Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
hvbaskey

Trip Report [May 10 2019] - Celebrity Millennium: Vancouver to Seward

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Setting this thread up - 23 days out from our cruise, so I can have it ready to add as I go along!  I will share a few thoughts pre-cruise as well as along the way!

Notable Notes!

  • Celebrity Millennium:  Northern Glacier run [Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada --->  Seward, Alaska, USA]
  • This will be our first cruise to Alaska.  
    • Our second cruise on board the Celebrity Millennium
  • $100 USD OBC from Celebrity; $100 CAD OBC from our TA; Specialty Dinner for 2 from our TA
  • Pre-purchased the “Surfer” (Light) unlimited internet for one device [$83 CAD ($62 USD)] - using 30% ELITE discount arranged by the Captain’s Club (shoreside); used OBC from Celebrity.

Booked as follows:

  • via Celebrity’s “Exciting Deals” (aka after final payment, let’s make a deal!).  
  • chose the AQ Guarantee with no perks for a very reasonable rate ($699 USD pp or $927 CAD, before tax/port fees).  
    • Assigned cabin #1022 within a few days.  #1022 is one of the new AQ1 cabins installed during the Millennium’s EDGE-revolution.  
      • A few weeks later, one of the AQ aft-facing cabins became available. Since #1022 was an AQ1 category, it was an easy switch to the back of the ship.

Thus far, pre-arranged the following:

  • First arrangement:  the house/pet sitter!  CHECK!  YAY, she was available - whoo hoo! we can go on vacation 🙂
  • Second arrangement:  vacation time from work (last minute travel request) - whoo hoo!  both of us approved!
  • Third arrangement:  can we fly into YVR and out of ANC at a reasonable rate, since we are 6 weeks away from the cruise?  YES!  we can - whoo hooo!
    • Celebrity Choice Air - flying into Vancouver (from Toronto) the morning of embarkation day [$500 CAD (~$375 USD) for both of us, i.e., $250 CAD pp, incl. taxes].  
    • ANC (Anchorage) to YYZ (Toronto) - VISA reward points = $0
    • Celebrity Transfers from YVR airport to the Port [$28 CAD pp ($20 USD)]
    • Seward to Anchorage via akshuttles.com (shared van/direct transfer, with on line discount, $50 USD pp)

Tours:

  • Ketchikan:  “cab tour”, sharing van with a family from cruise critic roll call
  • Juneau:  we are planning to do it on our own, with intentions to go to the Mendenhall Glacier in the morning and possibly the Tram for the afternoon/early evening
  • Icy Strait Point:  booked in advance, “Icy Strait Whale Adventures"
  • Skagway:  booked in advance, “Frontier Excursions - Yukon Adventurer"
  • Seward:  booked in advance, van shuttle from port to Anchorage Airport, where we plan to pick up a rental car.
  • Anchorage:  still planning!  we will be there for 2 full days, before flying home to Toronto.

 

Screen Shot 2019-04-17 at 10.23.55 AM.png

Edited by hvbaskey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds great.  My only comment would be to see if you can arrange a half day tour of Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay before you leave Seward.  I usually go Seward to Vancouver and my favorite "excursion" is the six hour boat tour out of Seward, before I even board the ship.  It's a great way to start (or end) a trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, quack2 said:

Sounds great.  My only comment would be to see if you can arrange a half day tour of Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay before you leave Seward.  I usually go Seward to Vancouver and my favorite "excursion" is the six hour boat tour out of Seward, before I even board the ship.  It's a great way to start (or end) a trip.

 

Thank you @quack2 - we were originally planning to take a half-day cruise with Major Marine in Seward, but we really want to get to Anchorage as soon as possible to rent a car and zip about.  We are birders and have found quite a few spring migration hot spots around Anchorage.  So?  we shifted gears (changed our plans) to arrive in Anchorage as soon as possible, after disembarking 🙂 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to following along! We are on this same trip this August, and I will definitely be following along closely to get ideas for some of our down time in ports!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice score on the Deck 11 aft facing aqua cabin! I hope you review whatever changes that affect you with the Millennium Revolution...I'm a bit saddened myself by a few of the changes. I'm especially interested in how they deal with Hubbard day and the glacier viewing since Deck 11 forward is now the Retreat. That's were I was for our Hubbard viewing and now I'm trying to picture where I would go...very interested in what you do.

