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Cruise Ship Review

Celebrity Millennium - Ship Review provided by Cruise Critic

I am not a fan of big ships and have spent a good portion of my cruising life avoiding them, but when the opportunity arose for me to join a group heading for an around-the-Horn cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago on Celebrity's Millennium, I jumped at the chance. "It's too big," I thought to myself, "but no matter, I'll just make the best of it."

Little did I realize that this experience, replete with sea days between each port of call, would wow me and win me over. Have I suddenly become a fan of big-ship sailing? No, but I am smitten with Millennium, and after six at-sea days exploring the vessel, discovering hidden charms and quirks, I am head-over-heels.

When Millennium made its debut in 2000, it brought a new era of cruising to Celebrity. The first of its class -- and built after Celebrity Cruises was acquired by Royal Caribbean International -- the ship was followed by Infinity, Summit and Constellation. Millennium made news by incorporating, among other things, the first gas propulsion system on a cruise ship (thus the label GTS -- Gas Turbine Ship -- Millennium rather than MS, for Motor Ship). The GTS system is unique in that it reduces emissions and burns cleaner, creates less noise and vibration, and allows the ship to reach speeds of up to 24 knots. (It is not, alas, as fuel-efficient as was hoped at the time it was designed.) It was also the first ship to use exterior elevators, a feature that has been adopted ever since by several cruise lines. The ship also had, until recently, a unique music-listening venue called Notes (since converted to Acupuncture at Sea, also an innovation).

The ship is ... pretty. That's not a word that I use very often, especially when discussing a sea-going vessel, but it's the simplest and most accurate word to describe Millennium. The soft hues and stately public spaces; the tortoise-shell onyx stairway at the center of the ship; the diverse art around every turn; the stunning space in the Cosmos Lounge with its wrap-around floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary design, glittery dance floor, Art Deco-style lighting system, and light woods; the clubby, homey feeling of Michael's Club; and the contemporary-mixed-with-Deco design of the Metropolitan Restaurant offer an eclectic experience, but all of it is soft ... and pretty.

I never thought that I would feel so at home on a ship this large; at 91,000 tons it carries 1,950 passengers. It is far from the largest ship at sea, but it's definitely big. Somehow, though, the feeling of an intimate experience prevails. The layout and accessibility are excellent, with 14 elevators and a design that makes getting from one point of interest to another easy and enjoyable. Lots of outside deck space and promenades help in this regard as well.

One thing I learned on this voyage is that as Celebrity continues to grow and build larger ships (a new class of ship, Solstice, is on the drawing board now, with an anticipated 3,000-passenger capacity and at 118,000 tons a really big ship), I won't be concerned about sailing on Millennium, which by then will be considered one of the line's "smaller" ships. In fact, I'll be delighted.

Dining

All of the food selections, from the always-available pizza and pasta to the delectable savories in the Olympic Restaurant, were top-of-the-line wonderful, prepared to perfection, beautifully presented, and served with a smile and a flourish.

Although there is only one "alternative" restaurant, Millennium essentially has four dining spots -- five, if you count the casual restaurant located at the aft port side of the Ocean Grill in the evenings.

The Metropolitan, Millennium's main restaurant, is a two-deck-high room located at the aft of the ship, with the entire back wall being glass. When it isn't yet dark out, the views from almost anywhere in the restaurant are stunning. And when darkness falls, Millennium uses a series of drop-down screens to hide the windows and the glare from the inside lighting.

Two things stand out about the Metropolitan dining room: The decor, a mix of contemporary and Art Deco, is lovely and elegant, setting the stage for the equally elegant dining experience, and, although it's a large space, it's been designed in a way that makes it quiet enough to actually enjoy conversation. In fact, I was seated at a large table in the middle of the lower level, probably my least favorite spot in any dining venue because of noise and activity, yet I was able to speak to and actually hear my dining companions.

Menu options run the gamut from chi-chi French-inspired cuisine, such as filet mignon with foie gras and bleu cheese topping and escargots, to more plebian roast chicken and grilled fish. Service in the main restaurant is excellent and traditional. There are two seatings for dinner; breakfast and lunch are both available here with open seating.

Unique to Celebrity's Millennium-class ships is the Spa Cafe, located in the AquaSpa and serving light healthy meals in a cafe surrounding the thalassotherapy pool. Salads, grilled chicken breast, fresh fruit and vegetables are available all day until 8 p.m.

Just before entry to the Resort Deck's massive cafeteria-style restaurant, the Ocean Grill, just aft of the main pool, is the Riviera Grill, serving hamburgers, hot dogs and at least one daily special (i.e. ribs, fajitas, grilled breast of chicken). It's a perfect spot to grab a bite while enjoying the pool deck.

The Ocean Grill has something available nearly 24 hours of the day. Pizza and pasta are freshly made; you can choose your own ingredients. From 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. the aft end, a sandwich station during the day, becomes a sushi bar with a range of items from California roll to tekka maki. Ginger, wasabi and soy sauce are all available too.

On the port side of the Ocean Grill, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., is the alternative casual dining option, which has table service and offers regional specialties or a selection from the dining room menu. A suggested gratuity of $2 per person is recommended. A note: No one was ever presented with a bill, so try to have a couple of ones with you when you go, and tip in cash.

The creme de la creme of dining spots on Millennium, though, is the exquisite Olympic Restaurant, the ship's sole for-charge alternative restaurant. Unlike most ship specialty dining venues, the Olympic doesn't have a fixed rate but rather one determined by your menu selections. Adorned with original panels from the MS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic, the atmosphere and presentation is as magnificent as the cuisine. I'm usually too impatient to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of this kind of atmosphere, but the well-trained teams in the Olympic made it showy and fun. The menu, which doesn't change, is wonderful, very French, and offers selections for every type of diner. The most commonly ordered entree is the melt-in-the-mouth filet mignon, preceded by a prepared-at-the-table Caesar salad, so garlicky that you'd better hope that all of your dinner companions get one too. The dessert platter, with small portions of pastry, creme brulee, cake and tiramisu was so beautiful that it was a shame to eat it -- but we did, with gusto.

Note: The Caesars are made traditionally with one exception: Raw eggs are not included for health reasons.

Room service is available 24/7; guests can order selections from the menu during dinner, and a door-hung card assures you'll get breakfast when ordered. I love the fact that they phone before delivery; breakfast and an alarm! Tipping for room service is customary and greatly appreciated.

Public Rooms

From bow to stern, the public areas on this ship offer both surprises and charm, whether it's the unique (and often unexpected) modern art around every corner, the wow factor when entering Cosmos for the first time, or the clubby, calming surroundings in Michael's Club.

This is one classy vessel.

The decor is an eclectic mix of contemporary, Old World, Art Deco and resort chic, which could, if done poorly, create a schizophrenic ambience. But that's not the case here; everything fits and flows smoothly from one venue to another, and the most impressive attribute is the use of natural light whenever possible.

Cosmos, the forward-facing lounge at the top of the ship, is surrounded with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. It's used during the day as an observation station and for various activities, and at night it's turned into a fabulous disco/dance hall. Just outside its doors is the Conservatory, a flower shop that doubles as a Zen-like respite from all the hoopla on the rest of the ship. Unfortunately, it's open only during the florist's hours and I had to seek my Zen elsewhere.

No worries, there are plenty of spots for that as well, including Words, the ship's two-story library, with its spiral staircase, glass walls and deep armchairs.

Seeking calm solitude is one thing, but anyone looking for some excitement and camaraderie can easily find it in the Rendezvous Lounge, lined with windows opening onto the promenade, which is great during the day. In the evenings, people actually dance on the center wood floor, and sing karaoke until the wee hours. Both the Martini Bar and the Champagne Bar, located on the Entertainment Deck, make for great pre-dinner cocktail spots.

My favorite has to be the Cova Cafe di Milano, midship surrounding the Grand Foyer one floor below. A coffee and wine bar, it's designed to replicate the Italian original. Most nights the entertainment alternates between a soothing classical quartet and a pianist, but on my South America cruise we enjoyed a Spanish guitarist who really set the tone for our environment.

Forward of the Cova Cafe is Millennium's enormous shopping venue, the Emporium. Along with the usual logo shops and duty-free, there are several jewelry and watch shops, and, instead of cluttering the aisles with specials as on most ships, there is a circular central kiosk area for the daily discount offerings.

The Celebrity Theater at the very front of the ship has comfortable banquette seating and excellent, non-obstructed views.

There are also several meeting rooms, a movie theater which can double as a meeting/presentation venue, and the Internet Center and Computer Lab. On the Sports Deck at the very top of the ship is Extreme, the sports bar, and overlooking the pool on the Sunrise Deck is Mast -- perfect for a cool one on a hot day.

Cabins

Of the 1,059 staterooms aboard Millennium, 853 are oceanview, and 538 of those have balconies. The ship also offers 50 suites, ranging from the uber-luxe penthouses (at 1,690 square ft., they are bigger than my house) to the more petite but elegant Sky Suites, as well as 26 accommodations that are fully ADA-compliant and wheelchair accessible.

Millennium's standard staterooms, from the least expensive insides to outside balcony cabins, are beautifully configured, nicely decorated with soft hues, elegant furnishings, those cute rounded-end beds and comfortable seating options. They serve as oases of calm away from all other ship activities.

Standard cabins come in at around 170 square ft. (some insides are a bit smaller). Balconies add an average of 41 square ft. They are certainly not the largest staterooms afloat, to be sure, but the way these are configured and the calmness of the decor make them wholly appealing.

I was in one of Millennium's "Concierge" staterooms, about a foot longer than the standard staterooms down the hall. Other than a few extra perquisites (a real hair dryer, teeny-weeny bites of hors d'oeuvres in the afternoon, a bottle of wine and fresh fruit waiting for me on boarding, binoculars, and the services of a concierge whenever I needed them), the only real difference in the cabin itself was that the sofa was a bit longer.

The stateroom decor is of light woods and cool pastels, with added luxuries like little throw pillows on the sofa. Storage space is more than adequate for two people for a longer cruise, with several closets for hanging clothing, small shelves next to the desk/vanity for books and other items, and two large cupboards under it. The only drawers are in the nightstands, which also have lamps attached to the top. I really like having that side night table light rather than the one that's affixed to the wall overhead, but in some staterooms, the bedside lamps keep you from putting "stuff" on the tables. Happily, that is not the case here; the lamps were tall enough to stack books and lotions and other bedtime things on the stand.

The bathroom is large and very well lit, with plenty of storage space for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Standard accommodations and concierge-level cabins have a roomy shower, while suites have whirlpool baths. There is a wall-mounted hair dryer in the standard cabins; concierge-level and suite guests get handheld dryers, but there is no outlet for them in the bathrooms. You have to use them at the desk/vanity area, which is kind of a pain if you aren't using that area for grooming.

There are two 110-volt outlets and two 220-volt outlets at the desk. I brought my converter kit with me, converting one of the 220 to 110, so had three outlets to use for sundry electronics including my laptop, digital camera, battery recharger and occasionally the hair dryer.

The balconies in standard verandah staterooms and most concierge-level staterooms are comfortably large and nicely furnished with strapped chairs and small tables; concierge-level balcony furniture has canvas pad covers, and suite guests get a mix of mesh and wooden furniture.

Millennium's "Resort Deck" has an inordinately large overhang toward the forward part of the ship, and a series of angled overhangs toward the aft. They are so big that the ship was built with a row of stanchions that angle down from the overhangs. Rooms at the top level under the Resort Deck, therefore, get interrupted views and very little sun. I was in one of those rooms, and although I loved it in almost all respects, I would have preferred more sun and less interference with my vista. Also, while soundproofing is excellent from room to room, this is not the case with the ceilings, and being right under the Resort Deck can make for a very noisy trip.

All standard staterooms come equipped with a mini-bar fridge (check prices before using the goodies), a safe, a telephone, and interactive television with excellent programming including CNN, ESPN, several movie channels, several in-house channels and TBS. The "interactive" part includes ordering room service (it works really well!), checking your daily bill balance, and playing video slots and blackjack (for those who are really bored and need to spend money gambling on a television).

Trivia Tidbit: On my South America cruise, many of the televisions were not working well, especially in outside cabins. Mine was particularly frustrating since the only colors I could get were a hot fuchsia pink and a vivid lime green, even after the engineering staff switched it for me with one that worked perfectly in an unoccupied interior cabin. It turns out that standard (non-LCD) televisions made for the Northern Hemisphere don't work correctly with the magnetic fields of the Southern Hemisphere. (The flat-screen televisions in the public spaces didn't have this problem.) I became so accustomed to seeing Anderson Cooper and Larry King with green faces and pink teeth that it was almost anticlimactic to see them in their natural state upon my arrival home.

