Celebrity Millennium Ship Review

Celebrity Millennium alongside Hubbard Glacier, Alaska. Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Millennium Overview

When the 91,000-ton, 1,950-guest Celebrity Millennium was launched in 2000, the world was on the cusp of a new millennium and Celebrity was building its first new ship since it was bought by Royal Caribbean three years earlier. The result was a beautiful vessel that offered more balcony cabins, dining options, and public rooms than any earlier Celebrity ship, while keeping the same focus on style and service.

A decade later, Millennium is still a looker, and in May 2012 she’ll be brought into the calendar millennium’s second decade through an extensive refurbishment, which will add many of the popular features from Celebrity’s newer Solstice-class ships and change the ship’s overall look to reflect the Solstice ships’ crisp lines and understated color palate.

Public Rooms On Celebrity Millennium

Celebrity Millennium's two-story Library, Words. Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

The heart of Millennium’s public areas is her Grand Foyer, a rectangular, three-deck atrium dominated by a translucent, backlit onyx stairway that glows beneath your feet, making you feel like a movie star. Entertainment venues include the three-deck Celebrity Theater in the bow, the clubby Michael’s Club piano bar, the contemporary Rendez-Vous Lounge, Fortunes Casino, and the elegant Constellation Observation Lounge and disco.

Once her 2012 refurbishment is complete, the ship will also boast a new Martini Bar with an ice-topped bar and ice-filled table for chilled vodkas; the comfortable Café al Bacio and Gelateria for specialty coffees and ice cream; the Cellarmasters wine bar, featuring wines dispensed by the glass at the push of a button; and the Celebrity iLounge, a high-style space where you can take classes from Apple-certified staff, browse the web on MacBook Pro laptops, or buy the latest Apple iPods and laptops, and other gadgets, duty free.

Millennium’s 25,000-square-foot spa is an oasis of aromatherapy steamrooms; rooms for massages, facials, and more esoteric treatments; and a soothing thalassotherapy pool ringed with comfortable lounge chairs under a glass solarium roof. Next door to the spa is a large gym. Farther astern on the same deck, the beautifully designed pool deck offers two pools and four hot tubs, plus lots of comfortable seating nooks. One deck up, the kids’ Fun Factory has a wading pool, indoor and outdoor jungle gyms, a computer room, and more. One deck above that, the Sports Deck has facilities for basketball, volleyball, and paddle tennis.

Dining On Celebrity Millennium

At dinnertime, Millennium guests have several options. Straddling the Entertainment Deck and Promenade Deck, the Metropolitan Restaurant is a beautiful room with a dramatic double staircase, huge windows facing out over the stern, and oversize porthole view windows to port and starboard.

Millennium’s main specialty restaurant is the stunning, Edwardian-style Olympic restaurant, which is decorated with several dozen handcarved walnut wall panels salvaged from the A La Carte restaurant on the White Star liner Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic. The long, leisurely meals here are designed to give guests a taste of what it was like to sail aboard the old-time liners, with period music and decor, over-the-top service, and a continental menu that features dishes originally served aboard Olympic, plus fiery flambéed dishes cooked right at your table.

Two new specialty restaurants are being added to Millennium as part of her 2012 refurbishment: the high-style Tuscan Grille, which will offer a menu heavy on steaks and pastas; and Blu, serving light and healthy menu items to guests booked in the ship’s spa-oriented AquaClass staterooms (plus other guests when there’s availability).

For more casual dining, the Ocean Cafe and Ocean Grill buffet restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while another new option, Bistro on Five, will serve a casual menu of sandwiches, crepes, salads, soups, and other comfort foods.

Celebrity Millennium Staterooms & Suites

The warm, inviting bedroom in one of Celebrity Millennium's top suites. Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Though only average sized at around 170 square feet, Millennium’s standard cabins are comfortable and nicely designed, with a small sitting area, ample storage space, a minibar, and all the usual amenities.

Concierge-class cabins are a little bigger at 191 square feet and come with plush perks like a pillow menu, welcome champagne, upgraded bedding, and priority access to restaurant and excursion reservation and other onboard events.

The adults-only AquaClass staterooms, added during Millennium’s 2012 remake, promote a “wellness” experience through special music/sound and aromatherapy options, jetted bodywash showers, pillow menus, and perks like free use of the spa’s Persian Garden aromatherapy steam room and relaxation room, and access to the wellness restaurant Blu.

Family Ocean View staterooms in the stern are considerably roomier at 271 square feet and have a partitioned-off sitting area with sofa bed, plus an absolutely huge 242-square-foot private balcony.

Suites range from the 251-square-foot Sky Suites to the massive 1,432-square-foot Penthouse Suites with their marble foyers, baby grand pianos, oceanview bathrooms, and 1,098-square-foot verandas with whirlpool tub and full bar. I call that “the lap of luxury.”

