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Celebrity Millennium Wine Cruise

Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruise Line
Ship: Celebrity Millennium
Sailing Date:
September 28, 2009
Itinerary: 12-Night Coastal Cruise
Vancouver to Los Angeles

 

My main reason for taking this specific cruise was that there was a travel agent training 'Seminar at Sea' onboard.  That meant that on the three sea days I got extensive training on Celebrity Cruises and her little sister Azamara Cruises.  However, other than that is was full normal cruise for me, so I'll give a full review!

 

Also, this cruise was actually a "Wine Cruise".  The ports were specifically chosen by Celebrity for their nearness to wine-producing regions, and there were customized shore excursions to wineries available on this 'one off' itinerary.  Also, there were some wine experts onboard that held seminars and wine-paired dinners, for an extra fee of course.  I don't drink for the most part, so I won't have specifics to give on that, but reviews of all of those special activities was very good.

 

 

Pre-Cruise, Vancouver, BC Canada:

 

I flew in the day of the cruise, which I never recommend as a travel agent.  I figured I could get up a 4:30am in California and make it to Vancouver, only a two hour flight, easily.  Well, NOT!  I had plane issues and made it to the pier only 15 minutes before they cut off boarding.  So, whenever you cruise, please fly in the day prior.  It will save you a lot of potential stress!

 

However, I do want to mention that Vancouver, in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics, has built a new train that runs from the airport directly to the Canada Place Pier (lots of other stops too).  You might want to look into this for your next cruise into or out of Vancouver.  http://www.translink.ca/

 

Because my flight was so late-arriving, I took the Celebrity bus transfer.  I actually didn't pre-purchase this.  It was easy to find the Celebrity Cruise Line reps in the baggage area after we arrived, and I could purchase their transfer on the spot.  I felt that by getting on Celebrity's own transfer I had a better chance of them 'holding the ship' with a full busload of folks enroute than me by myself in a taxi.  As a general "FYI", all cruise lines work this way.  If there is a ship in port, you should always be able to just find the cruise line rep in baggage claim or just past customs and be able to purchase a transfer on the spot.  They just charge the cost to your room.

 

I've been on many coastal cruises, taking every form of transportation possible as well as trying different hotels each time.  Read other "Coastal" cruise reviews on this tab of the site to learn more.

 

 

Boarding the Millennium:

 

Embarking was a breeze.  Since it was close to 3:30pm, most folks were onboard already.  We were actually embarking at the Ballantyne Pier, which is in the industrial area of Vancouver and not the super beautiful Canada Place.  But, it was a nice facility once we were at the building itself.  We went through an x-ray machine with our carry-ons, were checked in quickly, and were on the ship within 10 minutes.

 

 

Dining:

 

My overall opinion of the food and service on Celebrity was that it was MOST excellent.  At this very moment, Celebrity still does traditional fixed early and late dining, with a few alternate options.  (I will discuss them.)  However, by March, 2010 all Celebrity ships will have implemented their Select Dining, which is going to be their flexible option.  You will have the choice then of the traditional (fixed table, same waiter, same dining partners, same time every night) or the Select. Since most of their dining rooms are 2-story, I'm guessing they'll have one level be traditional dining, one be the Select… similar to other lines with large dining rooms.

 

I had late traditional dining for my seminar group.  Although I thought the food and service were both good, I just really didn't like eating that late.  So, I did other dining options on a regular basis.  (7 nights out of 12 I wasn't at my dining table, but I always gave my group advance warning so they didn't wait for me.)

 

Something interesting I learned was that if you have prepaid your tips, as I was required to do in my group, and you move tables.. your original waiter keeps the prepaid tips.  So, I had been like a few of my group that switched to early dining officially, my new waiter would have gotten no tips for me and I should have felt compelled to tip him on the last night.  I thought that was interesting.  If you were still doing cash tipping, of course this would be easy for you to tip the two different pairs of waiters if you wanted by simply seeking them out.

