Zenith 2001
Itinerary Show Map = ports at anchor
Friday
27th April
- Fly to New York, USA
& stay overnight
Saturday-New York, USA
(pm) embark Zenith
Sunday-at sea
Monday-Hamilton, Bermuda
Tuesday-Hamilton, Bermuda
Wednesday-transfer to St George, Bermuda
Thursday-St George, Bermuda
Friday-at sea
Saturday
5th May
-New York, USA disembark
& fly to UK overnight
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Zenith approaches The Town Cut at St George, Bermuda.


Back to familiar territory for me, John & Andrew but with 4 others this time; Gerry was back after a cruise-absence of 4 years (lured by the attraction of Bermuda) and we would be joined again by Joyce, Anny (on her 3rd cruise) as well as "cruise virgin" and next-door neighbour Anne.

To date, this was our largest Group; I named us "The Magnificent Seven"!

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Friday 27th April
Flight to New York, USA
We joined Anny & Gerry at Heathrow Airport, while Joyce arrived later from Manchester. Our flight to John F Kennedy Airport was around 7 and-a-half hours and thankfully, the transfer arrangements laid on by Celebrity worked fine and by 4pm local time, we were in our hotel, the Millennium Broadway, close to Times Square.
(left) The gleaming Art Deco spire of the Chrysler Building (1930) 1,046 feet (319m) tall


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Rockefeller Plaza
Bronze Maiden
(by Paul Manship 1933)
St Patrick's Cathedral
by James Renwick (1879)
Interior of St Patrick's Cathedral
The Crossing, Choir and Altar

Although everyone was a bit travel-weary, I managed to persuade them to take a walk over to the Rockefeller Centre for something to eat and then to St Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.

John and the others then returned to the hotel but Gerry, Joyce & I continued down Fifth Avenue to 34th Street and the Empire State Building, where we went up to the 86th Floor Observation Deck for a fabulous view at dusk, as the lights went on all over the city!


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Empire State Building
Main Lobby
Midtown Manhattan
& the Hudson River
The Chrysler Building World Trade Centre

The Empire State Building
The city's No.1 tourist attraction since 1931, it was the World's tallest building for more than 40 years, until the completion of the World Trade Centre in 1972. Ironically, following the 9/11 disaster in 2001, it once again became the tallest building in New York at 1,250 ft (381 m) high and 102 floors - until that is, the completion in 2013 of the new One World Trade Centre Tower, which while not the tallest in the World, will be the tallest in New York at a symbolic 1,776 ft high (including its 408 ft mast!)

It's also worth mentioning that when it was completed in 1930, the Chrysler Building (1,046ft) was the tallest building in the city but only for 1 year. In fact, the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building (only its 86th floor) is 4 feet higher at 1,050 feet!


Show Picture Full Size After an exhausting day "on the go" for nearly 22 hours, we returned along Broadway to our hotel close to Times Square at 9.30pm (2.30am by UK time!)

(left & right) Colourful neon advertising in Times Square
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Saturday 28th April
New York, USA - Day 2

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After a splendid breakfast at a nice diner near Times Square, Andrew, Anny and Anne went off to the Empire State Building and John headed for the New York Metropolitan Museum. Meanwhile, Gerry, Joyce & I went down to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum at Pier 86 on the Hudson River.


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USS Intrepid
Aircraft-carrier from 1943
On the Flight Deck Iwo Jima Memorial
pre-production sculpture
USS Edson
Destroyer from 1958

The museum was founded in 1982 to accommodate USS Intrepid, a World War II Aircraft-carrier with an illustrious career, decommissioned in 1974. Joined later by the Destroyer USS Edson and the Submarine USS Growler, both from 1958, exhibits include a replica Mercury Space Capsule from 1962 and on the flight deck, a Lockheed A-12 "Blackbird" Supersonic Recconnaissance Plane.

