Our thoughts on the different elements of our first cruise vacation

Overall, we had a great first cruise experience, but to describe it we thought the best thing to do is to break it down into some of the specific elements that made up this vacation.

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  • 1.   Cruise Consultant

    To arrange our cruise we went to Brampton CruiseShipCenters - we had noticed it just by driving by from time to time, and when we began considering a cruise it seemed like a good place to start. On our first visit to their office location we met Elisabeth Anniehs - the person who became our cruise consultant. We had a good conversation with her that day and once she found out our interests, likes and dislikes she gave us some suggestions on the particular cruise lines that were likely to appeal to us. We had already decided that we were interested in a Mediterranean cruise and had some ports of call in mind (like Monaco had to be included!). She gave us some great advice and information for us to consider. In hindsight, we can say that her advice and tips were spot on.

  • 2.   The Air Arrangements

    The air arrangements provided by Celebrity Cruises was the one truly negative element of our cruise. We were extremely disappointed when we first found out about the air routing and those details came very late in the planning - very close to when we were scheduled to leave. Being routed through a large American hub to travel to a European destination added so much time, discomfort and bad feelings - and the weather situation in the USA on the day we left just made the situation worse.

  • 3.   Cruise Itinerary
    2006 Med Cruise Itinerary

    The cruise itinerary was great - so many wonderful ports of call:

    Venice, Dubrovnik, Santorini, Piraeus (Athens), Naples, Civitavecchia (Rome), Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Villefranche (Nice/Monaco), Barcelona - a fantastic itinerary for our first cruise.

    We also thought the length of the trip was right - enough time to get into the swing of things, but not too long.

  • 4.   Celebrity Millennium

    Celebrity Millennium is a big ship (with a capacity of almost 2000 passengers) - but it did not seem overly big or crowded. Our overall impressions of the ship was good - certainly had enough good facilities, services and choices to suit our taste. We had a good sized room with a nice balcony - no concern about the amount of space we had in our room. Something we would comment on, though, is we think there were things in our room that were showing the signs of age and should have been replaced already.

  • 5.   Cruise Service

    The service on the ship was very good, and the staff certainly attempted to cater to every need. Celebrity Cruises offered a slightly higher level of service called Concierge Class that we thought was worth the additional cost - we did enjoy the Concierge Class extras. Our housekeeping service was good - the room was cleaned and towels replaced twice a day. That was nice. After returning from a day in port we would shower before dinner, and the fresh towels for the following morning were placed in the room while we were at dinner. We had a good experience with those on the ship serving us - the staff was pleasant, helpful and attentive. The only thing we really didn’t like was the ship’s regular coffee!

  • 6.   Cruise Entertainment

    On balance, the entertainment on the ship was good but not great. We went to some of the shows, but not all. Some nights they had shows at 7:30 pm for those of us at the late dinner seating, and on other nights the show was after 11:00 pm. Our preference would have been shows after dinner rather than before.

  • 7.   Shore Excursions

    We booked shore excursions in all the ports of call. Some of the tour guides were great and some were not. We felt that there was a fair amount of time wasted on the tours - probably to allow for slower people in the group. Some of the ports of call had the ability to return to the ship separate from the tour - it was good to take advantage of that.

Wrapping Up . . .

The test of any experience - would we do it again? Based on the experience of our first cruise we would say absolutely yes. We would not go for the default air arrangements from the cruise line again - that is for sure. It seemed so odd to us that a cruise line would treat you like royalty once on the ship - but would treat you like cattle to get you to and from the ship. Doesn’t make sense. On future cruise plans we would not hesitate to call Elisabeth again to help us with the arrangements - she was great.

But, where next? How about Northern Europe - Scandinavia and Russia?
Sounds interesting.

About WHITEonline

WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.

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