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Eric Yeomans

Age: 65

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 19

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Millennium

Sailing Date: June 16th, 2003

Itinerary: Western Mediterranean

Overview…having been on sister ship Constellation last year we thought we knew what to expect from Millennium. I am happy to report that Millennium “exceeded our expectations”. The enhancements by Celebrity worked for us & added to our enjoyment of this cruise. Weather in med was very very hot & flat calm except last sea day when a few white horses appeared but Millennium was very stable. Itinerary was superb & if you can only do med one time, this is the one for you. We are mainly interested in itinerary, food & entertainment on a cruise. This was our first time in 19 cruises we had visited western med, we took the decision not to knock ourselves out trying to see everything but to pick & choose what to see. We live in UK so can get cheap flights + w/e hotel to most places for about the same price as a ships full day tour, so this review should be seen in that context.

The ship & Cabin…Although now 3 years old Millennium was immaculately maintained & in good decorative order, in fact we preferred the easier on the eye décor & artwork to that on Constellation. The exterior colours are another matter, the original Millie class paintwork of dark blue with a red stripe & yellow stripe had a shine to it & in our opinion a much classier look than the new matt dark blue & white the hull is now painted with, looks a cheaper finish to us. The facilities on Millie class ships are well documented on many reviews so I will not go into detail. There are small differences to the Constellation particularly in the conservatory/extreme sports bar area & there were no full length padded teak recliners in aqua spa area only the rigid S type ones. A couple of things were not working, the big main jet in the hydro pool & we were told by guest relations, the golf simulator would not be working all cruise, but this earned them a black mark from us when we discovered on last day it had been working since day 4 but never put in daily programme, my wife was very disappointed as we had to book 24 hours in advance to use it. Our cabin was an inside 3050 well laid out with a very comfortable bed & very convenient for us being midway between centre & forward lifts (elevators) It is 170 sq ft & immaculately maintained by cheerful steward Gatot from Indonesia. Those of you who have read my review of Constellation in Baltic last year may wonder why we are now in a inside cabin when last year in a suite, well there was a very special set of circumstances last year that are unlikely to be repeated & we are normally quite happy in an inside cabin as we do not spend much time in there & can have 4 i/s cabin cruises to one in a suite.

Getting there…Flying to the med from UK is a breeze compared to our American friends, some of who had to make 2 or 3 changes of flight. However we were amazed when our taxi had to queue at 4.45am to drop us off at Stansted airport & the place was packed with people at that time in the morning, cheap flights have certainly increased traffic there. We had a good Easyjet flight taking off at 7.15am. A tip for those flying Easyjet, no seat numbers are issued but each boarding pass is numbered & low numbers are called first enabling them to get the best seats, so the earlier you check in the better chance of a good seat. After a 1 hour 50 min flight with a good view over the Alps, we arrived in Venice & had to wait for 1 hour for bags to come off plane. We then shared a large people type taxi with another couple in heavy traffic to the dock & were charged 20 euros per couple against Celebrity’s transfers available at airport for 20 euros each. Arriving at the dock the fun began, drop baggage in one place, walk 300 yards to yellow building, no signs for Celebrity only Costa who were also loading from same building. After check in there was a long wait for our group number to be called, then down more steps to a bus to be taken round the dock to the ship, 3.15 hours from touchdown to get on ship! The two couples who were our table companions arrived at different times of day & also had problems. One couple arrived early after overnight flight from USA & had booked Celebrity transfers, baggage was taken to ship from airport but they were dropped off at the deserted red building & after wandering through calling “anyone there” made their way round dock to ship only to be sent back to check in. The other couple arrived late evening by taxi (only 26 euros for them as no traffic) to be dropped off where he had been dropping passengers all day to find it deserted, so dragged their bags all way round the dock (700 yards) to ship! I know this procedure is contracted out to a local firm & they were probably stretched with 4 ships in port but this was worst embarkation procedure we have ever experienced. Having said that we needed the glass of champagne they provided when we did get on board . After a nice lunch at rear of deck 10 we went to see guest relations about the captains club membership we had signed up for on the internet, only to be told nothing could be done without a number & to go away & phone or email Miami at our own expense!! Another black mark for guest relations as two days later we found Kylie was the captains club co-ordinator on board & she could fix it for us—thank you Kylie. Feeling a little shattered after an early start to the day we slept on deck until bags arrived in cabin about 4 hours after checking in, rather longer than normal we thought.

