Celebrity Cruises Reopening! Everything you need to know!
Celebrity Cruises is back and just launched their first sailing to Alaska in almost two years!! Imagine waking up to stunning glaciers outside your balcony while sipping your morning coffee or enjoying a salmon bake in a rainforest! Planning an Alaskan Cruise is exciting but can be overwhelming at the same time. There are so many questions to be answered such as:
· Who will be going?
· When do you want to travel?
· How many days would you like to spend on your vacation?
· What types of activities do you like to do?
Other factors to consider may involve researching the weather forecast during your visit, the type of cabin you desire for your stay, and safety protocol procedures which may be set in place as a result of COVID. As the vaccine continues to come out travel will start to pick back up, and we are optimistic the tourism industry will recover! Recently, we had the pleasure of being invited aboard Celebrity Cruises Millennium for their second sailing from a U.S. Port since the Pandemic grounded the industry. We spent 7 amazing days participating in activities around the ship, enjoying Celebrity’s one of a kind amenities, dining at world class restaurants, and exploring the adventurous side of each Alaskan port. Rest assured we will be covering all of these topics in this article and more as we discuss everything you need to know when planning for your next Alaskan Cruise on Celebrity Cruises.
Come join us as we set sail on a seven-night itinerary across Alaskan ports like Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway while popping champagne aboard Celebrity Cruises Millennium!
Out with the Old, in with the New! (Celebrity Millennium was recently renovated in 2019!)
Celebrity Cruises initiated a $500-million fleet-wide modernization program on an epic scale which involved adding brand new staterooms, elevating design concepts and technology across the ship to adding The Retreat, an exclusive experience including The Retreat Sundeck and The Retreat Lounge. Celebrity Millennium is the flagship in their Millennium-Class and was the first to undergo the Revolution transformation, setting sail on its first post-Revolution sailing in February 2019. Additional parts of the ship that were revolutionized to enhance your vacation experience included Millennium’s Casino, shops, photo viewing area with state-of-the-art technology to make it easier to browse through photos taken of you on board, upgraded lounges and common spaces with luxurious finishes, eco-friendly enhancements like silicone based paint on the underwater hull to increase fuel efficiency by 20%, and a redesigned spa aesthetic and relaxation room.
The morning of …
We had flown in on Alaska Airlines the morning of our cruise to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with luggage in hand, and a pep in our step.
Although we have been traveling quite frequently during this past year, this would be the first cruise we had taken post pandemic. Upon arrival at our cruise port terminal, we were greeted by some of the friendliest Celebrity Cruises employees who offered to collect our luggage for safekeeping before returning them to our stateroom.
Socially distanced sailing and safety measures taken
The moment we stepped inside our terminal, a polite employee asked to see our Passports and Vaccination Cards. After a few pictures taken on her iPad, we were allowed to go through security and board our ship! Let’s talk for a moment about the welcome we received from the crew as we boarded. Each and every employee was extremely courteous, friendly and excited to be back at work. Aside from the welcome drinks and boarding information that was given to all guests, everyone boarded was feeling positive emotions and excitement to set sail. Masks were required by all guests to be worn during the boarding process, however, they were not required once on board. We headed straight to our balcony stateroom and to our surprise our luggage was already waiting outside the door! Did we mention the décor throughout the journey to our room was gorgeous! The furniture in our staterooms was very modern and spacious. Now it was time to unpack!
Living in the lap of luxury
Millennium provided us with an AquaClass Stateroom featuring a spacious private veranda.. As an AquaClass passenger you have access to exclusive restaurants such as Blu, SEA thermal suite which is a spa concierge, a complimentary fitness pass, preferential rates on spa packages, daily in-room bottled water service, and a yoga mat for use on board to name a few. In addition to our AquaClass status, Celebrity also assigned us as Retreat guests which is an exclusive, all-inclusive suite experience that includes a dedicated Personal Retreat Host, a private restaurant, an exclusive lounge, and so much more! Suffice it to say, Celebrity Cruises made an incredible first impression seeing that it was our first time sailing with them, and at this point it was time to make our way to the Sail Away party with the Captain!
Come sail away, Come sail away, Come sail away with us!
