbrellas that they open and hand to you when you're at the gangway, for transit between the cruise ship and the port terminal -- something that other cruise lines don't offer. They also enhance the hospitality experience on Celebrity by providing you with cool washcloths to take on a tray on those hot days when you arrive back to the ship's gangway, and offer you cups of water or fruit punch for refreshment inside the cruise terminal before boarding back on to the ship. So a few, nicer enhancements that the other cruise lines don't offer. VI. Port & Shore Excursions. I have read continuing criticisms of this Shore Excursion staff, on this particular cruise ship in past reviews, and I can duplicate those same hardships. Cesar is the shore excursions manager and he is uncaring and unwilling to make the necessary corrections for future cruisers that are needed in his under-writing tour excursion descriptions. Celebrity Millennium's shore excursion department gets VERY POOR grades & delivers MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT, when it comes to horsing-up my port destination tours. First, on my Colon, Panama port of call, about 10 days prior to sail date, they cancel my tour excursion. Then, when I get on the ship, they re-label that tour excursion that they cancelled, and re-offer it under a NEW name title. So, I re-book that NEW, re-labeled tour, now marketed as "Panama City Experience" tour. A few days later they cancel THAT tour -- a 2nd time I've been cancelled on in Panama. Major frustration, as most other desireable tours have now already been booked by the time they cancel on me. (Is that all, you ask??) NO! This is just the start. Next, in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, they offer the "Pacaya Volcano Climbing" tour. In their tour description that sits in front of me, it FALSELY advertises, "experience an up-close volcanic activity and watch lava rivers." THIS IS DOWN-RIGHT FALSE ADVERTISING! You will NOT see up-close volcanic activity, and you will NOT see lava rivers. The hike is a strenuous one, as advertised, and if you're one that is really over-weight, out-of-shape, or tires easily from up-hill climbing, then you'll struggle and will require the need for a horse. The locals go up half-way with the climbers waiting for folks to cave-in & rent a horse. They charge $30 for a horse rental. The hike is a continuous up-hill climb with several breaks taken to catch breath. I am 40 years old, have a big belly, and am not accustomed to steep climbs. I was able to do the entire hike, without a horse, but was panting heavily. It's my strong legs that saved me. But all the work exerted for this strenuous hikes gives LITTLE, very LITTLE back-end pay-out reward in terms of volcanic activity, for all you put in to it and I cannot recommend this tour, as a result. Often times the volcano top is cloud-shrouded, but there were periods where the clouds mixed-out, which affords you DISTANT pictures from a LONG DISTANCE away. I was expecting steam vents, hot springs, and bubbling mud scenes along the hike, the signs of volcanic activity, but you see NONE of this along the way. You do get some scenes of landscape of neighboring hills. Next, the Poas Volcano, Sarchi, Country Drive & Lunch tour that this shore excursion staff offers, is a tour that should have never been offered. Once we arrive on the bus, after the fact, the tour operator announces to us, there is only a 50% chance of seeing the volcano's caldera on any given day! Say what?? If you're encountering a FAILURE rate as HIGH as 50% of the time NOT seeing the volcano's features, then this is a tour that should have never been offered, and their tour description under-writing SHOULD have informed their guests that there is a heightened chance that guests will NOT see the volcano's features, because of a fog bank that sits in its caldera. Again, shore excursion tour description underwriting did NOT address this heightened chance of NOT seeing the caldera in their tour descriptions, and they bungled yet another tour on me! Steer clear of BOTH volcano tour excursions, because they will NOT deliver what is advertised. 50% failure rate of not seeing the Poas volcano features, and DISTANT, VERY DISTANT viewing of the Pacaya volcano, with NO lava rivers & no up-close volcanic activity. Now I will spend time delving in to the other tour excursions that I took: #1.) Cabo San Lucas, Mexico ~~ WeatherGIRL chose the "Premier Beach Escape" tour. To me, it's a complete waste of time to just sit at a beach all day long, as I'm a LOT more adventurous than this; but okay, I complied with her wishes, and accompanied her. The tour picks you up from the pier and takes you to a resort called, "Me Cabo". They serve you ONE plate of food, (no buffet), and choice of limeade or iced tea. NO alcoholic beverages are included in this price. NO motorized sportscrafts are included. You also get access to their swimming pool, which also has a built-in pool bar. For $80, I'd have expected free alcoholic drinks INCLUDED with this price, as a simple 1 plate of food and access to a beach is awfully skimpy for the price paid. I do NOT recommend this tour. The most irritating part of this beach resort was the music! They were pumping out LOUD techno music all day long that was just driving me up the WALL! I spoke with several other guests on this tour with us, and NOBODY -- not a SINGLE soul I spoke with enjoyed that music. A Brit's response was, "Bloody Awful", when he described the music being played at this resort. Definitely steer clear of this tour; NOT worth the money; way over-priced, and tense, annoying Techno club music being pedaled-out all over the place here. They need to consider their audience. I did decide to make a last moment decision to visit "Lover's Beach" with a private water taxi, when puttering around on the beach. I do recommend to go see Lover's Beach. (Why?) Because of the scenic monoliths you are surrounded by, makes for pretty backdrop picture scenes. It's a beach with a view! It is NOT offered as a part of this tour excursion. You'll have to do this independently yourself. But the pictures I obtained are so worth it when I took it upon myself to get us there, with a 10 minute water taxi that they offered on the beach we were initially taken to. #2.) Puerto Vallarta, Mexico ~~ We mutually agreed upon the Yelapa & Majahuitas Snorkel Adventure. This is a combination tour that visits a not-so-good snorkeling site, but also visits the coastal mountain town of Yelapa, which I really enjoyed. The real HIGHLIGHT for me on this tour was the experience with the waterfall that we hiked up to! GREAT, FANTASTIC pictures I was able to obtain, as we were afforded the opportunity to go in to the lake and experience the waterfall up-close and obtain pictures. Then we took a leisurely VERY SCENIC hike the rest of the way down, crossed over a muddy river stream, and were taken to a scenic, pretty beach with a view of the coastal mountains. We were furnished with a FULL lunch buffet -- unlimited plates of food & drink included on the catamaran that we sailed on for over 2 hours' time. The staff on the catamaran was FABULOUS! Although, the only disappointment on this tour was the quality of the snorkel site, Majahuitas snorkeling site, the other parts of the tour made up for it. The snorkeling site had NO coral reefs at all; limited fish and very mirky, cloudy waters. This is not a place to come snorkeling at. The tour operators went way beyond their call of duty which was just to guide us on the tour and provide a meal. They went over-the-top, to put on an entertaining show, with music, costumes, and interactive dancing with us on the catamaran. I've taken a LOT of catamaran tours over the past decade of 16 cruises on 6 cruise lines, but these boys delivered!!! And I tipped them very GENEROUSLY for their hospitality and entertainment they provided!! Because the many GREAT features outweighed the snorkeling site, I can recommend this tour, with lots of energy! #3.) Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala ~~ As mentioned at the top of this sectional, I chose the "Pacaya Volcano Climbing" tour. The ONLY attribute the tour description got right was the fact that this is a LONG, strenuous hike, that involves steep climbs, and that it is for people who are in optimal physical fitness condition. This tour does NOT get you up-close to the volcano, and you will NOT see lava rivers, as the tour description FALSELY advertises. Believe me, this tour is TOTALLY miss-able, since they don't get you close to the "good stuff". Everything is seen from a very far distance away. I could hear the volcano huff, like a steam engine train starting, every 20 seconds or so, and in a telephoto zoomed-in lens, I could also see mud or rocks spewing up from the top, but because it's such a far distance away, the camera could not resolve the details of the spewing mud & rock. You will not get to see any red lava either with this tour. No steam vents; no sulfur deposit sites, no hot springs, no bubbling mud either, along the uphill or downhill hiking stretch. During the entire hike you will NOT see any visible signs that you are approaching the volcano. Since the strenuous, long hike uphill did NOT offer a substantial reward of up-close volcanic activity NOR any red lava flows, I do NOT recommend taking this tour, as it's not worth all the work, just to get distant volcano pictures which are often cloud-shrouded. #4.) Colon, Panama ~~ After settling a score with the shore excursion staff, we were then booked on the Grand Tour of Panama tour excursion. This tour starts off by taking you on a motor coach bus to a Panamanian resort hotel that has a boat launch. This is where we boarded our lake boats and took a scenic view of the Panamanian jungles. A few species of birds and howler monkeys could be spotted from the small, open-air boat that we toured on. It was raining off-and-on during the day, so it wasn't the prettiest of days, but the tour still continued in spite of the rain. Then, we were off-loaded at an island where the Embera Indian culture survives on. An introduction to their culture, and primitive living conditions is discussed and witnessed first hand. They offer to sell trinkets & hand-made crafts there. None of it is really worthy of buying, and I suppose the few people who bought did so out of being kind, feeling sorry for their unfortunate, primitive living conditions. They did have a walking dance that I participated in, since I was in the front row, basically walking in a circle a few times. We did a similar tour like this out in Fanning Island in the Central Pacific one time, during our Hawaii cruise. They have primitive musical instruments that they try & perform a tune to, and show you a couple of their ritual dancing events for celebration and during sickness that they conduct. The final segment of this tour takes us to the highlight of the trip, the Panama Canal's Gatun Locks. These are the locks on the Southwest Caribbean side of the Panama Canal. Here we observed ships transiting from the viewpoint of standing on land looking inward toward the canal, at about 2 different levels. They also have displays of the locomotives used in guiding the canal. There are NO elevators to reach the top observing, viewing platform, so you must be able to climb a few stories worth of stairs to get to the TOP observing level. We also seen the expansion segments of the Panama Canal, from a distance as our tour bus drove by. This is new construction for more locks to the Panama Canal, slated to open in the year 2014, if on schedule. By the year 2014, the Panama Canal will reach its 100th year of operation. It is operated and maintained by the country of Panama. The lock system and flow of water works by gravity and not pumps and is considered by many to be the World's 8th Wonder of the World, a true engineering marvel that cost over 27,000 lives lost in the initial construction stages, more than 100 years ago. Although the tour was a decent and satisfactory tour, the