Three weeks ago today we reached the last full day of our cruise. While you never really want vacation to end, the consensus amongst friends was that we were all ready to be home. At some point you need to get back to your day-to-day life, to see your family and friends, and pets.
Besides being the last day it was the dreaded packing day and the day to say goodbye (for now) to new friends. Here we are at dinner on the last night.
I’ve put together a few more comments related to our cruise, things that address questions I wondered about before we left and questions that are asked ALL the time on Cruise Critic.
Did you book another cruise while you were on board?
YES! We plan to be on the Millie again in April 2014, going from Shanghai, China to Vancouver, Canada across the gulf of Alaska. It will be an adventure. The Millie is making almost exactly this same trip in April of 2013 so I will be on the look out for reviews then.
The benefits to booking online vary depending on what category stateroom you choose. We reserved another sky suite which required us to pay $100 per person down, it gave us some on board credit, and no room upgrades. It may be a better deal to book online when you’re going to get room upgrades, but still – $200 deposit to hold our room is a good deal, especially if you use CruiseFish.net to monitor prices because we were assured that if the price drops we can call Celebrity and get our price lowered.
How did you like the Millie?
It was great – we like this size of ship and the staff were all wonderful. The only things I found odd were that the grand atrium was not very grand and the main dining room was not very architecturally impressive. Otherwise I liked the layout of the ship and found there to be enough deck and pool space, and plenty of places to hang out inside.
There were only two occasions when it felt crowded – disembarkation and waiting for dinner on that first formal night when there was a huge crowd outside the dining room.
How was the music and volume around the ship?
The volume issue really depended on where you were in the ship. In the theatre I found it to be a touch loud, particularly the brass instruments and the steel guitar of Kimika. For me it was way too loud in Rendezvous Lounge – forget having a conversation here when the band is playing.
In the ‘grand’ foyer there was overlapping music. I still don’t know where it was coming from, but sitting between Cafe Al Bacio and the Gelateria you would two completely different soundtracks. It was totally annoying and probably explained why there were rarely people sitting here.
Blu is a funny one. I would classify it as dance and techno. There were a couple songs on the soundtrack that they play on one of my favorite radio stations which happens to be a dance station. I’m the ONLY person I know who listens to that station and even I found the music strange.
For the most part I didn’t care for the live music around the ship. Kenosis played at the pool and they were pretty good. Take Note played at Rendezvous. The female vocalist grated on me for some reason, but the male vocalist (and percussionist) was much better. Many other people hung out here and danced before dinner so either I am in the minority in disliking them or people were desperate to get on the dance floor.
How were the theatre shows?
They were okay which is what I expected. We didn’t see that many of them, I’d say we went to less than half the shows. Start time was 8:45 or 9 pm; we usually finished dinner by 8 pm. Depending on the show you needed to be there 15-25 minutes before it started. So call me crazy, but eating a big meal and it being almost 9 pm at night I found it difficult to want to go sit and wait for the show to start. I figured I’d be ready to fall asleep when it started. Sitting with friends helped a lot when it came to the time passing faster.
If you asked people’s opinion of the shows (I did) you would get love it and hate it responses for each one. Kind of amusing.
How did you like your accessible sky suite cabin?
It was a very nice cabin with plenty of room to move around. We could definitely walk past each other in this room as there was about 5 feet between the end of the bed and the cabinetry.
The storage was of good size. There wasn’t much room left over, particularly in the closet, but that said we did have enough room to put everything away with a few things doubled up on hangers. Our 3 suitcases (1 large, 2 small) fit just fine under the bed. Don’t ever let your husband do the unpacking though as you’re going to be looking for stuff the entire cruise or you’re going to end up moving everything around. And why he couldn’t leave the bulky bathrobes hanging in the bathroom instead of taking up like 5 inches of closet space I still don’t understand.
How was the accessible bathroom?
It was fine. We didn’t have much trouble at all with water flowing out from the shower into the rest of the bathroom. There was a raised tile edge that defined the shower and that kept most of the water in the shower. We usually did put down one of our towels as you did tend to get a bit of over spray around one edge of the shower curtain.
What didn’t you take that you wished you had?
I wished we had taken our smaller digital camera. It would have fit in my clutch or Richard’s jacket pocket and would have been much easier to take to the dining room when I didn’t want to pack the larger camera around.
I think it would have been handy to have an organizer to hang on the back off the bathroom door too. The only reason I didn’t take one is that I couldn’t find one that was small and lightweight. I’d also be sure to take flip flops or Crocs to wear to the pool or on the beach.
Is there anything you’d leave at home next time?
As it turned out I had plenty of smart casual clothes and barely enough shorts and tank tops so I’d try to balance that out better next time. ‘Smart casual’ was very much hot weather casual, not dressy at all.
We packed a couple of extra hangers. I wouldn’t bother with these. You can get extra from your butler or if you need to send some things out to be laundered they’ll come back on hangers.
Personally, I would not have brought a laptop AND a tablet computer. Whether or not I can convince Richard of the folly of hauling around both of those items I do not know. Internet connectivity was so bad it was basically nonexistent. I am glad that I used the laptop to type up notes on what we did, that has formed the basis of what you’ve been reading here.
Food & Beverage
How do you feel about the beverage packages after purchasing one?
Richard had the most expensive beverage package ($55 + 15% gratuity per day) and I had none. I think it worked out for us okay, but Richard could have taken better advantage of his package if he had used it in the morning at Cafe Al Bacio instead of drinking the free coffee, and if he would have refrained from buying bottles of wine at dinner. I had heard that the wine by the glass was not great and I would have to agree.
For me, I drank mostly water and tea, and some wine. We took a case of water on board and two bottles of wine. This covered a large portion of what I drank. I’m glad I didn’t buy the non-alcoholic package that I was considering because at most I had 2 of the specialty frou-frou drinks in the afternoon and a glass of wine at dinner. The iced tea at Cafe Al Bacio really was special even at a cost of $5 plus tip. However, I couldn’t have drank that every day either so it was best to buy it when I wanted it.
How was the ships water?
Hit and miss. Most of the time it was fine and I used it to make hot tea or drank it with ice at meals. There were 2 days in particular that it tasted horrible and I threw out the tea I made with it. Blech. We both noticed that we had puffy fingers as our rings were tight. Whether that was due to more salt in the water or in the food I could not say.
How about the coffee?
Richard thought it was fine, but he is not picky about coffee. He was drinking Folgers for years. Now he has a Keurig. After dinner he liked to get an espresso drink instead of coffee, but it took FOREVER to get it. We are fairly sure that Rosys actually had to go out to Cafe Al Bacio for it.
How did they handle your food intolerances?
Just in case you don’t know what my food intolerances are: dairy, eggs, corn, and banana. Luckily I am only intolerant and not allergic. If I eat these foods I may feel sick and may spend the evening close to a bathroom, but I will not go into anaphylactic shock.
It was hit and miss. I thought I could handle it myself by reading menus and asking when I needed to about the ingredients. What I found is that the servers usually did not know about the ingredients. In the MDR the menu denoted lactose free, no sugar added, vegetarian, and gluten free which was super helpful. Why don’t they have these symbols next to every food item on the ship? Like in Oceanview Cafe and Aqua Spa Cafe why can’t they print the symbols next to the name of the item? Next time I would be more forceful about protecting my health by having a conversation with the maitre’d and possibly by requesting alternatives before departure.
One example: in Blu I was told that the overnight oats are soaked in soy. Then at Aqua Spa Cafe I was told the overnight oats were soaked in a mixture of soy and dairy milk. It really made me question why they would make them 2 different ways and whether what I had been told was accurate.