Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by simchabayla
- Sail Date: April 2015
- Destination: Asia
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View with Balcony 2C
Asia from Florida is a looong flight, so we broke it up, flying to LA, staying overnight and continuing to HK the next day. Point of information. If you can, fly Cathay Pacific. We opted for "premium economy." which means larger seat, more leg room, better food (yes it was good) a separate cabin and amenities. We were pleasantly surprised when we were upgraded to business class on the trip over, at no charge. Talk about pampered! Seats become beds, very nice on a 14 hour flight.
We were booked into the Eaton Hotel, just off Nathan Road, the main shopping street of Hong Kong. Excellent. Great service, staff that spoke English, interesting included breakfast with both western and Asian choices. We spent two nights there. Our travel service picked us up at the airport and delivered us to the hotel, then, at the end of our stay, picked us up to take us to the ship.
We had been warned about boarding in HK, but it was very smooth and efficient. We sailed on Milly twice before, when she was new and the ship is showing age a little -- some rust and chipped paint-- but all in all the ship is in great shape physically. Our cabin, deck 8 forward, was in fine shape, plenty of storage space, everything working, excellent steward.
The itinerary was very good and we were satisfied with the tours available. I just wish we had known earlier about the option of staying overnight in Beijing rather than taking that long bus ride each day. Because we were traveling with others, we couldn't do that when we found out. Point of information for future travelers: be prepared for squat toilets at national monument, etc. and bring your own toilet paper. It is not always available.
The problems we had were with the food, entertainment and staffing, all the things you DON'T want to have issues with on a ship. The ship was obviously understaffed. The activities staff was 1 person and although everyone pitched in, offerings on sea days were meager and on port days almost non-existent.
The buffet had the same problem. The waiters were working hard, but there were not enough of them to refill coffee or tea, a service usual to Celebrity. No one offered to help find a table or carry a plate, again a service we were accustomed to on Celebrity. The food at the buffet was boring, with few alternatives and the chefs had obviously been told to make do with cheaper cuts of meat, fewer choices of salads and to use up the leftovers from the previous night's dinner. Anyone who cooks for a family will recognize leftovers re-imagined and I understand the economics involved, but when it becomes a joke on board, they've gone too far.
We didn't try the specialty restaurants, so I can't review those. The meals in the main dining room were OK, but not special in any way. Not one stands out in my mind. Service was often slow (staffing?)and you had to tell the waiter if you wanted to make the show.
The production shows were good, but only 3 in 17 days. The rest were singer after singer, some good, some not. We did get a Chinese acrobat show and that was nice. Why don't ships make more use of local entertainment? I know there are Korean folk dance groups. I'm sure one could have been hired.
Disembarkation went very smoothly. We were met by our tour company in Shanghai and taken to the Central Hotel. Wonderful! We toured the city by bus, ate out and had a great time. Point of information: pack a few sturdy plastic knives and forks unless your chopstick skills are way better than ours. Not every restaurant has them and servers giggle when you ask. My chopstick skills improved greatly while I was in Asia. Point of information: departure times on flights in China are always a guess. If you have connections to make (we had Shanghai to HK and then to LA), allow up to three hours between flights to make sure you don't miss your connecting flight. Cathay had to hold the LA flight because the Shanghai to HK leg was delayed almost an hour in takeoff. Why? Because that's the way they do things.
All in all, we were disappointed that Celebrity has let their standards slip so much. It has always been one of our favorite lines. We are sailing Azamara in November and I hope the same slippage doesn't show up there.
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Mattresses were comfortable.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Mutianyu Great WallIt's a 3 hour bus trip from Tian Jin (port) to Beijing. We had booked the tours before we went and as we were traveling with others, couldn't make changes without upsetting everyone's plans. We didn't know that there was an option of staying overnight one or two nights in Beijing instead of going back and forth each day. The Great Wall is an amazing sight. We climbed as far as we could (bad knees) but the varying heights of the steps stopped us before too long. My husband had to get behind me and boost me at times.View All 6 Mutianyu Great Wall Reviews
Hong KongMy cousin took us around HK. You will need HK dollars and there are money changers everywhere. It was 1 US to 7 HK approx. If you like to bargain, visit the "Ladies" Market." We went on the cable car ride to see all over the area. We ate at a restaurant atop Victoria Peak and watched the light show.View All 315 Hong Kong Cruise Port Reviews
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Nagasaki Peace ParkVery moving. The sculptures from around the world are lovely as are the flowers. Everyone is quiet and respectful, as they should be. There are many opportunities to take pictures.View All 23 Nagasaki Peace Park Reviews
MuseumOne of the best museums I have been to. The exhibits are very well laid out in a time line. the porcelain is beautiful. I especially enjoyed the replicas of the dig sites, showing how the objects were found.View All 12,810 Museum Reviews
Very nice gift shop.
City TourThe lines at the museum are forever! I understand that they are proud of the jade and porcelain, but everyone on the island seemed to be there when we went. We also went to the 101 building for a view from the top and had a delicious dim sum lunch in a restaurant at the base.View All 20 City Tour Reviews
Confucius TempleFor some reason, Chinese buildings have a high wooden board across their entrances. I think it is a Feng Shui belief to keep the luck in and evil out, but if you have hip problems, you may have difficulties getting inside.View All 3 Confucius Temple Reviews
National Palace MuseumVery crowded. It was a Sunday and raining. Don't do it under those circumstances. The lines took forever and didn't seem worth the trouble. The jade cabbage is a tiny thing, very nice, but we were on line for over an hour.View All 9 National Palace Museum Reviews