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Diana

Age: 55

Occupation:analyst

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Millennium

Sailing Date: 2011-07-15

Itinerary: Alaska cruisetour

Fabulous - can't wait to take another cruise. This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. We had a balcony, which I highly recommend. The cabin was quiet and comfortable. The staff was all about service and trying to meet the needs of the passengers. The ship was beautiful and clean and had many public lounge areas where one could sit and read or just look out the window and relax.

Excellent food. We enjoyed seated dining each night but were also free to roam the buffets. Food was excellent all over the ship - many options so everyone could find something to please them. Also, many selections changed each day so it didn't get too monotonous. Best breads and pastries I've ever had - especially the French bread and croissants. They are prepared fresh on the ship each day.

The stateroom was clean, surprisingly quiet, and comfortable. Our attendant took excellent care of it. Room service was free and we filled out a card each night and hung it on the cabin door to have coffee, oatmeal and danish sent each morning so we could enjoy it our room while we dressed for the day. You request the time, within a half-hour window, that you want breakfast delivered and the staff will call the cabin when it's on its way so that you can be ready for it. Sitting outside on the balcony with my coffee while putting on my makeup was great.

We went to a show each night and really enjoyed them. There was always something to do if one was so inclined. The stateroom attendant leaves a daily schedule of activities newsletter during turndown service each evening that we found very helpful.

We enjoyed our excursions but were careful not to overschedule ourselves. The excursions are expensive but it's good to get out and see something of each port town other than the myriad tourist shops. Some excursions are dependent upon good weather and we were disappointed that our seaplane tour was cancelled. I couldn't believe how the shopping was pushed during the cruise and at each port (especially the jewelry stores). But Duck Tours or local guided bus tours were enjoyable, moderately priced, and gave one a sense of the local culture and life.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip, especially the cruising (we also took a land tour extension and it was great). We were impressed by the efficiency and professionalism of the Celebrity cruise lines from the time we made our reservation and throughout the cruise. They are organized, have high standards, and obviously have well-trained staff.

The most important thing that people need to do is read the materials that you're given when you make your reservation and again 4-6 weeks before the cruise. Make note of important details. Make sure airline reservations will get you where you need to be on time even if your plane is delayed. Leave yourself 30-45 minutes to get through Customs, if that applies. Transportation to the ship can also take longer than expected - waiting in taxi or bus lines, maneuvering thorugh traffic to get to the terminal.

Our United flight to Vancouver was cancelled the afternoon before we were to sail and we had a terrible time getting rescheduled to a flight that would get us where we needed to be in time. Then the rescheduled flight the next day was delayed because, after boarding the First Class passengers, the pilot decided he didn't like his chair and insisted that it be replaced. The plane de-boarded and we had to wait for the captain's chair to be replaced. The pilot was not even apologetic about the problems he caused for the passengers. Upon landing, the Customs line was incredibly long because many planes had arrived at the same time, although Customs would not have been an issue at all if the airline hadn't messed us up. I called Celebrity from our taxi to say we were on our way to the docks and they let the ship know that we were en route. We were sick and frantic (two other couples were also in our predicament) but thank goodness we made it before the ship closed its doors.

Another note - make sure you're aware of the exchange rate if you're in another country. Using U.S. dollars in Canada means you pay an additional 25-30 percent of the bill+tip to make up for the exchange rate. This matters to porters and taxi drivers, especially if they have given you good service. What you think is a nice tip may only be enough to make up for the exchange rate for the cost of the service.

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