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27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We returned from our 2 week cruise on the Celebrity Millennium Monday 10/30/16. This review is posted in hopes that it can help others avoid similar miserable experiences. Unfortunately we did not look at Cruise Critic reviews before going ... Read More
We returned from our 2 week cruise on the Celebrity Millennium Monday 10/30/16. This review is posted in hopes that it can help others avoid similar miserable experiences. Unfortunately we did not look at Cruise Critic reviews before going on this cruise. If we had we would have seen that for the last two years there are many reviews about the Millennium noting the same problems we experience. This leads me to the conclusion that Celebrity is budgeting the operations of this ship at a very low level; the problems are not going to be fixed as they’re not actually problems …. they are the business plan which the company executes perfectly. • Boarding experience: okay • Once one steps on board there is immediate pressure to buy drink packages and specialty restaurant packages. One is approached over and over by different staff members offering the same thing …. It’s much like the unpleasant hawking that goes on in an Indian bazaar. In addition, you are approached numerous times asking if you want to purchase soft drinks or bottled water. • 10th Floor Buffet Dining: some days the food is mediocre, other days it is terrible. Even when the food is tolerable the buffet is way over-crowded. People are reaching in front of one another to serve themselves. Serving spoons are mixed up so a spoon that is for one dish ends up with food on it from another dish. Some are grabbing food with their hands others are eating in line. It is disgusting and unsanitary. On other recent cruises (Oceania and Disney) the guests are served by staff at the buffet. Much more sanitary. The foods offered at this (Celebrity) buffet are relatively cheap; narrow selection and in many cases previously frozen, tasteless and unappetizing. Very few, if any, fresh vegetables. Mostly cheap carbs, which is very difficult for anyone on a low sugar, low-carb diet. With the exception of the ice cream area, desserts in the dessert area are not labeled sugar free or no sugar added even when that designation is applicable. We suggested to the person in charge, more than once, that labeling should be done; he agreed, but it never happened – you had to ask each time. Big supply of pork dishes. There is a shortage of places to sit. One of us would hold a table while the other assembled their meal in the buffet lines …. although we were seated at the same table we weren’t really eating together. After the first day or two we began to dread going to the buffet as it was such an unappetizing, unpleasant experience. Wait-staff is focused on what they can sell you, liquor, etc. If you ask for something that’s free, like ice-tea, they tell you to get it yourself. • Metropolitan Dining Room: service is good but the food isn’t. Menu selection is highly repetitive. The daily menu contains three items that one can pay extra for (lobster, fish, steak). Fish and steak are also offered at no extra charge but the extra is required if you want something that is of tolerable quality. That there is extra charge for better food pretty much says it all: that the regularly offered food is not good. Fish smells and tastes fishy; meats are fat or tough; usually no side orders of fresh vegetables offered, or when offered, in tiny amounts. The dining experience is focused on upselling you to the items that cost extra (but who would trust them when the other food is so bad?) One evening the waiter even said to us that he would not recommend we order either the chicken or beef as it was “of such low quality”. The only option left was fish. My wife ordered salmon. It was undercooked and had the fishy smell and after-taste of all the fish they serve. It was inedible. We often ended up just stuffing ourselves with bread in order not to leave hungry. One morning I requested some half-n-half to put on my breakfast cereal. I was told that there wasn’t any. I pointed out that there was plenty on each table to put in coffee. Waiter checked with his boss and was told there wasn’t any more. I told him I didn’t believe it and wanted to see his boss. Then, and only then, was I allowed to have some additional half-n-half. • Specialty restaurants: these are okay, but only okay, not really good. And, one shouldn’t have to pay extra $35 per person per meal to get food that’s just okay. • Port information: the company does not circulate maps or port information other than lectures about the tours they sell for each port. Most ships give one a map and port information before arrival so that you know how to get around. Not this ship. They give almost no information which appears to be a purposeful method of forcing people to