Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by RiverEagle
- Sail Date: September 2019
- Destination: Transpacific
- Cabin Type: Concierge Class 2
I'll do this in 3 parts... Summary… the Good… the Bad.
My view is that Celebrity is living off its reputation (& messaging) of ‘premium’. My experience is that they are looking for ever 'sneaky' ways to drive up revenue (as any good business should), whilst minimising the product (which is cancerous). Sure push the envelope for a few dollars here and there, but don't reduce the product at the same time.
We cruise Royal Caribbean and Celebrity a lot… and enjoy the loyalty reciprocity and we are finding the gap between the 2 becoming more and more insignificant. Royal are getting better, whilst Celebrity are slipping.
So would I cruise Celebrity again? Yes. I’ve seen Celebrity really good, and quite average. Considering this cruise might have been an exception, I’ll go again… but that may be the last if it remains under-whelming.
- Crew: The 'Worker bees' were all so generous and courteous... nothing but good things to say
- Tuscan Grill: Personalised and accommodating… even modifying the menu upon request (The Maître d was brilliant)
- Stateroom: Remodelled room (Balcony Concierge Class) was very good… décor was modern and warm, whilst storage space was plentiful and practical
- Beds and pillows were so good… slept like a baby (despite some rough seas)
- Ocean View Café – Lunch and Dinners were amazing in terms of quality & choice. And the pizza… the BEST on the open seas! (In contrast the Main Dining Room’s food was a complete let down)
So before looking like I’m just whining, I respect that everyone has different tastes so I’ve left entertainment, enrichment and excursion off the ‘bad’ list. Most of my ‘bad’ is centred around how I’ve seen Celebrity go from ‘WOW!’ to ‘’MEH!’.
- Casino: I thought I was being a little too negative, until I heard many guests in there complaining. Apart from 2 to 3 dealers, the rest were inexperienced and most impersonal. There was a strong contingent of Texas Hold’em Poker players onboard, and the availability, service and games structures were amateurish at best. A 10% rake (yes..10%) should come with incredible dealers… instead we had trainees who did not know the rules, and continually exposed cards whilst dealing.
- Outdoor hot tubs were lukewarm at best. I know many folk were requesting for the temperature to be increased. Each time was met with a shrug of the shoulders saying ‘it was just the way it is’. Considering the weather outside was cool, this was most disappointing.
- Concierge Class: This is pretty much a bluff... (It is anything but personal, group phone messages, line up for 30 minutes, call the service desk and we could never get through). On sea days the concierge was ‘closed’ from Midday to 4:30pm every day. This is an absolute oversell... save your money!!
The Concierge Class left me questioning why we did it… just couldn’t see the value.
- Embarkation: 1.75 hours kerb to ship! - (And we were concierge class)… absolutely dreadful
- 'Premium' Drinks Package - You can't get a glass of wine with your room service order (you can pay for it though). I think this is a nasty slap in the face and really lost Celebrity lot of points in my book. (Using the 'we must see your stateroom card upon ordering' is so condescending).
- 'Premium' Drinks Package - Take a Coke from your mini bar - you'll get charged. Again just thoughtless. (So instead I go to the bar get a heap of unopened soft drinks and put them in the bard fridge).
- 'Premium' Drinks Package - with a dreadfully limited selection by the glass of basic wines. If you are a wine drinker (primarily) I strongly urge you to give the drinks package a miss. The selection is very, very limited and anything but ‘premium’.
- 'Premium' Drinks Package - in the specialty restaurants the wine by the glass choices are a contradiction (to align to 'specialty')... limited in terms of choice / country / region / variety / quality.
- When I first cruised celebrity the wine experience was great. The Sommeliers were experienced and knowledgeable. They really should not use the term Sommelier for the wine crew on this cruise… can you believe we were served corked/off red wine in one of the specialty restaurants (because it had been left open for a few days), and the Sommelier just didn’t get it!
- Main Dining room - Can't tell the difference between Celebrity and Royal Caribbean anymore. This has sadly been dumbed down to mass production without the culinary prowess the once defined the Celebrity difference.
So the main dining experience is the centre of ‘Premium’ cruising. It’s where the nostalgia lives… Celebrity have absolutely dropped the ball here. The main dining room is pretty much sitting back in the industry pack now… so very disappointing!!! Bland, unseasoned, cold, huge variance from one guest plate to the next, lack of imagination (sides were pretty much boiled carrot, broccoli & a bit of mash with most meals).
Also the dress standard Celebrity have held to all but disappeared… formal nights were really just neat casual.
It’s not good when the buffet is way better than the main dining room.
- Main Dining Room - can you imagine getting your 1st drinks order half way through your main course? (twice).
- Constantly pushing up the prices on specialty dining (Tuscan now up to $45 US!!). But then at the bottom of the menu offering premium steaks for an additional $18... Really!!
- Disembarkation… It’s amazing how much colder and unhospitable the crew became on disembarkation morning. We went to guest services to see if I could exchange some US for YEN... got an abrupt NO... with an immediate reminder that we had to get off the ship!
In closing I was surprised at how aloof and closed off the managers and above were... almost like the guest were annoying them. But again the core crew were so great!
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The storage is excellent.
The recent upgrade was compromised in areas... loose screws / some fittings not fitted properly.