 

Also...very interested in how the change to the shading on the Sunset Bar affects your enjoyment of that aft balcony. In my mind the old tarp was a bit of double edged sword...nice shade below and a bit of privacy for the balcony above...but I've also heard that it can be quite noisy in the wind, clanging around. With the new wooden sun ray thing...I'm very curious as to how it feels out on your balcony. I love sitting and observing the wake...those deck 11 aft aqua cabins were something of a bucket list item for me before the revolution and now I'm not so sure about them. Very interested in your take on it.

 

Sweet last minute deal you got. I wish we lived closer to the west coast to be able to take advantage of such things. Our first, and so far only, Alaska cruise was last summer and I'm anxious to figure out how to go back, but DS going off to college and our move this summer is pushing a return to Alaska into 2020 or beyond.

 

Also...very excited to read that you are bird enthusiasts! Very interested in what you do in and around Anchorage...there are some great nature areas all around...you can only do so much with each trip, I applaud the fact that you know what you want and are pursuing that, make the hard choices to let go of some things that everyone says are "must dos". 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Anita Latte said:

Nice score on the Deck 11 aft facing aqua cabin! I hope you review whatever changes that affect you with the Millennium Revolution...I'm a bit saddened myself by a few of the changes. I'm especially interested in how they deal with Hubbard day and the glacier viewing since Deck 11 forward is now the Retreat. That's were I was for our Hubbard viewing and now I'm trying to picture where I would go...very interested in what you do.

 

Also...very interested in how the change to the shading on the Sunset Bar affects your enjoyment of that aft balcony. In my mind the old tarp was a bit of double edged sword...nice shade below and a bit of privacy for the balcony above...but I've also heard that it can be quite noisy in the wind, clanging around. With the new wooden sun ray thing...I'm very curious as to how it feels out on your balcony. I love sitting and observing the wake...those deck 11 aft aqua cabins were something of a bucket list item for me before the revolution and now I'm not so sure about them. Very interested in your take on it.

 

Sweet last minute deal you got. I wish we lived closer to the west coast to be able to take advantage of such things. Our first, and so far only, Alaska cruise was last summer and I'm anxious to figure out how to go back, but DS going off to college and our move this summer is pushing a return to Alaska into 2020 or beyond.

 

Also...very excited to read that you are bird enthusiasts! Very interested in what you do in and around Anchorage...there are some great nature areas all around...you can only do so much with each trip, I applaud the fact that you know what you want and are pursuing that, make the hard choices to let go of some things that everyone says are "must dos". 

 

Hi Anita

 

Thank you for your kind words!   First, I must say it was your trip report that inspired me to do one of our own.  I very much enjoyed reading it. Brilliantly done 🙂

I was a bit apprehensive moving from one of the new AQ cabins to the back, only because of the revolution.  It does have me a wee “anxious”, but we love having a cabin at the back (wake views!) and the temptation and desire won over the anxiety of the changes that you have mentioned.  I will definitely be posting my thoughts on same and how our privacy may/may not be affected, as well as any noise issues.