book their tours. • Library: the two floor tall library has mostly bare shelves …. Most of the books have been removed. Very, very disappointing as we like to read onboard. It appears that since the library is not a revenue generator, Celebrity has removed most of it. • On board movies: there were only two or three movies offered on the big screen during the entire 14 day voyage. Instead, each day two free movies are offered on the TV. These are junk movies that teenagers might like although there are almost no teenagers onboard. There is a good selection of pay-per-view movies. Once again, Celebrity has found a way to get the customer to pay for something (movies in this case) which should have been included at no charge. • Stateroom: although we were concierge class, our stateroom was the smallest that I can remember, however it was adequate. What wasn’t adequate were the electrical outlets: there were only two in the entire stateroom; none in the bathroom. Items like electric razor or toothbrush had to be charged in the two outlets by the desk while alternating with mobile phones; computer, etc. The outlets are on the opposite side of the room from the bed which meant that to power the CPAP machine that I use when sleeping, an extension cord had to be run across the floor … we hoped not to trip on it when we got up in the middle of the night. Stateroom attendant was good; cheerful and conscientious, however out on our balcony the paint was peeling off metal surfaces and there was corrosion all around the balcony door. This is true for other parts of the ship as well. Celebrity has deferred maintenance. It’s shoddy. • Towels: the bath towels are smaller than usual --- like one would find in a Motel 6. Not easy to get dry with the small towels. Only two bath towels are provided, no extras. Obviously a money saving measure. Our shampoo and conditioner was not replenished until the day before the cruise ended. • Concierge Class meant that we received hors d’oeuvres daily. These were usually about 6 peanuts; a handful of stale chips and some kind of tasteless dip. Basically nothing you’d want to put in your mouth. Occasionally fresh fruit in the form of an apple or pear, an orange and sometimes a few grapes were provided. For most of the trip we thought the concierge was our room steward as there was no evidence of a concierge. It was towards the end of the cruise that we learned that a woman who sometimes sat in the library could offer concierge assistance. Concierge class on this ship means almost nothing. • Entertainment: 3 or 4 good stage shows; we saw some of the other entertainment also … it wasn’t good. We weren’t the only ones in the audience to walk out of a show after 10 minutes. The company certainly saved money on the entertainment. Most daily activities were focused around drinking, spa, shopping in boutiques …. Again, the emphasis was on activities for which money could be charged. Actual free activities were minimized. • Internet: expensive and worked very, very poorly. When trying to send or receive a simple email my connection would be dropped so often that it could take an hour just to send or receive. If they’re going to charge about $20 per day for internet, it should work reasonably well but it doesn’t. • Staff training: Celebrity is obviously saving money by not giving staff adequate training. When we had a question about a port or logistics the guest relations and tour staff usually did not know the answer; typically, we knew more about the destination or situation than they did. These are untrained people who have been given a narrow script to follow. This problem is typified by a situation in the dining room at breakfast. I would order ½ grapefruit but it would arrive mashed up because the staff didn’t know how to cut a grapefruit. When I discussed the matter with the maître d he admitted he didn’t know how a grapefruit should be cut and that he’d never eaten one. When the maître d has never had experience with a simple food item like a grapefruit, how can the item be served properly? Again, untrained people are following a narrow script. It quickly became quite clear that Celebrity’s intent was to deliver a cruise at the lowest possible cost to the company and sell the passenger as much additional as possible. They have become extremely skillful at forcing one to spend extra money by offering cheap food, depriving one of port information and alternatives to their tours, orienting onboard activities towards those for which they charge. The problems this review outlines are not related to the age of the ship which was refurbished just a few years ago. The ship is nice, even though the railings and paint is not maintained. Adequate electrical outlets could have been put in as part of the refurbishment; paint and exterior maintenance should be performed whether a ship is old or new. The problems are those caused by Celebrity cheapening the experience to save money and guide the customer towards spending more. Although our two previous Celebrity cruises had been very enjoyable, this one was so bad that I couldn’t wait for the trip to end. If they had offered us the opportunity to stay aboard at no charge we would have declined. This experience has made us feel that Celebrity should definitely be avoided and that we have been defrauded by the company cutting quality in so many ways. This may be likened to going to Tiffany’s where one expects quality but making a purchase only to learn it’s gold plate not gold. The difference is I can return something of lower than expected quality to Tiffany’s. With Celebrity, both my time and money are gone and I can’t recover either. