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12/29/06


KeithnRita
"Our Zenith New Year cruise Dec 29, 2006 to Jan 8, 2007"

TRIP INFO

Sail Date:12/29/2006
Destination:
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RATINGS

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COMPLETE REVIEW

Ship Facts

Occupancy: 1370

Tonnage: 46,811

Length: 682 feet

Beam: 95 feet

Draught: 24

Cruisespeed: 21.4knot

Inaugural Date: Apr 04, 1992

Date Port/City Activity Description

Fri, Dec 29 Tampa, Florida Boarding Depart 4:30 PM

Sat, Dec 30 At Sea

Sun, Dec 31 George Town, Grand Cayman Tendered Arrive 9:00 AM Depart 5:00 PM

Mon, Jan 01 At Sea

Tue, Jan 02 Puerto Limon, Costa Rica Docked Arrive 7:00 AM Depart 6:00 PM

Wed, Jan 03 Colon, Panama Docked Arrive 8:00 AM Depart 5:00 PM

Thu, Jan 04 At Sea

Fri, Jan 05 Roatan, Honduras Docked Arrive 10:00 AM Depart 5:00 PM

Sat, Jan 06 Cozumel, Mexico Docked Arrive 10:00 AM Depart 7:00 PM

Sun, Jan 07 At Sea

Mon, Jan 08 Tampa, Florida Departure Arrive 7:00 AM

We started our cruise vacation by driving to Lake City, FL on Dec 26, spending the night at the new Holiday Inn, and on to Tampa for two nights at the Hilton Westshore on Lois Ave. They offer free cruise parking and a $10 shuttle fee to the port. Our room rate was $99 per night. Rita's son and girlfriend met us at the hotel and we drove to the International Mall which is only about 1/2 mile from the hotel. Our intentions was to dine at the Cheesecake Factory, however the wait was to long so we went to a Sports Bar in the same complex. I had bought Rita a new gown for Christmas, however it did not fit so she found a blue one at the mall--and at a great price!

The next day cruise passengers started to arrive at the hotel and we were recognized from the roll call board from that other board that we only use for that purpose. Basically the party started at the hotel bar and ended when the cruise ended. We met some great folks from all over, including a contingent from England. Ellie and Frank from Orlando became very good friends and we will try to cruise with them again. We did a gift exchange with a total of eighteen of us on our first sea day. I got a bottle of scrumpy and a tea towel from England and Rita also received a tea towel and a British calendar.

Cruise embarkation day began right after breakfast with our 10:30 a.m. shuttle to the port. This was the fastest and most proficient boarding we've had for our now fifteen cruises. We were sitting by the pool having the drink of the day (Bon Voyage) by 11:15! The buffet opened at 12:15 and our staterooms were not available until 1:00.

We had the customary muster drill at 3:45 and the sail away at 4:30, which was actually on time. We did notice a lot of wear and tear on the pool deck. Since the ship has been sold by Celebrity and is leaving the fleet in April we can understand wear. What we could not understand was the filthy windows and no one cleaning them.

Our stateroom, 9053, was located mid-ship port side on the Bahamas deck. It was an obstructed view cabin. We had a similar cabin on the Horizon that had a pretty good partial view. This one did not. We could only see some of the ocean beneath the lifeboat. The size was okay which plenty of storage. The bed was not to comfortable, however if you get in late and tired it was adequate. We were only 2 flights up to the pool and buffet, one down to the casino, and two down to the dining room.

We dined late (8:30) at table 10 in the Caravelle Restaurant with couples from England, NC, and CA. Our waiter and assistant waiter gave us all great service for the duration of the cruise, which included plenty of bread sticks we asked for the first night. The food presentation was good, however the food and choices were a little disappointing, at least to us. Other opinions at our table varied from ours to superb. It was not that the food was bad to us, just not as good as other ships we've cruised. The food was definitely better than what we get back home again in Indiana. Maybe we are getting to spoiled! We also had open seating breakfast three or four times and lunch a couple times and the service was very good. The food was average, however average works.

While we are on the subject our food we must say the buffet food in the Windsurf Cafe was very good, especially the waffles for breakfast and the spaghetti in the pasta grill for lunch.