Entertainment

Most of the shows in the Celebrity Theater are typical cruise fare (this ship doesn't have a Cirque de Soleil onboard) with a live orchestra and "The Celebrity Singers and Dancers." On our South America trip, however, we did have several evening entertainment "events" that were related to our destinations.

There were tango lessons and demonstrations, a folkloric troupe brought onboard to entertain with dances and customs of Argentina, and the movies "March of the Penguins" and "The Motorcycle Diaries" were shown in the movie theater.

The cruise I was on had six sea days, interspersed with active and busy days ashore. The days at sea provided opportunities to rest and to participate in the onboard activities; during the day there are dance lessons (salsa, tango and merengue were unique to this destination, but there was also line, swing and ballroom). Trivia contests, Pictionary, brain teasers and charades, napkin folding, and arts and crafts classes were all well attended, bested in participation only by the nightly karaoke.

Celebrity Cruises' fantastic Discover Enrichment Series was not only welcome on the South America itinerary, it was also an incredible adjunct to an already wonderful experience. The knowledgeable historian provided facts and figures about the region that were fascinating (although often irritatingly prefaced with "...as I explained in my latest book..."). The naturalist, a young fellow whose love of his work is apparent in everything he does, brought the most insight to the trip, explaining the flora and fauna of each of the regions we visited, naming the birds and mammals we were seeing and pointing out those we might have missed. His descriptions of the glaciers we viewed were so awe-inspiring it was as though we were the first people ever to have seen them. He (and his lectures) was the talk of the ship. Everyone seemed to be enamored by his gentle descriptions and love of the region.

The Discover Enrichment series also includes computer classes taught by the onboard vendor, Celebrity@Sea. Some of the classes were complimentary; most had a fee of $20. Members of the group I was with were appreciative of their newly acquired skills and anxious to get home to try their hand at Photoshop in the privacy of their own dens.

The computer center offers online service at what I would consider a very high rate: $0.75 per minute, brought down to $0.70 if you buy 100 minutes for $70. This rate applies to both the desktops in the Internet center and to your own laptops when accessing the onboard wireless system. I used the latter, and even though I was told it wouldn't work, I actually had wireless connectivity in my stateroom most of the time, and on my balcony at other times. Two things made me less fussy about the cost of the service: It worked, almost always, even when surrounded by the mountains of southern Argentina and Chile and going around Cape Horn, and when there was a problem, my account was credited generously, with no question whatsoever. Those two issues alone, of course, make the expensive service ... priceless.

My friends and I were particularly taken with the classical guitarist who played several times a day in the Cova Cafe di Milano; the contemporary pianist; the Coco Band (who are the "house" rockers); and the hunky guys in Sustained, brought onboard for half the trip.

On one of our sea days, the executive chef and the head pastry chef got into a "cook-off" of sorts. It was educational, but it was mostly funny. They work well together, and have obviously performed this routine several times.

The casino, located midship, seems impossibly small for a vessel of this size, and although the tables were busy most evenings, the slots -- older and pretty boring -- didn't get much use. Everything seemed to be jammed together and it got really hot in the room during my cruise.

Naturally, there are bingo sessions and art auctions just about every day, and specialty wine auctions too.

Fitness and Recreation

Unlike the spa areas on many ships, with a fitness room and treatment rooms hidden behind some New Age-y doors and tables draped with batik fabrics, Millennium's AquaSpa is practically a destination of its own. It takes up a large portion of the Resort Deck, forward of the main pool, and includes the Spa Cafe, the thalassotherapy pool (free of charge on this ship), comfy seating areas, the spa service and treatment areas, a beauty shop, a steam and sauna room called the Persian Garden (fee for use), and a forward-facing gymnasium and fitness center that is so appealing it almost got me on one of the treadmills.

Note: The Persian Garden is coed, as one of my companions unfortunately discovered upon emerging from her eucalyptus-scented shower wearing nothing but ... nothing.

The AquaSpa area is for adults only, and happily, this seemed to be enforced. The two hot tubs and the steamy thalassotherapy pool were child-free during the length of my two-week voyage.

However, kids have the use of the Riviera main pool, which is located on the Resort Deck with two hot tubs, divided into a shallow end for dipping and a deeper end for swimming. Anyone who wants to swim laps can do so early in the morning before the pools get busy. There is a jogging track and golf simulator one deck up on the Sunrise Deck, and a basketball court on the Sports Deck at the top of the ship.

Classes in Pilates and yoga are offered with an additional fee of $10, but some of the best workouts are to be found at the dance classes offered free of charge.

Spa services at the Steiner of London-operated facility include facials, massages, wraps and scrubs, with specials offered on shore days. I always look for Steiner's "Frangipani" treatment, a scalp, neck and shoulder massage which, at $29, is the best value onboard.

Family

The well-equipped, bright and cheerful Ship Mates Fun Factory is located at the aft of the Sunrise Deck, and although it has programs for kids aged 3 to 17, there isn't much for teens except the video game room adjacent.

Celebrity offers "The X-Club," an umbrella program designed for families. Participation is complimentary, even on port days, and is broken nicely into compatible age groups. Potty-trained children are welcomed from age 3 and join the Ship's Mates (3- to 6-year-olds). Cadets (7 - 9), Ensigns (10 - 12) and Admirals (13 - 17) make up the balance of the groups, with age-appropriate activities for each, and trained counselors in attendance. There are also family-centric activities like karaoke, bingo and pizza parties. Parents with children younger than 3 are invited to accompany their toddlers into the playrooms.

Fellow Passengers

Millennium guests tend to be sophisticated, well-traveled adults in the 45 - 65 age range, and indeed, the Celebrity experience is ideal for the "baby boom" generation. Although there are several activities for families, Millennium's longer cruises pretty much assure that the crowd will be fairly sedate and senior. Most of the guests are North American, with Britain and other European countries represented. On the South American cruises, which take place during that continent's summer season, expect to find a lively mix of Argentineans, Chileans and Brazilians.

Dress Code

Depending on the destination, the dress is usually casual during the day and resort casual in the evening. On trans-Atlantic voyages, guests tend to be dressier, even during the day.

Celebrity is a traditional cruise line and the typical Millennium guest likes the traditions of dressing up for supper. Plan on two formal nights on a seven-night cruise, and three on a 10- to 14-night cruise, with several "informal" evenings as well. Formal nights on my cruise found most of the ladies in beaded or flowing gowns and men in tuxes; on informal evenings, women wore cocktail attire and men wore suits with ties.

There are casual dining options for those who choose not to dress up on formal nights, including the ever-present pizza and pasta, the sushi bar, and the dining option on the port side of the Ocean Cafe and Grill.

Gratuity

Millennium's gratuities are collected the old-fashioned way, with envelopes distributed for doling out by the guest on the last evening aboard (although you can have the recommended amounts charged to your shipboard account). The "recommended" amounts are fairly standard ($3.50 per day for the room steward and waiter, $2 per day for their assistants) and there is also an envelope for the "assistant head housekeeper" with a recommended tip amount of $0.50 per day. On this ship, the assistant head housekeeper was very visible and made sure that all guests were getting what they needed. The passenger services crew works so hard, and is so friendly and accommodating, that we had no problem tipping well above the recommended amounts.

--by Cruise Critic contributor Jana Jones, who has also written for a variety of publications, including Vacation Agent, UK's Travel Holidays and Ocean Drive Magazine.When Celebrity Millennium made its debut in 2000, it brought a new era of cruising to Celebrity. The first of its class, built after Celebrity Cruises was acquired by Royal Caribbean International, the ship made news by incorporating, among other things, the first gas propulsion system on a cruise ship (thus the label GTS, for Gas Turbine Ship, Millennium, rather than MS, for Motor Ship). The GTS system is unique in that it reduces emissions and burns cleaner, creates less noise and vibration, and allows the ship to reach speeds of up to 24 knots. (It is not, alas, as fuel-efficient as was hoped at the time it was designed.) It was also the first ship to use exterior elevators, a feature that has been adopted ever since by several cruise lines. Today, the ship has nearly identical siblings Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Constellation.

Millennium is ... pretty. That's not a word used very often when discussing seagoing vessels, but it's the simplest and most accurate word to describe Millennium. The soft hues and stately public spaces; the tortoise-shell onyx stairway at the center of the ship; the diverse art around every turn; the stunning space in the Cosmos Lounge with its wrap-around floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary design, glittery dance floor, Art Deco-style lighting system and light woods; the clubby, homey feeling of Michael's Club; and the contemporary-mixed-with-Deco design of the Metropolitan Restaurant offer an eclectic experience, but all of it is soft ... and pretty.

One might imagine it's impossible to feel so at home on a ship this large -- at 91,000 tons, it carries 1,950 passengers. A decade later, it's far from the largest ship at sea, but it's definitely still big. Somehow, though, the feeling of an intimate experience prevails. The layout and accessibility are excellent, with 14 elevators and a design that makes getting from one point of interest to another easy and enjoyable. Lots of outside deck space and promenades help in this regard, as well.

One thing we learned on this voyage is that, as Celebrity continues to grow and build larger ships -- referring to Celebrity's innovative, 122,000-ton, 2,850-passenger Solstice-class vessels -- there's no concern about being bored or unimpressed while sailing on Millennium, which by now is considered one of the line's "smaller" ships. In fact, repeat cruises on Millennium are delightful.

Dining

All of the food selections -- from the always-available pizza and pasta to the delectable savories in the Olympic Restaurant -- were very good, beautifully presented and served with a smile and a flourish.

Although there is only one "alternative" restaurant, Millennium essentially has four dining spots -- five, if you count the casual restaurant that's located at the aft port side of the Ocean Grill in the evenings.

The Metropolitan, Millennium's main restaurant, is a two-deck-high room located at the aft of the ship; the entire back wall is glass. When it isn't yet dark outside, the views from almost anywhere in the restaurant are stunning. And, when darkness falls, Millennium uses a series of drop-down screens to hide the windows and the glare from the inside lighting.

Two things stand out about the Metropolitan dining room: The decor, a mix of contemporary and Art Deco, is lovely and elegant, setting the stage for the equally elegant dining experience. Although it's a large space, it's been designed in a way that makes it quiet enough to actually enjoy conversation. In fact, when seated at a large table in the middle of the lower level, probably the least favorite spot in any dining venue because of noise and activity, you'll be able to speak to and actually hear your dining companions.

Menu options run the gamut from chi-chi French-inspired cuisine, such as filet mignon with foie gras and bleu cheese topping and escargots, to more plebian roast chicken and grilled fish. Service in the main restaurant is excellent and traditional.

There are two options for dinner in the Metropolitan. Passengers can go with traditional, set seating (two times to dine) or opt for the more flexible Celebrity Select dining option, which was introduced in early 2010. With Celebrity Select, passengers have the option to dine any time between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and to decide whether they want to eat with their own party or at a mixed table with other passengers. They can also make specific dinner reservations for each day of their cruise online in advance, make reservations onboard or simply show up when ready to eat.

Unique to Celebrity's Millennium-class ships is the AquaSpa Cafe, located in the AquaSpa. It serves light, healthy meals in a cafe surrounding the thalassotherapy pool. Fresh fruit and vegetables are available until 2 p.m.

Just before entry to the Resort Deck's massive cafeteria-style restaurant -- the Ocean Grill, just aft of the main pool -- is the Riviera Grill, which serves hamburgers, hot dogs and at least one daily special (i.e. ribs, fajitas, grilled chicken breast). It's a perfect spot to grab a bite while enjoying the pool deck.

The Ocean Grill has something available nearly 24 hours a day. Pizza and pasta are freshly made; you can choose your own ingredients. From 6:30 to 9 p.m., what is a sandwich station during the day becomes a sushi bar with a range of items from California rolls to tekka maki. Ginger, wasabi and soy sauce are all available, too.

On the port side of the Ocean Grill, between 6 and 10 p.m., is the alternative casual dining option, which has table service and offers regional specialties. A suggested gratuity of $2 per person is recommended. A note: No one was ever presented with a bill, so try to have a couple of dollars with you when you go, and tip in cash.

The creme de la creme of dining spots on Millennium is the exquisite Olympic Restaurant, the ship's sole for-charge alternative restaurant. It's $35 per person to eat there. Adorned with original panels from the MS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic, the atmosphere and presentation is as magnificent as the cuisine. I'm usually too impatient to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of this kind of atmosphere, but the well-trained teams in the Olympic made it showy and fun. The menu, which doesn't change, is wonderful, is very French and offers selections for every type of diner. The most commonly ordered entree is the melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon, preceded by a prepared-at-the-table Caesar salad, so garlicky that you'd better hope all of your dinner companions get one, too. The dessert platter, with small portions of pastry, creme brulee, cake and tiramisu was so beautiful that it was a shame to eat it -- but we did, with gusto.

