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My parents and I just got back from a 12-day Mediterranean cruise on the Celebrity Millennium and had an incredible experience that far exceeded our expectations. We flew in the day of the cruise (Continental Newark to Milan and Alitalia Milan to Venice) and went straight to the ship. Or at least tried to. When we boarded the plane in Milan we saw the cart with our three bags (and dozens of others) pull up to plane and then back up and swing around the other side. We just figured that the bags would be loaded on the other side. No such luck. After waiting at the (chaotic) carousel in Venice for an hour, we realized our bags just hadn't made it. None of them. We headed over to the lost luggage line and stood behind about 50 other passengers. Apparently lost luggage is the norm at the Venice airport, which the concierge on the ship later confirmed. Sixty people on our cruise sailed away without bags. We spent about two hours filing a report, etc. and then headed to the ship by taxi. (You don't need a water taxi, just a 15-minute trip and it is cheaper than the Celebrity shuttle.) When our bags didn't arrive the following morning, we panicked a little and headed to the airport to see if we could try one last attempt to locate our bags. It was a hopeless cause and we missed our day in Venice. Though almost 100 bags from our flight were missing they couldn't seem to locate ANY of them. So we headed back to the ship and waived goodbye to Venice and our luggage at sail away. We were finally reunited with our bags six days later in Athens. Morals of the story: take a direct flight if you can (Venice is apparently notorious for losing luggage), pack as many necessities as you can on your carry-on, and take a photo of your luggage on your phone or digital camera before you leave, so if it is lost, you can show it to the lost-luggage folks. The rest of our trip was outstanding: CABINS: We stayed in a family oceanview room and it was wonderful. My "room" had two pull-out sofas, its own tv, dressers, etc. and a sliding partition to separate the bedroom from my room/living room. The balcony was enormous. They say it is almost 250 sq feet and I believe it. We easily had room for our three lounge chairs and table with chairs where we ate breakfast every morning, etc. The room was in decent shape. Could've used a little updating but overall we were very pleased. Also the shower (while still tiny) seemed to be bigger than ones I have seen on other ships. If you are traveling with 3+ people as a family, I highly recommend the family suite. It was definitely worth the extra money and we all kept our sanity. SHIP: I LOVE this ship. By far my favorite of the ones I have been on (Celebrity Zenith, Carnival Victory, Caribbean Princess). It is really elegant and understated. Nice dEcor and I thought very easy to navigate. I don't think I ever got "lost" as I have on other ships. It is laid out very well. The public rooms were beautiful. The Cosmos lounge on the top deck, forward is a wonderful place to watch sail aways, sunsets, etc. The dining room is far superior to others I have been in. We scored a table by the window and it was so nice to look out at the ocean during dinner. The back of the dining room is one giant window. The spa was wonderful. I did the Persian Garden option, which I think was $99 for the whole cruise. You have access to three different steam rooms/saunas, the hot stone loungers, aromatherapy showers, etc. It is almost identical to its counterpart on the Princess except not crowded. I was usually in there alone, if not with only one other person. It was very nice. The gym is nice too. Nothing better nor worse than the average ship gym. ACTIVITIES: As with my other Celebrity cruise, I really enjoyed the activities. They had a wonderful opera lecture series. I don't even particularly like opera but was captivated by the enthusiasm of the singer/lecturer and ended up attending all three lectures. Also went to a couple of the art lectures, which were fair. Went to Bingo and several rounds of trivia too. I also like that there were very few announcements on this cruise. ENTERTAINMENT: I went to a few shows and thought they were very good overall. Most of the people they brought in from the outside for one night were excellent, particularly the violinist. I also heard the pianist was outstanding. I think Celebrity makes a real effort with the entertainment. I have been to some shows on cruises that I couldn't believe they even allowed. DINING: I thought the food in the dining room was, for the most part, excellent. There were a few dishes that were average but overall I was very pleased and I still think Celebrity has the best food of any cruise line I have been on. Lunch at the Ocean Cafe was average and breakfast was below average. I don't think I had one decent breakfast on the trip. I ended up just sticking to bagels and yogurt—hard to mess that up. One hidden gem was the Aqua Spa Cafe. Great setting by the hydrotherapy pool and really delicious food, wonderful salmon, pita sandwiches, smoothies, etc. One night my family and I ordered the dining room menu to our room and ate on the balcony—how wonderful! And do not miss the Olympic. Far above and beyond