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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: Bob Pennington
# previous cruises: 10+
Date of Trip: October 27, 2001
Itinerary: Caribbean

The Zenith is a smaller yet comfortable ship that's well maintained. She doesn't have balconies or some of the "toys" that todays mega ship have, but she has charm, a well appointed staff, and is quality oriented. Although not what many new cruisers may like, the ship would certainly appeal to more experienced cruisers looking for a ship with character and quality, not just "fluff" or "glitz".

Public Areas
The ship's public rooms were easily accessible and spaced well. The Ronde-Vous lounge midships is the main meeting area for most folks prior to dinner. It's also nice place to chat or gather with friends for an after-dinner drink. The Rainbow Room was a nice place to enjoy music or dance after the night's show or performance at the Celebrity Theater. My favorite spot was the Fleet Bar forward. The views were terrific, plus it never became crowded and we were always able to receive bar service quickly. We could have a conversation without shouting, even though there was music performed live. The Zenith doesn't have a "true" promenade, although you could encircle the ship on the Sun Deck, but the wind is quite strong at times.

The pool(s) were located on Deck 11 midships, which was convenient with the buffet being on the same deck aft. The hot tubs (3) were located on Deck 12 aft, which was a nice departure for those looking to get away from the main stream crowd. The Mayflower Casino has all the amenities of today's modern ships. I was lucky enough to win $335.00 on one night, but returned $75.00 the next night.

Food and Service
Celebrity has a very good reputation for food and service when compared to comparable lines. I believe it's still the best, but has suffered somewhat compared to four other Celebrity ships I've sailed. Service, while usually excellent was not up past expectations, at least the first two nights. We had difficulty received beverages the first two nights. The busboy, who was relatively inexperienced wouldn't bring our drinks until we were well into the third course. The second night, this happened again, along with not receiving even an appetizer for over a half hour from the time we ordered. When the Maitre d' showed up, I told him how unhappy I was with the service. After hearing my complaint, he apologized and said it would be corrected. From the third night til departure, our service was perfect. Our waiter and busboy both apologized. Our service everywhere else was always excellent.

We had a standard outside cabin on the Bahamas Deck 9, with an obstructed view (lifeboats). I have had the cabin location on the Horizon, so there wasn't a problem with the view for us. What's wonderful with Celebrities cabins is that they'll the same size (172 sq. feet), whether you're on a lower deck, inside or outside cabin., except for suites. There's always plenty of storage and closet space. The shower was very comfortable and there was never a problem with room or water. The only problem we had with noise pertained to the bunk located over my bed. With rough seas the first night, the bunk squeaked when the ship rolled. I managed to find the problem and put a spacer between the wall and bunk. Instant silence! I slept well after that!

Celebrity has greatly improved its entertainment on their newer ships, but not much has changed on the older ones. The Broadway type shows were standard and the performers were good. I didn't particularly care to see a xylophonist, plus the feature vocalist didn't sound good at all, at least in my opinion. We left after 5 minutes.

Our original itinerary was to be: depart New York City, Bermuda, St Martin, St Lucia, and return home from Barbados. With the events of 9/11, our itinerary became: depart from Baltimore, MD, 3 days at sea, San Juan, PR, St.Martin, Martinique, and finally Barbados. Our biggest disappointment was not seeing Bermuda. Because of the time frame leaving Baltimore, Bermuda became impossible.

After 3 days at sea, we were glad to get to San Juan. We have been to Puerto Rico several times, but never to the Rain Forest. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and beautiful countryside. After returning for a quick bite on the ship, we walked and shopped in Old San Juan. There are numerous things within walking distance of the ship, or cabs are easy to get.

The next day we visited St. Martin. My last visit, tendering was a must to reach Phillipsburg. They have since added a pier. There are also water taxis that you can use all day for $5.00. We took a taxi to Orient Beach. The cab fare was only $6.00 per person. Orient Beach is one of my favorites, but can get crowded latter in the afternoon. This is a clothing optional beach, so if nudity offends you, try the Dutch side beaches. We returned to Front Street in Phillipsburg for some shopping in the afternoon. It can get crowded, but we were the only ship docked, so it was easy to navigate around.

Our next island was Martinique. Most people were quite upset that Celebrity chose this island as a substitute. The day we were there, it was a national holiday (All Saints Day)and ALL the shops were closed! We did manage to grab a ship tour, visiting a banana plantation and rum factory, which was closed. Not a bad tour, but not one we normally would take.

Our cruise ended in Bardados, where we had to debark at 8:30AM. Our flight home to Philadelphia wasn't until 4:25 PM. Celebrity offered a countryside tour and another plantation tour, so we jumped at the opportunity to visit Barbados again. Again, not a tour we normally would take, but sitting for many hours at the airport beautiful. Our return bought us directly to the airport in Bridgetown, where our luggage was kept separately and secured by several security people. We enjoyed a nice lunch (expensive!) at the airport and went to claim our luggage. No problem with luggage, but this was the very first flight for US Airways from Bardados. It was neat being the first. We were also the very first asked to have our bags searched. I thought it was cool, but had to help them. They couldn't remember who had my passports (I did though), plus they wanted to place our bags on the baggage belt without destination tags on them! I stopped them until the tags were secured, but they couldn't find the baggage claims. Finally, the manager printed out a computerized receipt for us. It was interesting, to say them least. Our flight to Philadelphia was good but half-hour late arriving. I don't know if the 19 people with connecting flights to New York made through Customs in time to make their flights.

Who Goes
Our fellow passengers were average ages of 50+. I only saw one child the entire cruise. We formed a group on another bulletin board several months ago and called our group the NPPA, which stands for : No Party Poopers Allowed! We officially met the second day at sea in the Rainbow Room and had a fun time. The original group was over 120 members, which maybe 70 to 80 at the party. We had hats and ships with our logo (NPPA and the Zenith), and also had a group picture done. Everyone had a nice time and were very friendly.

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