Posted by: cruise2 | 31 December, 2007

An Atlantic Crossing in Celebrity Cruises’ MILLENNIUM

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Comments received after the conclusion of a 14-night cruise from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale in December 2007:

The meet-and-greet service at Barcelona airport went smoothly. Suitcases went to the ship by truck, to be delivered to cabins. Passengers thus had to concern themselves only with hand luggage on the coach journey from the airport to the ship. Check-in at dockside in Barcelona was fast and efficient. On boarding the ship, a steward offered passengers a glass of champagne/sparkling wine and no, there was no charge. A cabin attendant escorted me to my cabin (in some ships, you are directed to your cabin, but in Millennium you are escorted).

Millennium is a 90,000-ton ship with a passenger capacity of 1,950 and is now seven years old. She appears to be in good condition from a passenger’s viewpoint and has been well maintained. I had a balcony cabin with a standard layout. I used the balcony most days for an hour or two. The bathroom, with a shower rather than a tub, was compact, well-lit and very clean. The cabin steward was capable and unobtrusive.

Millennium offers several dining options. The main restaurant had two seatings for dinner and open seatings for breakfast and lunch. The waiter at my table was experienced and skilful. The dinner menu offered on most evenings four appetizers, three kinds of soup, two salads, five entrees (usually pasta, fish, pork, beef, chicken) and several desserts. One evening I ordered cheese and received four kinds along with crackers, grapes and walnuts. In general, the food was attractively served. One evening I had dinner in the specialty restaurant, the Olympic, which has a cover charge of US$30. I ordered the six-course tasting menu with appropriate wines for each course. It was an excellent meal indeed. The wine added a further $26 to the bill. Other dining options were available on Deck 10. I enjoyed my meals, but perhaps at times they lacked the extra sparkle that I recall from other voyages in Celebrity Cruises ships about ten years ago.

The ship offered all kinds of activities and events. The enrichment lectures were particularly good. In common with most cruise ships nowadays there were numerous ways for passengers to spend their money. I think that cruise rates are fairly reasonable and the ships rely on on-board revenue to top their coffers. In any event, passengers have the choice of spending or not spending. It is entirely possible to take an enjoyable cruise and keep spending at a modest level. For example, I did not buy a photograph of myself taken by the ship’s photographers. Their quality was excellent; depending on size, they cost from $14.95 to $24.95. One noticeable feature of the ship was that announcements on the public-address system were kept to the absolute minimum.

The 14-day cruise offered five ports of call: Malaga (including tours to Granada), Cadiz (tours to Seville), Lanzarote and La Palma (both in the Canary Islands) and Labadee (a tropical beach in the Caribbean). I took at tour of Lanzarote, which consisted mostly of a visit to the volcanic region of the island and its barren yet interesting and unusual landscape. La Palma is the capital of the island of Gomera and should not be confused with Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria.

We had five consecutive days at sea between La Gomera and Labadee, and there was no lack of activities or entertainment aboard the ship. The enrichment lectures were worth attending; entertainment ran from the excellent to the acceptable, at least in my opinion. I visited the two-deck-high library several times. It is a pleasant room and nicely furnished. The selection of books was adequate, but a fair number were in tattered condition. The spa seemed to do brisk business. Bar prices were in line with what most cruise ships charge nowadays.

There was an acupuncture clinic in the ship, but I did not use it. The Internet Café seemed to be busy. For 75 minutes of Internet time, the fee was $40. I heard that its operating speed was very slow, particularly when the ship was well out at sea.

Millennium reached Fort Lauderdale about six o’clock on a Sunday morning. While the ship had arranged the disembarkation procedures to maximize the efficiency and minimize the hassle, the United States Customs and Immigration Service had the final word, so I left the ship a bit later than I had expected.

To sum things up, my cruise had a nice balance of days in port and days at sea. I ate well, slept well and lived well. The arrangements made for me by The Cruise People worked very well.

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