At the Cruise Terminal close by, Zenith was already at Pier 88 and was discharging the last of her passengers from this morning's arrival, as was her sister-ship Horizon, fortunately in the far berth at Pier 90 (otherwise who knows what confusion might have occurred if they had been next to each other at the same pier!) Meanwhile, there was a third ship in today....
In the next berth at Pier 90 was Seabourn Sun, previously the 5-star-plus Royal Viking Sun (37,845grt) of 1988. We sailed on her under Royal Viking in 1992 and under Cunard in 1996 when she was the highest rated cruise ship in the World. However, luxury aside, she never quite suited the Seabourn brand and in 2002, she would be successfully remodelled and transferred to sister company Holland America Line as the new Prinsendam. Show Picture of Seabourn Sun Full Size


Show Picture Full Size Embarkation & Departure
The Cruise Terminal was right next door but we still had to go back to the hotel to collect our luggage before then enduring a 90 minute queue to board!
(left) Zenith at Pier 88, New York & (right) The Magnificent Seven!
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Check-in was a bit of a farce and we were all pretty fed-up by the time we finally got aboard; then Boat Drill 15 minutes later seemed like the final straw! But at pre-dinner drinks, we played my game "7 Dwarfs" to break the mood. It was just a bit of fun and I didn't keep a record of it but no-one was allowed to be Snow White and I do recall that Joyce was unanimously voted "Dopey"!


Show Picture Full Size The Caravelle Restaurant
At last, our table assignment was not only correct but an excellent one by the windows and our waiters, Georgi & Daniel, were most agreeable. Pity the same could not be said about the neighbours, a rowdy bunch of Italian New Yorkers, just too close for comfort!
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Sunday 29th April
A Day at Sea - en-route to Bermuda

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A relaxing day with (for Joyce & me) just a poorly attended and not very professional Dance-class in the morning; then snoozing all afternoon and a constant talk of food in-between!

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The Zenith Lobby The Fleet Bar The Library The Martini Bar
Heralding a future!

That evening was Formal and the Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party. Held in the Theatre, it means that you can usually only get one drink (unless your name is Andrew!) and it was a subdued affair, although Captain Ioannis Papanikolaou was an "old hand" of 33 years and very confident of himself.


Monday 30th April - Tuesday 1st May
Hamilton, Bermuda
Bermuda Flag Map >> Show Map

Everyone was up (more-or-less!) on queue for our arrival off the northern tip of Bermuda and the long run down the islands, past Dockyard and through Two Rock Passage into Hamilton Sound, eventually turning to come alongside opposite my own "fantasy island", White's Island in Hamilton Sound, once a US Coast Guard Station in World War I and today a youth sail-training centre.

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White's Island
My "Fantasy Island"
Zenith
alongside Front Street
Dockyard
The Ferry & Clocktower Mall
The Keep
& Gate to the Keep Pond

Soon we were equipped with our bus passes and aboard the Ferry to the ex-Royal Navy Dockyard and the Bermuda Maritime Museum, a tranquil retreat with plenty to interest all, including dolphins in the Keep Pond, a burger restaurant (for Joyce!) and shopping in the Clocktower Mall.

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The Commissioner's House (1827) The Commissioner's House
Entrance Hall & Commissioners' Board Room
The view from
The Verandah

The Commissioner's House
Completed in 1827, this was the first residential building in history to utilise cast-iron framing, which was all pre-fabricated and transported from England. Like many other Dockyard buildings, the walls are hard Bermuda limestone, largely quarried by convicts and slaves. The Commissioner's House was originally occupied by the Dockyard Commissioners and then by the Army, as the Royal Marine Barracks until 1914, when it became married quarters and barracks for naval ratings during the Great War.

When the Navy left in 1951, the six-acre Keep and Commissionerís House were left to decay until 1974 when the Bermuda Maritime Museum took responsibility. With only voluntary donors and contributions, the restoration of the building was finally completed in 2000, the largest restoration project ever undertaken in Bermuda and earning an RICS Architectural Excellence Award. It is now an elegant exhibition and special events space and a major asset for the cultural heritage of the Island.

Show Picture Full Size The Flying Boat Service to Bermuda began in 1937 and though it lasted only until 1948, it played a significant part in the opening-up of the island. I bought one of these splendid Limited Edition Prints by artist John Finch here and on the evening of our departure from Bermuda, I was made a surprise presentation of the other one by Joyce & Anne, as a "thankyou" for bringing them here! Show Picture Full Size

The others enjoyed Dockyard so much that they wanted to stay longer than planned, so we made a day of it, returning by bus later, Andrew & Gerry going ahead of us and John doing his own thing.

Back aboard "Zeenith" (as the Americans insist on calling her!) that evening was a bit lively, with a Caribbean/Disco Party on deck and a Midnight Movie Quiz dominated by the New Yorkers!

Day 2 in Hamilton, Bermuda
Next morning, Andrew led us on a private walking tour of Fort Hamilton.