As we just came back from New Zealand (Celebrity Solstice - December 2018); we were not expecting to cruise this Spring.  It was far off the radar.   However!  ha ha - there is always a however!   I just couldn’t resist looking at Celebrity’s “last minute exciting deals” and after much thought, we bit the carrot!   We live on the East Coast (Ontario, Canada), so honestly didn’t think it would be feasible to fly out last minute (booking 45-ish days out), but the stars aligned for us when Air Canada was offering a seat sale to fly out to Vancouver and we had enough VISA Reward Points to fly home ($0).  Our motto has always been, if its meant to be, it will be!  so, it is 😉

The most difficult part of the planning is to choose from the million things that you can do!  I was “overwhelmed” by the choices available and just had to go by my gut instinct and what we enjoy doing.   I told DH that IF ANYTHING, we had to go whale watching in Icy Strait Point, as in the month of May, the humpbacks have just returned and they are *hungry*.   I have read comments that “oh, just watch them from the ship”, but as a girl who studied Marine Biology in University, that just didn’t fly with me.  I know how amazing it is to be right there on the water “with them”, feeling the “whale snot” as Mickey Live would say - LOL
I chose Icy Strait as my port of choice for whale watching based on the chances that in that location, I had a higher statistical chance of observing the group bubble-net feeding behaviour.  Humpbacks won’t be new to me, but that behaviour will be!  This is the one (and only) port of call, where we “splurged”.  Otherwise, I am attempting (my best effort!) to remain a bit frugal, without compromising our enjoyment of the overall cruise.

Speaking of being frugal, it was just today, we *finally* decided that we are going to take the public bus in Juneau to Mendenhall Glacier.  Juneau had a plethora of options and yes - we considered the Shuttle ($45 USD pp return); Evergreen Taxis (quickly calculated, not worth it for 2 pax); also checked out Juneau & AVIS car rentals, and then “finally" the bus.  The bus?  oh yes, the bus!   We realize we have ~ a half-hour walk from the stop to the Visitor’s Centre, but we have over 14 hours in Juneau and we love to walk!  It was a good opportunity to save a few dollars and given the extended period of time we are in the port, we found it was the best option for us.

Gosh!  I think I just rambled on - LOL!  and the cruise has not even started yet.   

Kind regards,  Heather

11.jpg

Edited by hvbaskey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found this PDF gem of a link for our adventurous plan to take the public transit (bus) to Mendenhall Glacier:

https://juneaucapitaltransit.org/wp-content/themes/jct/images/rider-guide.pdf

As per the PDF,  I also downloaded the “Transit App” to my iPhone (via www.transitapp.com).   Not only will it be useful to check the bus status while in Juneau, but I just tried it out here in Ontario and what a nifty little app to have on my iPhone!

Heather

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, hvbaskey said:

Found this PDF gem of a link for our adventurous plan to take the public transit (bus) to Mendenhall Glacier:

https://juneaucapitaltransit.org/wp-content/themes/jct/images/rider-guide.pdf

As per the PDF,  I also downloaded the “Transit App” to my iPhone (via www.transitapp.com).   Not only will it be useful to check the bus status while in Juneau, but I just tried it out here in Ontario and what a nifty little app to have on my iPhone!

Heather

Note the 1.5 mile walk from the transit stop to the glacier. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've often thought of what I would do on future visits to Alaska...imagining the ability to take a last minute cruise on a deal...what would I do? Kind of the opposite of the whole major plan ahead cruise. Taking the bus in Juneau is on my to do list for that unplanned cruise. If you really are into hiking, etc., then check out all the trails in the Mendenhall Recreation Center. What I didn't have in my mind before going to Mendenhall was the fact that it is a rather large facility. The visitor center and the glacier is, of course, a huge draw, but there is a whole recreation area and camping area that is downriver and across the lake from the glacier.

 

Maps of the area show all the different hiking trails that go through the whole recreation area. Some of the trails come out down on Mendenhall Loop Rd. Reading about your interest in birds...I would look for reports of that area to see if there would be good birding opportunities. There is a whole Wetlands area that is further south and surrounding the bay, but I'm sure that there would be more opportunities in the Recreation area.

 

This map shows all the trails around Juneau...you can zoom in to see the ones in the Mendenhall Recreation Area:

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tongass/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=78617&actid=50

 

My concerns would be about food. I know there are probably cautions recommended because of the possibility of bears in the area, but you are going really early in the season and IDK the likelihood that you would see many bears. Regardless, I would think that you could plan some sort of energy bar (I like LARA bars) to help you get through you planned time as there are no food services in the Mendenhall area. And definitely take water.

