Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Host Joe

Review- Millennium 11/10-11/24/06

Recommended Posts

Celebrity Millennium Nov 10-24, 2006

Review by Host Joe

 

November 9, 2006- Pre-Cruise

 

We flew in a day early to Venice. After arriving at the airport we took the Aliliguna “Oro”, from the docks near the airport, which are about a 5 minute walk away. This boat service was $25 Euro per person, and took us directly to San Marco. We were able to bring all of our luggage with us at no extra charge, and we ended up being the only people onboard! We bought the tickets right at the dock.

 

Once at the dock, we set off to find our hotel that I had booked online, Liassidi Palace. It was about a 5 minute walk to the hotel. When we got there, they informed us that they were overbooked, but were setting us up with an upgraded hotel right on the waterfront. They walked us to the Londra Palace hotel, which was right in front of the dock that we had just been docked at! The hotel was fabulous, and I highly recommend it!

 

November 10, 2006- Embarkation

 

We asked the hotel for help with a taxi, and the bellman walked us out the door and walked us right to a taxi boat. The service was $70 Euro, which is steep, but with luggage and all you don’t have much of a choice!

 

The taxi boat took us right to the bow of Millennium! There was a Celebrity rep there that took our luggage right from the taxi boat and we were off! We walked up to the building where they were doing the embarkation. It was 11am exactly. There was virtually no line. We were greeted pleasantly, got our cards, then got on a little bus that took us right to the gangway. We were the first two people to walk on, which was a very fun feeling. We were greeted with champagne and smiles.

 

After lunch we went to our stateroom, 7019, balcony cabin. We loved it! It was one of the very forward cabins that are kind of “framed”, and we thought it was very unique and fun. The stateroom was in excellent condition, with new bedding, and everything was in great shape.

 

After getting settled a bit, we walked back off Millennium to take the shuttle boat service that Celebrity offered. It was $15 per person, and included unlimited service to and from San Marco. What a deal! As noted above, it cost us $70 Euro just one way to get to the ship.

 

We returned to the ship after a day of exploring Venice, and there was open seating tonight. Before dinner we went to the martini bar, and quickly found who our favorite bartender would be… his name is Tipat or “TJ”.

 

November 11, 2006- Venice, Italy

 

We took the shuttle in to San Marco, and just spent the day exploring around. We were not going to do a gondola, but finally decided to do it. It was $70 Euro, and was kind of short, but a lot of fun and glad we did it. The Murano glass in all of the shops was too good to resist, and we bought quite a few pieces. We also bought a gorgeous tapestry. I never dreamed there would be so much irresistible shopping in Venice! We departed Venice at 7pm.

 

November 12, 2006- Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

We took the Celebrity shuttle into town, which was $10pp and well worth it… the walk into town looked very long! We walked right off where the bus dropped us and started our way to walk the “Wall” which surrounds the old city. We first had to change a little money into their currency, Puna. There is basically 5 puna to each US dollar. It cost 50 Puna per person to walk the wall. It took us 2 ½ hours to walk the entire wall, and it was awesome! I took about 200 pictures… from the quaint rooflines of the city, to the magnificent views of the water. After walking the wall we walked inside the absolutely pristine streets of the old city. We had lunch at a local bistro, and then coffee to warm up a bit after that. Being fall, it was in the 50’s, which was really perfect for all of the walking we did.

 

November 13, 2006- Day at Sea

 

We did nothing but explore the ship all day. Now is a great time to mention just how beautiful Millennium is. For being nearly 7 years old, we both felt that she has been well maintained. Now, anyone wanting to look for faults can certainly find them, but I prefer not to seek things out unless they hit you, and there was never anything that hit us at all. The food in the dining room has been fabulous, much better than what I have experienced on ships in the past year. I love that Celebrity has added escargot to the nightly optional menu! We had to drop our passports with Celebrity during the day today, and they will hold them until we are done with our last Greek port.

 

November 14, 2006- Mykonos, Greece

 

We used the Celebrity shuttle service again, $10pp round trip and again well worth it. The shuttle dropped right at the edge of town. We spent the day just wandering around the quaint village, shopping and enjoying a nice Greek lunch on the waters edge.

 

November 15, 2006- Kusadasi, Turkey

 

We were not going to go into this port at first, due to some of the new reports that we had heard about unrest. When we arrived, we looked at what looked like a nice resort town and decided to walk on shore and just play it by ear. We felt good, so we hired a cab for the morning to take us to Ephesus, $60 Euro round trip and the driver would wait for us as we toured Ephesus… in a meticulous 1964 Chevy BelAir! Once at Ephesus, we were approached by a guide who offered $40 US to take us through Ephesus, and we agreed. It took us about an hour to go through, and it was worth it. When we walked out our driver was right there, and asked what we would like to do next. We chose to visit a rug factory, so he took us to his favorite one. What an experience! It was fun to see how the rugs are made, but they are so expensive, we opted to just take away the experience of it.