Sabatini's on Princess. Worth every penny times ten. FRIENDS: One of the best parts of the trip was the new friends we made, mostly through CC. Don't hesitate to sign onto the boards and make your presence known! We hooked up with several different couples/families for private tours, met for meals, and enjoyed the cruise critic party hosted by Celebrity. This was the most special part of the trip—walking through the halls and running into familiar, friendly faces. SERVICE: This was another highlight. Everywhere we went, the crew greeted us with friendly hellos. We had the most wonderful waiter—Kristijan from Croatia was a gem. One of the ladies who worked in the shops even gave me a pair of her own (new) socks when I lost my luggage! Literally the only person on the ship who I was disappointed in was the Captain's Club representative. You would think this would be the most service-oriented person on the ship, but we found her condescending and unhelpful. Otherwise, service is really where Celebrity shines. Every person I dealt with on the ship—bar waiter to guest service crew remembered me and what I ordered and even remembered my name. The champagne upon boarding and the cold towels when coming back to the ship each port day were great plusses. PORTS: Venice: We spent most of the two days in Venice at the airport trying to track down our luggage but the gondola ride we did was wonderful. Well worth the (ridiculous) price. Dubrovnik: What a wonderful surprise! I had heard from many people how charming and beautiful it is, but I still wasn't prepared. We had perfect weather (as we did literally every single day of the trip) so the views went on forever. Of course, walking the wall is a must. Every picture I took was more beautiful than the one before it. Do a little research on restaurants. We randomly chose a terrible one. Santorini: My favorite port, though part of that is probably because we had the most time there. It was so nice to be there through the evening. I wish we were able to stay longer at some of the other ports. We did the Santorini in One Day tour with Kamari Tours (kamaritours.gr) and it was the best bargain of the trip—35 euros per person for a nine- hour tour (not private). We adored our guide, Tania. The two highlights were climbing the volcano—a bit of a challenge but well worth it—and the spectacular town of Oia. Do not miss Oia. A lot of people on our ship just stayed in the town of Fira where the ship docks because they figured all towns looked the same. They do not. Oia is a must-see—my most incredible photos of the trip. Also, try the local Vinsanto dessert wine. Delicious! Athens: Our guide, Nikos, made this port for us. Another incredible bargain. I think we paid around 60 euro per person (there were nine of us) for a private guided tour with Nikos and a driver. They picked us up and dropped us off at the ship and we took a city driving tour, an in-depth tour of the Acropolis, shopped on the Plaka and had a wonderful local lunch with Nikos. Nikos does not use email but his fax number is: . If you are looking to get the most out of your day, I very highly recommend him. Naples: We took another private tour, this time with Benevenuto Tours. I was happy with this company though the driver/guide was really more of a driver than a guide. I preferred it when the guides ate lunch with us and narrated most of the drive, etc. We did have an excellent tour guide inside of Pompeii, set up through Benevenuto. I think Pompeii is a must see. We also did a driving tour of the Amalfi Coast, Positano, and Sorrento. This is my second time in this area and both times I was underwhelmed for some reason. I think I must be the only person in the world that feels this way though. Next time I would do Pompeii (and/or Herculaneum) and Capri (which people raved about) and skip the Amalfi Coast. Rome: My family seemed to be the only people on the cruise that had a perfect day in Rome. There was a big parade, etc. that day because of a national holiday and it sounded like none of the other guides/shore excursions really worked around it. Most people missed at least one thing they really wanted to see. Our guide, Carlo, zipped us around that city like the pro that he is. We saw literally everything and more that we wanted to see in Rome in about six hours, plus had an amazing lunch with Carlo. We waited in one line (for about 10 minutes at the Coliseum) the entire day. Carlo had it timed perfectly for when the lines are minimal. We started at St Peters (zero line) first thing and waved at the three-hour (!) line for the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel, then to the Pantheon, Coliseum, Catacombs (incredible!), Forum, and back to the Sistine Chapel at 3:00—zero line. We did a short tour through the museums before ending at the Sistine Chapel. Don't miss it. Do whatever you can to make it there. Some people were disappointed but I think it is up there with the Grand Canyon as one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen. I cannot say enough about our guide. It was pricey but after hearing the horror stories of everyone else on board, I think we would've paid twice as much. You can find him at romeguide.net. Livorno: We chose to spend our day in Cinque Terre, about an