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tmac

Just back from Millie in the Med--info I wish I knew

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Hi all, just back from the med on beautiful Millie and thought I'd share some post-mortum's with you...

 

First off, if you are planning this cruise please think VERY hard as to whether you want to add time on to the Venice end of the trip. For me, my husband and I added three days on to Barcelona(I have a good friend there and we wanted to get rid of the jet lag) on to the beginning of the trip and added an extra day on at the end in Venice. Here's why: Celebrity's options for hotels in Venice are extremely expensive. I booked my own through AAA and it was still 280 Euros total (including a euro breakfast). The hotel was very close to St. Marks square so that explains the cost. Here's the real problem though---when you disembark from the cruise ship the vaporetto (public water bus) which costs 5 euro/person suddenly wasn't in service despite the sign that posted that it was supposed to be in service that day. Putting it mildly, after you locate your luggage and cart it all over to get some transportation to St. Mark's Square, it is a total crisis situation. Then you are greeted by the lovely water taxi guy in charge of all of the taxis who informs you it is 70 euro per taxi to get to st. mark's which is basically like 80 bucks or so for a twenty minute boat ride. Lovely! Anyway, there were about eight of us who were in the same situation so we said we were together in a group and he said it would be 100 euro for us to go. Then these two extra people came over looking lost and wanted to add on to our group and then the guy said for ten it would be 120 euro. Despite the fact that this is highway robbery (this guy is getting paid like 140 bucks or so for a twenty minute boat ride!!!!!!!!!) it is still better than if my husband and I were alone it would have been 70 euro for us. So we did it. Everyone in our group was really p.o.'ed especially given the fact that we all happened to ask the day before we got off the boat if a vaporetto was available the next day and they assured us it was. I think Celebrity should have a courtesy shuttle to St. Mark's the day of disembarkation since these thieves run the taxis there. We all joked that the taxi guy probably had the vaporetto driver held hostage somewhere (or more likely paid them off to conveniently not be in service when the cruise ship comes in!!!)

 

Okay then once you get to St. Marks you either (a) have to cart your luggage to your hotel if it is nearby which will still probably entail pulling it up and over at least one or two bridges which is difficult especially if you are older (we did this--I'm 28) or (b) have to pay these other Italian thieves 25 Euro to cart it to your hotel for you (which is what other people had to do).

 

All I can say is that basically everyone in our group was regretting adding this extra day thinking it would be nice and let me tell you it was very chaotic, stressful, tiring, and costly.

 

Okay, moving on to another caveat----if you go to Capri (from port of Naples) do not, do not, go to that Blue Grotto. TOURIST TRAP--need I say more??!!! I had already been there when I was on a european tour when I was in high school and I thought it was kind of cool and my husband had never seen it so I figured he should see it. Well, the advertisement on the boat says 8.50 euro per person for the blue grotto. Okay, you get on the boat and once you get to the actual grotto entrance, these Italians then put you in this tiny boats and on the way in they charge you an extra 8.50 per person for SINGING and the two minute boat ride!!! Okay, that comes to almost forty bucks for a two minute experience. First off there were so many boats and the singing was so loud in there that it ruined the experience that I remembered when I was younger. And the whole time I felt like I got ripped off I was so angry that I couldn't even enjoy it. When I was there when I was younger, we were young students so I guess they actually had some moral obligation then to not try and charge us double....anyway, look at it on a postcard because that's what it looks like it is it lame. I felt bad I made my husband see it because it was such a waste of time and there is such a limited time in Naples to see Sorrento and Capri that we should have spent that time doing Anacapri instead.

 

Okay, next point--Athens. We did the Celebrity tour of the Acropolis and I highly recommend it. Wonderful tour. Caveat: right before the bus departs for some reason Celebrity lets this random greek guy on each of the buses and he goes around handing out this book on Athens with some postcards in it to each person and then says only 5 euros and you can keep the postcards for free! Well, some people actually gave the guy the five euros (we gave our books back to him) and wouldn't you know it we saw those exact books for 2 euros in one store and 3 euros in the store they take you to at the end of the tour!!! I really think the tour guide should not let them on when they know they are giving a bad price. Also, that store they take you to is also overpriced---if you walk down the street there are many other stores that charge much less for the same exact stuff.