price paid is a bit steep for what is offered in this combination tour. I could personally do without visiting the Embera Indian tribe as it's no picnic seeing the primitive living conditions and customs, but if you've never seen an experience like this before, you may feel it's justifiable to pay the extra $$$ for this combination tour. There won't be any substantial shopping offered on this tour. The little gift shop that they have at the Gatun Locks really has nothing much to offer, as it's really tiny and really limited in merchandise. Understand and know that beyond the tourist zone of Colon, that is gated, you MUST stay within the tourist zone INSIDE the port gates, and NOT venture out on foot by your own. Both the cruise line and U.S. Dep't of State website advises that the town of Colon, Panama is UNSAFE. A few crew members from the ship ignored that warning from the ship's announcement and were consequently mugged and robbed from all their belongings. When I approached the edge of the protected tourist zone, a gang of men were eyeing my male purse that I wear on my belt, very closely and staring me down with suspicious looks. We went on a ship's sponsored tour excursion so we were in guarded condition. #5.) Cartegena, Colombia ~~ Here we mutually agreed upon taking the tour entitled "Cartagena City, La Popa Hill, Folklore Show, and Shopping" tour. I was pleasantly surprised and happy with this particular tour excursion. We were escorted to several different vantage point views of the city. We first made a stop at the San Felipe Fortress, after boarding a motor coach bus. There are women standing nearby with fruit bowls on their head and dressed to take pictures, but they do expect a tip, if you take pictures with them. The tour then continued onward to a monastery at the top of La Popa Hill, where SUPERB photo opportunities abound from many different angles, overlooking the city of Cartagena, with views of the sea. The courtyard inside the monastery also affords some photo opportunities. For me, the highlight of this tour was the folklore show given at Café Del Mar. The outfit costumes used in this folkloric show were FANCY, and even MUCH better than the ship's production show costumes! They went all-out on these very photogenic costumes. The music was simple and not nearly as elaborate as the costumes and dancing. Then, they took us to the shopping square where time for shopping was given -- I believe about 30 minutes or 45 minutes tops. Weatherguy obtained coffee candies and a shirt for his souvenirs. I recommend this tour as the price is right, and you get a number of different stops and shopping time afforded on this tour, and it is not a physically demanding tour; although I caution there is a good bit of walking through the streets, though. #6.) Fort Lauderdale, Florida ~~ Weather-GIRL chose the Everglades Airboat ride ending at Ft. Lauderdale Airport. They have really commercialized airboating since the days I was just a kid some 30 years ago. In this tour, you will depart from the dis-embarkation pier, (about an hour late after the tour was to begin), and ride for 30-40 minutes on an un-narrated motor coach bus out West to Everglades Holiday Park. From there, we boarded a double-bladed airboat which had a roof on it and a front windshield on it. In the early days when I was 10 years old, they were all open air and single-bladed airboats with NO roofs. The airboat will rev up its speed, but doesn't seem to go as fast as the ones I was on 30 years ago, as everyone is so conscious about safety first. Still, the airboat ride is narrated, and you will explore the back areas of the Everglades and we seen several alligators in the waters, which the guide gets you UP-CLOSE, really close to them swimming lazily nearby. In their swimming, you only get to see the top surface of their body, as they stay largely submersed in the water. Birds could be spotted, too, on this tour. But alas! You will get to see alligators in their entirety in their alligator show presentation that they put on, back at base camp, where you board the boats. They give a talk demonstration and provide insights to the alligators' lifestyle. There's also a gift shop that sells snacks and drinks. The airboat ride lasts about 40-45 minutes, and when finished, we boarded the motor coach bus for an un-narrated transfer to the Fort Lauderdale Airport to make our flight connections. I can recommend this tour for 1st time airboaters who've never seen a portion of the Everglades, or have never been on an airboat ride before. VII. Embarkation We arrived at the San Diego, California pier to board the ship on September 22, 2013. 2 Celebrity ships were docked there that sunny day. I had read on the CC boards that San Diego is troublesome for embarking, but I could not duplicate those hardships that others say they encounter. I found that the embarkation process went rather SMOOTHLY with little wait in lines in the pre-boarding paper-work process and security lines. It went much faster for us than the industry average in other ports I've gone through. We are "Select" members, and this cut down some on the line wait, but even those who don't have our status, the line didn't look severely long, but a good bit longer than ours. We basically had only 2 couples ahead of us, in the Select line. We were about an hour late leaving San Diego, but time was made-up on our first 36-hours at sea en route to Cabo San Lucas, because on our first sea day, a passenger on the pool deck had a heart attack and was pronounced dead, by the poolside, but then subsequently revived by the ship's staff, and then re-located to the ship's infirmary and stabilized until we reached Cabo San Lucas in which he was transferred to a hospital. It turned out the man had a stint put in his heart one week prior to our sail date. So we arrived a little earlier to Cabo San Lucas because of this man's heart condition. VIII. Cabin The cabin stateroom I had secured was a result of 2 last week upgrades I underwent, in the one week prior to sail date. I first purchased an Inside cabin in the 2nd week of August 2013, with a happy hour special offered by the cruise line. Then 1 week prior to sail date I called-in for a free upgrade to an Oceanview room. Finally, 3 days prior to sail date, I upgraded one more time to a Veranda stateroom with balcony. This was the BEST cabin I've had in recent years. Everything in this cabin worked, when we arrived -- toilet, faucets, drains, air conditioning, sliding doors, hot water, vent, electrical outlets, all lights, & the safe. You are provided with a hair dryer and 2 robes for use during the cruise. They also furnish your stateroom with an umbrella to use. A nice touch to this stateroom that I've not ever encountered with any other cruise line is a dim nightlight on the wall of the bathroom, in which if needed during the night, you don't need to turn on the blinding full-scale lightning. Even though this ship is 13 years old, you'd NEVER know it, inside this stateroom. Celebrity went through the trouble of replacing the furniture. Our chair looked new. The bed was comfortable enough for me, and I easily slept each night, soundly -- in fact, I slept too well, the first few days! My only troubling encounter was getting in to the stateroom on embarkation day. Since I upgraded just 3 days prior to sail date, the computer systems between land and the ship had not updated and thought I was still on deck 2, with an Oceanview stateroom. So they had to dispatch an electrician to re-code the lock to be compatible with the room key. Replacment & the issuance of new room key cards wasn't good enough for this lock. It required the intervention of an electrician. The balcony on this stateroom I was in, is TWICE the size of the regular side balconies on decks 7 & 8 above me. For that, I really enjoyed having the larger balcony, and there were NO obstructions to the downward, upward, forward, nor aft, when coming out to the edge of the railing. Outside chairs were better than the typical industry average which other cruise lines give you cheap, plastic white chairs. These were better quality, wider & more comfortable chairs outside on the penthouse deck. There's no smoking anymore outside in your private balconies, because too many non-smokers complained they couldn't enjoy being outside on their balcony with the presence of second-hand smoke from other neighboring smoking balcony cruisers. This is the 1st cruise line I've been on where bottles of shampoo are given to you, instead of using the shampoo dispenser that is fastened to the side of the shower wall & the button that is pressed. No such shampoo with button dispenser exists on the shower wall. Bar soap is also provided, lotion, and conditioner. Towel linens are the same as any other cruise line -- the towel linen quality is comparable to a $70 motel. Same goes for the quality of soap & shampoo -- it's like the quality of a $70 budget motel. Between 7 PM & 8 PM and again between 8 PM and 9 PM, if there was a loud musical show going on, in the Celebrity Theatre, then I could hear distant bass volume in my stateroom during those times, since we were located above the balcony side of that showroom theatre. Otherwise, all other times, it was quiet. IX. Dining. The area of dining was a miserable failure for this cruise ship, Celebrity Millennium -- particularly at nighttime, in the main formal dining room, Metropolitan. Dining menu selections were just down-right AWFUL! Many was the night when the menu looked absolutely UN-DESIREABLE. Nothing interested me. I can't say I've had this experience on other cruise lines. The quality of food in the Metropolitan main formal dining room for dinner was equally as bad as the menu selections. I'm serious when I said that food at Golden Corral is better than on this ship! Many land-based restaurants in the United States can EASILY surpass the quality of food on this ship! SERIOUSLY!! Even McDonald's serves BETTER French fries than this ship. Pizza in the Oceanview Café is the WORST pizza I've had in YEARS!! ALL the pizza chains in the U.S. beat the quality of pizza served on this cruise ship -- even the lowly Cici's Pizza does! Even frozen "Tombstone" brand-pizza is better. For a cruise line that touts, "Modern Luxury" I can whole-heartedly assure you that the QUALITY OF FOOD and MENU SELECTIONS are NOT "modern luxury" quality. Anybody that tells you otherwise, is NOT playing it razor-straight with you! Before boarding this cruise ship, I had read previous complaints from other user reviews about the food on this cruise ship, Celebrity Millennium and I can duplicate their hardship experiences. (Is there a way out??) Yes, you can take a detour to all this unpleasantness, by sticking to the STEAK selections in the main formal dining room, at nighttime. That's an area, where they don't seem to have trouble serving up, and it's fairly decent quality, but I just didn't want to be eating steak every night. I didn't care for the Caesar salad; no where NEAR as good as on NCL cruise lines. The French Onion soup is so hot you need to wait 30 minutes to bear tolerating the piping-hot soup. It's a painful experience if you dig-in right away to the French Onion soup, so be warned! Even the Salmon served on the left portion of the every day menu at dinner time in the Metropolitan main formal dining room was DRY when I ordered it, lacking in flavor too. One of the worst salmons I've had on cruise ships. The Canadians at my table duplicated the same DRY salmon that I had the night before. One time I ordered a fish entrée, and it came so SMELLY, and such powerful odor, it was repulsive. Leaving this FOOD BEHIND was a HIGHLIGHT of this cruise! Yep, yep, yep! Happiness is seeing this cruise ship food in my rear view mirror! The food on my Carnival Conquest cruise from 2011, was FAR SUPERIOR to the food served on this cruise. About the ONLY thing POSITIVE that I can say about ANY of the food quality or selections is the FRUIT. The fruit was consistently FRESH and quite flavorful -- MUCH better