 

Two nights I ate in the specialty restaurant – Olympic.  Olympic costs $30 per person up-charge and is generally worth it.  The service is over the top and the food is excellent.  They do all the courses with the dishes being placed and removed simultaneously, so its really fun.  And they escort you to the restroom if you need to get up during your service.  They also have a few dishes cooked tableside that you can order, which adds to the special feel.  And, of course I didn't try it, but they have a wine cellar room that is most fabulous on this and her sister ships.  It is a small room that is part of the Olympic restaurant that you can pre-reserve with wine bottles all around you.  It is great for small groups. 

 

They also offer a fixed menu that is wine-paired in this restaurant with a really high up-charge.  I believe it was $120 per person, but I barely glanced at it, so I'm not sure of the exact price.  If you choose to do the wine-paired dinner, everyone on your table has to participate.  The wine-paired menu is available in any seat, but would be especially wonderful if you did it in the wine cellar room.

 

On the first evening I ate in the regular buffet, where they have pasta and stirfry made to order, and pizza almost always available.  I wished they had more options at night in the buffet, but it was good for doing one night.

On the last evening I tried their "Casual Dining Boulevard" or "Alternative Dining".  They seemed to often change the name of this, but it was an awesome area in the aft section of the buffet with table service and its own menu.  It was casual always, even on formal nights, and jeans were OK. They required a $2 up-charge for a tip for the waitstaff who weren't part of the main dining room tipping pool.  If you like service, but you don't want to eat at a specific time or with the same folks as always on a long port day or something… this is a GREAT option!

 

Celebrity has the most spectacular healthy food option on the Millennium and her sister ships called AquaSpa Café.  This is a cold food buffet open for breakfast and lunch in the Solarium mineral pool area of the ship.  I ate breakfast and lunch here nearly every day of my trip.  It was both good-tasting, less crowded, and had a great tropical spa-like atmosphere.  For breakfast they had cereals and fruit.  (I had a lot of muesli and grapefruit.)  And for lunch they had cold dishes of various meats, seafood and salad as well as breads and desserts.  I just LOVE that area.  I wish it had been open for dinner as well, but, alas, the workers in this area are actually the same ones that serve in Olympic for dinner so they can't be in two places at once.  If you try this ship, don't miss these great-tasting options!  Most guests don't even find it.  Breakfast was usually 7:30am – 10 am, and lunch noon to 3pm.

 

And along with these special places mentioned, there was, naturally, open seating breakfast and lunch in the dining room every day.  (I tried lunch once, breakfast never.)  And TONS of options in the buffet – omelettes  made to order, a poached eggs area where you could get eggs benedict but other special options, English type breakfast, cereals, Asian breakfast, waffles and pancakes etc.  Various different breakfast options were available from 6am – 11:30am.  (The late riser in me appreciated that on one of the days I stayed onboard.)  And for lunch, grilled things by the pool, hot and cold options in the main buffet, fresh made pizza from noon to 11pm, soup and sandwiches… you name it.  The only drawback was the hours between 2:30pm and dinner.  If you didn't want pizza or a burger, your choices were high tea from 4-5pm in the buffet, and homemade ice cream available noon7pm.  Not a lot of great healthy options.  That was the toughest thing for me having late dining.  Getting hungry around 5pm sail away and not having dinner for another 3 hours.

 

Lastly, I want to mention room service.  Of course, if you've sailed before you know that room service is free and available 24 hours.  Celebrity has a REALLY great extensive menu for room service available all the time.  However, what Celebrity doesn't advertise a lot and you should know about, is that you can order off the main dining room menu and have that delivered to your room.  Just ask your room steward.  I did this TWICE on my cruise. Mostly because the baseball playoffs were on and my favorite team was in them and I didn't want to miss it.  But once I tried it once, I couldn't resist a second night of not having to get dressed up at all and eating lobster on the bed.  When Celebrity says "Starring You", I felt like it on those nights eating on the room service tray on my bed in front of my TV.

