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John Nuttall

Age: 49

Occupation:Manager

Number of Cruises: 51

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Millennium

Sailing Date: May 14, 2006

Itinerary: n/a

Celebrity Cruise Line
Millennium Cruise Review
Eastern Caribbean

John Nuttall
My wife and I flew from Miami to Barcelona, changing in Madrid just 1 day in advance of the 12 day Millennium cruise. We wished that we had gone before that as Barcelona proved to be a very interesting and enjoyable city to visit. The Ramblas, the Gothic quarter and the old port proved to be great places to wander and people watch.

We stayed at the Apsis Splendide, a small hotel close to Placa Catalunya. It does not have many frills but it is quiet, well managed and close to everything. A second night would have been nice there. My wife and I had a nice pre cruise evening walk, had a fabulous Paella dinner, and walked on the beach after dinner. All in all a great (but too short) pre cruise.

On the Sunday we walked the Ramblas, sipped our Cafe con leche, and made our way to the port, no more than 5 minutes by taxi. Embarkation as with all of our previous Celebrity cruises, was flawless, quick and painless. Our cases were in our cabin within 90 minutes. We had a quick lunch and then got off the ship to take some pictures and buy some beverages for our fridge.

We sailed in the early evening and enjoyed what proved to be one of many fabulous sunsets and sunrises. We booked an outside cabin with balcony (7022) and were grateful that we did. On this itinerary it proved to be a definite plus. Space was adequate for 2, service was excellent, the bed was comfortable and all in all we really enjoyed it's location, forward on Vista (7) deck.

Having sailed on Summit and Constellation we knew the layout of Millennium, so exploring was minimal. We enjoyed late seating dinner, and then a coffee in Cova Cafe, our favorite space on board. The Spanish guitarist completed the atmosphere here, and the coffee is always great.

The first day was a sea day, which we enjoyed by doing nothing! It is worth noting that this itinerary is absolutely great for those who want to sample the Med's must see cities. It is, however, port intensive, and very tiring. You need to trade off the late nights, disco and midnight buffets and get some sleep. Port arrivals are scheduled for 7am and tours leave at 7.30am. You will tire yourself if you do not take advantage of the sea days and go to bed earlier than you would otherwise do on a cruise.

The first port was Villefranche. My wife and I took the first tender, took the train to Nice and enjoyed a stroll through the Coeurs Saleya market and the old town. We also enjoyed the Promenade des Anglais and the Negresco Hotel. We then took the bus to Monte Carlo. Monte Carlo is not my favorite city but must be seen at least once. My wife had not been before so we walked along the harbor, marveling at the $100 million yachts, walked to the casino, and then took a train back towards Villefranche. We got off the train at Beaulieu sur Mer, the stop before Villefranche and then spent the rest of the day walking all the way around Cap Ferrat. To me Cap Ferrat is the true Cote D'Azur, beautiful, quiet and beautiful to walk. After 4 hours we arrived back in Villefranche, enjoyed a couple of beverages on the seafront and then boarded the tender back to the ship. After late dinner, and coffee, we went to bed and set the alarm for 6am for our Florence 7.30am tour.

Florence has to be seen to be believed. It is beautiful. After looking at countless photos it was also great to look at the leaning tower of Pisa. This was a 10 hour tour well worth the time.

Rome was also a 10 hour tour, but not as well spent. After leaving the ship at 7.30am and fighting the traffic, we spent a great morning walking through the Roman ruins, the Coliseum, the Forum and we even threw coins into the Trevi Fountain. We were dumbfounded to then board our bus, take an hour to go to lunch outside of Rome, spend an hour having lunch, and then take another hour to go back to St. Peter's basilica. What a waste of time. St Peter's was fabulous and impressive but we were rushed and wished we had spent more time there.

Naples was the fourth 7am arrival in a row, and we spent another 10 hour tour enjoying Pompeii and Capri, with lunch in Sorrento. We arrived at Pompeii before it opened so it was eerily quiet and un-crowded once we got in. Capri, as always is captivating, incredibly beautiful and well worth the visit.

