On a more positive note the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle (Connections Party) is today at 11:30 am. There are also a few lectures to attend.
The weather looks great today! It is forecast to be 82F with moderate seas. There was an announcement made that we are sailing at 21 knots which is rather fast to make up the lost time due to the delay leaving Singapore. We have been assured that the Captain says we will arrive on time in the port of Laem Chabang for Bangkok.
|Sunrise over the Gulf of Thailand|
Number of passengers: 2136
Length: 965 feet
Beam: 105 feet
Maximum cruising speed: 24 knots
Captain: Zisis Taramas. He started his career with Chandris cruises (later merged with Celebrity) as a deck cadet in 1985. He became Master of the Millennium in 2005. He returned from vacation in November when he rejoined the ship in Lahaina, Hawaii.
Hotel Director: Darren Tiller. He is from the UK and previously worked at various Caribbean resorts. Apparently he overseas the entire hotel operation on the Millennium. According to Celebrity this includes everything you see and experience onboard.
Cruise Director: Steve Gayda. He is Canadian and been in the cruise industry for 13 years.
Executive Chef: Michael Fernandes. He was born in Mumbai and has worked at hotels in India and Dubai. He joined Celebrity in 1998.
Concierge: Jennifer. Her bio was not listed on the sheet with the other officers. However, she is a superstar and very personable. Celebrity Millennium is very lucky to have her!
This morning we decided to try breakfast in Blu. We only ate breakfast there a few times when sailing on the Solstice. When we arrived the restaurant was about half full.
I ordered the bagel with smoked salmon and a smoothie. My mother ordered toast and fruit.
Following breakfast we went to Guest Relations to ask about the return of our passports for Bangkok tomorrow and about the Vietnam visa process. We waited in line for about 5 minutes and then asked one of the three guest relations staff about getting the Vietnam Visa. We were handed a form to complete for a Vietnam Landing Card. This was a bit of a surprise since we had nothing in our room describing this. If we did not ask about it I fear that we would not of had the visa processed. The form stated that we would need a photo if we were staying overnight in Vietnam and the visa would cost $50.00. I unfortunately I forgot the extra photos I had at home. We were told that the ship's photographers could take our photos but that they were going to try to use the photos from the Seaspass cards. They just didn't know if the Vietnam authorities would accept them. For those not staying off the ship overnight they could use the ship visa and no photo was required and the visa would cost $30.00.
This was all very disconcerting that there was so much conflicting and ambiguous information. To top it off the first person at Guest Relations told us that we would collect our passports at the Guest Relations desk tomorrow. However, we overheard someone else say they would be picked up at the Conference Center. We decided to speak with Jennifer the Concierge to sort all of this out. Thank goodness Jennifer is very competent. She told us that it might be better for us to get the photos done on the ship for the visa. She also confirmed that we would be picking up the passports at the Conference Center shortly after arriving in Laem Chabang tomorrow.
We went over to the photo area to speak with the photographers. We asked the one from South Africa about taking our photos for the visa. He was very nice but when he checked with his colleague, she stated that it would not be possible because they were preparing for formal night and did not want to switch to a light background. I said "so the fact that you won't take our photos means we cannot get a Vietnam visa?"
She didn't seem to really care but could tell we were upset. It was now 10:00 am and she said to check back in a few hours to see whether they could do it or not. We were not happy but hopeful that this could get sorted out.