 

I have to say regarding ports, don't miss Villefranche itself. It is such a cute town and it isn't very touristy I really wished I spent more time there. If I go again I'll just stay there and maybe do Eze. We went to Monaco and Nice. Nice is not so nice---rocky beaches--no sand just rocks--it's pretty but not as authentic and quiet and romantic as Villefranche. Monaco was pretty--saw it all there; did a lot of walking.

 

Be prepared to walk a lot. We estimated that we walked anywhere from 3 to 7 miles a day in port!

 

We loved Dubrovnik! Pay the 5 Kuna and walk the walls. It's magnificent. I really thought this was kind of a throw away port and it wasn't.

 

We did Pisa instead of going into Florence only because we've been there many many times. I thought it was well worth it. Did the Celebrity tour there which I recommend.

 

The cruise director Edwin Rojas was just absolutley TERRIBLE. I really don't know what he really did on our cruise. We barely ever saw him anywhere and when we did, I asked him a question and he didn't even know the answer and he asked who I think was a waiter who knew the answer. He really seems to be just a passenger himself, is inaccessible and not "real" nor does he have the personality whatsoever to be a cruise director. I was on Millie for the New Year's cruise and we had Drew and he was the antithesis of Edwin!

 

On a happier note, John, the port and shopping guy should have been our cruise director. He was WONDERFUL. He was fun, friendly, everywhere to be seen on the ship and even in port, had great information and was helpful and insightful. He should be a cruise director.

 

I was on Constellation last March and Drew was our cruise director on that one too as a matter of fact and he was wonderful on that one likewise. Many of you may be wondering how a mediterranean cruise compares to a caribbean one. First off, there is much more of a party atmosphere on the caribbean cruises. I have to tell you that on the twelve nights of this cruise I really can honestly say that I never saw one line dance! Also, there is no steel drum band, nor did we have any band on top deck during the day except for two days towards the end of the day these two randoms (who we suspect were actually passengers who always dreamed of being in a band or something because we ran into one walking out of their stateroom) one who played a keyboard and the other lady who just hit the bongos. It was soooo annoying and they blasted everyone out of their chaise lounge chairs. Everyone was complaining about it and thought it was really bad fake music and it was sooooo loud that it disturbed their peaceful slumber. Also, the age group is also noticeable---much older age group on the med not that it bothered me in the slightest. Also, not once did they have a party on top deck with a buffet which they did on my last two X cruises which I found to be odd. The med cruise is definitely quieter. Personally, I enjoyed that.

 

In terms of seating time, I would definitely recommend second seating. On this port intensive cruise you definitely need it because otherwise you are losing out on time you could be in port or losing out on that precious time on top deck in the thalasotherapy pool or taking a sauna and/or you are rushing back to get on the ship and running around to get ready for dinner. There are plenty of food options anyway if you want to eat at your leisure and you can just skip dinner in the restaurant entirely if you don't want to eat that late on a particular night.

 

Olympic restaurant--personally I did this on Millie on the New Year's cruise and everyone in my group of ten thought this is overrated. The food was terrible---it was all pre made and we were all shocked just how bad it was and all agreed that the food in the restaurant was actually better. I had the steak Diane and it was pre cooked, they just finish it off in front of you and it was salty and tough. The Caesar salad was also mediocre and the dessert was bad too--I had the "suprise" dessert and only one of them was good. The rest of them were HORRIBLE--one of them I swear was just crest toothpast nicely presented in a small dish!!!!!!! The only thing that can be said about this place is that the atmosphere is wonderful, the music is to die for, and the presentation in terms of all the meals being served at the exact same time, etc. I personally did not go for the whole escort to the bathroom. It felt so contrived or something.

 

Well, sorry this was such a stream of consciousness but I want to get this out before I forget! If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to answer them!

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I'm so surprised there was no steel drum band on a Med cruise and no line dancing.:eek: Is this a serious post?

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I'm so surprised there was no steel drum band on a Med cruise and no line dancing.:eek: Is this a serious post? /QUOTE]

 

Just Curious.. Why the nasty comment ?

 

 

Personally..

