This year the Celebrity Millennium went into a 35-day dry dock in Singapore and emerged in February with a sparkling new renovation.
We had just taken the Millennium from Vancouver to Tokyo a few months before the renovation. The two-week transpacific voyage was one of the best travel experiences of our lives, so we knew we had to book her again to see the revitalization.
We stayed in Asia for a few months while she was under-going her facelift and booked tickets back to Vancouver from Tokyo. Not only was Millie the BEST way to get to Asia and back, but getting to compare the ‘before and after’ of her refurbishment was extremely fascinating.
Over the next four years, Celebrity has 8 ships that are taking part in their $500 million revitalization program. It’s been said that the Millennium renovation used up about $60 million of the total refurbishment budget, and it shows!
This blog will go over all of the fantastic additions, changes and improvements that have been made to the Celebrity Millennium during her renovation.
My personal opinion about the Millennium Renovation:
Spoiler alert- I am in LOVE with the updates.
It was great being able to compare the renos almost side-by-side with sailing on the old Millie just a few months prior to experiencing the revitalization. Even though I am a grandma at heart, I am drawn to more modern décor than the old ‘wood panel’ stuff the ship was full of before.
I feel that the new chic designs of the rooms make Celebrity ships attractive to a younger generation who is looking for more unique travel experiences. Millennials and Gen Y’s are becoming more established and looking for luxurious ways to spend their hard-earned money. With all of the changes in technology and appearances, Celebrity is setting itself up to accommodate the desires of a younger crowd that will help keep the brand afloat for decades to come.
I am in my 30’s with no kids and Celebrity is the brand that best matches my wants and needs. Some of the ships have rounded the corner into ‘dated’ territory, so getting to see them move into ‘cool’ status is refreshing and makes me feel more comfortable being loyal to the brand.
The renovation that made the biggest impression on me was that of the staterooms. Both the stateroom bedroom and the bathroom are jaw-dropping. There is no way that anyone preferred the old color scheme or layout, so I think this was a home-run for Celebrity.
Before and After – Renovations on the Celebrity Millennium
Completely Renovated Staterooms
All staterooms from Inside to Suite class have been updated top to bottom, and not just a simple color scheme change. Every inch of the rooms were renovated to a very modern look and feel. The result was a very chic vibe that looked more like a ritzy boutique hotel room than a cruise ship.
• The color scheme is very modern and calming. I loved the dark greys, light wood tones and muted pastels. It looked exactly like it jumped out of the pages of high-end design magazine.
• The lighted mirror. They installed a ring-lit mirror above the desk and it is amazing for doing makeup! It also gave some ambience to the rest of the room when simply used as feature lighting.
• Interactive TV with free movies. The TV system is updated with a better camera view of the front deck, an enhanced system to check on your bills, and the addition of some free movies. We were able to watch ‘A Simple Favor’ ‘Skyscraper’ and ‘A Star is Born’ for free. They of course had a bigger library of films you could rent as well.
• So much storage! The closets were big, as was the chest of drawers, and especially the glass front cabinets. Add in that the bedside tables had drawers and shelves, as did the desk, and there is NO chance we’d run out of storage. They even made the bed slightly higher to accommodate any size/shape of luggage to be easily stowed underneath.
• USB ports. A very smart addition to the staterooms were the USB ports at the desk. It made it seem like a super-modern hotel room instead of a 20 year old ship.
• The Bed. The new eXhale cashmere bed and pillows were so comfortable it was almost impossible to get up in the morning.
• Removal of the small table. Many people (including myself) did not like the removal of the small table in-front of the sofa. When room service delivered breakfast, only one person at a time could sit at the desk to eat, as there was no other surface to place a meal on.
• Plug on only one side of bed. The balcony side of the bed in Veranda/Concierge/Aqua class was the winning side with a table complete with plugin. The other side of the bed still had a table, but was missing any plug-ins. This meant one person would have to charge their phone on the desk and not beside their bed.
• No HDMI plug-in for the TV. One thing we love to do is plug in our laptops into the TV using the HDMI port. This way we can stream Netflix at night, or even hook our computer up in order to work off a bigger screen. Not a huge deal, but I figured with new interactive TV’s they would have made it possible to access the HDMI port.
Before and After of the Veranda/Concierge/Aqua Stateroom
on the Millennium
Renovated Stateroom Bathrooms
The bathrooms were one of the biggest changes on the ship!
• Night Light. They added a bit of a night light effect on the floor under the sink so that you don’t have to turn on the main light if you use the washroom in the middle of the night. The only downside of this was it did shine through the gap in the bottom of the bathroom door, making the cabin a little brighter than many like.
• Glass Enclosed Shower. If you sailed on the Millennium prior to Feb 2019, you likely had a white shower curtain instead of the new glass door on your shower. The glass makes the bathroom look so much bigger and gives the shower more of a spa feel.
• Full-Size Amenities. Shampoo, lotions and soaps now come in large re-fillable bottles rather than single use plastics. This is not only better for the environment, but gives a more luxurious feel to the bathrooms.