in ripeness compared with the industry average. Many times it was a delight to have pineapple aboard this ship -- served so ripe, soft, and sweet! It was better than some desserts. Speaking of desserts, you only get 3 (changing) choices for dessert in the main formal dining from one night to the next. They do also offer you a fixed-dessert menu which are items that are always available. In general, the dessert items served in the main formal dining room at night, were what I'd say were slightly above-average for the cruise line industry. There were some occasional tasty desserts, but nothing that was really memorable. I stepped upstairs to the Oceanview café for dinner on a couple nights. They have a pasta station and meat station, where they prepare your order to your own custom specifications, right before your eyes. While I can see some people would enjoy having this custom-made to order freshness, I come up there to get food on the go fast, and I really don't desire having to wait on 3 or 4 others ahead of me in line just to get something as simple as pasta. They have a sushi sectional up front which I never sampled, but they also have cooked Asian food as well next to it. They call it "Asian Delights" This is so misleading. There's nothing delightful about this Asian Delights. As I approached it, not only did it LOOK nauseating, it SMELLED nauseating, but I braved it anyway and tried a couple small pieces -- YUCK!! Just absolutely TERRIBLE! It's not even food the way I understand the definition of food to be. I wish I could report better news about the food quality and selections, but it's just NOT going to happen on this ship, until they make some managerial staff changes with the Sous chef and other chief personnel. Most cruise line food quality is slumping and on the way DOWN, DOWN, DOWN; as it's processed food. And on this ship, it's really gone in to the dumper! If you want to spend more money to escape these unpleasant menu selections & low-quality, you do have 2 options: #1.) Qsine -- "French cuisine", $45 a head #2.) The Olympic -- "uniquely unordinary", $45 a head These 2 restaurants are specialty restaurants, and they'll burn your wallet in half! An outrageous $45 dollar cover charges applies per person -- THE HIGHEST CHARGE of any specialty restaurant I've seen in my 16 cruises on 6 different cruise lines! The couple of folks who attended these restaurants SWEAR it's worth every penny. It better be, for that kind of price! Qsine has a Scandanavian motif inside, I thought, whereas The Olympic has a look reminiscent of the Titanic décor motif, (from the motion picture). Even though I didn't dine in either one of these, I did take pictures at both of these locations by the end of the cruise. In other areas..... The coffee bar on deck 5, Café al Bacio, had a few choice dessert items in their cooler that were interesting in trying. I especially enjoyed their Lemon Meringue Pie. This was probably among the BEST desserts I'd had on this cruise ship, and this one was a keeper!! Don't miss it! It was served at the coffee bar. And it was FREE; no need to pay; although coffee specialty drinks were a fee here. No comments on the restaurant "BLU" as that restaurant is reserved for a higher-paying crop of guests who are booked in Aqua Class Suites ONLY, and doesn't apply to me. I did have a couple hamburgers on the pool grill early-on in the cruise. They were acceptable. How hard is it to louse-up hamburgers? They did have an ice cream parlor. 2 of them. One was a paid-only Italian Gelatos across from the coffee bar on Deck 5, and the other was a FREE ice cream bar, up on Deck 10 in Oceanview Cafe, where they had a number of flavors to try. As for the FREE ice cream quality, on Deck 10, I'd rate it ABOVE-average quality, compared with the cruise line industry average, and creative flavors, too, I thought. So this is a little nugget you should explore is their ice cream bars as I found them to be decent, FOR CRUISE LINE standards. It's still NO substitute for Ben n' Jerry's ice cream nor can it compete with the most premium brand of U.S. ice cream brands, either, but it's still worth a try -- maybe you'll find a flavor you really like! X.) Children's Clubs I was told there was a total of about 20 kids on this entire cruise. I can't comment on the children's club activities here, since we didn't bring any along, but they do have a dedicated area for kids, called the Fun Factory. In other areas.... They do have a ship's library on-board which is 2 stories, but it's not big, though. It is open 24-hours a day for those book readers. There's also a computer lounge for internet access on Deck 6, mid-ship, port side. The cost for internet useage is $0.75 per minute -- a typical outrageous charge for ship internet access. The computers are all iMacs. XI. Entertainment. The cruise director, Rich, is responsible for all your ship-wide entertainment. He does make himself available outside the Celebrity theatre, starboard side, Deck 4 at the end of each theatre show, nightly, so that's nice to see that he offers to make an announcement to publicly mingle with the people, as some other cruises I've been on, they go off and hide after the show. I found his appearance & personality a bit dorky & goofy, but somehow I warmed-up to it anyway. He fits the mold well in his Liar's Club appearance up on deck 11 in Cosmos lounge. In a general overall sense I felt that the nightly Celebrity Theatre shows were just average, and very "vanilla". They don't have the dramatic sky dancers, like Royal Caribbean; they don't have Cirque du Soleil production shows like Norwegian Cruise Lines, nor the fancy contortionists that NCL has. They don't have the elaborate costuming of Carnival & Princess. So you're really not left with much firepower to say that Celebrity has any 'trademark' signature on their broadway shows, in relative comparison to the other cruise lines. So this is a let-down. The productions shows are usually quite vanilla. Average costumes, and on 2 of the 3 production shows, average music. There was 1 production show that I enjoyed the most, entitled "Boogie Wonderland", mostly for the music that I connected with. The dancers & singers on this ship are like everywhere else -- they come a dime a dozen, and nobody really stood out as being SPECTACULAR here. The live orchestra band they had was a bit below average in quality I thought. As I announced at the beginning of my summary portion, there was repetitiveness in seeing the same type of show over again. For instance, 2 xylophone shows; 2 pianist shows, and the same female impersonator vocalist appeared TWICE. Then, another Male impersonator vocalist appeared -- so a total of 3 vocalist impersonators. It's just too many times of the same content! I'd have liked to see them include MORE variety like a Hypnotist show, like NCL & RCCL does, or physical comedian show/juggler on another show, a sky dancer or Cirque du Soleil show. But Celebrity lacks this pizzazz in creativity, so that it's just run-of-the-mill shows. They had a Beatles tribute band, an Almost Elton John (impersonator again), 2 comedians, a guitarist from Omaha, Nebraska; The Finkel brothers and father, (xylophonist, pianist, and actor); a Latin dancing show, and 3 production shows, which were mostly mediocre. They had some themed parties up on Deck 11 in Cosmos Lounge, like the Totally 80's night that I participated in, and either a 70's or 60's theme party, too. On rare occasion they had a game show at night, as in the Liar's Club Comedy Game Show, but no teams were assembled and no interactive audience participation, which is disappointing. They offered a "Dancing with the Officers" competition, where 8 volunteers are selected from a bowl of names to participate. I counted 5 women and 3 men who were selected, and I was not one of them selected who signed-up. I did get to participate in ONE of only 3 Celebrity Theatre shows that had BRIEF audience participation offered, which was the comedy show of Buzz Sutherland. Then I participated in the Thriller dance on-stage, the prelude to the 80's party night. On many other nights weather-GIRL and I casually danced in the Rendezvous lounge on Deck 4 to Cha-Cha, Waltz, Rhumba most often, with an occasional Salsa, Meringue & swing tune. As I've said before, if you're not a music listener or dancer, then the prime-time evenings will become very boring as it's one-dimensional and top-heavy on music & dancing everywhere but not much else to offer, outside the nighttime Celebrity Theatre shows, during prime time evenings & nights. This cruise line lacks creativity, which is a strength of NCL. I really wish this cruise director & cruise line would offer The Quest Game Show, more audience participation game shows, and inter-active theatrical shows, that incorporates the audience, like Norwegain Cruise Line does. It becomes much more entertaining to take part in the entertainment rather than sitting back all the time as they stand n' deliver, without interaction. They're obviously targeting a particular clientele, namely an older, more sedate audience. Getting a front row seat in the Celebrity Theatre was easy and not nearly as competitively ferocious as getting in the front row on RCCL, NCL, or Carnival. As for your evening music variety -- you generally get 3 choices for music at PRIME TIME, in the evening hours: Choice #1: Upscale Trio -- an older 3-person band that plays light, easy-listening music which is very danceable by couples. Weather-GIRL and I spent a goodly amount of time dancing to their music in the Rendezvous lounge. Although none of these 3 musicians are superbly talented, the lady Florence, is VERY NICE, has the best intentions, and even makes an attempt to learn the guest names who attend her music, and thanks them for coming to her lounge. She's very inviting and pleasureable. Their music selections are still VERY desireable and nice to listen to. The dance floor is QUITE small as most are in these cruise ship lounges. They play the most appropriate & fitting music for this class of clientele on this cruise ship, in my estimation. Choice #2: D'Revelations Party Band -- This is a larger band, playing up in Cosmos Lounge Deck 11. Their repertoire consists of variety party band music from the 80's, 90's, and today. Usually pop music and variety mix. They are VERY LOUD, and it's difficult to talk with fellow passengers when they're playing. The dance floor here is bigger. We went to listen in a couple times and I danced to their music a few times, but was not my choice band selection, because of the music played and they're just too loud for my taste. Choice #3: The Garnettes -- This is another small band of 3 musicians that specialize in jazz music. They play in the smallest lounge of Michael's Club and there is no dance floor. I listened in on them a few times. I'm not a fan of jazz music, though. Other musical appearances were the Beacon Street string trio, playing classical music in Cellar Masters and occasional country music played on select evenings. There were some interactive theme party nights, like "Totally 80's", 70's, and 60's night. I participated in the show of the Totally 80's night, appearing on-stage for the prelude on the Michael Jackson's Thriller dance session. XII. Disembarkation. It took a bit longer than they expected to disembark us from the ship, as another one of those mandatory Coast Guard inspections was required on the ship, before exiting. Our scheduled tour excursion left 1 hour late, at 10 AM, but we got off the ship by about 845 AM, as I recall. I've had much longer waits getting off other cruise ships, so disembarking wasn't terribly long, considering the hold-up by the Coast Guard inspection. Waiting in the customs line on-shore, was about a 20-30 minute wait going through that. XIII. Summary. I feel that Celebrity cruise lines severely overcharges their guests for what is given in return, which is really NOTHING appreciably different than what the other cruise lines offer in 95% of all areas. The food quality is no better and I