hour drive from the port (but at least twice as long back!). I had been there before and though it is spectacular, it really is a place that is best if you have several days (though I guess all the ports are that way). You really get the most out of the scenery if you have the time to hike between each town and laze around in the different towns at a slow pace. Our tour was a whirlwind, though the boats from town-to-town ran very much on time and we were able to see all but one village. It is a gorgeous place. The tourists have definitely discovered it though! I was there three years ago in the shoulder season and felt like I had it all to myself. This time it was very crowded. Though definitely worth the trip. If you have been to Florence/Tuscany or are looking for incredible vistas, I definitely recommend Cinque Terre. Villefranche: This was one of our favorite ports (well, weren't they all?). We were pleased with our tour by Travels with Friends, again more of a driver than a guide though. We spent about half the day in Monaco and the rest touring Nice and Eze. Eze is a very charming town but seems a little Disney Land-ish for me. Kinda fake and overrun with tourists. Still worth a visit though, especially if there is no time to visit a more remote French provincial village. We found a wonderful little spot on the beach in Nice to sit in some shade and eat ice cream. We may have missed some of Nice, but it was nice to stop and smell the roses. Barcelona: Probably our least favorite spot, but I am convinced that it was because we didn't have guides or the ship to go home to every night and had to fend for ourselves. I would not recommend our hotel—Hotel Ambassador—it was a good location but the service was not good, the walls were paper thin, and it was dark and depressing. We found the food in Barcelona to be overrated as well. I would say do some research instead of just dropping in places like we did. We had a wonderful meal and saw a great flamenco show at Tablao de Carmen in the Poble Espanol. Well worth the money. http://www.tablaodecarmen.com/ang/inf.htm Also the Gaudi stuff is just unbelievable. The Sagrada Familia far exceeded my expectations. Do not miss it. My family called this a trip of a lifetime. Splurging on things like private guides and a lovely ship like the Millennium made all the difference. I usually would try not to sail the same ship twice, but I am already booking an Alaska trip on the Millennium next summer. Sorry for the long review—I hope you find some of it helpful.

Celebrity Millennium - Eastern Mediterranean

Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by sunny80

Trip Details
My parents and I just got back from a 12-day Mediterranean cruise on the Celebrity Millennium and had an incredible experience that far exceeded our expectations.
We flew in the day of the cruise (Continental Newark to Milan and Alitalia Milan to Venice) and went straight to the ship. Or at least tried to. When we boarded the plane in Milan we saw the cart with our three bags (and dozens of others) pull up to plane and then back up and swing around the other side. We just figured that the bags would be loaded on the other side. No such luck. After waiting at the (chaotic) carousel in Venice for an hour, we realized our bags just hadn't made it. None of them. We headed over to the lost luggage line and stood behind about 50 other passengers. Apparently lost luggage is the norm at the Venice airport, which the concierge on the ship later confirmed. Sixty people on our cruise sailed away without bags. We spent about two hours filing a report, etc. and then headed to the ship by taxi. (You don't need a water taxi, just a 15-minute trip and it is cheaper than the Celebrity shuttle.) When our bags didn't arrive the following morning, we panicked a little and headed to the airport to see if we could try one last attempt to locate our bags. It was a hopeless cause and we missed our day in Venice. Though almost 100 bags from our flight were missing they couldn't seem to locate ANY of them. So we headed back to the ship and waived goodbye to Venice and our luggage at sail away. We were finally reunited with our bags six days later in Athens. Morals of the story: take a direct flight if you can (Venice is apparently notorious for losing luggage), pack as many necessities as you can on your carry-on, and take a photo of your luggage on your phone or digital camera before you leave, so if it is lost, you can show it to the lost-luggage folks.
The rest of our trip was outstanding:
CABINS: We stayed in a family oceanview room and it was wonderful. My "room" had two pull-out sofas, its own tv, dressers, etc. and a sliding partition to separate the bedroom from my room/living room. The balcony was enormous. They say it is almost 250 sq feet and I believe it. We easily had room for our three lounge chairs and table with chairs where we ate breakfast every morning, etc. The room was in decent shape. Could've used a little updating but overall we were very pleased. Also the shower (while still tiny) seemed to be bigger than ones I have seen on other ships. If you are traveling with 3+ people as a family, I highly recommend the family suite. It was definitely worth the extra money and we all kept our sanity.