Note: The Caesars are made traditionally with one exception -- raw eggs are not included for health reasons.

Room service is available 24/7; guests can order selections from the menu during dinner, and a door-hung card assures you'll get breakfast when ordered. I love the fact that they phone before delivery -- breakfast and an alarm! Tipping for room service is customary and greatly appreciated.

Public Rooms

From bow to stern, the public areas on this ship offer both surprises and charm, whether it's the unique (and often unexpected) modern art around every corner, the wow factor when entering Cosmos for the first time or the clubby, calming surroundings in Michael's Club.

This is one classy vessel.

The decor is an eclectic mix of contemporary, Old World, Art Deco and resort chic, which could, if done poorly, create a schizophrenic ambiance. But, that's not the case here; everything fits and flows smoothly from one venue to another, and the most impressive attribute is the use of natural light whenever possible.

Cosmos, the forward-facing lounge at the top of the ship, is surrounded with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. It's used during the day as an observation station and for various activities. At night, it's turned into a fabulous disco/dance hall. Just outside its doors is the Conservatory, a flower shop that doubles as a Zen-like respite from all the hoopla on the rest of the ship. Unfortunately, it's open only during the florist's hours, so you may have to seek your Zen elsewhere.

No worries -- there are plenty of spots for that, as well, including Words, the ship's two-story library, which features a spiral staircase, glass walls and deep armchairs.

Seeking calm solitude is one thing, but anyone looking for some excitement and camaraderie can easily find it in the Rendezvous Lounge, lined with windows opening onto the promenade, which is great during the day. In the evenings, people actually dance on the center wood floor and sing karaoke until the wee hours. Both the Martini Bar and the Champagne Bar, located on the Entertainment Deck, make great pre-dinner cocktail spots.

My favorite has to be the Cova Cafe di Milano, midship, surrounding the Grand Foyer one floor below. A coffee and wine bar, it's designed to replicate the Italian original. Most nights, the entertainment alternates between a soothing classical quartet and a pianist.

Forward of the Cova Cafe is Millennium's enormous shopping venue, the Emporium. Along with the usual logo shops and duty-free items, there are several jewelry and watch shops, and, instead of cluttering the aisles with specials as on most ships, there is a circular central kiosk area for the daily discount offerings.

The Celebrity Theater at the very front of the ship has comfortable banquette seating and excellent, non-obstructed views.

There are also several meeting rooms, a movie theater (which can double as a meeting/presentation venue) and an Internet center and computer lab. Passengers on Celebrity Millennium can surf the Web in the cyber cafe at a flat rate of 75 cents per minute or package rates of 100 minutes for $70, 200 minutes for $120, and 500 minutes for $250. This rate applies to both the desktops in the Internet center and to your own laptops when using Wi-Fi.

Cabins

Of the 1,059 cabins aboard Millennium, 853 are oceanview, and 538 of those have balconies. The ship also offers 50 suites, ranging from the uber-luxe penthouses (at 1,690 square feet, bigger than some houses) to more petite but elegant Sky Suites, as well as 26 accommodations that are fully ADA-compliant and wheelchair-accessible.

Millennium's standard cabins, from the least expensive insides to outside balcony cabins, are beautifully configured and nicely decorated with soft hues, elegant furnishings, those cute rounded-end beds and comfortable seating options. They serve as oases of calm away from all other ship activities.

Standard cabins come in at about 170 square feet. (Some insides are a bit smaller.) Balconies add an average of 41 square feet. They are certainly not the largest staterooms afloat, to be sure, but the way they are configured and the calmness of their decor make them wholly appealing.

Millennium's "Concierge" cabins are about a foot longer than the standard staterooms down the hall. There were some additional perks afforded to Concierge passengers, including a pillow menu, daily fresh fruit, nightly hors d'oeuvres, use of binoculars, robes, Hansgrohe shower heads, hand-held hair dryers and expanded room service breakfast menus. Also included are priority check-in, express luggage delivery, priority embarkation and disembarkation at each port, shoeshine service, a Celebrity Cruises tote bag and main/specialty restaurant seating preference.

The stateroom decor consists of light woods and cool pastels, with added luxuries like little throw pillows on the sofa. Storage space is more than adequate for two people for a longer cruise, with several closets for hanging clothing, small shelves next to the desk/vanity for books and other items, and two large cupboards under it. The only drawers are in the nightstands, which also have lamps attached to the top. It's nice having a side-night-table light, rather than the one that's affixed to the wall overhead, but in some staterooms, the bedside lamps keep you from putting "stuff" on the tables. Happily, that is not the case here; the lamps were tall enough to stack books and lotions and other bedtime things on the stand.

The bathroom is large and very well-lit, with plenty of storage space for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Standard accommodations and concierge-level cabins have roomy showers, while suites have whirlpool baths. There are wall-mounted hair dryers in the standard cabins; concierge-level and suite guests get handheld dryers, but there are no outlets for them in the bathrooms. You have to use them in the desk/vanity areas, which is kind of a pain if you aren't using that area for grooming.

There are two 110-volt outlets and two 220-volt outlets at the desk. If you bring a converter kit, you can convert one of the 220's to a 110, giving you three outlets to use for sundry electronics like laptops, digital cameras and cell phone chargers.

Balconies in standard verandah staterooms and most concierge-level staterooms are comfortably large and nicely furnished with strapped chairs and small tables; concierge-level balcony furniture has canvas pad covers, and suite guests get a mix of mesh and wooden furniture.

Millennium's "Resort Deck" has an inordinately large overhang toward the forward part of the ship and a series of angled overhangs toward the aft. They are so big that the ship was built with a row of stanchions that angle down from the overhangs. Rooms at the top level under the Resort Deck, therefore, get interrupted views and very little sun. Although such rooms are great in almost all respects, they would be better with more sun and less interference with the outdoor vista. Also, while soundproofing is excellent from room to room, this is not the case with the ceilings, and being right under the Resort Deck can make for a very noisy trip.

All standard cabins come equipped with mini-bar fridges (check prices before using the goodies), safes, telephones and interactive televisions with excellent programming (including CNN, ESPN, several movie channels, several in-house channels and TNT). The "interactive" part includes ordering room service (works really well!), checking your daily bill balance and playing video slots and blackjack (for those who are really bored and need to spend money gambling on a television).

Entertainment

Most of the shows in the Celebrity Theater are typical cruise fare (no Cirque de Soleil onboard) with a live orchestra and "The Celebrity Singers and Dancers."

In late 2009, Celebrity introduced a new enrichment and activities program called Celebrity Life onboard Millennium. Programming is divided into three themes. "Savor" focuses on culinary themes and features wine-tasting and appreciation classes, mixology (including "Molecular Mixology" workshops developed by The Liquid Chef, who creates high-end cocktails and muddled drinks with unusual ingredients), cooking demos and cooking competitions.

"Renew" combines fitness classes (like body-sculpting, strength-training, yoga and tai chi), spa treatments, medi-spa cosmetic services (BOTOX and anti-aging facials) and wellness seminars (on topics such as youth-enhancing lifestyle tips, nutrition and stress management).

The "Discover" program has the broadest reach, as Celebrity has partnered with several well-known companies to offer a wide variety of educational opportunities to its cruise passengers. Lecturers from Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution's educational travel program, will come onboard to teach about history, culture, art, architecture and nature. Passengers can learn languages onboard with Rosetta Stone, study star-gazing and astronomy, preserve vacation photos and memories by scrapbooking with the StoryTellersClub, take technology classes (everything from iPods to Photoshop) through the line's "digITal" series and enjoy ballroom and world dance classes and competitions hosted by Celebrity's professional dancers.

Days at sea provide opportunities to rest and to participate in the onboard activities; during the day there are dance lessons. (Salsa, tango and meringue were unique to this destination, but swing and ballroom were also offered). Trivia contests, Pictionary, brain teasers and charades, napkin-folding, and arts and crafts classes were all well-attended, bested in participation only by the nightly karaoke.

The casino, located midship, seems impossibly small for a vessel of this size, and although the tables were busy most evenings, the slots -- older and pretty boring -- didn't get much use. Everything seemed to be jammed together, and it gets really hot and stuffy.

Naturally, there are bingo sessions and art auctions just about every day, as well as specialty wine auctions.

Fitness and Recreation

"Renew" is the line's new name for the spa and health aspect of Celebrity Life. Renew combines fitness classes, spa treatments and wellness seminars to help travelers "feel better, live longer and look younger." Seminars offering youth-enhancing lifestyle tips and stress management, medi-spa cosmetic services (BOTOX and anti-aging facials), body-sculpting and strength-training classes, nutrition seminars, acupuncture, yoga and tai chi are all available to help Celebrity cruisers feel and look good -- not to mention keep them away from the dessert buffet. The program is broken down into three categories: "Ageless" (medi-spa stuff like Botox), "Longevity" (pain management options like acupuncture) and "Energy" (fitness classes).

In addition, there are some special Renew events, such as the free Breakfast with the Guru, which is basically a combination breakfast and wellness seminar. Passengers can sample smoothies, get quick neck massages and meet experts from the three renew categories.

Celebrity Millennium's spa facilities are excellent. Unlike the spa areas on many ships, with a fitness room and treatment rooms hidden behind some New Age-y doors and tables draped with batik fabrics, Millennium's AquaSpa is practically a destination of its own. It takes up a large portion of the Resort Deck, forward of the main pool, and includes the AquaSpa Cafe, the thalassotherapy pool (free of charge to use), comfy seating areas, the spa service and treatment areas, a beauty shop, a steam and sauna room called the Persian Garden (for-fee) and a forward-facing gymnasium and fitness center that is very appealing.

Spa services at the Steiner of London-operated facility include facials, massages, wraps and scrubs with specials offered on shore days. More unusual options include the Bamboo Massage, where bamboo shoots of various sizes are rolled and used to massage muscles. Celebrity also has a trained acupuncturist onboard Millennium. In fact, it was one of the first lines to introduce the now-standard cruise spa option. Celebrity Millennium has licensed doctors onboard and offers Restylane(R) and Perlane(R) treatments, as well as Botox.

Classes in "Chilates" (Celebrity's name for Pilates) and yoga are offered with an additional fee of $12 per person, but some of the best workouts are to be found at the dance classes, which are offered free of charge.

The AquaSpa area is for adults only, and -- thank goodness -- this seemed to be enforced.

However, kids have the use of the Riviera, the ship's main pool, which is located on the Resort Deck and is divided into a shallow end for dipping and a deeper end for swimming. Anyone who wants to swim laps can do so early in the morning before the pools get busy. There are two hot tubs. There is a jogging track and table tennis room one deck up on the Sunrise Deck, as well as a basketball court on the Sports Deck at the top of the ship.

Family

The well-equipped, bright and cheerful Fun Factory is located at the aft of the Sunrise Deck, and it has programs for kids, ages 3 to 17. Note: There are no facilities for teens, however, except for the adjacent video game room. (Teens do have their own full menu of programs though, called X Club).

Participation in the kids' program is complimentary (with some exceptions) and is broken nicely into compatible age groups. Potty-trained children are welcomed from age 3 and join the Ship's Mates (3- to 5-year-olds). Cadets (6 to 8), Ensigns (9 to 11) and Teens (12 to 17) make up the balance of the groups. Age-appropriate activities are available for each, and trained counselors are in attendance.

Activities include dinosaur studies, sushi-making, miniature boat-building and treasure hunts, while indoor/outdoor Fun Factory facilities include climbing frames and ball pools, paddling pools and water chutes, computer areas (offering plug-in guitar lessons) and The Tower -- a tall, large-windowed space for teens at the prow end of Deck 11. Parents with children younger than 3 are invited to accompany their toddlers into the playrooms. (Infants who sail must be at least 6 months old as of the first day of the cruise. However, for transatlantic, transpacific, select South America and other select cruises, infants must be at least 12 months old.)

It's $6 per hour, per child, to participate in the "Afternoon Party" from noon to 2 p.m. on port days and/or the nighttime Slumber Party from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily. In-cabin baby-sitting is available for $8 per hour, for up to two children (12 months minimum) within the same family.

Fellow Passengers

Celebrity Millennium passengers tend to be sophisticated, well-traveled adults in the 45 to 65 age range, and indeed, the Celebrity experience is ideal for the "baby boom" generation. Most of the guests are North American, with Britain and other European countries represented.

Dress Code

Depending on the destination, the dress is usually casual during the day and resort casual in the evening. On transatlantic voyages, guests tend to be dressier, even during the day.