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A Moon Gate
John, Andrew, Anne, Joyce, Anny & Gerry
The Ramparts of Fort Hamilton
Zenith & Horizon (just arrived from St George) below
The Moat
Botanical Gardens

Although close by, Fort Hamilton is often overlooked by tourists and while it has not been developed much as a museum, it is still worth exploring its passages and tunnels, dating from the 1860's. Apart from the view over Hamilton from the ramparts, its other striking feature is the luxuriant Botanical Garden in the old Moat, which benefits from its own unique micro-climate.


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Hamilton Cathedral Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, Hamilton
Completed in Neo-Gothic style in 1911
Zenith
Alongside Front Street

Show Picture Full Size After lunch, we took a very crowded bus (standing all the way) to pretty Church Bay on the South Shore, where a pleasant paddle was had but attempts to sit on the beach were frustrated by ants in the sand!

Next stop was at Gibbs Hill Lighthouse but because of the crowded buses, we had to walk (20 min) which did not please Anny, who was in flip-flops!


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Gibbs Hill Lighthouse (1846)
(Photos from our trip aboard Horizon in 1995)
354 feet down! The Lighthouse
Tea-Room

Completed in 1846, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse was only the 2nd in the World to be made of cast-iron and it was shipped in pieces from England. The 185 steps to the top don't include the hill climb but at 354 feet above sea-level, there's a stunning view over Bermuda and highly respectable Tea-room (selling Earl Grey Tea and cream cakes!) in which to recover afterwards!


The Trouble with Travelling "Tourist"
After standing all the way on the bus back, John's planned pre-dinner Ferry trip was frustrated by a change from the timetable. Then our rowdy Italian New York table-neighbours (two of whom were twins, nick-named by Andrew "Robin and Dobbin") got so carried away by the appallingly-bad "wandering trio" serenading the tables, that they ended up singing at the dinner table! (photo right) Zenith by Night >>
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Wednesday 2nd - Thursday 3rd May
St George, Bermuda
Bermuda Flag Map >> Show Map


Show Picture Full Size Day 3 in Bermuda & the Passage to St George
Just as I did last time in 1998, I disembarked at 5.45am (making sure the crew knew what I was doing!) and watched the ship leave at dawn, before catching the first bus from Hamilton to St George.
(left) Zenith and the "Birdcage" before dawn, a I head for the Bus-Station


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Zenith
approaches the Town Cut
The Town Cut Tranquil St George Harbour
Zenith tied-up at Penno's Wharf


Show Picture Full Size The Town Cut, St George's
Entering St George's Harbour from the sea is an experience, as the ship passes through the Town Cut, a narrow channel blasted-out in 1917. At the entrance stands the ruined Gates Fort (dating from 1609) where the Town Crier stands and greets the ships as they enter the harbour.
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After breakfast back on board, and flushed with the success of our trip to Fort Hamilton yesterday, we went to look for Fort George, once the site of a Watch-Tower and Semaphor-Station.

Show Picture Full Size Dating from 1788 and rebuilt in the 1840's, sadly there isn't much remaining, apart from the view but while there, we watched as Norwegian Majesty arrived in the harbour through the "Town Cut".
(left) From Fort George & (right) Norwegian Majesty & the Town Cut
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Back in King's Square for some shopping and then we watched the Ducking Stool Ceremony.

The Ducking Stool Ceremony
The Ducking Stool was a traditional form of medieval punishment (of women) by public humiliation and is an example of "local justice" for minor misdemeanours. Today, the entertainment put on for the tourists re-enacts the punishment of a "Nagging Wife" - not very "PC" these days but it's all in good fun. This 5 min video is worth a watch!
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The others all wanted to "Shop & Flop" in the afteroon, so I went off on my own to find a section of the Railway Trail outside St George but I mis-judged the correct bus-stop and consequently ended-up walking much too far and wore myself out!

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A Moon Gate The State House
Bermuda's oldest building
Chimney-pots and Roof-tops

Day 4 in Bermuda
With just a morning available on our last day, we took the Ladies to see the Crystal Caves and then back to St George for more shopping and lunch aboard. Zenith then sailed at 3.00pm for New York, meeting Horizon coming out of Hamilton and passing the famous Pacific Princess inbound.