found it to be WORSE than other cruise lines. The difference is that RCCL, Carnival, and NCL prices are priced much better within the reasonable bounds of good taste, and provide a similar experience at a fraction of the cost. Plus, Celebrity has no seaside jumbotron screen for movies outside like Princess, RCCL, & Carnival has; Celebrity has no water park or waterslides like Carnival & RCCL does, no outside adventure activities like RCCL; no spectacular Cirque du Soleil production shows; no sky-dancing shows -- so what do you have to offer your guests, Celebrity, that is commensurate to justify the over-priced cruise rates? It's the class of people, isn't it? That's not good enough for me, to justify the cost-to-benefit ratio. Sure the service at the gangway is a nice touch and added service with refreshment, cool towels, and umbrellas given, chocolates on pillow, nightlight in bathroom, but is it truly worth the extra $500 - $1000 more of extra price-gouging over the other cruise lines?? I think not. The undesireable menu selections and LOW-quality of food is DEFINITELY not worth paying extra money to this cruise line, for what is pedaled-out in the main formal dining room of Metropolitan or Oceanview Cafe', and the Shore Excursion department has some serious underwriting problems with inept or otherwise incompetent, uncaring staff members that are totally clueless as to how some tours REALLY operate, in comparions to the tour description. They're completely unaware of the volcano tour problems that don't deliver what is promised in the brochure tour description. Dining room & stateroom service was GREAT; Cabin was GREAT. Food was lousy; menu selections were terrible, and shore excursion department has MANY problems that were unforgiveable, considering this was a cruise that was to be all about visiting the volcanoes for me, personally. Entertainment was run-of-the-mill; nothing special, "vanilla" and ordinary. Too many repeat-style shows, and nothing outstanding really. Evening entertainment is rather one-dimensional with top-heavy on music & dancing. Celebrity Millennium lacks variety, creativity, and pizzazz in their entertainment venues on-board and NOT near-enough interaction with audience participation. Because of their over-priced cruise rates, poor-quality food, shore excursion problems, and un-original, run-of-the-mill entertainment, all supports my decision to avoid Celebrity cruise lines in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Phenomenal trip, longest cruise we've been on. Purchased one premium beverage package as wife does not drink as much as me. Cabin was great, in elevator hallway, but minimum noise. Joining cruise critic a few months prior made all the ... Read More
Phenomenal trip, longest cruise we've been on. Purchased one premium beverage package as wife does not drink as much as me. Cabin was great, in elevator hallway, but minimum noise. Joining cruise critic a few months prior made all the difference. We met so many great folks from all over the world. One of our new friends won an upgrade to a penthouse suite during day one bingo. She invited a bunch of us (cruise critic members) to her penthouse as we transited the Gutan Locks. That day alone made the entire trip. Shore excursions...would not recommend snorkeling in the pacific, or at least not this early in the season. Best excursions -- hike to plyacana volcano in Guatemala , Segway tour in Columbia (private), and grand tour (horseback riding, zip lining, and, crocodile river ride) in Costa Rica. Dining in Blu was great, but menu choices became redundant around day 12. Service was great, food was great. But keep in mind we are relatively new cruisers...many cruise critics said food was not up to par from previous cruises with Celebrity.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This cruise was the best vacation/trip that I have ever taken. My wife and I traveled with another couple and were in Aqua Class with a premium drink package. We arrived in San Diego a day early and had a awesome time at Seaport Village, ... Read More
This cruise was the best vacation/trip that I have ever taken. My wife and I traveled with another couple and were in Aqua Class with a premium drink package. We arrived in San Diego a day early and had a awesome time at Seaport Village, Midway Aircraft Carrier and the Gaslamp District. We had a room at the Manchester Hyatt overlooking the Port of San Diego. I woke up about 5:00 am the morning of our departure and looked out the window and saw the Millenium all lit up arriving at her berth...what a terrific sight! The ship was clean and well maintained and during our entire time aboard the crew was absolutely outstanding. Everyone was so friendly always taking time to say good morning or good evening and answering any question with a smile. Our room steward, Blu waiter and assistant waiter and all of the bartenders were spot on the entire cruise and really made this such a phenomenal trip. The cruise director Rich was very enjoyable and provided great information the entire trip. He was always available to answer questions and we had a lot of fun just talking with him. The food was over the top and way above my expectations. This was my 8th cruise that I have been on (first with Celebrity) and the food on this cruise was by far the best I have ever had on a cruise ship. Every meal we had in Blu was terrific. The selection was very good, the presentation unique and the quality and taste was first rate. We also ate in Qsine one evening and this was one of the top 5 meals I have had in my life. The other unexpected treat on this cruise was the quality of the entertainment. The dance band D' Revelations is probably the best band I have ever heard not only on a cruise ship but anywhere. The female lead singer does a dynamite Whitney Houston and Celine Dion interpretation that got a standing ovation from the crowd. All of the other entertainment from the other performers to the shows in the theaters to the dancers was again the best I have ever encountered on a cruise ship. The main reason for booking this cruise was the Panama Canal and it did not disappoint! Pictures and words do not describe this experience adequately. If you have never cruised the Panama Canal you need to add it to your list of things to do. We had a beautiful day cruising the canal and I will remember that experience the rest of my life. We had terrific excursions at the other ports we stopped at and I am happy to answer any questions anyone may have about the ports or anything else about the cruise. The last thing I have to say is THANK YOU CELEBRITY FOR THIS UNBELIEVABLE EXPERIENCE! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Check in was delayed by Port clearance but once underway went smoothly and without any real problems. We went looking for our cabin and and found it aft, port side, above the Oceanview Cafe, unfortunately the elevator lobby for these Deck ... Read More
Check in was delayed by Port clearance but once underway went smoothly and without any real problems. We went looking for our cabin and and found it aft, port side, above the Oceanview Cafe, unfortunately the elevator lobby for these Deck 11 staterooms is simply overwhelmed with the strong garlic smell coming up from the cafe kitchen. It was incredibly irritating the entire cruise. The Cabin was nicely decorated but had numerous problems which I documented in the Cabin evaluation. The ship would not allows us to open the connector door to our friends balcony citing "safety concerns" which they were unable to articulate. We had booked early to get side by side, overpaid and were very disappointed by this. Our sailaway gifts were delivered after dinner the first night and Danilo, our steward had our shrimp replaced a few days later. We had our dining in Blu and we enjoyed the menu but we were disappointed by the service as on at least three occasions we waited over 30 minutes for our entrees. The room is poorly laid out and we watched hug trays of dirty dishes and silverware go sailing over our heads as the wait staff navigated the large pillars moving from the back to the front of the restaurant. The long wait happened again on the final morning when we tried breakfast there and we enjoyed cold pancakes and omelets. The service lines in the Oceanview were understaffed and waiting while the single server moved from salads to entrees was the norm. The food in the oceanview was just average including the "Chicken Ensaldas" (enchiladas!), pizza and deli sandwich bar, We dined twice in the main dining room and had excellent food and service. We love Q-sine and dined there twice, great service and the food was as exceptional as expected on both occasions. But the hands down winner for food and service was the Olympic, simply a wonderful experience. The ship is well laid out, easy to navigate and looks very classy with the Solstice updates. The service in the cafe was erratic as was the pool service. The production numbers were wonderful but we walked out of several of the other offerings. There were several problems however, most likely due to cost cutting and the rushed updating. The I lounge has no ventilation. The Internet is the slowest we have ever encountered on a ship. The new decks leading to our staterooms from the sun deck were already cracked. We had standing, dirty water on our balcony that the room steward had to mop up on a regular basis. Our sliding door was already broken. The shower doors leaked all over the bathroom floor. In general the crew and service was acceptable, the crew was friendly, the officers not so much, but the over all the experience was not what we had come to expect from Celebrity and we are not likely to recommend or sail again on this class of ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
On October 7 my wife and I drove to Miami to sail on Millennium for the second time. The first was 11 years ago. The experience then led us to consider Celebrity as our favorite cruise line. Since then we sailed all the Millennium class as ... Read More
On October 7 my wife and I drove to Miami to sail on Millennium for the second time. The first was 11 years ago. The experience then led us to consider Celebrity as our favorite cruise line. Since then we sailed all the Millennium class as well as Mercury and Solstice. Each ship delivered exemplary service and facilities. We were eager to see how "solsticizing" affected Millie. It was even better than the first time. We were in a concierge balcony cabin and it was excellent. Thank you Javier for your effort to keep it clean and us well stocked with ice and flowers. Guess what....chocolates on the pillow !!! Nice to experience them again. Dining was at a table for 6 at 6P.M. Every night the food choices were many and varied, plus the menu offered several stable items every meal. Loved having escargot available every meal as well as creme brulee. No complaints with either the service or the taste...enjoyed pretty much everything. Shows were somewhat of a let down....maybe a result of so many cruises. The band was great, stages nice, costumes elegant...just did not have the WOW factor. In summary it was a great ship with a great itinerary and friendly crew. No problems anywhere......until we tried the internet. It was painfully slow. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Travel, relax, enjoy and learn (optional) marine biology, history, geography, engineering. This trip was the 15 day westbound cruise, Miami to San Diego. We specifically enjoyed ... pretty well everything. But be warned: I'm easy to ... Read More