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The best thing about this cruise we thought was the exciting ports. After that, there was nothing good about this ship. Neither the ship nor the staff.....No one smiled and clearly they were over worked and tired. Not enough help on ... Read More
The best thing about this cruise we thought was the exciting ports. After that, there was nothing good about this ship. Neither the ship nor the staff.....No one smiled and clearly they were over worked and tired. Not enough help on board..can you imagine that??? They always have enough help that seem to trip over each other. Clearly cost cutting.. Let me explain some..How many times have seasoned travelers noticed the level of help attending to their needs.? We were never asked if we needed more of anything in the Ocean View cafe, and the wiping down of tables were done with dirty cloths and way to much bleach smells all through the buffet line....o.k...so this may not be to much of a turn off to some, but he smells throughout the ship of sewer order was simply unacceptable. Celeberty made money on me...I simply could not eat while on the ship..only off the ship in ports..It was a very difficult trip . After almost a year after our trip, I can still smell the sewer and bleach in my nostrils....Dramatic ....maybe, but It has made my lust for travel dulled to say the least. How many of us look forward to the trip,entertainment, food ..drinks etc??? We were so bored on sea days..that never happens...but seems the cruise line was and is on sever budgets to make a bigger profit each year. The couple who gave a so called lectuer about a few ports only showed slides of there experiences and no information that would help us generally about places to visit or eat on shore...very boring..did no one see his program before hiring them?? There are a few reviews on this site that actually say it all..so I won't take the time.....but, It became completely clear that Celeberty does not pay the fees to dock at the better docks , like in hong kong..Last time we docked a year before we docked at the fabulous port that allows you to get right off the ship directly into the massive and exciting mall, and enjoy the night electronic light show from the deck. Not one ship was docked in that slip this year.....The fact that we were docked half way around the island and spent over $100 between cabs and hop on bus to get into the town area...also, since budgets are Celeberty's concerns we were told that the cruise before us did not stop in Bali...the highlight for many people who chose that cruise. Other ships were docked there, but Celebrity seemed not to want to pay for dockage and suggested it could not safely dock..hummmmm?????Same story in Shanghi..we could not get off the ship until about 11:00 and only left about 5 hours to enjoy a massive city. We were told the government wanted $50,000 more to allow us to disembark on time...hummm? but....bottom line for me was we traveled half way across the world and we did not learn much at all..My fault..we should have hired private tours in each port. The level of tour guide Celebrity hired was middle of the road. They could have hired better from the pool of guides all cruise companies hire from, but did not. I understand much better now that the cruise companies scare you saying if you can't get back to the ship on time with private guides they will simply leave..they need to sell the tours of course......well....if you have enough money to get there in the first place you may have enough money in an emergency to get to the next port.... all in all..We will never go on an old ship again,and We will be much smarter than last time . Hireing private guides that flood each port is a good way to go unless you take care of it before you leave home. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
just got back from a cruise from Yokohama, Japan to Hong Kong. This has got to be the worst cruise ever. Embarkation was a nightmare and totally disorganised. I had originally booked for a standard balcony cabin but because of mistakes ... Read More
