Prior to this cruise I did my homework if you will as much as possible prior to sailing for this being a first time cruise by catching up on reviews and as much information as possible from this site. As a first time cruiser I was not disappointed.
We went into this with a fairly open mind as first time cruisers as to what to expect and were not at all disappointed. Also, it should be noted the running joke during the course of the cruise was this was my "first" cruise where I did not have to work as I am retired navy.
Booked the 5 day Pacific Coastal cruise on Celebrity Millennium as this was the second cruise after the Solictization refit. Flew down to San Diego two days prior to the arrival of Millennium and stayed two nights at the Holiday Inn - On the Bay literally across the street from the cruise ship pier, had a bay view room in the hotel and the morning of the cruise opened my balcony curtains to see the ship across the street from my room.
Had a late check out at 2pm and walked across the street to the terminal dropped off our bags and proceeded to the security screening and check-in. All total from the time we entered the security screening and check-in to getting to our stateroom it probably was all of 25-30 minutes, but about what you might expect for checking in close to 2000 passengers on a ship (try that with 2000 passengers and TSA at any major airport)There was the customary champagne and mimosas that were nice, as we got onboard everyone was gathering at the first elevators near the gangway, so we wandered aft and found the aft elevators pretty much empty and went right up to our stateroom, the only issue here was the time it took for luggage to arrive at our stateroom, well after the muster brief and just as we were getting underway, (note we had been onboard for almost two hours now.)
Once we got unpacked and settled in we used the time to go explore the ship and find a nice spot for the sail-away which was a fantastic view of the San Diego city.
Dining - first night we chose to eat at the Ocean View Grill on deck 10 which had a very nice selection of entree items set in a buffet style arrangement. Also purchased a specialty dining package for the Olympic Room during our at sea evening after San Francisco which was superb, service, menu selection (Chilean Sea Bass) and wine selections were all outstanding. A couple of nights we chose the MDR as we also had the option of select dining and had the same window seat on the port and as well I was impressed with the menu selections and presentation (Lamb shank which fell off the bone.)
We also purchased a premium drink package and I must say Keisha and Michael in the casino bar, and the gentleman from the Martini bar had it most entertaining and enjoyable experience. On the last night of our cruise we watched one of the bar tenders at the Martini bar pour a Martini flight of 24 glasses at one time! Very entertaining to watch.
Entertainment wise we checked out the Celebrity theater the first night underway and after that it was mostly Cosmos, Michaels and the lounge.
As we had a concierge class stateroom we took advantage of the enhanced room service menu and enjoyed breakfast each morning on the veranda. And would also like to thank our stateroom attendant Willy for outstanding service and attention to detail while making our trip enjoyable. There were some minor issues as a result of the refit in our stateroom that were corrected during the cruise, such as during the resurfacing of the veranda deck in our stateroom there were glue foot prints on the threshold of the sliding door and splashes of paint and glue on the outside glass, but these were taken care of during port visits while away from the ship.
All in all, I was very impressed and had a most relaxing vacation during my first cruise and enjoyed meeting our new cruise friends Dave and Patty from Louisiana, and all the wonderful crew members who worked so hard to make our first cruise so much fun and relaxing.
While in San Francisco we chose to do ourt own thing and took one the sightseeing tours from Fisherman's Wharf which hit all the usual spots in San Francisco over a two hour period, afterwards we took a trolley to the Fisherman's Terminal building and walked around to check out all the shops and had lunch at Hog Island Oyster bar. It can be a little pricey, but has a great sampler selection of oysters.