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.
Two decades later, Millennium is still a looker. She was the first to be renovated in Celebrity’s 2019 Celebrity Revolution.
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.
The ship boasts a 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 steam rooms; 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.
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.
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.”
Exclusive to suite guests, The Retreat is a private longue that features snacks and drinks throughout the day.
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:
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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