 

 

Entertainment:

 

The quality of the entertainment was excellent.  All music onboard is live.  You'll never near piped-in music.  They had a party band that played nightly by the pool, two quartets that played dancing music or just listening music, a wonderful A Cappella Quartet that played at various venues (best to catch them in Michael's Club) and a pianist that played a few different venues.  All of these were popular for before dinner as well as for your main evening entertainment if you wished.

 

They had a good show in the showroom nightly.  There were three different productions shows on three different nights.  The production shows had a full cast of about 14 dancers and 4 main singers.  This was larger than on most cruise ships, so it really felt more like a Broadway show than what you usually see on a ship.  These were all excellent.  And they had a comedian, another entertainment duo and a concert pianist that were onboard at different times throughout the cruise.  As far as the timing, some nights we had the late dining main show time before dinner and other times very late after dinner.  I think this made everyone happy, as there are some that really prefer their drinking and dancing before dinner and others after.  Showtime for early diners was always after their dinner.  (Main dining times were 6pm and 8:30pm on my cruise, but they can vary.)  It will be interesting to see how they handle the show times once their Select dining rolls out, because that was a challenge I had with the flexible dining on Holland America.  The show times that were before late dining were smack dab in the middle of any normal dining schedule so sometimes I couldn't see a show at all if I decided to hit the dining room at 7pm.

 

During the day they had quite a few activities, plus they have a dedicated movie theatre that showed the 'movie of the day' multiple times throughout the cruise.  Of course, bingo and art auctions were there, but they also had beading (I did that one and made a bracelet) and art classes.  Culinary demonstrations were done a few times, and as I mentioned, there were a vew wine-related activities on my specific cruise.

 

The casino is always its own form of entertainment, of course.  Celebrity's Fortunes Casino had all the usual stuff, with a good variety of slots and lots of table game types, including craps.  There were slot, blackjack and poker tournaments on the sea days.  Incidentally, the casino still had coin-taking slot machines on this ship.  And be aware of Celebrity's overall strict smoking policy.  Unlike most ships, the casino was not a designated smoking area.

 

And if you're an avid poker player like me you should know that they have recently installed an electronic poker table in a brand called PokerMate.  I've played a lot of on-ship electronic poker games, but this is the first time I've ever seen this particular version.  You simply take a seat and put money in the feeder to your right (like a video game).  And when you're done, you get cash out slips like many casinos have for their slot machines.  The casino staff didn't try super hard to help getting the poker game running though, so we didn't have games a lot of nights.  I understand that the reason for the electronic tables is so they don't have to devote a dealer to it, but their total apathy was 'really bad service… not treating me famously' feeling.

 

 

Dress Code:

 

This 12-night sailing has three formal nights, and 9 smart casual.  The formal nights were well-attended, meaning a lot of folks dressed up.  I think that was both from the Celebrity Cruise being more upscale AND the fact that it was Wine Cruise. Of course, you still had the casual buffet and casual sit-down dinner in the buffet, and room service to choose from.  So, it is really up to you whether you wish to join in. 

 

 

Cabin:

 

I had a Category 2C – Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah (a regular balcony room).   The cabin was officially 170 sq ft, and the Verandah an additional 38 sq ft. 

 

The cabin was quite comfortable with a bed, vanity desk with a chair and small love seat in a sitting area.  The TV was really best viewed from the bed, not the couch, so I sat on the couch to read and the bed to watch the ballgames.  The table in front of the couch was large, so I could pile up my reading material on it, or had plenty of room for a room service tray.

 

The balcony was spacious with two chairs and a very small round table to sit a drink or a book on.  I DID balance a room service tray on it for breakfast once, but I think it would have been inconvenient for two people.