just got back from a cruise from Yokohama, Japan to Hong Kong. This has got to be the worst cruise ever. Embarkation was a nightmare and totally disorganised. I had originally booked for a standard balcony cabin but because of mistakes made during booking had to accept a more expensive concierge class cabin as all the standard cabins had gone by the time they sorted out the mess they had made. Once on board I found that having a more expensive cabin gave no improved benefits. Cabin steward was great but dining arrangements were a nightmare. Done select dining before on other ships and found it worked well but on this ship it was impossible to select dining times even when you booked the day before because the only time slots available were 5.30 or 8.45 which defeats the point of select dining. When in the dining room for breakfast service was poor and there didn't appear to be enough staff to do the job. The maitre d'hotel was not running the restaurant in fact spent most of his time clearing tables due to staff shortage as a result the management was no existent and the waiter please themselves as to what they . Some even wander around doing nothing at all. Evening dinner was rather better as waiting on staff were assigned to tables but food quality was poor and many mistakes were made with orders. Mostly drank red wine with meals as I had a bad experience when I ordered a white wine. During the meal opened bottles were stored in ice buckets standing in a line by a wall. both times i ordered white wine I suspect they had mistakenly served my bottle to other guests as i feel I didn't get full measure but they denied it when i questioned them. They ran out of food supplies during the cruise eg. English Bacon was only available on first two days and never appeared on the menus again. They had a wine on special offer price but it was unavailable during the first three days because they had none on board. The Shore excursions were badly managed with too many trips leaving at the same time and many arriving at the same destination together making it impossble to enjoy the visists. On one occasion they had 10 coaches arrive at a museum at the same time resulting in a huge queue to get in and resulting in spending less than half an hour inside. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
Short Summary for the Quick Readers: Overall ... not good. This is going to be a detailed (and negative) review, so to spare those just scanning a long read, in summary: this cruise on Celebrity Millennium starting in Tokyo and ending in ... Read More
Short Summary for the Quick Readers: Overall ... not good. This is going to be a detailed (and negative) review, so to spare those just scanning a long read, in summary: this cruise on Celebrity Millennium starting in Tokyo and ending in Hong Kong (15 days) in October-November 2014 was a non-stop set of disappointments. As one of our friends said: “if this was your first cruise, it would be your last cruise.” We, as a group of three couples, have over 70 cruises between us (several with Celebrity -- two sets of Captain's Club Members in the group) – none were as bad as this one in terms of the ship experience. I will elaborate further below. Septic/Sewer: A floating benjo ditch? The main issue we had on this cruise involved the ship’s apparent (but never fully admitted) problem with its sewage/waste system. Not just in our cabin(s) but in most parts of the vessel, the strong smell of latrine permeated. It was most noticeable forward – especially on Deck-5 just past the shops heading toward the theater. And it was CONSTANT. One of our members commented: “so this is what is meant by the nautical term poopdeck!” Literally, not a day went by until day 13 that anywhere we went onboard, you were nearly overcome with the smell of sewage. So much so that in Taipei when we walked by an open sewer line near Taipei 101, one of us commented: “makes me homesick for the Millennium!” The waste system problems also impacted each of us individually. One never knew when the toilet in the cabin was going to flush – or not. This was especially true the very last night when two of our group lost working toilets at midnight – both occasions after having used them and left unable to dispose of the waste. This was also encountered in public washrooms, where again, it was a gamble as to whether the little button would work or not. Often for me (4 times on the voyage) the answer was ‘NOT’ leaving me somewhat sheepishly skulking out of the commode stall hoping no one was queued to follow me. Now Celebrity – when informed of this, and acting quite dismayed – did compensate our group, providing each of us with a $200 voucher toward a future voyage. That was okay, but hardly compensated for 15 days of revisiting the lower rungs of Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy! When one goes on a cruise, and especially on a line with the reputation of Celebrity, one expects basic things to function – like the toilets – and to not have the main aroma being that of raw sewage. On day 12, when we were