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We just did the 7/8 sailing of the Zenith to Bermuda. I picked the Zenith since it seems to have the best itinerary (most time ashore) of the ships going to Bermuda. I was concerned based on prior reviews about the condition of the ship. Here are my observations of the trip.
Embarkation - Got to the pier at about 11:30 and was checked in within 5 minutes. They started to let us board at about noon.
Disembarkation - We were told to meet in the theatre at 9:15 to disembark at 9:30. They called us to disembark at exactly 9:30 and we picked up out luggage on the pier and were through Customs by 9:40 and on our way home.
Service - Excellent all around. Our waiter Zvonimir and our asst. waiter Felix were excellent as was our cabin steward Peterson. Our Maitre'd, Franco, quickly handled a couple of special food requests made by my wife. Guest Relations personnel were always polite and helpful whenever I dealt with them.
Food - It was actually very good. Both my wife and I enjoyed all of the food that we ordered in the dining room at dinner time and it was always prepared as we had requested. The food in the buffet was quite good as well at lunch time. With the exception of the last day of the cruise, I was always able to find something to eat at the buffet for lunch. The last day I opted for a burger from the grill instead. The food at the buffet was actually hot most of the time which seems to be a trick very few other ships are able to pull off. I went to the sushi bar 5 nights as well filling up a plate to take down to the dining room with me. The sushi was pretty good too.
Entertainment - There were three production shows that were very enjoyable. Headline entertainers included a magician (Carl Andrews) and a comedian (Joe Mulligan). Both of them put on a very good show. There was also a singer/impressionist (Paul Tanner). He has a lot of energy, but his show just did not appeal to me that much. The rest of the audience seemed to like him.
Shore Excurions - We didn't do any of the ships excursions. We opted to use the local bus system to get around, mostly to the islands great beachs. The ships bank, near the Guest Relations desk sells both 1 day and 3 day bus passes for use on the island for the same price you would pay for them on shore.
Gym - The gym is very small and has very little equipment. There are 6 treadmills and 2 elliptical trainers and a couple of bicycles. Weight training equipment is limited to one multi-station machine and a few dumbbells. If you are really in to working out you will be very disappointed.
Condition of the ship - This seems to be an area of great controversy with many people reporting that the ship really shows its age. To be honest, I didn't see all of this wear and tear. I did not see any threadbare carpets or torn furniture that some other people have reproted. Our cabin was very clean and all of the furniture was in good repair. The bed, while not great, was accpetable. In the bathroom, in the shower, where the plumbing fixtures connect to the wall there was some evidence of rust. Other than that, the bathroom was spotless. I think that peoples perception of the physical condition of the ship may stem in part from its decor or perhaps more correctly from the lack of decor. You don't see artwork in the corridors as you do on many of the newer ships so it gives the corridors a rather cold, stark look. There is no fancy woodwork on the staircase landings with niches filled with exotic art as on other ships so things look pretty plain all around. That being said, while it may be plain looking, it is clean.
Smoking - The only disappointment we had was on the last day of the cruise sailing back to Bayonne. There were 4 men smoking cigars on the non-smoking side of the deck. A call was placed to Guest Relations to verify the ships smoking policy. Guest Relations then indicated that security personnel would be dispatched to tell the men to move to the smoking side of the ship. A quick check 30 minutes later revealed that all 4 men were still there smoking their cigars and no action had been taken.
Overall - We throughly enjoyed the cruise and our time ashore in Bermuda.
Donuts, is there anything they can't do....