We did attend the Martini tasting seminar the first evening (shaken not stirred) and met a very nice couple from Atlanta, whom are both airline pilots. We also met a nice couple from Charlotte who turned out to be table mates. The seminar was in the Rendez-Vous Lounge which had a Ukrainian husband and wife team called Rhythm of the Night Duo. They played diner dance music, including waltz, rumba, fox-trot, cha-cha-cha, and some swing, and were pretty good. We went there most evenings. We also went up to deck 11 to the Fleet Bar to listen to guitarist/pianoist Simon Belair from Montreal. He did requests from us and we enjoyed his music. We only saw one other couple dancing there besides us. He commended us one evening for dancing a cha-cha while the ship was bouncing around in the wind and waves. We must have been under the influence that counterbalanced up to the upright position. I will write move about the rough ride later. The party band Roots Link, from Jamaica mon was also very, very good. They played pool side and in the Rainbow room late night. We usually semifinished the night there. The actual finish was in the casino after all the music was over.

Three of the ports of call were exciting for us as places we've never been. The Caymans was our first stop, and since we've been there many times, we stayed aboard and enjoyed our day at the pool and winning prizes playing ring toss and winning the Motown music trivia contest, with help from Ellie! After leaving the Caymans on New Year's Eve on the way to Costa Rica, they ship had to turn around to take an injured passenger back to the Caymans for hospital care. We heard later that the passenger will be okay. Our arrival in Costa Rico was delayed until about 1:30 in the afternoon, which meant cancellation of a lot of tours. We actually heard people complaining of how awful in was for the Captain to turn around. There is nothing wrong with being disappointed on missing a tour, but to actually complain about the Captain's decision. Unbelievable! What if he had been one of their friends or relative.

The port was new for us. We just got off the ship with a group of others and toured the city, Puerto Limon. Not much to see. Our next stop was another new one for us, Colon Panama. We had the domed train tour scheduled, however since the train was not full our tour was canceled. No big deal. As they say, sh** happens. We booked a Gatum Locks tour of the Canal and a river excursion. After the excursion we walked a trail thru a rain forest. We took a lot of photos including, monkeys, birds, and even a crocodile. It was a very nice tour. We had heard that Colon itself is not a place to be on your own. After riding thru twice we certainly understand why. The next day we stopped at another new port for us, the isle of Roatan, which is a part of and just off the coast of Honduras. We did some nice shopping there and bought wood bracelets for all our grandkids and daughters We also bought a nice wood carving for our oldest daughter who was getting our mail, etc while we were away. We enjoyed this island.

Our final stop was Cozumel which we've been many times. We docked where the auto ferry docks next to Senior Frogs. We just got off and walked around that shopping area and bought a few things and took photos with the parrots on our heads. Now we are real parrotheads!

Our last day at Sea was Jan 7, my birthday. I received a present from Ellie and Frank and a nice card from our British table mates, and a real nice one from Rita. She said I have to wait for my present at the birthday party my daughters are having for me and our oldest granddaughter on the Saturday after we return home.

In summary we had a great time and met a lot of very nice folks. It was a very good cruise for us. The exception would be how the ship rocked and rolled. Many passengers became ill and one evening it was so bad they had to cancel the production show from fear of their dancers becoming injured. Speaking of injuries, we believe the ships motion caused the before mentioned passenger who was evacuated and the few others we observed wearing arm slings. There was also a couple passengers injured at the pool. We wondered if we had booked a doomed cruise with all the accidents and injuries.

Anyway, they moved the comedian ahead one night and did the show the following evening. While we are on entertainment we will say the production shows (we only attended one and one-half) were average. The comedian was a little above average and the Ventriliguest/Comedian was outstanding!

We also, apparently had a mild outbreak of Norvirus on our cruise as the railing was cleaned with ammonia one day. We also knew of two passengers who were quarantined in their cabin, and we heard there were a few others.

Disembarkation was very sad, but very fast. Celebrity does a great job in this area. After taking a taxi back to the hotel to pick up our auto, we were on the road heading north by 9;30. We spent the night in Dalton, GA and I watched the Ohio State-Florida football game that turned out to be a bust. Rita slept. We got up early and made it home and back to reality by 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, Jan 9.

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