Food & Service…Overall outstanding in our opinion, that is not to say it was perfect. I have seen reports on the net that the food is not as good as previously, but that is nit picking, I might agree that the lamb was about 5% down on last year, but last year was gourmet quality & this year just very good. Anything you did not like would be offered a change instantly & we were told on first night that if we did not fancy anything on the menu then salmon steak, chicken breast & beef steak were always available. We did have one bad entrée, on 4th night 4 of us ordered the fish with a name we had never heard of after being told it was a “light fish from the Pacific” we all left it, as it looked & tasted like salted cod!! Should have had the rack of veal that night as that was good according to those who ordered it. That fish is the only real complaint we have about the food, we thought it all very good. We particularly enjoyed the fact that the hours have been expanded in the “light & healthy” aquaspa café to virtually all day service. Healthy breakfasts are now available there from 7.30am to 10am then light breakfast from 10 am to noon in ocean grill aft & at 12 noon aquaspa café serves light & healthy lunches until 8pm. 12.30pm salads soup & wonderful sandwiches are served in ocean grill aft until 3pm. One day we tried a Reuben’s sandwich freshly made to order from here, never heard of it before but it looked & tasted superb—lightly toasted rye bread, light spread of 1000 isle dressing, a heap of American hot corned beef (not the stuff known as corned beef in UK) a spoonful of sauerkraut & topped with Swiss cheese. We would never eat a hot cooked breakfast from the buffet on any ship as no one does it as good as we do in UK & very rarely did we eat hot food for lunch, on this ship there are so many choices you should always be able to find something you like if you look around the various serving stations & not just follow the crowd in the buffet line. I particularly liked the cold gaspachio black cherry soup & salmon on fresh asparagus spears from the aquaspa café & their tartlets with large fresh blueberries that burst in your mouth with flavour were to die for!! They also have two hot freshly prepared specials each day with 15 mins preparation time although it was not usually that long, one day I had seared shrimp & scallops with a plate of salad just superb. It is significant I think that the Captain was very often eating in here. We ate breakfast & lunch there on several days & especially enjoyed the fact that if we came back on board mid afternoon we could get something good to eat instead of just pizza/hamburgers/fries etc. When we selected food from main buffet, or the very good omelettes made to order at omelette station we always ate outside under the awnings at rear of deck 10, a very comfortable place to eat with teak chairs & tables, almost like being on a private yacht, never once did we eat in the actual buffet area. The omelette stations also cook eggs to order at breakfast, they change to pasta made to order stations at lunch & one becomes the sushi bar while the other serves pizza & baked pasta at night. Service in all areas was always very good. All staff from Officers down to toilet attendants always spoke to you in passing & were very friendly. Our dining room waiter Bosko from Croatia & assistant Joseph from the Philippines were the tops, we had great dining companions on table 563, a window table for 6 near the entrance on deck 5 very quiet compared to main body of dining room on deck 4 & therefore able to enjoy good conversation between ourselves. On my Wife’s birthday the children from the next table joined the waiters in singing happy birthday, which was a nice touch. We did not feel the need to try any of the alternative evening eating areas but did walk through after our early dinner & they were quite busy except the sushi bar that only seemed busy one night. We did not partake of any of the late night bites or even see the grand buffet. However as they say it takes all sorts to make a world & some were moaning about the food !! I would just like to see what they live on at home because we thought the food could not be beaten.

