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dbertell

May 21st Millennium Review (kinda long)

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My wife and I sailed on the May 21st sailing of the Celebrity Millennium in Europe. We flew from San Francisco and I'm 49 (13 cruises) and my wife is 55 and in wheelchair (5 cruises).

EMBARKATION: Smooth as it has ever been, but then we did get there kinda late (3:30) and the ship wasn't sailing from Venice until the next day so no hurry.

CABIN: Handicapped cabin #2022. Very nice with PLENTY of space, especially in the bathroom. Lots of drawers and shelves and comfortable beds with a small foldout couch and chair. Only drawback was opening of bathroom down would block access to part of the cabin by a wheelchair passenger. You would need to close the door to get by.

FOOD: We had been warned that the quality of food had gone down on Celebrity, but not on our cruise. The food was wonderful all over the ship. Great choices at breakfast at the Ocean Grill. You can use the buffet, have eggs cooked special, have a special omelette or very nice was the waffle grill in the back. Can be had with warm syrup, sugar free syrup, melted butter, cherries in syrup or even a deliscious orange butter. We had also been warned that Celebrity didn't know how to do pasta being a french kitchen. Let me tell you, being Italian, I know pasta and all of it I had was excellent. They didn't have that much in the dining room but did have one lunch buffer that was all Italian. It was wonderful. Great sauces and perfect pasta, especially the lasagna. You could also get custom pasta daily at the same stations you get omelettes in the morning. Never did venture to the Ocean Grill for dinner so cannot comment. The food and service in the dining room was excellent. Our waiter, Andreas, was from Croatia, and our assistant waiter, Oman, was from Indonesia. The menus were varied and although the same items were repeated (ie chicken or veal) they made it was prepared differently.
We did eat in the Olympic dining room the evening before our 4th anniversary. And it was every bit as good as people had said. The service is amazing. I'm sure that if you dropped a knife they would catch it before it hit the ground. Each and every dish was perfectly prepared. Taking previous recommondations, I had the goat cheese souffle for an appetizer and it was wonderful. After dinner they brought us an anniversary cake and the violin player played for my wife and I. After trying the cake, my wife had ordered the chef's desert surprise, a sampling of 6 small deserts. I had the chocolate souffle with hot sauce poured in the middle. Excellent. They they brought out a 3-tiered plate of petit fours which we sampled but nearly had to be wheeled out after 3 hours of eating.
We were just too tired to try any of the late night buffets or the bites they passed out late at night. But did see the fruit buffet display one night and it was lovely. It's also nice to know Celebrity has made the duties of the sommilier much easier now. They are only in charge of wine. There is another person in charge of taking other drink orders, alchohol, soft drinks or coffees. Makes for very good service and kudos to sommilier Gitana on our cruise, a lovely lady with a great personality.

PORTS: In Venice Celebrity provides a complimentary shuttle from where the ship docks to St. Mark's square, a nice feature not all ships do.

DUBROVNIK: Again they provide a shuttle to the center of the walled city. A lovely city with very friendly people and nice prices on lace and tablecloths (better than Venice we found).

ATHENS: We had a private guid here for the day who picked us up at the ship at 8 am along with another couple we met here from Colorado. We got our driver through Spiros who came highly recommended here and his name was Dmitris. Very nice distinguished gentleman who drove us around Athens in his Mercedes taxi. He will be driving for NBC when the Olympics begin. He took us first to the Acropolis to beat some of the crowds. Only bad thing was the wind was blowing 35 MPH on the top of the hill, but worth every minute to see. He also took us 40 miles outside Athens to Sounion to visit the ruins there. They we visited a Greek restaurant nearby right on the water in a very quiet bay. An unusual restaurant in that the seating was on the water side and the cooking part is across the 2-line road. The waiters had to walk the food across the road!

SANTORINI: Every bit as beautiful as people had said. We tendered into the town of Fira. But most of the town is on the top of the hill. You can walk (500 very long steps uphill), you can take the small funicular cars (6 per car) or take a donkee ride up the same steps you walk (therefore if you want to walk you do it early in the day!). I visited twice, once before lunch and again in the afternoon. Took the funicular up and down the first time and up again the second time. I rode the donkee down and that was fun once I got in synch with the donkee. Very nice shopping here for souvenirs and things native to Greece.

NAPLES: We took a taxi to visit the Archeological Museul where most of the items from Pompeii are being shown. Was fantastic touring the museum and seeing all the ancient items.

ROME: We had a private guide here also with our friends Charlie and Betty from Colorado. Found him online at driverinrome.com and his name was Angelino. He was tremendous and took us everywhere in Rome, even some places I don't think cars were allowed. We saw an awful lot in a day. And he took us to a restaurant his family likes and the food was fantastic.

FLORENCE: My wife and I were going to take the train from Livono into Florence but she had gotten worn out and stayed behind to rest. Was very easy to take the train and only cost 11.6 euros round trip. Just remember to have your ticket stamped at the machine near the trains. One couple didn't and got fined onboard. Was easy to take a taxi to the station in Livorno, buy a ticket and hop the train. Was in Florence by 10:20. Had a reservation to visit the Academia Museum and had a great time. Lovely 15th century paintings and of course the David which was larger than I thought.

VILLEFRANCE: Had been here once before and took my wife (after the tender ride) for a stroll along the waterfront. We went back for lunch and I came back in the afternoon. Tried to take the train to Monaco but missed it by 2 minutes and another one was nearly an hour away, didn't want to wait. Thought about Nice instead but just when I was confirming the schedule, that train pulled up. Not enough time to get a ticket and get to the other side of the tracks. Took a small tram that is near the dock for a tour that showed the area including the bordering town of Beaulieu.