Travel, relax, enjoy and learn (optional) marine biology, history, geography, engineering. This trip was the 15 day westbound cruise, Miami to San Diego. We specifically enjoyed ... pretty well everything. But be warned: I'm easy to please: give me neat and clean accommodation, super service, food to feast, enjoyable entertainment, interesting sights and fun shore excursions, and I'm good to go. I note the favourable quality of the passengers; polite, smart, educated, and genteel. (In this group, I include myself and my pretty partner.) This leads to very pleasant and thought-provoking conversations (in various accents) at meal conclaves and social functions. So a highlight of the journey is the exceptional people we met. Some types good and others less so. Get this cruise one-upmanship: "We prefer Seabourn" (sniff). Superb variety of gustatory delights exciting for the palate are presented at supper. Not for me is the available light breakfast for early and late risers or even room service; I'm the full breakfast buffet type, and make-to-order stations. Here, I wait only if the line is short; otherwise I could be sitting and resting my gaze on the azure horizon. I enjoyed the galley (kitchen) tour, not having to slave over the stove. Imagine the technology of feeding over 2,000 critical mouths 3 meals a day. There's an escalator to carry waiters from the lower kitchen to the 2 dinner floors. People complain; example: talking to a British couple, they judged the food too fancy and seasoned. Not your thing? head for a cafeteria snack or a snooze in the library. The cruise program includes daily presentations and nightly variety show entertainment. The shows were excellent: Broadway singing and dancing, comedian and ventriloquist, jugglers. I rated the quality as high, but I concede not everyone has my taste! Not your thing? head for the casino, or hang out at the bar (indoors or poolside). My partner and I are dancers, we Prance the Sound of Music, and we love to show off (modest? No!) It's our friendly mission to enlist seated, unwary ladies and gentlemen as target dance partners - now we have 4 on the floor. There are lots of places to dance shipboard: daytime on deck by the pool, practice mornings in the disco, before and after supper in the Rendez-Vous Club or the disco. Otherwise, don't forget the fitness centre and spa, where you can atone for your rich eating habit and rethink your travel strategy. Not your thing? head for the weekly religious service, or peer out your porthole. Don't forget the reason why you chose the trip. The Panama Canal itinerary includes significant history, geography, archeology, art and culture. These lessons are comfortably presented in the theatre by nice experts you travel with. Not your thing? head for the sun deck, or a dip in the pool. Be aware of some risky cruise activities. Lots of folks get sick - I speak first hand - having visited the ship's infirmary, where service is available for a price (you may need to wait in line). Wash and sanitize diligently. Be smart on shore, we hear of untoward situations (robbery) travelers encountered. Then there's Dinner Roulette: book a random dinner sitting with anyone. It's like mauling your intelligence: not fatal, but you'll end up trying to recall what you had for supper. Also the accident our ship had in the canal: you know how you slam the door on your finger? Well the lock door (weight 500 tons) was slammed into the ship's stern; we felt and heard a big bang and shudder. Some damage to the ship, but no problem, just exciting for the passengers. Even a news release was issued. Quality observations: is it perfect? Mostly, the cruise lines have learned from passengers and try very hard; quit grousing! Now there's shopping as a palliative for those with suitcase room and credit. Good bargains are available on-board: $10 watches, $12 tee-shirts, (I know you can get it cheaper on shore, but this is for them who can't). Small but useful innovation: baggage tags included with your ticket to facilitate boarding. Possible improvement: sometimes the internet connection is slow; it's always more expensive than on shore. The final customs inspection on board is an expeditious idea that requires refinement. The floor-number light in the elevator could be ergonomically improved (I'm scraping the bottom of my suggestion box). Did I mention we had a fantastic trip? Bon Voyage anyway! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We had a great trip through the Panama Canal on Celebrity Millennium. Most all on board was good. The exceptions first. We had bought an air inclusive packet which included transfer and Hotel in Miami. Meet and greet at the airport ... Read More
We had a great trip through the Panama Canal on Celebrity Millennium. Most all on board was good. The exceptions first. We had bought an air inclusive packet which included transfer and Hotel in Miami. Meet and greet at the airport was OK, except we needed to wait for other passengers. We then were picked up at the hotel to board our cruise. As such we came to the terminal with everybody else, so we waited close to two hours before we could go on-board. A total disaster as far as embarkation was concerned. In San Diego the immigration procedures for non American citizens took place on board; and even if the guest relations staff knew how many would come at each given time they had done NO reflections on crowd - or queue control it was a royal mess. Actually sad at the last day of an otherwise very good experience. I would hope that they spend some time thinking of improving both embarkation and disembarkation. Our cabin was not large, but quiet, and with ample storage space even if we were three persons. Edgar and his staff did a good job, and our daughter loved the towel animals, particularly a hanging monkey that stayed up until we left, THANK YOU. The restaurants and bars generally offered good food and beverage, as well as good service. Thank you to the staff in the Metropolitan dining room who took care of us there, Alan, Cruz and Suyasa, as well as the sommelier - Hassan, you all did great work. We visited also both the for charge specialty restaurants, the Olympic and the Qsine, both are great. I did find the charge US$40 per person extra a bit steep, but on a 15 night cruise it is worth it for a change of scenery. We visited all the other bars and restaurants, and the service was good generally. On this Cruise we were impressed with the shore excursion crew, everything worked well, and most all the tours were interesting. Fun Factory worked well, my daughter loved the time she spend there. We signed up for boot camp classes, they were great! The seminars and classes attended were great, and there was a lot of offerings. Entertainment, was pleasant enough, not the stars but we are on a ship, so this was absolutely fine. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This cruise was a good cruise. My wife and I have been sailing with Celebrity since 1990 and we had our honeymoon on Chandris back in the 70's. Embarkation in San Diego was quick and easy. Once on board we proceeded to the Bistro ... Read More
This cruise was a good cruise. My wife and I have been sailing with Celebrity since 1990 and we had our honeymoon on Chandris back in the 70's. Embarkation in San Diego was quick and easy. Once on board we proceeded to the Bistro on 5 for lunch. This way we avoided the rush at the Oceanview Cafe. After we unpacked we walked around the ship. Having sailed on the Infinity and the Constellation we knew were everything is. The entertainment was typical cruise ship entertainment. The Celebrity singers and dancers were good but not special. The guest entertainers were hit or miss depending on taste. The concert pianist was very good. The comedian we found not so good even though the rest of the cruise thought he was funny. They had an English couple doing what they thought were singing and comedy but we thought they were awful. Rich Gleeson the cruise director was just great. He was every where and did not hesitate to talk to the guests when walking through the ship. His staff were very good. The trivia games, the Liars game along with the Newlywed game were done with fun in mind for everyone. The party band were also very good. The had a string trio which played classical music which is not my taste but they were decent. The had a quartet in the lounge which we thought were awful. The food was good. At times the service good have been better. We had select dinning so we had a different waiter eery night. One time they forgot to offer us coffee. We did have a problem with our room steward. He forgot to bring ice in the room and did not clean the room until late in the afternoon. The ports were good. We got cought in a downpour in Mexico. We went to the Indian village in Panama. Well worth doing. The other ports we just hired a cab. Disembarkation is always a problem but it seemed to go faster in Miami than in Fort Lauderdale. All in all it was a great cruise and we can't wait until the next one Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
- We had a great time on our Celebrity Millennium Panama Canal cruise. Our embarkation in San Diego went smoothly - the quickest embarkation we have ever had (this was our 10th cruise - 5th cruise line). The number of employees per ... Read More
- We had a great time on our Celebrity Millennium Panama Canal cruise. Our embarkation in San Diego went smoothly - the quickest embarkation we have ever had (this was our 10th cruise - 5th cruise line). The number of employees per passenger (and level of service) seemed greater on this cruise than any of our others. Initially, we had a problem with our air conditioning (the ship had just come from Alaska), which was quickly fixed. That high level of service continued through the entire trip. - The ship was recently refurbished, had an understated but elegant decor, and was immaculate. Our cabin attendants were very hard working and kept our cabin in great shape. Our waiters were wonderful - the service was astonishingly quick. - We loved the entertainment, especially the music. Our favorite entertainer was Brooks Arehon who played the piano - he had both an evening show and an afternoon classical show - he was entertaining in his dialog and wonderful in his playing. We attended an excellent and lively Broadway type show with wonderful dancers - and singers who also danced (at the same time - quite difficult to do). The ship had a classical all female string trio who played every evening in a lounge area and one afternoon in the auditorium. We really loved them. We did not expect this level of entertainment. The pool area and both of the night clubs had enjoyable, live entertainment. All of the shows and entertainment were very well attended. - We watched two excellent documentaries regarding the building of the Panama Canal and three different lectures regarding the Panama Canal. AND - Dr. Harley from NASA provided five lectures sessions regarding astronomy, which were fascinating (e.g. the search for life in the universe). Again, all were very well attended. The entertainment was truly outstanding and was the best we have ever had on a cruise. - Food was very good - my favorite was lunch at the spa restaurant (open to all passengers). The spa food was light and delicious - items such as cold poached salmon, interesting salads with calamari, etc. I had lunch there every sea day. Twice, I went to the buffet at afternoon tea time to find that they had no watermelon on the buffet - so I asked the servers, who quickly obtained a bowl of it for me. As I said, the service was quick and excellent. - The fitness center was large with many types of equipment, including 12 treadmills - I only had to wait for a treadmill one time (I used them every day) and then only for five minutes. I had a personal training session. The trainer went above and beyond what I expected, even giving me a gratis follow up. - We never waited in long lines on this cruise. Disembarkation went as smoothly as embarkation. So - we have fond memories of this cruise. - Downside to our cruise: our cabin was small - only about 2/3 the size of the cabin from our last cruise (different cruise line, brand new ship). And the internet was terrible. I tried to use it but it was so slow, it was impossible. We wound up buying internet on shore at the ports. I spoke with a nice young man at the customer relations desk who credited the entire fee for internet back to us, which I greatly appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Sailed twice before on Millenium. Not a noticeable difference except for a couple of bars and the small movie theater is gone. Food has finally improved after a dramatic deterioration over the past several years. Dining room for ... Read More