 

The bathroom was really comfortable.  A large shower bathroom-width rectangle, rather than a little circle like on some lines.  The sink was fine with a nice amount of counter space, and three corner shelves.  Plenty of room to store stuff.  And the amenities were aplenty.  Bar soaps for sink and shower, shampoo and conditioner and lotion, cotton balls and cotton swabs and a shower cap.  They gave me extra shampoo and conditioner from the start (it was a long cruise, so it was a given I'd need more than one bottle of each).  And they changed out my bar soap even when I didn't request it.  Really great service.

 

In the cabin itself, storage space was good.  There is a large closet where half is for long stuff, half can be used for long stuff or a pull down bar can be set down for two rows of half sized things.  There was multiple drawers to the left of that, with a large shelf and then the safe above that.  Two complimentary (for use onboard) umbrellas were on the shelf, as well as a totally complimentary Celebrity tote bag.

 

The only drawback I found was that the cabins still have 'European Style' hairdryers hooked up in the bathroom.  These are the ones that are like a wand at the end instead of something that is in a 90-degree angle.  I believe if you're in Concierge Class or higher (a room category I strongly suggest) then you also get a regular hairdryer in a drawer.  I actually used my own hairdryer at the vanity desk throughout the cruise except for the very last morning when my own had gone with the luggage the night before.  If you use the European Style one that is built in, be sure you wrap a wash cloth around it so you don't burn your hand.  The wand with the heat coming though it gets really overhot.

 

 

The Celebrity Millennium:

 

I had toured the Millennium in San Francisco in 2008 and since that time she has gone though a major refurbishment of most of her soft goods.  This means all new carpets and curtains, bed linens, upholstery and a few other things I am not aware of.  For the most part, they changed her coloring from being a navy-blue base to being all neutral colors.  I really like the improvements, as I took time to compare the old photos with the new once I returned.  Also all cabins will have flat-screen tv sets, but my own cabin hadn't gotten that improvement.  Although the carpets and such were all done when she was totally out of service for her dry dock, a few things, like replacing TV sets, was left to be done 'over the next few months'.  I believe it will be totally done by November, 2009.

   

I truly love this 'class' of ship for Celebrity.  The whole lot of them are regularly in the Conde Nast magazine 'best large ship' top 10.  I had sailed on one of the sisters for a short 4-night coastal in 2006, but I really loved the opportunity to enjoy her for a full 12-nights.  Her Millennium-class twin sisters are Infinity, Constellation and Summit.  They're 91K tons and hold about 2000 guests, double occupancy.

 

The highlight of this ship type is the Solarium.  This is where they have the large mineral water pool (free on this class of ship) in an adults-only area.  There are also two whirlpools here.  It is right near the spa, and has that AquaSpa Café healthy food buffet for breakfast and lunch.  There is gorgeous teak furniture and potted plants around to give it a tropical oasis type of feel.  I absolutely LOVE just the entire relaxing feel of this area.  There are also super comfy loungers near the pool, and some are double-width for couples.  Lots of folks camp out here to read.

 

The main drawback of Celebrity ships is the lack of a walk-around promenade deck.  I REALLY missed this.  I love taking a stroll after dinner in particular, and this ship type has two straight 'strips' of promenade on the sides, but it doesn't go around to the front or back.  Of course, they do have the jogging track way up high that you can go around and around on, but that is in the wind and cold and not really a place you want to be at night.  The only way you could see the 'aft' wake was to have one of the very popular aft-facing cabins, or see it through the back of the dining room or from the outdoor deck aft of the buffet.

 

Other highs and lows are that the library was pretty but they didn't have near enough number of books.  And what they had wasn't really stuff you'd want to read.  I found one I liked, but then decided I'd better buy books to read on my trip, which I did in the port of Victoria.  They have a nice internet café right off the central atrium, and a computer learning center on another deck.  As is the case on most ships, the per-minute cost of internet is pretty high. 

 

 

AquaSpa:

 

I feel compelled to mention the spa in it's own category on this cruise.  It's an Elemis spa, so it has many of the same features and services of other cruise lines.  I'm finding on cruise after cruise that the service is slipping in the spa.  And since these folks work for Elemis and not Celebrity, it is worth mentioning.

