To me, there is no better way to travel than aboard a cruise ship. A cruise provides a unique opportunity to enjoy sights and experiences while en route to your destination. For some, the mention of cruises conjures images of white sand and palm trees, but this summer, I had the opportunity to set sail aboard the Celebrity Millennium as it traveled for seven days to Alaska — a dream-come-true destination.
This trip was the second Celebrity Cruises ship to depart from a United States port in 15 months and the first one to visit Alaska in more than two years. Under the direction of Captain Ioannis Kasimatis and his talented crew, I spent my vacation exploring the Celebrity Millennium ship and three beautiful ports of call in Southern Alaska including Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. We also spent a day cruising through the breathtaking Dawes Glacier. The crew’s sincere hospitality and attention to detail set the Celebrity Cruises experience apart from other travel options in a BIG way.
Health & Safety
Upon arriving at our port of call in Seattle, it became very clear to me just how serious and focused the Celebrity Cruises staff is about the health and safety of their passengers and crew. All guests 12 and over must show proof of vaccination, and those younger than 12 must take a PCR test upon arrival at the port. Guests were masked while waiting in line for check-in, and staff remained masked the entire trip. I noticed hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the ship and crew members consistently cleaning high-touch surfaces and public areas. Additionally, we cruised at a capped capacity of 40% to ensure safe social distancing throughout the ship. This was just the first glimpse of the ‘above and beyond’ service mentality I saw throughout my time onboard.
The Celebrity Millennium Ship
Celebrity Millennium is the oldest ship in the Celebrity fleet with an inaugural date of 2000, but the ship was completely revolutionized down to the bolts in 2019 and truly looks brand new. Designed by renowned interior designer Nate Berkus, Celebrity Millennium exudes luxury and effortless elegance. From the staterooms to the lobby’s grand staircase, it was clear that no detail was overlooked during the renovation and that each design element was meticulously curated throughout the ship.
After boarding the ship, I immediately headed to our sixth-floor Veranda Stateroom and was pleasantly surprised by the decor, view from the balcony, and the welcome gifts that awaited us — a bottle of wine, chocolates, trip itinerary, face masks, and hand sanitizer. The space was beautiful and roomy, something I have never experienced on any other cruise line! Having a private balcony was essential to enjoying the cruise through some of the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen. Throughout the trip, we enjoyed more special surprises each time we returned to our stateroom at night – from small desserts to fun gifts like an Alaska hat, printed photos, and personalized announcements. Not to mention, the room was sparkling clean each time we returned. (The stateroom attendant even organized my shoes!) It’s small touches like this that set Celebrity Cruises apart from the rest and made our experience so incredibly relaxing and enjoyable.
Along with the beautiful Veranda Stateroom, other accommodation options include exclusive suites, which offer the luxurious amenities of The Retreat®, AquaClass® Staterooms, Concierge Class Staterooms, Ocean View Staterooms, and Inside Staterooms. No matter which stateroom or suite you select, you will be stunned by the attention to detail and hospitality displayed by your stateroom or suite attendants. The Celebrity Cruises experience begins and ends with this dedicated team. Additionally, no matter which room you select, onboard drinks, WiFi, and tips are included thanks to Celebrity Cruises Always Included® initiative.
Where To Eat
One of my favorite things about this particular trip was that 70% of the food used to prepare our meals was locally sourced from Seattle and Alaska. Celebrity Cruises works tirelessly to create sustainability within their fleet of ships and to support their ports of call in meaningful ways. That being said, this cruise ship produced some of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had – on land or at sea. With menus curated by Michelin Star chefs and prepared by the talented onboard culinary team, the food served on the Celebrity Millennium is outrageously good.
There are several dining options onboard — too many to fit in! Among them, I enjoyed:
- The Oceanview Cafe, a buffet-style restaurant with a variety of attended stations, serving everything from Indian cuisine to charcuterie selections
- The Main Dining Room, a multi-level restaurant featuring a stunning staircase and chandelier. (Reservations are recommended for the Main Dining Room.)
- Le Petit Chef offers one of the most unique dining experiences in the world! Beautifully choreographed with TableMation Studios, Skullmapping technology, and paired with an elegant menu created by a Michelin Star chef, Le Petit Chef is a dining experience like no other. Le Petit Chef is truly a feast for the senses, where an animated 3D character appears right on your plate and prepares each course for a truly interactive, artistic evening.
- Blu and Luminae are two specialty restaurants reserved for AquaClass guests and for guests of The Retreat®. I had the pleasure of dining from both menus, and I must say, they are worth the hype, offering fine dining mainstays like perfectly seared filet mignon and seafood.
