Number of Cruises: 15
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: June 7th, 2003
This was my 15th cruise and my husbands 3rd cruise. A first for both of us on Celebrity. I have sailed on numerous cruise lines before including, Carnival, RCI, NCL, Commadore, Regency, and others. We booked this cruise to celebrate my 40th birthday which was 6/14/03.
EMBARKATION: Embarkation on this ship was a breeze. No problems and lines moved fairly quickly.
SHIP: We found this ship to be kept very clean and nice. The decor was elegant and in good taste. The ship is a good size. It is not so big that you can't find your way around but big enough to find plenty to do and plenty of people to socialize with. There are several nice places to sit and have drinks; leather couches placed in several areas and a nice card room with games and computers. The cigar room is cozy with couches and a fireplace. You can definitely tell it has been refurbished in the past few years. Our room was quite roomy with PLENTY of storage space and no annoying hump in the middle of the bed where two mattresses were pushed together --- one mattress. The bathroom was adequate in size (Q-tips and cotton balls were supplied). There was a blow dryer in the bathroom but I never tried it since I brought my own. TV in the room had few channels and several movies that were played over and over with the option of Pay-Per-View movies also available for about $8.99. I have never seen Pay-Per-View on ships before, usually they are provided for free. You could also check your on board charges on the TV. The main dinning room seemed larger that it was due to the placement of mirrors and it was nice and elegant. The pool area had nice covered and padded chairs on the lower level and the hot tub area in the back was decorated nicely with colored tiles and a shower. There are three hot tubs.
NOTE: We had really rough waters (15 to 20 foot swells) the first night and day at sea and my husband and I were both sick. It did get better by the second night and boy, were we thankful for that. After that it was pretty smooth sailing.
NOTE 2: We noticed that this cruise attracted a wide variety of age groups. I am sure it also has to do with the time of year how many children are on board. There were not a lot of school age children but we did see several babies and toddlers.
SERVICE: We found the service on this ship to be superior! Especially in the dinning room! Barhi & Putu were excellent! If we wanted two entrees or two desserts or two lobsters it was no problem. All the staff was very friendly. One time we got back a few minutes too late for the lunch buffet but the guy working the pasta station was kind enough to go ahead and make one more batch of linguine for me and another lady. (One suggestion I had for them was that they extend the lunch buffet to 3:30. It ends at 2:30 which seems a little early for those eating supper at 8:30). Our room steward was very good as well, leaving our room always clean and tidy.
ENTERTAINMENT: I had read several reviews and ratings that left me a little worried about the entertainment on this ship. We missed the first comedian but heard that after warming up she was pretty funny. We were pleasantly surprised and pleased with the Vegas Style shows. We really enjoyed it the first time they performed and thought they were even better the second time. The comedian on the last night was very funny! The Newly Wed Game was very funny, which I am sure all depends on the couples that are participating. The games around the pool and dancing on Caribbean night were fun. Keep in mind that due to laws in Bermuda the music being played outside (poolside) the ship must stop at midnight and that no shows can be performed while in port.
PORTS - BERMUDA: This ship goes to Hamilton first and then to St. George. The Horizon (sister ship) has the opposite itinerary. We felt like the Horizon had a better itinerary since she was in both ports during their island festivities and stayed in Hamilton longer. But, we chose the Zenith because she was a newer ship and we have no regrets with our decision. Bermuda cannot be described in words. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth! Very clean, very pretty and the people are so nice and friendly! We bought 3 day bus passes for only about $24 per person which gives you unlimited transportation on all buses and the ferries. I would highly recommend purchasing these tickets. We went to the glass factory, St. David's lighthouse, the Dockyard, Crystal Caverns, 4 beaches --- In Hamilton, Elbow beach & Horseshoe Bay and in St. George, Tobacco Bay & St. Catherine's. All are very beautiful! We took the carriage ride around town one evening. There is more shopping in Hamilton but we found things to be cheaper in St. George. For example: I purchased a silver Bermuda charm for $19.00 in Hamilton, only to find it for $8.00 in St. George. Luckily we had really good weather the whole time so we could really see the beauty of Bermuda.
FOOD: Since I am a vegetarian, my review is based on what a vegetarian can eat on this ship with second hand information given to me by my husband, our table mates and other cruisers we met on board. There is a separate menu available for vegetarians with two entrees every night. One entree is usually vegan and the other is just vegetarian. On one occasion I could not decide and was gladly brought both to taste and decide which one I wanted. We were VERY pleased with the food on this ship and consider it to be one of Celebrity's best qualities. There was only one night that I did not like my selection on the vegetarian menu. The soups every night were very delicious. The salads were good and the entrees superb. Thursday night is Lobster night and I was told that it was very good. Several people had two or more lobsters. My husband enjoyed lamb on two different nights. The first night we ordered this mushroom pastry as an appetizer and my husband said he wished he had ordered two. The desserts are also very delicious. I always like to try the Crème Brule and was definitely not disappointed this time. The Caravelle Dinning room food was the best on board. . We did try breakfast in the dinning room twice and enjoyed it but never got around to trying the lunch in the dinning room. We were told by our table mates that it was really good. We had breakfast mostly at the buffet and it was good. I did notice that on several occasions they ran out of orange juice and tea but there is usually another dispenser close by that has some. They actually did run out of maple syrup one day. The grill offers really good French fries, hamburgers, hotdogs and will even grill up a vegaberger upon request (usually takes 10 minutes). I have to say that we were somewhat disappointed in the pizza. Someone told me that they tried it and thought it was pretty tasty but we prefer pizza with more sauce. It was o.k. but I have to say that Carnival has the market on 24 hour pizza and salad. We had the self-serve frozen yogurt every day and really enjoyed it. I had read a bad review on it so I was pleasantly surprised to find it quite tasty. The best sherbet I have ever tasted in my life was served on our last sea day (Friday) out by the pool. It was mango sherbet and I LOVED IT! A must try if you sail this ship! We missed the Italian Buffet but made it to the Tex Mex buffet and it was pleasing to the eye as well as the pallet. The Grand Midnight Buffet on Thursday night was a sight to see and delicious as well.
DISEMBARKATION: I have no complaints regarding disembarkation on this cruise. It was typical for most cruise lines. They find out what time your transportation home leaves and give you colored tags for leaving the ship. You do have to be out of your room by 8:30 am and then find a place to sit and wait for your color to be called. Here, I have to say that NCL really has the market on disembarkation. On that cruise line we were allowed to stay in our room until our color was called and we left the ship very quickly after that. But, the Zenith seemed very organized and everything went pretty smoothly. I also found out that it is cheaper in the long run to find your own transportation to and from the pier. We took the Express Shuttle from the airport and caught the bus back.
OVERALL: Overall this was a wonderful cruise and birthday celebration. Besides the beauty of Bermuda, the great service and food, and good entertainment, one of the best parts of the cruise were our tablemates at table #87. You never know who you will be assigned to sit with and we got very lucky and had the best tablemates you could ask for. Mike, Dana, Jim, Chrissie, and Linda were wonderful and added tremendously to our fun and memories. I would highly recommend this cruise line, this port, and this ship and would definitely cruise with Celebrity again.