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Larry Hall

Age: 58

Occupation:Telecommunications Analyst

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Zenith

Sailing Date: June 28th, 2003

Itinerary: n/a

Celebrity Cruises
Zenith Cruise Review
7 Night Bermuda Cruise

Larry Hall
State Room: 5023
Deck: Europa Deck Ocean View Stateroom
Category: 05

Date Ar. Dep.

Jun 28th New York, New York 04:30p
Jun 29th At Sea
Jun 30th Hamilton, Bermuda 09:00a
Jul 1st Hamilton, Bermuda
Jul 2nd Hamilton, Bermuda 06:00a
Jul 2nd St. George Island, Bermuda 09:00a
Jul 3rd St. George Island, Bermuda 03:00p
Jul 4th At Sea
Jul 5th New York, New York 08:00a

Our 35th Wedding Anniversary Cruise
My wife Sue Qzzee and me Shipstern are from Connecticut and in our early 50’s. This is our 5th Celebrity cruise; one on the Millennium, one on the Summit and two on the Century. This is our second cruise alone. The others were with family members and friends. Our Children are grown now and on their own. We are to some degree starting a new life and love cruising and traveling. This cruise will be over our 35th wedding anniversary so it is quite special and why we wanted to go back to Bermuda. This will be our 5th trip there. I’m a certified scuba diver and love all that Bermuda’s clear blue waters have to offer. Sue also enjoys snorkeling and swimming. We both enjoy our time away from work so we are planning to travel more, enjoy life, and meet new people.

Jun 28th 2003 Friday Start the Trip/Embarkation

Early on in the trip planning, Q and I had decided to take advantage of Celebrity’s Bus Service that runs from Boston to New York. We wanted to avoid the stress/cost of driving into New York ourselves. The Bus service (Academy) leaves from Boston, MA. to Hartford, CT. and then into New York. It drops you off right at Pier 88. As scheduled the bus picked us up in Hartford at 11:15a and we arrived in New York, by 2:30p. We just sat back and enjoyed the ride. What a way to start our vacation. On this trip (unlike others) there was no getting up at 4:00am in the morning to drive to the airport, no hassle with airport security and no worry over getting a seat on an over booked flight. Hey…. were on our honeymoon!!!

The bus pulled up to the dock right between both of Celebrity’s sister ships, the Zenith and Horizon. What a spectacular site. When looking up at them they look so mammoth, yet these two ships are the smallest in Celebrities fleet. Only in the 47,000 ton category!!!! That is just slightly larger than the Titanic (46,000). The two ship shadow each other on the trip to Bermuda and back. No sooner did the bus stop when a Celebrity agent boarded. The agent gave us a quick run down on the embarkation process, required documentation etc. and even some tips on what and where to go in Bermuda. She was quite pleasant. In a minute or two, a stevedore came aboard and discussed luggage handling. All your bags (except carry on) are handled by longshoreman and put on the ship. They ask for $2.00/bag. Most people tipped but not many gave two dollars a bag. Once you identify your bags and give them to the stevedore it’s off to the Celebrity check in. Celebrity seems to have this down to a science. Most of our documentation was completed on-line with Celebrity before we left. We had our printed copies of documents and passports for photo ID’s. As we are Captains Club members we were escorted to the appropriate line and were processed in less than 10 minutes. We were issued ID cards that provide a "cash less" system on the ship for shore excursions, your bar bill, and is a form of your ID. Hang onto them tightly. We then had our shipboard photos taken that are associated with your ID cards and boarded the Zenith I would say the entire process took about fifteen (15) minutes from the time we left the bus to the time we stepped into our stateroom. OK We’re on VACATION!!!!!

Day One: Jun 28th 2003 Saturday Sunrise 05:28am Sunset: 08:31pm

Dress Casual: Ladies: Pantsuit, skirt and blouse or casual dress. Gentlemen: Sports shirt and slacks.

