September 23, 2002
Ultimate Caribbean / 11 nights - Adults Only
are Jim and Sue, in our lower 50's, married about a year ago, all kids
grown and gone. Our cruising choices tend toward the ships that offer
a more elegant experience rather than a casual style. For Caribbean
cruises, we book for the ship and number of sea days, not for the
was our second cruise with Celebrity; the first was a 14-night cruise
on Mercury. It was on this
first cruise that we became acquainted with Captain Adamidis and his
wife Joyce. I kept in contact
with Joyce via email over the past months so when I found that they
would be on this ship I was delighted.
We also schedule our cruises around times that there will be
few children onboard so the new adults-only concept sounded good.
We had never been on a ship as large as Millennium and weren't
sure we would like it. We loved
it! She is by far the most
beautiful ship we've ever sailed. I loved the art and the colors
throughout the ship. This
sailing was also the introductory sailing of Celebrity's new marketing
strategy so I'll include a few comments on those as well.
flew into Fort Lauderdale the day prior to sailing and stayed at the
Renaissance. The hotel was very
nice and the Jacuzzi tub in our Jr. Suite felt good after the plane
flight. We had dinner at the
hotel and then "kicked back" and relaxed until bedtime.
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and at 11:30
took a taxi to the ship.
- sail away from Fort Lauderdale
was a breeze; there was only one couple ahead of us in the line for
Captains Club and Suites. We
presented our documents and credit card and received an introductory
letter and one explaining that we would not be stopping in Columbia.
As we turned to go to the boarding area a lovely lady who
introduced herself as Melanie Burger, the Social Hostess approached us
and asked us to step aside as Joyce wanted to be called when we
arrived. Soon Dru Pavlov, the
Assistant Cruise Director, joined us. We
had a nice chat about the ship and all the new things being introduced
on this cruise. Within about 10
minutes Joyce came running down the escalator to greet us.
As she escorted us onboard into the Grand Foyer, we were handed
a glass of chilled champagne - one of the new changes being introduced
and a really class touch. There
were already a number of people in the Foyer as cabins would not be
ready until 1:00. This is a big
improvement over sitting in an uncomfortable terminal waiting room, as
we have done on several cruises. The
Grand Foyer is a stunning public room, with the glowing staircase in
the middle and many chairs grouped with tables for chatting.
After we had looked around the room, Joyce checked with Nickos
Batistatos, the Hotel Manager, and said that our Royal Suite was
ready. Since I couldn't wait to
see it she escorted us. As we
took the midship glass elevators to the Penthouse deck I watched the
other passengers; some loved the view of the sea and others hid their
is the only description I have for the room - the walls are wood
paneled and the carpet and soft furniture are done in light neutral
colors. Mirrors were used to
make the 538 sq. ft suite look even bigger.
It was certainly the most beautiful cabin we've ever had (and
also the most expensive). The
bathroom had a wonderful Jacuzzi tub with jets that massaged your back
- I ended up soaking in the tub almost every day.
It also had double sinks, a large shower with nice glass doors,
several storage shelves and of course, the toilet.
On the balcony (195 sq. ft.) outside the living room sliding
doors were two padded teak lounge chairs and outside the sliding doors
from the bedroom was another Jacuzzi tub and a table and chairs.
We enjoyed our morning coffee each day at this table and spent
many hours sitting on the balcony. We
used the outside Jacuzzi a few times, mostly just as a way to cool off
while we were sunning. It is rather small and shallow and not nearly
as nice as the one in the bathroom, but certainly a nice addition to
the large balcony. The suite
had plenty of storage cupboards and a small walk-in closet.
I particularly enjoyed having a dressing table all to myself.
I was glad I had my lighted makeup mirror, as the little area
where it is located isn't too bright in the evenings.
I had heard that the suite was very dark, but we found it to be
well lighted and even wished that there were dimmer switches for the
overhead lights as they were quite bright.