Sailed twice before on Millenium. Not a noticeable difference except for a couple of bars and the small movie theater is gone. Food has finally improved after a dramatic deterioration over the past several years. Dining room for "anytime dining" was efficient. In buffet, same food every day but plenty of variety so who cares? Lines too long for sandwiches at lunch. Only 2 sandwich makers. Celebrity still can't make a good cup of coffee in the buffet area. Some people speculated this was to force people to buy coffee at Al Bacio which we saw many people do. Larger cups and takeaway cups in Oceanview were appreciated, though. Many sea days so took advantage of lecturers. Lecturers (Perrons) for destinations were very boring (although she was better than husband) because they used 20 year old PowerPoint slides that listed all their comments. They basically read the comments on the screen and added some commentary. Two movies were shown on the Panama Canal that were much more interesting. Astronomer from NASA was fairly dry and academic but so is his subject matter. Psychologist was fabulous. Went to every one of his talks. Entertainment in theater was terrific except Kamiko (male/female duo) who played screeching electric guitar. This senior audience didn't seem to appreciate it and didn't recognize some comtemporary artists they were impersonating. String trio extraordinary. Piano guy, Peter could play piano but had no voice. Accapella group at best average although folks seemed to like them. Nowhere as good as previous accapella groups. Port of Puerto Quetzel is not listed to review. This was Guatemala and took Celebrity excursion to Antigua, the old city. Tour was supposed to be narrated but guide was half asleep and spoke very little. Looked at cell phone a lot. Went to poor, rural school on way to Antigua to donate school supplies and money. Kids and teachers seemed to appreciate us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
The ship left San Diego late with no explanation. It was time to dress for dinner and we still had not received our luggage. Call to room attendant went to operator and never got call from attendant. Finally I called guest relations who ... Read More
The ship left San Diego late with no explanation. It was time to dress for dinner and we still had not received our luggage. Call to room attendant went to operator and never got call from attendant. Finally I called guest relations who said they had a few pieces of luggage with no tags. We went and they weren't ours. We had lost luggage forms thrust at us. I told them I wasn't doing 15 days with no clothes or toiletries and would exit in Mexico. Guest Relations had no clue that most of the luggage to the 11th deck hadn't been delivered and worse yet they never called anyone to find out what the delay was. We finally tracked our bags down ourselves. We booked cabin 1141 because we wanted the larger balcony and a good view of the canal gates . We weren't prepared for the barrage of cigarette smoke from the deck below. We rarely walked on the balcony for that reason. The service and food in Blu was by far the best on the trip.Staff there were friendly and introduced themselves and made you feel welcome daily. Service in Metropolitan has declined a bit. Overall food quality and presentation has dropped a notch. The Olympic high tea was a real treat but dinner was ok. In the old days every one's dish arrives at once under cloche and were served together. Not this time. Qzine was interesting. I think our server made the meal exciting and the novel approach to ordering was cute. Some things were better than usual. Our room attendant Danilo was the best of any of our cruises. Rich was great as the cruise director. The casino had some fun slots and never seemed overly crowded. The Aqua class rooms have great showers but bathrooms are small. On this cruise a lot of the port trips seemed repetitive. We did the zip lining in Costa Rica. More of a cow pasture than canopy tour but fun none the less. Ancient Antigua in Guatemala was interesting as well as old Cartagena Colombia.We were prepared for walking but caught off guard by the humidity. Our group of four enjoyed the trip but we've seen better by Celebrity. We will probably travel with them again but not next year. We were going to take the Millennium in Asia but I think we will look at something else Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Embarkation in San Diego was flawless. The cruise terminal is within sight of the airport, and a Rite-Aid drug store for last minute Cokes and forgotten toiletries is just a short walk away. The ship itself is nice. It never felt ... Read More
Embarkation in San Diego was flawless. The cruise terminal is within sight of the airport, and a Rite-Aid drug store for last minute Cokes and forgotten toiletries is just a short walk away. The ship itself is nice. It never felt crowded- much different than the feel of Carnival's Magic (for example). Food service was fine, with the quality and delivery of food in the dining certainly above average. The stateroom we had was in an excellent location- mid ship on the lowest level. Cabin service was excellent. Both the head and assistant cabin attendants were hard working and friendly. The view was very good, looking out directly on the waves. Seas were at most moderate, so there was almost no movement in our cabin. There were no annoying mechanical noises to interrupt our sleep. However, the room was small, making us believe the largest rooms for the money are on Carnival. We initially had no air conditioning, but the staff had that repaired in short order. On-ship entertainment was average, with an above-average cruise director competently directing events. Celebrity does have a couple of unique offerings in its entertainment line-up. There was a string trio- performing both in the lounge and a classical performance in the theater. A concert pianist performed a couple of times in the theater. These were unlikely performers for the venue, but well-received by the large audiences attending. The first two destinations, Cabo and Puerto Villarta, are both fairly uninteresting places. Guatemala is overwhelmed by poverty. Costa Rica was nice, with a variety of shore trip options. Panama did not disappoint as the main destination. A casual daytime crossing through the canal was well documented through a guide over the PA system. The next day in Colon gives everyone a chance to see anything in the canal zone that they missed viewing from the ship. The final stop in Columbia was just OK. All the destinations except Panama prompt an uneasy feel- but as long as you stay in close contact with your guide, it seemed safe enough. The guides at all stops are working very hard to see everyone is treated to a pleasant experience. And guided excursions are available at all stops on the dock for much less that the ship charges. Again, we never had the feeling of being crowded on this ship. It may not have been full. Buffet seating was generally available, even at the popular lunch hour. Now- the bad news. Internet access was barely working. We bought a package to reduce the extortionate $.75/min price to a barely palatable $.60/min. Service was intermittent and unreliable at best. It typically took 8 minutes log in and read (yes, just read- no replies) 4 or so emails. Luckily, we found reliable and fast Internet service on-shore at all ports, close to the ship and reasonably priced at about $1.00/HOUR. Internet access may be a cash cow to Celebrity, but it is simply terrible. We complained at the end of the trip, and to their credit, a nice young man at the Customer Relations desk refunded our entire payment charge without question. He offered that the Internet service for that cruise had been highly unreliable, so others had certainly complained before us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
After all the reviews on the Millenium my partner and I were looking forward to our first cruise with Celebrity. Our first view of the ship was disappointing looked liked it needed another refit, cabin had an obstructed view, which we ... Read More
After all the reviews on the Millenium my partner and I were looking forward to our first cruise with Celebrity. Our first view of the ship was disappointing looked liked it needed another refit, cabin had an obstructed view, which we were not informed of when booking. Main restaurant dark and unimpressive, food not appetising and repetitive. buffet mediocre serving staff rude and unhelpful,and unable to understand the most basic spoken English, if you wanted better you had to pay for specialist restaurant, everything was pay,pay pay, coffee and tea could have been made in the engine room. Loud music being piped around the ship from early morning very difficult to get away from it. Entertainment in the theatre below standard brass section of orchestra to loud, trumpet player drowning out every act, Could not walk on deck 11 in the evening awash with water, crew stated it was done early so not to disturb cabins below so after dinner walk cancelled. Disembarkation as usual chaotic transfer to hotel disorganised. The itinerary was quite interesting and the weather good the cruise through the Panama Canal was not to be missed, but will not sail on ,this ship again and will seriously consider whether to use Celebrity as in our opinion no way was the cruise worth a five star rating. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Some of us has sailed on the Millenium one year earlier on a 10 day Pacific Coastal cruise. We had a great time on that cruise, but the ship was looking worn in places and we wanted to see the ship following the "Solsticizing" ... Read More
Some of us has sailed on the Millenium one year earlier on a 10 day Pacific Coastal cruise. We had a great time on that cruise, but the ship was looking worn in places and we wanted to see the ship following the "Solsticizing" refurbishment. Overall, the ship has been improved. EMARKATION For this Panama Canal cruise, we took a bit of a gamble and flew from Vancouver, Canada to the port of departure (San Diego) on the same day as the cruise started. This saved money on a hotel and the hassle of unpacking/packing at the hotel, but if our flight had been delayed we would have missed the ship's departure. Fortunately, we landed on time at about 11am, had our luggage by 11:30 and took a taxi van to the cruise port, arriving at about noon. Check-in was not good. We got there at what must have been the busiest time, with very long lines and some confusion amongst staff. It was very hot and humid with no air circulation in the barn-like buildings, making the hour-long+ check-in process (while standing on a concrete floor) very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for seniors. And for people with young children (our 18 month-old daughter was with us) it was a true test of endurance. We got on board by about 1:30pm and felt exhausted from the check-in process and early start to our day in Vancouver. Embarkation and the dropping of one of our bags in Miami harbour during disembarkation by the crew (with no apology, explanation or compensation) were the low points of the trip (as well as the poor attitude of an Air Canada manager in Toronto after they messed up our connection and left us waiting for six hours). The muster drill seemed like a confusing waste of time, as people tried to crowd into a lounge in an unsuccessful attempt to hear instructions. It is surprising that not long after the sinking of the Costa Concordia, cruise lines have not gone back to requiring passengers to find their actual life boat station as part of the drill. CABIN However, things improved once we saw our room, a fantastic Family