Celebrity is a traditional cruise line, and the typical Millennium guest likes the tradition of dressing up for supper. Plan for two formal nights on a seven- to 11-night cruises and three on cruises of more than 12 nights, with several "informal" evenings, as well. Formal nights find most of the ladies in beaded or flowing gowns and men in tuxes; on informal evenings, women wear cocktail attire, and men wear suits with ties.

There are casual dining options for those who choose not to dress up on formal nights, including the ever-present pizza and pasta, the sushi bar and the dining option on the port side of the Ocean Cafe and Grill.

Gratuity

Celebrity automatically adds gratuities for your restaurant and cabin services to your onboard Seapass account on a daily basis in the following amounts: $11.50 per person, per day, if you're in a standard cabin; $12.00 per person, per day, if you're in Concierge Class; and $15.00 per person, per day, for guests in suites.

--by Cruise Critic contributor Jana Jones; updated by Dan Askin, Associate EditorI am not a fan of big ships and have spent a good portion of my cruising life avoiding them, but when the opportunity arose for me to join a group heading for an around-the-Horn cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago on Celebrity's Millennium, I jumped at the chance. "It's too big," I thought to myself, "but no matter, I'll just make the best of it."

Little did I realize that this experience, replete with sea days between each port of call, would wow me and win me over. Have I suddenly become a fan of big-ship sailing? No, but I am smitten with Millennium, and after six at-sea days exploring the vessel, discovering hidden charms and quirks, I am head-over-heels.

When Millennium made its debut in 2000, it brought a new era of cruising to Celebrity. The first of its class -- and built after Celebrity Cruises was acquired by Royal Caribbean International -- the ship was followed by Infinity, Summit and Constellation. Millennium made news by incorporating, among other things, the first gas propulsion system on a cruise ship (thus the label GTS -- Gas Turbine Ship -- Millennium rather than MS, for Motor Ship). The GTS system is unique in that it reduces emissions and burns cleaner, creates less noise and vibration, and allows the ship to reach speeds of up to 24 knots. (It is not, alas, as fuel-efficient as was hoped at the time it was designed.) It was also the first ship to use exterior elevators, a feature that has been adopted ever since by several cruise lines. The ship also had, until recently, a unique music-listening venue called Notes (since converted to Acupuncture at Sea, also an innovation).

The ship is ... pretty. That's not a word that I use very often, especially when discussing a sea-going vessel, but it's the simplest and most accurate word to describe Millennium. The soft hues and stately public spaces; the tortoise-shell onyx stairway at the center of the ship; the diverse art around every turn; the stunning space in the Cosmos Lounge with its wrap-around floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary design, glittery dance floor, Art Deco-style lighting system, and light woods; the clubby, homey feeling of Michael's Club; and the contemporary-mixed-with-Deco design of the Metropolitan Restaurant offer an eclectic experience, but all of it is soft ... and pretty.

I never thought that I would feel so at home on a ship this large; at 91,000 tons it carries 1,950 passengers. It is far from the largest ship at sea, but it's definitely big. Somehow, though, the feeling of an intimate experience prevails. The layout and accessibility are excellent, with 14 elevators and a design that makes getting from one point of interest to another easy and enjoyable. Lots of outside deck space and promenades help in this regard as well.

One thing I learned on this voyage is that as Celebrity continues to grow and build larger ships (a new class of ship, Solstice, is on the drawing board now, with an anticipated 3,000-passenger capacity and at 118,000 tons a really big ship), I won't be concerned about sailing on Millennium, which by then will be considered one of the line's "smaller" ships. In fact, I'll be delighted.

Dining

All of the food selections, from the always-available pizza and pasta to the delectable savories in the Olympic Restaurant, were top-of-the-line wonderful, prepared to perfection, beautifully presented, and served with a smile and a flourish.

Although there is only one "alternative" restaurant, Millennium essentially has four dining spots -- five, if you count the casual restaurant located at the aft port side of the Ocean Grill in the evenings.

The Metropolitan, Millennium's main restaurant, is a two-deck-high room located at the aft of the ship, with the entire back wall being glass. When it isn't yet dark out, the views from almost anywhere in the restaurant are stunning. And when darkness falls, Millennium uses a series of drop-down screens to hide the windows and the glare from the inside lighting.

Two things stand out about the Metropolitan dining room: The decor, a mix of contemporary and Art Deco, is lovely and elegant, setting the stage for the equally elegant dining experience, and, although it's a large space, it's been designed in a way that makes it quiet enough to actually enjoy conversation. In fact, I was seated at a large table in the middle of the lower level, probably my least favorite spot in any dining venue because of noise and activity, yet I was able to speak to and actually hear my dining companions.

Menu options run the gamut from chi-chi French-inspired cuisine, such as filet mignon with foie gras and bleu cheese topping and escargots, to more plebian roast chicken and grilled fish. Service in the main restaurant is excellent and traditional. There are two seatings for dinner; breakfast and lunch are both available here with open seating.

Unique to Celebrity's Millennium-class ships is the Spa Cafe, located in the AquaSpa and serving light healthy meals in a cafe surrounding the thalassotherapy pool. Salads, grilled chicken breast, fresh fruit and vegetables are available all day until 8 p.m.

Just before entry to the Resort Deck's massive cafeteria-style restaurant, the Ocean Grill, just aft of the main pool, is the Riviera Grill, serving hamburgers, hot dogs and at least one daily special (i.e. ribs, fajitas, grilled breast of chicken). It's a perfect spot to grab a bite while enjoying the pool deck.

The Ocean Grill has something available nearly 24 hours of the day. Pizza and pasta are freshly made; you can choose your own ingredients. From 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. the aft end, a sandwich station during the day, becomes a sushi bar with a range of items from California roll to tekka maki. Ginger, wasabi and soy sauce are all available too.

On the port side of the Ocean Grill, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., is the alternative casual dining option, which has table service and offers regional specialties or a selection from the dining room menu. A suggested gratuity of $2 per person is recommended. A note: No one was ever presented with a bill, so try to have a couple of ones with you when you go, and tip in cash.

The creme de la creme of dining spots on Millennium, though, is the exquisite Olympic Restaurant, the ship's sole for-charge alternative restaurant. Unlike most ship specialty dining venues, the Olympic doesn't have a fixed rate but rather one determined by your menu selections. Adorned with original panels from the MS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic, the atmosphere and presentation is as magnificent as the cuisine. I'm usually too impatient to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of this kind of atmosphere, but the well-trained teams in the Olympic made it showy and fun. The menu, which doesn't change, is wonderful, very French, and offers selections for every type of diner. The most commonly ordered entree is the melt-in-the-mouth filet mignon, preceded by a prepared-at-the-table Caesar salad, so garlicky that you'd better hope that all of your dinner companions get one too. The dessert platter, with small portions of pastry, creme brulee, cake and tiramisu was so beautiful that it was a shame to eat it -- but we did, with gusto.

Note: The Caesars are made traditionally with one exception: Raw eggs are not included for health reasons.

Room service is available 24/7; guests can order selections from the menu during dinner, and a door-hung card assures you'll get breakfast when ordered. I love the fact that they phone before delivery; breakfast and an alarm! Tipping for room service is customary and greatly appreciated.

Public Rooms

From bow to stern, the public areas on this ship offer both surprises and charm, whether it's the unique (and often unexpected) modern art around every corner, the wow factor when entering Cosmos for the first time, or the clubby, calming surroundings in Michael's Club.

This is one classy vessel.

The decor is an eclectic mix of contemporary, Old World, Art Deco and resort chic, which could, if done poorly, create a schizophrenic ambience. But that's not the case here; everything fits and flows smoothly from one venue to another, and the most impressive attribute is the use of natural light whenever possible.

Cosmos, the forward-facing lounge at the top of the ship, is surrounded with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. It's used during the day as an observation station and for various activities, and at night it's turned into a fabulous disco/dance hall. Just outside its doors is the Conservatory, a flower shop that doubles as a Zen-like respite from all the hoopla on the rest of the ship. Unfortunately, it's open only during the florist's hours and I had to seek my Zen elsewhere.

No worries, there are plenty of spots for that as well, including Words, the ship's two-story library, with its spiral staircase, glass walls and deep armchairs.

Seeking calm solitude is one thing, but anyone looking for some excitement and camaraderie can easily find it in the Rendezvous Lounge, lined with windows opening onto the promenade, which is great during the day. In the evenings, people actually dance on the center wood floor, and sing karaoke until the wee hours. Both the Martini Bar and the Champagne Bar, located on the Entertainment Deck, make for great pre-dinner cocktail spots.

My favorite has to be the Cova Cafe di Milano, midship surrounding the Grand Foyer one floor below. A coffee and wine bar, it's designed to replicate the Italian original. Most nights the entertainment alternates between a soothing classical quartet and a pianist, but on my South America cruise we enjoyed a Spanish guitarist who really set the tone for our environment.

Forward of the Cova Cafe is Millennium's enormous shopping venue, the Emporium. Along with the usual logo shops and duty-free, there are several jewelry and watch shops, and, instead of cluttering the aisles with specials as on most ships, there is a circular central kiosk area for the daily discount offerings.

The Celebrity Theater at the very front of the ship has comfortable banquette seating and excellent, non-obstructed views.

There are also several meeting rooms, a movie theater which can double as a meeting/presentation venue, and the Internet Center and Computer Lab. On the Sports Deck at the very top of the ship is Extreme, the sports bar, and overlooking the pool on the Sunrise Deck is Mast -- perfect for a cool one on a hot day.

Cabins

Of the 1,059 staterooms aboard Millennium, 853 are oceanview, and 538 of those have balconies. The ship also offers 50 suites, ranging from the uber-luxe penthouses (at 1,690 square ft., they are bigger than my house) to the more petite but elegant Sky Suites, as well as 26 accommodations that are fully ADA-compliant and wheelchair accessible.

Millennium's standard staterooms, from the least expensive insides to outside balcony cabins, are beautifully configured, nicely decorated with soft hues, elegant furnishings, those cute rounded-end beds and comfortable seating options. They serve as oases of calm away from all other ship activities.

Standard cabins come in at around 170 square ft. (some insides are a bit smaller). Balconies add an average of 41 square ft. They are certainly not the largest staterooms afloat, to be sure, but the way these are configured and the calmness of the decor make them wholly appealing.

I was in one of Millennium's "Concierge" staterooms, about a foot longer than the standard staterooms down the hall. Other than a few extra perquisites (a real hair dryer, teeny-weeny bites of hors d'oeuvres in the afternoon, a bottle of wine and fresh fruit waiting for me on boarding, binoculars, and the services of a concierge whenever I needed them), the only real difference in the cabin itself was that the sofa was a bit longer.

The stateroom decor is of light woods and cool pastels, with added luxuries like little throw pillows on the sofa. Storage space is more than adequate for two people for a longer cruise, with several closets for hanging clothing, small shelves next to the desk/vanity for books and other items, and two large cupboards under it. The only drawers are in the nightstands, which also have lamps attached to the top. I really like having that side night table light rather than the one that's affixed to the wall overhead, but in some staterooms, the bedside lamps keep you from putting "stuff" on the tables. Happily, that is not the case here; the lamps were tall enough to stack books and lotions and other bedtime things on the stand.

The bathroom is large and very well lit, with plenty of storage space for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Standard accommodations and concierge-level cabins have a roomy shower, while suites have whirlpool baths. There is a wall-mounted hair dryer in the standard cabins; concierge-level and suite guests get handheld dryers, but there is no outlet for them in the bathrooms. You have to use them at the desk/vanity area, which is kind of a pain if you aren't using that area for grooming.

There are two 110-volt outlets and two 220-volt outlets at the desk. I brought my converter kit with me, converting one of the 220 to 110, so had three outlets to use for sundry electronics including my laptop, digital camera, battery recharger and occasionally the hair dryer.

The balconies in standard verandah staterooms and most concierge-level staterooms are comfortably large and nicely furnished with strapped chairs and small tables; concierge-level balcony furniture has canvas pad covers, and suite guests get a mix of mesh and wooden furniture.

Millennium's "Resort Deck" has an inordinately large overhang toward the forward part of the ship, and a series of angled overhangs toward the aft. They are so big that the ship was built with a row of stanchions that angle down from the overhangs. Rooms at the top level under the Resort Deck, therefore, get interrupted views and very little sun. I was in one of those rooms, and although I loved it in almost all respects, I would have preferred more sun and less interference with my vista. Also, while soundproofing is excellent from room to room, this is not the case with the ceilings, and being right under the Resort Deck can make for a very noisy trip.

All standard staterooms come equipped with a mini-bar fridge (check prices before using the goodies), a safe, a telephone, and interactive television with excellent programming including CNN, ESPN, several movie channels, several in-house channels and TBS. The "interactive" part includes ordering room service (it works really well!), checking your daily bill balance, and playing video slots and blackjack (for those who are really bored and need to spend money gambling on a television).

