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Celebrity Millennium Review

4.0 / 5.0
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Celebrity is our new favorite!

Review for Celebrity Millennium to the Panama Canal & Central America
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beckmau
6-10 Cruises • Age 70s

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Sail Date: Apr 2011
Cabin: Aqua Class

This is the first trip in a very long time that I did not write a daily journal. I will try to record my impressions of the ship and ports as best I can remember. This was our first cruise on Celebrity (C). We have achieved diamond status on RCI, so our credits were honored by this sister company making us "elite". We booked this cruise quite a while ago, so due to price drops we were upgraded to a C2 category prior to sailing. From the very first impression we loved C! The embarkation was a breeze. They welcome passengers with champagne or a mimosa - that is an upgrade from RCI right at the start! We actually skipped this in favor of a "real" drink. Prior to sailing I had researched the value of buying the premium alcohol package. We decided this would be a good value for us since it also included any beverage of lesser value (specialty coffees, sodas, etc). We also prepaid our gratuities, and by doing these two things it became more of an "all-inclusive" vacation. We did not have to sign tickets every time we turned around, that in itself was of some value to us! I had compared the cost of this cruise to the cost of an all-inclusive luxury cruise of about the same length and time frame; even after these pre-paids were added the cost of C was about one third the cost of the luxury cruise - very affordable!Another thing I liked about C over RCI was the photographers were not as pushy and not ever-present. We don't mind them being there, but don't want to be entreated to pose at every turn - especially during dinner! On the luxury cruises they are even more discreet by not having so many portrait set-ups clogging the public pathways. At least they did not solicit every one that passed by to pose for a pic.Another small thing C still does that RCI cut out was chocolates at night with turn-down service. They also had a very nice place for the nightly Elite cocktail time. They did not limit the choice to wine or beer, but also served a good selection of other drinks as well. There were actually quite a few "captain's club Elite" events. We had our own galley tour, our own Olympic elegant tea, backstage tour, wine tasting seminar, casino jackpot session, and officer's cocktail party. Many of us took a bridge tour as well. There was also a nice Captain's Club party for all levels of returning passengers. There was also a quiet spot for Elite members to have coffee and continental breakfast in the mornings. The Elite departure lounge was also in a prime comfortable location. We felt very valued and pampered, and were well taken care of by Juliana, the Captain's Club hostess.We had another very nice surprise which had never been extended to us on an RCI cruise. We were invited to share dinner at the Captain's table with the Asst. Hotel Director, Jamie Petts. It was very enjoyable, something I had always wanted to experience. They escorted us in, we had a great and congenial dinner; we were presented with a rose and an 8x10 photo of our table as a remembrance; very nice.On both Sundays during this cruise they provided a lavish brunch buffet in the main dining room. The food in all venues was good to very good, with Olympic Restaurant being excellent - the tenderest filet of beef I've had in a long while. I was pleasantly surprised with the "Ocean View Buffet". It was sectioned so that there were many different dining areas and different types of food in different lines. The two biggest lines were basically the same, but there were three other lines/windows to get different food- this made for a good variety of selections. I especially enjoyed the daily eggs benedict and stuffed French toast, the pasta your way and stir fry your way stations, the good pizza and roasted vegetables, there were some good sandwich of the day specials, fish and chips every day, as well as the pool deck line serving burgers and dogs. The solarium line also had a good selection of healthy items. That was all on the pool deck level! Then you factor in the main dining room, the Olympic, and the snacks at the Cova cafe (coffee bar), and you have more choices than you can get to!I have to say many good words about the crew as well. On our last cruise on RCI the morale seemed a bit low, but there were a few outstanding servers. I have to say the majority of the crew on C were not only pleasant; they were downright friendly - very personable. We enjoyed getting to know some very well and enjoyed interacting with officers (Jamie Petts), bartenders (Putu in Martini Bar and Elvin at Cova), wait staff (Marlon, Ed, Olena, Tetiana) and our excellent cabin steward, Noreene. We had different wait staff nightly when we chose the dining room, so I can't really comment on any of them. Juliana was a joy as Captain's Club hostess and Daniela Spirlac is a charming future cruise sales rep.The ship as a whole is still in good condition. She is soon to be sent for refit - to be "solsticized". I hope she remains as charming after the changes. Especially nice was Michael's Club, which held the nightly cocktail time. I loved spending time at Cova Cafe, and really enjoyed the surprising intimacy of the Ocean View Buffet. The Martini Bar was beautiful; the Cosmos (observation) lounge was comfortable with a great view. The casino was beautifully furnished as well with really nice columns and murals throughout. On the whole she is a beautiful ship with an easy to navigate layout. We loved it.I really can't say enough good things about C, we were very favorably impressed and consider ourselves to be "converts". This is our cruise line of choice from now on.Enough about that, what about the cruise itself? It was a wonderful experience to transit the canal. We especially wanted to go through the old locks. You can see where the new ones are being built; they plan to be finished by the 100th anniversary of the canal, opening in 2014. Our first stop prior to the big event was Cartagena Columbia. We were pleasantly surprised. We took a ship's tour here since they don't have a stellar rep for tourist safety in that country. It was a very pretty city, a beautiful day, and we enjoyed our bus tour that included some walking. The old town is very picturesque.Next stop was Colon Panama, did another ship tour here to the Gatun Locks. We were able to watch ships from a land perspective before transiting ourselves. Nice short tour - we don't like tours over 4 hours, would rather get a little "taste" and get back on ship.Transit of the canal takes a whole day. All of it was very interesting, and all the more enjoyable as we had attended a few lectures on ship to learn about the canal history. The trip through Gatun Lake was beautiful. It truly is an amazing engineering feat. This was definitely the highlight of the trip for us, and the main reason we chose to take this cruise.Our next stop was Costa Rica. We did not get off since to see anything of note required an all-day excursion. Not our "cup of tea". Would rather enjoy a nearly empty ship and spend the day reading and relaxing. Same story for the next stop in Guatemala. I'm sure there are very interesting excursions in both countries; they just took too long for us to enjoy them.Following port was Acapulco. We considered not getting off here because of the reports of drug violence, but I'm glad we did. Took a tour with Rosie Hernandez to see the cliff divers and they took very good care of us. We never felt unsafe. Our van had Elvira as a guide and she was excellent, we enjoyed our time with her very much. The tour was about one hour too long for me (I like the short ones). We could have done the Peace Chapel, cliff divers and ONE hotel, that would have been plenty for me. We stopped at a few too many hotels and stores (I am not a shopper either). I would recommend her though; they were good guides and drivers.Final stop was Cabo San Lucas. The only thing we did here was get off for fish tacos at Cabo Cantina. They were excellent. Our friends on the cruise had been here many times before and never been disappointed. We also walked up to Cabo Wabo just to have a beer and say we had been there. Mau got the T-shirt, I just watched.This cruise had plenty of sea days alternating with port days, so it was very restful; a wonderful memory.There was just one sad glitch. We had a long wait to be cleared by customs on arrival in San Diego. After returning home we learned a passenger had apparently jumped ship after our last port. It was a very sad footnote to an otherwise fabulous cruise.

Cabin Review

Aqua Class

Cabin A2

We were directly under the pool deck and it was noisy with cleaning activities at night. If you are early to bed this is not the location for you. Other wise it was great, close to central elevators.

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