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   Cruise Travel - Reader Reviews

Welcome to Your Favorites, where you have the opportunity to share your travel experiences with fellow Internet Travelers around the world.

Celebrity Cruise Line

GTS Millennium

Your Rating:Three Stars
Reviewed by: George Lambert (lambcom)
# previous cruises: 8
Date of Trip: May 31, 2002
Itinerary: Caribbean

This was our second Celebrity Cruise, the previous having been a seven day Western Caribbean on the Century about a year ago.

I wish I could say that the experience was better than that of last year or even on a par, but such was not the case. The ship itself is beautiful, well laid out and immaculately clean. But the check-in and disembarkation and the major deterioration in the quality of the food put a damper on the overall trip.

We arrived shortly before noon to a sea of people bumping into each other trying to find out where to go, with Celebrity representatives contradicting each other on their instructions and then arguing in front of guests as to which of them was correct. By the time the embarkation process was completed (it took over an hour) the holiday mood of most passengers was severely tested, to say the least.

The disembarkation process worked smoothly, until the porter dropped our bags at the taxi stand. We found ourselves surrounded by more than 200 other passengers, all fighting to get cabs with no assistance or direction from Celebrity staff. It was clearly every person for themselves and chaos reigned supreme, with passenger cars doing pickups fighting for space with the limited number of taxis. I felt particularly sorry for older passengers as there were no benches or other seating in the area and the wait for most of us was at least an hour in length.

Public Areas
I won't dwell on the ship's public areas. These are well described in other reviews found elsewhere on this section of the web site.

Food and Service
The quality of food service has been one of Celebrity's big selling points. On this cruise, the quality in the main dining room ranged from excellent to awful with most of it falling into the mediocre range.

We were travelling with a single friend and had requested that we be seated with her. Of course, on arriving at our cabins, we discovered that we were at two different tables. The situation was corrected, but we found ourselves seated at a table for 12, which is completely unworkable in terms of being able to talk with anyone who wasn't seated next to or directly across from you. As well, despite the best efforts of our excellent waiter and assistant, there were long delays in getting the food served. Tables for 10 are a stretch -- tables for 12 should be outlawed.

Back to the food. It says a great deal when the waiter tells you that, out of five or six main courses, he wouldn't recommend one or two because of customer complaints on previous cruises. I didn't listen to him one evening and Michel Roux's much lauded duck a l'orange was so tough that it would have required a hammer and chisel to cut it! As well, the kitchen kept messing up beef orders -- what was requested as rare arrived well done and our waiter found himself making repeated trips back to the kitchen to get replacement meals.

Finally all too often, the food failed to live up to the description in the menu. For example, an oriental consomme supreme was a bowl of bland broth with a couple of vegetables, a small piece of chicken and a few noodles floating around in a bland broth.

A word or two about the wine list. In each category (red, white, rose) there were at least 20 wines to choose from. Unfortunately only one or two were under $30! And based on our overpriced Canadian liquor stores, the markup was at least 300 percent (i.e. the $30 bottle was available in my Quebec liquor store for about $10). I recognize that liquor and wine sales are a major source of revenue for cruise lines, but these prices are gouging, pure and simple.

The quality of food served at the breakfast and lunch buffets in the Ocean Cafe was very good, but lacked variety, especially at breakfast. The same menus were rotated three times on a ten day cruise!

For the first time ever, we had a balcony cabin. My wife has laid down the law, no more cruises until we can have a balcony cabin again. There is nothing more delightful than having an early morning coffee in the delightful quiet of your balcony or enjoying the stars late at night and then going to bed, leaving the door ajar so that you are lulled to sleep by the waves.

The cabin was well laid out, the bed was comfortable and the cabin attendant did her job effectively and unobtrusively.

We don't usually go to the shows, but enjoyed the one we did attend and our table mates told us that the quality of the others was excellent.

On this 10 day cruise, we visited Sint Maartin, St. Lucia, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Saint Thomas. We choose to explore on our own, but we were told that the organized trips were generally very good and represented good value for the cost.

Who Goes
Because this was a 10 day cruise, there were fewer children (a plus from our perspective) and the average age was a bit older, however there was a good mix of people of all ages. Most passengers were Americans, but we saw a good number of fellow Canadians, Latin Americans and Europeans, especially English, in the mix.

Summing it all up, I think we got decent value for our money, but next time (all things being equal) we're going back to Holland America!

Check out these great deals from CruisePage.com

Royal Caribbean - Bahamas Getaway from $129 per person
Description: Experience the beautiful ports of Nassau and Royal Caribbean's private island - CocoCay on a 3-night Weekend Getaway to the Bahamas. Absorb everything island life has to offer as you snorkel with the stingrays, parasail above the serene blue waters and walk the endless white sand beaches. From Miami.
Carnival - 4-Day Bahamas  from $229 per person
Description: Enjoy a wonderful 3 Day cruise to the fun-loving playground of Nassau, Bahamas. Discover Nassau, the capital city as well as the cultural, commercial and financial heart of the Bahamas. Meet the Atlantic Southern Stingrays, the guardians of Blackbeard's treasure.
NCL - Bermuda - 7 Day from $499 per person
Description: What a charming little chain of islands. Walk on pink sand beaches. Swim and snorkel in turquoise seas. Take in the historical sights. They're stoically British and very quaint. Or explore the coral reefs. You can get to them by boat or propelled by fins. You pick. Freestyle Cruising doesn't tell you where to go or what to do. Sure, you can plan ahead, or decide once onboard. After all, it's your vacation. There are no deadlines or must do's.
Holland America - Eastern Caribbean from From $599 per person
Description: White sand, black sand, talcum soft or shell strewn, the beaches of the Eastern Caribbean invite you to swim, snorkel or simply relax. For shoppers, there's duty-free St. Thomas, the Straw Market in Nassau, French perfume and Dutch chocolates on St. Maarten. For history buffs, the fascinating fusion of Caribbean, Latin and European cultures. For everyone, a day spent on HAL's award winning private island Half Moon Cay.
Celebrity - 7-Night Western Mediterranean  from $549 per person
Description: For centuries people have traveled to Europe to see magnificent ruins, art treasures and natural wonders. And the best way to do so is by cruise ship. Think of it - you pack and unpack only once. No wasted time searching for hotels and negotiating train stations. Instead, you arrive at romantic ports of call relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Holland America - Alaska from From $499 per person
Description: Sail between Vancouver and Seward, departing Sundays on the ms Statendam or ms Volendam and enjoy towering mountains, actively calving glaciers and pristine wildlife habitat. Glacier Bay and College Fjord offer two completely different glacier-viewing experiences.