Who goes…Overall the age profile on this cruise was lower than any other cruise we have been on. Approx 35-40% were from UK & at higher end of age scale. 40-45% were from USA & as schools had started their long summer break over there, contained many mid age families with children or teenagers. These have their own areas & were no trouble at all except one night when the teenage party in cabin 3040 woke most of the corridor up at 4.30 am! Just hope their parents read this & suitably chastise them! There must have been 30-40 young couples on honeymoon & a large group of Alumni from university of Louisville. The rest of passengers came from all over the world i/c a party from the Far East. Everyone seemed interested in visiting Europe but a few did complain there was no action in the lounges at night & when we walked through the casino it did not seem as busy as on other American ships we have been on. This is understandable as the days touring were long, tiring on the feet & very hot. Dress code compliance on this cruise was probably only about 80%, lower than most other cruises we have been on. I have to confess that on the last night I failed to read the programme & turned up in “going home casual” after packing, instead of informal, well the last night is always casual or so I thought !

Entertainment…We missed the first show (Venice by night seemed preferable) & the last two, from what we were told we did not miss much. The 3 production shows were very good indeed with a talented cast of 16 singers & dancers. First was after Dubrovnik & called “Classique a musical odyssey” based on well known tunes from operettas & opera with a bit of Sound of Music + Riverdance, singing, costumes & choreography superb. 2nd show was on 2nd sea day & formal night was “Pure Platinum” based on rock pop + C&W, many of the numbers we had not heard of, so whilst a high energy show with a lot of talent displayed we only rated this one good & not excellent. As we had been passing Stromboli earlier we went to the late show at 11pm & were amazed at number of very young children in the audience. 3rd show was best for us, called “Spectacle of Broadway” again on formal night after Livorno. Instead of 2/3 numbers from a lot of Broadway shows this concentrated on the popular numbers from just 4 shows, Grease, 42nd street, Phantom & Les Miz. These long extracts were superbly produced & performed with some outstanding singing. My only thought was they should have ended with Les Miz & not tacked another number on the end, It still received a standing ovation though. The individual performers were a mixed lot. One show comprised an exotic dancer + a magician, dancer did not impress us but the magician- Brett Sherwood must be good as he held my interest through out the show when normally I do not bother to watch magicians. Next came a “legendary” Hollywood pianist with 275 films to her credit i/c Lara’s theme from Dr Zhivago, about the only one I knew as not into movies. She received a standing ovation from her many fans in the audience but for me the telling thing was they never had a camera projecting her hands onto the screens like they did last year with the pianist on Constellation. A show with to me a peculiar content was a very good British violin player who only played British numbers, I did wonder what our American frien
ds thought of it, but then the 2nd act turned out to be a singer/American soap star who belted out American numbers & walked round the audience for participation & laughs, sorry did not rate her. Comedy night had a funny Irish comedian Adrian Walsh who we have seen before & liked. Plus an “International entertainers” act called Hope & Keen, I believe we saw them on TV about 30 years ago & they are still doing the same act, possibly the one they must have done in the music hall era! Did not see the pickpocket show not our cup of tea! The one other good show was the 3 Celtic tenors from Ireland, very good but mainly songs from Ireland & did not do any of the well known operatic numbers. Around the lounges there was a superb harpist in Cova Café, an average duo in rendezvous lounge, a guitarist at the open bar aft on deck 10, the Coco band by the pool & in the Cosmos nightclub, a string quartet playing in dining room & Cova café, & a singing pianist in Michaels piano club, his voice heard when passing the door did not attract me in. We never managed to catch up with the Neptunes accapella group but heard they were good. All in all we thought the 3 production shows to be brilliant but the individual entertainers not to the same standard we had last year on Constellation.