Avid Cruiser’s 2006 Celebrity Millenium Cruise Review

Sister ships: Infinity, Summit, Constellation

Ship capacity: 1,950 based on double occupancy

On our sailing: 1,890 passengers. A summary of nationalities from the passenger manifest looked like the roll call for a United Nations’ meeting. We met Russians, Danes, Swedes, South Americans, Greeks, Chinese, Brits, Irish and Dutch.

Announcements came in four languages: English, French, Spanish and German. Each day, we saw Asians playing board games at card tables and Spaniards dancing (and singing) to live performances by Spanish guitarist Pepe de Lopez (pictured). This was truly an international cruise.
“Usually, North Americans make up the majority of cruise passengers on Celebrity,” says Renato Chizzola, Millennium’s Hotel Director. “However, on this itinerary almost half are international.”

Our stateroom: We cruised ConciergeClass, a program that offers 25 additional services and amenities for guests who pay an average 15 percent upcharge. OnMillennium (and on other Millennium-class vessels) Premium Oceanview with Veranda staterooms (191 square feet) on Sky Deck are designated ConciergeClass staterooms. Each Millennium-class vessels features 228 ConciergeClass staterooms.

Is ConciergeClass worth the additional outlay? “It certainly helps with the little things that irritate, such as standing in line,” says frequent Celebrity cruiser David Ingall (pictured), from North Yorkshire in England. “We checked in much more quickly, and it will be a big advantage getting off, because we have a flight at noon.” ConciergeClass guests get priority for dining reservations, shore excursions, luggage delivery, embarkation and disembarkation.

Within 30 minutes of arriving by taxi at the cruise terminal, I was inserting the key into stateroom 9133, shortly after 11 a.m., an amazing feat given that passengers had only disembarked this morning. A bottle of champagne, a bowl of fruit and fresh flowers awaited my traveling companion and me, all complimentary upgrades for ConciergeClass guests.

Mary, our delightful stateroom attendant, delivered the pillow menu, another perk that allows ConciergeClass guests to choose between four types of pillows. The most popular, Mary told us, was Isotonic, described as a slow-acting, marshmallow-like foam that reacts to your body temperature and physique to provide true, customized relaxation. Clearly this is much more than a pillow.

ConciergeClass bedding offers duvets instead of blankets and pillow-top mattresses. There are upgrades in the bathrooms ranging from oversized Egyptian cotton towels to double-thick Frette bathrobes.

ConciergeClass guests also order from a special room service menu that offers fruit smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices not offered on standard stateroom menus as well as an 11 a.m. cut-off for breakfast room service as opposed to 10 a.m. for standard stateroom guests.

During the cruise, we also made use of the ConciergeClass priority tender passes left in our staterooms each night before calling on ports where tendering was required. The tender priority passes are particularly valuable if you’re doing shore excursions on your own.

ConciergeClass amenities also extend to the 41-square-foot veranda, which features a table large enough for dining al fresco (a good place to consume the canapes delivered daily to ConciergeClass guests), cushioned chairs, and high-powered binoculars for zooming in on scenery throughout the cruise.

Millennium Moments We Enjoyed:

  • Breakfast in the AquaSpa Cafe on deck 10 forward. We went there almost daily for the Light and Healthy Breakfast served from 7 a.m. till 10 a.m. And occasionally we went for lunch or dinner during Healthy Choice All Day Dining from noon until 8 p.m.
  • Custom-made pizza at midnight. From noon to 1 a.m., choose from more than a dozen toppings to make your own pizza. Located on deck 10 aft in the Casual Dining Boulevard.
  • Pre-dinner snacks at the Sushi Cafe. Open from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. on deck 10 aft in the Casual Dining Boulevard.
  • Dinner at The Olympic restaurant, featuring Edwardian decor highlighted by the original paneling from the premier restaurant on the classic liner Olympic, sister of the Titanic. Additional charge for dining in the reservations-only restaurant: $30 with an optional wine pairing package available for $27.
  • High Seas Computer Center. Jam packed each sea day for those interested in learning more about how to master their computers. Classes included several levels of learning Adobe Photoshop Elements.
  • Sending e-mail for $2 per message. There’s no charge while you’re composing, so take as long as you like. The $2 charge to send (or receive) covers the first 100 kilobytes of text (about 18 pages of text). For simple text messages, this is the way to go. You’ll receive a unique e-mail address for the cruise, and you’ll be alerted by a message on your stateroom phone when you receive an e-mail. Internet is also available (including WIFI in many public areas) for 75 cents a minute, with packages available that take the per-minute price to as low as 50 cents.
  • Cova Café and Patisseria. The hot spot each afternoon, as passengers danced (photo, right) to the music of Spanish guitarist Pepe de Lopez. Grab a glass of wine or a cappuccino, and be sure to visit the Patisseria before 11 a.m. for freshly baked almond croissants.
  • Staff. From the European-trained dining room staff to the room attendants, service on Millennium was exceptionally friendly and professional.