There are two flat panel TV’s, one in the bedroom and one in
the living room. The living
room also had a CD player.
began unpacking as our bags arrived, located our lifejackets for the
drill and read the daily program and other information in the cabin.
Soon the 15-minute warning announcement for the safety-at-sea
drill was made and we donned our lifejackets.
I love to watch the expressions on the faces of first-time
cruisers as they go through this necessary procedure.
Immediately after the drill we went back to our cabin to pop
the complementary bottle of champagne and watch the sail-away.
I called a couple we had "met" on the Internet, Ray
and Joann, and invited them to join us.
As it turned out, they were absolutely delightful and we met
with them several times during the trip.
At 6:00 we went to dinner... always an interesting experience.
Would we like our tablemates? Yes!
Although we were at a table for six, only one other couple was seated
there. They were a great
British couple, Norman and Maria, so I knew we would have enjoyable
dinners. Our table was on the
main level slightly to the left and in front of the Captain's table.
The Metropolitan dining room is beautiful and not too crowded
and we were able to hear the music played by the quartet on the upper
level. The view out the large
aft window makes a stunning setting. I
loved the lighted blue stained glass ceiling - it gave the room a
feeling of a skylight. The only
drawback was that the chairs lacked armrests and I think chairs with
them are more comfortable.
dinner (casual attire) we went back to the suite and found our cabin
tidied up, the bed turned down, the daily program and an Invitation to
dine at the Captain's Table the following evening.
To me, that is the biggest honor one can receive while sailing
so I was thrilled and glad that we had already sent Jim's tux for
pressing. We had a nightcap and
"watched the water go by" until bedtime.
This really is a life I could get used to!
- Key West
woke up about 7:00 (we're by nature early people) and called Lawry,
our butler, for breakfast. After
lounging around with coffee and rolls for a couple hours we decided it
was time to go ashore. We
walked to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville for a cheeseburger in
paradise and a margarita even though it was only 10:30 in the
morning. Then we slowly wandered our way back to the ship.
After boarding we went to the conservatory flower shop to get a
boutonničre for Jim. It is a
great shop – it took me a while to realize that some of the
arrangements were artificial flowers.
had scheduled an "unofficial" Cruise Critic party for 2:30,
a half hour after sailing. Over
50 people had joined the message board post so a few days before
sailing Celebrity contacted me and said they would host the party.
Forty-seven people attended the party, which was very nice -
drinks and appetizers were provided by Celebrity and served by
waiters. We met wonderful
people, some of which we were able to invite to our suite for
cocktails at other times during the trip.
Joyce and Melanie both attended the party, as did two people
from Celebrity headquarters and a couple of Officers.
Everyone seemed to enjoy it. The
party was in the Platinum Club, the champagne and martini bar areas.
This is one of my favorite rooms on the ship; I loved the
silver, grays and purple. The
lighting effects in the ceiling change from day to night and the room
takes on a whole different look. The
center of the room is open to the Rendezvous Lounge underneath it so
you can listen to the music being played below.
the party it was time to dress (formal attire) for the Captain's
Welcome party and formal dinner at the Captain's Table.
We had plenty of time because the Captain's table is at the
late seating (we usually eat early). Jim's
tux was hanging back in the room and I chose my new gown for that
special night. We attended the
Captain's Welcome party prior to dinner that was held in the Grand
Foyer. With nearly 2000 people
onboard, they have done away with the long reception lines to shake
hands with the Captain and Officers and I found I liked the change.
We met the rest of those invited to the Captain's Table in the
Rendezvous in a special reserved area and then Melanie escorted us to
the table. As I said earlier,
this, to me, is the nicest honor you can receive.
We were seated at the end of the table with Jim to Joyce's
right and I was at the end of the table so we were able to visit with
the Captain and her very easily. Although
the wait staff in the dining room is very good, the service at this
table is excellent which just adds to the fun of being there.
At the end of dinner, each woman was presented with a red rose
as a gift from Captain Adamidis; mine lasted in a vase until the end
of the cruise. We declined
going to the show and returned to our cabin.