Trivia Tidbit: On my South America cruise, many of the televisions were not working well, especially in outside cabins. Mine was particularly frustrating since the only colors I could get were a hot fuchsia pink and a vivid lime green, even after the engineering staff switched it for me with one that worked perfectly in an unoccupied interior cabin. It turns out that standard (non-LCD) televisions made for the Northern Hemisphere don't work correctly with the magnetic fields of the Southern Hemisphere. (The flat-screen televisions in the public spaces didn't have this problem.) I became so accustomed to seeing Anderson Cooper and Larry King with green faces and pink teeth that it was almost anticlimactic to see them in their natural state upon my arrival home.

Entertainment

Most of the shows in the Celebrity Theater are typical cruise fare (this ship doesn't have a Cirque de Soleil onboard) with a live orchestra and "The Celebrity Singers and Dancers." On our South America trip, however, we did have several evening entertainment "events" that were related to our destinations.

There were tango lessons and demonstrations, a folkloric troupe brought onboard to entertain with dances and customs of Argentina, and the movies "March of the Penguins" and "The Motorcycle Diaries" were shown in the movie theater.

The cruise I was on had six sea days, interspersed with active and busy days ashore. The days at sea provided opportunities to rest and to participate in the onboard activities; during the day there are dance lessons (salsa, tango and merengue were unique to this destination, but there was also line, swing and ballroom). Trivia contests, Pictionary, brain teasers and charades, napkin folding, and arts and crafts classes were all well attended, bested in participation only by the nightly karaoke.

Celebrity Cruises' fantastic Discover Enrichment Series was not only welcome on the South America itinerary, it was also an incredible adjunct to an already wonderful experience. The knowledgeable historian provided facts and figures about the region that were fascinating (although often irritatingly prefaced with "...as I explained in my latest book..."). The naturalist, a young fellow whose love of his work is apparent in everything he does, brought the most insight to the trip, explaining the flora and fauna of each of the regions we visited, naming the birds and mammals we were seeing and pointing out those we might have missed. His descriptions of the glaciers we viewed were so awe-inspiring it was as though we were the first people ever to have seen them. He (and his lectures) was the talk of the ship. Everyone seemed to be enamored by his gentle descriptions and love of the region.

The Discover Enrichment series also includes computer classes taught by the onboard vendor, Celebrity@Sea. Some of the classes were complimentary; most had a fee of $20. Members of the group I was with were appreciative of their newly acquired skills and anxious to get home to try their hand at Photoshop in the privacy of their own dens.

The computer center offers online service at what I would consider a very high rate: $0.75 per minute, brought down to $0.70 if you buy 100 minutes for $70. This rate applies to both the desktops in the Internet center and to your own laptops when accessing the onboard wireless system. I used the latter, and even though I was told it wouldn't work, I actually had wireless connectivity in my stateroom most of the time, and on my balcony at other times. Two things made me less fussy about the cost of the service: It worked, almost always, even when surrounded by the mountains of southern Argentina and Chile and going around Cape Horn, and when there was a problem, my account was credited generously, with no question whatsoever. Those two issues alone, of course, make the expensive service ... priceless.

My friends and I were particularly taken with the classical guitarist who played several times a day in the Cova Cafe di Milano; the contemporary pianist; the Coco Band (who are the "house" rockers); and the hunky guys in Sustained, brought onboard for half the trip.

On one of our sea days, the executive chef and the head pastry chef got into a "cook-off" of sorts. It was educational, but it was mostly funny. They work well together, and have obviously performed this routine several times.

The casino, located midship, seems impossibly small for a vessel of this size, and although the tables were busy most evenings, the slots -- older and pretty boring -- didn't get much use. Everything seemed to be jammed together and it got really hot in the room during my cruise.

Naturally, there are bingo sessions and art auctions just about every day, and specialty wine auctions too.

Fitness and Recreation

Unlike the spa areas on many ships, with a fitness room and treatment rooms hidden behind some New Age-y doors and tables draped with batik fabrics, Millennium's AquaSpa is practically a destination of its own. It takes up a large portion of the Resort Deck, forward of the main pool, and includes the Spa Cafe, the thalassotherapy pool (free of charge on this ship), comfy seating areas, the spa service and treatment areas, a beauty shop, a steam and sauna room called the Persian Garden (fee for use), and a forward-facing gymnasium and fitness center that is so appealing it almost got me on one of the treadmills.

Note: The Persian Garden is coed, as one of my companions unfortunately discovered upon emerging from her eucalyptus-scented shower wearing nothing but ... nothing.

The AquaSpa area is for adults only, and happily, this seemed to be enforced. The two hot tubs and the steamy thalassotherapy pool were child-free during the length of my two-week voyage.

However, kids have the use of the Riviera main pool, which is located on the Resort Deck with two hot tubs, divided into a shallow end for dipping and a deeper end for swimming. Anyone who wants to swim laps can do so early in the morning before the pools get busy. There is a jogging track and golf simulator one deck up on the Sunrise Deck, and a basketball court on the Sports Deck at the top of the ship.

Classes in Pilates and yoga are offered with an additional fee of $10, but some of the best workouts are to be found at the dance classes offered free of charge.

Spa services at the Steiner of London-operated facility include facials, massages, wraps and scrubs, with specials offered on shore days. I always look for Steiner's "Frangipani" treatment, a scalp, neck and shoulder massage which, at $29, is the best value onboard.

Family

The well-equipped, bright and cheerful Ship Mates Fun Factory is located at the aft of the Sunrise Deck, and although it has programs for kids aged 3 to 17, there isn't much for teens except the video game room adjacent.

Celebrity offers "The X-Club," an umbrella program designed for families. Participation is complimentary, even on port days, and is broken nicely into compatible age groups. Potty-trained children are welcomed from age 3 and join the Ship's Mates (3- to 6-year-olds). Cadets (7 - 9), Ensigns (10 - 12) and Admirals (13 - 17) make up the balance of the groups, with age-appropriate activities for each, and trained counselors in attendance. There are also family-centric activities like karaoke, bingo and pizza parties. Parents with children younger than 3 are invited to accompany their toddlers into the playrooms.

Fellow Passengers

Millennium guests tend to be sophisticated, well-traveled adults in the 45 - 65 age range, and indeed, the Celebrity experience is ideal for the "baby boom" generation. Although there are several activities for families, Millennium's longer cruises pretty much assure that the crowd will be fairly sedate and senior. Most of the guests are North American, with Britain and other European countries represented. On the South American cruises, which take place during that continent's summer season, expect to find a lively mix of Argentineans, Chileans and Brazilians.

Dress Code

Depending on the destination, the dress is usually casual during the day and resort casual in the evening. On trans-Atlantic voyages, guests tend to be dressier, even during the day.

Celebrity is a traditional cruise line and the typical Millennium guest likes the traditions of dressing up for supper. Plan on two formal nights on a seven-night cruise, and three on a 10- to 14-night cruise, with several "informal" evenings as well. Formal nights on my cruise found most of the ladies in beaded or flowing gowns and men in tuxes; on informal evenings, women wore cocktail attire and men wore suits with ties.

There are casual dining options for those who choose not to dress up on formal nights, including the ever-present pizza and pasta, the sushi bar, and the dining option on the port side of the Ocean Cafe and Grill.

Gratuity

Millennium's gratuities are collected the old-fashioned way, with envelopes distributed for doling out by the guest on the last evening aboard (although you can have the recommended amounts charged to your shipboard account). The "recommended" amounts are fairly standard ($3.50 per day for the room steward and waiter, $2 per day for their assistants) and there is also an envelope for the "assistant head housekeeper" with a recommended tip amount of $0.50 per day. On this ship, the assistant head housekeeper was very visible and made sure that all guests were getting what they needed. The passenger services crew works so hard, and is so friendly and accommodating, that we had no problem tipping well above the recommended amounts.

--by Cruise Critic contributor Jana Jones, who has also written for a variety of publications, including Vacation Agent, UK's Travel Holidays and Ocean Drive Magazine.When Celebrity Millennium made its debut in 2000, it brought a new era of cruising to Celebrity. The first of its class, built after Celebrity Cruises was acquired by Royal Caribbean International, the ship made news by incorporating, among other things, the first gas propulsion system on a cruise ship (thus the label GTS, for Gas Turbine Ship, Millennium, rather than MS, for Motor Ship). The GTS system is unique in that it reduces emissions and burns cleaner, creates less noise and vibration, and allows the ship to reach speeds of up to 24 knots. (It is not, alas, as fuel-efficient as was hoped at the time it was designed.) It was also the first ship to use exterior elevators, a feature that has been adopted ever since by several cruise lines. Today, the ship has nearly identical siblings Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Constellation.

Millennium is ... pretty. That's not a word used very often when discussing seagoing vessels, but it's the simplest and most accurate word to describe Millennium. The soft hues and stately public spaces; the tortoise-shell onyx stairway at the center of the ship; the diverse art around every turn; the stunning space in the Cosmos Lounge with its wrap-around floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary design, glittery dance floor, Art Deco-style lighting system and light woods; the clubby, homey feeling of Michael's Club; and the contemporary-mixed-with-Deco design of the Metropolitan Restaurant offer an eclectic experience, but all of it is soft ... and pretty.

One might imagine it's impossible to feel so at home on a ship this large -- at 91,000 tons, it carries 1,950 passengers. A decade later, it's far from the largest ship at sea, but it's definitely still big. Somehow, though, the feeling of an intimate experience prevails. The layout and accessibility are excellent, with 14 elevators and a design that makes getting from one point of interest to another easy and enjoyable. Lots of outside deck space and promenades help in this regard, as well.

One thing we learned on this voyage is that, as Celebrity continues to grow and build larger ships -- referring to Celebrity's innovative, 122,000-ton, 2,850-passenger Solstice-class vessels -- there's no concern about being bored or unimpressed while sailing on Millennium, which by now is considered one of the line's "smaller" ships. In fact, repeat cruises on Millennium are delightful.

Dining

All of the food selections -- from the always-available pizza and pasta to the delectable savories in the Olympic Restaurant -- were very good, beautifully presented and served with a smile and a flourish.

Although there is only one "alternative" restaurant, Millennium essentially has four dining spots -- five, if you count the casual restaurant that's located at the aft port side of the Ocean Grill in the evenings.

The Metropolitan, Millennium's main restaurant, is a two-deck-high room located at the aft of the ship; the entire back wall is glass. When it isn't yet dark outside, the views from almost anywhere in the restaurant are stunning. And, when darkness falls, Millennium uses a series of drop-down screens to hide the windows and the glare from the inside lighting.

Two things stand out about the Metropolitan dining room: The decor, a mix of contemporary and Art Deco, is lovely and elegant, setting the stage for the equally elegant dining experience. Although it's a large space, it's been designed in a way that makes it quiet enough to actually enjoy conversation. In fact, when seated at a large table in the middle of the lower level, probably the least favorite spot in any dining venue because of noise and activity, you'll be able to speak to and actually hear your dining companions.

Menu options run the gamut from chi-chi French-inspired cuisine, such as filet mignon with foie gras and bleu cheese topping and escargots, to more plebian roast chicken and grilled fish. Service in the main restaurant is excellent and traditional.

There are two options for dinner in the Metropolitan. Passengers can go with traditional, set seating (two times to dine) or opt for the more flexible Celebrity Select dining option, which was introduced in early 2010. With Celebrity Select, passengers have the option to dine any time between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and to decide whether they want to eat with their own party or at a mixed table with other passengers. They can also make specific dinner reservations for each day of their cruise online in advance, make reservations onboard or simply show up when ready to eat.

Unique to Celebrity's Millennium-class ships is the AquaSpa Cafe, located in the AquaSpa. It serves light, healthy meals in a cafe surrounding the thalassotherapy pool. Fresh fruit and vegetables are available until 2 p.m.

Just before entry to the Resort Deck's massive cafeteria-style restaurant -- the Ocean Grill, just aft of the main pool -- is the Riviera Grill, which serves hamburgers, hot dogs and at least one daily special (i.e. ribs, fajitas, grilled chicken breast). It's a perfect spot to grab a bite while enjoying the pool deck.

The Ocean Grill has something available nearly 24 hours a day. Pizza and pasta are freshly made; you can choose your own ingredients. From 6:30 to 9 p.m., what is a sandwich station during the day becomes a sushi bar with a range of items from California rolls to tekka maki. Ginger, wasabi and soy sauce are all available, too.

On the port side of the Ocean Grill, between 6 and 10 p.m., is the alternative casual dining option, which has table service and offers regional specialties. A suggested gratuity of $2 per person is recommended. A note: No one was ever presented with a bill, so try to have a couple of dollars with you when you go, and tip in cash.