At the “Sail Away” party we had the pleasure of meeting all the other media team on board, as well as Captain Manolis.
The Celebrity team had prepared delicious appetizers and drinks for this special occasion as we waved goodbye to the city of Seattle.
The sail away party took place in the outside deck of the ship which was an opportunity to explore more of the ship’s exciting features on the way to our party. The outdoor pool was perfectly situated in the middle of the vessel with popular live music and signature cocktails being celebrated as we set sail for the first time in two years towards Alaska!
The Celebrity “Experience”
After a wonderful “Sail Away” party we headed down to the Theater for an exciting and emotional “Welcome Back” video created by the global Celebrity Cruises team and for the Cruise Director’s introduction.
Next thing on our list was to visit the infamous Ice Martini Bar!
The timing of our arrival could not have been more perfect as we witnessed the designated dancing bartender putting on a show! There were exactly seventeen Martini glasses lined up in a row on the ice bar while an eccentric bartender poured multiple colored drinks from a stack of shaker cups. The crowd cheered as the talented bartenders put on a high energy show, and we quickly became privy to the Martini Bar & Crush Experience. It was now time to get ready for our dinner with the Captain!
That evening we took advantage of our AquaClass status and had dinner at Blu, a Daniel Boulud restaurant. We ordered a couple signature cocktails, the Whiskey Blu and Garden Breezes, then opted to try the caprese salad and pan-seared Filet Mignon. This dinner would be one of many exquisite dinners we’d experience aboard the Millennium. One thing we would like to point out is that Celebrity Cruises is top notch on their dining and menus!
On the second night we were invited to experience an exclusive dinner with Captain Manolis at the Metropolitan dining room. Our menu choices included chilled lobster salad, Alaskan Halibut, and a Daniel Boulud signature dessert Raspberry Pistachio Vacherin.
The third night we scheduled a specialty dinner at the world-renowned La Petit Chef. This interactive dining experience combined the fusion of entertainment and cuisine bringing our table top to life! The amazing artists of Skullmapping presented by TableMation have created one of the most epic dining experiences with their 3D table animation art form. We had decided to book this specialty restaurant early on in our cruise during the second sea day due to its popularity and limited reservations. Once again we were greeted by friendly hosts, and immediately seated for our 7 o’clock reservation. As the lights dimmed down around the restaurant a spectacular show began within seconds!
Our first course of the evening was Bouillabaisse which is a traditional Provencal fish stew consisting of a few main ingredients including shellfish, tomato, lemon and herbs. The little chef is creating this colorful display of cooking while battling an octopus on a jetski before we are served the dish.
Second course of the evening was roasted half lobster split down the middle with garnishments on the side. Once again the little chef is roping and riding the giant lobster up, down, and around the plate through a colorful display of ocean activity in the background.
The main course was filet mignon and grilled vegetables. This time the show focused on the little chef battling the kitchen and his appliances. No detail was spared as we watched our steak being cooked from start to finish.
Finally, it was time for dessert and we couldn’t have been more excited. The little chef was now in the arctic rolling a giant snowball of a vanilla ice cream sundae to throw on each plate complete with a few raspberries, a dollop of whipped cream, and chocolate syrup sprayed all over our dish. The food was just as delicious as the entertainment, and the show ended with an array of bright fireworks being displayed across all tables.
The fourth night was a specialty dinner planned at the notable Sushi on 5. The evening started off with Blossom of Peach Plum Saki cheers and ordering a variety of sushi rolls off their extensive menu.
A couple of our favorites included their Sunset Roll and Eel Dragon Roll. The authentic vibes and delicious entrees make this a top spot to visit when sailing on the Millennium. The next day we returned to Blu for lunch with all the captains and officers of the ship. The massive family style table sat twenty of us with generous portions of entrees to experience.
Over the next couple hours they brought out a prefix menu including Ahi Tuna salad, charcuterie boards, Filet Mignon with grilled shrimp, and chocolate cake.
The final evening of our cruise we experienced a specialty surprise and celebration at Le Petit Chef. We were invited to experience dinner and a show at one of their family style table tops. The amount of colors, detail and ingenuity put into this performance and quality of their food was undeniably some of the best restaurant experiences we have ever experienced!