After 4 - 7am port days the next day was spent resting. The ship itself is great. Even though it's large at 91,000 tons you do not get that feeling of size. The public rooms are quietly decorated, with lots of woods and earth tones. The pools, both inside and outside are well designed and also well used on this cruise. We love the spa and gym on this ship also. Our only complaint was that Celebrity has closed Notes, so you can not go and listen to music any longer.

Food and service are exemplary on Celebrity and we loved all of our meals in the main dining room, although the food and service in Olympic, the premium restaurant, is even better. The same can not be said for the buffet area, where the food quality is not up to the same standard. On our previous Celebrity cruises this was not the case, so maybe this was just a case of this ship having the shortfall.
We did not see any of the shows, due to the port intensive itinerary, but we are not great show watchers anyway, so I can not critique the entertainment. As mentioned previously, however, the Spanish entertainer who played on the stern and in Cova Cafe was excellent. He really was relaxing and enjoyable to listen to, and we are looking forward to seeing him again on Infinity during Carnaval next February.

After a relaxing sea day, a late dinner and an early night, we arrived in Santorini. Nothing can prepare you for the first impression of this beautiful island. Wow! It is overwhelming. We were on the first tender and on the first cable car of the day up to Fira. We walked to Oia and enjoyed lunch there. I would caution anybody thinking of walking to Oia, however, if they are not strong walkers. It is a 7 mile walk, but it goes over 2 large hills, on very uneven ground.

After lunch we took the bus half way back to Fira (to miss the 2 hills!) and then walked the rest of the way into town, walking on top of the caldera cliffs. It is amazing, and we kept stopping to take another picture and enjoy the breathtaking view over whitewashed houses, clinging to the side of the cliffs. After another incredible sunset we sat on the stern of the ship, listening to the music, watching the light change, and enjoying a few more cocktails. Is there any better life than cruising?

Athens, the next day is another city to visit at least once in your life. The ruins are truly impressive, and the Plaka (the old town) is great to walk and shop. The train station is at gate E6, the other side of the port from the cruise terminal. It is easy to take the train into Athens (the 7th stop, Monastiraki), and enjoy the day walking around a very old city.

Another sea day followed Athens, and one which everybody enjoyed. The weather was perfect on this cruise, even though it was early, cruising in May. Celebrity does not bombard you with announcements or have a lot of poolside games etc. They do an exhibition, such as cocktail making, in the morning, and a poolside game for about 1 hour in the afternoon. Besides that they do not impose on your relaxing time. If you want the lectures, shopping, games and events, they are in the program. They do not push it however, and let people make their own choices, which most people seem to appreciate.

Dubrovnik is a very impressive city, built in and around a 1-1/2 mile medieval wall. Although it has steps on it, it is easy to walk around and it is both impressive and beautiful right on the water, with the buildings, the marina, and the mountains behind it. This was another great day. We even enjoyed the beach for a while.

Nothing on earth can prepare you for sailing into Venice for the first time. We had not had this experience before and so we were totally awed by the experience. The channel is winding and gets more beautiful and impressive at each turn until you are sailing past St. Marks, the bell tower, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Grand Canal. What a thrill. That will be something which will remain with me for a long time. Even though we were in Venice for the day we also came back after dark and experienced a different Venice at night. Venice is a magical city, and one which we will return to again and again. We did not stay for a post cruise, although many people did. We flew to London instead and went to a show and a had a terrific dinner in one of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants. After a short night we flew back to Miami.

This 12 day cruise is definitely worth the investment, in both time and money. We visited Barcelona, Villefranche, Florence, Rome, Naples, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik and Venice. Every port is one which we will revisit. Every one has something special about it. Take this cruise at least once in your life. Celebrity does a great job and the food, service and the ship are all first rate. We enjoyed the balcony and I would recommend it to anybody. At the least try to get an outside cabin.

If you want to stay up late and party and if you are a night person, accustomed to sleeping until noon, do not take this cruise. The ports are the reason for the cruise and Celebrity is the way to go. Happy Cruising!
 

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