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We booked this cruise due to its itinerary, price, and perks. With departure from Tokyo and overnight stops in Kobe, Taipei, and Hong Kong as well as a stop in Shanghai it was a great way to see Asia's major cities on one cruise. Also, having never cruised with Celebrity before it was a chance to experience what Celebrity promises to offer, "a premium cruise with outstanding service and taste culinary excellence, all while on board ships with stunning designs and luxurious accommodations." Before we even boarded, however, issues started to crop up with our booking that caused us to have concerns about Celebrity's standard of quality: 1. The two perks that we chose on booking were changed to some other options (twice) and had to be reinstated after calling my cruise agent 2.On the reinstatement of the perks, Celebrity would not use the discount price used to book shore excursions as date was passed expiry until intervention again by cruise agent. 3. The original itinerary with overnight stop in Taipei was revised to eliminate the overnight stop. Celebrity tried to sell this with corporate speak. "We’re always looking for ways to create the best possible vacation experience, so we've modified your itinerary with an additional port of call in Japan. Our schedule now allows us to visit Kochi, Japan". And oh, by the way we had to make a technical stop in Korea because you can't sail directly from China to Taiwan. Oops. We hope it doesn't inconvenience you. Whoopie...Although lovely, we didn't need to see another Japanese port (4 already) What that really did was wreck any plans to be able to see Taipei as the one day in Taipei is short and since Taipei is 1 hour away from the port, left only 4 hours instead of 1 1/2 days. 3. Celebrity sent out emails advising getting a Chinese visa unless a Shanghai tour was prebooked. This was erroneous as Shanghai had a 144-hour visa-free transit policy for over 3 years. With the technical stop in Korea, the cruise met all the requirements as it was in transit between 2 foreign countries. More on this later. Embarkation: Went fairly smooth as filling all preboarding information meant everything was ready at registration desk. However, there was confusion regarding visas as those with visas were directed to another line. That's when we overheard someone shouting that "the 144 hour policy" was not being accepted. We had booked a private tour ourselves and that raised a concern: are we now stuck on board? Stateroom: Renovation of the rooms was nicely done with large shower and glass door, which was nice. Lots of storage space and bed was high enough that suitcases can be slipped under. TV had limited selection of free movies and some TV channels. Main Dining Room: Major disappointment as menu was not inspiring and repetitive. Food choices were bland, relatively tasteless, and quality varied. Some days the salmon was cooked just right and the next overdone and dry. Same with the pasta. Seems like all the quality had been transferred to Specialty Dining and the masses given cafeteria food. Far from the "culinary excellence" that Celebrity was hyping. Our server was good but dining room appears understaffed as dinner took 2 hours from sitdown to dessert. Our server can be seen running around and was hard to flag down. Additional requests took 15 to 20 mins to be fulfilled. Oceanview Cafe: Lots of options but as in dining room, menu was repetitive and not inspiring, just dressed up differently. Had fish, pork, and chicken available to freshly grill, which was nice rather than sitting around under hot lamps drying out. Also there were stations for make your own pasta and stir-fry. For an Asian cruise, there weren't a lot of Asian options and what options there were, wasn't very good. Lack of fresh vegetables as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, corn were provided sporadically and most times were not available. Fresh uncut fruits like red/green apples, oranges, bananas were provided sporadically and what was provided was soon gone. Also appeared to be understaffed in Cafe as tables with dirty dishes were often not cleared for sometime. Entertainment: Boring lineup...few productions and too many vocalists. There were some wonderful acts such as the Taiko drummers and DuoSoleil but other nights filled with singers. They might be cheap to book and be great for lounges but for a large theatre stage?? What happened to the days when big productions filled the theatre...cruise lines have gone cheap. Shore Excursions: Ran pretty smoothly. Pricing was fair as not much more than what a private arrangement would cost. Easy to book with the Celebrity App as we were forced to book a Shanghai excursion after learning that the ship would not honor the 144-hour policy - not exactly the tour we wanted. Tickets delivered to stateroom by next day. Regarding the "144 hour policy", after hearing that the policy was not being accepted we went to Guest Relations to find out why. Their response after checking their backroom was that "it was due to government policy and only applied to those with airline flights" Informed them that this was nonsense as we had checked with our tour operator and they informed that based on our itinerary (with the Korean stop) that we were good to go. Had to email and cancel our private tour at last minute as we would not have been allowed off the ship. Was not happy to say the least. IT: No onboard screens anywhere on ship to access deck plans, menus, activities, etc. Celebrity wants you to install their Celebrity App on your device (free download). While onboard App also allows you to text other passengers that you can invite (free connection to ship wifi for this purpose, thumbs up for that option). However, there were glitches as some text messages weren't delivered and ship itinerary has errors such as showing Hiroshima as one of our port stop when it should have been Kagoshima. More quality issues. Disembarkation: went smoothly as ship pretty much cleared by 9:30AM. On the last day at sea Guest Relations offered a "Customer Satisfaction" future cruise booking credit in response to my complaint regarding their handling of the 144-hour policy. No explanation given and still unclear why they didn't honor it. Was it a Corporate issue regarding interpretation or ship procedure wanting to streamline processing passengers and not wanting complications? Unknown but leaves uncertainty for other future passengers in similar situation. Will we be book another cruise with Celebrity? With the future booking credit, we will give Celebrity one more chance. We are hoping they have upped their game on their other ships, otherwise, it would be our last as their level of quality and service on this cruise was a major disappointment. It does not come close to a level that matches that of other cruise lines we have sailed on, let alone "a premium cruise experience" that they promote.