Although we love the formal nights, it felt very good to shed
the clothes and slip into bathrobes! A
short nightcap on the balcony and we were off to bed.
– sea day (stop at
the night we hit the remnants of Hurricane Isadore and it became a bit
rough. Jim got up and moved to
the couch during the night because the rock & roll was keeping him
awake and making him feel a little queasy.
He even took a Bonine. I'm
lucky, the rocking just put me to sleep but the lightning flashes woke
me several times - I sleep better on a ship than anywhere else.
delivered our coffee and rolls and as we sat outside Jim described the
great lightning show I missed. Then
he announced that he thought he’d go back to bed and try to get some
sleep. I sat outside and
watched the ship approach Cozumel. After
three attempts to dock the Captain reversed course and made an
announcement that the port would be canceled for the safety of the
ship and passengers. A revised
daily schedule was prepared with many added activities and delivered
to the cabin very quickly. I only heard a couple passengers grumble
about the missed port; most seemed very accepting and shared my
attitude of “if you book a trip during hurricane season, you might
get a hurricane [duh!].” It
was fun to meet and talk to the people from the party as I wandered
around the ship. Jim woke up
early afternoon feeling much better and wanted to go to the buffet to
eat. Even only choosing a few
items, we ate too much and ended up skipping dinner.
The lunch, goodies with tea and the appetizers brought by Lawry
were more than enough!
– sea day
brought our coffee and rolls, which we took outside on the balcony and
then soaked in the Jacuzzi. After
dressing, we went to explore the ship.
At the photo gallery, I picked up our boarding picture, browsed
some of the shops - it is the nicest shopping area of any ship I've
sailed. Mid-morning we went to
a “fun and informative talk” given by Joyce and Edwin Rojas about
her book If I Were Not Upon The Sea. The book is a great read
and to hear her tell the stories is even better.
I really recommend it for anyone that is curious about the life
of cruise ship staff. It’s
for sale on Millennium – I don’t know about other ships.
went to the Ocean Buffet for lunch. The
food was quite good for a buffet and there were a good variety of
items from which to choose but the best was the cinnamon ice cream for
dessert. We spent a couple
hours on the balcony sunning and reading – which for us means a few
minutes in the sun – a quick dip in the Jacuzzi to cool off and a
few minutes sitting in the shade and then a repeat – we probably
look like we are playing musical chairs.
night we had dinner reservations in the Olympic to celebrate Ray and
Joann's 49th anniversary. Joyce
joined us for dinner and Ray presented each of the women with a long
stemmed rose. I added it to the
vase in the cabin with the rose from the Captain.
The Olympic is well worth the surcharge (or gratuity as
Celebrity prefers to call it). We
spent some time looking at the pictures and items from the original
ship that are on display in the entry.
We ate in the larger white dining room; it's very spacious,
elegant and quiet. At first
reading the menu seems a little skimpy as you can only choose soup or
salad but the food is so rich and filling that we absolutely waddled
out. Everyone at the table had
either the Steak Dianne or Shrimp Scampi; both cooked tableside. The
desserts are to die for; the favorite seems to be a chocolate mousse
but I had the Waldorf pudding and it was exceptional!
I should note here that the attire for the evening was casual
but for the Olympic it is always informal to formal so we dressed up.
– Costa Rica
awoke to find the ship just heading into port and had our coffee
watching from the balcony. As
we’ve visited this port before, we didn’t leave the ship at all.
I thought this would be a good day to check out the spa and the
Thalassotherapy pool. It always
takes a bit of convincing to get Jim to go with me, but he grinned and
agreed. The pool was nearly
empty so we soaked on the bubble lounger a bit and then in the
Jacuzzi, but all in all, the T-pool on the Mercury was much better.
On Millennium, the pool is larger but there were few massaging
jets and the waterfall spouts didn’t have enough force to really
massage your neck and shoulders. The
spa area is beautiful and we were able to see into several of the
treatment rooms – they looked very nice.