 

If you are a happy walker and not dealing with any injuries or other physical problems, I don't see the 1.5 mile walk along the road being a big deal. IIRC, it wasn't a huge gain in elevation along the road. I'm sure you could find a topography map that could help to verify that though and maybe offer some aid in figuring out if you would like to detour off the road onto some trails on your way back from the glacier. That's how I would approach it, being able to know how my energy levels were holding out and if I needed to just get back to a bus stop or if I could stand some more hiking after seeing the glacier, and especially Nugget Falls (which personally, I think is more impressive than the glacier).

 

IDK if you are planning on a meal in Juneau...the Sandbar and Grill would be along the bus route. You'd just need a stop near Industrial Blvd. It's closer to the glacier than downtown or the piers...and would make a good stop either before or after your glacier adventure IMO...eat up and walk it off...or work up an appetite and eat up afterwards.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Walking 1.5 miles each way sounds fine, but from first hand experience I can tell you that it's not so fine on a wet, windy day.  Perhaps you can find another couple on your roll call who would be willing to share a cab with you?

 

I recommend that you price a rental car ..... gives you the ability to see and do so much more.  ie an easy ride out to the coast to see the Shrine of St Therese, Eagle Beach, and the ability to say you drove to the End of the Road. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both the Anchorage Audubon Society (www.anchorageaudubon.org) and Juneau Audubon (www.juneau-audubon-society.org) websites have suggestions for birding locations.

 

And I agree with mapleleaves -- consider pricing a rental car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Northern Aurora said:

Both the Anchorage Audubon Society (www.anchorageaudubon.org) and Juneau Audubon (www.juneau-audubon-society.org) websites have suggestions for birding locations.

 

And I agree with mapleleaves -- consider pricing a rental car.

 

I have printed off the bird checklists from both Audubon societies; they were a great resource!  We will definitely be visiting “Potter Marsh” 😍 (Anchorage).

bird.jpg

Edited by hvbaskey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like mapleleaves, we have also taken the Juneau bus round trip to Mendenhall on a wet, windy day.  I concur that the walk to the Visitors' Center, albeit easy, was anything but pleasant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Heather,

Thank you for starting this trip report! My wife and I are also on the Millie 5/10 Alaska cruise. We are flying through Toronto, departing on AC105 at 9am for Vancouver. We also booked AQ Guaranteed and were originally assigned 1133; however, were able to move to 9058. We need shade available on deck 9 so the aft facing cabin was not preferable to us. We just purchased to Surf Internet package and have started narrowing down the excursions we want to take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great start to this report.   Looking forward to meeting you on our cruise.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Gimpy McFarlan said:

Hi Heather,

Thank you for starting this trip report! My wife and I are also on the Millie 5/10 Alaska cruise. We are flying through Toronto, departing on AC105 at 9am for Vancouver. We also booked AQ Guaranteed and were originally assigned 1133; however, were able to move to 9058. We need shade available on deck 9 so the aft facing cabin was not preferable to us. We just purchased to Surf Internet package and have started narrowing down the excursions we want to take.


We are on the flight just before you!  AC 103 at 8 am 🙂   The price point on the AQ GTY was too good to pass over for this cruise.  We have stayed in Cabin 9038 on the Infinity (sister to Millennium) and did enjoy the cover that Deck 9 provided.  It's great that you were able to get starboard side, as the mainland will be in view throughout the cruise.

I was so happy to find out about the Surf internet package (via cruise critic chatter).  For those who don't use streaming services, it's a great option.

Best of luck narrowing down the excursions!  and looking forward to meeting you on the cruise.

Edited by hvbaskey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, deb18 said:

Great start to this report.   Looking forward to meeting you on our cruise.  