handed from Customer Service to the head of housekeeping, he did quietly admit that they had some issues with “… the main line …” in part of the ship. We noted that on our penultimate stop (Taipei), water was shut off on our end of the 7th floor, and a crew showed up as we were leaving for the shore excursion (~9am) to begin working in our port-side corridor. So indeed, something was amiss! And the next day the foul aroma on Deck-5 did dissipate significantly. Next up: Service in the main dining room. Our adventures in the main dining room began on the very first night when we showed up to our table only to find that it was double-booked! Or perhaps even triple booked! The maître d' showed up after several uncomfortable minutes and resolved things (we did get the table). The waiter and assistant we had were very pleasant and tried very hard, but later events would overcome their ability to serve us well. This first night was also problematic due to a 6pm sailing time, meaning the required drill was scheduled at 7:45pm – right in the last part of our dining time, meaning we had to overcome the initial delay due to the table-seating issue, wolf down our food, and then rush to our assigned drill locations – on the complete other end of the ship! I’m not sure what can be done about this, and imagine in the wake of the Costa calamity, that these drills on the first hours are now more mandatory. However, this made for a horrid first-night experience in dining. This was on top of being jet-lagged from a 12-hour time difference of travel from the States to Japan. Our next few nights in the main dining room were at best passable, but then we had a real disaster on the 4th night: Everything went wrong. For starters, for some reason, our waiter’s assistant was re-assigned to ‘chase down’ starters that were slow coming from the kitchen. This left our waiter alone to service his assigned tables – of which I’m sure there were more than four (more on staffing levels later in this discourse). This meant that several of our party who ordered a salad got no dressing for it (offered 20 minutes later), meant our water glasses were filled only once the entire dinner, and that a glass of ice tea ordered at the outset was never delivered. The coup de grâce was that our family matriarch – on the eve of her 80th birthday – was brought a plate of nearly raw lamb shank, which was also mostly fat and gristle, and she was provided only a butter-knife to cut it. Our waiter, when he was finally able to come back to check on us (at nearly 7:45pm for our 6pm sitting) offered to get her something else, but by then, everyone was finished and waiting to order dessert. So for dinner, she had a dry salad, some bread, one glass of wine, and a dessert. Other meals for the family were served at room temperature at best, and a gluten-free pasta meal looked like it had fallen fresh from a microwave plastic package and was strange-tasting and completely inedible! Only two of us had passable meals. Needless to say, this was our last night in the main dining room until night 12, when we were less than enthused with the quality of the food and never again went back. We had hoped that our special meal in the Olympic Restaurant for our matriarch’s 80th the next night would make up for this. Sadly, that was not to be the case. We had five orders of lobster and one of sea bass. The lobster, cooked tableside, was tough and chewy. We watched the young fellow cook it (two of our party had enjoyed it thoroughly on the previous voyage), and he basically tossed all five helpings into a single pan, overcooked it all, and added the seasonings AFTER the meat was cooked, rather than as preparation in the pan before a quick sauté of the meat. The accompanying sides were not hot (tepid at best), and the birthday girl’s fish was dry and tasteless. This, by the way, was after she had ordered Dover Sole but was ‘highly recommended’ to instead go with the sea bass. The staff also brought a special birthday cake, which was very nice. But after cutting six pieces, removed the rest of the cake and didn’t offer that remnant to the birthday girl as ‘take-out!’ Finally, a liter bottle of sparkling water was only poured to its recipient twice during the meal, and the rest of the bottle was not in sight when it came time to leave (so it, too, was left behind). All in all, the experience – for a cost of $215 for the six of us – was well below expectations. Now I want to add that Celebrity management offered us a make-up meal (after significant complaining to them) and that meal was much, much better in all facets, though we didn’t order lobster and there were only five us as one of our party was feeling tired/ill that day (the very person for whom the original meal was to honor). Finally in this area, having to resort to eating in the Deck 10 café/buffet area, we found the food okay (edible and usually satisfying) but must ding the Celebrity for the fact that