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Andym

Just Back from Millennium 14 night Med Cruise

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Review will follow, but happy to answer any questions on the Millennium Med cruise.

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We are on the July 2, 2005 Millennium 14 day cruise Barcelona to Venice. I will be anxious to read your review. One question I have concerns our post cruise stay in Venice. What is the best means of transportation getting from the ship's dock to the hotels? Our hotel is located very close to St Marks Square.

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Hi,

We were on the 08/01 Venice to Barcelona. We got a water taxi from the hotel to the ship. Very easy. It cost 70 euros. Not cheap as it's a short ride. But memorable.

Anxious to hear what AndyM thought. We thought crew to be a bit "tired" and Guest Relations downright RUDE. Still, a fabulous cruise on a beautiful ship. HiltonHead you will have the most wonderful time I'm sure. Be sure to wear cool loose clothes and drink lots of water. Enjoy enjoy!

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HelloSailor, Thanks for the response. How far away is the dock and how long of a boat ride is it? Sounds like a great way to get to the hotel. Any suggestions on what to do and where to eat during our three days there . We are staying at a small hotel, the Locanda Orseolo about 40 meters from St Marks Square. It got very high praises on TripAdvisor.com. Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time.

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Hiltonhead,

We did Barcelona to Venice so didn't have experience of having to get from the Ship to the Hotel or visa versa, but I do know that both Jezzdog and ToniWoods, who rank amongst the best people we have ever met were both staying post cruise in Venice, and I'm sure they will be able to answer the question when they return.

Don't want to pre-empt the review much but we found the crew to be very nice, as long as you are nice to them. Some of our US co-travellers, especially the older end were downright rude and if they had been talking to me I would have floored them. Please and thankyou go a long way and we always got a friendly resonse. Guest services are guest services, after all no one ever goes there just to say they are having a good time, right. We heard some absolutely ridiculous complaints being made, quite laughable.

Best hint of the cruise, take the Volterra tuscan countryside tour from Livorno. It was the best time we have had, and if you like good wine even better. We had 13 glasses of the best wine .

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I am interested to know how the food and service was? Who is the cruise director?

 

Thanks

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AndyM, It's awesome, ain't it??!! We've done it twice and will do it again soon!

 

S

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DMK,

The cruise director was Edwin Rojas, seemed a nice friendly guy. We thought that the shopping guy John should be promoted to cruise director, he's so friendly and it's all genuine.

The food and service was first class. We found that nothing was too much trouble. I feel that anyone who cannot find something to suit them foodwise must have serious problems.

Already thinking about returning doing the same cruise next year, but this time Venice to Barcelona, but the price hike from Celebrity is putting us off a little.

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hi andy

6 of us are booked for October 12 Venice to Barcelona.

would love to read your full review.

we're planning to rent a van and explore Villefranche,Livorno and Santorini on our own.

any comments or recommendations?

what about Citivechia...we've spent a week in Rome previously so will skip it... do you have any thoughts about it.

many thanks from Canada.

Mel.

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Andym

Absolutely. Shopping guy John was the one outstanding crew member.

He was always there with a friendly word or suggestion. You're right, it did appear genuine and more so than the entertainment gang. Gold star to Shopping John!

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Thanks AndyM. I am looking forward to my cruise more than ever. If that's possible!

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Andy

Just got home late last night, miss you and B already.

For those of you sailing on this wonderful ship (remember not BOAT) you will have a wonderful time. There are enought food choices for everyone, everynight and always remember you can order shrimp cocktail, ceasar salad and either salmon, chicken or steak if you don't want what is on the menu.

For the private tours, you might want them in Villefranche, Rome, Florence and definitely Naples. But, you do not need them on the Greek Islands or on any on the other stops.

As for getting to your hotel at the end of the cruise, we just join another couple and did a private water taxi to our hotel, you will find that everyone lines up and is more than willing to share as the taxi hold up to 6-8 people depending on the amount of luggage. We wound up paying 40 euros to get to our hotel, which was a Fabulous place to stay...........anyone who has any questions I will try to answer, will also do a review of the cruise to complement Andy's

the main thing is just to say Please and Thank you to the staff, and they will make your holiday the BEST

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Norma and Harvey,

Missing both of you so much, we were just talking about you both this morning, along with Toni and Sam. You all made the cruise so special for us and we can't wait to see you all again soon. Bea and myself have just about got back to normal. The luggage is back in storage and the washing almost done, already looking at brochures for the next one.

 

Speak to you later, work tomorrow !!!

 

Andy And Bea.

