January 30, 2023

I have sailed the Celebrity Millennium for eight days.

The writer and her family are pretending "icy straight point" Sign in Alaska

We visited ports like Icy Straight Point and Juneau.

Elizabeth Aquino

My family of six took a cruise to Alaska in Millennium Celebritywhich took us to places like Ketchikan, Issey Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, and Hubbard Glacier.

Although I’ve been on five cruises with my family, this was the first since the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and there were a few things I wasn’t expecting about the overall experience.

Although it was summer, it was still cold and at times too foggy to see anything.

Pool deck photo on a cruise with Alaska scenery in the background

Passengers are still hanging out on the pool deck, often in blankets.

Elizabeth Aquino

When most people book a summer cruise, they imagine days relaxing by the pool, drinking frozen margaritas, and donning shorts.

All the ports we visited in Alaska were very warm, but the days at sea were very cold. It is often very windy to enjoy any of the outdoor activities, such as movies in the outdoor cinema or games by the pool deck.

We were also looking forward to cruising through Alaska’s scenic Inland Trail, but it was too foggy to see anything.

There were blanket stations all over the pool deck – I grabbed some to stay warm on my bedroom porch too – and on our very cold ride to Hubbard Glacier, the crew distributed hot chocolate to everyone outside.

I thought there would be more food options available throughout the day.

Two pieces of cake on a white plate by Cruz

There were plenty of options for dinner though.

Elizabeth Aquino

Although there was plenty of specialty food for dinner and a huge buffet on the pool deck, we would sometimes return tired and hungry from our travels and realize there was no unique place to eat until the appointed meal time.

The buffet is closed between lunch and dinner, except for the pizza bar. Even a burger station on the pool deck was not available.

I’m glad I packed the sleeping eye masks.

A person wrapped in a blanket stares at the sunrise in Alaska on a cruise

The sun will rise as early as 3 a.m. in Alaska.

Elizabeth Aquino

In Alaska, the sun rose as early as 3 a.m. and set late until 10 p.m.

Since the sun was out quite late, I didn’t feel tired, but bringing an eye mask helped me maintain a regular sleep schedule.

I would definitely recommend one packing, especially if you’re a light sleeper like myself.

Although the ship provided hand sanitizers and masks, I didn’t see many guests using them.

Two cruisers take a picture together in the port of Alaska

Celebrities gave the passengers masks.

Elizabeth Aquino

As this was my first cruise since the pandemic, I was curious about what health protocols, if any, would be put in place. for example, Guests need to test negative for COVID-19 on board.

I didn’t notice any social distancing measures on board, but I did see staff constantly wiping buttons, tables, and other frequently touched surfaces. In addition, there was hand sanitizer near the dining areas.

I also appreciate that they gave guests reusable celebrity-brand masks, but I’ve rarely seen anyone wear them. Every employee I saw was masked.

The setup and safety briefing process was surprisingly easy.

Family cruising at lunch on board

After the safety briefing, we attended a concierge class lunch in the main dining room.

Elizabeth Aquino

Unlike many other cruise lines I’ve sailed with, Celebrity only required us to watch a video and check in at the pool station as part of our mandatory safety briefing.

We checked in there with the staff as soon as we boarded the ship and were then free to roam and go to our luxurious halls, making this the fastest briefing I’ve ever experienced.

As our hall was part of the concierge class, we also enjoyed special lunch In the main dining room. Overall, it was by far the easiest climb I’ve had.

We used our phones more than I expected.

Screenshot of the Celebrity Cruise app that says "Stay connected during the cruise"

My family used Celebrity to keep in touch on the plane.

Elizabeth Aquino

Travelers can book dinner reservations, check their daily itinerary, and even see dinner menus in advance through the Celebrity app.

The general cruise fare included a basic Wi-Fi package, which pretty much only works with the app.

We used the messaging feature to stay in touch, set up a group chat to let each other know where on the boat to meet and send reminders about dinner reservations or cruise times.

It was important to keep my phone charged to easily stay in touch with my family and know what was happening around the ship.

We drank a lot of coffee.

Teapot with a cup of hot water and coffee on the table on the cruise

Coffee was included in my beverage package.

Elizabeth Aquino

Celebrities offer passengers a basic drink package as part of the original fare.

My family stuck with Classic Beverage Package, which covered any drink up to $9. If we wanted to buy drinks that were not part of our fare, like an excellent cocktail, we just had to pay the difference.

I don’t drink a lot of alcohol, but fortunately on the ship there was a cafe covered with my bottle. Access to unlimited iced lattes and special hot teas was a highlight.

People were dressed casually in the main dining room.

Two women sitting in the main dining room of an Alaska cruise

Even the official night was more informal than most ships.

Elizabeth Aquino

Although there were signs of not wearing slippers or shorts in the dining room, that certainly didn’t stop anyone.

I noticed that a lot of guests don’t adhere to the dress code during dinner but they are still allowed into the dining room.

In addition, solemn nights called for “evening elegance” that Celebrity describes As a “modern style of dress”, cocktail dresses and designer jeans are listed as examples.

Some of the passengers were wearing dresses and heels, but I was able to choose sandals and dresses, which were more comfortable.

I could order any meal to my deluxe room with room service, even food from the main dining room.

View of Alaska sunset from the cruise platform

I didn’t have to go to the deck buffet or the dining room to eat.

Elizabeth Aquino

One night, I started feeling bloated from the amount of food we were eating and skipped eating in the main room.

My parents informed me that the waiter asked if I would like any food sent to me.

I could have ordered anything from the main dining room – even a plate of beef Wellington – and had it delivered to my lavish room.

By day six, we started running out of things to do.

A person in a white pullover is playing a word game on a cruise

We would sometimes play games on the plane.

Elizabeth Aquino

Since this was a trip to Alaska and it was usually too cold to lie on the pool deck or swim, we were surprised by the lack of activities on board – especially during sea days.

We’ve attended our fair share of trivia sessions, as well as silent disco nights, but would have enjoyed more options like bingo or mini golf.

Le Petit Chef was a great specialty dining experience that I felt was worth the price.

A plate of food on a colorful table in la petit chef

Le Petit Chef is an immersive 3D food show.

Elizabeth Aquino

Normally, my parents stick to having dinner in the main dining room rather than in specialty restaurants, but when we found out If my home is a chef – An immersive 3D food show featuring “The World’s Youngest Chef” – Presented on board, we booked the reservation right away.

The dining experience, which costs around $55 per person, features a cartoon chef displayed on the table and plates.

Surprisingly, the food was so delicious, especially after watching the little animated chef cooking it in front of us.

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