Veranda at the back corner of the ship (7199). These rooms are huge (270 sq feet) and the balconies are amazing (240 sq ft).These Family Veranda rooms may be the best place to see the Panama Canal. Lots of storage space, and the quasi-separate 2nd room with pullout bed was perfect for our daughter. The very large balcony had recently been resurfaced with a sand-like substance, which meant some of it would end up on our carpet inside the cabin from us walking in and out. However, our stateroom attendant did a great job of looking after us and cleaning our room. SHIP We loved the look and feel of the new Wine Cellar / Bistro on 5 area, and appreciated the new carpet throughout the ship. Overall, the changes are positive and yes, there are more ways to separate you from your money in the form of new speciality restaurants - but that helps keep the basic cruising price down. The children's area was good. ACTIVITIES The gym was nice, although the Radiance-class ships with Royal Caribbean devote more space to fitness facilities. We participated in a Cruise Critic sponsored "cabin crawl" for the first time and enjoyed it. The evening shows were a challenge for us to attend due to our daughter's bedtime, but from what we did see, some performances were better than others. DINING We ate at the Olympic and Q-Sine speciality restaurants, but did not pay full price. There was a promotion early on in the cruise, and we were offered 50% off the listed $40 price per person. If we had booked the restaurants online prior to departure, we would have had to pay full price. The Olympic is classy, and Q-Sine is a bit crazy, but both are recommended. We also had lunch a couple of times at the Bistro on 5. For the price ($5) it is a bargain. In the Main Dining Room, our large group of 13 was all at one table and dinners were a lot of fun (we had an early sitting). The food was good, and so was the service until the last couple of nights when it seemed as though the ship was short on staff. PORTS The biggest puzzle is why Celebrity bothers stopping at Colon. As someone said, it lives up to its name. It would be nice if the ship could instead stop at Panama City or Puerto Limon, with more time spent cruising (at slower speed) on beautiful Lake Gatun. The most enjoyable port stop was in Guatemala. We took a basic bus ride to the funky old city of Antigua, and had a great day wandering around. Found a great restaurant and generally enjoyed ourselves. In Costa Rica, we booked a tour using a company not associated with the cruise line (called "Shore Excursions Group") and were not impressed. The guide was determined to convince us that he was the only person who really cared about "the real Costa Rica" and then stopped to receive a commission for bringing us to see tame monkeys being hand-fed behind someone's house. Dozens of other tourists were already there. The van were in had broken seat belts and the guide refused to let us stop and get out at beach we drove past. Total disappointment. Cartegena, Columbia was interesting, and a thorough work-out. We walked right from the cruise terminal to the old fort on the hill top. Route finding was a challenge, as was the stinging perspiration in our eyes (can you say hot & humid?) but it was a good adventure. CHILDREN We were somewhat apprehensive about how people would react to us bringing an 18 month-old child on this cruise, but it was not a problem. Our daughter was a hit, and there was another girl the same age staying one deck up from us. CONCLUSION This was the 2nd time we have been lucky enough to stay in a Family Veranda on a Millenium-class ship. Warning - it will make other rooms seem tiny. The staff were terrific, our room was neat and tidy and we felt we received good value for our vacation dollar. Being with a group of friends and family, and experiencing the joy our daughter had exploring the ship, made for a fantastic voyage. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Embarkation - We drove down from Orlando in a rental which we dropped off down town and grabbed a short taxi to the port. Check in was nominal with a little wait that appeared more due to the timing of arrival than Celebrities efficiency ... Read More
Embarkation - We drove down from Orlando in a rental which we dropped off down town and grabbed a short taxi to the port. Check in was nominal with a little wait that appeared more due to the timing of arrival than Celebrities efficiency checking people in. Once checked in it appeared as though we had to walk the length of the ship 3 times before finally boarding, not Celebrities doing but still a little annoying. Once onboard we were greeted nicely and offered free champagne, mimosa, etc. We proceeded to our stateroom and found it ready and clean. Stateroom - We choose a standard veranda stateroom on deck 7, 7022 to be specific. This room should have been advertised as a partially obscured room, I would not have booked it if I was aware of the forward obscuration. The room was well equipped with a new flat screen TV and the usual amenities. As part of the upgrade new mattresses were installed and ours was no exception, we found it be very comfortable. We had plenty of storage space and the room steward brought us extra hangers. Our smoke detector kept beeping (low battery) and instead of replacing the battery they simply removed the smoke detector and placed it behind the TV and it continued beeping at which time I removed the battery. Also the interactive capability on the TV was not working but that was remedied quickly after a call to ship services. Early in the cruise I noticed that the deck did not appear very clean but a day later it appeared cleaner. Activities -- We found the activities quite average for a cruise, nothing outstanding. The shipboard lectures were informational and the speakers very good. I particularly enjoyed a speaker from the Smithsonian Institute. We were disappointed that the normal talks on the ports of call were not provided, a little shopping information was given and that was it. Port information is quite crucial and the lack thereof was disconcerting. Although all the usual activities were provided I would have enjoyed more food preparation presentations. Also Celebrity has done away with the movie theater on this ship which I normally take advantage of on sea days to my chagrin. I suppose they found a more cost effective way to use the space where the movie theatre once was. Entertainment -- We found the entertainment particularly on the first week of the cruise above average and it exceeded my expectations. The Millennium Singers and Dancers are outstanding as is the Millennium Show Band. We had three Broadway style shows and I found them all very enjoyable. The entertainment on other days was for the most part above average for cruise ships. We had an A Cappella group onboard named Full Tilt that were very good and always filled whatever venue they were singing in. There was also a string trio that played throughout the ship that was very talented and which I enjoyed. A few of the entertainers (the usual juggler, comedian, magician, etc.) were just average but the better ones made up for those less entertaining. The entertainment was certainly one of the more enjoyable aspects of this cruise for me. A shout out, "HI Steve", to our cruise director who made this cruise most enjoyable. He was leaving for the Constellation so those traveling on that ship this summer are in for a treat. The all-important dining -- Celebrity is known for its fine dining so I was disappointed when it did not live up to my expectations. We had selected the Select Dining option and had made reservations daily for 7:00 pm. On the first night we requested that we be seated at the same table each night but was told by the hostess that that was not possible because the select option is first come first served even though we had reservations (this is not the case on other cruise lines). However one night after being given a particularly bad table we politely complained to the matre d and the remainder of the cruise we were given the table of our choice. I guess I should have been more assertive on the first night. Unfortunately we found the quality of the cuisine at dinner to be less than expected. To quote a fellow member on the forum for this cruise "At our table there was overcooked and undercooked beef, cordon blu with negligible cheese, dry schnitzel etc. What really struck us, and again it was unanimous among our tablemates, was the "heavy hand" with salt.", all comments to which I agree. On the positive side we found the breakfast and lunch buffet to be excellent, both quantity and quality met my every expectation. Also the buffet area was very easy to navigate, something Celebrity needs to share with their partner RCL. We also dined in the specialty restaurants Qsine, Olympic and Bistro on 5. All were unique and an outstanding dining experiences. All the food in these venues rate in my opinion with any 5 star restaurant I ever dined in, compliments to the chefs in each. I would highly recommend you try them if the expense does not break your vacation budget. Service in all the restaurants was exceptional and I am amazed at how hard the waiters and assistant waiters work. However compared to past cruises I believe Celebrity is pushing the limit on the number of tables these hard working individuals can service and should reduce the number to one more manageable even at the cost of a slight increase in cruise cost. The waiters and waitress no longer have the time to stop and share experiences as they did in years past. Ports and Shore Excursions -- I enjoyed all of the ports on this cruise and found each of them unique. We only used two ship excursions and found them ok but not exceptional, as expected. We mainly booked independent tours and each proved the effort to find them on the internet worth it. I can recommend http://www.cartagenatour.com, http://www.emberavillagetours.com/Embera_Tours.html with Anne Gordon a very unique experience, http://www.costarica-ecotourism.com/Puntarenas-Costa-Rica/6IN1PUNTARENAS.html, and http://puertovallartacruiseexcursions.com/CityHighlightsTour.html. All companies met all their promises and gave very informative and professional tours. I organized several of the tours and kept the groups to 10 or less which also helped in the enjoyment of them. We had outstanding guides and air conditioned vehicles in each. Disembarkation -- Disembarkation was another disappointment, however not do to Celebrity. Our fine government requires that all foreign nationals clear customs before allowing tax paying citizens to disembark. This meant that although the ship was in port at 7:00 A.M. we had to wait until 9:30 for disembarkation to begin. Once ashore the port or the City of San Diego dropped the ball as there was a large lack of taxis. I would estimate the line waiting for a taxi to exceed several hundred with no taxis in sight. I chose to walk out of the port and once downtown it was easy to hail a taxi. It appears the taxi drivers (4 of 5 I spoke to while in San Diego) didn't know a ship was in port that day. In summary we found this cruise to be quite ordinary. The entertainment was above average while the dining (with the exception of the specialty restaurants) and shipboard activities below average. All ports were enjoyable and the Panama Canal was an exceptional experience. Service aboard the ship in all areas was outstanding and the ship's crew all deserve above average performance reviews. I would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone wishing to experience the Panama Canal. I will definitely be sailing with Celebrity again even if only to enjoy the specialty restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We are huge fans of Celebrity. In fact I may never be able to convince my DH to try another line. This cruse didn't change his mind. Celebrity lived up to its slogan "Modern Luxury". We were lucky to be on the first ... Read More