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Hi Andy, Bea, Norm, Harvey and anyone else who might be reading this who was on our cruise! I'm back in my office today after a whirlwind weekend in London. Did the "Big Bus" tour all over London and yesterday we spent a few hours at the Victoria & Albert Museum before leaving for the airport. Poor Sam - she came down with a nasty cold on Saturday, so her trip home was quite miserable.

 

I'm going to write a review also, but I imagine that my thoughts will pretty much parallel Andy's. This cruise was one of the most spectacular, memorable, outrageous, marvelous -- I can't even think of enough superlatives -- trips I have ever taken in my life. It was helped on by meeting such wonderful people on this board. I concur with Andy that the staff onboard the ship were positively wonderful. Andy, we met up with Kostas, the Chief Purser, at the airport in Venice when we were leaving. He was on his way to Greece.

 

If everyone who is contemplating this cruise follows our lead, we guarantee you will have a wonderful time. We'll give you all of the little ins and outs, dos and don'ts (for example -- DON'T wear 4 inch stiletto heels on the cobblestoned streets which exist in most of the ports -- had a few broken legs/ankles etc. on our trip).

 

Met some fabulous people whom I hope to stay in touch with. Hope to have my review completed in a few days.

 

Toni

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I sure hope that your reviews are finished by Thursday night. No pressure of course :-) ! We will be sailing the Millie on Sept 6th, and will be leaving for Barcelona this Friday. I would love to read all those great tips you were mentioning. So glad you had a wonderful time!

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Let me post a few here, just in case I don't get my review done before you leave.

 

Barcelona - We stayed at the Hotel Ambassador, which is on Pintor Fortuny, just 1 block off La Rambla. It is near Le Meredian hotel. Barcelona is a very walkable city (most parts anyway). I had been to Barcelona before, so I knew my way around. What I would recommend if you have not been there before, is to take the on/off buses (as in London). They take you to all of the sites (or nearby anyway as they cannot fit down many of the narrow streets, such as those in the Gothic Quarter) and I believe the price was about $17.00 US. We opted not to do this as it was very, very hot when we were there (close to 100 degrees) and there is no air conditioning on the buses. Even on the top deck, we would have been cooking in the hot sun. September will hopefully be a bit cooler. Barcelona is a relatively inexpensive city, compared to all of the others in Europe. The only time you will require a cab or bus is if you decide to go to the Olympic Village. It is fun to go there for dinner. There is a restaurant called El Cangrejo Loco (the "Crazy Crab") that has excellent paella and is in a lovely location. If you want to break the bank, go to a restaurant called "Quo Vadis" (also 1 block off La Rambla, behind the Hotel Ambassador). Wonderful food (had bull filet and roasted pig), service, atmosphere etc. When I say "break the bank," it is still inexpensive for a fine dinner (about $100 for 2 persons with a bottle of wine, appetizers, main course, and dessert). A word about Barcelona dining -- they eat very late there. Do not even think of getting a decent meal at 8:00. Most places open even later than that, so adjust your dining times accordingly! Also, it helps if you speak Spanish. Although they speak Catalan, Spanish is widely understood. English, however, is seemingly not! So it does help.

 

I'm going to go forward, assuming your itinerary is pretty much the same as ours, with the exception of Valletta, Malta and Katakolon, Greece. We skipped Athens and did these 2 ports instead, so I won't be able to offer any Athens tips.

 

Nice/Monaco. You will dock at Villefranche-sur-Mer. Villefranche itself is a lovely town. You can take the train to Nice and to Monaco also. We opted for the Celebrity "Nice/Monaco On Your Own" shore excursion where they provided only the transportation from one place to another. While it was more expensive than taking the train, it was very convenient. They take you first to Nice, where they will leave you for a few hours. If you do this, hop on the trolley which which you will find in front of the beach. I think it was about 6 euros. The trolley will take you all around Old Nice, as well as to this gorgeous park overlooking the city. It's well worth the trip. After Nice, they will drive you to Monaco where you will spend a few hours. We chose to tour the Prince's Palace in Monaco which was lovely. There were also some lovely gardens overlooking the water that you can walk through on your way back to the bus terminal. Gorgeous. We skipped the casino in Monte Carlo. You have to dress to enter the casino, which for the gentlemen means long pants (we met a few who were not particularly happy about this!)

 

Livorno. As mentioned in previous posts on this thread, do not miss the Tuscan countryside tour. While you will have to opt out of Pisa and Florence to be able to go on this tour, it is simply amazing. You visit 2 medieval hill towns - Volterra and San Gimignano -- with lunch at this amazing farmhouse/winery. Lots of excellent, excellent food and wine. The winery owner is quite a character. His family has owned the winery since the 1700s I believe. Incredible. This is a Celebrity shore excursion. You will not be disappointed.