Anna and the King
We decided to go to the lecture about Anna and the King. It was held in the Celebrity Theater. We sat up on top on Deck 5. We joined the talk about 10 minutes late. It seemed we had not missed much yet as he still was talking about the importance of history and hadn't even mentioned Thailand yet!
|Lecture Anna and the King|
Cruise Critic Meeting
We left the lecture feeling disappointed and not knowing much more than when we arrived. It was now time to go to the Cruise Critic meeting which was being held in the Cosmos Lounge on Deck 11 forward. It took us sometime to figure out how to get there. We arrived before the meeting started. In the past we have missed the meeting all together as we either were not notified of the meeting time or forgot about it.
|Cruise Critic members in the Cosmos Lounge|
|Captain Taramas welcomes us to the Cruise Critic Party|
After the meeting we stayed behind to speak with the Captain. Someone who looked a lot like Michael Steel, the former head of the Republican National Committee was speaking with him. He talked about dumping water when they were leaving Cairns, Australia and also about our quick escape from the freighter in Singapore. The Captain said because we are cruising so fast it will cost $100K more for the fuel. He joked that he would send me the bill!
We enjoyed our chat with the Captain and then it was time for lunch. It was actually a little past lunch so we settled for pizza.
|Cookie with topping for dessert|
The pizza was a little "doughy" but otherwise tasty. After lunch we walked by the pool area and then went back to our room to sit on the balcony.
Aquaclass on Millennium
We are booked in Aquaclass (A1) in stateroom 1141 which is located aft overlooking the wake. I prefer aft rooms as they are very quite and allow a great vantage point to view scenery on both sides of the ship. The only downside is that it may get hot back here but we will find out. The aft Aquaclass balconies are a nice size. Ours is slightly angled but you still can see toward the left without difficulty.
|Balcony AQ 1141|
|View below of Deck 10 terrace area|
I read in the room and made some notes for the blog. Mother slept for about an hour. Last night at dinner the Sommolier had us sign up for one of the wine events taking place on the ship. It is called "Tour Around The World". For $25 per person you get to sample various wines. Around 2:00 pm we went to Cellarmasters to try the wine.
|Wine Tour. Perhaps I was feeling tipsy and couldn't focus?|
It was now time to check back with the photographers about the photos. We were in luck that they agreed to take them. Perhaps having wine just before our photo shoot was not such a good idea. We were not the only ones having this done for the visa. We were told we could pick them up in a few hours. The cost of the photos was $12.95 each.
We may have become tired from the wine so we returned to our room to relax until it was time to get ready for dinner. Tonight we will dine in the Olympic specialty restaurant. I used the wifi in the room for a little while. It was a little slower than when I logged on this morning but still worked.
I reviewed some of the Captains Club paperwork that was left for us in the room when we boarded yesterday. With the Captain's Club loyalty program I am Select and my mother is Elite. However, we both have the same exact number of points (9) having always sailed together on Celebrity. Somehow my mother got designated as Elite which may be a mistake. Why Celebrity thinks she has 10 points instead of nine is a mystery. She gets 90 free Internet minutes, a free laundry bag service, and priority tendering among other items. Elites can have breakfast in Olympic and an evening cocktail in Michael's Club. I will become Elite during this sailing.
Dinner in Olympic
It was hard to believe but it was shortly time for dinner. Tonight is formal night so after showering and getting dressed up we went down to Deck 3 where the Olympic dining room is located. The cost per person is $40 which seems expensive but the ambiance and food are worth it. We are dining a little early at 6:00 pm.
The Olympic menu is similar to the other specialty dining rooms on Celebrity ships. The food is continental with a French slant.
For our main courses I had the Dover Sole Veronique and my mother had the Potato laced French Turbot.
They prepared the sole tableside.
|Preparing my fish|
The final product:
|Dover Sole Veronique|
|Turbot with caramelized orange and bok choy|
|Our handsome waiter at work|
I decided to have the cheese course as I had enjoyed it very much on Oceanliners on Constellation way back in 2004 & 2006. The selection of cheeses seems to have been paired down. They also don't serve it with as much flourish. No large grapes, chutney, honey or nuts. I did get a little dried apricot.
|Sad looking cheese course|
We then went to the theater for the Captain's Welcome and to see tonight's show which is called Simply Ballroom.
The welcome was not that long and the Captain who seems a bit shy in front of so many people. He made some nice remarks. He also introduced his staff.
They did several dances but the best was the Rhumba.