 

First, a negative thing.  They have a "Persian Garden" with heated stone loungers, various fancy showers and steam rooms all in a smallish area.  They required you to buy a pass to use this area, for a day or the full cruise, even when you paid for a spa service like a massage.  To their credit, their woman or men (I presume) locker room had a nice teak dry sauna within the locker room with sea views, which is really nice.  And these locker rooms are right near the Solarium, so you can use those Jacuzzis and the very large mineral pool for free before or after a treatment.

 

Another odd thing, that totally reflects on the economy right now being low and folks going on cruises but not doing the 'extra' things was a silent auction for spa services.  Can you imagine being able to 'bid' for a spa treatment?  My guess was that every person who bid above a certain amount probably got to have a treatment for that reduced price.  I bid for a salt glo scrub with a massage for 50% of the going rate and won.  The form actually says you must bid 'at least' 50%, so I think that would work most of the time.  However, once you win, you need to be able to go to the spa exactly when they say.  That is the downfall.  The bidding box was up in the lobby by the buffet (center elevator).  So, my advice is now that I'm more experienced with this is to bid when you can go right that night or the next day if they call you.  You'll not be able to do a winning bid spa treatment on a sea day, when they are selling stuff full price.  This bidding seemed to be always available, so if you're busy don't bid yet.

 

I had a challenge with this, as I bid really early on, and they wanted me to come in the next day, which was our Seattle port stop.  I had an excursion planned, so that was a 'no' for me and I had to arrange it later in the cruise.  And then when I walked up to the spa desk to reschedule I got 'attitude' about it, and was told only the one who calls can arrange those.  But I found the spa manager out by the Solarium pool, where they were having a spa open house type thing (chair massages going on), and I made my appointment on the spot.  Unfortunately, they marked me down for the shorter scrub service than I had won, so I was really upset at the end of my treatment that ended after one hour rather than the 1.5 hours on the bidding form.  Because of my complaint, they gave me a complimentary half our massage and the Persian Garden pass on another port day later in the cruise.  A positive thing that happened out of this though was that the Guest Relations desk called me the next day to see if my complaint about the spa service had been resolved.  The follow up was nice, even though at that time I didn't have anything to report yet.

 

I had paid full price for a pedicure early on in the cruise, and that was done well and the pedicure chairs have nice massagers in them.  But the gal doing it complained a little about the short length of my nails.  I didn't think that was really appropriate for a spa person to be saying.  So, it seemed to me that a lot of spa folks needed attitude adjustments.  The economy is really putting a lot of stress on them I believe.

 

 

Seattle, Washington, port-of-call:

 

One GREAT thing about sailing on Celebrity is they have use of the Bell Street Pier / Pier 66 in Seattle.  This is a very convenient to downtown and walking pier, as opposed to other lines that have piers that are out a big distance in industrial areas.

 

One of the bad things about this itinerary was that Seattle was our first 'back in the USA' port after starting and having two port stops in Canada.  This meant that even if we didn't have an organized tour, we had to get up early and present ourselves to US immigration.  And they didn't allow anyone BACK onto the ship until everyone had been through customs.  So, it was best to just get off the ship and head straight to whatever you wanted to do that day.

 

As I've mentioned a few times, I'm a huge baseball fan an I've been to Seattle numerous times to see the major sights.  For my daily activity, I decided a nice walk along the entire waterfront down to the Seattle Mariner's ballpark Safeco Field.  They do regular tours there and it is only $9.  You can get there easily on a bus as well, as they have a free bus that runs in the downtown area and has a stop right by the pier.  I found that it didn't come often enough for me to catch it on my port day, but the walking was fine anyway. I was a little bit concerned about the area around the ballpark as being not totally fabulous to be walking in alone, but I did OK.  Here is a link to the public bus free ride area:  http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bus/area_maps/m_seattle-rfa.html

 

