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Helen Walters

Age: 45

Occupation:retired airline employee

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Zenith

Sailing Date: January 6th, 2002

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Our trip started on a sour point, not because of the cruise line but our choice of transportation to the pier. We called the limo company "the limo" and arranged to be picked up at our St Pete condo at 12.30 for a 4.30 departure from the Tampa cruise port. We were waiting outside our condo from 12.20, and at 12.50 we called them and were advised that our pick up time was for 2.45pm. Well this was just not acceptable, and we quickly called a cab, ST Pete Taxi, which turned out to be cheaper anyway. (35.00) We arrived at the pier at 1.45pm and were in our cabin by 2.10. Process was very quick and painless. We dumped our carry on bags in our cabin, (4116 on the Florida deck, the lowest deck, outside cabin) which was clean and very comfortable and had plenty of closet and drawer space. There were not enough hangers in the closet for 3 adults, but our room steward quickly brought us about 12 or so extra ones. We went up to the Windsurf cafe for lunch, and had a very nice lunch. For a buffet, they do a very good job. Nice selections and varied choices. Even though the ship was full, there always was a table or more available in the windsurf cafe, or on the aft outer deck. And there was always a pleasant staff member available to help you find a table and or carry your tray to a table. The staff on this ship was exceptional to say the least.

The ports of call were western caribbean; Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Key West was just as pretty as I had always imagined. I got my Jimmy Buffet "Margaritaville" souvenir T-Shirt, and was therefore very happy right away.

If you don’t want to walk much, take the Conch Train, or if you want to hop on and off, take the Trolley tour. Next day was at sea. There were many shipboard activities, and it seemed, since there were lots of younger people aboard, that Zenith staff went above and beyond to cater to that group. I had always heard that this was a ship for the older set, but there were in fact many many, young people, teens, twenties and early thirties, and lots and lots of very poorly behaved children. Please supervise your children. You had them, not us. Don’t let them spoil our cruise!!!!!! One unruly group blocked a stairwell and refused to get up to let an elderly couple proceed. One day a group of about 10 kids crowded a hot tub and made the water flow over, causing great mayhem. Where were you the PARENTS!!!? Ok next stop was Costa Maya. There really is not much here, and it is really a drop off point for tours to the Chaccobean Mayan Ruins. We took a tour of 4 hrs, which consisted of an hours drive through some scrub wasteland, on air-conditioned comfortable tour busses, led by a very impressive and professional tour guide (Eduardo), once at the ruins, he gives you a very informative 2 hour tour of the ruins, and then you drive back for an hour back to the pier. There is also a very nice tour for 29.00, called the Jungle Beach Break, with continuous shuttle service to and from the beach and pier. At the beach you will get your own beach chair, and an open bar, with lots of beach activities and paddle boats etc. As for the pier; Unless you are a very good bargainer, don’t buy much here. You will get everything in Cozumel for less. I bought some things for higher prices here, even though I bargained, but, reasoned that there was so much poverty in the immediate area, that maybe, hopefully I helped the local economy. At the pier there is a small beach, with chairs, and a nice pool, a very nice restaurant with a limited menu, but all in all quite a nice little complex. Next day Cozumel. We love Cozumel. You take a 5.00 taxi ride to San Miquel, and have a choice to bargain in some shops or in shops like Viva Mexico, where price tags are on everything you don’t have to, and the prices are very reasonable. We ate lunch in the Plaza Sol, restaurant Leza, and open air, under canopy very quaint place. We had; one of us, a club sandwich with fries, the other had a tortilla soup, and I had enchiladas verdes, all accompanied by fresh fried tortilla chips with a SPICY, salsa and a mild one, plus a beer and a few margaritas for 34.00Us, also you will be serenaded if you wish for a couple of bucks tip, by some very nice Mexican singers/musicians. We will go back to Cozumel any chance we get. Next day we are at Grand Cayman. Here you can do the Stingray City tour if you are so inclined. I was once caught in Florida waters with many stingrays, involuntarily, and am a water wimp, as well as a fish wimp, so this was not for me. We shopped in Georgetown, and got some good buys on perfumes. My favorite store is Koko Tok for linens. Got some Tortuga Rum Cakes and some nice T Shirts, before heading back to the tender. In Grand Cayman you have to tender to and from ship, but it does not take long, and there is always a tender available to take you back. Last day at sea was spent relaxing. Let me not forget to tell you how great the food in the Caravelle restaurant is. Our waiter Samson and assistant waiter Csaba could not do enough for us. Our wine steward was also exceptional. In fact the staff on the ship were great without exception. Everyone of the staff, be they an officer, maintenance worker, waiter, or room steward, would always nod or say good day, good morning or whatever. Even after seven days at sea, they were just as friendly, and showed no signs of tiring of their friendliness. Last but not least, the Celebrity, singers and dancers, as well as all of the entertainment in the showroom were most extraordinary! There was a very special violinist, (Russian), and I again cant remember his name but he was wonderful, and I am not a violin type of person, but his music made the hair stand up on me head! The comedian was great and the magician show as well. Mike Witte the cruise director was also very commendable. I just cant say enough about how hard the staff tried to excel on this cruise. I cant wait till my next Celebrity cruise!

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