Ranked #7 Celebrity fleet
Ranked #38 among all ships
Mercury left Celebrity in 2011, going to German sister company TUI Cruises. Reviews here are for historic reference only ...Read the CruiseMates report
Ranked #7 Celebrity fleet
Ranked #38 among all ships
Mercury left Celebrity in 2011, going to German sister company TUI Cruises. Reviews here are for historic reference only ...Read the CruiseMates report
Embarkation at San Diego went fast with only 15 minutes from start to finish. We parked at Aladdin Parking a mile away and took their shuttle to the cruise dock. Fast and efficient in all regards.
My husband and I have cruised 6 times on Princess and Holland America. This was our first Celebrity and will be our last. We bought the tickets at a great discount because of the Norwalk virus scares in the spring along with the firing of the ships captain for being drunk on duty. We assumed they would have cleaned the ship and found a sober Captain by November and were intrigued to find out why Celebrity would consider themselves above Princess and Holland America cruise lines.
Our room inside cabin was adequate with plenty of storage. Not as fancy as Holland America in décor and electronics and bedding but with about the same amount of space as HAL and bigger than the Princess cabins we have been on. Later on we found that the sheets were threadbare, the towels were well used and just like everything else on the ship, the bedding needed to be replaceddue to extreme wear and tear.
The first problem we had was with the seating for dinner. We had been put on second seating and we cannot eat that late. We asked to move to first seating and was denied. This is usually not a problem as we enjoy eating the nightly buffet upstairs on the Lido deck in every other ship we have been on. Not on Mercury. Mercury DOES NOT have a nightly buffet. They will take a few people for a FEE in the buffet area. I resent having to pay a fee to eat in the buffet room for dinner.
I would like to say the food was horrible straight away. Nothing was remotely cooked correctly in any meal and we are not fussy eaters whatsoever. The bacon was raw and clumped together when cooked. You could not get just one piece; you got a hunk of luke warm fat. Scrambled eggs were cold and overcooked, I could go on and on but you get the idea. Lunch was the same. We ate salads most of the time for lunch because the food was just so totally unappetizing. It took them 7 days of a 10 day cruise to find the salt and pepper shakers and put them on the tables in the buffet. Amazing. The tables were not cleaned from one user to another to the point where you had to ask a cleaner to stop talking to another cleaner and actually clear any of the tables so that a person could sit and eat at every meal.
The sushi bar at night reused the sushi. I accidentally pushed in one of the self served California rolls with the tongs while trying to serve myself and we were amazed to find the same piece on the tray the next night when we went back. The pizza bar had pizzas sitting under lights for hours and would not make anything new as long as it was under the warming trays. The hamburger grill did the same. Nothing was freshly made. None of the cooks seemed to care as well.
The ship was dirty. Not just used but filthy. The windows were caked with salt spray and you could not see out of many of them. The chairs in the Grand Foyer had holes in the arms. The elevator floors were marked and scuffed up badly and in desperate need of refinishing. The ashtrays and beer bottles were not picked up on the promenade deck for 4 days. I finally asked the front desk on day 4 to send someone up to the PROMONADE deck to take care of the more than 20 beer bottles and 5 overflowing ashtrays that had not been touched since we departed San Diego. It took them 5 more hours to attend to this.
The Promenade Deck you could not walk around because it was blocked off at each end. Since this was Mexico with 90 plus temperatures you would think they would have this deck ready for people to walk without getting in the sun.
The biggest problem I had was a freak occurrence that happened at the Cova Café where we sat daily for cappuccinos while playing cards. It has about 30-40 small café tables that seat 4. They also served small sandwiches and pastries in the morning which made up for the food in the buffet slightly. We were sitting there sipping our coffees and eating some snacks along with 4 or 5 other occupied tables in our first day in port in Cabo San Lucas. A man walked into the area with a mask over his face, a chemical tank on his back and a long wand in his hand. He proceeded to spray all the chairs that were not occupied including the two at our small table. The chemical that he sprayed bubbled on the chairs. It drifted into the air and onto our food and drink. We sat in amazement and tried to talk to him to ask him what in the heck he had just done but he was a man on a mission, spraying all the other chairs. We sat there truly puzzled and amazed at this. We stopped eating and drinking and moved away, however we ended up with a slight case of diahhrea for the rest of the cruise that I attribute to this idiotic behavior.
Other things to note that were truly truly wrong. The movies for a 10 day cruise in the theatre were 4 older movies and they were repeated for the entire 10 days both in the theatre and on the television in the room. I think it is incredibly cheap to offer a 10 day cruise and have only 4 movies. The library was only opened a very very few hours a day and it took 3 times to find it actually open during the times he said it would be. The game room had been changed and put into the Michaels Smoking Lounge and there was never anyone there to hand out cards or games. The place stunk to high heavens of cigar smoke from the time you got off the elevator. The first day of two days at sea on our way home they decide to wash the promenade deck at 9 am till 11 am so nobody could go outside.
We never saw any officers on this ship, The shops were lacking items in every department and I saw the head of the flower shop berating her employees so many times we started calling her the Dragon Lady every time we walked by.
