Foodies love Celebrity Cruises for its care and attention to cuisine throughout its free dining venues as well as in its for-fee, specialty restaurants. If you don't mind the busy nature of the main dining room, buffet and pool grill, you can eat for free for the duration of your cruise and keep your stomach pretty happy. Or if you want to splurge, the for-fee, specialty restaurants are worth every penny. Specialty dining packages are available, but with just two specialty dining venues onboard might not be worth the money unless you really want to "dine out" more than once.
Service across the board, whether in a free or extra-fee dining venue, is excellent, with attentive and friendly wait staff.
The ship does an excellent job of catering for different dietary requirements, and waiters will always ask if you have any allergies the first time they serve you, but you'll get the best results by alerting the cruise line to your needs before sailing. Once onboard, see the restaurant manager or assistant maitre d' who will outline your options and take any special requests.
Celebrity Millennium has one large main dining room. Passengers can either select an early (6 p.m.) or late (8:30 p.m.) dinner seating or the flexible Select Dining program. Those with set seatings will be seated on Deck 5, while those with Select Dining will be seated on Deck 4 and waits for a table there can take up to an hour if you arrive between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. To avoid waits, dine earlier or later, or make a reservation for the time you want. (To reserve a table, call the restaurant between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.)
Breakfast every day, and lunch on sea days (there is no lunch most port days), are open seating. Breakfast offers a menu of traditional morning items from pastries, fruits and cereals to eggs a number of ways, griddle options and various breakfast meats. Lunch features salads, sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs, hot dishes, and desserts.
Dinner is served banquet-style and features an eclectic menu of appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts. You'll always find fish, poultry, beef and pork dishes, along with vegetarian options. Each day the menu changes with the exception of four "timeless" starters and three "timeless" entrees.
We found the service to be excellent, even if the food was sometimes just OK.
The ship's buffet restaurant on Deck 10, the Oceanview Cafe, has an open layout with multiple food stations spread around the space. It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is closed in-between meals. Some food stations are duplicated on each side of the buffet, so it's always best to do a complete circuit (especially for lunch and dinner) if you don't want to miss out on anything.
Breakfast serves typical morning buffet fare with cereals, pastries and breads, omelets your way, griddle options and more. Lunch and dinner offers premade and DIY salad bars, sandwiches, pizza, a carving station, Asian and Indian favorites, and a variety of hot dishes that change daily.
The dessert station features a range of cakes (though the chocolate is the same every day), an ice-cream bar with five ice-cream flavors and a soft serve machine, with a different flavor most days. The fixings bars has sprinkles and various sauces, and there's a jelly bean jar for those who can't get enough sugar. There are also always a few jars of cookies where you can grab your favorite all day long.
The dishes ranged from really good to just OK, and some of the Asian items were spicier than expected. We tried a small amount of things first before deciding what we ultimately wanted.
Seating is challenging for breakfast (port days) and lunch (sea days), but we always eventually found a table if we walked around the entire space once or twice. There's some bar-style seating along the windows, if you don't need to be at a table.
The Pool Grill is the spot onboard to get hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as turkey and veggie burgers, and, of course, crispy French fries. There's a small toppings bar with standards like cheese, lettuce and tomato, bacon, sauerkraut and more. The grill closes at 6 p.m., so it's really just open for lunch and late afternoon snacks.
For a selection of small-plate, light fare items, you can head to the Solarium on Deck 10 where healthier breakfasts and lunches are served every day. The lunch menu is divided into sections with names like "energize," "balance" and "recovery," and features a variety of premade salads (typically using low-fat mayonnaise or yogurt), fresh fruit plates and other healthy offerings.
Another small, exclusive restaurant, Blu is reserved for passengers staying in AquaClass cabins only, though if there's room suite passengers can also request to dine here. Breakfast is, like everywhere else, a usual blend of morning favorites, but also includes a variety of healthy starters such as a low-fat yogurt parfaits or bowls of crunchy muesli.
Dinner offers spa-style cuisine that is typically lighter than what is served in the main dining room, with fewer rich sauces and sauteed items on the menu and more natural reductions and herbs. In addition to the rotating menu, there is a three-option Timeless Classics section with fish, chicken and beef choices.
Luminae is a small restaurant open only to suite passengers, and it serves as a quiet alternative to the main dining room and buffet.
The breakfast menu offers a mix of morning standards, while lunch offers a limited selection of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees (three of each). You'll usually find several vegetarian and seafood selections, plus pastas and burgers.
At dinner, diners can choose from an exclusive Luminae menu or the main dining room menu.
The Luminae menu is smaller than what you'll find in the main dining room, with just five appetizers and six entrees. One of each, which stays the same every day, has been created by acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud and can only be found in Luminae. The menu is primarily Pan-American, with vegan or vegetarian, fish and meat dishes available each night. Dishes range from edible to excellent, and service is impeccable and proactive.
Room service is available 24/7, and includes a mix of just-for-breakfast and hot and cold all-day items (salads, soups, starters, main courses, desserts and a kids menu), all of which are free, except from 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. when a $4.95 surcharge is applied. Breakfast is ordered via a door-hung card on which you make your selections and then hang on your door the night before. Tipping a few dollars for room service is customary.
Pricing was accurate at time of review but may have changed since.
Tuscan Grille (Deck 3); $45 per person
One of two date-night venues onboard, Tuscan Grille offers delicious Italian fare, along with steaks and seafood, all tucked away in a quiet spot on Deck 3. The menu is divided into starters, salads, soups, homemade pastas, seafood, butcher cuts and sides. It's all tasty, and we recommend coming with an empty stomach.
In Alaska, Tuscan Grille also offers a one-time Alaska-themed lunch (pricing varies) with local seafood as the main draw.
Sushi on Five (Deck 5); a la carte, $3 to $13
Not enough passengers discover Sushi on Five, tucked behind Cellar Masters on Deck 5, but this restaurant is a gem. On the menu you'll find a variety of starters, sushi rolls and sashimi. Standout items were the ramens, and the tempura rolls all got the thumbs-up as well.
Cafe al Bacio & Gelateria (Deck 5); a la carte
Cafe al Bacio and the Gelateria are located across from each other on Deck 5. At the cafe itself, you'll find a selection of decadent pastries, all available for free. What you will pay for are the gelato, specialty coffees and teas. The gelato, of which there are usually four to five flavors, costs $4 for a small cup with two scoops or an ice cream cookie sandwich.
Juice Bar (Deck 10); a la carte, $5 to $6
The Juice Bar is tucked into the Solarium and shares space with the Spa Cafe. A variety of freshly pressed juices, including mixed juices ($5) and smoothies ($6), are available here.
Qsine (Deck 11); $45 per person
All the way at the top of the ship, this gourmet restaurant interprets comfort food in a way you've never seen before. All meals are served in innovative vessels -- never a standard plate or bowl -- and are meant to be shared by larger groups. Couples will enjoy the experience but be stuffed by meal's end. The menu, presented on an iPad, includes standouts like sliders, sushi, shrimp and, for dessert, decorate-your-own cupcakes. In Alaska, Qsine is also the location for one or more Alaska-themed lunches or dinners (pricing varies).
Qsine will be replaced by Le Petit Chef in December 2019.