Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: December 19th, 2004
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This cruise has some very serious drawbacks that Celebrity needs to address. On my cruise, December 19 to January 2, there were a lot of families with children. Although Celebrity does a reasonable job of entertaining young children, the teenagers simply did not have anything to do. As a result, they caused trouble. Three families were kicked off the ship within the first week of the cruise because their teenage children broke into a bar and got drunk. Other teenagers seemed to spend their days hanging out on the steps, or in the hot tubs. Celebrity should warn potential customers that this cruise is not suitable for teenagers. If you have teenagers consider one of the new ships with climbing walls and ice rinks, or don't go on a cruise. Your kids will not like this cruise unless they enjoy spending endless hours reading.
My other gripe about this ship is the length of time it is in port. The distance between San Juan and St. Thomas is only about 80 miles, which should take about 4 hours. So why does the ship leave San Juan at 6:00 p.m. and arrive in St. Thomas at 8:00 a.m.? It could leave San Juan at midnight, and still make it to St. Thomas by 6:00 a.m. but, no, Celebrity would rather that you spend your money at the bars and casinos onboard the ship instead of those in San Juan. I would strongly prefer more time in port and less time at sea and I think there are other cruises that stay in port longer.
The Zenith has a well deserved reputation for excellent food and service. Generally, your best bets will be French dishes such as Coq Au Vin and Chateaubriand. They simply do not know how to do Asian or Mexican dishes. The service is best at dinner time; it can be uneven in the dining room at breakfast and lunch. Usually, you do better at the cafe for breakfast and lunch because the food is almost the same, and it is much faster because its self service. The sushi bar is very good, but unfortunately it is only open between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. (shortly before and after the dinner seatings).
The entertainment aboard this ship is mostly second rate. Stay away from the production shows, the magician and the xylophonist. One show I recommend is that of pianist Samantha Newbold.
Several passengers particularly disliked the cruise director. On one occasion, some passengers refused to leave the card room at the time that a bridge tournament was about to begin. The tournament participants complained to the cruise director -- who was right there -- but he refused to do anything about it. So, they but tables in the hall, and some of the games were played outside the cardroom in the hall. This is unforgiveable. The cruiseline must maintain control of the ship, and it must enforce the rules. Unruly passengers cannot be allowed to take over public areas because they feel like it.
The gym is too small, but it had the equipment that I wanted, and I usually didn't have wait very long to use it. However, it would be helpful if the staff enforced the time limits on the cardio equipment.
One final bit of advice: beware of the medical facility. My wife came down with an infection toward the end of the trip. The doctor accurately diagnosed it, and prescribed antibiotics, but the charge was $250. I then caught the exact same thing, I had identical symptoms, but the ship's doctor insisted that I had influenza. As a result he refused to prescribe antibiotics, and I did not get better until after the cruise was over. My advice is bring your own supply of antibiotics, and do not go to the ship's doctor under any circumstances.