The creme de la creme of dining spots on Millennium is the exquisite Olympic Restaurant, the ship's sole for-charge alternative restaurant. It's $40 per person to eat there. Adorned with original panels from the MS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic, the atmosphere and presentation is as magnificent as the cuisine. I'm usually too impatient to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of this kind of atmosphere, but the well-trained teams in the Olympic made it showy and fun. The menu, which doesn't change, is wonderful, is very French and offers selections for every type of diner. The most commonly ordered entree is the melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon, preceded by a prepared-at-the-table Caesar salad, so garlicky that you'd better hope all of your dinner companions get one, too. The dessert platter, with small portions of pastry, creme brulee, cake and tiramisu was so beautiful that it was a shame to eat it -- but we did, with gusto.

Note: The Caesars are made traditionally with one exception -- raw eggs are not included for health reasons.

Room service is available 24/7; guests can order selections from the menu during dinner, and a door-hung card assures you'll get breakfast when ordered. I love the fact that they phone before delivery -- breakfast and an alarm! Tipping for room service is customary and greatly appreciated.

Public Rooms

From bow to stern, the public areas on this ship offer both surprises and charm, whether it's the unique (and often unexpected) modern art around every corner, the wow factor when entering Cosmos for the first time or the clubby, calming surroundings in Michael's Club.

This is one classy vessel.

The decor is an eclectic mix of contemporary, Old World, Art Deco and resort chic, which could, if done poorly, create a schizophrenic ambiance. But, that's not the case here; everything fits and flows smoothly from one venue to another, and the most impressive attribute is the use of natural light whenever possible.

Cosmos, the forward-facing lounge at the top of the ship, is surrounded with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. It's used during the day as an observation station and for various activities. At night, it's turned into a fabulous disco/dance hall. Just outside its doors is the Conservatory, a flower shop that doubles as a Zen-like respite from all the hoopla on the rest of the ship. Unfortunately, it's open only during the florist's hours, so you may have to seek your Zen elsewhere.

No worries -- there are plenty of spots for that, as well, including Words, the ship's two-story library, which features a spiral staircase, glass walls and deep armchairs.

Seeking calm solitude is one thing, but anyone looking for some excitement and camaraderie can easily find it in the Rendezvous Lounge, lined with windows opening onto the promenade, which is great during the day. In the evenings, people actually dance on the center wood floor and sing karaoke until the wee hours. Both the Martini Bar and the Champagne Bar, located on the Entertainment Deck, make great pre-dinner cocktail spots.

My favorite has to be the Cova Cafe di Milano, midship, surrounding the Grand Foyer one floor below. A coffee and wine bar, it's designed to replicate the Italian original. Most nights, the entertainment alternates between a soothing classical quartet and a pianist.

Forward of the Cova Cafe is Millennium's enormous shopping venue, the Emporium. Along with the usual logo shops and duty-free items, there are several jewelry and watch shops, and, instead of cluttering the aisles with specials as on most ships, there is a circular central kiosk area for the daily discount offerings.

The Celebrity Theater at the very front of the ship has comfortable banquette seating and excellent, non-obstructed views.

There are also several meeting rooms, a movie theater (which can double as a meeting/presentation venue) and an Internet center and computer lab. Passengers on Celebrity Millennium can surf the Web in the cyber cafe at a flat rate of 75 cents per minute or package rates of 100 minutes for $70, 200 minutes for $120, and 500 minutes for $250. This rate applies to both the desktops in the Internet center and to your own laptops when using Wi-Fi.

Cabins

Of the 1,059 cabins aboard Millennium, 853 are oceanview, and 538 of those have balconies. The ship also offers 50 suites, ranging from the uber-luxe penthouses (at 1,690 square feet, bigger than some houses) to more petite but elegant Sky Suites, as well as 26 accommodations that are fully ADA-compliant and wheelchair-accessible.

Millennium's standard cabins, from the least expensive insides to outside balcony cabins, are beautifully configured and nicely decorated with soft hues, elegant furnishings, those cute rounded-end beds and comfortable seating options. They serve as oases of calm away from all other ship activities.

Standard cabins come in at about 170 square feet. (Some insides are a bit smaller.) Balconies add an average of 41 square feet. They are certainly not the largest staterooms afloat, to be sure, but the way they are configured and the calmness of their decor make them wholly appealing.

Millennium's "Concierge" cabins are about a foot longer than the standard staterooms down the hall. There were some additional perks afforded to Concierge passengers, including a pillow menu, daily fresh fruit, nightly hors d'oeuvres, use of binoculars, robes, Hansgrohe shower heads, hand-held hair dryers and expanded room service breakfast menus. Also included are priority check-in, express luggage delivery, priority embarkation and disembarkation at each port, shoeshine service, a Celebrity Cruises tote bag and main/specialty restaurant seating preference.

The stateroom decor consists of light woods and cool pastels, with added luxuries like little throw pillows on the sofa. Storage space is more than adequate for two people for a longer cruise, with several closets for hanging clothing, small shelves next to the desk/vanity for books and other items, and two large cupboards under it. The only drawers are in the nightstands, which also have lamps attached to the top. It's nice having a side-night-table light, rather than the one that's affixed to the wall overhead, but in some staterooms, the bedside lamps keep you from putting "stuff" on the tables. Happily, that is not the case here; the lamps were tall enough to stack books and lotions and other bedtime things on the stand.

The bathroom is large and very well-lit, with plenty of storage space for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Standard accommodations and concierge-level cabins have roomy showers, while suites have whirlpool baths. There are wall-mounted hair dryers in the standard cabins; concierge-level and suite guests get handheld dryers, but there are no outlets for them in the bathrooms. You have to use them in the desk/vanity areas, which is kind of a pain if you aren't using that area for grooming.

There are two 110-volt outlets and two 220-volt outlets at the desk. If you bring a converter kit, you can convert one of the 220's to a 110, giving you three outlets to use for sundry electronics like laptops, digital cameras and cell phone chargers.

Balconies in standard verandah staterooms and most concierge-level staterooms are comfortably large and nicely furnished with strapped chairs and small tables; concierge-level balcony furniture has canvas pad covers, and suite guests get a mix of mesh and wooden furniture.

Millennium's "Resort Deck" has an inordinately large overhang toward the forward part of the ship and a series of angled overhangs toward the aft. They are so big that the ship was built with a row of stanchions that angle down from the overhangs. Rooms at the top level under the Resort Deck, therefore, get interrupted views and very little sun. Although such rooms are great in almost all respects, they would be better with more sun and less interference with the outdoor vista. Also, while soundproofing is excellent from room to room, this is not the case with the ceilings, and being right under the Resort Deck can make for a very noisy trip.

All standard cabins come equipped with mini-bar fridges (check prices before using the goodies), safes, telephones and interactive televisions with excellent programming (including CNN, ESPN, several movie channels, several in-house channels and TNT). The "interactive" part includes ordering room service (works really well!), checking your daily bill balance and playing video slots and blackjack (for those who are really bored and need to spend money gambling on a television).

Entertainment

Most of the shows in the Celebrity Theater are typical cruise fare (no Cirque de Soleil onboard) with a live orchestra and "The Celebrity Singers and Dancers."

In late 2009, Celebrity introduced a new enrichment and activities program called Celebrity Life onboard Millennium. Programming is divided into three themes. "Savor" focuses on culinary themes and features wine-tasting and appreciation classes, mixology (including "Molecular Mixology" workshops developed by The Liquid Chef, who creates high-end cocktails and muddled drinks with unusual ingredients), cooking demos and cooking competitions.

"Renew" combines fitness classes (like body-sculpting, strength-training, yoga and tai chi), spa treatments, medi-spa cosmetic services (BOTOX and anti-aging facials) and wellness seminars (on topics such as youth-enhancing lifestyle tips, nutrition and stress management).

The "Discover" program has the broadest reach, as Celebrity has partnered with several well-known companies to offer a wide variety of educational opportunities to its cruise passengers. Lecturers from Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution's educational travel program, will come onboard to teach about history, culture, art, architecture and nature. Passengers can learn languages onboard with Rosetta Stone, study star-gazing and astronomy, preserve vacation photos and memories by scrapbooking with the StoryTellersClub, take technology classes (everything from iPods to Photoshop) through the line's "digITal" series and enjoy ballroom and world dance classes and competitions hosted by Celebrity's professional dancers.

Days at sea provide opportunities to rest and to participate in the onboard activities; during the day there are dance lessons. (Salsa, tango and meringue were unique to this destination, but swing and ballroom were also offered). Trivia contests, Pictionary, brain teasers and charades, napkin-folding, and arts and crafts classes were all well-attended, bested in participation only by the nightly karaoke.

The casino, located midship, seems impossibly small for a vessel of this size, and although the tables were busy most evenings, the slots -- older and pretty boring -- didn't get much use. Everything seemed to be jammed together, and it gets really hot and stuffy.

Naturally, there are bingo sessions and art auctions just about every day, as well as specialty wine auctions.

Fitness and Recreation

"Renew" is the line's new name for the spa and health aspect of Celebrity Life. Renew combines fitness classes, spa treatments and wellness seminars to help travelers "feel better, live longer and look younger." Seminars offering youth-enhancing lifestyle tips and stress management, medi-spa cosmetic services (BOTOX and anti-aging facials), body-sculpting and strength-training classes, nutrition seminars, acupuncture, yoga and tai chi are all available to help Celebrity cruisers feel and look good -- not to mention keep them away from the dessert buffet. The program is broken down into three categories: "Ageless" (medi-spa stuff like Botox), "Longevity" (pain management options like acupuncture) and "Energy" (fitness classes).

In addition, there are some special Renew events, such as the free Breakfast with the Guru, which is basically a combination breakfast and wellness seminar. Passengers can sample smoothies, get quick neck massages and meet experts from the three renew categories.

Celebrity Millennium's spa facilities are excellent. Unlike the spa areas on many ships, with a fitness room and treatment rooms hidden behind some New Age-y doors and tables draped with batik fabrics, Millennium's AquaSpa is practically a destination of its own. It takes up a large portion of the Resort Deck, forward of the main pool, and includes the AquaSpa Cafe, the thalassotherapy pool (free of charge to use), comfy seating areas, the spa service and treatment areas, a beauty shop, a steam and sauna room called the Persian Garden (for-fee) and a forward-facing gymnasium and fitness center that is very appealing.

Spa services at the Steiner of London-operated facility include facials, massages, wraps and scrubs with specials offered on shore days. More unusual options include the Bamboo Massage, where bamboo shoots of various sizes are rolled and used to massage muscles. Celebrity also has a trained acupuncturist onboard Millennium. In fact, it was one of the first lines to introduce the now-standard cruise spa option. Celebrity Millennium has licensed doctors onboard and offers Restylane(R) and Perlane(R) treatments, as well as Botox.

Classes in "Chilates" (Celebrity's name for Pilates) and yoga are offered with an additional fee of $12 per person, but some of the best workouts are to be found at the dance classes, which are offered free of charge.

The AquaSpa area is for adults only, and -- thank goodness -- this seemed to be enforced.

However, kids have the use of the Riviera, the ship's main pool, which is located on the Resort Deck and is divided into a shallow end for dipping and a deeper end for swimming. Anyone who wants to swim laps can do so early in the morning before the pools get busy. There are two hot tubs. There is a jogging track and table tennis room one deck up on the Sunrise Deck, as well as a basketball court on the Sports Deck at the top of the ship.

Family

The well-equipped, bright and cheerful Fun Factory is located at the aft of the Sunrise Deck, and it has programs for kids, ages 3 to 17. Note: There are no facilities for teens, however, except for the adjacent video game room. (Teens do have their own full menu of programs though, called X Club).

Participation in the kids' program is complimentary (with some exceptions) and is broken nicely into compatible age groups. Potty-trained children are welcomed from age 3 and join the Ship's Mates (3- to 5-year-olds). Cadets (6 to 8), Ensigns (9 to 11) and Teens (12 to 17) make up the balance of the groups. Age-appropriate activities are available for each, and trained counselors are in attendance.

Activities include dinosaur studies, sushi-making, miniature boat-building and treasure hunts, while indoor/outdoor Fun Factory facilities include climbing frames and ball pools, paddling pools and water chutes, computer areas (offering plug-in guitar lessons) and The Tower -- a tall, large-windowed space for teens at the prow end of Deck 11. Parents with children younger than 3 are invited to accompany their toddlers into the playrooms. (Infants who sail must be at least 6 months old as of the first day of the cruise. However, for transatlantic, transpacific, select South America and other select cruises, infants must be at least 12 months old.)

It's $6 per hour, per child, to participate in the "Afternoon Party" from noon to 2 p.m. on port days and/or the nighttime Slumber Party from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily. In-cabin baby-sitting is available for $8 per hour, for up to two children (12 months minimum) within the same family.