Overall I give this ship, the Mercury, a failing grade from start to finish. The ship looked like it had not been repaired or items replaced in the many years since it had launched. I have been on HAL and Princess ships the same age and felt they were brand new. I will never EVER consider Celebrity again. Not when HAL and Princess do it so much better consistently. What a horrid time and a horrible waste of money.
I booked this 3 day Pacific Northwest cruise a week before as a solo cruiser, my 17th cruise, 2nd on Celebrity. I arrived at SEATAC at 12:30, took ShuttleExpress and was at Pier 66 by 1:30. It was a picture perfect day so after lunch I disembarked and went to Pike Place Market for an hour. I had an inside cabin on deck 4 continental aft. There was a lot of vibration when the ship was starting up, it felt like an earthquake. There was no noise from the dining room just above though. The ship is older but well kept, except for the bedding which needs a change.
There is lots of storage. At dinner I was seated with a party of 5 which was awkward. There was no formal night on the 3 day, 2 casuals and an informal only. The third night I ate in casual dining at the buffet area. The food was very good at the buffet breakfast and lunch. The entertainment was good for such a short cruise as well. I loved Victoria, went to the gardens and shopped in town afterwards. In Nanaimo,I took an excursion to Cathedral Grove and Coombs Market, a pleasant day. I had great weather, lots of people were from Seattle area, although some as far away as Chicago and Miami (I am from Los Angeles). Disembarkation was very smooth, we had to be out of our cabins at 8:30. I enjoyed the T pool in the spa along with the steam room. I would highly recommend this itinerary for a long weekend.
We did the 12 day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Mercury.
THE GOOD NEWS: Ths ship was clean and the dinner and lunch food and main restaurant service were great.
Although about 150 people got the Norwalk Virus, the ship did everything possible to prevent its spread. Infected passengers were quaranteened in their staterooms. There were hand sanitizing stations everywhere. They would not permit people to re-board from the towns without sanitizing their hands.
There is an excellent string quartet and there were lectures by astronauts. We did not go to any of the shows.
THE BAD NEWS: They served the absolute worst bacon that I have ever had. The bacon was very fatty and often undercooked. And the breakfast ham resemebled SPAM. This is disgracefull given the excellent food at the other meals.
Mixed drinks were watery and over-priced. This is a clear rip off of a captive audience. Next time, I will bring my own. Celebrity will sell you a one liter bottle for your cabin for $50 for low-end liquor. Another rip off of a captive audience.
The worst rip off is the Internet. They charge $0.75 per minute ($45/hour) forvery slow (~28Kbaude) speed. You can do much better on shore when you visit the towns.
The walking tours were also a rip off. There just isn't that much to see in these towns so, after seeing the cathedral, they take you to their favored shops. It is much better and less expensive to hire a local cab for a ride around town.
March is too late to go on this cruise. It was very hot and humid in all of the towns.
SUMMARY: We would probably go with Celebrity again. I would bring my own liquor, be more careful about shore excursions, and not use the on-board internet.
We sailed the Mexican Riviera on the Mercury January 13 - 23, 2006. This was our 4th cruise with Celebrity, first time on this itinerary. Although the ship is due to be refurbished soon, we found it to be very clean and overall in good repair. Some carpets in main traffic areas needed replacing but were not objectionable. Our inside room was more than adequate in space and storage and our steward kept it clean, towels continually replenished, ice bucket full. We never caught him in our room in 10 days and we used a lot of ice for our water bottles, and showered several times each day resulting in many wet towels.
Both embarkation and disembarkation were by far, the fastest and smoothest we have ever experienced. A glass of 'welcome aboard' champagne was handed to each person as they boarded...nice touch. They allowed boarding as early as 11:00 a.m.! and were serving lunch by shortly past noon. Staterooms available by 1:00. Sail-away party was pretty pathetic due to cool, windy weather and a delayed departure (one hour) due to a medical emergency. San Diego is a beautiful harbor to sailaway from.
Celebrity still has the best buffet in the industry, but we were sorry to have to concur with some previous reviews on the dining room (Manhatten) menus. On three of the ten evenings, we felt the entree we ordered was definitely not up to Celebrity's usual standard. However, having said that, we would just avoid dishes that include "marinated" (may indicate a poor cut of meat) or other combinations. The service on Mercury is wonderful and the staff were exceptionally gracious.
Unfortunately, some people will travel a great distance and go to great expense just to find a new place to complain. We avoided the La Playa grill (we can get hamburgers at home) but some people seemed to eat there daily. The pizza/pasta bar was very good, as were the waffle station, and sushi bar. We especially enjoyed the soup/sandwich/wrap/salad bar in the Palm Springs restaurant for lunches. We only ate in the dining room for lunch twice, but the food was excellent and it was a nice relaxing and quiet change from the buffet line. We made a reservation in the Casual Blvd. one evening (part of the buffet seating area dressed up with linen, etc.) and enjoyed it very much. As the waiters here are 'in training' a modicum of patience and humor is in order.
As with many cruises over 7 days, the average age was quite honestly 'OLD'. We are early 50's and were among the youngsters. More disturbing however, was the large number of extremely obese. Its a wonder there weren't more emergency medical evacuations.