Our stateroom, (5023 Europa Deck Category 5) was very nice. This was an outside cabin; it’s a forward cabin on the port side of the ship. About year before the trip we had originally booked stateroom 5074. As we got closer to our sail date I noticed prices starting to come down considerably. We decided to change our original booking to an outside guarantee. We were assigned stateroom 5023 on the same deck, same category for HALF the original price thanks to our travel agent. Thank you Lori. The moral of this little story is, if you book early, watch the prices as they do sometimes come down. After checking out our room, and because our luggage had not arrived yet, it was off to explore the ship. We like to go to the dinning room first thing and check our table assignments. We had requested a table for two and late seating, (more romantic) but they had us at a table for eight (8). In cruising one of the most asked questions when your not traveling with your own group is: should you get a table for two or take a chance on whom you will get for tablemates!!! The restaurant manager had no more table for two’s available and asked if we would try it and if unhappy would re-assign us the second night. Well, our tablemates were just smashing and we had a ball. More later. We also like to book any shore excursions first thing to insure availability so it was off to the shore excursion desk. The only excursion this trip was a scuba dive. Normally we do many more but we were renting scooters in Bermuda and that was how we were going to spend most of our time, exploring the Island. Now with all this done it was now time to enjoy. Up to the Fleet Bar for a celebratory cocktail or possibly two! After the cocktails and some exploring it was back too the room to unpack and get ready for the life boat drill at 4:00pm

The room was very clean and quite nice. Our stateroom was 172 sq ft with an outside window, approximately. 3 1/2 ft. square, and quite roomy for a small ship. In fact, it’s 2 sq. ft. larger than the category 2B we had on the Celebrity Summit excluding the veranda. We had two twin beds made up into a double. A sitting table with a chair and large mirror provided a place to keep papers, write etc. The bathroom was large enough and well laid out with glass shelving, a large mirror, sink and shower. Celebrity does provide a hair dryer in the bath but Q brought her own. No outlets are provided in the bathroom however. The only outlet we found was at the sitting table. Next time we will bring along an extension cord. A TV is also in the room. There was ample room in the three closets and many drawers are available for storage. There is a safe in one of the closets to keep your valuables. The suitcases slide nicely under the bed out of the way after unpacking.

After finishing the unpacking we only had a short time before the lifeboat drill at 04:00pm. Everyone is required to don their life vest and walk to his/her assigned lifeboat stations and then to the lifeboats. It takes about 15 minutes then your released. Sail away was at 04:30pm and is always great fun. The band plays and the Ship makes it's way out of New York Harbor the people blow horns, snap pictures and wave Bon Voyage. This is always quite exciting and not to be missed. Then it's out into the open Sea.

We spent the remaining time before dinner to do more exploring on the ship and getting our bearings. We had and prefer late seating for dinner "8:30pm". Originally we had requested a table for two, thinking it would be a bit more romantic considering it was our 35th wedding anniversaries but were put at a table for eight. The first night can sometimes be a bit awkward getting used to your tablemates but we got along famously. We had a ball all week long telling the tales of each others daily activities, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, sharing our life’s stories and interests with total strangers yet, by weeks end we had made six new friends. I guess this is what makes cruising so unique from other types of vacations and why we love it so. We are all put together on a ship in close proximity with each other with a common purpose and common destination. We are not competing with one another anymore just there to have fun, relax and enjoy life. And that’s what we did. We made a lot of noise and had a lot of fun. Q and I are so glad we sat at a table for 8 laughing, smiling and talking rather than sitting alone at a table for two.

Our Waiter Jazbir and Assistant Waiter Ruben entertained us nightly with coin tricks and always had recommendations for each evening's meal. Ruben our assistant waiter was attentive and always had a smile for us. Celebrity accepts nothing below excellence from there staff and these two gentlemen were exceptional all week long. I can't say enough about the food served on any of the Celebrity Ships. Master Chef Michel Roux has never lets us down performing his culinary magic and we weren’t disappointed on the Zenith.

Day Two: Jun 29th 2003 Sunday Sunrise 06:23am Sunset: 08:46pm

Dress Formal: Ladies: Evening gown or cocktail dress. Gentlemen: Dark suit and tie, dinner jacket or tuxedo.

Day two was a Sea day. Q and I love our Sea days. Relax, read a book, take a stroll around the deck or just sit by the pool and soak up the sun and we did them all. We got up early, about 6:00am and went up to the fantail (the stern of the ship) to have coffee and watch the sunrise. It is soooo relaxing to find a quite place like this on the ship early in the morning to take in the sites, sounds and smells of the sea. To feel the gentle roll of the ships motion, to feel and smell the salt air on your face, to hear the sounds of the waves against the side of the ship and to watch the sun rise up out of the Ocean. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Coffee is available 24 hours a day at the Islands Café' and the Breakfast Buffet is served from 07:30am to 10:00am. You can also get breakfast omelets made to order at the Grill. These are quite good. If you prefer a full breakfast an open seating breakfast is available in the Caravelle Restaurant.

Our weather was perfect. Many reviews of this trip from New York to Bermuda tell tales of very rough seas. Well… our seas were flat, the wind was calm and the visibility was over the horizon….. Speaking of which, we could see Celebrity’s sister ship the Horizon four or five miles off our stern...