The Bottom Line
Built in 2000, Millennium continues to impress — and improve, particularly with such additions as Acupuncture at Sea, the High Seas Computer Center and ConciergeClass. Mid-size Millennium offers a slew of amenities and public areas for a vessel designed to carry slightly south of 2,000 passengers. While Millennium’s ambience was lively, those seeking a serene experience will have no trouble finding quiet and intimate areas.

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  • M

    Celebrity did not keep the word. We were on the ship that had problems in Alaska and the trip was cancelled. The company promised 100% refund; today 9/07 we received our refund directly to our CC… $1248 each……They did not cover part chargers- Are you serious? The trip was cancelled and we visited only one port and insurance . Are you serious???? We lost so far $500 . The company rep told me that it is my obligation to cover these fees. It is very strange. They still have to cover air fair, food, and trips. Now I am not sure what will happen with these items. How can I replace the cruise knowing that you do not keep your word. You can ruin another trip for us next year as well to see and do what we couldn’t this year for $1200??? Shame on Celebrity Cruise Line.

  • 5000Europa

    Millennium 14.6.2013

    We sailed the Celebrity Millennium 3 times prior to her
    refurbishing in April 2012. During these 3 sailings, she had become one of our
    favorite cruise ships. Based on that liking, and earlier pleasant sailings on
    the older Celebrity vessels Galaxy and Century, we assumed the Solstice class ships
    would be superior to the earlier Millennium class, thus we sailed a
    Mediterranean B2B in 2012 on the Solstice and booked our Asia B2B2B, Singapore
    to Vancouver, BC trip, for 2014 on the favored Millennium. Though the Solstice
    had not meet our expectations, we were extremely disappointed, when Celebrity
    suddenly eliminated one of Millennium’s scheduled Asia segments leaving us no
    choice other than to cancel our 2014 Asia trip, and replace it with
    comprehensive Europe sailings on a new Celebrity ship. Nonetheless, we targeted
    the same, originally offered Asia Millennium itinerary again for 2015 when
    Celebrity repeated its initial 2014 itinerary.

    Luckily, the opportunity arose to choose our then still favorite
    Millennium for an ad hoc stint to Alaska in June 2013, prior to the anticipated
    46 day long Asia voyage in 2015. At first, we planned to sail her as a B2B, but
    after some consideration decided to stay for several days exploring
    Anchorage-Denali-and the Copper Valley area before returning south. Thus, we
    bit the bullet of repeated unpacking, luggage handling and additional checking
    in procedures by using a different cruise ship from Vancouver, BC Canada to
    Whittier, AK to book the Millennium for our
    return voyage from Seward, AK to Vancouver, BC Canada.

    Upon returning home, we cancelled all bookings for our 2014
    and 2015 Celebrity cruising, extremely grateful that we ‘survived’ the 7 day
    lasting trip just endured on the Millennium, our previously favorite cruise ship.

    Below follows a somewhat detailed report with pictures
    delineating our experience and consequent disappointment.

    Prior to ‘refurbishing’ in April 2012, the Millennium was a well-designed
    ship with good traffic flow, plenty open deck spaces, friendly and efficient
    crew, impeccable dining room personnel, the usual adequate dining room menu, ok
    lunch buffet selections (mediocre in the evening) and tasteful, warm décor
    throughout. She was in generally good condition, except for some cosmetic wear
    and tear plus minor blemishes, but, we
    assumed, was surely to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, after refurbishing , – to be even more beautiful
    and better than before since she was also to undergo the highly advertised
    enhancement of ‘solstitizing’ as part of the refurbishing process.

    We arrived in Seward, AK port @ about 13:00 hours,
    anticipating that we would then be able to immediately go to our stateroom. The
    check in was fast, efficient and painless; so indeed, we were on board by 13:25
    hours. We were greeted with the
    question, whether we would like to go to the buffet for lunch or to our
    stateroom first. Our choice was the stateroom to lie down after a few strenuous
    days of exciting exploration and adventures between Anchorage and Fairbanks and
    an early morning train departure.

    Our ship’s escort leading the way to the stateroom found the
    hallway door to the rooms still closed, thus surmised the rooms may not be
    ready. By now it was 13:35 hours and we made our way to the reception desk
    asking for access to the room. At that
    time wheelchair bound, citing the need to lie down and having scheduled our
    boarding to co-inside with the customary access time to the stateroom.

