Number of Cruises: 23
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: May 26th, 2006
Celebrity Cruise Line
Millennium Cruise Review
and first day in Venice
We started out our journey with a night's stay at the Sofitel at Gatwick North terminal. We really liked the hotel, it was very modern, classy and very well maintained.
On Thursday, May 25, we caught the 1pm BA
flight to Venice. Once at the airport in Venice we took the shuttle bus into
Piazzale Roma, at one end of the Grand Canal, and then dragged our cases across
bridges to our Hotel, the Carlton and Grand Canal. We really liked the hotel and
its perfect location on the Grand Canal. From the hotel it was easy to cross the
bridge and explore the marvelous streets and alleyways of Venice. We spend the
rest of Thursday exploring Venice, walking to St Marks Square and catching the
waterbus back to the hotel.
26 May – Day of boarding ship
We decided to head from the hotel to Millennium at around mid-day, so we caught a taxi from Piazzale Roma (where cars are allowed) to the cruise terminal. Upon arrival we were able to check in and immediately board Millennium. After the usual champagne we made our way to The Cova café to buy our soda package (around $60 for our 12 night cruise for unlimited fountain soft drinks), then to our cabin, 8045 to leave our bags there. We met our cabin steward at this point, and then headed to the Ocean Café for some of Millenniums famous ‘made to order’ pasta. As usual it was brilliant!
In the afternoon we walked back into Venice. We could have taken the $8 Celebrity organized waterbus direct to St Marks Square, but to be honest that is not the best area of Venice, and usually full of tourists, so we much preferred to explore starting out in the area around our hotel from the night before, The Hotel Carlton & Grand Canal. The walk is ok, although a little dangerous when crossing some of the roads. We returned to Millennium at around 6pm and had a good look around the ship before getting ready for open sitting dinner. We went along at 8:30. Dinner was great; it was so nice to get back into the old routine. After dinner we explored the ship further.
27 May – More Venice and Departure
After a room service breakfast we headed into Venice again on foot. We had another nice day exploring. I really fell for Venice. Very few places are as good as people say, but I can honestly say Venice is. We headed back to Millennium at around 2:30 for a late lunch (well our first visit the really good burger grill by the pool, followed by one of the lovely Aqua Spa Café deserts)
After the lifeboat drill we headed up onto
top deck for sail away. I must say the departure from Venice was amazing. Wow,
what a view from that great height. I took some really good video as we sailed
down past all the sights of the city. At 5:45 we headed to a cruise critic party
(we had received invite in our cabin when we arrived onboard) The party was held
in one of the Penthouse suites. We felt so privileged to be invited along.
Thanks to Lynda and Jeff for that. It was really special.
Later we headed to our late sitting dinner. We met our tablemates; Trevor and Mary form the UK as well. They are lovely people, who we shared so many brilliant days with, and are now great friends. As it was our first regular late sitting dinner on the cruise we met Javel and Alvin, our waiter and assistant for the first time. They were fantastic, and in over 23 cruises I can honestly say we have never had waiters like them. They made the cruise for us.
28 May – Dubrovnik
We anchored at Dubrovnik and tendered in. Apparently there were long waiting times to go ashore, caused by the port authorities only allowing one of the ships tenders in at a time. We heard quite a lot of complaining about this. Personally we did not find a problem, as we opted for going ashore later at 11ish, avoiding all the waiting around. After all we were on holiday so trying to rush off the ship first thing always seems a little silly to us.
We walked around Dubrovnik, and really liked the place. The old city is compact, and contains many fascinating alleyways and sets of steps.
After a really nice afternoon exploring
the city we headed back to the ship and relaxed until dinner. Javel and Alvan
were on form at dinner as usual.
29 May at sea
A lovely relaxing day at sea while cruising via the straights of Messina towards Greece.
30 May – Santorini
After a nice room service breakfast we headed ashore by tender at 11am, after all the crowds had gone. We took the cable car up to the town on top of the cliffs and had a good look around. What a lovely place, and the views of Millennium at anchor were really good. After a light lunch and some lovely beer (ok, our legs did not work after one glass of beer in the sun!) We headed back to the ship at 4pm and had another wonderful evening on Millennium.
31 May – Athens
We decided to walk to the local metro station in Piraeus and catch the train into Athens; we did a walking tour of the city (thanks to the map from the concierge) We stopped off at my favorite place, the Parliament building to see the somewhat amusing changing for the guards. It sure is a unique experience! As it was such a hot day we headed back to the ship, via the metro, for a nice cool drink on deck and a chance to plan yet another amazing evening.
1 June – At sea
Another relaxing sunny day on Millennium, followed by dinner in the Olympic restaurant with Trevor and Mary. Dinner was fantastic. The goat’s cheese soufflé and Chateaubriand were out of this world, and it would have been rude not to have the equally brilliant Waldorf pudding, to finish it off cheese and biscuits were served. What an amazing evening.
2 June – Naples
We had an early start on this day so we could go on a half-day Celebrity tour to Pompeii. Really enjoyed the tour, and took so many photos. Back to ship at lunchtime for a relaxing afternoon and evening.
3 June – Rome
We caught the train into Rome (9 euros including day pass on metro and busses. The ticket is called a BERG). Upon arrival it was obvious the Pope was on show in Vatican City, so we immediately made our way across the city to avoid the steadily increasing crowds. It was one of those situations which was a little scary, with large crowds of people and shut off streets and subways, making things even more difficult. We explored the city until 3pm, and then headed back to the railway station and Millennium. Its worth noting that despite the onboard paper ‘Celebrity Today’ saying the shuttle busses ($5 for a day pass now!) drop you a 15 minute taxi ride from the railway station, they actually drop you a 10 minute walk away.