The tour was fun, as Safeco Field is one of those really nice modern ballparks that looks old.  It has a retractable roof that is of a unique style, and we learned all about the park on the tour.  We got to tour the press box, on the field, the "Diamond Club" and some luxury boxes.  We also got to walk along the dirt around home plate and sit in the Mariners dugout.  The tour starts, and you buy your entry for it, at the huge souvenir shop at the stadium.  Since I gave myself lots of time to get there, I spent some time looking around in the shop before my tour and left straight after it was done.   This is a really worthwhile thing to do in Seattle if you love baseball.  http://www.mlb.com/sea/ballpark/safeco_field_tours.jsp

 

 

Astoria, Oregon, port-of-call:

 

Astoria is a really nice, quaint little town in Oregon.  They don't get a ton of cruise calls, as only the beginning and end of season coastal cruises might hit it.  But it certainly is worthwhile.  I did a Celebrity-offered shore excursion there.  It had three main stops, as well as good narration about the history of Astoria along the way.  It was VERY worthwhile and cost me $65 or so.

 

The first major stop was the Columbia River Maritime Museum.  When you arrive, you watch a movie about the history of the river and its impact.  And you learn how treacherous it is where the Columbia River hits the Pacific Ocean in a spectacular and tricky area called "The Bar".  Lots of shipwrecks here, as the currents are nasty where the two bodies of water meet.  Very interesting to learn how hard the US Coast Guard has to work in that area.   http://www.crmm.org/

 

The next stop is the Astoria Column.  This is a beautifully decorated wide column that has the early history of Astoria sand blasted to the outside, and a tight spiral staircase inside.  If you hike up the 140ish steps, you can stand on a nice viewing platform where you have views of the Columbia River on one side, and the ocean on the other.  (And the town, of course.)  Really beautiful views.  If you go, be sure to buy a few cheap plywood airplanes at the gift shop first as they're really fun to let go at the top.  I didn't know to do this before I went, but some others up the top with me when I was there were letting them go.  And I advised some folks that were about to climb to grab some used ones on the ground before they headed up.  There are quite a few resting landings along the stairway, so it is possible to pass or pull over for those going up or down.  Quite a workout.  I felt it in my calves the next day!

 

The third stop is probably the biggest single attraction of Astoria, and that is the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park (also known as Fort Clatsop).  If you don't know of Lewis and Clark, the great expedition leaders that explored to the ocean for the US Government, you will once you're done here.  It is very interesting to learn of their expedition and the harsh circumstances of what they went though.  It is also interesting to see a re-creation of the Fort they built and wintered in one year.  (The original has been burnt down the a replica is in its place.)   http://www.nps.gov/lewi/index.htm

 

 

Monterey, California, port-of-call:

 

Monterey is a tendering port.  The ship tenders drop you at the end of the Old Fisherman's Wharf, where it is easy to walk to whatever you want.  Again, I walked along Monterey Bay to the Cannery Row area (a good walk on a nice, flat trail) to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

 

If you've never been to Monterey, and you like oceans and/or sea-going wildlife, you are absolutely doing yourself a disservice if you don't go to the Aquarium.  It is absolutely the best in the world.  It is huge, and has many really fabulous exhibits.  A highlight for me was that they had a Great White Shark in captivity at the time I visited, which is very rare.  As far as I know, Monterey is the only aquarium that has been able to secure one for a short time and not have it die from the stress.  So, even though she was a smallish shark, I was totally thrilled with the opportunity.  They had one a few years back, but they had to suddenly release it before I had a chance to go see it.

 

They also have a new exhibit called the Secret Lives of Seahorses that is really spectacular.  Everything you want to know about Seahorses, and lots of varieties of them are on display.

 

And beyond those new things, they have sea otters, a huge kelp forest with large fish and small, and a great interactive area for kids to play in and learn.

 

If you decide to go, I suggest you pre-purchase your admission online so you don't have to wait in line when you arrive.  http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

 

 

Other ports-of-call:

 

I just want to briefly mention the other ports on my itinerary, even though I don't have anything interesting to report about them.