    The receptionist then called the International Customer Service Representative who introduced himself,
    grimacing a smile, as Steven De Winter;
    a curt, unpleasant, slimy chap who arrogantly stated that he had not yet
    released the announcement for stateroom occupancy. Therefore, we could not go
    to our stateroom until he announces that they are ready. Wheelchair bound, I
    pointed out, that I really would like to lie down, that it was now past 13:45
    hours and customarily, staterooms are available at the latest @ 13.30 and room
    stewards likely moved on to getting checked-in luggage ready for stateroom
    delivery. His reply was, that Celebrity
    is a very special cruise line and does things much different than other cruise
    lines, but I would be welcome to go down
    to the sick-bay and lay down on a stretcher until he releases the rooms for
    occupancy.

    Less than 3 minutes later, his loudspeaker announcement released
    all cabins.

    The stateroom was as expected from previous sailings. The
    room steward introduced himself later that evening – checked in luggage arrived
    by midafternoon. The lunch buffet
    featured the previously experienced luke warm, dried out “Paella” (in name
    only) and other standard buffet style fair including the heavily watered down
    lemonade.

    Except for the “Paella-Welcome-Specialty”, the buffet choices
    remained more or less the same throughout the 7 day cruise. A circumstance particularly unpleasant as the main dining room was closed for lunch
    every day, except on the first sea-day and the last sea day, opening for
    the Brunch Buffet in which all daily breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet choices
    were lined up together, but now were presented among Ice sculptures and other
    colorful decorations.

    Unfortunately, extraordinarily inattentive dining room
    personal failed to serve coffee or water, or juice until after one was seated
    for quite some time, almost having finished the first course of brunch. Moreover, very unpleasant, was the fact that
    no-one of the dining room waiters cleaned up the tables of those people who had
    left, or the used plates on our table. Thus, we were surrounded by seven
    tables, fully laden with dirty dishes up to and including our departure from
    the dining room. The personnel, largely Serbian, Slovenian and Croatian servers,
    avoided eye contact, and were certainly not inclined to clear tables;
    presumably, that was to be someone else’s responsibility who was apparently not
    in attendance.

    Dinner at the dining room had sufficient choices of well-prepared
    good quality food, we were served by some excellent waiters and some so, so –
    but still OK waiters in the “my time dining” section of the upper level.

    Less pleasant was the bickering of some female waiters on
    the outer buffet deck, who among themselves discussed their misfortune,
    disappointment and unjust treatment experienced working on this ship, without
    any regard to nearby sitting guests who could not help overhearing their loud
    complaints while clearing tables with disgusted faces.

    The ship itself is in desperate need of eliminating the
    obvious signs of neglect without subjecting on- board passengers to its upkeep,
    repairs and maintenance.

    There were too many issues to mention: an example of some
    is:

    Mint tea bag hunt,

    Broken Solarium windows,

    Missing top railing on upper aft decks,

    Double loungers placed next to pool get constantly wet from
    water plashes

    Loungers on upper decks remained unusable and tried together

    Loungers were dirty and partly broken

    Balconies added in recent ‘upgrading improvements’ are in
    part not covered and lack privacy

    Etc.

    Etc.

    Etc.

    In the meantime complaints from outraged passengers on board
    the Millennium have escalated. Thus, without going into further details, as I
    am resenting the time already spent on the unpleasant task re-living the
    journey, I refer to the reviews of others and the complete failing of
    Celebrity’s Cruise Ship Millennium’s operational functions in Seward and
    Ketchikan , AK. were they prematurely disembarked all passengers.

    Celebrity cancelled its remaining Alaska sailing season 2013
    for the defunct Millennium, planning to maneuver her into dry dock for taking
    care of the desperately needed maintenance and repairs. Unfortunately, these
    obviously needed repairs had not been done prior to subjecting boarded and
    sailing passengers, including those booked for August/September, to despair,
    inconvenience and costly repercussions in addition to their now ruined
    holidays.

    Well done, Celebrity – you are “truly special and do it very
    differently”, reverberating the statement of STEVEN DE WINTER, the on Board
    International Customer Relations Executive.

  • Pingback: In Pictures: Celebrity Millennium and Rhapsody of the Seas in Vancouver | From The Deck Chair

  • theavidcruiser

    Cruise lines could do a lot to improve connectivity. It’s the most frustrating part of a cruise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.bergthold.3 Mark Bergthold

    Wireless access? Internet connection? So slow it was virtually useless. If not for the free 45 min package for Elite members, we wouldn’t have used it. It took almost the full 90 minutes to accomplish what we could’ve done at home in less than 10 minutes.

  • theavidcruiser

    Good question. They have to wake up one day . . .

  • Slosh123

    Why do cruise ships continue to rape you for an internet connection?  Its available on airplanes and even in McDonalds for free or a very reasonable price!