 

Rome. We did Rome on our own. We were going to take the train to Rome, but lucked out getting a roundtrip bus for 15 euros (train is 9 euros). The concierge/guest relations will provide you with train schedules etc. if you opt to do this. We also did the on/off bus Rome once we arrived there. The Italians don't have it quite as together as the Brits or the Spanish, but it still offers a very inexpensive way to see alot of Rome in one day as it covers all of the major sights.

 

Naples. Take the Capri/Sorrento/Pompeii shore excursion. This is also a Celebrity excursion. It is a long one - 12 hours, but it is fantastic. As soon as we got off the ship in Naples, we were taken to the hydrofoil for the trip to Capri. You will have a guide with you for the entire day. We had Antonio, who was excellent. You will be provided with an audio headset, so you can hear the commentary etc., particularly in Pompeii. After Capri, you will boat over to Sorrento for lunch and then a bit of shopping time. The restaurant they took us to (La Fenice) was excellent. Then on to Pompeii, where your guide will take you through the ruins. There is no way to see all of Pompeii in the time allotted, but you will see a very good representative slice.

 

Mykonos. No need to take a shore excursion here. We docked, but I think the normal procedure is to tender in Mykonos. We walked around town -- lots of shops. There is an area called Little Venice, which is particular good for shopping. There are lots of tavernas overlooking the sea. While I would recommend stopping to have lunch at one of the tavernas because the food is incredible (the best Greek salad, grape leaves etc. I have ever had), beware of pushy waiters who try to entice you to have a "full lunch." If they try this trick, pick yourselves up and try another place! The food is wonderful, but they don't seem to understand that most Americans are not used to eating a huge midday meal! After lunch, head to the beach. When you first get to town, try to check the bus schedule. There is a bus to a beach called Elia that is supposed to be the most beautiful on the island. We did not check the bus schedule beforehand, so we missed out on the opportunity to get there as we did not want to wait 1 and 1/2 hours for the next bus. The Greek bus system is excellent (if you check the schedule!). For 90 euro cents, you can ride all around the island on lovely air conditioned buses (see Santorini below).

 

Santorini- no real need to take a shore excursion here either. This is a tender port. You will tender and arrive in Fira. Take either the funicular (cable car) or donkeys up the hillside (we opted for the cable car) and you will arrive in the center of Fira. Great shopping also in Santorini, but do not miss Oia (pronounced Ee-yah). Ask someone where the bus station is (we found it relatively easily) and hop on the bus to Oia. You will have a spectacular ride along the beautiful cliffs (not for the faint of heart) on your way there. They take a different road back so it is not quite as heart stopping. Oia is a lovely village. Lots of tavernas and hotels hanging off the hillsides (love those cliff pools!). We had gyros for 1.80 euros that were excellent. We rode the bus back from Oia and then got on a different bus to head for Kamari which is an excellent beach area.

 

Dubrovnik. Also no need for a shore excursion. You will dock and Celebrity will provide shuttle service to town. They will drop you off at the village gate. You can go in and buy a ticket to walk the walls. We walked halfway around (once again, it was very hot so start out early) and then came down and headed straight for Hemingway's Bar. You can't miss it -- big wicker chairs out front -- in the center of town. We also went to the synagogue which was interesting (see Venice below). We had a bite to eat (from what I could tell, Croatian food is not all that exciting) and then headed for the beach. There is a beach in front of the Excelsior Hotel. You can walk there. The Adriatic is the most beautiful water I have ever seen. Beach is a bit rocky, but it is crystal clear, cold and refreshing. Marvelous.

 

Venice. Celebrity will provide complimentary shuttle service from where the ship docks to St. Mark's Square which can be your starting point for touring. I would recommend getting yourself a really good map of Venice before leaving home (the ones provided by the ship are not really adequate), as the streets are very confusing. There is so much to see in Venice. We started in St. Mark's Square, walked by the Doge's Palace, the Basilica etc. and then decided to tour the Ghetto. It is the oldest ghetto in Europe. There is a museum there and they offer tours for 8 euros. You are not allowed to walk through on your own and the tours are capacity controlled, so if you decide to do this, arrive early. The tours are every hour on the half hour I believe (unless they change the schedule after Sept. 1). Security is very tight and you will see the Italian police in full force here.

 

I hope all of these tips help! E-mail me if you need more!

 

Toni

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A tip to add to Toni's excellent tips.