I'd like to thank the OP for taking the time to write and post a very complete and detailed review of their MED cruise. (And please ignore the negative poster above), and Thanks Again

 

Srpilo

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Is this nasty? I just wonder why anyone would expect a steel drum band and line dancing on a Celebrity Med cruise. Just curious, why the nasty comment from you? The poster also booked her own hotel and then complained that she had to handle her own luggage. In fact the whole trip just sounds like one large complaint. The description of the trip just seemed a little unusual.

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Ma Bell

You know, I've been posting here at cruise cruise critic for a couple of years, and it seems that there are posters that come and go that aways fit the same pattern..... They go through periods where they have numerous posts everyday, and start to think just because they post alot and have lots of "posting pals", that they're special, and that their comments are the only one that matter, and that their opinions are the only correct ones ,and that because someone's not one of their other full time "posting pals" thats its all right to be rude to other posters..

Well... I think maybe its time to step back and realize that, this is not your private message board, and that some other peoples comments and reviews are valid on their own , and don't need your criques or approval when they're posted. So if you can't see the "Nasty" in your original post,and then the addition negative comments of your second post, simply because you thought the OP reviewer was complaining, WELL then maybe its time to take a little time off C.C. and gets some prospective back...

 

 

Like I said, I've seen your kind before...

 

Srpilo

P.s. Once again, thanks to the original poster for their review

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I'm sorry you feel that way. Perhaps you need to follow your own advice. I don't have any pals or feel my opinions are any more important than anyone else. I usually just try to answer people's questions and help them with info. My first comment was a little silly, but hardly nasty. I'm sure I should have just left it unexpressed. The second was in response to you. You need to take a good look in the mirror. You are so far from knowing anything about me or how I feel and I'm amazed at your nastiness. Are you the one who decides who posts here and who doesn't?

 

I like to look at things in a positive way and I guess all the negativity provoked a silly response on my part, but you have certainly taken this to an extreme. There is no justification for my silliness, but your remarks are way beyond that.

 

You know it's really hard to tell the tone of someone's remarks sometimes on a computer and as I said, I was just being silly...you certainly aren't. I hope you feel better now.

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Ma Bell,

 

As I have told you before, I do appreciate your positive attitude. I always try to find the good and let go of the negative. Travel is expensive but I am grateful I can enjoy every moment and worry about how to pay those extra costs when I am sitting on the freeway in Los Angeles traffic.

 

Thanks...

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MA BELL:

 

With regard to whether I was serious about the lack of the steel band (and I also mentioned that there was not any band at all---there was no entertainment on top deck---they played music over the speakers though which I liked), yes indeed I was. Quite frankly, I've been on 7 caribbean cruises (all Celebrity and one RCCL) and I had just assumed that this cruise would be the same regarding the line dancing! IMHO, I hate line dancing so actually it was kind of nice to not have it on the med cruise. And I just wanted to post that observation because my sisters had asked me about this since they too have been on caribbean cruises and were interested in the contrasts. I was just putting it out there because I thought that maybe someone else might wonder about this too.

 

I would like to correct the last comment that ma bell made---I had a FABULOUS time and I love Millie. These were not true complaints, rather observations---I'm just trying to give information so that others might know before going. Also, my husband is part Italian and he was very disappointed in the southern Italians always trying to screw over the tourists. The Australians and the French felt the same way.

 

With regard to lugging the luggage, if you read my post you would see that lugging my luggage was not a big deal because I am young and I was smart enough to book a hotel steps away from the vaporetto stop at St. Mark's. I was only commenting on this so that people on this board who either cannot due to their age or don't choose to pull their luggage will be aware of this. I can tell you that the people I was with were not expecting any of this.

 

Finally, I am sorry if my post was unusual or not well-written. This is not a thesis here. I am in the midst of unpacking still, doing laundry, going to work jetlagged which is quite a thrill. I just got a lot from others who posted so I felt obligated to share some of my experiences. Gosh!!! Give me a break!! Ma Bell, I think you need a vacation---maybe you need to book a cruise----ASAP!!!!!

 

Sprilo, you're quite welcome--glad to hear someone appreciated my post. :)

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tmak - just saying my thanks too. I've added all your helpful comments to my 'hopefully- one- day- in- the- the- future- med- cruise' file. Thanks for taking the time - that's what makes this board so useful. Jayna K

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Sorry I misinterpreted your post. I'm sure you're a very nice person as I am. I was just making a wisecrack cause you sounded so negative about things and the thought of the steeldrum band on the Med cruise was pretty funny. The last Med cruise we did they were playing Andrea Boccelli. I'm leaving on a cruise in a couple of weeks. I apologize for the smart remark. I really wasn't trying to be nasty.