I can see where this would be a very popular area during bad
weather or trips to cooler climates and it is restricted to adults
only on all sailings.
decided that this would be a nice day to do a “sail-away” cocktail
party in the suite, so we filled out invitations that I’d made on
the computer at home prior to leaving and delivered them to the
various cabins around the ship. The
butler will do this for you, but we found it a way to see other areas
we had yet to explore. We ended
up sitting under an umbrella in the café on the 10th deck aft having
a nice cool pina colada. Then
back to the cabin to prepare for the party.
I called Lawry and asked him for extra appetizers, ice and
another champagne bucket. He
set everything up beautifully and even checked in several times during
the party to make sure we had everything we needed.
Everyone we invited came – 4 couples and us; it was a casual
attire evening so everyone was relaxed and seemed to have a good time.
We were too full of champagne and appetizers to go to dinner,
so we skipped it.
were drinking our coffee as the ship pulled into port.
The terminal building and surrounding area were perhaps the
nicest of any we’ve seen; it appeared that everything had a fresh
coat of paint – bright yellow and blue, very tropical.
Since we waited too long to make a decision on the Train
excursion and missed booking it, we got off the ship and browsed the
many sellers of local handicrafts and then watched a folk dancing
exhibition. The weather was beautiful so we wandered around the dock
area a little and took some pictures of the exterior of the ship –
she’s really impressive looking all the way from the bow to the
spent the rest of the day relaxing and reading.
It sounds like we’re really boring people when I read what
I’ve written, but we both have rather high stress jobs and work long
hours so for us this is heaven!
made it to dinner (informal attire) that night and had a great dinner
and wonderful conversation with Norman and Maria.
– at sea
now you’ve figured out our morning routine, coffee and rolls on the
balcony followed by the soak in the Jacuzzi.
Joyce invited me to have lunch in their quarters so I could
have a chance to spend a little time with their son Haris.
This was a difficult trip for him because he was restricted to
the Captain’s and crew areas due to the adults-only sailing.
He is 5 and usually spends afternoons at the Fun Factory with
the other kids. Their cabin is
very nice and very large – as is befitting the Master of the ship.
It also doubles as the Captain’s office so there is an
attached conference room.
this Adults-Only Escape Cruise Celebrity designated this as
Valentine’s Day to add a little love and romance to the trip.
I’m not sure if there were any special activities, but given
that I’d packed a red gown, I wore it for dinner (formal attire).
is one of our favorite ports so after our coffee and the usual routine
we headed off the ship. This
also allowed for the early rush of people to already be gone.
Our first stop (well, not quite first as I had to look in all
the jewelry stores we passed) was Iguana Joe’s for Jim to have his
Banana ByeBye – a drink he says is the best ever; so good, he had
another. To me it tastes like a
banana daiquiri but he insists that it is much better.
I had a pina colada and we shared a huge plate of nachos and
then browsed around - mostly jewelry shops. Although I didn’t buy
anything this trip, Jim got a nice watch.
decided it would be a good day to have the full dinner service in the
suite and called Lawry for the dinner menu.
He came back later to take our order and ask the time for
delivery – 6:30. He set our
dining table with a linen cloth and all the silver and glassware and
promptly at 6:30 he arrived with appetizers and breads, shortly after
that he brought the soup and salads. He
is magic because just as we finished those, he came back with our
entrees and dessert followed. This
is one of the things Celebrity does better (for suites) than any other
line we’ve sailed – the others just deliver your entire order and
drop it off. If you get the
chance, I recommend that you have dinner one night in your suite.
– at sea
we’re finally relaxed and really enjoying our little home and
routine and we realized we were in the home stretch – aaack, not
ready for it to be over! I
intended to go to Origami and the ice carving demonstration, but we
were too busy relaxing and I missed both of them.
I did run into Joann and Ray while looking at the photo gallery
and we had a drink in Michaels Piano Bar.
Michaels, as the cigar bar, was one of our favorite places and
I was glad to see that they hadn’t changed the décor at all. It
reminds me of a Gentlemen’s Smoking Room on the old liners – I’m
sure this is the feeling they were originally going for.