We attended almost every evening performance in the theater. The Celebrity singers and dancers were better than average, and a larger group than usual--6 singers and 9 dancers I think. On this 10 night itinerary they covered 4 full shows, which may have been a bit much. The aerialists/adagio duo, Jean-Claude and Gaby were simply awesome. The comedian Louis Johnson was hilarious and kept the show family friendly. The violinist, Dominique Ava was quite amazing. Overall, we would rate the entertainment as better than we've experienced on most other ships.
We used the gym daily. It could use some new equipment but was quite adequate. Other than winning a free Ionetherme treatment (ouch) valued at $160.00 the spa is too pricey for our tastes. I think it is unfortunate that the spa thalassotherapy pool is not available to all. Every 'free' session in the spa area, is to sell you some very expensive treatments, creams, procedures, etc. Heh, if you can afford it you could have a wonderful time in there. My first choice would be the hot stone massage which I got to sample. Enjoyed seeing all new ports, but our favorite was definitely Zihuatanejo, a tendered port but worth the effort. It is a quiet fishing village. No hawking is allowed on beaches or streets, the vendors are required to stay in their allotted stalls. There are no big hotel chains , resorts or bars...it is peaceful and gorgeous.
The only excursion we booked through the ship was the Outdoor Challenge in Puerto Vallarta (PV 36). It was well worth the money, compared to many ship excursions. For $89 US we took a boat through the harbor to the Vallarta Adventures office, where we boarded a big safari-style Mercedes truck with two bench seats with seat belts in the back. After a one hour drive to base camp, we were fitted with â?~dive' shirts, climbing harness and gear, and helmet. We travelled halfway up the narrow mountain trail on mules, then to the summit on foot. (This was the only section I found a little difficult...puff,puff) We then did a total of 6 zip lines across the jungle, up to 200 feet above the ground. We rappelled down acliff, the final portion through a waterall and into a rather chilly mountain pond, slid down a nature made waterslide, then hiked our way back down the mountain, wading across many streams. Exhilarating and fun.
At base camp, there were sub buns, cold meats, lettuce, tomato, cold drinks. Unfortunately the pictures the official photographer takes are $15.00 apiece (4 by 6 photo). We took a disposable water camera and got some pictures, but it is too dark in many places due to the jungle canopy. By the way, the brochure from both the ship and the company suggests insect repellent, but we were told not to use any as it is an eco-friendly tour and would contaminate the water. I got 8 wicked bites of some kind, so suggest you bring some "after-bite" or equivalent. Found hand sanitizer gel helped! Celebrity's wonderful service is apparent when you return to the ship from the port visit and they are waiting with cold wet facecloths, cold lemonade or water.
Overall, a great cruise, wonderful service, great food and new friends.
My wife and I had wanted to go on a special cruise last year, to celebrate our 50th birthdays. Having looked at all the brochures we decided on Alaska, and chose Mercury as we had been on her sister ship Galaxy. What a great start to the trip when BA upgraded us to World Traveller Plus for our flight from London to Seattle.
Seattle was experiencing a mini heat-wave when we arrived, and the Mercury looked beautiful in the brilliant sunshine as we approached Pier 69. However, embarkation was chaos and we were queuing on the pavement in over 90 degree heat. It transpired that it was Mercury's first visit to Seattle, and she was late arriving that morning so it took us about 2 hours to board.
Once on board we soon relaxed, and were thrilled when we reached our cabin. We had booked 8007 specifically, having seen comments about it on a Cruise Critic forum, as being "L shaped" it is about 50% bigger than other cabins. Another bonus is that the window is right on the front of the ship, giving panoramic views ahead. During the week wesaw amazing scenery from the cabin, as well as the spectacle of 2 humpbacks rising and diving in front of the bows.
Mercury may be over 8 years old, but Celebrity has done a great job of keeping her looking clean and fresh. No matter how busy it is on board, you can always find a quiet area to relax or have a drink with friends. The crew are excellent and look after you're every need, from the efficient restaurant and bar staff to the first class singers and dancers in the Celebrity Theatre. The only disappointing meal we had was when we missed early sitting in the Manhattan Restaurant as we were ashore, and went up to eat in the Palm Springs Café. The food was only lukewarm, and by the time we had queued for drinks and found a seat it was actually cold. I don't know if this was a general occurrence as we prefer dining in the restaurant and getting to know the people on our table. We always book a large table so that we get to meet and chat with people from different places.
Well the main reason for taking this cruise was to see some spectacular scenery and wildlife, and we weren't disappointed. A lot of the cruise is spent either hugging the coast or in Fjords, so you see a lot more than just open seas. Many passengers spent a lot of time on deck looking for whales and porpoises, not forgetting the amazing scenery, and when really close to shore there was always the chance of seeing bears. There was a naturalist on board which was a bonus, as she gave regular talks on the wildlife and glaciers, as well as making announcements out on deck when there was something interesting to see.
