We had a wonderful table for two on the 2ndlevel of the dining room, right next to the railing overlooking the lower level and grand staircase, and with a great view out the back of the ship. Unfortunately this great location did not translate into great service, for dining room service on the Millennium was quite poor in our opinion (especially when compared to the Mercury). As we found out later, a great deal of the slow service was once again attributable to the ship's design. The restaurant is on decks 4 and 5, but the kitchen is on deck 3 with fast moving escalators connecting the decks. Because the kitchen was so far from the dining room, the waiters and busboys tried to make as few trips as necessary. This meant they would never make separate trips for one of their tables, but always treated their entire station as a whole. For example, our waiter had 1 table for 10, 1 table for 8, and our table for 2. Tommie and I rarely eat all 5 courses every nighttowards the end of the cruise we were down to 2but had to wait while all the other courses were served to all the other tables. One evening we both felt like just an appetizer and entree, but had to wait almost ¾ hour for the soup and salad courses to be served to the other two tables because the waiter would not bring our entrees until he was at the entree stage for all his tables. This has never happened to us before. We had a long talk with the Maitre d' after the 4thnight and things did improve a bit after that, but only to a limited degree.
There was another strange service problem in the dining room that we have never experienced before. Our waiter and busboy DID NOT work as a team because the busboy overlapped two different stations, and therefore worked with two different waiters (our busboy did not serve the other two tables that our waiter was responsible for, only us). Thus, when our waiter would serve something like our salads, our busboy would often be busy with his other waiter serving one of his large tables. In instances like that we had to wait 5-10 minutes before he was free just to come and offer the dressings for our salads (ditto pepper for our soup, etc.).
Lastly, we heard that there had been numerous accidents over the two months the ship has been in service on the fast moving escalators. Just try to imagine these poor guys, delicately balancing their huge heavy trays laden with 20 meals, looking down to catch the first step of the escalator and then adjusting as they suddenly start to move up or down. On the 3rdnight of the cruise, the second waiter our busboy worked with tripped and fell from the top of the escalators while carrying a tray full of soups. He was injured quite badly and was not seen again for the rest of the cruise. On the night of the accident, the Maitre d's did not even bother to replace him or help out himself, but made our poor busboy do both the waiter's job plus his own for the rest of the evening. Poor guy! But when Michel Roux and 3 others dined at a vacant table next to ours several nights later, he was served by no less than 2 Maitre d's, 2 waiters, and 2 wine stewards!
Although the entire Aqua Spa area is probably twice as large as on the Mercury, and just as attractive, we were very disappointed in many aspects of the facility. On the Mercury there was a small fee to use the wonderful Thalassotherapy pool (complimentary ½ hour use before any scheduled treatment) and it was well utilized but never crowded. On the Millennium, Celebrity eliminated the charge and consequently the pool always seemed to be very crowded, so much so that on a couple occasions there were too many people in the pool to be able to enjoy the different 'massage' stations within the pool. Conversely, Celebrity more than doubled the price for a majority of their spa treatments on the Millennium, making what had been a luxury item on the Mercury a unjustifiable extravagance on the Millennium. One specific item was a special couples treatment on the Mercury called Rasul which was $75 per couple. We were very much looking forward to doing this again on the Millennium, but discovered that it had been renamed the Etruscan Chamber and now cost $166 per couple.
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