Today was our 35th wedding anniversary. Normally we exchange our gifts at dinner but Q was anxious to give me my present early, a new Canon Power Shot 45 digital camera. Wow this was great. I’ve always wanted a digital camera but never wanted to spend the $ and this was even more special because now I could capture great shots of our trip. I simply needed to learn how to use it. We spend most of the day in and around the pool just relaxing and sipping cocktails…hey, after all, today was our 35th wedding anniversary. For lunch we went to the Windsurf Café. Celebrity serves the “Buffet Luncheon” from 12 Noon to 2:30pm. I’m not a big buffet person and never go to them when at home however, I think Celebrity does a marvelous job with these providing a wide variety of food selections which are extremely tasty and well done. The Grill is open from 12 Noon to 6:00pm for Hot Dogs and Hamburgers & Specialty Burgers and Pizza is available from 3:00pm to 7:00pm. Folks who prefer a more traditional lunch, “Open Seating Luncheon” is served in the Caravelle Restaurant from 12 Noon to 2:00pm. Needless to say you won't go hungry on a Celebrity Cruise!!!!!. I did manage to get to the Ships gym for about an hour to work off some of the food I was eating. We mostly just relaxed and had a great day at Sea. This evening was formal dress. I always enjoy getting dressed into my Tux for dinner. Q prefers it less formal but dresses up to please me. When at home we so often go to dinner dressed casual so it’s a treat to get into more formal attire as well as see everyone else dressed in there best. Being our wedding anniversary, during dinner our Assistant Maitre D, Waiter, and Assistant Waiter among others, surrounded our table, presented us with a cake and along with our table mates sang us happy anniversary. It was quite embarrassing. I typically don’t like this type of attention but we made a lot of noise and had great fun. A very memorable evening, which will never to be forgotten.

Day Three: Jun 30th 2003 Monday Sunrise 06:16am Sunset: 08:30pm

Dress Casual: Ladies: Pantsuit, skirt and blouse or casual dress Gentlemen, Sports shirt and slacks.

Arrival in Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda is not to be missed. Qzzee and I were up early and watched as the Zenith sailed into port. Zenith sailed past the Royal Naval Dockyard shortly after dawn however, by the time we navigated into Bermuda’s Great Sound past Two Rock Passage and docked in Hamilton it was approximately 9:00am. The ship’s berth was on Front Street in downtown Hamilton within easy walking distance to the Ferry Terminal Building, Visitors Service Bureau, Shops, City Hall, Historical Society Museum, and many, many other sites. Front Street is a hub of activity where you can gain access to Bermuda’s public transportation, buses, taxis and the Bermuda Ferries. The ferries are a great way to get around. They depart and return from the Ferry Terminal Building within site of the ship and there you have several choices: take a short ferry ride to parishes of Paget or Warwick, or a longer Somerset ferry ride across the Great Sound to the Royal Navy Dockyard, Watford Bridge, Cavello Bay, and Somerset Bridge. Buses are another good choice for getting around. An adult 3-day pass to ride all zones within Bermuda cost $23.00. You can also use taxis to get around however they are a bit on the expensive side. Qzzee and I prefer having our own transportation and in my opinion the absolute best way to see Bermuda is by scooter. So, as soon as we were off the ship we were off to rent ours. We rented them at Oleander Cycles on Gorham Road in Hamilton. It was a package deal to rent them for the entire 4 day stay in Bermuda. The cost was $138.00 per scooter. As on past Bermuda visits we each wanted our own scooters so we could chase each other around the Island. At Oleander Cycles before you are allowed to rent scooters they give you some instructions on driving safety, staying on the left side of the road, and make you take a simple test ride up and down a street. If you don’t fall over I guess your OK. After we did our test ride the instructor looked us up and down, gave us the thumbs up and said, “YOUR GOOD TO GO”. Qzzee was still a bit nervous so we asked if there was a quiet road to take a short drive so we could get more familiar with the roads and cycles. The instructor suggested we drive out to Spanish Point Park in Pembroke. So off we went. The ride to Spanish Point is about a 20 to 30 minute drive from Hamilton and free of the congestion you sometimes find in downtown Hamilton. This was great advice as we had very little traffic and found navigating the little narrow streets great fun and we had a chance to get acclimated to our new toys. When we arrived at Spanish Point we found the park and a great-secluded beach. One of the intriguing aspects of Bermuda is the ability to find these out of the way places but you need scooters to get to them. I can’t stress enough the importance of renting scooters if you feel comfortable on them. We had the whole beach to ourselves so Q and I proceeded to take off all our clothes (we had bathing suits underneath silly) and into the clear blue water we jumped. It doesn’t get much better than this, but we do keep trying. We spent about an hour or so splashing around and then back on the scooters. Now it was off to St. George via the North Shore Road for more exploring. We spent the spent the remaining part of our day buzzing around until returning to the ship for some R&R and dinner. By now we were expert riders ready to join the Hells Angles. In Hamilton at the dock, large parking areas are available for scooters right next to the ship. Once you park your scooter it’s a two-minute walk to the ship’s terminal building, onto the gangway and you’re on the ship. How sweet is this???? Is this paradise or what?