BARCELONA: My wife and I were in the first group off the ship despite our flight not being till Noon. It was because the handicapped transfer we had asked for was ready and we hopped aboard for the ride to airport. Beat all the crowds. Flew from Barcelona to Munich to connect to a Lufthansa flight to San Francisco. Got lucky to be upgraded to business class seats in Munich for the 11 hour flight. That was TREMENDOUS.

All in all, having been on 13 cruises (and numerous lines) and my wife 5, we both felt this was a runaway winner for the best cruise. Great itinerary, lovely ship, but even better service and food than we could have hoped for. Can't wait for our next trip which will be on Celebrity!!

Dan Bertellotti

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Thanks for the nice review, My Husband and I are going on the Millennium trans-atlantic. We loved our cruise through the Panama Canal so we booked the trans-atlantic cruise. Lorelle

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Hi Dan,

We have been waiting for someone to write about this itinerary. We will be taking the same route in October. (Oh, it seems like such a long wait.) Thanks for the helpful review.

Do you remember which nights were the formal nights?

I know you will be receiving lots of questions from people, but this is the first one that came to mind.

Once again, thank you.

Fran

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Thanks for your wonderful review!

My husband and I are leaving Sunday for the exact same trip!

I would also like to know which nights are formal. Also, did you utilize the ship's laundry service? If so, how much was it?

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Dan--Thanks for the awesome review! We are doing that trip in September. DH was concerned about the food, but not anymore!
Missyal

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It all sounds wonderful. You must be tired!
Thank you for sharing. [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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Thanks for your great review, Dan.
We are booked on the Milli for a Med next May, and, you have made our wait even longer! I wish it were tomorrow.

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Thanks for all the nice words folks. Let's see if I can answer some of your questions. The formal nights for the Venice-Barcelona cruise were in Dubrovnik, the 2nd sea day and the Florence night. The laundry is pretty much what you would pay for dry cleaning on land. My wife had 3 dresses washed and pressed and also 3 nightgowns. Was around $25. You put it in by 9 am one day and back next afternoon. Any more questions, just ask.

Dan B.

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Dan --

What a nice review! Thank you for taking the time to write it.

Do you happen to remember what the showroom entertainment was each night (especially the production shows)? Also, how did you like it?

We'll be on the same cruise starting October 12th.

Thanks,
Cher

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We didn't see all the entertainment but I can comment. The Celebrity singers and dancers were very good and their last show (sorry can't remember the name) was extremely high energy and tremendous. They had a couple of acrobats who performed along with them and they were also very good. Our "name" entertainment was Pearl Kaufman. I know you are saying who?. Well so did I till we were told about her. She has played piano on many different movies including Dr. Zvivago, Rocky, The Godfather and many Henry Mancini movies. She was lovely and had some nice stories to tell. Her piano playing was very good and pleased the audience to no end, doing 2 shows. And she was very approachable. Saw her the next nite in the showroom, just watching the show by herself. There was also a comedian who was half Scottish and half Irish. And you knew that for sure. Saw him several times around the ship, always at a bar! There was an acapella group, but they were hit and miss. Also saw a magician but wasn't all that impressed. The room itself is lovely and I'm sure you will enjoy the shows on your cruise. We were just too worn out a couple of nights to even go with all the touring in Europe.

Dan B.

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Dan,

I read your comments about Spiros. That was great to know because we are using his company when in Athens, too.
By the way, when did they hold your Cruise Critic's Party?

Fran

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Since our cruise was Venice to Barcelona, they held it the first sea day, right after Dubrovnik.

Also make sure Spiros takes you to the restaurant near Sounion with the road down the middle. Sitting on one side of the road and kitchen on the other side of the road. It's great.

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Dan,

I also wanted to say GREAT review! I was raised close to you--Fremont!!

We're doing the opposite route--Barcelona-Venice! Throwing in another port stop--Mykonos! (not my 1st choice) Anyway, wonderful to hear about the guides & their accessibility to many different sites! I'm keeping your info for our trip!

Thanks again!

Rosie
E-mail me <a href="mailto:JNLROSE@AOL.COM">here</a href>

[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=0000ff&cdt=2004;11;26;17;0;00&timezone=GMT-0800[/img]
Look out MERCURY Here we come!!!

September 19, 2005--"Millie in the Med"--We're there!

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Dan,

Do you happen to remember how many men were wearing tuxedos on formal nights? (Just a rough idea ... more or less than half???)

Thanks,
Cher

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Dear DBertell,
Thank you for your lovely review. Reading it helped me relive that wonderful cruise. We were with you in the Cape Sounion restaurant although we were in a different car. Unfortunately, I had a breathing problem during the trip and couldn't do all the things I would like to have done. But the cruise was absolutely wonderful. In Santorini I did make it up the funicular to a restaurant and sat there while my daughter went shopping. When I got back to the ship, she went back and walked up the steps to the top. She loved it. I agree with you about the food. As far as the entertainment was concerned, we went to only one show. Unfortunately to get to the theater one had to walk through the casino and somehow or other we never got all the way through. The machines, by the way, were very tight although I did hear some people did win. We were supposed to stay in Barcelona until the 5th, but considering I was having so much trouble walking and breathing, we left on the 3rd. I was very disappointed because there was so much I wanted to see. Barcelona is a beautiful city and one of these days I'll go back.
My sister and I met you at the cruise critic party which was very nice. Too bad so few of us attended it. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the trip as much as I did.
Regards,

GinnyC

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