their two-deep serving-dish arrangement and self-serve approach were a bad mix. Why? Because utensils left in the back trays had their handles over the front trays – bad on two counts: 1) because you were often eating food that had the handled-handle of the back dish dropped into it; and 2) because said handle was usually scalding hot from the steam system used to keep the serving dishes warm! I personally was burned to the point of needing ice in one instance –after which I asked for a server to spoon it for me (noticing they used a rag to wrap the handle)! This often led to a longer wait for the food, due to the next item of issue. Next up staffing: Hello? Is there anyone there? It was our combined impression(s) that Celebrity had reduced their overall service staffing levels by more than 20%. Waiters seemed overtaxed with at least 1-2 more tables than we’d experienced on previous cruises. The bar staff was almost invisible on the decks – it was rare, sitting out by the pool, that someone would come by to ask for a drink order. Some of our party –who had the drink package – were of the opinion that because they weren’t adding to revenue in a direct fashion, our service was inhibited. This may have been the case, but we also agreed that there were just less staff visible everywhere. This was never more apparent than in the Cellar Masters wine-bar on Deck 5! There only seemed to be one person there at a time, staffing the bar, so you had to walk-up and ask for a drink. And it wasn’t uncommon for there to be NO ONE anywhere in bar area! Also, for our members on the drink-package, smaller glasses were often provided and lower volume of liquid in them. Finally: O Captain? My Captain? This is the first time on a cruise that NONE of us could recall meeting the Captain, or even seeing him in the public areas. We were fortunate to be traveling with Captain’s Club members so we went to the Captain’s Party one night. And I’m sure one of the older, stoic, uniformed officers at the entrance was the Captain, but as we shuffled in we got only a nod as whomever it was, was engaged in conversation with another officer (note: NOT engaged with other guests). Basically, we knew the Captain only from the half-dozen or so times he gave us the 10am update over the loudspeaker. Now maybe he as on the bridge, dutifully guiding the ship so we had no Costa-like incident? Or maybe he had a cold and didn’t want to infect any of us? Or maybe he was phoning it in? We don’t know, but again, we never saw him. And the same was true for many of the senior-grade officers. We saw a few ‘blue suits’ up eating in the café but then they were keeping to themselves. In fact, the last night I saw at least a half-dozen officers I’d never seen before on any of the previous 14 days! As one of our party said: “Good management requires attention to detail, and if you’re not around it’s unlikely you’re able to pay attention!” I will end this on some good notes. Our cabin attendant (Lydia) and her helper (Irwin) were the BEST we’d ever had. She attended to another cabin in our party and they felt the same. Everything in the room (other than the toilet) was always perfect. We asked the first day to have four towels (rather than two) – and there were always four fresh towels for our use. Our friends asked the first night for ice to be in the room in the evenings, and the bucket was always filled after both day and evening servicing. She was simply 100% on the spot and was so sweet and friendly – always smiling, always saying ‘hello’ and always chatting with us. One of the waiters in Café al Bacio on Deck 5 was the finest crewmember we’d ever encountered – April was his name. He was always there, and had a GREAT sense of humor. Simply, we all fell in love with the guy. We spent a lot of time with him and he quickly learned our names and what we liked and often had it to us before we could order. I have to say, for me, he made the cruise memorable for a good reason – compared to all the other things above that were bad. I’ll not forget those bad things, but will also not forget April and the joy he brought us all. The ‘crepe restaurant’ (Bistro on Five?) was also very good – food was great and service was excellent for the two times we ate there. While having a $7-per meal up-charge, it was worth it. In the end, though, we were very displeased with the experience on Celebrity Millennium. I’m highly skeptical that we’ll ever use the $200 credit provided, nor the $100 future cruise coupon that we purchased early on (though it is transferable). The Millennium is showing its age, and may as one of the older less glamorous ships in the fleet, be getting ‘not the best’ in crewmembers. Celebrity is supposedly one of the top class of cruise lines – approaching Oceania in some views. Well, this ship – this crew – and this experience certainly doesn’t live up to that reputation.   Read Less
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