As for many other people, an important part of cruising for us is visiting the ports and going on excursions. In Juneau we had booked a whale watching trip over the web with Captain Larry, and it was worth every penny. He had a very fast boat, which took only 24 passengers, and he was able to follow two large of pods of Orcas. We were with them for about 2 hours and also saw a humpback for a lot of the time, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Skagway was really attractive, in the style of the old cowboy towns. From here we had booked a coach trip into the Yukon, and were lucky enough to see a black bear come from the woods and amble along the road past our coach, before being frightened by another vehicle and jumping the fence into the woods.
Yakatut Bay and the Hubbard Glacier were breathtaking. It was a brilliant sunny morning, although there was a nip in the air, and most people were on deck taking photos and peering through binoculars from before 6.30am. We were lucky enough to get an invite to visit the bridge while in Yakatut Bay, so after taking some photos on deck we arrived on the bridge just as Mercury stopped in front of the glacier. What a way to enjoy such a beautiful example of Mother Nature at work.
Ketchikan was another attractive town, but what struck me was the number of sea planes. There seemed to be more planes taking off and landing on the river than you see at Heathrow! On the last sea day we passed Vancouver Island just after lunch, and for the rest of the day there was plenty of interesting scenery on the shoreline on either side of the ship.
All too soon we were back in Seattle and disembarking, and doing some sightseeing before heading for the airport.
A wonderful ship, breathtaking scenery, and amazing wildlife – what more could we ask for in a cruise?
We had pretty late flights arranged by Celebrity so we didn't get to the airport in San Diego until after 2 pm. Met the Celebrity people at the baggage claim and got directions where to find the bus outside. We thought about catching a cab, but the driver said he would be leaving soon. Well, about 45 minutes later we left. Some on the bus said they were there waiting over 30 minutes before we got on the bus. So we got to the ship even later than we hoped. But we made it before sail away which is the important thing! Next time we will catch a cab. The pier is very close to the airport.
The first sea day was very cold. Lots of die hards out by the pool trying to get a tan. Including yours truly. We were in CC cabin 1025, under the overhang. No sun on that side of the ship until after Puerto Vallarta. The pools were freezing cold with no one in them at all. Except me. That is one way to keep down the overcrowded pools. The Palms Springs pool inthe aft was very popular. Especially with the kids. As well as the hot tubs. We tried the Thallasotherapy pool. Very nice just a little overcrowded.
We had a nice lunch in the Manhattan dining room. We try and eat lunch there when time permits. The food is better than the buffet and I always tend to over eat in the buffet. Just trying this and that and before you know it, you have a HUGE pile! It is also a good way to meet more people on the cruise.
We had a Concierge Cabin. It was the same size as the normal balcony cabins. There was Champagne and a fruit basket and flowers in the room and the bathroom. The best thing about the cabin I thought was the duvet cover, flowers and the mattress pad. The afternoon appetizers were not to our liking. Between being Elite members and being in a CC cabin we got a constant flurry of invites to things. Backstage tour, Wine Blending, Cocktail parties, Galley tour, etc. We were also honored to be invited to the Captain's table. Very nice . We had dined with the very same Captain in Alaska in 2003!
It was announced that afternoon that we would have to turn the ship around and head back towards San Diego to meet up with a helicopter. Apparently a 50 year old man suffered a stroke! Also a crewmember was suffering from Appendicitis The helicopter didn't rendezvous the ship until 3 am in the morning. We missed Cabo San Lucas and were late a few hours getting into Mazatlan. We left later than planned from Mazatlan to try and make up a few hours. What can you say. These things will happen on a ship with lots of people. You would never want them not to do whatever they could for the poor sick people. There were a lot of complaints. But I think some people thought if they complained they would be compensated. I think if it was a problem with an engine or something like that they might have been, but not for a medical emergency.
Mazatlan. We woke up to the view from our balcony of the misty islands in the distance. It was so pretty to see the sea birds darting about next to the ship with Stone Island peaking out of the mist . I look a very nice photo. When you got closer however you soon realized the mist was brown colored and was pollution from the nearby factories! Must worse than the other two times we came here. We were anxious to get off the ship after two sea days. We took an open cab to the Golden Zone for some serious shopping. I know that this port is good on prices and I was in the market for a pewter fish platter for my Mother. She saw one in Cabo a couple years back but decided it would be too heavy for her suitcase. Since we missed Cabo, I had to try and find the same one. It didn't take long to find. We had a wonderful lunch at Panchos on the waterfront. I can't say enough good things about the food there. Best Mexican food I have had. Of course you have to wash it down with a BIG Strawberry Margarita. There was a few musicians that came in the restaurant. For $5.00 American they would serenade you.
We took to the beach and swam a bit. The undertow is strong here. So be careful. There are a LOT of beach vendors here. But they are very polite and don't bug you if you say no thanks. I must have heard "almost free" a hundred times. I did get some nice pink coral and silver jewelry! Afterwards it was back to the ship. A little shopping at the shops by the ship and back onboard.
The next sea day was warmer. Lots of folks out by the pool. We had Eggs Benedict on our balcony. We just wrote in in at bottom of our breakfast menu.