There are now three smoking tables; the rest of the bar is
non-smoking. It seems that
there just wasn’t enough use as a cigar bar to make it a viable
the day the Captain made an announcement that Hurricane Lilli had just
passed over the Caymans and that the tenders would not be able to run
the next day so we would be at sea and go to Nassau in the Bahamas the
following day. Another change
that didn’t bother us at all - in fact, since we had never been to
Nassau, we welcomed it.
decided this would be a good day for another cocktail party so we did
the invites and delivered them. The
attire for the evening was informal so we were more dressed up than
for the first one. I thought we
all looked quite elegant in the beautiful setting of the Royal Suite.
Again Lawry provided everything we needed and again we skipped dinner.
I’ve got to figure out how to eat more on these trips - we
miss out on an awfully lot of good food!
– at sea (Grand Cayman canceled)
morning while drinking coffee, I commented that I sure could use a
massage and Jim said, “Call and book one.”
It only took me about a minute to reach the phone and have one
booked for 10:30 in the suite. That
meant he had to go to the disembarkation talk when I had already
agreed I’d attend. He took it
with little grumbling and off he went.
Tracie, the masseuse, and an assistant arrived and set up the
massage table and I lay down for an hour of pampering.
Jim came back at about 11:00 and went out to sit on the balcony
so as not to disturb us. A few
minutes later the Captain announced that there were whales to port so
I jumped off the table, wrapped the purple towel around me and ran out
to tell Jim. Well, everyone on
our side of the ship were also out on their balconies to see the
whales and I realized that they could see me wrapped in the little
purple towel. I was hoping
everyone was looking out to sea, but several people commented to me
later that they had seen me in the towel. (Blush!)
Captains Club cocktail party took place in Cosmos before early dinner
and was well attended. For this
party there was a reception line and we had the opportunity to thank
Captain Adamidis for a great trip. We also saw several of our new
friends from Cruise Critic. We
found Ray and Joann and sat with them.
The Captain made a very nice speech about the new enhancements
to Celebrity sailings and explaining why the changes in our itinerary
was exceptional that night and ended with the introduction of the
dining room and galley staff and the Baked Alaska Parade.
bed we stopped in the Rendezvous and listened to the Flagship
Orchestra playing Big Band music – very enjoyable… if only Jim
would dance. The dance floor
was very busy that night and some of the dancers were very good.
I watched the Gentleman Hosts on this trip and want to comment
that I thought they were much better than those on our last few trips.
These two gentlemen danced almost every dance and seemed to be
making sure that any of the unaccompanied ladies had a partner.
– Bahamas (substituted for Grand Cayman)
were anxious to see Nassau because we had never been to it before and
the port area looked very nice. We
actually hurried a bit through our breakfast and went into town.
It is a great place to browse – I love the jewelry stores
although they are the same in most of the ports.
We both bought tee shirts and Jim got a shot glass for his
collection so we didn’t break the bank here either.
We ended up in a nice little café for a drink and a conch
salad; then it was back to the ship. The
iced towels handed out when you reboarded really felt good (another of
the new enhancements).
was time for the much-dreaded repacking.
It’s not as difficult as packing because there is no choosing
what to take or carefully folding to avoid wrinkles, but I hate it
anyway. We got most of it done
and realized it was almost time to sail.
A quick call to our friends Ray and Joann, and the couple next
door, Chuck and Kathy, and we had one last sail away party with the
last of the champagne.
went down to the dining room to say good-bye to Norman and Maria and
to give our waiters their envelopes, but didn’t stay for dinner.
After leaving the Metropolitan, we wandered around the ship.
We picked up one more picture from the photo gallery and I fed
my usual $10 into the slot machine. Jim
joked that this time it took less than 60 seconds for me to loose it.
The casino is large and highly decorated with mirrors and
statues, much like Las Vegas casinos. I
like it, but heard others say they thought it was gaudy.