Rome Colloseum Tour. When you exit the metro, Take a turn to the right and by the green booth is a meeting place for tours of the Colloseum. It cost us 10 euros on top of the entry fee, we did not have to queue. We skipped the extremely long line with the guide and he was very informative on the history of the place. Once the tour was over he left us inside to look around ourselves. He will give you a map of Rome on which you will find a simillar meeting place for St Peters Brasilica and the museum, again no lines to contend with. I cannot give any further details as I left my map with Shopping guy John on the Millennium, but if you are on that ship, he will be able to give you full details.

 

Hi Toni,

 

Andy (trying to write review but massive backlog of work to catch up on)

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Do not pay any attention to the people on this board who write that it is not worth it to pay extra to dine in the Olympic because it is ($30.00 per person for the service charge). We dined there one evening in the wine cellar (great for a group of 6-8) and it was one of the most lovely evenings I can recall. Andy and Bea were there also. Goat cheese souffle, Steak Diane and chocolate souffle for dessert (followed closely by Michel Roux's bite sized surprise desserts). YOU WILL BE IN HEAVEN!!!

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I'm so glad to hear that Millie is still as grand as it was back in June 2001. We did the Istanbul to Barcelona run, pre 9/11. Oh, how I wish it was possible to do that again. And yes, the Olympic experience is worth every penny. Thanks for your grand review.

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Another tip, if you are able to get a group together, as we did...We hired a private driver for Villefranche, Revelation tours.......the drivers was wonderful. We stopped in Monaco for the changing of the guard amd catherdal, Monte Carlo, Nice for the Flower market, Cannes to walk the film festival and see the names and hands prints, Eze and St. Paul alone with driving the upper and lower Cronich(sic). She was waiting for us as week left the tender and was with us for over 81/2 hours, with the 4 couples the price came to around 155 per couple with the tip we gave her, also she had a cooler in the back and always had cold water and soda's waiting for us as we reboard the van after one of our stops.

We also did as a group the Naples tour, we elected not to do Capri as we had been there before.... instead we had the driver take use to Pompeii, were they had a guide meet us, he was wonderful (which was included in the price) and drive the Amafi coast thru Positano (we had lunch in a wonderful restaurant overlooking the water) and drive thru Amalfi...........we were able to stop along the way for the most breath taking views.

Will try to post my review in the next couple of days, as we did different tours than Andy and Toni....but whatever you do just enjoy!

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Toni's posting was great. We did Santorini by local bus and found a restaurant in Oje that wa great.

We wlked to Tiberius Villa in Capri. Marvelous!

We have been to Villefranche twice. Once there was a rail strike so we went to Eze and Monaco. The last time we took the train (you can get tickets on the net!) to Canness during the film festival.

Livorno itself is a nice little town and the ship's bus takes you there. The first time we went to Florence on a tour that was half guided, half on your own.

For Both Venice and Florence, and Rome for that matter, get the Walking Guides from Just Marvelous - 475 Hazel Avenue, Glencoe Illinois. Site is: http://www.walkinguides.com

We stayed at the Meson Castillo in Barcelona, near the Rambla and quite

reasonable for Europe. Barcelona has a great, fast, neat subway system thanks to the Olympics.

Dubrovnik is neat. Don't miss the war museum which markes every shell or bomb which hit the Old City. When we sailed away, we sort of backed around a corner almost underneath a bridge. It was really tight. We ate with the captain (Captain Adamidis, since retired) that night and he said that was the first time he, or Celebrity had sailed into and out of Dibrovnik. (May 2003)

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We took this cruise in May, 2004 and loved it so much we have booked it again for May, 2005. I love reading everyone's reviews. It brings back great memories and also gives me great ideas for our 2005 cruise! Gosh....will it ever get here???

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Hi all you Millie Med cruisers! We're booked from Barc-Venice in Sep't.' 05. I didn't see your email addys but if you want to email me with answers, that will be fine!

 

 

Toni, AndyM, Jessdog,--we have never been to any of these ports--having said that, do you think the Tuscan countryside would be better to do the 1st time or see Florence? We have the recommendation of a great driver & guide for Florence. (we're not that interested in Pisa) What about Pompei vs Capri & Sorrento on our own? (don't think we want the 3 of them for that long of a day) We have reserved a driver in Rome (driverinrome.com, Daniele)for a complete overview as well as in Villefranche (Revelationtours--Michele) and we also have a recommendation for a driver in Athens. The rest of the ports we thought we could do on our own. We're staying 1 or 2 nights pre & post too. What are some of the hotels that are convenient in Venice and Barcelona? (that are nice but don't cost an arm & a leg) We are a group of 6 adults traveling together, so renting vans & drivers will be cost effective. Trying to coordinate buses might be too hard.

 

I appreciate any & all info you can provide! Thanks!

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