 

After the taxi driver took us back to the port area is when things took a turn. The driver offered to show us a great place to shop. He took us into the shopping are near the ship to his friends place. Before we knew it, we were upstairs of this persons store, being spun around in front of a mirror with the ugliest leather coat with a fur collar I have ever seen. These people are smooth. I quickly gained my composure and explained that we were not interested in leather anything. They rushed us downstairs to a sofa in front of a jewelry counter. I quickly said we were hungry and would maybe come back later… wrong… they own a restaurant, and offered a “free” lunch.. I said no, that we needed to go onto the ship and make an important phone call. This was a good one, as it stopped them in there tracks! What we learned about Turkey is that they are the hardest sellers we have every experienced and that it was very uncomfortable. They need to learn that if they do not do this to people they would probably sell more!

 

We left the selling area, and walked along the waterfront. This was a gorgeous walk, and we stopped and had a wonderful lunch along the waterfront. We then tried “Turkish Coffee”. In a word, yuck! It is coffee full of very fine coffee grounds… kind of looks like mud. I will stick to latte’s, thank you!

 

November 16, 2006- Athens, Greece

 

This was one of the few ports that we did a ships shore excursion to see the Acropolis, etc. We boarded a big old bus full of other passengers and headed out. Our guide had a monotone boring voice, and within minutes we all were virtually comatose! The highlight was going to see the Parthenon, although I have to say that we were absolutely stunned at how much pollution hangs over the big dirty city of Athens! After the visit to the Acropolis, we had the option of being dropped at the Placa area. We chose to stay and visit the Placa, and this is where Celebrity really had it together. We instantly were greeted by a Celebrity rep, who asked us what we wanted to do downtown…. We said lunch, then shopping. He walked us to a quaint little lunch spot, called Dion’s where it was only $10 Euro for lunch. After that we were guided by our Celebrity rep to where to shop and he told us to come back to see him when were done and he would get us a cab back to the ship. I did not feel that comfortable here, so our shopping was kind of brief. I was glad that we had our neck wallets here. We had a cab back to the ship, and got back onboard.

 

November 17, 2006- Santorini, Greece

 

When we woke up I was absolutely in awe with the views from our balcony! It reminded me of a cross between Hawaii and Alaska! We tendered ashore, and had the option of taking a donkey to the top or a cable car. We opted for the less smelly option, the cable car. It is $3.50 Euro pp each way. Once up on top, we spent a wonderful day just walking around, taking in the views and shopping. We had lunch at one of the many cliff side café’s. It was magnificent! We took in one of the best sunsets ever before heading back to the ship.

 

November 18, 2006- Day at Sea

 

A much needed day of rest! Relaxing in the T-pool, and just enjoying the beauty of the ship all day was fantastic. We were able to pick up our passports today, and kept them for the remainder of the cruise. We had dinner at the Olympic tonight. What a great experience… not to be missed and worth every penny of the $30 pp surcharge!

 

November 19, 2006- Naples, Italy

 

We had a private tour booked with other of our Cruise Critic friends, there were 8 of us sharing the tour… what a way to do it! We were booked with Marcello Maresca from SeeSorrento.com. Marcello is a crazy guy! What a fantastic tour! We were fully entertained all day long! Our first stop was Pompeii, where Marcello had arranged for a private guide. Pompeii is not to be missed. Next we went for a drive along the Amalfi Coastline. Marcello knows where to stop for the best pictures, and he goes everywhere the big tours don’t to create a fantastic experience. He took to one of his “secret” restaurant spots for a meal that I will never forget… all homemade, all absolutely delicious! It was a great day, thanks to our wonderful guide!

 

November 20, 2006- Civitevecchia, (Rome), Italy

 

Again we had a private tour with Cruise Critic friends. We were booked with Stefano from Rome Cabs. Stefano had our tour down to a science. After a stop at the Colliseum, we headed for the Vatican. As we approached the Vatican, Stefano pointed out the line that was wrapped around for a couple of blocks wating to get in. My stomach went into knots… I did not want to wait in that line! No worries, he had a guide that had been waiting in line all morning, so that when we pulled up we just got in line with her and in less than 5 minutes we were in the Vatican! After a fantastic tour of the Vatican including the Sistine Chapel, we went on to see the Trevi fountain and the Spanish steps. We went back to the Vatican area so that we could see St. Peter’s basilica as it had been closed when we did our tour. After that, we headed back to the ship, which is about 1-1 ½ hours away from Rome.

