Now I know that if you are travelling with kids or if you require a thrill a minute, traditional ships may seem a bit quaint but for my money I still want the classic cruise experience. If you are like me, chances are you will really like Millie, as she in known to her guests, because you're made to feel special from the moment you step on board with smiling staff eager to welcome you with a glass of champagne, orange juice or a mimosa. Millie is the first of the "Millennium Class" ships that Celebrity took delivery of in June 2000. She was given a refit in 2009 (new carpets and flat panel TVs were added) and in 2012 she will be "Solsticized" with major changes coming to the Oceanview Cafe & Grill and other parts of the ship to bring some of the popular features of the new "Solstice Class" ships to the "Millennium Class".
Once on board, the midship glass elevators will whisk you away to your stateroom where you can freshen up before heading to the welcome buffet in the topside Oceanview Cafe & Grill on Deck 10. After eating, most passengers do a little exploring and, while large, Millie always feels intimate and easy to find your way around. She sports a great deal of wood and brass which gives her the feeling of a ship and not a 300 foot long Las Vegas showroom. The Cosmos Lounge on Deck 11 is often one of the first discoveries that passengers make. Just above the bridge at the bow of the ship, this is the the largest disco/night club on board and during the day serves as a quiet spot to sit and watch the progress of the ship through the panoramic widows stretching the width of the ship.
Within hours as arriving on board your luggage will appear in your stateroom and you will have the task of finding places to store all that you have brought with you. Thankfully, Millie's staterooms are equipped with all manner of nooks, crannies, drawers, cupboards, hooks and closets to satisfy the pack horse in all of us.
Lifeboat drill usually happens about half an hour before sail away and has changed over the years. Time was you had to wear your life jacket to your assigned muster station (usually in the theatre, lounge or casino), listen to a presentation and then go out onto the open decks to be lined up under the lifeboat that you take you to safety should the need arise. Today, you still assemble at the appropriate muster station but you leave the life jackets in your room and you no longer have to assemble as if on the parade grounds underneath your assigned lifeboat.
One of the most exciting events for passengers is the evening meal, taken usually in the Metropolitan Restaurant. This two-storey temple to the gourmand offers early (6:00) and late (8:15) seatings as well as newly introduced "select seating" where passengers can show up at almost anytime for open seating (you don't get to pick your waiter or your table mates though). This new flexibility in the restaurant also marks the end of the evening bistro in the Oceanview Cafe & Grill. Instead there are several short buffet lines available for casual dining in the Cafe in the evening.
There is one specialty restaurant on board with a cover charge. The Olympic Restaurant, often regarded as one of the best specialty restaurants afloat, will provide a meal (and service) that is a step above the wonderful treatment guests receive in the main Metropolitan Restaurant. There is a $35.00pp cover charge (additional tipping is suggested but not required) that is actually well worth the cost as food is prepared "a la minute" rather than ahead of time as in the main restaurant, and arrives in perfect unison by "Chef de Rangs", presenting each table guest with their food at precisely the same moment.
As you continue to explore the ship, you will discover the Cove Cafe overlooking the mid-ship atrium. The Cova Cafe serves morning pastries and premium coffee and drinks throughout the day, tapas during the day as well as late night snacks, and is a great place to sit and people watch or listen to live music in the evening. Not far away, near the photo shop, you will discover an intimate lounge called Michael's Club which resembles a 19th century gentleman's club complete with dark wood panelling and overstuffed leather chairs.
As on all modern cruise ships, there is a shopping area, this one called "The Emporium", where passengers can purchase items ranging in price from a few dollars to a few thousand. Once you have explored the shops on board you may want to drop by the Cyber Cafe which has a number of computers available for passengers to check their emails. There is also a separate computer lab where passengers can receive instruction on the use of popular software packages. Wifi on the ship is limited to several public areas including the centre atrium and surprisingly perhaps, the main dining room.
Entertainment includes many different musical groups playing in the various lounges throughout the ship as well as musical reviews and other entertainment in the three-level Celebrity Theater. Millennium also has a convention center which we have used for our photo seminars. This area is made up of a large conference room with theater style seating and smaller boardrooms with seating around conference tables.
Celebrity positions itself as a premium cruise line - a step above the mass market offerings of other companies and is able to deliver this "cut above" experience without a huge increase in the price of their cruises. Whether it is the efficiency of the tendering service to shore, the food, bar or coffee service throughout the ship or the offers from smiling staff to take you and your buffet tray to a table, you will be impressed by how well you are treated while on board. If you are interested in seeing more of Millie, take one of the virtual tours offered on the Celebrity web site.You might also want to check out some other reviews on the web.