Before and After of the Bathroom on the Millennium
Watch a quick video tour of the Aqua Class stateroom (same look at Veranda Class and Concierge Class as well)
30 Added Staterooms
You would think it would be difficult to add 30 new staterooms to a 20 year old ship, but somehow they found the space to do it! Here is the breakdown of the new stateroom additions:
Inside – 10
Oceanview – 7
Aqua Class – 13
Since they removed the library, the acupuncture centre and put the spa, gym and salon into a new configuration, it left additional space for these extra staterooms.
Main Dining Room
One of the most dramatic refurbishments on the ship is found in the main dining room. Plus, it’s one renovation that every single cruiser agrees on…it’s simply gorgeous!
Every square inch of the entire grand space was updated, from the carpet to the ceiling. Celebrity traded in the wood paneling, red carpets and brass details for cool teal chairs, grey and pastel details and bright white pillars.
Oceanview Cafe (Buffet)
The buffet received some very clever renovations that gave some extra space and organization to the room. They added in high tables with stools, making it easier for big parties to sit together, or for others to share without invading personal space. The higher chairs also helps to stagger the heights of tables so everyone gets a good view out of the window.
The super busy, dark carpet has been replaced with one that doesn’t make one as dizzy, as well as a lighter color scheme around the food to brighten up the place. They’ve also added a digital screen on the wall showing the layout of the buffet and where the different types of food can be found.
I found the renovated buffet easier to navigate and more comfortable to eat in.
The Retreat (Michaels Club)
If you book Suite Class on the Millennium, you’ll be able to enjoy the sparkling new ‘Retreat Lounge’. This exclusive area used to be called Michaels Club and was decorated in a classic ‘cigar room’ type of style. Now it couldn’t be further from it’s old-school roots.
The is where die-hard Celebrity cruisers are completely divided, they either love it or they hate it. Many older cruisers want the wood paneling back, while some prefer the sleeker look.
I have to be honest with my opinion on this one. On the way over to Tokyo in September, when it was still Michael’s Club, I spent at least 2 hours a day in the lounge. I loved the warm feel, the quiet environment, dim lighting, and the plush comfort. But yes, it was dated. It looked like the kind of sitting room someone’s wealthy grandpa would have at home that hadn’t been updated in 15 years. Even though I loved Michaels Club (even despite its dated look) when I heard it was going to be transformed, I was VERY excited to experience the new version.
One of the first things I did when coming aboard the revitalized ship was run to The Retreat to look at the changes.
My first impression: I thought it was fresh, chic, very modern and rang very true to the year 2019.
Upon a closer look: I’m sorry Celebrity, but I was… surprised.
On one hand, I love the stylish updates and posh new facelift. But on the other hand, I strongly dislike the lack of comfort found in the space. The furniture looks nice to the eye, but is really awful to sit in. The installed sofas have zero cushion, plus a back so upright, you feel like you’re sitting in a jump-seat on an airplane. The chairs are equally as uncomfortable, with some being so miniature, they are better suited to hold a woman’s purse instead of a persons behind. The lighting is bright, and when mixed with the uncomfortable furniture and new ‘cold’ gray colours, it has a very stark and bare feel. Unlike my journey to Asia, I only spent about 15 minutes a day in The Retreat, as it was not the most comfortable place to hang out.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful space and much more suited for the times, but there are some small changes they should make to keep it enjoyable. If they simply changed out some of the furniture to be deeper, bigger and plusher, it would make an enormous difference. In addition, some frosted-glass on the front doors and perhaps some fabric or texture on bare walls would really bring some warmth back.
All in all, the new design of The Retreat seemed to be forged on look alone and not comfort, which is something I suspect they will adjust.
Before and After of Michaels Club to The Retreat on the Millennium
Michaels Club (Sept 2018)
The Retreat (May 2019)
The Retreat Sundeck
The Retreat doesn't just end inside at the lounge. The Retreat Sundeck is a private outdoor area that was added to the front of the ship exclusively for suite guests. Complete with cabanas, a warm jacuzzi, lounge chairs and even private bar, the sundeck is a luxurious area with one of the best views in the house.
This however becomes its own double-edge sword. Many long-term Millennium cruisers were upset that the front of the ship can no longer be accessed unless they were to book in suite class.
In my opinion, Rendezvous is one of the most comfortable places on the ship. With any renovation, especially the ones that go to a modern color scheme, many people complain rooms become ‘cold’ and lose their cozy vibe. Rendezvous is an example of an area on the ship that they were able to update to modern standards, but were still able to keep it comfortable, warm and cozy. The chairs, sofas and loungers all have high backs, comfy cushions and lots of throw pillows.
RFID & Bluetooth Door Locks
The old magnetic swipe cards have been traded in for an easy RFID ‘tap’ card to open the stateroom door. We could have also used the new Celebrity App, but completely forgot this was a new feature and didn’t remember to test it out.
The casino used to be decorated in the typical red and brass style that you would expect to see in a traditional gambling setting. The revitalization gave it a facelift to a more modern and cool look. They removed all brass and replaced it with chrome and switched out the dark chairs for light grey ones. The red carpets were replaced with a royal blue, changing the entire look and feel of the area. They also added a sit up bar to make it a little more social.
