At the end of the 1990's, everyone was talking about the same thing: the Millennium-bug. Not just a weird insect, but the thought that all computers could be crashing because they did not recognize the year '00. In all, this 'bug' was extinct very soon after the start of the new millennium. A lot of things have been named after the new millennium, like the giant wheel in London, the millennium monuments in Chicago and Putrajaya (Malaysia) and the new bridge over the river Tyne in Newcastle. And also at Celebrity Cruises, the first ship of a new class was fitted out under this name. It was the biggest ship untill then for the company, and three other sisters were about to follow. Also, they introduced the glass elevators at the side of the ships, just before Holland America Line followed with this on their new Vista-class. Another change to the ships in contradiction to the earlier Celebrity-ships was their different colouringsceme. They recieved darkblue hulls with wide, golden bands. A few years later this was altered and put back in line with the older ships of the company.
Millennium was built at Chantiers de L'atlantique at St.-Nazaire under yardnumber R31. This was planned, although the newbuilding department at Celebrity Cruises had very good connections with the Jos L. Meyer Wharf at Papenburg, Germany. The newbuilding department was not pleased by their new bosses at Royal Caribbean International because of this decision and they were definitely not pleased when RCI ordered some ships of the same design but slightly altered for their own fleet and had them built in Germany. These were to be their Vantage class. Their scepticism proved to be right when the ships built for Celebrity were fitted with Mermaid-pods that proved to be very troublesome and the RCI ships were fitted with Azipods and were troublefree in service.
The Millennium has accomodations for 2460 passengers and 999 crew. The ship is 294 meters long and 32,30 meters wide. She is driven by 2 pods and has a gross tonnage of 90.228. The ship can sail at 24 knots and floated out at the 7th of november 1999 and was supposed to be delivered to Celebrity Cruises at the 31st of may 2000, but she wasn't delivered before the 22nd of june so the first cruise for the 17th of june had to be cancelled. Her first cruise was thus on the first of july out of Amsterdam to the Baltic. Just after she left, she had to make an unplanned stopover at Warnemünde, because she started to devellop some problems in her pod-propulsion and had drifted powerless for aroud five hours. The stopover lasted for two days and the term Millennium-bug could soon be re-introduced by Celebrity Cruises because the problems were not over yet. On the second cruise of the new flagship, vibrations started to occur and the ship was sent to the American shipyard at Newport News in november to resolve this issue.
In januari of the next year, again the pod-system was failing and two cruises had to be cancelled. Throughout her carreer, untill this very day, these problems kept going on. And not just with her, but also the second ship of the class, Infinity, had the same issues that started three months after she was delivered and also two cruises had to be cancelled, but the problems kept coming back for the Infinity also, as well as the two following ships in the Millennium class, Summit and Constellation.
For the Millennium class of ships, Celebrity Cruises got their hands on several artefacts from the time of the oceanliners, and those were added to the ships during building. Because of this, the speciality grill-room aboard Millennium is decorated with wood-panels that originally came from the White Star liner Olympic. This sistership to Titanic (that is why the panels were also advertised to come from this ill-fated liner) was built in 1910 and sailed for White Star untill the merger with Cunard Line in july 1934. She was scrapped in 1935. In 1998, the panels were bought by Celebrity Cruises at an auction and built into their newest ship.
These ships were among the biggest cruiseships also seen in Europe and I think this class of ships looks more appealing then the Galaxy-class of the mid nineties. In contradition to the ships of their parent company Royal Caribbean, that are mostly built with curved roundings and smooth lines, these ships of Celebrity, that became a part of Royal Caribbean in 1997, are very boxy and square.
Millennium was drydocked in Brest on the 3rd of april 2007 and there she recieved two new engines. She floated out again on the 20th of april and I photographed her four days later. Constellation was also re-engined in the first weeks of may this year, and with this conversion she also recieved her new name Celebrity Constellation. Also the other ships of the Millennium-class were renamed in this manner for the purpose of easier recognition of the brand.
In november of 2014, Celebrity Millennium was the center of a dispute between Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the Indonesian government, and Celebrity Cruises reacted by cancelling stops at Bali and Komodo, replacing them by calls at Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok. Also, the ship had a longer stay at Phuket. According to Celebrity Cruises, the dispute was 'of such a nature, that we believe it puts its legal and ethical standards at serious risk', whatever may have happened.