Day Four: Jul 1st 2003 Tuesday Sunrise 06:16am Sunset: 08:30pm

Dress Informal: Ladies: Skirt or dress. Gentlemen: Jacket, shirt and long pants. No jeans please.

Today was the day I scheduled my scuba dive and Q did some shopping in Hamilton. I booked the dive through the ship. I had planned to do it on my own but for convenience it was worth the extra $ to book it through Celebrity. I was transported via taxi from the ship to the Sonesta Beach Hotel where the Fantasea Dive Shop is located. The dive shop was great and took us on a two-tank dive. The first dive was on the wreck of the Mary Celestia: A 225 foot side paddlewheel steamer, she served as a Confederate blockade runner. In 55 feet of water, her remains include paddlewheels and anchor. The second dive was an impressive shallow reef dive through coral caves and pink sandy bottoms. How marvelous!!!!. And I thought diving in Grand Cayman was nice but some of my best dives have been in Bermuda. I simply love diving here. It was the place I got started in scuba diving and a place I always love coming back to. Whether you’re a seasoned certified diver or just want to snorkel don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the superb crystal clear blue waters the Island has to offer. There are many reefs within a short distance from many of the beaches. The other way to enjoy the water activities are the numerous ship excursions or do them on your own through places like Fantasea’s , Bluewater and many others. Your probably wondering if I’m feeling guilty about having all this fun without Q NOT !!!!! You see, Q is in Hamilton spending lots of money enjoying the numerous Bermuda shops. When I got back to the ship I found that Q had been having way to much fun on her own. Let this be a lesson to you men, “never leave your wife alone, within easy walking distance to shops, and with your personal credit card”. $$$$$$ L

After having some lunch with Q on the ship it was back on the scooters to head to the West End and do some more exploring. We took the scooters out of Hamilton on the South Road past Elbow Beach, Horseshoe Bay, Gibbs Hill Light House, Somerset Bridge and out to the Royal Navy Dockyard taking in the many sites and spectacular vistas along the way. We thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. There simply isn’t enough time to enjoy this Island paradise. A day in Bermuda. What to Do? The question should not be “what to do?” but “how to do it all” Q and I returned to the Ship for some R&R by the pool. These trips can be exhausting you know!!!!!

Day Five: Jul 2nd 2003 Wednesday Sunrise 06:16am Sunset: 08:30pm

Dress Casual: Ladies, Pantsuit, skirt and blouse or casual dress. Gentlemen: Sports shirt and slacks. No jeans, no shorts please.

We were up before dawn this morning wanting to see the sail away from Hamilton to St. George. This is assume and well worth getting up before first light for. We went up to the fantail and had breakfast. The Celebrity Horizon, Zenith’s sister ship had docked in behind us at the Hamilton pier and was all lit up with her lights, what a magnificent site. The sun was coming up over the horizon (not the ship) setting the puffy clouds on fire with a warm red glow. It was breath taking. We sailed out of Hamilton at about 6:00am and arrived in St. George at 9:00am. Sailing into St. George was an extremely difficult maneuver for the ship. Without the aid of tugboat the ship sails in through a very narrow channel called the “Town Cut” On windy days they won’t try the maneuver. We docked at Pennos Wharf. We walked to downtown St George (10 minutes) to the Oleander Cycle Shop to pick up new scooters. We had left our first ones in Hamilton. Today we decided to do some exploring around St. George. We drove up to St. David’s Lighthouse. The lighthouse is built of Bermuda stone and has been lighting the way since 1879. We drove around the narrow winding back roads of St. George and found another isolated beach to stroll. Q and I love to search for “beach glass” wherever we travel. Beach glass is little colored pieces of broken glass smoothed by the scrubbing it gets from the wind, sand, and surf. On this particular beach we found tons….well not tons but a lot. It’s also just a fantastic way to spend an hour or two just walking the pink sandy beach kicking your feet through the sand on a sunny day. We collected enough to put into little plastic bags and gave one to each of our tablemates as something to remember us and Bermuda by.