 

Venice is not a place that is easy to get around with luggage and they definitely charge for hauling it. I wouldn't expect a cruiseline to help out much though if you haven't made arrangements with them to do so. I'm sure it was a frustrating experience.:)

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Must have been a different Millennium than the one we were on in August. They had several open buffets on the top deck including a Greek night with authentic Greek dancing (we were in Greece you see ). They also had an Irish night.

I totally agree on Edwin Rojas, they should have a party and he should be the entertainment. We could all cheer as they chuck him over the side.

John the shopping guy was great. He helped us with hints and tips no end, and when we came back from Rome with some new info, he borrowed our stuff so he could photocopy it to give to other future guests.

Once your cruise is over, it's over and Celebrity just want rid of you off their boat. They don't quite care how you are getting home, be it on your own or with them. We, along with lots of others were on flights organaised by Celebrity and were dropped at the airport with a seven hour wait. We have learnt from this and will sort out our own future departures.

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tmac --

 

Thanks for the information. We'll be on the October 12th Millenium cruise from Venice to Barcelona.

 

In some cases, we're going to take your opinions into consideration when making our plans. In other cases, we're going to go with what we already planned but your information still gave us something to check against. I'm pretty sure that was your purpose in posting, so, again, thank you very much.

 

I, for one, appreciate it when cruisers post comments about specific things they encountered. If the comments are negative, I can prepare to avoid having the same things happen to me. If the comments are positive, I can make more of an effort to have the same things happen to me. In all cases, I view these comments as just opinions which I can balance against my own desires and expectations.

 

Cher

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Thanks for your review. We shall be doing the cruise in May 2005. We were on Radisson Diamond back in 5/04 and there was NO steel band on that cruise ship either. We had a 4 piece group that would play music up by the pool the days that alot of people would stay on board. It is a different crowd in the Med. And for people that have not done that iternary they would not know that. People are off the ship doing tours and etc. You don't pay all that money to stay on the ship, you are in Europe to explore. Not like in the Caribbean they are laying around relaxing and enjoying the bands. These trips are very tiring. Sorry to hear about the cruise director. What did you all do in Rome? We got off the ship this time and went to a hotel. And a couple years ago, we did an all day trip in a small mini van with Princess. Remember the time of the year that you went the crowd would be older. We love to go in May the ages are from 16- 80. Med. age is 50. Jan

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WELLLLLLL!!!

 

After reading this thread I am going to stay in the Caribbean!!! I was exhausted just reading TMAC's account. I was starting to feel like a pin cushion too!!! LOL!!!

 

We have friends all over Europe and they are constantly inviting us to visit...I am constantly inviting them to come and join us on a relaxing Caribbean cruise...LOL!!! The amazing part is...when they do join us in the Caribbean they have the time of their lives and then understand why we don't do Europe anymore!!!

 

Thanks for the reality check TMAC...I am staying in the Caribbean!!!

 

ROSS

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No doubt, these are two completely different kinds of vacations. If you're looking for relaxation a European cruise is probably not the one for you. It's better than a land tour to see multiple countries because at least you don't have to put your bags out in the hall every other morning and spend half the day getting to another destination. There are so many things to see and do, especially if you are not a frequent visitor to Europe. It really is a good way to get a taste of places you may want to see later.:)

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No doubt, these are two completely different kinds of vacations. If you're looking for relaxation a European cruise is probably not the one for you. It's better than a land tour to see multiple countries because at least you don't have to put your bags out in the hall every other morning and spend half the day getting to another destination. There are so many things to see and do, especially if you are not a frequent visitor to Europe. It really is a good way to get a taste of places you may want to see later.:)

 

True. I like to do a Carribean in March or so to get a break from winter/ By summer I am ready for Europe !

In some ways it is a bit stressful because of the limited port time. I think that this is one of the points made by the OP. You can feel that you blew it if you dont make the right choice. This is an itinerary that really benefits from advanced planning. It also takes a bit of stamina.