 

Our first port was Nanaimo, British Columbia.  I didn't get off the ship in this tender port because I had such a challenging day getting to the ship the day prior and I just wanted to recoup and relax a bit.  There is no major sights to speak of here, although those that got off and walked around said it was nice.  It was also raining, another reason I decided not to bother with it.

 

Victoria, British Columbia.  I've been here quite a few times on other coastal cruises, so I didn't do any major sightseeing.  However, I went to the shopping mall downtown and bought some of the softest pajamas on the planet.  I had gotten these before and made a special trip back to a store in BC to restock.

 

San Francisco, California.  I live right next to San Francisco, so even though it was a major stop on the cruise for some, it was just a great opportunity to work for me.  Because this was a Wine Cruise and San Francisco is close to the Napa Valley, we actually had two full days and an overnight at this port, so I went home overnight.  I took duty-free alcohol and a small bag of laundry to be done on my quick visit home.

 

Catalina Island, California.  I stayed on the ship and relaxed because I've been here multiple times as well.  It was our last day of the cruise, so I slept late and then packed before going to the spa to relax with my 'make up' spa treatment in the afternoon.

 

 

Disembarkation:

 

I took my own advice on this cruise and booked a tour + transfer on disembarkation day.  My husband was flying IN to Los Angeles to meet me and go off to do the NASCAR race in Southern California the next day, so I needed to kill the day before he landed at 2:30pm.

 

By booking a tour, I could haul my bags to locked compartments of a big coach, and then leave them securely underneath there during the tour without having to worry about them.

 

Anyway, my disembarkation went a little different than most folks'.  First, I got shore excursion tickets and disembarkation colored tags from the shore desk rather than typical ones.  And we met in a meeting room for our tour like any normal tour in a port, rather than hassling with a color or time. 

 

We met in the showroom at 8am or so, and then were lead by the tour manager in a group to disembark together.  Once off, we claimed our luggage on our own and did customs, but then were directed right to our bus.  (We were easy to spot with colored tour stickers on our shirts like most ship tours have.) 

 

Anyway, my tour was a city tour of Los Angeles.  So, we left the pier about 9:30 and the tour dropped us at the airport about 3pm.  In between we saw the Arts area in downtown (theatre district).  We got to see a movie being shot as our bus drove by the Disney Performing Arts Center.  We went to a historic area of Mexican heritage that wasn't all that interesting.  The Mann's Chinese theatre and Hollywood Boulevard with its stars in the sidewalk was the highlight for most, even though I'd been there before.  I didn't realize until the tour that the concrete hand/footprints are circulated annually, so you see newer stars you recognize rather than some of the older / original ones. 

 

And our last stop was the Farmer's Market http://www.farmersmarketla.com/ and The Grove Shopping area.  http://www.thegrovela.com/  The Farmer's Market has great dining.  Just about every type of food you could want is available to buy to take home to cook or eat there.  This was our 'lunch' stop on the tour, so we all scattered to buy what we wanted and then there was tables and chairs in the center for you to sit and eat at if you wished.  The Grove is next door has many typical stores of a mall, like Nordstrom's.  However, its really neat because it is owned by Disney and it is meant to have a duplicate feel as Main St. USA in Disneyland.  There is even a red trolley that is the same as Disneyland.  So, it is nice to look at, even if you don't want to buy anything.

 

 

In Summary:

 

I totally loved the service and food on this cruise.  I strongly suggest Celebrity, but in particular the Millennium-class ships.  If you've not been on one, you're really missing out.

 

For wine lovers, or those that just love a coastal getaway rather than total tropics like most cruises, these coastal cruises are a great choice.  Other lines do them as well, so if you're into coast and wine you've got options, and if you want this ship type you've got options.

 

Contact me to help you book your next dream cruise but hitting the Contact Us at the top of the page on the right!

 

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