SHIP: I LOVE this ship. By far my favorite of the ones I have been on (Celebrity Zenith, Carnival Victory, Caribbean Princess). It is really elegant and understated. Nice dEcor and I thought very easy to navigate. I don't think I ever got "lost" as I have on other ships. It is laid out very well. The public rooms were beautiful. The Cosmos lounge on the top deck, forward is a wonderful place to watch sail aways, sunsets, etc. The dining room is far superior to others I have been in. We scored a table by the window and it was so nice to look out at the ocean during dinner. The back of the dining room is one giant window. The spa was wonderful. I did the Persian Garden option, which I think was $99 for the whole cruise. You have access to three different steam rooms/saunas, the hot stone loungers, aromatherapy showers, etc. It is almost identical to its counterpart on the Princess except not crowded. I was usually in there alone, if not with only one other person. It was very nice. The gym is nice too. Nothing better nor worse than the average ship gym.
ACTIVITIES: As with my other Celebrity cruise, I really enjoyed the activities. They had a wonderful opera lecture series. I don't even particularly like opera but was captivated by the enthusiasm of the singer/lecturer and ended up attending all three lectures. Also went to a couple of the art lectures, which were fair. Went to Bingo and several rounds of trivia too. I also like that there were very few announcements on this cruise.
ENTERTAINMENT: I went to a few shows and thought they were very good overall. Most of the people they brought in from the outside for one night were excellent, particularly the violinist. I also heard the pianist was outstanding. I think Celebrity makes a real effort with the entertainment. I have been to some shows on cruises that I couldn't believe they even allowed.
DINING: I thought the food in the dining room was, for the most part, excellent. There were a few dishes that were average but overall I was very pleased and I still think Celebrity has the best food of any cruise line I have been on. Lunch at the Ocean Cafe was average and breakfast was below average. I don't think I had one decent breakfast on the trip. I ended up just sticking to bagels and yogurt—hard to mess that up. One hidden gem was the Aqua Spa Cafe. Great setting by the hydrotherapy pool and really delicious food, wonderful salmon, pita sandwiches, smoothies, etc. One night my family and I ordered the dining room menu to our room and ate on the balcony—how wonderful! And do not miss the Olympic. Far above and beyond Sabatini's on Princess. Worth every penny times ten.
FRIENDS: One of the best parts of the trip was the new friends we made, mostly through CC. Don't hesitate to sign onto the boards and make your presence known! We hooked up with several different couples/families for private tours, met for meals, and enjoyed the cruise critic party hosted by Celebrity. This was the most special part of the trip—walking through the halls and running into familiar, friendly faces.
SERVICE: This was another highlight. Everywhere we went, the crew greeted us with friendly hellos. We had the most wonderful waiter—Kristijan from Croatia was a gem. One of the ladies who worked in the shops even gave me a pair of her own (new) socks when I lost my luggage! Literally the only person on the ship who I was disappointed in was the Captain's Club representative. You would think this would be the most service-oriented person on the ship, but we found her condescending and unhelpful. Otherwise, service is really where Celebrity shines. Every person I dealt with on the ship—bar waiter to guest service crew remembered me and what I ordered and even remembered my name. The champagne upon boarding and the cold towels when coming back to the ship each port day were great plusses.
PORTS:
Venice: We spent most of the two days in Venice at the airport trying to track down our luggage but the gondola ride we did was wonderful. Well worth the (ridiculous) price.
Dubrovnik: What a wonderful surprise! I had heard from many people how charming and beautiful it is, but I still wasn't prepared. We had perfect weather (as we did literally every single day of the trip) so the views went on forever. Of course, walking the wall is a must. Every picture I took was more beautiful than the one before it. Do a little research on restaurants. We randomly chose a terrible one.
Santorini: My favorite port, though part of that is probably because we had the most time there. It was so nice to be there through the evening. I wish we were able to stay longer at some of the other ports. We did the Santorini in One Day tour with Kamari Tours (kamaritours.gr) and it was the best bargain of the trip—35 euros per person for a nine- hour tour (not private). We adored our guide, Tania. The two highlights were climbing the volcano—a bit of a challenge but well worth it—and the spectacular town of Oia. Do not miss Oia. A lot of people on our ship just stayed in the town of Fira where the ship docks because they figured all towns looked the same. They do not. Oia is a must-see—my most incredible photos of the trip. Also, try the local Vinsanto dessert wine. Delicious!
