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Gillian Schneiderman

Age: 39

Occupation:Sales - office automation industry

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Millennium

Sailing Date: August 27th, 2003

Itinerary: Western Mediterranean

This was my 3rd cruise, and the longest with a 12 night itinerary. It was also my first inside cabin which I was a little anxious about, but it is such a truism that one spends so little time in the cabin, that it really made little difference. However if the cost difference is marginal - one would always recommend an outside cabin, and ultimately one with a balcony.

What did disappoint me with the cabin was the layout. I do not believe the space was optimized and that was quite surprising. But aside from that it had everything you could want.

This was also the largest cruise ship I have been on - and I am not totally sold on these mini cities. I preferred the Orient Lines 1200 or so passenger capacity. A touch more social.

Nonetheless the Millennium is a grand ship, the staff were always courteous, the facilities always clean, and the food always available and pretty much always good.

My priority in cruising is, however, not the facilities on the ship - rather the Ports of call. And this was a superb route. From Venice to Barcelona, with 3 days spent 'at sea' which was just enough.

In most Ports the ship docked, but where it did anchor and we had to tender ashore, the transfers went smoothly and speedily. Full marks to them on that.

In some Ports transfers were provided at no cost - and, unexpectedly, this applied in Venice as well.

Admittedly we did not go on any of the cruise excursions, preferring at all Ports to explore ourselves - at a fraction of a cost and with extra flexibility. Disappointlingly, but perhaps inevitably, the ship did not provide as much detail or assistance as we would have liked for self exploration - but they did provide limited maps and timetables.

I am sure they had a lot of interest in their excursions as those are favored by the older traveler - and our (albeit limited) experience has shown us that the average age of the European cruise passenger is generally about 60.

Thus prospective passengers who want to party all night must do their homework on which ship, when to go, and where to go.

The same applies to persons, like myself, who prefer to avoid school holidays when the ships will be overrun with enthusiastic and rowdy youngsters.

There really are ships out there to fit all preferred styles. Some are just better than others.
We really liked the Millennium, a Celebrity ship which is now part of the Royal Caribbean stable.

The economies of scale of these large ships also allows us, with the quite weak South African Rand, to seriously consider cruising as an affordable option. A lot depends on our access to the embarkation and disembarkation Ports too, which is not always a given in the SA market. All told, the Celebrity offer was a good one and we would recommend that the Line be evaluated when you are planning your next cruise.

Happy Sailing.

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