Celebrity Millennium Cruise Review by Alexis172
- Sail Date: December 2019
- Destination: Asia
- Cabin Type: Aqua Class
On embarkation day we excitedly made our way to the cruise terminal where we were impressed with the efficiency. We dropped our bags kerbside and within about twenty minutes we were zig zagging back and forth on the gangway to get to the ship. First impressions were good, we were offered a drink and told our room was ready so we went to see it and grab our cruise passes. We had booked Aqua class room 1117. The room was pretty much as we expected. Still pretty clean and new looking from the refurb. Jimmy, our cabin steward, was an utter delight from the moment we met him. Always smiling and happy, nothing too much trouble and the room was always spotless when he had been. Five stars for Jimmy then. We enjoyed using Persian Garden but occasionally staff let teenagers in unaccompanied which spoiled it a bit, still it was a nice perk. The spa treatments are a ridiculous price so we didn’t do any of those, and the gym was often rammed at all the times you would want to use it.
So what else was good - food in Blu was pretty good, although it felt like it tailed off towards the end and I thought they made such a kerfuffle over breakfast I only tried it once (twenty minutes to get a cup of tea). We loved Cellar Masters and the staff there, and we loved the Mast bar, Dimitry always had a smile and a banana daiquiri for me whenever he was on duty. We ate at the sushi restaurant and enjoyed that although the curry night there was pretty poor. Tuscan grill was OK, nothing ground breaking but a decent Italian and steak offering. We tried Qsine twice, the whole concept is great fun but we thought the menu the first week was better, which was a shame as the second week we went for NYE.
So what wasn’t so good then? Basically the itinerary. I already knew that most of the ports were nowhere near the big cities advertised on the itinerary and we had already decided three hours each way on a coach was not our thing, but I had hoped there would be more to do around the ports than there was. Essentially we visited a series of container ports which was interesting for about the first thirty minutes. At one of them (Chang May I think) the ship’s newsletter even said “there is nothing here”. You basically have to go on one of their trips or stay on board, there is no nice nearby village to wander too. It wasn’t quite as bad at other ports but still meant you didn’t really get much of a flavour for the areas we visited. At Laemchabang we took a taxi to the nearby town of SriRacha to eat at Moom Aroi. This restaurant was recommended to us by some of the bar staff and it didn’t disappoint. However the cost of the taxi there was the same as a meal for four with beer. You get stuck having to use the taxis outside the boat as Grab (Uber) are not able to come in to collect you. We did the Ba Ria trip at the second port which wasn’t too bad.
I was really looking forward to Halong when we got there as at least there was something nearby however the town appeared to be shut and the weather was grey so not quite the scenic beach experience I was expecting. The Celebrity organised boat trip was good, not least for playing bumper cars with all the other boats trying to dock at the same place.
The other hugely irritating thing was immigration in Laemchabang where the whole ship had to disembark, commencing at 7am, to show their passports. It was Christmas Day and the constant tannoy announcements rendered all hope of a relaxing start to the day null and void. I appreciate these are Thailand’s rules but there has to be a better way for Celebrity to run it than this. For example why not do all people leaving on trips first, leaving the rest of us (and there were not many at all, maybe 20% of the passengers) until afterwards. We were not going on a trip yet were given a time of 7.30 am for our slot. And you only find this out the night before it happens, via a bit at all clear letter left in your room. We actually ignored our official slot and went at about 8am where we saw many of our friends who were off on trips queuing up behind us. Process them first and let those staying behind have the 9am slots. Oh and once you are down to the inevitable five families who think it doesn’t apply to them, don’t tannoy the whole ship including the bedrooms. Go look for them, ring their room, tannoy the public areas but leave the rest of us in peace. Sorry, rant over.
Anyway, what else - the sea was a bit choppy round Vietnam so bear that in mind if you suffer as I do. Apparently that is often the case though we wondered if it was particularly bad as there had been storms in the Phillipines the day before.
The buffet is a completely unacceptable thing in this day and age - open for 18 hours a day, the amount of food wasted is astronomical as all food must be disposed of after four hours (we did the kitchen tour, they told us this). This amount of food waste just to pander to the desires of a group of customers who lets face it, could do with eating less, is ecologically and economically appalling. If you shut the buffet there would still be multiple food outlets where you could eat almost interrupted, from morning to night. Come on celebrity, be brave and make that change.
We didn’t rate the entertainment. The Cruise Director was annoying and insincere and his number two was a bit out of his depth. Some of the musicians were good but the house band was terrible, often too loud, out of key, and set up in inappropriately small areas at odd times of day. The bar manager was a legend though, far more visible than the Cruise Director, always friendly and at the same time always had an eye on his staff.
So, would I go on another cruise - maybe. Would I go round this part of the world on a cruise - not unless it was a smaller ship that could get closer to the interesting sights. Would I choose Celebrity again if I did cruise - probably as their staff were great and the ship was nice enough.
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