There was an introduction to four-mini chefs from Italy, Spain, France, and Japan. Over the next hour and a half we would witness an entertaining cooking competition in the most creative way.
Our courses included prosciutto caprese style salad appetizers, a mushroom ravioli entree, filet mignon, and green tea icing and cake.
The entire show was spectacular and the fireworks ending was the cherry on top. Le Petit Chef and friends is simply one of the most unique dining events in the world!
Alaskan Adventures & Excursions
One of the highlights of being on an Alaskan cruise is the activities on and off the ship. This seven-night cruise itinerary offered a variety of excursions at each port and we were excited for our daily adventures. The first port we docked at was Ketchikan, Alaska.
This was our personal favorite because we had booked the Wilderness Cruise and George Inlet Crab Feast. Our excursion began with a twenty minute coastal drive passing saw mills and Native Alaskan totem poles. We then boarded a small sightseeing vessel which passed through the Mahoney Glacial Cirque with snow-capped mountains and 2,000 ft cascading waterfalls. During the trip we were chosen to participate in pulling up a crab pot from the ocean!
Finally, we savored the day’s catch at the George Inlets Lodge, with an authentic Alaskan Dungeness crab feast and delicious cheesecake topped with Alaskan blueberries.
AdventurPro Tip: There is a crab shell stacking competition at the end of your dining experience and the highest stack wins so get creative!
Our second port of call was Juneau, Alaska.
It was at this destination we chose to book the Kayak Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake excursion. What better way to explore Juneau than by visiting the most popular landmark by kayak!
Did we mention the water temp is 34 degrees Fahrenheit?! This means we had to wear extra protection to keep water from splashing into our kayaks. Our outfits consisted of water proof boots, giant yellow rain waterproof jackets, a blue skirt to pull down on the kayak seats, and a life vest to complete our ensemble. This was all provided by our awesome tour by the way. It normally takes about two hours to kayak there and back. We can honestly say on this particular day the wind and current were working against us both ways, but we made it! To top it off we ended our excursion with an authentic Alaskan Salmon bake.
This buffet style dinner was situated in the Alaskan woods near a beautiful waterfall, and more than enough food to satisfy all the calories we had just burned. The third and final excursion we selected was the Kroschel Wildlife Refuge located in Skagway, Alaska.
This particular excursion was a favorite of ours because we truly love and enjoy animals. The tour is about a 45 minute bus ride and a quick ferry from the cruise port and consists of a variety of different wildlife. During our visit we met a Grizzly Bear, Wolverine, Lynx, Fox, Porcupine, and even were able to feed a Reindeer!
Spa & Wellness
On the second to last sea day we scheduled morning massages at the spa.
The room was facing to the left of the ship with a full view of the ocean. The masseuse offered a few scented options for relaxation and we both chose to receive an hour full body massage.
Afterwards we continued to The Retreat deck and spent the afternoon in the outdoor hot tub while drinking plenty of liquids to rehydrate after a relaxing morning. We definitely would recommend booking an appointment in the A.M. that way you feel rejuvenated and refreshed for the entire day
Showstoppers and Stage Left
Celebrity Cruises offered a variety of theatrical and musical productions during our cruise. Out of all the performances we watched there is one memorable performance we would like to mention. Full disclaimer: we are absolute fans of Broadway and Theater!
The final performance iBroadway featured multiple hit songs from Broadway throughout the years such as One Day More from Les Miserables, Memory from Cats, Sherry from the Jersey Boys, Welcome to the 60’s from Hairspray, The Phantom of the Opera, and more! This was definitely a treat for any musical lover and we highly recommend taking advantage of watching this show if you have the pleasure of sailing aboard the Millennium.
Cruise with confidence and Global Suspension
Overall, our first sail with Celebrity Cruises was a success! We enjoyed countless moments of laughter, experienced culinary excellence, explored the adventurous side of Alaska, witnessed great performances, and above all celebrated the fact that travel has finally returned! This truly was a magical experience and we thank the entire Celebrity team for a wonderful cruise experience. We always felt that our safety was a top priority and will continue to support the Celebrity Cruises mission. Book your Celebrity Cruise now, cheers and Bon Voyage!