Show Picture Full Size Pacific Princess (the "Love Boat")
Built in 1971 for Flagship Cruises, she ran cruises to Bermuda as Sea Venture (19,903grt), the same name as the ship which brought the first settlers to Bermuda in 1609. From 1975 to 2002 as Pacific Princess, she became famous as the "Love Boat" from the popular 70's TV series.
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Friday 4th May
A Day at Sea

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Show Picture Full Size A quiet, lazy day for all; me in the shade, the others baking in the sun and anticipating the next eating or drinking opportunity!

Last days being what they are, there was packing to do but certain people in the group resolutely refused to do it until the very last minute!
(left) Packing still not done, Anny & Joyce relax with a drink in the Fleet Bar


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Saturday 5th May
New York, USA
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There's only one first sailing into New York, so Joyce, Anne & Anny were "under orders" to be up in time! An hour back on the clocks helped but everyone (even Anny!) was on deck at 6.00am for the entry into New York.

The Verrazano Bridge (above)
Named after the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first known European to enter these waters in 1524, the Bridge was opened in 1964. With a centre-span of 4,260 ft (1,298m), this was the longest suspension bridge in the World until the Humber Bridge in England in 1981 but it is still the longest in the USA, being just 60 ft longer than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

The Statue of Liberty (below)
Prior to 1964 and the Bridge, this was the first sight that greeted passengers on their arrival in New York. Standing on Liberty Island in the Harbor, the statue was a gift to the City of New York from the people of France in 1886, symbolising the struggle for freedom; the Torch of Freedom rises 305 ft above the Bay and at the time, it was the tallest structure in New York. The Statue holds a tablet dated 4th July 1776 and an engraved plaque at its base includes the words, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free." Read more about the Statue of Liberty at www.nps.gov/stli >>


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The Statue of Liberty Horizon
coming in behind us
Grant's Tomb
In Riverside Park
Inside Grant's Tomb
(Internet Photo)

Our twin ship Horizon followed us in, having been about a mile off our starboard quarter all the way from Bermuda. Disembarking after breakfast, we were transferred to the hotel, where instead of proper Day-rooms, facilities has been arranged for us to leave our luggage until our airport pickup later in the day. So, splitting-up, a few of us went on the New York Metro to find Grant's Tomb, the enormous mausoleum to the America Civil War General and 18th US President Ulysses S Grant.

Close to Grant's Tomb is Riverside Church, completed in 1930 with a Gothic tower dwarfing the rest of it but also notable for its 74-bell carillon.

Conceived by J D Rockefeller as an interdenominational centre for Christian worship and learning, it has long been a stronghold of activism and political debate; for example, marching in the Annual Gay Pride Parade since 1978.
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The Cathedral Church of St John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue was our next stop.

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St John the Unfinished
The West Front
The Great Bronze Doors
Each 18 ft x 12 ft by Henry Wilson (1927-31)
48 relief panels depicting scenes from the Bible & Apocalypse
The West Front
Rose Window

Show Picture Full Size Still under construction, it was commenced in 1892 and has an interior length of 601 ft, while the Nave vaults rise 124 ft above the floor. It claims to be the largest Cathedral in the World outside Rome, although this is disputed with Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in the UK, unlike which it is still today incomplete, earning itself the nickname "St John the Unfinished".

When I first came here in 1989, I found the building dark and overbearing and I was curious to see if I felt the same 12 years later. The stated aim then was to complete the West Towers by 1992 but they never did. Indeed, things would take a turn for the worse before the end of 2001....

(left) View of the Nave (124 feet high) towards the Choir and Sanctuary (guide-book photo)

St John The Divine (2008)
Disaster struck on the night of December 18, 2001, when a fire swept through the unfinished north transept, destroying the gift shop and for a time threatening the sanctuary of the Cathedral itself. Fortunately, the Organ was also spared, although many tapestries were lost and smoke damage was extensive. The Cathedral was closed for 7 years, reopening in November 2008, following which, a programme of chemical stone cleaning and restoration has been on-going.

For our overnight flight from John F Kennedy Airport to London Heathrow, we were back aboard British Airways.


Zenith in hindsight....
This was our 3rd cruise with Celebrity and although the experience had improved since 1995/98, of Zenith, I wrote in my diary:

"Have decided I don't really like this ship. It's too "New Yorkish" and a bit common; not a lot of class. But Bermuda for 4 days more than compensates for this and as always, it's a case of value for for money."

It is interesting to note that in 2006, we made the same choice again, and for much the same reasons!


See Detailed Mileage Log for this cruise >>

Cruise Mileage: 1,344 nautical miles
Total Mileage to date: 80,251 n miles

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