Our last day, we saw the Hubbard Glacier which is indescribably beautiful. The captain turned the ship 360 degrees several times so that all onboard could get the best view. This is typical Celebrity, going over and above for the passengers. We were unbelievably lucky to have perfect weather for almost all of our trip so we saw Alaska in all it's glory and it's breathtaking.
Alaska is best seen on a cruise and Celebrity is the way to go. It's our second Celebrity cruise. Booking through Carolyn Leibowitz from Cruiseplanners, we felt like we got a more complete experience. I read reviews all the time, but having someone knowledgeable who knows our tastes and budget enabled us to maximize what we did and see things we might have overlooked. The price was as good as or better than we saw online, but the experience was far superior.
5 out of 5
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
We were on the Celebrity Reflection in May and the Blu restaurant was much better than Millennium's. Service was very slow, much of the food seemed mass produced, and several dishes arrived cold. For an upgraded restaurant, this was disappointing.
The specialty restaurant, Qzine, on the other hand, was our favorite meal of the cruise. They specialize in modern takes on exotic dishes from around the world, presented dramatically. If you're at all adventurous about food, this is the place for a meal that is an experience.
Cafe al Bacio and Gelateria
5 out of 5
Lovely little spot to have an afternoon tea or coffee and a sweet bite to eat.
4 out of 5
Kudos to Celia Garland, the ship's onboard naturalist. She is very knowledgeable and passionate about all things Alaska. Her enthusiasm is infectious and the information she provided was invaluable.
Millennium also has a beautiful spa and fitness center. There weren't as many activities during sea days as Reflection, but we really enjoyed the IOS classes. We're pretty techie, but still learned some handy skills.
The pool and hot tubs were disappointing. One pool was sort of heated with metal bar seating which was not very comfortable. The hot tubs were kind of lukewarm at best.
5 out of 5
Stage shows were really good. Singers and comics were fabulous. (Magician, not so much.) The cast was very energetic. There were several grand pianos on board. I'd love to have heard someone play one of them. We all enjoyed the entertainment.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Our cabin steward kept our cabin very neat and was always available.
5 out of 5
It's a beautiful ship. With no center elevators, it takes a bit to figure out how to get around, but we did fine. We loved the outdoor patio. Reflection has a Sunset Bar which Millennium doesn't have and we kind of missed it. The only thing we didn't like about getting around is having to cut through the casino.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Cabin was spacious and, as I said above, well maintained by the steward. It was a little cramped having the closet and drawers right next to the bathroom. Reflection has space for clothing above the bed which is very handy. I'd like to have had a comforter on the bed and a small blanket or coverlet to use for a nap.
If you like international food, eat at at Qzine. They don't really convey what a fun experience it is and how interesting the food is. We had a ball tasting food from around the world. Steer clear of the art auction. It's just not that high quality.
We took the Misty Fjord Float Plane excursion. It was beautiful. They use old World War II seaplanes perfectly restored to look new. Ketchikan itself is like the Cozumel of Alaska, one jewelry and souvenir shop after another. Once you get off the main street you get away from all that, it's kind of charming, but our first impression was tacky, tacky, tacky. Go back to the stream and the former bordello. We had friends who liked the lumberjack show, too.
Icy Strait is much less touristy than Ketchikan. We had excellent crab legs, then went on the BEST.WHALEWATCH.EVER with Alaska Galore Tours. It was jaw dropping. We decided we would never do another whale watch because we couldn't top this one. Icy Strait is pretty small but the walk to Hoonah is beautiful.
If you go to Juneau, don't go on an excursion that "includes" the glacier park. Go to the glacier park. There is a beautiful "hike" (more like a stroll but hike sounds more impressive) to a huge roaring waterfall right next to the Mendenhall Glacier. If you're with a tour, you will not have time to do this and it's magnificent. We would have had time to do a beer tasting and/or a tram to Mount Roberts, but chose to explore the town instead. We tasted some of the local beer and gave our blessing. The old time saloon was fun and king crab legs for the second straight day, what's not to like?
We did the White Pass Train and the views were amazing. The town is quite charming, nestled in the mountains. It's a bit touristy, but not like Ketchikan. Maybe we had just learned to overlook all the tanzanite shops by that point.
We took the scenic train directly to Anchorage. It did not disappoint. I would not have known to do this, but my friend, Carolyn Leibowitz, from Cruiseplanners set it up. I'd hate to have missed this. In Anchorage, we ate on the roof of the 49th State Brewing Company. It was a beautiful day with a view of the water, and Denali off in the distance. The food was great, too.
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