Day Six: Jul 3rd 2003 Thursday Sunrise 06:17am Sunset: 08:34pm

Dress Formal: Ladies, A dressy outfit. Gentlemen, Dark suit &tie, dinner jacket, or tuxedo

Our last day in Bermuda. L Zenith is scheduled to sail for New York at 3:00pm. We were again up early and on the scooters for some last minute exploring. The cycles needed to be back at 11:00am. We took a leisurely drive up Barrack Hill to Alexandra’s Battery then to Fort St. Catherines and past Tobacco Bay then back into town. By this time my butt was pretty sore from all the riding yet Q and I didn’t want to stop and it was almost time to say goodbye to Bermuda. After dropping off the cycles we strolled around the quaint little town of St. George and did some last minute shopping and site seeing. St. George has some very interesting history dating back to 1609 when the Sea Venture wrecked off the coast; the first settlement of Bermuda began here at this north end of the archipelago.
Once back on board we went up on deck to enjoy the sail away L. Promptly at 3:00 the Zenith turned her bow toward the narrow channel making her way out into the open sea as we all waved goodbye to this Island paradise

Day Seven: Jul 4th 2004 Friday Sunrise 06:21am Sunset: 09:13pm

Dress Formal: Ladies, A dressy outfit. Gentlemen, Dark suit &tie, dinner jacket, or tuxedo

I love sea days. It’s a time to rest by the pool soak in the sun, read a good book, enjoy a cocktail, you get the picture…. Well NOT today. We had 12-foot seas, the wind was blowing a gale, the pool was closed and netting put over the top to prevent someone from falling in. The water in the pool was sloshing back and fourth and it had 12 foot waves coming right out of it! They finally had to drain it because of the danger. You could hardly walk outside on an open deck for fear of getting blown overboard. People were getting sick all over the place but the crew did a very good job at keeping things cleaned up. I think they get a lot of practice. Fortunately for Qzzee and I we don’t seem to ever be bothered by the motion. In fact, I sometimes enjoy the feeling from the ships pitching and rolling. Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer having smooth seas, and a warm sunny day to sit by the pool having a Red Stripe. We made the best of it and spent most of our day with on board activities like bingo, taking in the shows and just getting things packed into our suitcases and organized for our disembarkation in NY Saturday. The cabin steward brings you your colored luggage tags that determine when you will disembark the Ship. Your luggage needs to be outside your cabin door by 12:00pm. The crew will come by and whisk it away as soon as you set it outside. Unfortunately this last night is usually a sad one. At dinner we bid goodbye to our tablemates and new friends we had made. We had some more laughs, good conversation, exchanged hugs, kisses and Email addresses. We truly all had a great time. We then retired for the last nights sleep on the Ship.

Day Eight: Jul 5th 2003 Saturday Sunrise 05:31am Sunset: 08:30pm

We woke at about 6:30am to watch our arrival into NY. Checkout of your cabin is requested by 08:00am in order for your stateroom to be prepared for newly embarking guests. Before leaving our room we finished packing our carry on luggage and went up to the Windsurf Café' for breakfast. We sat out on the fantail and enjoyed the sail into New York Harbor. The Zenith, along with her sister ship the Horizon arrived in New York and docked at Pier 88 at about 08:00am right on schedule. Disembarkation began at about 9:45am. Being Captain’s Club Members we were able to get off the ship early. Our luggage was waiting for us in the terminal where we collected it and proceeded to the waiting elevator. We wheeled our luggage to our shuttle bus and the whole process took less than 15 minutes. Celebrity has this down to a science and is quite proficient at it. We jumped on the shuttle bus that would take us back to Hartford CT. and waited for the other passengers to arrive. In about two and a halve hours we were back in Ct.

The trip is now just a memory but what a wondrous one. The Island of Bermuda is a magically beautiful place. It’s our favorite Island out of any we have traveled to. The Bermudan people are some of the friendliest in the world. It’s relaxed pace sets it apart from other destinations of choice. We love Bermuda’s for it’s tidy pastel cottages, pink-sand beaches and quintessential British traditions like cricket matches and afternoon tea, its hidden coves and inlets, quaint little narrow winding streets, and the turquoise blue water. Bermuda is worth a return visit and return we will. If you have the opportunity, visit Bermuda. It will be a trip of memories to last a lifetime.

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