 

November 21, 2006- Livorno, (Florence & Pisa), Italy

 

We again were booked on a small tour with Cruise Critic friends. We were booked with Guido, Tuscany In My Pocket. Our day started with going to see the “real” David, then a walk on our own to see the Ponte Di Vechio bridge and the Duomo. After that, Guido had set up a wonderful lunch and wine tasting at a little wine shop… this was another fantastic experience that I will never ever forget! After a stop for some fantastic gelato, we headed for Pisa. By now it was raining like crazy, and Guido asked if we really wanted to see Pisa in the pouring rain and although others had already “been there”, I voiced that I really wanted to see it even if it meant standing in the pouring rain! We were only there a few minutes, but the rain actually stopped during that time so we ended up with some great pics of me “holding up” the leaning tower! (you have to be a tourist some times!) I was a bit nervous as we left, as Guido was telling how when it rains hard they sometimes close some roads… and they did! Luckily, Guido knew how to get around and get us back to the ship in plenty of time! Leaving the port was interesting that night, as the wind was blowing so hard and the waves were huge! Millennium handled everything wonderful, though!

 

November 22, 2006- Villefranche, France

 

Once again, we were booked with Cruise Critic friends on a small private tour. This time we were with Dreamtours. After our short tender ride, we joined our guide. Our first stop was at a perfumery. It was an ok stop, but nothing was too interesting to us. Next was the small town of Eze, perched at the top of cliffs overlooking the water. We had about an hour to walk through… we took many pictures of this quaint town. Next up was a stop in Nice. We were dropped at the edge of the farmers market, where we really enjoyed seeing all of the olives, fruits and vegetables. Best of all, I quickly found the pastry area, where I tried my first real croissant… and another… and another.. All I can say is that I am really glad that they do not make them anything like that here in the US, or I would be in trouble! They were so good! Next we went to St. Paul De Vence, another small quaint walled city. We had a quick lunch here and then walked around and took pictures. We found the shop keepers here to be rude and nasty, to be quite blunt! We then headed for Monaco. We had time on our own to visit the Monte Carlo casino, but I refused to pay the $10 Euro pp entry fee, so we took a pic of the store front and then went to the Choclaterie… where we had some luscious chocolate treats! After a stop to see where Grace Kelly is laid to rest, we headed back to the ship.

 

November 23, 2006- Barcelona, Spain

 

We arrived at 2pm, so we were able to rest a bit in the morning. Upon arrival, we had booked a short tour through the ship to see the city and Gaudi. So glad that we did this, even though we hate the big bus tours. We got a real feeling for the city this way. We had a great stop at Segardia De Familia church and tour inside then to Park Guell. This was Thanksgiving, and we had a great evening with our table mates and farewell drinks with friends at the Martini Bar, enjoying Tipat’s (TJ) fantastic humor and martini’s.

 

November 24, 2006- Debarkation, Barcelona, Spain

 

We opted for the latest time off the ship, which was 9am. I love Celebrity’s no announcement policy, and the way they debark. We just had a quiet breakfast, then walked off the ship at 9am. We got a taxi van, which there was a wait for them as the cars are so small! It was $25 Euro flat rate to our hotel, Hotel Barcelona Universal. I cannot recommend this hotel, not that it was bad… just kind of weird and the location was advertised as near Las Ramblas, which it is really 2 or 3 blocks away. The hotel was clean and neat… but our room was like an inside cabin, with no window to the outside!

 

During our time in Barcelona we bought a 2 day pass on the Bus Turistic for $22 Euro pp, which is a network of double-decker, top-open buses that stop all over the city at tourist destinations. This is the way to see Barcelona! The buses have 3 different routes, and at any stop you can get a bus within 10 minutes. We saw many sites, and it was wonderful. We went to the top of the Columbus monument… warning! The elevator is tiny (2-3 people, tightly!), and the top is very claustrophobic, you can hardly move! We discovered on our last night that if you head just to the right of Las Ramblas (with your back to the pier area), that there are streets upon streets of wonderful shops and restaurants. We thought that Las Ramblas was “it” and frankly we were not that impressed as it was a bit “seedy”…. however this other area was wonderful and we spent hours just walking around!

 

We took a taxi to the airport after our 2 nights in Barcelona on our own.

 

Ending thoughts

 

We walked away from this cruise so glad that we did it… but in the future we would never do another 14 day cruise with only 2 days at sea… it was crazy busy and we were absolutely worn out! Not to mention the major 6 and 7 hour time differences and jetlag that causes!