Athens: Our guide, Nikos, made this port for us. Another incredible bargain. I think we paid around 60 euro per person (there were nine of us) for a private guided tour with Nikos and a driver. They picked us up and dropped us off at the ship and we took a city driving tour, an in-depth tour of the Acropolis, shopped on the Plaka and had a wonderful local lunch with Nikos. Nikos does not use email but his fax number is: . If you are looking to get the most out of your day, I very highly recommend him.
Naples: We took another private tour, this time with Benevenuto Tours. I was happy with this company though the driver/guide was really more of a driver than a guide. I preferred it when the guides ate lunch with us and narrated most of the drive, etc. We did have an excellent tour guide inside of Pompeii, set up through Benevenuto. I think Pompeii is a must see. We also did a driving tour of the Amalfi Coast, Positano, and Sorrento. This is my second time in this area and both times I was underwhelmed for some reason. I think I must be the only person in the world that feels this way though. Next time I would do Pompeii (and/or Herculaneum) and Capri (which people raved about) and skip the Amalfi Coast.
Rome: My family seemed to be the only people on the cruise that had a perfect day in Rome. There was a big parade, etc. that day because of a national holiday and it sounded like none of the other guides/shore excursions really worked around it. Most people missed at least one thing they really wanted to see. Our guide, Carlo, zipped us around that city like the pro that he is. We saw literally everything and more that we wanted to see in Rome in about six hours, plus had an amazing lunch with Carlo. We waited in one line (for about 10 minutes at the Coliseum) the entire day. Carlo had it timed perfectly for when the lines are minimal. We started at St Peters (zero line) first thing and waved at the three-hour (!) line for the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel, then to the Pantheon, Coliseum, Catacombs (incredible!), Forum, and back to the Sistine Chapel at 3:00—zero line. We did a short tour through the museums before ending at the Sistine Chapel. Don't miss it. Do whatever you can to make it there. Some people were disappointed but I think it is up there with the Grand Canyon as one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen. I cannot say enough about our guide. It was pricey but after hearing the horror stories of everyone else on board, I think we would've paid twice as much. You can find him at romeguide.net.
Livorno: We chose to spend our day in Cinque Terre, about an hour drive from the port (but at least twice as long back!). I had been there before and though it is spectacular, it really is a place that is best if you have several days (though I guess all the ports are that way). You really get the most out of the scenery if you have the time to hike between each town and laze around in the different towns at a slow pace. Our tour was a whirlwind, though the boats from town-to-town ran very much on time and we were able to see all but one village. It is a gorgeous place. The tourists have definitely discovered it though! I was there three years ago in the shoulder season and felt like I had it all to myself. This time it was very crowded. Though definitely worth the trip. If you have been to Florence/Tuscany or are looking for incredible vistas, I definitely recommend Cinque Terre.
Villefranche: This was one of our favorite ports (well, weren't they all?). We were pleased with our tour by Travels with Friends, again more of a driver than a guide though. We spent about half the day in Monaco and the rest touring Nice and Eze. Eze is a very charming town but seems a little Disney Land-ish for me. Kinda fake and overrun with tourists. Still worth a visit though, especially if there is no time to visit a more remote French provincial village. We found a wonderful little spot on the beach in Nice to sit in some shade and eat ice cream. We may have missed some of Nice, but it was nice to stop and smell the roses.
Barcelona: Probably our least favorite spot, but I am convinced that it was because we didn't have guides or the ship to go home to every night and had to fend for ourselves. I would not recommend our hotel—Hotel Ambassador—it was a good location but the service was not good, the walls were paper thin, and it was dark and depressing. We found the food in Barcelona to be overrated as well. I would say do some research instead of just dropping in places like we did. We had a wonderful meal and saw a great flamenco show at Tablao de Carmen in the Poble Espanol. Well worth the money. http://www.tablaodecarmen.com/ang/inf.htm Also the Gaudi stuff is just unbelievable. The Sagrada Familia far exceeded my expectations. Do not miss it.
My family called this a trip of a lifetime. Splurging on things like private guides and a lovely ship like the Millennium made all the difference. I usually would try not to sail the same ship twice, but I am already booking an Alaska trip on the Millennium next summer.
Sorry for the long review—I hope you find some of it helpful.
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