4 June – Livorno
On this day we had a half-day, afternoon Celebrity tour organized to Pisa, so had a relaxing morning onboard ship. The tour was good and we had a really nice afternoon in Pisa admiring the great buildings, and trying to work out how the leaning tower stays upright. After the tour we had another fantastic evening onboard.
5 June – Villefranche
It was raining in the morning so we decided to head ashore after lunch. We caught the train into Monte Carlo (5 euros return), and spent 4 hours exploring. It was interesting to see most of the stands and barriers were still in place from the previous weekends formula one Grand Prix race. Moored up the harbor were Crystal Symphony and Easy Cruise 1 – what a contrast eh! After a nice glass of beer on the seafront back in Villefranche, we headed back to Millennium. As usual the evening was brilliant. It was a formal/informal evening with the customary baked Alaska parade in the restaurant, and later in the evening the Grand Buffet.
6 June – Barcelona
We arrived on schedule in Barcelona at 2pm and after things had settled down at the gangway we headed ashore. We took the Celebrity shuttle coach ($8 for a day pass) what turned out to be a relatively short distance to the one end of Las Rambla. We walked up this fascinating street full of amazing street artists and performers, stopping and watching many as we passed. On the way back the four of us stopped off for a 2-litre jug of sangria, as you can imagine not much sense was heard from us after that. It was a bit of a sad evening as it was out last with Javel and Alvan. Over the 12 nights we had become a really good team and enjoyed many laughs together. I guess all good things come to an end eh? After dinner we wandered around Millennium until pretty late. It was interesting to note that the late night bites were still served in the public rooms at midnight, and pasta and pizza were still available in the Ocean Café in the early hours.
7 June – Bye bye Millennium!
We were set to leave Millennium at the rather ungodly hour of 7:10 (there has to be a penalty for being allowed to board so early at the start of the cruise) we caught a taxi to Barcelona airport at a cost of 30 euros, pretty reasonable compared the Celebrity shuttle at $25 per person. Unfortunately our flight was not until 1pm so we had a fair bit of waiting around to do. We found the airport to be a pretty nice spacious place and passed the time pretty easily people watching and shop exploring.
We really enjoyed these. They were the most professionally produced and performed shows I have ever seen. The energy and professionalism of the performers really came across. Millenniums fantastic theatres many features were used to their full extent. The Shows were: Spectacle of Broadway, Fantasea, Classique: a musical Odyessy and I love the nightlife. Congratulations to the theatre team.
The other shows we went to were:
A brilliant English violin performer, who went through virtually every time of music style you can imagine. Very good indeed.
A professional pickpocket, once again a very good entertaining and educational show. We certainly knew what to look out for the next day in Rome!
I have to mention the fantastic Spanish guitar musician, Pepe de Jose who performed in the Cova Café and at the Ocean Bar. He was on our cruise on Millennium in 2004 and we were so pleased to see him back onboard for this cruise.
We dined in the Metropolitan Restaurant every evening, apart for the one in the Olympic restaurant. We could not fault the food or service in either restaurant, and as mentioned before our brilliant waiters made it a cruise to remember. Food quality and service were equal too if not better than Millennium was in 2004. Our night in the Olympic was perfection.
The Ocean Café food was as good as ever, with made to order pasta dishes, pizza, many buffet choices. Ice cream was served all day as well. At lunchtime sandwiches were also available, made to order. In the evening sushi, pizza and pasta were available and part of the Ocean Café was turned into a casual dining area, as an alternative to the Metropolitan Restaurant.
The Burgers form the Burger Grill were as brilliant as ever!
Food form the Aqua Spa Café was really nice. They do the best deserts on the ship at lunchtime as well.
Room service was always delivered really fast, and the menu available very nice. When food was being served in the Metropolitan Restaurant the same items were available for delivery via room service, a real treat.
There has been much said on Cruise Critic about the “tatty” look of some Millenniums public areas, I can assure you that I looked hard and found things to be in a very good state of repair. The carpet in the theatre has been replaced, and new light strips fitted on all strips, making things much safer there. One or two things on the exterior of the ship, mainly made form aluminum, could do with repair, but it was nothing significant. Our Stateroom CC grade 8045 was in good condition and had the extra large angled balcony, a real treat. We were looked after well by our cabin steward, and her assistant, so no complaints there.
Attitude of staff
Every member of staff on Millennium always greeted us with a smile and a hello, how are you? They are a great team and really were the best we have had on any ship. Some of the officers seemed a little non-understanding at times though. On one occasion one of the assistant chief housekeepers came to ask if everything was ok with the cabin and steward etc. We told them that we had brown water in the bathroom that evening. They replied oh that’s good, smiled and went. Maybe some training is required there!
On another occasion we returned to our cabin after the show to be greeted with a strong smell of sewage. We called guest relations, who sent somebody up so see what the problem was (it was not caused by a blocked toilet, and seemed to be coming form the air conditioning). The man from guest relations did not seem to understand that the problem was, and went. He did say we would hear from them, and that was the last we heard of it.
As elite members we were looked after very well by the Captains Club hostess. We had an elegant afternoon tea in the Olympic Restaurant, Backstage theatre tour and galley visit, as well as other treats. Well done on making your loyal customers feel special. It really works, as we booked an Alaska cruise whilst onboard.
A brilliant cruise, visiting some of the most amazing places on what I feel is the best ship in the world.
I am an engineer from the UK in my 30’s who traveled with my friend Finn in his 20’s. We now cruise exclusively with Celebrity after previously being regular P&O customers.