Ports of Call… As before I will detail what we did or found out & hope it may be of some use to those going later. There are 4 ports in Italy & we found the Italians to be friendly & helpful but the French at Villefrance & Monaco less so. It is easy to use public transport & very cheap compared to UK. One big tip for EU nationals over 65 is always carry a photo copy of your passport with you, this will get you into museums & popular sites free or at a vastly reduced price e.g. Doges palace + san Marco museums only 5.50 euros, Herculaneum & Colosseum free.

Venice, decided not to go in 1st afternoon but after early open seating dinner of prime rib took the shuttle boat to St Marks sq. All the crowds & pigeons have gone & it was wonderful to stroll a few of the little streets, came across the ships gondola tour going under a bridge with musician & singer, came back to St Marks sq all lit up with the bands playing outside the restaurants with small crowds watching (do not sit down if you value the thickness of your wallet) unfortunately there was a shower of rain, the bands beat a hasty retreat & we took the next shuttle back to ship. The shuttles are local boats much larger than lifeboats & more comfortable. Next morning shuttle boat again & took No 1 vaporetto up the grand canal, just 5 euros for 90mins travel. Had to get off at the end by a small public park with lots of trees. Waited a little while for a No 82 to come along for the return trip, this had less stops on way back. St Marks sq & indeed the whole of Venice was now crowded with people, we were so glad we had seen it the night before. Then walked along past Doges Palace & Bridge of Sighs, round through a few streets, it did seem to us that food was not that expensive in the streets away from St Marks sq. We just kept following our nose & found signs to Rialto bridge so made our way there, then walked back again finding many signs to point us in right direction. Long queues for all the sights in St Marks sq (why queue to go up the tower when you can see a better view from the ship as it sails out!) There is a small garden between the vaporetto station & St Marks with lots of trees giving shade to the seats & a very old iron pergola currently cordoned off. This little garden surprised me as I had heard St Marks floods with salt water several times a year. Back onboard, had a delightful late lunch & sat in shade until lifeboat drill at 4.30pm (departure had been put back from 3pm in brochure to 5pm with 2 hours later arrival next day at Dubrovnik) We had picked our position to view the sailaway so ditched our life jackets in cabin & made our way up 5 flights of stairs until there was space in a elevator up to deck 11, then walk up another 2 decks to get a space on port side rail of deck 13 (normally the topless deck) Fantastic view from up there of all Venice, Grand Canal, St Marks sq & many other sights, It is quite a way out through the channels past some quite green Islands to the open sea.

Dubrovnik- docked 9am, joined queue for shuttle bus at 10.15, lot of traffic over a small hill to old town walls. Paid our 2.20 euros (No need for local currency) audio guides available for 4 euro. Very hot humid & overcast. We only walked the seaward side to the other gate, some steps & very narrow in places only 2ft 6” wide. You can look down from the walls on the little old houses & small gardens & a very attractive view out to sea, water looked very clear & some locals were snorkelling there. At the other gate (half way round was enough for us) we descended to the pretty little harbour & just sat for a while taking in the view. Walking back through the centre of old town there is a square with a market & some local crafts, at bottom was a small supermarket that took euros & $, prices very good, a litre of merlot wine + litre of cocoa cola just 5 euros. Back to ship & lie in the sun that had broken through by then. Dubrovnik is 1st formal night so tournedos of beef & cherry’s jubilee on menu. Captains toast (no longer called cocktail party) was in theatre after dinner & before show but not that well attended.

1st sea day-Cloudy start to day but hot & humid. Attended lecture on digital photography, very informative, then CC meeting not many there. Attended wine tasting pm, conducted by a well known Californian wine maker not the usual senior sommelier. He could smell & taste things in the wines I could not, I prefer the fuller bodied red wines from the Southern Hemisphere, never the less it was interesting but did not persuade me to buy any of those tasted.