 

We believe that fall is a great time to visit the Med, as crowds were at a minimum and the temps were great for touring. We were concerned that it might be too cold, but it really wasn’t considering how active we were!

 

All in all, it was one of the best cruises we have ever done! The combination of the magnificent Celebrity Millenium and her staff, our friends from Cruise Critic, the wonderful guides and of course the beautiful ports made for an unforgettable vacation!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I meant to add...

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:) Hi Joe, thanks, what a great review! I totally

enjoyed it.

I will be on Millie 2 weeks from Sunday. Different itinerary

of course;) but hopefully I will enjoy the ship

as much as ya'll did!

 

So, TJ is "The Man" in the Martini Bar?

That is my hangout before dinner!

 

Who was your dining room staff? Waiter...Maitr'd?

 

Thanks:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Lois! I am glad that you enjoyed my review... it took me forever to write!

 

Some bad news on TJ... he was leaving for his break when we got off the ship and will not be back until January or Feb... however, his friend, who worked on the "smoking side" of the Martini Bar and came over often was also fantastic. His name escapes me, but he is from Turkey and is also very good!

 

Our waitstaff were Ante and Lazaro... both were excellent. Maitre'd, I cannot remember his name.

 

You will love Millie... if you think of any other questions feel free to ask!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Joe, thanks:)

 

I guess I am one of the lucky ones, both of my previous

M-class cruises have gone without a hitch;)

and my C-class too of course:D

I have been on Constellation and Summit, loved both.

This is my first time on Millie. Your review is a breath

of fresh air for me and I am sure it will be a great week!

Oh, whoever is bartending I am betting will be just fine.

 

I don't want to get off topic since this thread

is about your experience....suffice to say I am

glad you had such a wonderful time:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the review Joe. We'll be on a similar itinerary on Millie a year from now, so your review was of special interest to me. My main concern about the cruise was the weather in the Med this time of year, but it looks like we could potentially have your good luck next year. I actually would prefer it a little cooler than the sweltering days typical during mid-summer. I'm more concerned about avoiding the rain.

 

Thanks again for the great review. I'll need to start planning my shore excursions soon!

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lois- I am on Constellation for the first time this winter.. I am excited about that, too! I know you will enjoy Millie! My favorite martini's were the Apple and the Vanilla!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris,

 

I am glad that the review was helpful to you... I hope you have as good of weather as we did! We really had only one day of rain and the temps as I mentioned were awesome! I think I looked at the itinerary for next year and it is not quite so intense, I believe you will have more rest time, which is a good thing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Joe!

 

Super review! Lauren and I are also boarding the Millennium on the 17th of December (w/ Lois and gang!) and we are in cabin 7019. :rolleyes: :)

Can't wait, as we both love the Millennium!

 

Thanks again for the great review!

Kel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Joe

Love your review and all the details. We are looking to book a med cruise in Oct/Nov so glad to hear that other than the rain the weather was good.

 

PS. I think I met you on the Cruise Critic Freedom cruise in October. If so, just wanted to say hi and nice meeting you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Joe!

 

Super review! Lauren and I are also boarding the Millennium on the 17th of December (w/ Lois and gang!) and we are in cabin 7019. :rolleyes: :)

Can't wait, as we both love the Millennium!

 

Thanks again for the great review!

Kel

 

Hi Kel! You will love 7019... the little structure outside the balcony kind of frames in the balcony, great for sunset shots!

 

Have a great cruise!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Joe

Love your review and all the details. We are looking to book a med cruise in Oct/Nov so glad to hear that other than the rain the weather was good.

 

PS. I think I met you on the Cruise Critic Freedom cruise in October. If so, just wanted to say hi and nice meeting you.

 

Hi Mary, yes we did meet as we were on Freedom in October!

 

Luckily the rain was pretty much only for afternoon... so out of the 18 days we were over there I think that is great! One hint... bring layers! We even ended up buying a couple of those pack-it jackets and just attaching them to our sides on days that we looked out and thought we would not need them... there were many times that we were glad we had them when a slight breeze came up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review Joe - We were on the same trip in the cabin right next door to Joe. 7021 was great. The little frame just added to the ambience. We loved everything about the trip and didn't mind only 2 sea days. We knew this was going to be a sightseeing trip and not a relaxing one..although we did use the T-pool on several days after touring. In Nice we did a private tour with other cc friends and we used Sylvie. She was fantastic and I'd highly recommend her. It was just a perfect trip and I would recommend it to anyone. Oh...we stayed in Barcelona at the Continental Palacete and it was terrific.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Sandy! It was great to meet you on the trip!

