by Brian and Phyllis in Ohio
February 6, 2006
We begin the review with our arrival at Miami International Airport. The Zenith check-in counter is located directly across from the baggage claim area. Don't blink twice or you will walk right past it, as we did. We had prepaid to take the shuttle survice and despite a few minutes to get things sorted out we recommend our fellow travelers do this. The staff took our bags and we borded a shuttle to the Zenith. Make sure to affix your luggage tags to your baggage just before you give them to the baggage handlers, not when you board your plane to Miami.
We advise you to use the online check-in and print out the express boarding pass. We did this and embarkation was quick and easy, less than 10 minutes from the time we arrived at the pier. As we boarded early, 11am, we found our room, explored the ship, and took advantage of the pre-cruise meals and drinks. Despite our early boarding, our baggage was not deliverd to our room until 4pm. Caution, the baggage handlers treat baggage poorly so take precautions with any breakable items or things that can be crushed.
Although small compared to other ships, Zenith provides a stable ride. However, at times in the trip we did encounter some choppy water which is most noticable at night when you are trying to sleep. We are both prone to motion sickness, so we took ginger pills to prevent this. Yes, they do work and we recommend them.
For the most part, the weather was warm, ranging from 72 to 76 degrees. However, a cool breeze was blowing that made it feel much colder. In fact, strong winds and rough seas were responsible for diverting our landing at George Town to the southern part of the Grand Caymen Island. We recommend you bring a sweater or light jacket.
We had done a lot of on-line research and had read several negative things about the Zenith. Here is what we found:
The toilets never backed up in our room.
The onboard water is actually good, no after taste.
We always had plenty of hot water in our shower.
Our bed was comfortable and the room had plenty of space (we had a cabin with window, deck 6, room 6042).
The staff, with the single exception of the shore excursion personnel, were always pleasent, helpful, and eager to please.
The ship is old and shows some signs of age, but nothing that adversly affected our trip.
The overall service ranged from good to excellent.
Drinks are expensive. For example, a bottle of beer runs you $4.50 plus 15% gratuity. If you drink a lot of soda, get the soda stamp on your card, which can be purchased for $25 at any of the bars.
A special note about the food. Depending on where you eat it varies. In formal dinning it ranged from poor to excellent. The service was almost always good, but you get the feeling of being rushed. The evenings casual dinning area is the ships best kept secret. Just as good, but not as rushed. We recommend it. The buffet food always has a wide selection and is, overall, good.
The entertainment varied. We highly recommend the magician and comedian. Both were good. The other shows were not so good and we do not recommend them. The band, Changes (or was it Changez), was good. The lounge singers and DJ were not. The onboard activities were, for the most part, fun to participate in or just to watch. Although they were not as many as I had expected.
About the passengers. My wife is 50 and I am 47. We found the average age of our fellow passengers to be somewhere between 55 and 60. There were a few children onboard, but no more than a dozen or so. Most of those frequent "cruisers" we talked with were very impressed with the experience. As for ourselves, we would recommend the Zenith and it's crew for those on their first cruise who are at least our age or older. Younger "cruisers" might want to opt for a larger ship that cater to a younger crowd. We also recommend that, if possible, go with a group or at least another couple to make the journey more enjoyable. If you are looking for a romantic get away for just a couple, this ship is worth the money.
We would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org