Santorini- Had a lie in as wife had caught a cold, after a swim & an early lunch took the tender ashore (local ones again, larger & more comfortable than lifeboats) For those who would like to do the swim in hot springs etc there were two tours offered at the quay, one leaving at 10.30 returning at 4.30 going all round the caldera for 17 euros, the other left at 11am back 2pm or 2pm back 5pm just to hot springs for 12 euros. We took the cable car to top 3 euro each way no return tickets available (big queue to come down at 4pm as 4 other smaller ships in port all leaving about same time. We had been before & had walked along the front cliff top so this time walked around the back, sat by little blue roofed church & admired the view down the sloping side. Walking back past the Nuns monastery I saw an old bent unusual tree in the garden of the youth hostel, something I had not expected to see on Santorini. Open seating dinner that night, had a great table again with good service, just missed the sunset. Cool breeze on deck at 9.30 for local Greek dancing group, only time all cruise I had to put a light sweater on, OK call me a wimp if you must!

Piraeus- As we had been to Athens before (& stuck in traffic jam for 2 hours) we prebooked the ships tour to ancient Corinth & canal. This was in opposite direction to Athens but had at least half an hour ride through industrial areas then some open countryside with lots of olive trees. We had a 20 min stop at Canal, just enough to view it & pay a visit to the facilities in nearby café. On to the ruins, around 40 mins conducted tour of not very impressive ruins & 20 mins to walk around on our own. As with all guides, we cannot take in all the info churned out, only two things stuck with me, St Paul lived here for 18 months & that is the podium he preached from & the Romans destroyed the original Greek town in 146 BC. 20 mins shopping stop on way back to ship, not a very impressive tour in my opinion. After lunch I took a walk round Piraeus, which was mostly shut being Saturday afternoon but did find a small park with another interesting tree to photograph. It is about 20/30 mins walk around the harbour to station for trains to Athens (70 cents each way) but our table companions found that the number 843 bus ran from dock to station every 15 mins. They found it a long walk up hill to the Acropolis & then it was covered in scaffolding & polythene for renovations for next years Olympics. Given the traffic as it is now, I do not know how Piraeus & Athens can cope with all the extra traffic for the Olympics. 11 cruise ships used as hotel ships in Piraeus = approx 15000 people, a logistical nightmare to get them to the venues! If you do not know already, others reported that the National Archaeological museum is also closed for renovations until next year.

2nd sea day- did next to nothing all day except relax, sleep & talk to people. This was 2nd formal night & Captains club party night, superb dinner then stayed on deck to watch sun go down as we passed the active volcano Stromboli, just beautiful with its plume of smoke in the setting sun. Unfortunately we did not stay on deck long enough to look back in the dark & see the splash of molten lava that others saw.

Naples- We caught the first shuttle bus at 8.30 to the Marritima station (other ships being in the closer berth) found the ticket office & took the 8.45 ferry to Sorrento for 6 euros (the 9am hydrofoil was enclosed, cost 7.20 euros & only beat us by a few mins). After a look round the harbour area we purchased a 3 hour combined bus/train ticket from the kiosk for 3.10 euros & took the next bus up to Sorrento centre, had a look round, walked to a hotel yard to get the view from top of the cliffs, back to bus for station then took the 11.07 train for Naples. Lot of people got off at Pompeii scavai we carried on to Ercoleum scavai (Herculaneum). Very hot again, walked down hill in front of station to ruins, flashed my passport photo copy & in for free, wife’s entrance was 10 euros. After paying there is a long sloping road down to entrance. Now be warned this is on your left & does not look like an entrance as it is just a metal walkway sloping into a tunnel. We made the mistake of crossing a bridge on the right into the ruins that is actually the exit so we missed the best artefacts in the Deer house that you come to first if using correct entrance as last entrance to the deer house was 12.35 presumably it closes for siesta at 1pm. Never the less the ruins are reportedly more compact & better preserved than Pompeii & we found them well worth a visit. There is a book shop on site & good restrooms + a little café that provided us with a medium & small beer + a large ham & cheese toasted sandwich for 6.50 euros. Back up hill to station, purchased a 2 hour multipurpose ticket for 1.70 euros, advised to get off at Napoli centrale station. Tourist office provided us with a marked map & advised to get No 1 tram from other side of Garibaldi sq (life in hands job, most pedestrian crossing are usually faint paint marks in Italy, but they usually stop for you!!) Tram to Marritima & hopped off when we saw the ship. Now some did it the other way & hopped on a tram to Terminii station for trip to Pompeii & found train was packed when it got to Centrale, whereas we found tram was packed when it got to Terminii station. Given that there were 6 ships in port with around 11000 passengers, Herculaneum was virtually deserted compared to big crowds at Pompeii. After dinner & before the show we stood on deck to watch the sun set behind another Island, Bay of Naples certainly lives up to its publicity.