Disappointing all around ..fails to meet its marketing as "premium cruise" line

Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by gslvanbc

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2019
  • Destination: Asia
We booked this cruise due to its itinerary, price, and perks. With departure from Tokyo and overnight stops in Kobe, Taipei, and Hong Kong as well as a stop in Shanghai it was a great way to see Asia's major cities on one cruise. Also, having never cruised with Celebrity before it was a chance to experience what Celebrity promises to offer, "a premium cruise with outstanding service and taste culinary excellence, all while on board ships with stunning designs and luxurious accommodations."

Before we even boarded, however, issues started to crop up with our booking that caused us to have concerns about Celebrity's standard of quality:

1. The two perks that we chose on booking were changed to some other options (twice) and had to be reinstated after calling my cruise agent

2.On the reinstatement of the perks, Celebrity would not use the discount price used to book shore excursions as date was passed expiry until intervention again by cruise agent.

3. The original itinerary with overnight stop in Taipei was revised to eliminate the overnight stop. Celebrity tried to sell this with corporate speak. "We’re always looking for ways to create the best possible vacation experience, so we've modified your itinerary with an additional port of call in Japan. Our schedule now allows us to visit Kochi, Japan". And oh, by the way we had to make a technical stop in Korea because you can't sail directly from China to Taiwan. Oops. We hope it doesn't inconvenience you. Whoopie...Although lovely, we didn't need to see another Japanese port (4 already) What that really did was wreck any plans to be able to see Taipei as the one day in Taipei is short and since Taipei is 1 hour away from the port, left only 4 hours instead of 1 1/2 days.

3. Celebrity sent out emails advising getting a Chinese visa unless a Shanghai tour was prebooked. This was erroneous as Shanghai had a 144-hour visa-free transit policy for over 3 years. With the technical stop in Korea, the cruise met all the requirements as it was in transit between 2 foreign countries. More on this later.

Embarkation: Went fairly smooth as filling all preboarding information meant everything was ready at registration desk. However, there was confusion regarding visas as those with visas were directed to another line. That's when we overheard someone shouting that "the 144 hour policy" was not being accepted. We had booked a private tour ourselves and that raised a concern: are we now stuck on board?

Stateroom: Renovation of the rooms was nicely done with large shower and glass door, which was nice. Lots of storage space and bed was high enough that suitcases can be slipped under. TV had limited selection of free movies and some TV channels.

Main Dining Room: Major disappointment as menu was not inspiring and repetitive. Food choices were bland, relatively tasteless, and quality varied. Some days the salmon was cooked just right and the next overdone and dry. Same with the pasta. Seems like all the quality had been transferred to Specialty Dining and the masses given cafeteria food. Far from the "culinary excellence" that Celebrity was hyping. Our server was good but dining room appears understaffed as dinner took 2 hours from sitdown to dessert. Our server can be seen running around and was hard to flag down. Additional requests took 15 to 20 mins to be fulfilled.

Oceanview Cafe: Lots of options but as in dining room, menu was repetitive and not inspiring, just dressed up differently. Had fish, pork, and chicken available to freshly grill, which was nice rather than sitting around under hot lamps drying out. Also there were stations for make your own pasta and stir-fry. For an Asian cruise, there weren't a lot of Asian options and what options there were, wasn't very good. Lack of fresh vegetables as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, corn were provided sporadically and most times were not available. Fresh uncut fruits like red/green apples, oranges, bananas were provided sporadically and what was provided was soon gone. Also appeared to be understaffed in Cafe as tables with dirty dishes were often not cleared for sometime.

Entertainment: Boring lineup...few productions and too many vocalists. There were some wonderful acts such as the Taiko drummers and DuoSoleil but other nights filled with singers. They might be cheap to book and be great for lounges but for a large theatre stage?? What happened to the days when big productions filled the theatre...cruise lines have gone cheap.

Shore Excursions: Ran pretty smoothly. Pricing was fair as not much more than what a private arrangement would cost. Easy to book with the Celebrity App as we were forced to book a Shanghai excursion after learning that the ship would not honor the 144-hour policy - not exactly the tour we wanted. Tickets delivered to stateroom by next day. Regarding the "144 hour policy", after hearing that the policy was not being accepted we went to Guest Relations to find out why. Their response after checking their backroom was that "it was due to government policy and only applied to those with airline flights" Informed them that this was nonsense as we had checked with our tour operator and they informed that based on our itinerary (with the Korean stop) that we were good to go. Had to email and cancel our private tour at last minute as we would not have been allowed off the ship. Was not happy to say the least.

IT: No onboard screens anywhere on ship to access deck plans, menus, activities, etc. Celebrity wants you to install their Celebrity App on your device (free download). While onboard App also allows you to text other passengers that you can invite (free connection to ship wifi for this purpose, thumbs up for that option). However, there were glitches as some text messages weren't delivered and ship itinerary has errors such as showing Hiroshima as one of our port stop when it should have been Kagoshima. More quality issues.

Disembarkation: went smoothly as ship pretty much cleared by 9:30AM.

On the last day at sea Guest Relations offered a "Customer Satisfaction" future cruise booking credit in response to my complaint regarding their handling of the 144-hour policy. No explanation given and still unclear why they didn't honor it. Was it a Corporate issue regarding interpretation or ship procedure wanting to streamline processing passengers and not wanting complications? Unknown but leaves uncertainty for other future passengers in similar situation.

Will we be book another cruise with Celebrity? With the future booking credit, we will give Celebrity one more chance. We are hoping they have upped their game on their other ships, otherwise, it would be our last as their level of quality and service on this cruise was a major disappointment. It does not come close to a level that matches that of other cruise lines we have sailed on, let alone "a premium cruise experience" that they promote.
gslvanbc’s Full Rating Summary
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