- Sushi on Five offers up a delicious menu of sushi and cocktails. Pro tip: Try the matcha wasabi cake dessert – it’s a game-changer!
Along with these amazing options, I also recommend a reservation at the Italian specialty restaurant, Tuscan Grille. Additionally, guests have the option to grab a light and healthy bite to eat at the Spa Cafe. I also enjoyed my daily double shot of espresso at the Café al Bacio & Gelateria, thanks to my premium drink package!
Where To Drink
If you’re in the mood for a delicious cocktail or an extravagant glass of wine, guests are welcome to visit any of the six bars on board. From the Pool & Mast Bar located outside by the two pools and four hot tubs to the Rendezvous Lounge, there is sure to be a spot everyone can enjoy.
- The Sunset Bar, located in the rear of the ship, boasts a “country club atmosphere with spectacular ocean views” — perfect for taking in the sunset.
- Cellar Masters offers a large selection of international wines, hand-picked by Celebrity sommeliers. Throughout the cruise, guests enjoy tastings at the Cellar along with soulful tunes and live entertainment.
- Rendezvous and Sky Lounge are home base for fun games and trivia during the day, led by the outgoing activities crew. In the evenings, you can find live entertainment and dancing. These were two of my favorite places to hang out with new friends and enjoy the beautiful views.
- Martini Bar & Crush offers up martinis and a show. Talented bartenders put on a high-energy show preparing an intriguing menu of classic and contemporary martinis, served on an ice-topped bar.
Activities on the Ship and Ashore
The Spa & Persian Garden
Ah, the magical spa. My experience at this spa — which included a heavenly 75-minute massage — far surpassed any other massage I’ve had on land, and that’s saying a lot. Afterward, I was able to spend some quiet time in the Persian Garden. Equipped with an aromatic steam room, an herbal sauna, and a traditional Finnish sauna, this area was the epitome of tranquility.
Next to the Spa, you will find the Fitness Center, offering high-end cardio equipment, including Peloton bikes, as well as a weight room and a room for private workout classes. I especially enjoyed the treadmills that were lined up against a huge window displaying the view from the front of the ship.
Feeling lucky? There’s a full casino on board that comes alive when the boat is cruising. Complete with a bar and infused with decidedly chic design elements, the casino is where players 18 and older can try their hands.
As you sail to Alaska, you might imagine that the pool deck gets a bit chilly. That’s no problem aboard the Celebrity Millennium! I enjoyed relaxing in the Solarium, an indoor space complete with a pool and two hot tubs that stay warm thanks to the steady supply of natural light. This is definitely the place to be during a day at sea.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the onboard entertainment! From a special presentation of Boogie Wonderland to a live concert by Savannah Jack and even an aerial performance, I was constantly in awe of the sheer talent Celebrity Cruises displayed in the Theatre.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of retail therapy, shopping onboard is easy and fun! They have everything you need for your stay including makeup, clothing, accessories, and more. Looking for a special keepsake? The jewelry store is definitely calling your name (and it’s duty-free!).
First introduced on the Celebrity Edge, The Retreat®, along with its beautiful accommodations, is comprised of three exclusive experiences: The Retreat Sundeck, a chic, open-air hideaway complete with private seating and a hot tub; The Retreat Lounge, a private lounge with complimentary bites, a fully stocked bar, and dedicated concierge service; and Luminae at The Retreat, a private restaurant with an exclusive menu, including the new Daniel Boulud signature dishes. With luxurious services and amenities, including dedicated butler service, The Retreat is the most exclusive experience on any Celebrity ship.
With three stops along the beautiful Alaskan coast, there was so much to experience! One of my favorite things about the port days with Celebrity Cruises was how long we were able to stay ashore. Some days we didn’t depart until after 9 p.m. This was something I hadn’t experienced on other cruise lines, and it allowed so much time to explore each beautiful city. Thanks to the knowledgeable excursions team, I was able to attend a boat exploration to the Misty Fjords National Monument in Ketchikan, play with the adorable huskies at the Dog Sled Summer Camp in Juneau, and ride a historic train along the scenic White Pass Railway in Skagway. These are some of my most remarkable travel experiences to date.
Your last chance to sail to Alaska in 2021 is October 1st, but if you’re unable to travel this year, don’t worry! Celebrity has announced its 2022 Alaska sailing season from May 2022 through October 2022, including the seven-night Alaska Dawes Glacier sailing and more. With itineraries to every continent throughout the course of the year, you can always find an amazing destination to visit with Celebrity Cruises.
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