by Patty King
January 13, 2002
Let me start by saying that Celebrity is our favorite line and the Zenith is our favorite ship. This was our 4th time on her and she didn't disappoint.
My husband and I took this cruise with 2 other couples.one couple we met on a cruise 3 years ago and have been cruising with ever since and one couple from our hometown. The other couples didn't know each other. We all flew down separately but the day before and no one had trouble with flights. We met up on the ship the next day and all of us had a breeze with check-in. Two of the couples are Captain's Club members so we walked right up to the check in. Although the other couple had to go through the line, they said they didn't wait at all. We were all onboard by noon.
The ship is very good condition for her age. We were in an outside cat 6 stateroom that had plenty of room for everything. With a little effort, both suitcases fit underneath the bed. The bathroom is showing its age, however, it was clean and provided ample room for all the essentials.
Service remains top notch. Our cabin steward welcomed us immediately and let us put our belongings in the cabin before the designated 1:00pm. At the beginning of every cruise, I always request extra bath towels for the bathroom every day. He didn't miss a day. He was personable.even difficult to find on the last night to give him his tip (imagine that!). I had to go hunt him down as I like to personally deliver them rather than just leaving it in the cabin.
Dining Room - what can I say! I think our entire group would say this was the best part of the ship. Our waiter (Cihad from Turkey) and asst. waiter (Zsu Zsa from Hungary) were phenomenal. We all eagerly anticipated meals in the dining room. Food was very good. One of my favorite things on Celebrity is the soups.I love the chilled fruit soups the best and would frequently order it again for dessert!
Entertainment - the production shows were lacking. The performers were good but the material they had to work with could be improved. This has been a flaw with Celebrity for as long as I can remember. The comedians and magician were very good. The pool band, Axis, was very good. Enjoyed listening to them at the pool and again at night in the Rendevous Lounge.
The highlight of the ports was Cozumel. Some of the group had been there before and some were seeing it for the first time. Two of the couples booked the Dolphin Swim online through Dolphin Discovery 6 months ahead of time. All I can say is WOW!!! This is a not-to-be-missed experience. Even bought the video so we can relive it whenever we want. We still talk about it. After the swim we took a cab into town and went to Pancho's Backyard for their awesome margaritas. FYI Ladies.I always end up with jewelry from my husband after a visit there. LOL In Key West we just walked around town and found the Blue Giraffe for the best key lime pie and ended up at Sloppy Joe's for a margarita. Grand Cayman was beautiful. A couple of the guys did the ship tour to Sting Ray City and loved it. They chose this option rather than Captain Marvin because of the limited time we were in that port. It seemed to work out best for them. Costa Maya is still a port of the unknown. Some in our group opted for tours of the ruins while some of us chose to just hang around the pool and beach. We managed to have 1 hammock that we rotated between 3 of us. It was very peaceful and relaxing.just the kind of day we were looking for.
Weather was beautiful the entire trip.except for our return to Tampa. The Port of Tampa was fogged in so the Coast Guard closed the port. We had to drop anchor just outside the port at 4:00am. We didn't start moving again until about 9:30am. At 10:00 they announced that the "pilot" had just boarded the ship and our arrival at the dock was estimated to be 1:00 pm.we hit that perfectly. It was still 3:00 pm before we were off the ship, and being Captain's Club members, we were the first ones off after those in wheel chairs. Needless to say we missed our 1:08 pm flight. There were 3 ships coming into Tampa that day that were very late and USAirways was great at the airport. (We had booked our own flights). After a very long day, we arrived at our home airport around 9:30 pm. Despite the weather problems at the end, this would probably rank as of our best cruises. Next up.Celebrity Summit on Sept. 13 (Vancouver to Honolulu).