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Prima Donna of the High Seas- By Gustasp & Jeero Irani

Life swirled around us like the waves of the Andaman Sea on which our ship, Celebrity Millennium, glided like a white swan. We celebrated the good life aboard the ship whose vital statistics, style and grace would awe even the most jaded cruiser.

The 11-deck vessel with a capacity for around 2,158 passengers aboard had been Solsticized (in ship parlance) in 2012, and emerged with more modern Solstice Class designer features. Its already shapely silhouette was buffed, specialty restaurants added, AquaClass staterooms created for spa addicts and breezy verandas grafted to the chic Suites. And there were many more classy additions to the largest and most luxurious ship in the fleet…

For four nights we sailed in a bubble of contentment, adrift from a troubled world, feeling deliciously untethered from daily cares as the Millennium steamed out of Singapore. The island-city’s skyline glittered in farewell but aboard, the action had already begun… Guests were savouring palate-pleasing fare in some of the best restaurants at sea – the very contemporary Metropolitan restaurant, the breezy Oceanview Café, Blu for AquaClass guests, elegant Luminae for Suite guests… There was also the Olympic with its ocean-liner feel which features wood panelling from the RMS Olympic, sister ship of the ill-fated Titanic; Qsine, billed as the uniquely unordinary, where familiar fare is transformed with culinary sleights of hand… And there were bars (including an ice-topped Martini bar) and lounges where guests quaffed quality wines and spirits… happy in the knowledge that the next four days at sea would brim with magic and a strife-torn world would be held at bay

From the very first night, star-studded shows, with eye-popping costumes, props and choreography unfolded in the Celebrity Theatre and set the tone and pace of the cruise. The momentum was stepped up over the next few nights with an illusionist’s show, Broadway style musicals, and a spectacular performance by a Filipino singer.

Judging by all the dancing in the different venues of the ship each evening, the parties in the Grand Foyer with its sweeping staircase, the Celebrity Millennium wasn’t a playground for elderly retirees clutching hot bowls of soup on windy decks. Our fellow passengers were ebullient, 40 somethings, eyes-for-only-each-other honeymooners and even families. For cruising can satisfy the needs of multi generational guests providing fun and games for young adults as well as for the extended family.

For us, the warm wood-panelled Michael’s Club was a cosy getaway from the buzz of the ship. Comeevening, we would retreat there for a creative cocktail or a wine and in the day, for a heart-warming cappuccino. This was one of the perks of occupying a suite. Although spacious staterooms are a given on Celebrity ships, our suite resembled a luxury hotel room with a number of perks thrown in… Priority boarding and disembarkation, a verandah with views of the trackless ocean; en suite facilities included a bath tub, a roomy walk-in closet and fresh fruit and a bottle of chilled champagne on arrival. We also had our very own Jeeves called Benjamin who offered to unpack, make spa and dining reservations, and served evening tea, coffee and pastries in our suite (unasked) on the at-sea day and materialized at the press of a telephone button. But with a one to two crew-to-guest ratio, the Celebrity ensures that all guests are well looked after.

About Gustasp & Jeero Irani: Gustasp & Jeero Irani are renowned Indian travel writers. Their by-line is one of the most recognized in the travel world in India. The have contributed to over 100 publications and visited over 50 countries.Their other work includes:-Two guide books – Luxury Unlimited and
Adventure Unlimited – for South African Tourism in India

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