Fellow Passengers

Celebrity Millennium passengers tend to be sophisticated, well-traveled adults in the 45 to 65 age range, and indeed, the Celebrity experience is ideal for the "baby boom" generation. Most of the guests are North American, with Britain and other European countries represented.

Dress Code

Depending on the destination, the dress is usually casual during the day and resort casual in the evening. On transatlantic voyages, guests tend to be dressier, even during the day.

Celebrity is a traditional cruise line, and the typical Millennium guest likes the tradition of dressing up for supper. Plan for two formal nights on a seven- to 11-night cruises and three on cruises of more than 12 nights, with several "informal" evenings, as well. Formal nights find most of the ladies in beaded or flowing gowns and men in tuxes; on informal evenings, women wear cocktail attire, and men wear suits with ties.

There are casual dining options for those who choose not to dress up on formal nights, including the ever-present pizza and pasta, the sushi bar and the dining option on the port side of the Ocean Cafe and Grill.

Gratuity

Celebrity automatically adds gratuities for your restaurant and cabin services to your onboard Seapass account on a daily basis in the following amounts: $11.50 per person, per day, if you're in a standard cabin; $12.00 per person, per day, if you're in Concierge Class; and $15.00 per person, per day, for guests in suites.

When Celebrity Millennium made its debut in 2000, it was a first-in-class flagship for Celebrity, introducing a new gas propulsion system and exterior elevators. Today, the ship -- along with its nearly identical siblings Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Constellation -- is benefitting from a series of upgrades, designed to bring these older ships up to par with the line's more modern Solstice-class vessels. New cabins (including AquaSpa accommodations), specialty dining venues, an upgraded coffee shop (now with a gelateria), rejiggered bars and an Internet Center revolving around Apple products now tempt passengers to part with more of their vacation dollars.

Yet, the overall impression of Millennium is that it's ... pretty. That's not a word used often when discussing seagoing vessels, but it's the simplest and most accurate word to describe Millennium. The soft hues and stately public spaces; the tortoise-shell onyx stairway at the center of the ship; the diverse art around every turn; the stunning space in the Cosmos Lounge with its wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary design, glittery dance floor, Art Deco-style lighting system and light woods; the clubby, homey feeling of Michael's Club; and the contemporary-mixed-with-Deco design of the Metropolitan Restaurant offer an eclectic experience, but all of it is soft ... and pretty.

And even on a big ship, now with an additional 60 cabins, the feeling of an intimate experience prevails. The layout and accessibility are excellent, with 14 elevators and a design that makes getting from one point of interest to another easy and enjoyable. Lots of outside deck space and promenades help in this regard, as well. Celebrity says that instead of cramming the new venues into an already-full ship, it made use of wasted space and streamlined the interior design.

Millennium's 2012 refurb also made the ship more ADA-compliant. Changes like a lower guest relations desk, ramps in shops and improved wheelchair-accessible cabins will be welcomed by the line's disabled travelers.

Dining

All of the food selections -- from the always-available pizza and pasta to the delectable savories in the Olympic Restaurant -- were exceptionally good, beautifully presented and served with a smile and a flourish.

The Metropolitan, Millennium's main restaurant, is a two-deck-high room located at the aft of the ship on Decks 4 and 5; the entire back wall is glass. When it isn't yet dark outside, the views from almost anywhere in the restaurant are stunning. And, when darkness falls, Millennium uses a series of drop-down screens to hide the windows and the glare from the inside lighting.

Two things stand out about the Metropolitan dining room: The decor, a mix of contemporary and Art Deco, is lovely and elegant, setting the stage for the equally elegant dining experience. Although it's a large space, it's been designed in a way that makes it quiet enough to actually enjoy conversation. In fact, when seated at a large table in the middle of the lower level, probably the least favorite spot in any dining venue because of noise and activity, you'll be able to speak to and actually hear your dining companions.

Menu options run the gamut from chi-chi French-inspired cuisine, such as filet mignon with foie gras and bleu cheese topping and escargots, to more plebian roast chicken and grilled fish. Service in the main restaurant is excellent and traditional.

There are two options for dinner in the Metropolitan. Passengers can go with traditional, set seating (at 6 and 8:30 p.m.) or opt for the more flexible Celebrity Select dining option. With Celebrity Select, passengers have the option to dine any time between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and to decide whether they want to eat with their own party or at a mixed table with other passengers. They can also make specific dinner reservations for each day of their cruise online in advance, make reservations onboard or simply show up when ready to eat.

The creme de la creme of dining spots on Millennium is the exquisite Olympic Restaurant, the ship's original for-charge alternative restaurant on Deck 3 midship. It's $40 per person to eat there; dinner is served from 6 - 10 p.m. Adorned with original panels from the MS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic, the atmosphere and presentation is as magnificent as the cuisine. I'm usually too impatient to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of this kind of atmosphere, but the well-trained teams in the Olympic made it showy and fun. The menu, which doesn't change, is wonderful, offering French-influenced selections for every type of diner. One of the most popular entrees is the melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon. The dessert platter, with a trio of pastries, each filled with a different flavored cream, was so beautiful that it was a shame to eat it -- but we did, with gusto.

In addition to the regular menu, you can opt instead for the Five Senses menu, which presents six courses paired with wines, for a higher surcharge of $89 per person.

Within the Olympic is the Wine Cellar room, used for private, wine-themed events.

Celebrity's Champagne High Tea, which takes place once or twice a cruise, is also offered in the Olympic. While a string quartet plays, premium tea and coffees, savory sandwiches and desserts are served on fine china for a $25-per-person charge.

Carved out of a portion of the main dining room on Deck 5 is Blu, Celebrity's spa-dining venue, exclusively for AquaClass passengers. Those booked in suites are allowed to dine there, space permitting. The fee-free restaurant (a $5 gratuity is recommended) is open for breakfast (7:30 to 9 a.m.), serving light meals like smoothies and muesli, and dinner (6 to 9:30 p.m.), with a changing menu of clean and simple cuisine, such as a roasted chicken breast or blackened ahi tuna. The venue is gorgeous, done in white with bright blue accents and a row of large porthole windows along one side.

All the way at the top of the ship on Deck 11 is Qsine, which has taken over the space formerly occupied by the Conservatory. The focus there is a gourmet interpretation of ethnic comfort food, served in innovative vessels -- never a standard plate or bowl -- and meant to be shared. The menu, presented on an iPad, includes standouts like Kobe beef sliders, sushi lollipops, lobster fritters, "chintinis" (Chinese melange served in martini glasses), "disco" shrimp (poached tiger shrimp) and, for dessert, beignets, decorate-your-own cupcakes and cheesecake bites. The decor is equally funky with mismatched chairs and table lamps hanging upside down from the ceiling. The cost is $40; open hours are from 6 to 10 p.m.

Reservations are required for both Qsine and Olympic. These dining hotspots book up quickly, especially on shorter cruises. Consider booking online prior to your cruise, but know that both venues take walk-ins, so it's worth checking for cancellations.

Celebrity Millennium offers specialty dining packages (for three or five visits to Qsine and Olympic) and couples' wine and dine packages (for three to five restaurant reservations, plus three to five bottles of wine), offering discounts on for-fee restaurant charges and select bottles of wine. Pricing varies, depending on the package purchased, but can save you up to 35 percent off the individual cost. Prices are subject to change.

The final for-fee venue is the casual Bistro on Five. Bistro's main fare is crepes, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert crepes. It also features panini sandwiches (steak, chicken or vegetable), soups and salads. Popular choices include the sweet banana, nutella and pistachio crepes and the savory Cowboy crepe, featuring marinated flank steak. Bistro on Five is open from 6 a.m. until "late" and requires no reservations, though there is a $5-per-person service charge.

The Oceanview Cafe, the pool deck buffet, is open 24 hours a day for coffee, tea and juice and from 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. for breakfast, lunch, dinner and mid-afternoon or late-night snacks. At breakfast, you'll find an eggs and omelet station, as well as typical waffles, pancakes, pastries, cereal and some Asian fare. Lunch stations include hot entrees, ethnic fare and desserts. The many flavors of scrumptious ice cream (served from noon to 9:30 p.m.) are not to be missed. A salad bar, pizza and pasta stations are open from noon until the late evening. Casual afternoon tea is served from 4 to 5 p.m., and at 5:30 p.m. passengers can choose from around-the-world offerings, including sushi, Indian food, a churasco grill and a stir-fry corner.

We're big fans of Celebrity's buffets, in general, and Millennium's did not disappoint. It offers both high-quality food -- rather than sad, sodden items that look like they've been sitting out too long -- and a varied menu, allowing something for all tastes. The salad bar has a good selection of fresh ingredients, rather than the wilted lettuce and pale tomatoes sometimes found on other lines.

Just outside by the pool the Oceanview Grill serves hamburgers, hot dogs, turkey burgers and veggie burgers, grilled to order. It's a perfect spot to grab a bite while enjoying the pool deck. It's open from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Across Deck 10 in the Solarium is the AquaSpa Cafe. It serves light, healthy meals buffet-style for breakfast and lunch by the thalassotherapy pool. It's open from 7:30 to 10 a.m. and from noon to 2:30 p.m.

On Deck 5 by the atrium is Cafe al Bacio, a combination coffee house and gelateria. The coffee shop serves Lavazza coffee and Tea Forte for a fee. Bar drinks are also available. Snacks, ranging from morning croissants to light sandwiches, truffles and mini desserts, are free. A selection of gelato flavors costs $3 for a small cup and $5 for a large. The cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. or midnight.

Room service is available 24/7; passengers can order selections from the menu during dinner, and a door-hung card assures you'll get breakfast when ordered. Tipping for room service is customary and greatly appreciated.

Public Rooms

From bow to stern, the public areas on this ship offer both surprises and charm, whether it's the unique (and often unexpected) modern art around every corner, the wow factor when entering Cosmos for the first time or the clubby, calming surroundings in Michael's Club.

This is one classy vessel.

The decor is an eclectic mix of contemporary, Old World, Art Deco and resort chic, which could, if done poorly, create a schizophrenic ambience. But, that's not the case here; everything fits and flows smoothly from one venue to another, and the most impressive attribute is the use of natural light whenever possible. The glass elevators along the outside of the ship are a nice touch, as is the dramatic Grand Foyer with its long drapes and sweeping staircase.

The Grand Foyer rises from Deck 3 to Deck 5. Its lower level covers all the administrative functions -- guest relations, shore excursion, concierge, Captain's Club and future cruise sales desks are all there. Aft of this area is the conference center, which can be divided up into two or three rooms, each with plasma TV's and projectors.

The photo gallery is located on Deck 4, across from Michael's Club. Up one deck and forward of Cafe al Bacio is Millennium's enormous shopping venue, the Emporium. Along with the usual logo shops and duty-free items, there are several jewelry and watch shops, as well as an Apple store. Instead of cluttering the aisles with specials as on most ships, there is a circular central kiosk area for the daily discount offerings. A presentation area with rows of seating and a big screen is used for port and shopping talks.

The Celebrity iLounge is found on Deck 6 midship. There, iMac computers are available for Web browsing, or you can sign up for a Wi-Fi account, as wireless Internet access is available shipwide. Prices start at 75 cents a minute, or you can purchase a package: 38 minutes for $25, 90 minutes for $50, 208 minutes for $100, 555 minutes for $200, or 1,666 minutes for $400. Computer and technology classes, mostly focusing on Apple products, are held there and cost extra.

Words, the ship's two-story library on Decks 8 and 9, features a spiral staircase, glass walls and deep armchairs.

There are no self-service launderettes. Also, the movie theater has been removed.

Cabins

Of the 1,079 cabins aboard Millennium, 867 are oceanview, and 623 of those have balconies. The ship also offers 50 suites, ranging from the uber-luxe penthouses to more petite but elegant Sky Suites, as well as 26 accommodations that are fully ADA-compliant and wheelchair-accessible.

Millennium's standard cabins, from the least expensive insides to outside balcony cabins, are beautifully configured and nicely decorated with soft hues, elegant furnishings, rounded-end beds and comfortable seating options. They serve as oases of calm away from all other ship activities.

Standard inside and outside cabins come in at 170 square feet. Balconies add 38 square feet of outdoor space. They are certainly not the largest staterooms afloat, to be sure, but the way they are configured and the calmness of their decor make them wholly appealing.

Family Verandah staterooms are quite large, at 271 square feet with 242-square-foot balconies. Sliding doors with translucent windows separate the master bedroom areas from the living areas, where the kiddos can bunk on pullout couches. The huge balconies each feature two lounge chairs and a table with two chairs.