I had the opposite expereicne this summer on HAL. Great CD- idiot doing the port info.

Important note- if you do not want to be cruising with children do NOT book July and August and come back to CC expecting sympathy. If I had no kids I would go late spring / early fall. Even my 2 week HAL European cruise was packed with kids in August. And they were North American by and large.

The scary people on the ship were the Russians but that was a different story.

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Just a stream of consciousness reply to tmac and others as I was on the same cruise...

 

I agree about the guy selling the postcards on the bus in Athens: I wonder if Celebrity even knows the guy is there.

 

I found Edwin Rojas to be very helpful. I had several questions for him throughout the cruise, and what he didn't know he quickly got back to me by leaving me a voicemail. However, John, the port and shopping guy, was not helpful at all. Well, if you want to overpay, then go to the shops he "had a business relationship" with and pay WAY too much for the same items you could get elsewhere for less.

 

As for the excursions, I did an excursion at about half of the ports. That was too much. In all of the ports, transportation is readily available to take you wherever you might want to go. I will say, however, that the Rome excursion was quite enjoyable (despite an auto accident that backed up traffic for hours), and our guide, Angela, was fantastic.

 

I found the average age on this particular cruise to be simply too old. I don't know if this was just a function of the high expense of the cruise or what, but the nightclub was DEAD most of the time, and everyone I spoke to about it, from the Social Director Josephine (fantastic, btw) to the DJ to the servers, all said this was a dead cruise. Too quiet. Maybe Carnival next time... :) Unless you're looking for quiet...

 

I can't say the food was terrible, but it certainly wasn't up to what I had expected. Breakfast became omelette time because I could watch them make it, and I new they used real eggs instead of the eggs in a box that was used for the scrambled eggs. Dnner was generally tolerable. Nice presentation most of the time, but pretty mediocre for the most part.

 

One thing I didn't expect, but saw several times, were instances of just plain rude and demanding behaviour by some of the passengers directed at the staff. At one point I stepped in and told a passenger to settle down after she had berated a staff member for a minor error.

 

I found most of the staff to be very friendly and helpful, despte the fact that this is getting to be the home stretch for their contracts. I definitely want to name names of staff members that really stood out as being a tremendous asset to Celebrity: Edwin Rojas, Cruise Director, Josephine Godshall, Social Director, Zoran P., Sommoliere (sp.), Vladymir, Assitant Maitre'd, Angelo, Stateroom Attendant, who always seemed to be able to anticipate my needs.

 

I was able to eat at the Captain's table, and while the food wasn't any better, the service was top-notch! BTW, I found the captain to be a very interesting individual, and he thanked us several times for cruising with Celebrity.

 

On sea days, people would get up early, put a towel and a book (or some other personal item) on a chaise lounge by the pool in order to "save" it. There were many lounges that sat like that for hours without someone actually

 

Zoran and Josephine, particularly, made this cruise an extremely enjoyable and memorable experience.

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hi TMAC !

 

I'm also just back from the Med cruise from Barcelona to Venice and I confirm every single thing you said on "taxi drivers" in Venice...... real thieves

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I found the post informative and the posters observations sharp and insightful. The OP was quick to point out positives and honest in their assessment that some aspects were a surprise. Some people may go on a European Cruise, after many Carribean Cruises, with the notion that the two are similar. By pointing out differences in the formats other people can better make a fair assessment of their expectations. If a band on the pool deck is important to your cruise experience then the OP let you know it would not be part of the experience. I do not think that observation either opts anyone in or out of a European Cruise nor do I think it makes a statement about someone's temperment or sophistication.

 

I was initially bothered by the "Italian Theives" remarks but have since decided the OP was not stating all Italians are theives, rathere there seems to be a select group that preys on Cruise Passengers. I am so sorry that was your experience. I also know it is not a unique experience. There is nothing wrong with booking your own hotel to save some money.

 

Nancy

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We did the 13 Night Meditteranean on Millennium last year and we did have a pool/party band, Onyx. The same pool/party band we had when we did the 10 night Southern Carribean on her the year before. I'm actually shocked there wasn't any band.

 

I also had Edwin Rojas both times on Millennium. I think he's tired of being a CD. He needs to move on.

 

Anne Maria

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