Civitavecchia- we knew exactly what we wanted to do here, just see the ancient bits of Rome. Got the shuttle bus to end of long pier, half mile walk along beach front to station, purchased ticket for return train to Rome i/c all day on metro & bus for 6.80 euros, a bargain by UK standards. 8.12 train from platform 2, a modern double decker, clean & with a/con. Those who wish to see the Vatican must get out at San Pietro station after approx 50 mins travel, the train then goes in a long loop through 4 more station in approx 20 mins to get to Terminii station. We spoke to some who got there then took a taxi back to the Vatican!! There is a metro station other side of Vatican called Cipro (line A red on map) to get you Terminii to change to B line for Ancient Rome. Also spoke to some who did not know ticket covered metro so did not use it as could not find ticket office!! We found the metro line B (blue on map) at Terminii, piled on like sardines but just 2 stops to Colosseum, emerging up steps (no escalators) there it was in front of us. As we were before most of tours no line to get in, me free again & wife 8 euros. Ticket also cover entry to Palatine hill but we did not go in as so hot (100 degrees F) walked through the Forum & found a café for a cold beer & use of facilities, carried on past Victor Emanuel monument, crossed the plaza venezia (another life in hands job) & up Via Corsa to Trevi fountain (very impressive & worth the walk), noticed 175 bus went back to Terminii station so jumped on that & caught the 13.35 train back to Civ as we had enough of that heat & as mentioned before we can always get cheap flights to Rome. Train was same type as before but this one had some graffiti & a/con not working. Had a late lunch in aquaspa café & slept after reviving my feet in the spa bubble jets. After this day I can understand why our American friends try to get a party of 6/8 together to see as much as possible in an a/con van. Late at night we decided not to attempt Florence tomorrow as did one pair of table companions, but we will go back for at least a long w/e in the cooler weather. Rome is a fascinating & fantastic place, our interest has been awakened.

Livorno- Ship was tied up at the outer edge of a huge container port, nothing in walking distance. Took shuttle bus to centre, walked towards old part, two squares, one with a local market (baby courgettes with flowers still attached). A huge fort with a large waterway round it, to big to call a moat, lots of boats & canals leading off to sea. Public park inside with one cannon & some trees. Livorno is a large port & commercial centre so when ship says there is no shopping there, they mean no “tourist tat shops” plenty of good shops. I took a long walk round the marina & out to the yacht club, plenty of boats to admire. Later that night we found our table companions who had not gone to Florence & having got fed up of looking at containers had taken shuttle bus to square, No 1 bus from sq to station (70cents) & train to Pisa (2 euro) then a steady 30 min walk to tower. That evening 3rd formal night & a captains farewell cocktail party in cosmos night club, this was not that well attended. Dinner very good with lobster & prime rib available.

