I don’t know how they do it. When I walk up to the entrance of Metropolitan restaurant on the Celebrity Millennium, the host in charge of seating knows that I would like to sit at a window seat.
When I sit down, waiter Sugianto knows I am going to order a ginger ale and a big glass of ice water. He even knows my name, for goodness sake, and he remembers where I live.
That info came about on the first night of our cruise when Sugianto told me he was from Indonesia, then asked where I live. When I said “Bloomington, Indiana,” his eyes lighted up and he almost shouted, “Basketball!”
Basketball, indeed, in my Hoosier hometown. How in the world did this man know that? He just laughed and said he is a sports fan.
With 1,153 passengers on my seven-night Alaska cruise, I really don’t know how crew members can remember our names and other info. My stateroom attendant greets me by name every time he sees me in the hallway.
As a solo traveler, it is not always easy to get a prime restaurant window seat on a cruise ship. Why waste such a special seat for one passenger when two can sit there? But that’s what I always get on this cruise because the restaurant host remembers that I asked for it on my first dinner night and thanked him when I was escorted there.
Wealth of Dining Choices
Anyway, this story is supposed to deal with the ship’s cuisine and dining options. And there certainly are plenty on the Celebrity Millennium. The ship has an amazing nine restaurants/food bars of which four are specialty restaurants.
The main dining spots which don’t have an extra charge are the Oceanview Café buffet and the Metropolitan restaurant. Both are huge. Just out of curiosity, I counted the serving stations at the Oceanview Café’s dinner buffet – an amazing 14 stations offering everything from salads, breads, vegetarian specialties and pasta to steak and Mexican and Indonesian selections.
Since the pandemic, the stations are no longer self-serve. Passengers choose what they want and the kitchen staff serves it. Fresh plates are needed at every station. The drink station offers complimentary ice water, coffee, tea, lemonade, fruit punch, hot chocolate and an orange passion fruit guava cocktail.
Soft drinks are in a special buffet section. A can of Coke costs $3 plus a 60-cent gratuity unless you buy a soft drink package which starts at about $9 a day plus gratuities and must be purchased for every day of the cruise. Recyclable cans of drinking water in the soft drink package have replaced plastic bottles as part of Celebrity’s goal to have a plastic-free ocean.
For stronger drinks, the Classic Package includes beer, spirits, cocktails, liqueurs, frozen drinks and wine for about $59 per day plus gratuities. The Premium Package offers even more and starts at $69 per day. Again, these packages must be bought for the whole cruise. I stuck with buying two soft drinks a day.
Be sure to check out the entire buffet before making choices. I was waiting for a salad when another passenger spied my plate of seafood. She said she had no idea that was available and had already filled her plate with other food.
Selecting a Dining Time
Passengers can specify whether they prefer to dine early, late or anytime in the Metropolitan restaurant. That way, diners have a reservation for a certain time. I always pick anytime because I never know if I might want to stay ashore longer, finish writing a story in my cabin or photograph the passing scenery. If possible, I like to dine early because that is my habit at home, plus early dining – which usually starts at 5:30 – often seems to be the least crowded on a cruise.
Oceanview Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. Metropolitan serves breakfast, lunch (unless the ship is in port) and dinner. The Mast Grill by the Deck 10 pool offers burgers and other fast foods. The Spa Café near the Solarium pool features tasty health cuisine. Room service also is available.
For specialty restaurants that have an extra charge, Celebrity Millennium has Tuscan Grille which features Italian food with a contemporary twist; Sushi on Five with traditional Japanese fare; and Le Petit Chef, a one-of-a-kind 3D table animation art form. At Le Petit Chef, four mini-chefs from Italy, Spain, France and Japan whimsically whip up delicious specialty dishes, creating theater right on a diner’s plate. I had dined at Tuscan Grille and Le Petit Chef on another Celebrity cruise so didn’t pay the extra charge on the Millennium.
The Luminae restaurant is only for guests of The Retreat and Blu is reserved for Aqua Class passengers. Between the Metropolitan and Oceanview Café, however, I have been extremely well fed.
Oceanview Café has a huge smorgasbord of choices. The Metropolitan menu offers a variety of appetizers, entrees and desserts. For example, some of the appetizers on tonight’s menu were sesame crusted tuna carpaccio, scallop crudo, Barolo braised beef ragout and Waldorf chicken salad.
Appetizers that are offered every night are chilled shrimp cocktail, French onion soup and escargots a la bourguignonne. Guess those are so popular that passengers would like to have a chance to enjoy them more than one night on a cruise.
Entrees on tonight’s menu included roasted trout, Mediterranean seafood orzo, lemon-pepper roasted chicken, pan seared aged sirloin steak and roasted veal chop. Entrees always on the menu are broiled salmon, grilled chicken breast and grilled New York sirloin steak.
Dessert choices tonight were chocolate cherry trifle, banana-blueberry crumble, New York cheesecake, crème brulee, chocolate cake, cheese and fruit plate or ice cream. The menu also has a listing for what the chef recommends each meal.
Before he brings the dessert menu, waiter Sugianto always asks if I would like another appetizer or entrée. My goodness, no. But I always have room for dessert.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch
Cover photo: My favorite table in the Metropolitan restaurant
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