I think the gym on Millennium is particularly impressive. They have made sure to incorporate a mix of treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, spin bikes, free weights, stair climbers, cross training machines, and areas for doing stretches, classes and yoga.
Many machines let you workout with an amazing view of the water and whatever else might surround the ship.
The renovations to the gym mainly included removing the carpet, adding more white and bright details, and installing a more neutral toned wood floor.
The theatre kept the same layout and seating arrangements but changed color scheme and upholstery. I am so happy they kept the ‘bench/sofa’ type seating and didn’t go to an individual fold-down stadium seating I have seen on cruises. It kept the theatre a much more comfortable and classy place to watch entertainment or listen to lectures. I also loved that they kept the small glass tables for drinks with the built in lights. I love the ambience it gives the theatre!
Upgraded Onboard Internet
YES! The Xcelerate Wi-Fi system had a major upgrade during the renovation and it was absolutely flawless during our 14-day voyage. They added hundreds of new routers, access points and updated technology that made it seem like a connection you would expect on land.
When we took the ‘old’ Millie from Vancouver to Tokyo in September 2018 the Wi-Fi worked, but was painfully slow at times, and other times seemed to be ‘blocked’ by our cabin door. (There were times we had to open our cabin door and sit on the floor in the hallway to get a social media post up.)
However, this time around, it was 100% perfect! No weak areas, no slowdowns, and no blackouts! It worked perfectly for the entire 2-week journey and I could not be more impressed with it. We were able to stream Netflix, upload videos to Instagram stories and do everything in-between.
Spa & Persian Gardens
The spa area was completely remodeled, including the layout, set-up and flow into the gym. Even the salon was changed, with a bigger focus on hair-styling with the new blow-dry bar and manicure/pedicure treatments.
There have been enhancements to the spa's Persian Garden thermal suite, including new spaces such as a Turkish bath, infrared sauna and salt therapy room.
I can’t say for sure if each shop itself was renovated, but certainly the entire shop area was redone. In the same fashion as many other old areas on the ship, the shop hallways were covered in wood paneling and red carpets. The wood was stripped down and replaced with white panels, the red carpet switched out for blue, and light trendy furniture was placed in the center.
Pool Sun Loungers
At the outdoor pool, the new sun chairs are a light grey and now have small arm rests. The old navy ones they replaced had no arm rests at all.
Hallways and Staircases
Almost every hallway and staircase on the entire ship was replaced.
What Was Removed From the Millennium?
• The Library. Removal of the library left no quiet area to enjoy a book. Guests usually found a seat in Rendevouz, Café Bacio, or Cosmos, but that did not come without its fair share of noise and distractions. The lovely 2 level library was replaced by 10 additional Inside Staterooms.
• The Acupuncture Area. I am guessing this wasn’t a very popular place on the cruise, as they removed it and did not make a new location for it. Instead, they blended it into the offers at the spa, which makes much more sense.
• The iLounge Computer Room. The old Millennium had an entire room with around 15-20 iMacs that could be used (for free) in conjunction with a purchased internet pass. With the rise of people using their own mobile devices and tablets, they decided to close this room and move a few of the computers to the 3rd level.
• Entry to Tuscan Grille. This was a surprise! In order to fit in a few extra Oceanview Staterooms, the grand entry into Tuscan Grille restaurant was sealed off. In order to get to the new (and much less grand) entry we either had to take the aft elevator to 3, or find our way through staterooms and conference rooms to the rear of the ship.
During our September 2018 pre-renovation sailing, I was able to take some amazing photos at the old entry of Tuscan Grille.
What Stayed The Same on the Millennium:
Some of the areas on the Millennium were not revolutionized for a few reasons. Some had been updated recently (like the suite dining restaurant Luminee), while other areas really didn’t need a touch up yet. A few small furniture or upholstery changes may have happened, but here are the areas that remained the same:
The Grand Staircase
Café Al Bacio
Sushi on 5
The Solarium (Indoor Pool)
What Celebrity ships are being revolutionized?
Nine ships in total are being refurbished. The Millennium and the Summit were the first two ships to be renovated, with 7 more following in their footsteps. The next Celebrity ships that will be revolutionized are:
Equinox – June 1st 2019
Silhouette – Jan 31st 2020
Constellation – May 24th 2020
Infinity – Nov 15th 2020
Eclipse – Nov 24th 2020
Solstice – Oct 29th 2021
Reflection – Feb 3rd 2023
I loved being able to experience the Millennium before and after the renovations.The staterooms in particular blew me away! They're absolutely flawless.
At the end of the day, I think the updates look amazing and there is still time for them to address a few of the issues where design forgot about function.
If you want to take the same transpacific cruise from Vancouver to Tokyo that we did, it leaves September 6th 2019. It's a 15 day voyage stopping in Sitka, Otaru, and Hakodate before stopping in Tokyo. The price is starting at $750, which is a STEAL of a deal for such a long cruise!!