Acapulco...I was very excited about this port. This was the first time my hubby Jim had ever been there. We booked the full day with lunch tour. Over 7 hours. Note.. We didn't book any tours until we got on the ship. There was no problem with room on the tours. It was a pretty morning and already warm. First we went to the cliff divers. A must do if you have never been to Acapulco before. Afterwards they took us to a jewelry factory. It was a small place with a gift shop. I was kind of surprised that we had over 45 minutes to shop in this little store. Nothing was mentioned in the tour description about the factory. They had a little fire in the air-conditioning in the ceiling. So the room filled with smoke and they had the fire extinguishers in action. But no real danger. Nothing to stop the die hard shoppers from spending $$ on the trinkets. I bought a pretty turquoise bracelet. No bartering here.
The next stop was the beautiful resort the Mayan Palace. Our main reason to take this tour. I was here a couple years back and wanted to return for a visit. We had a very nice buffet lunch in a pretty dining room and then 3 hours to make full use of the hotel facilities. The pools are beautiful here. We also went down to the beach and played in the ocean a bit. The pools and the ocean were warm. I would definitely do this tour again and again. I think it is the best way to enjoy Acapulco. We got back to the ship and decided to take a shower and head back out . We took a LONG walk from the ship to downtown. We wanted to see everything close up. Not from a bus or cab. We caught a cab finally to take us up the hill to the Diamond district to go have dinner at Senior Frogs. The cab driver insisted on waiting for us. He said with only one ship in port there is a lot of competition with so many cab drivers. (Always set a price with the cab driver before you get in.) We had fantastic view of the bay and very good food as well. This is not the a wild and crazy Senior Frogs. Maybe after 11 pm. it might pick up. But at 8 pm it was a quiet restaurant with families eating. There was a nice breeze that kept the place cool. We were surprised that most places are not air-conditioned. It was very warm and muggy. But up on the hill was much nicer.
Zihuatanejo ( pronounced zee-wa-tin-a-ho)..This is what all Mexican ports should look like. Pretty little bay with a lot of the local fisherman. Some repairing nets the old way. Some cutting their catch to sell right on the beach. You tender in to a short dock and right away to the right and straight ahead are the straw markets and restaurants. There is a nice path that runs along the beach and maybe three blocks deep of shops to the left. We walked along and bought a few things. After a while we stopped and had a Beer and Margarita to cool down. ( I know we sound like alcoholics. But at home I hardly ever drink. But I am always afraid of germs in Mexico and on the ships so I make sure I kill them with alcohol.) We walked back to the tender area where they were selling tickets for the water taxi to Gatas Beach. It is a short ride across the little bay. It was only $3. per person round trip! You caught it right next to where we landed with the tenders. They have boats leaving every ten minutes. It is a neat ride over to the beach because you go right past the ship on your way. Right from the landing at Gatas beach there are a long row of restaurants all with tables and chairs and lounge chairs. We picked a pretty one with the grass umbrellas (Palapas). We asked the guy working there how much $$ for the lounges for the day. He said it is free as long as we buy food and drinks there during the course of the day. He brought my husband a bucket of beers on ice. You pay for as many as you drink. I had shrimp tacos later in the day. They were good and a reasonable price. The beach... For those who say that the Caribbean beaches are nicer, you have to go here. This was so much like the Caribbean beaches! Clear water very nice white sand with coral reefs close to snorkel. Very beautiful here. A local picked up a baby sea turtle and showed everyone before he put it back in the water. This was just paradise. Absolutely the best port on the cruise. It is too bad we didn't spend longer there.
Puerto Vallarta... We took a tour to the resort Paradise Village. About 45 minutes out of town on the ocean. It is a very nice resort . We have been here a few times before. We were served a nice buffet lunch and then had a few hours to just relax and enjoy the resort. We had a few sprinkles of rain. But not much. Afterwards we went back to the ship and went straight too Wal Mart to pick up a few things. Antibiotics are very reasonable here. It is an easy walking distance from the ship. We took a cab back because it was raining and our time was getting very limited. It is only a $2.00 cab ride back. I had to do some last minute panic shopping. There were still a couple of people on my list I had to buy presents for.
The ship... This is the 6th time I have been on the Mercury. I was very surprised by the sad condition we found her in. She needs to be fixed up Celebrity! Lots of torn and worn cushions in all the public rooms. The white leather seats in the casino are almost worn through. The piping on a lot of chairs are split open and tattered. The sink in our cabin was all stained. Pink and green towels were bleach stained, the chair by the vanity mirror was broken and wobbled when you sat on it etc. Celebrity wants to promote themselves as a five star experience. I could find nicer accommodations at any Holiday Inn. Our Mercury needs a dry dock NOW! We spoke to a crew remember that said the crew area is very bad as well. She said they keep putting off the dry dock. We will be canceling our September cruise on the Mercury and taking the Infinity instead. But I still think the crew is the best! The ship was very clean. The food excellent as usual the entertainment very good, Dru our CD was fantastic. A very fun cruise. I feel completely spoiled. We did hear about a lot of passengers getting a bad cold with sore that. Our waiter said a lot of the crew had it. Also a few at our table. Then there those who had Norwalk type symptoms. Nausea vomiting lots of diarrhea. My hubby also had some bad diarrhea for a couple of days. I am so sorry for those who got sick. Not much fun. And my prays for the poor man who suffered a stroke.