Villefranche- A very pretty anchorage, again local large tenders used so no long wait for independent travellers, easy walk along front to station, lot of steps up, under tunnel then more steps to ticket office (those going to Nice etc have to go back under tunnel & up more steps to other side) Ticket to Monte Carlo 4.60 euros return with modern trains caught the 9.49 to M C. All the main tourist sights are down in the area of Le Port or on top of Monaco rock except one, the Jardin Exotique that we wished to visit at top of hill. Now I have never seen mentioned that the hills of M C have a system of “acensiors publique” lifts or elevators to you & me, perhaps they are not keen on tourists using them. These can move you up & down between the roads. Back at the station there is an escalator to go down to Le Port & you also have to go down this to get the acensior publique up to Jardin Exotique, we went up from platform, used some lifts but still had a very long walk. Now a word about M C pavements (sidewalks) very narrow & the chic ladies let their little doggies poop all over them, have they never heard of pooper scoopers in M C? perhaps the rich & famous never get out of their cars & assume only doggie walkers or tourists will walk! When we arrived there, Jardin Exotique was well worth the trouble, huge cacti some with trunks like trees & 600 varieties, with a winding path giving spectacular views over Monaco. If you think you know about cacti, visit this place & think again. Entrance for us was 5 euros but I think this was a seniors rate, this included some grotto caves at bottom of walk, but gave them a miss as 300 steps down & back up! Shorter route out but with some steps, passed the Anthropology museum (included). Found our way back down the hill using whatever acensiors publique we found (one ended in an underground car park so just walked out of the car exit!) Had a look around the port area but to hot (90+ again) & tired do visit the other places we wished to see so caught the 2.27 train back to Villefranche. There were a lot of people on the coarse sand beach & the town did look quite attractive. As the ship did not sail until midnight a lot of passengers took a tender back to town after early dinner (normal seating not open) but by then a heavy mist was covering the mountains & sea, warm & humid on deck.

Final sea day- Wind had picked up, I would guess to about force 5/6 with white horses on sea. We just lazed around on deck (still in mid 80’s) in a sheltered position & had a dip in hydro pool, just what we needed before packing for home.

Barcelona- As our flight out was not until 17.05 we booked the ships tour of Barcelona with drop off at the airport. We found that a wise decision at a cost of 37$ (can only be booked on the ship). Tour was very good, up past the gardens to a view point, past Olympic facilities, around 1 hour at the Gaudi cathedral, then a 40 mins walking tour of the old Gothic area. In this area there were some very good musicians playing & a great atmosphere at the top of the Ramblas. Barcelona airport was not good however, Terminal A was for traditional airlines so had to walk to Terminal B (not very far) huge check in lines for Easyjet & joined the wrong one that stopped due to a large party of non Spanish/English speaking musicians trying to check in. Just in time changed to another queue before that closed as well. In departure area, there is a long promenade with chic shops but the toilets are filthy!! Gents was overflowing at 4pm with floor half inch deep in water!!! Seen cleaner cattle sheds!! Complaining to the only man in sight, he just shrugged & said he had phoned twice but it was airports problem not his!! Then the charade began as to our boarding gate, 43 we had been told, but it became obvious that had been allocated to another plane, then indicator changed to 40 so we all moved over there, then changed to 48b so we all moved down stairs to that & it did actually indicate our fight number for a short while before stopping that. Indicator then said back to 40 & we did eventually board there. Good flight back home with good views of Isle of White & Southampton harbour (no cruise ships in)

Conclusion- Superb cruise, Itinerary, crew, ship & food. Millie class ships are now confirmed as our favourites, there is so much space per person they never seem crowded except possibly round the pool on a hot sea day. You can however always find a quiet corner on deck or in the lounges. The aquaspa area is pure bliss (no one under 18 allowed). In the interest of research I did walk past the gym a couple of times & I have never seen a gym so busy. We never took part in any shipboard activities but would have used the golf simulator had we known it was working but still had a great time, food & service outstanding. It may seem that we did not do a lot at ports of call, but as I said we can always get a cheap flight to all these places so no need for us to overdo it. We met & enjoyed talking with a lot of very nice people, for us it was a perfect cruise, just wish it had been normal temperatures for time of year instead of 10 degrees above normal.

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