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   Cruise Travel - Reader Reviews

Welcome to Your Favorites, where you have the opportunity to share your travel experiences with fellow Internet Travelers around the world.

Celebrity Cruise Line

MV Zenith

Your Rating:Four Stars
Reviewed by: Robert Scafidi
# previous cruises: 1
Date of Trip: December 17, 2005
Itinerary: Caribbean

This was our first cruise vacation, and it was a very nice introduction to the concept. We purposefully chose a smaller ship so it would be easier to get around and ensure more attentive service- it seemed the right call on both factors. This was a 5-night cruise with 2 sea days, which were actually more enjoyable than the ports. The only real complaint is that we would have liked to have spent an even longer time onboard, 5 nights just wasn't enough. All of us would certainly cruise again with Celebrity, and we agreed that this size of ship is ideal. We are already starting to plan another cruise for either next summer and/or the following winter.

Public Areas
Zenith is a 13-year old ship and has never really had a comprehensive refit, so consequently some areas may show signs of age. The soft fittings in the cabins, halls, stairs, and some public rooms looked about due for replacement. I agree with the other reviews on this site that the main buffet area on 11 Deck (Windsurf Cafe) is a bit cramped, but it is certainly tolerable. One area I wished I had used more was the Fleet Bar, as this really is a nice place to sit and spend some time. Most of the cruise was spent lounging on the Sun and Marina decks or relaxing by the grille outside the Windsurf.

Food and Service
Reports of Celebrity placing renewed emphasis on food and service are apparently correct. The food throughout the ship was of excellent quality and nicely presented. As might be expected, the dining room fare was leagues better than the buffets, and the staff was perfect everywhere. Our waiter (Lester from Guatemala) and his assistant (Oscar from Peru) could not have been friendlier or more attentive. The "sherbet parade" Celebrity has recently instituted on the at random times on outside decks may seem a bit corny at first, but it does go a long way toward enhancing the premium feel of the ship.

Our goal for the cruise was to take a four-star premium vacation for an affordable price, so our cabins were both insides on Europa Deck 5 aft. Not the quietest or most stable place on the ship, but comfortable and well-appointed and certainly met our needs. We were going for the ship, not the stateroom, and made a point of spending as little time in the cabin and as much time enjoying the ship as possible.

We attended all three stage shows, but skipped the comedian and illusionist they had on two other evenings. The shows were certainly Las Vegas-style and were mildly entertaining though not completely to my taste. The performers themselves were obviously talented and really did give their all. The pianist in the Rendez Vous Lounge and the keyboard/violin duo that played in the Caravelle Restaurant were fantastic.

The two ports of call were George Town, Grand Cayman and Key West. Both are beautiful little towns, if a bit congested. Time is probably better spent just walking around and taking in the sights rather than booking the organized activities (did one in the Caymans and felt it took up too much time). The most enjoyable days were the ones at sea, which were spent primarily on upper decks doing as little as possible: catching up on reading, having a drink, or just relaxing. The only two organized activities I attended were both on wine appreciation and given by the knowledgeable and engaging sommelier (Mike from India).

Who Goes
The passenger mix was quite varied. Most age groups were represented, from young couples with babies to elderly retirees and everyone in between. It took a few days for people to start loosening up, but by the end of the cruise, we had made a few friends. Most of those on board were American, but there was a significant number from Canada and Europe- mostly the UK, but there were also some Germans and French.

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