I still love Celebrity and plan to stick with them for our future cruises. We have been on most the other lines and have learned to appreciate the things that Celebrity does for us.
Gook Luck to all future cruisers. Hope you have has much fun as we did!
Note... You have to check out Edwardo in the Martini Bar. He is great and a lot of fun.
This was our 20th cruise and our first to the Mexican Riviera. I had heard that the first days out and back would be cool, due to the cooler Pacific waters off California, so we booked an ocean view cabin instead of a balcony.
We flew Southwest to San Diego, arriving the day before sailing after 7h 20m flight cross country. With time zone changes, it was only 3:50pm PST when we arrived. We rented a car from Avis at the airport because we wanted to do some errands the next day before sailing. We drove to the Airport/Harbor View Days Inn which offered a double room with refrigerator and continental breakfast for only $89 per night and offered a free shuttle to the pier. From the hotel you can see the pier, which is only about 3-4 blocks away. We enjoyed dinner at Anthony's Fish Grotto, adjacent to the pier.
Feb 18: The next day we drove across the bridge to Coronado, purchased four bottles of champagne to take aboard ship, visited the Hotel Del Coronado, and had a leisurely breakfast at Marie Calender's restaurant and bakery in Coronado. Wedrove back to the hotel and I drove 1 1/2 blocks to the Avis downtown location to turn in the rental car, and they offered to shuttle me to the ship. I walked back to the hotel and took their shuttle. There was a sign at the pier that passengers would be allowed onboard at 11am. We took the 12:00 shuttle and the embarkation process was the smoothest and fastest we have experienced in several years. There was no congestion, speedy check-in, photo, and onto the ship by 12:30, greeted with the Celebrity customary glass of champagne at the gangway. They said lunch was available but to remain in public areas until a 1pm announcement that the cabins were ready. We found our cabin and a steward let us in on arrival, as it was ready. We met our steward and asked him for an extra wine bucket and to keep it filled all week, as we would be enjoying champagne in the cabin. After reminding him the first day, he did very well, and several evenings showed up about 6pm with a fresh bucket of ice.
We had selected a midships oceanview cabin on deck 4 starboard, cabin 4078. It was actually a quad cabin, and the two Pullman beds on the wall, although not used, made space alongside the bed very tight. The cabin has two closets with adequate drawers, drawers in the vanity, and drawers in the end tables. We did not even use them all There is a refrigerator stocked with the usual miniatures, sodas and snacks, for a charge. The vanity has a large mirror behind which is a large storage cabinet and the room safe. I had planned to use it as a wine rack, as I had once before, but the motion of the ocean made it noisy at night and I had to move the wine the first night to the closet. The bathroom had ample cabinet storage and dispensers for lotion and shampoo. The shower curtain is too short and invariably the floor got wet when showering, but the size of the bathroom and shower were ample. The television had CNN all cruise, pay per view movies and free movies like Troy, The Last Samurai, and others, music channels, and Celebrity commercials. The shopping/port talks were repeated all day, every day, and the cruise director Dru Pavlov, a bright Canadian cruise director, did daily updates which were also repeated throughout the day. It meant that we didn't have to go to a theatre at a fixed time to hear port information.
After dropping our carryons in the cabin we went directly to the dining room to check on our seating. We had requested a table for two at the late seating (8:30pm). We found the Maitre D set up outside the dining room and he promptly changed our table to a table for 4 and told us we could have it as a table for two all cruise. It was table 631 on the upper level, in an excellent location. The tables for 4 are small and actually crowded with four people. After a lunch buffet in the Palm Springs Grill (the Lido-style buffet area), and a tour of the ship, we returned to the cabin at 3pm and found our luggage had arrived. Boat drill was at 4:30pm and included both assembly area instruction, donning life jackets, and then proceeding to lifeboat stations. Weather was unseasonably cool, as the west coast had been inundated with more rain for a week than they had in the past 40 years, so jackets were needed. Sailaway was at 5pm and the temperature was in the low 60's with low clouds and wind. The first dinner was excellent, dress was casual, and ended with crème brulee..not bad for a start. We did find a 5 member band to dance to in the evening, Top Secret, which served as the pool band and dance band. It was one of the best we have enjoyed on cruises. They played a variety of music at night, 50's -90's, for dancing. We skipped the introductory show after dinner which featured a ventriloquist and the introduction of the cruise staff.
Mercury conducts computer classes in a computer center on deck 6, and just outside it are internet workstations. There are four more on deck 5 on the port side near the Excursions desk. These workstations are open 24/7 and there is no additional charge for printing. I purchased a 120 minute package for the cruise for 60 cents a minute and used it all. It was quite reliable.