 

What a hoot running into you in Barcelona after the cruise... it is always nice to see a familiar face!

 

Glad to hear that your hotel was so nice... ours was too, just a little weird as I described above :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

great review Joe!!.glad you enjoyed the cruise and the Millie.. your details make a good print out for future med cruisers!!!!. makes us Millie orphans feel really cheated now.. I will probably use my free cruise for Millie .. wish they would let us use it for a Med cruise :)... I know,, i'm greedy.. lol..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on the Millie this summer with almost the same itinerary. Your review made me feel like we were there again. We also did small guided tours to the same places and enjoyed it all. I agree that the ship was in great condition and the food was fabulous. The staff was friendly and very accomodating. There are some who could find fault with the ship but we didn't go looking for things and consequently didn't find anything that affected our cruise. It was a trip of a lifetime!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Joe:

Do you remember the name of the master and CD? I just want to update the Who's Where thread.

 

You cruised our favorite destinations. We just can't get enough of the Med.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for your great review! We are on the Millie in an AFT cabin (our first) next October. After reading your review, I can hardly wait!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Everyone, Hi Host Joe

 

Cabo here. We were on this sailing as well, SS 6120, and want to echo what a wonderful trip this was.

 

CD was Nick Weir, who we had on Mercury in SA 4 years ago, I believe - great CD. Our Master was Michael Karatzas.

 

Our fellow CCers were terrific. Vicki arranged for a second get-together for those who could not make the first - no problemo for X. Weather was absolutely fantastic for so late in the season, and seas were rather calm.

 

Yes, the ship could use a a bit of re-furbishing, pods notwithstanding, but by and large Millie's is in fine shape, and staff are as good as ever. Olympic Restaurant just as good as SS United States. Production shows were good ( didn't go to all shows), one violinist was off the mark for us, but other individuals were good.

 

This is a terrific itinerary for first-time Med cruisers (like us), or for those who want to home in on a particular port of interest. Our X-cursions were well organized, and our private group tour for the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii was just what we needed, with ability to get down some of those tight streets that the big buses can't.

 

Our pre-cruise land tour in Milan/Lake Como/Venice with X was fantastic. We had a great group of just three couples plus our X-tour guide Isabela and her local tour guides. Isabela really went the extra mile for us. The Meridien Gallia was a good hotel convenient to most things. Our private tour at La Scala and then our group tour of the Museo alla Scala were terrific. We had a nice dinner at Ristorante Giannnino in Milan (on our own).The Como visit and Lake Como sail was also wonderful, with a nice lunch (on our own) on Bellagio. Our hotel room in Venice at the Bellini next to the train station was a bit small, but for one night it was fine. A nice farewell dinner ("on X") was at a restaurant just down the street from the Bellini. The launch visit to Murano and Burano on our way to Millie was memorable for the glass works tour - a really high-end shop, and for Burano's lace crafts, as well as the incredible ride back to the lower end of the Grand Canal past St. Mark's Square before heading over to Millie.

 

On the V-to-B direction we found starboard side to be better than expected in terms of views. However, I don't think it really makes that much difference, as opposed to say the BA to Valpo cruise that we've done and have booked again for Feb 08. There, if you're looking for land from your cabin (particularly the glaciers in the Chilean fjords), starboard is best in that direction.

 

I would do this itinerary again, perhaps leaning more toward private tours next time.

 

Cabo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Host Star, Kay, Naplesqueen, Meg, LankikaiGirl and Arno for your comments!

 

Arno, Cabo answered your questions above... so now I don't have to dig out my dailies! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Host Joe thank you for a really great review!

 

We are on Millie just under a year from now for her 12/2/2007 14 night TA from Barcelona. While you were not particularly happy with your hotel in Barcelona, could you give us some recommendations for a hotel there for pre-cruise?

 

Thank you.

 

p.s. Like Lois R, we always tend to spending some time with our favorite bartender before dinner :D Hopefully, TJ will be there when we cruise on Millie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Charlie,

 

I did grab a specific hotel brochure that I thought looked great to recommend, but the brochure is missing right now... I know I will find out somewhere in my luggage and will post when I find it!

 

I know that I would choose something on or near Las Ramblas, and I do remember seeing Hotel Majestic and it looked like a very nice place!

 

I hope TJ is back on for you, too!

 

We are leaving from Barcelona on 12/2/07 as well but on Brilliance of the Seas!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • NCL Sail-Away Giveaway Sweepstakes - Win a 7-Day Cruise on Norwegian Joy!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...