 

Looking forward to meeting you as well!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We have now arranged our two-day car rental in Anchorage!   Air Canada's loyalty plan (Aeroplan) offered a nice discount plus bonus air miles if you booked 2 consecutive days in May.  How convenient and timely 🙂  DONE!

$80 CAD [60 USD] for two days that includes ALI (third party liability insurance).  Pick up and drop off at ANC (Airport).

Location-Anchorage-Airport-Interior.jpg

Edited by hvbaskey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, hvbaskey said:


We are on the flight just before you!  AC 103 at 8 am 🙂   The price point on the AQ GTY was too good to pass over for this cruise.  We have stayed in Cabin 9038 on the Infinity (sister to Millennium) and did enjoy the cover that Deck 9 provided.  It's great that you were able to get starboard side, as the mainland will be in view throughout the cruise.

I was so happy to find out about the Surf internet package (via cruise critic chatter).  For those who don't use streaming services, it's a great option.

 

Oops, I swapped digits in the room number...  🤭  We are in 9085 going northbound and 9102 going southbound.  Not the optimal sides of the ship but I believe we will still have plenty of great views. According to the ships projectee course we will be traveling through channels and inlets between islands much of the time. Plenty of opportunity to capture some Alaskan sunsets! 🌄

 

Completely agree the AQ price was too good to pass up. The service and food in Blu was so amazing during our Asia cruise that we felt relatively small price increase over a veranda stateroom on a lower deck was a steal.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, Gimpy McFarlan said:

The service and food in Blu was so amazing during our Asia cruise that we felt relatively small price increase over a veranda stateroom on a lower deck was a steal.

 

Absolutely!  we both very much enjoy the smaller dining venue and as vegetarians, appreciate the options provided by BLU. 

In addition, the staff are so accommodating to our dietary lifestyle, they have always offered the MDR vegetarian menu, in addition to their own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, hvbaskey said:

 

Absolutely!  we both very much enjoy the smaller dining venue and as vegetarians, appreciate the options provided by BLU. 

In addition, the staff are so accommodating to our dietary lifestyle, they have always offered the MDR vegetarian menu, in addition to their own.

 

Similar situation for us too. We are pescatarian and my wife must be gluten free. We have found that Celebrity does a better than average job overall with specialty diets and Blu is way above average!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gimpy McFarlan said:

 

Similar situation for us too. We are pescatarian and my wife must be gluten free. We have found that Celebrity does a better than average job overall with specialty diets and Blu is way above average!

I’ll be in the mdr but am also gluten free. I have traveled both in aqua and mdr gluten free and they do a good job.  They have gf bread usually and I get it toasted. Join our roll call

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are in this cruise from the uk. 

Weve never been to Alaska before and looking forward to seeing Millie after the renovation. 

Mill look forward to following this too.

we are on deck 11 AQ cabins too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With three weeks to go, we have retrieved our luggage from their brief storage and have started the pre-packing of essentials.  

Check-in has been completed, XPRESS passes printed, luggage tags printed and ready to go.  Since the Millennium has undergone her revolution update, we are able to use the new Celebrity App.  Interesting little App and will be more interested in if it actually works as projected throughout our cruise (i.e., menus are accurate, digital keypass works, etc.)

Screen Shot 2019-04-18 at 9.07.30 PM.png

celebrityapp.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Just as I was quite settled and ready to embrace our AQ cabin - we have moved!  Although I wanted to be located on the starboard side, one thing kept me unsettled - the staircase from Deck 12, passing by Deck 11 (in close proximity to #1130) to the Oceanview Bar on Deck 10.  I’m sure the foot traffic wouldn’t be that heavy, but seeing that #1133 was available (aft-facing, corner cabin, port side) - we slid down the hallway and moved.  


Photo below (from Millennium Revolution thread) of a snapshot of the staircase that is beside #1130.  Arrow is pointing at passengers from the original staircase.  Above that is the more recent staircase (since the addition of the rooftop terrace).
 

Screen Shot 2019-04-19 at 9.57.14 AM.png

Edited by hvbaskey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...