We are huge fans of Celebrity. In fact I may never be able to convince my DH to try another line. This cruse didn't change his mind. Celebrity lived up to its slogan "Modern Luxury". We were lucky to be on the first cruise after the Solictization, but I don't think we will book another cruise on a ship just out of dry dock. This was our second and, just like before, there were issues that impacted our enjoyment. There were problems with the air conditioning all over the ship for the first few days. It took 4 or 5 days for our cabin temperature to be comfortable. Fumes, wet paint and dining room confusion all got better as the cruise went on. I'm sure by the second cruise it was all worked out. The new areas of the Millennium are beautiful. They really improve and update the look of the ship. Once people discover the new areas, they're going to be very busy. The older areas of the ship are still showing their age. I had heard that all the soft surfaces were going to be replaced, but we saw frayed and worn carpet in several areas. We were amused to see duct tape being used on the bridge over the Grand Foyer. Michaels Club and Bistro on Five are both great additions. The food in the Bistro was some of the best onboard and the staff in Michaels Club was amazing. Tommy in Michaels Club was very helpful and knowledgeable. He taught us all kinds of interesting things about both beer and whiskey. Our cabin was wonderful. This was our first time in Concierge Class and we enjoyed all the special amenities. Contrary to what we read on Cruise Critic, the canapes were great. We looked forward to them every day. The other Concierge Class amenities weren't immediately available; they slowly showed up over the first few days. The new beds are some of the most confortable that we've slept on. DH wanted to buy one for our home until I did some research and found out what they cost. Cruising is cheaper! The food is greatly improved over our last cruse. It was all well cooked and any issues we had were personal preference. We were told the menus were "hybrid", whatever that means. They had lots of choices and a good variety of foods. There were only two nights out of fifteen that we weren't happy with the choices offered. Interestingly, they didn't display the menu outside the restaurant before dinner on most days. It became a game for us to find and photograph the menu each afternoon. We saw others looking as well. Anytime we asked, we were told they were printing the menu so that may have had something to do with them being new menus. There were some serious issues on the port side, select dining the first few nights. Everything was very rushed. The next several times, we were on the starboard side. We ate on the port side a few more time without incident until our last night. That night we got the worst service we've ever had on Celebrity. We actually sat with empty glasses and plates in front of us for half an hour before DH grabbed a waiter from another table and asked for service. The entertainment was excellent. We enjoyed the comedian and the magician in particular. Jim Reynolds and Lisa Didier were the Celebrity Life speakers and they were both great. We learned a lot from Jim and Lisa managed to fill the theatre twice with her Madames lectures. I was disappointed with the Captain's Club wine seminar. This was our first cruise as Select and the wine seminar was the one event I had most looked forward to. Our welcome letter said it was in the 5th floor Main Dining room but when we got there they told us it was in the Olympic. We were one of the last people to get there so we had to wait while they set up places for us. By the time we both had settings and wine, they were on the second of four wines. We ended up seated next to the kitchen and had trouble hearing over the clatter of dishes. Between the noise from the kitchen and the heavy accent of the speaker, we missed a lot. It was all very disappointing. I don't usually read review of ports or excursion, so I hesitate to write one. I'm going to make an exception for Antigua, Guatemala. Guatemala is beautiful and, one of these days, this is going to make a great stop, but it's not ready yet. Prices are too high for the souvenirs, the street sellers are too pushy, food is expensive, and there is almost nothing written in English. I don't want to act like an ugly American, but it's hard to enjoy a place without being able to understand what we're seeing. We visited a museum that was interesting, but we couldn't read any of the signs or exhibits. We visited several Mexican cities and we thought the timeshare salesmen were pushy, but they are nothing compared to the street sellers in Antigua. At some spots we were swarmed and they didn't want to take "no" for an answer. If I wasn't with DH, I would have been worried. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We stayed at the Holiday Inn in San Diego for 2 days before we set sail. Visited Cobos San Lucas and Senior Frog Restaurant-great fun and pictures. Due to Hurrican Hillary we were not able to go to Acapulco so went to Puerto Vallarta ... Read More
We stayed at the Holiday Inn in San Diego for 2 days before we set sail. Visited Cobos San Lucas and Senior Frog Restaurant-great fun and pictures. Due to Hurrican Hillary we were not able to go to Acapulco so went to Puerto Vallarta Mexico instead. Did a private tour with the cruise line who rented us a private van for our party of 9 and we toured the city. Puerto Quetzel, Guatamala-Did the ships tour to Antiqua, beautiful city but lots of poverty. Puntarenas, Costa Rica-rented a private tour with Okey Dokey Tours-guides Charie & Evelyn who showed us the monkeys, alligators, birds and took us to the rain forest where we rode the Pacific aerial car and the tours included lunch.This was my favourite port and tour. Colon, Panama we did a private tour with My Friend Mario tours and his guide Laurie where we went by a dugout boat to the Embera Indian Village which was beautiful scenery and very interesting. The Millenium ship is a perfect size for getting around and not getting lost. Entertainment Shows were the best of any I have been on with lots of variety. Food: Absolutely delicious and lots of variety and our table staff was Julius and Robert who made every meal so much fun. The only negative is we were on Deck 2 and it was very musty smelling and we were over the loading and unloading door which made sleeping almost impossible when the luggage was being taken off or when someone was coming aboard. I thought the beds and pillows were very hard and cheap but once the ship comes out of dry dock I hope they will have better beds. I also wished they had one deck that is under cover so you could walk out of the sun all the way around the ship to get some exercise like there is on some ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Our 1st cruise to celebrate our silver wedding and to renew our wedding vows. well what can I say from start to finish it was perfect. Nelle our wedding coordinator was very efficient and our special day went so well. The crew were ... Read More
Our 1st cruise to celebrate our silver wedding and to renew our wedding vows. well what can I say from start to finish it was perfect. Nelle our wedding coordinator was very efficient and our special day went so well. The crew were fantastic so friendly and helpful, we had a balcony cabin and loved it, great entertainment. We purchased the premium drinks package and we could have almost any drink we liked and we didn't need to worry what we were spending, would definitely do it again. Food was top class with great variety. Went off at every port but didn't do any excursions. The ship was in very good condition despite her age loved Michael's Club and Cova Coffee Bar. Cant wait to to it all again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our first cruise with Celebrity. We have gone on other cruises but it was with different lines. This time, we traveled and paid for concierge service. Unfortunately, we feel the embarkation process catered to the other ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Celebrity. We have gone on other cruises but it was with different lines. This time, we traveled and paid for concierge service. Unfortunately, we feel the embarkation process catered to the other passengers. The check in process for concierge service was extremely slow. There was only one check-in station for concierge service while there were at least 10 stations opened for other passengers; handicapped check-in had two stations. We were in line at 11:45 and finally made it on board at 1:00 PM. We were directed to the 10th floor cafeteria which was extremely full of people because no state rooms were ready. Around 3:30 or 4:00 PM, 3 of our 4 suitcases appeared. The Captain made an announcement that we would be delayed leaving port by one hour (the delay actually turned out to be 2 hours) due to loading of luggage! San Diego cruise terminal needs to get their act together in handling an embarkation. We noticed that the ship was in poor condition in that there is a lot of visible rust and all wood railings and floors need to be replaced. The carpet and blinds in the state rooms looked like something in Motel 6. In the Ocean Cafe, the vinyl seating is well worn. The cinema seats are torn and not comfortable. The door to our state room was very troublesome in that sometimes it would stick shut; whereas other times, it would not close properly. We do not know if other state room bathrooms had a ventilation system but our bathroom did not have one. Therefore, we had to open the door in order to clear the bathroom mirror even after we wiped it down with our towels. There was mold in our shower area; screws fell out of our soap holder in the shower; and the toilet paper holder was troublesome. The dressing table and chair were well stained and the dressing table was chipped as well. Our bedding had very apparent stains which was disgusting. At the 2nd Captain's Brunch (which was wonderful albeit crowded), several of us noticed that the ceiling in the dining room appeared to be held up by tape. We could not get over that and several of us commented that the ship should have been renovated several years ago. We booked all our land tours through Celebrity. In Cabo San Lucas, we were on the Land's End Boat Trip. The boat part of the tour was very interesting and the bus tour was crowded and had no air conditioning. Because the tour to Acapulco was cancelled, we toured Puerto Vallarta. It could have been an interesting tour if the tour guides had a better command of English. In PuertoQuetzel, we booked the Antigua self-guided tour. Once the bus got us to Antigua, we hired a tour guide for $10 each and he was very knowledgeable and very helpful. Our bus guide was very responsible and appeared to care about the people on his bus. In Puntarenas, we booked the coffee plantation experience. Our bus tour guide (who was with us throughout the journey) kept insisting we take "siestas". If we wanted to take "siestas", we would have stayed on board the ship! The coffee plantation guide was fair. We did not book a tour in Colon, Panama. In Cartagena, Columbia, we booked the Deluxe Cartagena and Fortress tour and that was awful because, once again, the tour guide had very little command of the English language. As for the service on the ship, it was excellent in all aspects. The majority of time, our waiter was Henry and his assistant was Marcos. They went out of their way to ensure that we had everything we needed. They provided excellent service. The bar attendant, Anggna, was extremely kind to us. She also worked at the Cova Cafe and made us feel very special when we were there. When Marcos saw us on board while he was in the Ocean Cafe, he always took the time to come over and greet us. Meanwhile, Henry worked very hard to please us and he was always happy to do so. The food was also excellent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Celebrity Millennium Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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