The traffic patterns on that deck force you to walk through the
casino to get from one end of the ship to the other and they have
designed the casino where you have to zigzag through the machines and
tables to get through it – a good marketing tactic, I’m sure!
On the formal nights the casino was full of people and looked
– Fort Lauderdale (or the fat lady sings)
ordered our usual breakfast and dressed (yes, we remembered to save
clothes to wear) while we were eating it.
Then we just sat on the balcony until we were called and talked
about all the special things that had happened for us on this trip and
the great people we’d met. Our
moods seemed to alternate between very happy and sad that it was
was the easiest ever. Passengers
were allowed to stay in their cabins until their color tag was called.
This is much better than everyone crowding into public areas
and tripping over the carry-on luggage.
We had white tags and were the first group called.
Customs and Immigration were cleared quickly and we didn’t
have too much trouble locating our luggage in the “happy hunting
grounds.” A porter assisted
us to a taxi and we were off to the airport.
had booked a late flight because our last experience getting out of
Fort Lauderdale airport wasn’t good but were able to get on an 11:45
flight. I called the limo
company in Denver to advise them of the change and they met us on
time. So now we’re home…
stacks of laundry, mow the lawn, clean the house, and off to work on
Monday. We were lucky because
we had Saturday and Sunday to get caught up.
and thank you’s
I’d like to say that everyone’s cruise experience is different –
it’s what you make of it. We
enjoy the relaxation, pampering, elegance and “watching the sea go
by” so we always book the best cabin we can afford because we spend
a lot of time in it. Some
friends that cruise often are the opposite – they don’t want to
dress up and they do excursions at every port so they book less
expensive cabins because they don’t spend any time in them (they
also book another line where they don’t have to dress up).
It pays to compare what the different cruise lines offer before
you book and to deal with a knowledgeable travel agent.
sure I forgot to mention things during this review such as High Tea in
the Olympic, which was delightful. I
intended to do a day-by-day diary on the computer in the suite, but
that never happened so this was done at home.
I did use the computer for email.
had so many special treats on this trip starting with Roswita Arnet,
Director of Total Guest Satisfaction, who contacted me prior to
sailing and offered to have Celebrity host our Cruise Critic party.
She contacted me the first day onboard and we met in Cova Café
to make sure all the details were worked out.
Later in the trip a huge bouquet from her was delivered to the
suite. Along the same line I
should thank Bob Kesler, Vice President of Total Guest Satisfaction,
who was onboard and came to the CC party.
He was very interested in getting our input on the new
enhancements – and delightful to talk with.
Nickos Batistatos, Hotel Manager, and George Traiganis, Office
Supervisor Hotel Manager, also attended the party and visited with the
guests. All of these people
really went out of their way to give us a good time.
and congratulations also need to go to Celebrity CEO, Richard Fain,
Jack Williams, and Dietmar Wertanzl for taking steps to keep Celebrity
a step above the other cruise lines.
Adamidis (and all the bridge staff) did a magnificent job of keeping
us in good weather and calm seas while avoiding two hurricanes and he
is absolutely charming to talk with. [Oops, ended with a preposition]
do you possibly thank everyone? A
few more special thanks: Melanie,
Social Hostess, Edwin, Cruise Director, and Lawry, our Butler deserve
special note, but everyone on the ship deserves to be mentioned.
biggest thank you goes to Joyce Adamidis, whom I’m proud to call my
friend, with her sparkling personality and never ending energy she
made this trip perfect for us.
the great people we met onboard – mostly due to the Cruise Critic
message board and party: Ray and Joann – thank you for the orchid
arrangement and your company many times during the trip.
Josie – thank you for the embroidered guest towel. Don,
Florence & Edith. Nancy and Frank, Tina & Javiar, Jerry &
Denice, Mike & Maria, Chuck & Kathy and many others – I hope
you’ll forgive me for not remembering all the names.
already looking for our next cruise – perhaps the Mediterranean next
summer on the Millennium. Right
now, that seems a long way off – so I might find something before
then that we just can’t resist.
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