Feb 19/Day 2: We awoke to temperatures of 62F and windy but mostly sunny weather on deck. We tried the dining room for breakfast and found that they offered eggs benedict every day! A little sun bathing around the pool, many people covered with the towels due to the temperature, and a second lunch buffet. I noted that the lunch buffets were, frankly, boring. While they had some theme lunches, e.g. Asian, Italian, Mexican, it was still mostly typical cafeteria fare. They did have an salad bar area where you could make your own salad, and just outside was a grill near the pool where pizza, burgers, and pasta were available daily. In addition, adjacent to the aft, covered pool on deck 11, there is a sandwich bar, which daily features a wrap of the day, and a sandwich of the day, and one day of sushi. We participated in a wine tasting seminar in the afternoon in the dining room for $8 per person. I usually enjoy these, but the session seemed rushed, and two of my 5 glasses had lipstick and water spots on them, which I had have exchanged. I did mention this to an assistant Maitre D' afterwards. The problem did not occur at dinner, only at the wine tasting. This was the first formal night, and I was able to stop at the purser's desk/guest relations and request a corsage be delivered to the our cabin by 6pm as a surprise for my wife..who had never had one in high school or college. At 6pm they announced that a passenger was critically ill, later diagnosed as an aneurysm, and they were turning around to get closer to San Diego to get within range of a Coast Guard helicopter to evacuate him. At 8pm they announced it would be midnight before the helo could reach us, and because we would lose 12 hours from reversing course and then back, the ship would not be able to make our first port call in Cabo San Lucas if we were to make the rest of our 10 day schedule. We would spend the next day at sea, instead. They refunded the excursions already booked, and I was a bit disappointed as I had wanted to go to Los Arcos and snorkel. After before dinner dancing, formal photos.and there were no lines.., we enjoyed a French themed dinner which included among the choices: escargot, onion soup, Caesar salad, scampi, beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce, and cherries jubilee. Before the show there was a chance to meet the captain and officers and enjoy a champagne toast. The show, "And the Winners Are" was a musical review of the Oscars, emmees, grammees, etc., and it was very good. We found out later that the cast was on the last cruise of a six month contract and were very polished. One observation we made that day was that there is no real hustling of drinks by the roving bar staff. During sailaway on day 1 and around the pool on day 2 it was actually difficult to attract a roving bar waiter and get a drink. They were readily available in the lounges. We set our clocks ahead to MST overnight.
Feb 20/Day 3: Still cool and windy. The breakfast buffet includes a waffle station near the after pool, and eggs or omelets to order, as well as the usual breakfast fare. Of particular note is that at meal hours in the Palm Springs Grill area, there are ample waiters and they almost insist on carrying your tray for you and finding you a table. Very accommodating. We had found that deck 14 upper level offered European style sunbathing, but it is forward of the superstructure and very windy and cool. We did see whales and dolphins from the pool deck today. It was Sunday, and their was a Catholic priest aboard, and Mass was at 5:15, and daily thereafter in the mornings. Dress for dinner was informal/coats and dresses. The show this night was before dinner at 8pm, and was an adagio duo and a musician playing the hammer dulcimer. Dancing this evening included Motown and Latin/Salsa in the lounges.
Feb 21/Day 4: Finally, a port! After eggs benedict again in the dining room we relaxed on deck and watched the entry into Mazatlan, arriving at the pier about noon, later than originally scheduled due to our medical emergency. They decided to extend the visit until 7pm. Shuttle buses meet the passengers at the gangway and move them to the terminal were there are a few shops and taxis available. We chose to walk to town, and visit the cathedral, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Perhaps a 15 minute walk, it was worth the trip, beautiful inside. The church is in the center of the old town, with many modern shops, and a few department stores. We found a Senor Frog's clothing outlet, picked up a free map of Mazatlan and directions to where we could take a bus to the Hotel Zone. The exchange rate was roughly 11 pesos to the USD, and the bus fare on the Segundo Centro bus was 9 pesos per person. If you handed the driver a dollar, he gave you 2 pesos in change. It was about a 20 minute ride, and we got off in the hotel shopping district, where there are plenty of shops, restaurants, beach access, parasailing, etc. After a brief time on the beach, upper 70's here, we took the bus back to Senor Frogs, about 4 miles back toward old town, where we met other cruise passengers. It was the original Senor Frog's! We took a small VW sized taxi open taxi called a pulmenaria back to the ship for $7. Sailaway was at 7pm. There was a pre-dinner production show. Dress was casual for dinner, and it was "big band sound" night for dancing with the ship's orchestra in the lounges. At 11pm they had a TexMex night at the pool with line dancing, and a buffet from 1130pm-1230am with tacos and chimichangas. We set our clocks ahead to CST that night.
Feb 22/Day 5: Another sea day. Warm enough now for comfortable sunbathing on deck, the first one! Still very windy. The usual pool sports and bingo, and dance classes were available. This was the second formal night. The show, a male singer, was at 7pm for late diners, which I prefer. I'm sleepy when the show isn't till 10:45 or 11pm. This was followed by a Captains Club reception at 7:45pm. We did formal photos again, and no waiting lines at any of the three sites. By the way, 8x10's are $24.95, and the candid 6x8's are $9.95.
