Celebrity Millenium: Launched June 17th, 2000; Handles 2158 guests at that time (but has been upgraded to about 2450); 91,000 tons, 965 ft long, 105.6 ft wide, 26 ft drought, Top cruise speed 24 knots (although we mostly cruised at 16kts).
The Millenium is now 16 years old although it has been well treated. The ship is well maintained and kept very cleaned. It does show its age a bit (the sealed windows are loosing their reflective coatings and some of the outside fittings need replacing) but the time has been kind to it with the maintenance and care. It is well designed and works well. The extra passengers do stress the regular facilities at times, especially the cafe where it can get quite competitive.
The bridge crew and the captain especially had a high profile during the trip. The captain would often show up at the shows in the evening and everyone stopped talking to listen to his 10 o'clock daily talk. The captain was very proactive on safety and comfort - he changed course so that we stayed north of a particular storm so we transited the Bering Sea with very little ship movement.
This repositioning cruise is excellent if you like lots of days at sea and to be able to get up into the Aleutian Islands/Bering Sea/Northern Japan. Celebrity has also started to go into more isolated ports, in this case Dutch Harbour (Aleutian Islands), Otaru and Hokodate (Japan). We enjoyed all of these ports and all three ports appreciated the arrival of the Millenium.
Entertainment: The Millenium has the Cosmos Lounge upstairs at the bow and the large theater at the bottom of the bow. Both are well used. The presentations during the day are generally well done. Beth Foggin has been putting on a series of historical talks that are very good. We have attended them all. Milos Radakovich is the science guy and has done a series of talks on mammals, Mars, the universe, etc, all very well done with a lot of humor and a sense of the big picture. Compared with some of the other cruise lines, Celebrity has some of the best speakers. Both of these speakers are well researched and interesting. Others were less so, but overall, the speakers were good.
The evening presentations were good. Many of these entertainers are older and appear to be doing the cruise circuit as a job. Most did it well. The young dancers and the band that was attached to the ship did an excellent job, doing show after show almost continuously and doing it with enthusiasm.
Laundry: Celebrity claims that we have better things to do on our trip than do our own laundry so there is no place to do your laundry on board. So they charge $3US for a pair of socks and $4US for underwear. They charge similar prices for dry cleaning and even more to get something pressed. I heard that Celebrity was concerned about the safety of a laundry. This is surprisingly since Oceania and even Crystal have laundry facilities on board.
The best way to handle laundry on a Celebrity ship is to bring lots of easily washed and no iron clothing. Towards the end of the cruise they offer to do a paper bag of laundry for $45US. If you roll your clothing and pack it tightly, it is amazing what you can pack in one bag. Otherwise you have to do enough cruising with Celebrity to get laundry as something included in your trip.
Aqua Class: Aqua gets you access to the Persian Gardens steam room in the Spa area, a better location in the ship for your cabin, special soaps and shampoos, a small plate of treats in the late afternoon, access to the concierge services and the use of Blus restaurant for breakfast and dinner. We tried the Persian Garden which had been retrofitted into the Millenium. It is dark, hot and steamy. A good idea but it does not work as a retrofit. The concierge was great and helped with a couple of issues. I did not find anything special about the shampoos and soaps that they feature. Blu's was great. The food was good and the staff was even better. They were friendly, helpful and did an excellent job. One of our group was a Celiac (allergic to gluten). She had access to the next day's menu so that her food could be prepared in a gluten free kitchen and the staff understood about this problem and handled it well. They were so well organized on the gluten free area that she was even able to safely eat at the Buffet.
Captains Club Receptions. The Captains Receptions last for 2 hours in the afternoon and involve all of the frequent flyers (we are not one of those) getting free drinks (they line up). But it shuts off Cosmos lounge for everyone else and it is one of the nicest public areas in the ship.
Celebrity Land Tours: I would rate Celebrity a B on this, they can definitely do better. The tour we took at Otaru in northern Japan was great, but that was mostly due to the location of the trip and the wonderful guide (Nori) that we had. The trips appeared to be a little on the expensive side and there was not that much selection. The staff selling the tours on the ship also need a bit more knowledge and enthusiasm for what they are doing. They could have been selling caskets.
Celebrity used to hand out better descriptions and maps of their destinations and give a short lecture on each place the day before. The lectures that used to be done for each port are almost non existent (they do one summary lecture at the start of the trip) and the handouts aren't much better (you have to ask for them since they are not officially sanctioned by Celebrity). Definitely an area of improvement.
Fitness Facility: The facility has lots of exercise equipment and it is of very good quality. The treadmills have a wonderful view out the front of the ship. Staff was ok but not overly enthusiastic (and did not know the distance around the running track on top of the ship - 8 laps to the mile).