Millennium's ConciergeClass cabins measure 194 square feet with 54-square-foot balconies. Concierge passengers receive extra perks, including a pillow menu, daily fresh fruit, sparkling wine on embarkation day, nightly hors d'oeuvres, use of binoculars, robes, Hansgrohe shower heads, handheld hair dryers, a Celebrity Cruises tote bag and expanded room service breakfast menus. Also included are the services of a concierge, priority check-in, express luggage delivery, priority disembarkation, shoeshine service and main/specialty restaurant seating preference. In 2012, Celebrity expanded the ConciergeClass services to include an exclusive pre-departure lounge with free coffee and juices.

AquaClass cabins are the same size but come with different perks. In-cabin amenities include daily delivery of bottled water and tea, an upgraded room service menu, pillow menu, extra toiletries (shower gel, lip balm), use of plush bathrobes and slippers, and a Hansgrohe shower panel. Plus, AquaClass cruisers get exclusive spa privileges, such as access to healthy dining in Blu, complimentary passes to the Persian Garden steam and sauna room, and on-demand wellness programming.

Millennium features four types of suites. Twenty-six Sky Suites give slightly more room than the Concierge Class cabins, each coming in at 251 square feet with a 57-square-foot balcony. They're essentially just bigger cabins with no separation between living and sleeping areas. Eight Celebrity Suites -- at 467 square feet with 85-square-foot balconies -- are true suites with separate sleeping, living and dining areas. The eight Royal Suites are a bit apartment-like at 538 square feet with 195-square-foot balconies. Not only are there separate sleeping, living and dining spaces, but the spacious balconies each feature a whirlpool and cushy lounge furniture.

If you want to truly live it up, book one of two Penthouse Suites, each a whopping 1,432 square feet with a 1,098-square-foot balcony. There you'll find a baby grand piano, butler's pantry, motorized drapes, entertainment centers, complimentary scotch and vodka, a master bath with a whirlpool tub and a second bathroom, and another whirlpool, bar and dining table on the balcony.

Stay in any of these suites, and you'll receive butler service; priority check-in, debarkation, tender service, restaurant seating and theater seating; afternoon canapes and tea service, and daily in-cabin specialty coffee; one or two complimentary specialty restaurant meals; and a welcome bottle of sparkling wine.

Of the 26 wheelchair-accessible cabins, five are inside, four are outside, eight are standard balconies, three are Concierge Class, and six are Sky Suites.

Stateroom decor on Millennium consists of light woods and cool pastels, with added luxuries like little throw pillows on the sofas. Storage space is more than adequate for two people for a longer cruise, with several closets for hanging clothing, small shelves next to the desk/vanity for books and other items, and two large cupboards under it. The only drawers are in the nightstands, which also have lamps attached to the top. It's nice having a side-night-table light, rather than the one that's affixed to the wall overhead. But in some staterooms, the bedside lamps keep you from putting "stuff" on the tables. Happily, that is not the case here; the lamps were tall enough to stack books and lotions and other bedtime things on the stand.

The bathroom is large and well lit, with plenty of storage space for cosmetics and toiletries. Standard accommodations, Concierge Class and AquaClass cabins have roomy showers, while suites have whirlpool baths. There are wall-mounted hair dryers in the standard cabins; upper-category accommodations get handheld dryers, but there are no outlets for them in the bathrooms. You have to use them in the desk/vanity areas, which is kind of a pain if you aren't using that area for grooming.

There are two 110-volt outlets and two 220-volt outlets at the desk. If you bring a converter kit, you can convert one of the 220's to a 110 (or vice versa), giving you three outlets to use for sundry electronics like laptops, digital cameras and cell phone chargers.

Balconies in standard verandah staterooms are comfortably large and nicely furnished with strapped chairs and small tables; Concierge Class and AquaClass balcony furniture has canvas pad covers, and suite passengers get a mix of mesh and wooden furniture.

Millennium's lido deck (Deck 10) has an inordinately large overhang toward the forward part of the ship and a series of angled overhangs toward the aft. They are so big that the ship was built with a row of stanchions that angle down from the overhangs. Rooms at the top level under the Resort Deck, therefore, get interrupted views and little sun. Although such rooms are great in almost all respects, they would be better with more sun and less interference with the outdoor vista. Also, while soundproofing is excellent from room to room, this is not the case with the ceilings, and being right under the pool deck can make for a noisy trip.

All standard cabins come equipped with mini-bar fridges (check prices before using the goodies), safes, telephones and interactive televisions with excellent programming (including CNN, ESPN, several movie channels, several in-house channels and TNT). The "interactive" part includes ordering room service (works well!), checking your daily bill balance and playing video slots and blackjack (for those who are bored and need to spend money gambling on a television).

Entertainment

The Celebrity Theater, at the front of the ship on Decks 3, 4 and 5, feels like a real theater. It has comfortable banquette seating in rich red and purple hues, a double balcony and excellent, nonobstructed views. Space for wheelchair seating has been added. Most of the shows are typical cruise fare with a live orchestra and "The Celebrity Singers and Dancers." Guest entertainers also perform.

Cosmos, the forward-facing lounge at the top of the ship, is surrounded with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. It's used during the day as an observation station and for various activities. At night, it's turned into a fabulous disco/dance hall.

Deck 4 is the entertainment hub on Millennium. Anyone looking for some excitement and camaraderie can easily find it in the Rendezvous Lounge, lined with windows opening onto the promenade, which is great during the day. In the evenings, people actually dance on the center wood floor and sing karaoke until the wee hours. The Martini Bar and Crush, complete with ice-topped bar and juggling bartenders, make great pre-dinner cocktail spots.

The casino, located midship, seems impossibly small for a vessel of this size, and the 10 tables were busy most evenings.

Michael's Club feels like a private men's club with cushy chairs, flat-screen televisions showing sports, and a bar stocked with more than 60 international and craft beers, along with high-end Scotch and whiskey. Of course ladies are welcome. The piano has been removed, though a live guitarist may make an occasional appearance.

Up one deck is Cellar Masters, with a bit of wild red, green and purple decor trying to liven up the state-of-the-art, yet somewhat cold, enomatic wine-dispensing machines. Taste wine on your own or during a scheduled wine-tasting led by a sommelier.

Celebrity's enrichment and activity program, called Celebrity Life, is split into four categories -- Taste, Learn, Revive and Play -- but the terms aren't used in the daily Celebrity Today newsletter, and all the passenger sees is a variety of onboard programming. Taste activities include cooking demos and wine appreciation; Learn encompasses dance classes, language learning with Rosetta Stone, and computer skills workshops; Revive is just your typical fitness classes and spa seminars; and Play includes "Dancing with the Stripes" officer-and-passenger ballroom competition, trivia contests and pool games (weather permitting). Other activities include bingo, karaoke and Wii games.

Celebrity offers the usual gamut of tours in port. One nice touch is that the booking form divides up the excursions into categories; on a five-night Pacific Coast wine cruise, categories included Wine Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Wildlife Tours and Private Tours. Specific tours were marked with a "manager's recommendation"; interestingly, these seemed to be the most expensive offerings in each port.

Fitness and Recreation

The ship's main pool area, located on Deck 10 midship, is a sophisticated affair, with cushioned loungers, day-beds and wooden accents. The pool itself is divided into a shallow end for dipping and a deeper end for swimming; a circular lounge area sits on a raised platform in the middle. Anyone who wants to swim laps can do so early in the morning before the pools get busy. There are four hot tubs, a bar and table tennis on the port side.

Please note that only fully toilet-trained kids can use the ship's pools.

A jogging track and shuffleboard can be found one deck up on Deck 11, along with a basketball court on Deck 12 at the top of the ship.

Forward of the main pool is the Solarium, with a thalassotherapy pool (free of charge to use) under a retractable roof, teak loungers with head pillows, and round tables by the AquaSpa Cafe. It leads into the AquaSpa itself, where spa service and treatment areas are accompanied by the for-fee Persian Garden steam and sauna area, a hair salon and a forward-facing gymnasium and fitness center that is appealing.

Day-passes to the Persian Garden are free to AquaClass passengers and cost $20 per day for everyone else. (Cruise-long couples and singles passes can be purchased for a discount off the daily rate.) Spa services at the Steiner of London-operated facility include facials, massages, hair styling and nail treatments with specials offered on port days. More unusual options include the Bamboo Massage, where bamboo shoots of various sizes are rolled and used to massage muscles. Celebrity Millennium has licensed doctors onboard and offers Restylane(R) and Perlane(R) treatments, as well as Botox.

Celebrity also has a trained acupuncturist onboard Millennium. In fact, it was one of the first lines to introduce the now-standard cruise spa option. A special acupuncture area is located on Deck 7 with four treatment rooms.

The fitness area offers the usual cardio machines and weights. In the aerobics space, abs workouts and stretching sessions are free, but classes in Pilates, spinning and yoga are offered with an additional fee of $12 per person (plus 15 percent gratuity). However, some of the best workouts onboard are to be found in the dance classes, which are offered free of charge.

The AquaSpa area is for adults only, and -- thank goodness -- it seemed to be enforced.

Family

The well-equipped, bright and cheerful Fun Factory is located forward on Deck 11, and it has programs for kids of ages 3 to 11. Teens have their own programming and hangout space, called X Club. Between the youth and teen facilities is the ship's arcade.

Participation in the kids' program is complimentary (with some exceptions) and is broken nicely into compatible age groups. Potty-trained children are welcomed from age 3 and join the Shipmates (3- to 5-year-olds). Cadets (6 to 8), Ensigns (9 to 11) and Teens (12 to 17) make up the balance of the groups. Age-appropriate activities are available for each, and trained counselors are in attendance.

The Fun Factory is outfitted with large TV's, a Ping-Pong table and computer terminals. Kids' activities include crafts, Wii games, puppet shows, dinosaur studies, sushi-making, miniature boat-building and pajama parties. Celebrity has partnered with The Nerdel Company to offer activities focused on healthy living -- such as puzzles, sing-alongs and cooking classes -- that feature a puppet named Nerdel. Special family activities include Ping-Pong tournaments, bingo, talent shows and scavenger hunts for kids and parents.

Teens hang out in the two-story X Club, a gaming haven with two Wii and Xbox machines on the first floor and PlayStation 3's on the second. The club also has space for lounging and a dance floor with an iPad-jukebox system. Teens can participate in teen pool Olympics; late-night theme parties, such as "Red Carpet" and "Prom Night"; craft and scrapbook activities; karaoke; and fashion design workshops.

Parents with children younger than 3 are invited to accompany their toddlers into the playrooms at select times. (Infants who sail must be at least 6 months old as of the first day of the cruise. However, for transatlantic, transpacific, select South America and other select cruises, infants must be at least 12 months old.)

It's $6 per hour, per child, for kids ages 3 to 11 to participate in the "Afternoon Party" from noon to 2 p.m. on port days and/or the nighttime Slumber Party from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily. A dinner party from 5 to 7 p.m. is complimentary on sea days or when sailing occurs before 5 p.m.; it's the same fee as the other parties when the ship is in port. A V.I.P. pass gives access to all parties, exclusive Fun Factory activities and a gift bag. The price varies per cruise but gives a discount off the cost of individual parties.

In-cabin baby-sitting is available for $19 per hour for up to three children (12 months minimum) within the same family. In-cabin baby-sitting is subject to availability and must be requested 24 hours in advance.

Parents can also borrow toys from the Fun Factory for children to use onboard. The toys, suitable for a variety of ages from 3 to 11, include many LeapFrog interactive toys.

Fellow Passengers

Celebrity Millennium passengers tend to be sophisticated, well-traveled adults in the 45 to 65 age range, and indeed, the Celebrity experience is ideal for the "baby boom" generation. Millennium's longer cruises tend to skew older, but folks are young at heart, flocking to the gym and partying it up at night. Summer Alaska cruises attract a few more families than usual. Most of the passengers are North American, with Britain and other European countries represented.

Dress Code

Depending on the destination, the dress is usually casual during the day and resort-casual in the evening. Celebrity is a traditional cruise line, and the typical Millennium cruiser likes the tradition of dressing up for supper. Plan for two formal nights on seven- to 11-night cruises and three or four on cruises of 12 nights or more. The rest are "smart casual." Formal nights find most of the ladies in beaded or flowing gowns or cocktail dresses and men in tuxes, as well as suits or slacks and jackets. On smart-casual evenings, women wear skirts or nice slacks with pretty tops, while men wear slacks with collared shirts or sweaters.

Gratuity

Celebrity automatically adds gratuities for your restaurant and cabin services to your onboard Seapass account on a daily basis in the following amounts: $11.50 per person, per day, if you're in a standard cabin; $12.00 per person, per day, if you're in Concierge Class or AquaClass; and $15.00 per person, per day, for passengers in suites. A 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar bills.

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