Feb 23/Day 6: We arrived in Acapulco at 7am berthed at a pier at the cruise terminal across from old Fort San Diego. At an information desk outside the terminal we got a map and some advice on where we could go to relax and snorkel. We had visited Acapulco before for several days, seen the cliff divers, and more, so we weren't looking to sightsee They recommended we catch a taxi to Boca Chica Hotel, which was on the Pacific side of the harbor overlooking Isla Roqueta. Some people catch glass bottom boats there, or ferries to Isla Roqueta which has a secluded beach and snorkeling. We chose to go to Boca Chica, which we were advised allowed cruise passengers to use the facilities at no charge. It was a $10 taxi ride and was a beautiful older hotel overlooking the water, with lounge chairs and umbrellas, a pool, bars and a restaurant overlooking the water. There is also a dive shop there. I snorkeled among the rocks along the shore from one side of the hotel to the other and saw many larger tropical fish. We ate lunch in the restaurant, and for $25 including tip we had 8 giant steamed shrimp, a hamburger and fries, and four beers. The taxi back to the ship was only $5. After changing we headed into the hotel zone. The port talk had said we could hail yellow buses along the main street outside the terminal and the bus fare was only 5 pesos per person or two for a dollar. We rode through the hotel zone and got off to visit Carlos and Charlie's Bar and Grill, which pretty empty in late afternoon. Acapulco is a night town. After catching the bus back to the terminal, we stopped at a liquor store across from the terminal to make our purchase of 2 bottles of tequila. They had a wide selection. On boarding the ship they x-rayed all parcels every day, but they did not take the tequila for safe-keeping. They had scheduled a folkloric show in the Celebrity Theatre for 7pm which included singing, and dancing and costumes from all over Mexico. At 8pm we changed for dinner, which was tropical casual dress. There was dancing around the pool, and a tropical buffet at 1130pm, including ribs, chicken, rice, fruit, and sherbet. The ship sailed at 11pm with the tropical party in progress.
Feb 24/Day 7: We were scheduled to arrive in Ziuatenejo at 7am, with a shorter stay scheduled, leaving at 2pm. We enjoyed a full room service breakfast in the cabin. We had placed a wakeup call on the telephone system for 7am, but room service called at 6:50am to say they were on there way. After checking email, we went to get a tender ticket at 8:30, only to find that there was no waiting. We had chosen to enjoy the easy pace of Ziuatenejo instead of Ixtapa, the hotel zone 4 miles north. It seems the Mexican Tourist Bureau wanted to develop Ziuatenejo into a tourist mecca, but the local residents didn't want the development. So, they are trying to develop a hotel zone in Ixtapa. Instead, at the pier, we were able to purchase ferry tickets for $3 per person, round trip, for a boat ride to the other side of the harbor to Playa Los Gatos. It is a lovely beach with many small restaurants. The chairs and umbrellas are free if you plan to eat or drink there. The water is shallow and clear and there is a man-made reef not too far out. On the outer side of the reef there were many large tropical fist, and I enjoyed snorkeling for about 90 minutes. I bring my own snorkeling gear. After enjoying rum punch and Corona's, we were offered a tray of whole fresh red snapper marked with the price in pesos. We selected a nice one for 150 pesos/$13.50. Shortly they set a table behind us and brought out the whole grilled snapper on a platter with rice and salad, and tortillas on the side. The total price for the fish and meal and the drinks was $25 including tip. Sitting on the beach, eating the superb fish, seeing the ship anchored in the harbor, was ideal. Sadly, about 12:30 we headed for the ferry and went back to town. We walked the cobblestone streets and briefly visited a "straw market", the local church, and Bandito's sports bar for a libation before catching the last tender back at 1:30. By the pier we saw a sailfish a passenger had caught on a fishing excursion. After sail away we spent the afternoon on upper deck 14 viewing the beautiful harbor and coastline, sunbathing despite a brisk wind. Dinner this night was casual dress. At dessert they offered optional crepe suzettes! There were about 60 Greek-Americans aboard for this cruise, many seated around us. As I had lived in Athens for three years while in the Navy, and speak some Greek, we had made friends with these passengers. The Celebrity line has Greek officers, and they were taking care of the group. At dinner several nights they brought out baklava, or sliced feta, or Greek Salata Horiatiki (village salad.no lettuce). And our waiter, a Columbian, made sure they shared with us. In fact, he was asking me to give him a few words of table Greek. We made a short contribution in the casino and called it a night after a very full day.
Feb 25/Day 8: We arrived at the pier in Puerto Vallarta at 9am. After a buffet of omelets and waffles, we went ashore at 10:50. There is an information booth on the pier and they provided advice and maps. We found we could catch a city bus just down the street for 4 pesos per person which took us past hotels into the city center of old Puerto Vallarta. The driver indicated where the city buses were waiting to take us Mismaloya Beach and Los Arcos for 8 pesos per person. This is a small beach with two hotels within sight of Los Arcos, three large rocks, some with arches cut by the sea. We walked the south side of the beach to the site of the filming of The Night of the Iguana, and climbed the steps to the site of the John Huston Restaurant and Bar, now closed. Back down the hill to the beach and we settled in a chair in front of one of the waterfront vendors, with no charge for chairs and umbrellas. I found a boat to take me to Los Arcos to snorkel for 1 hour for 150 pesos. They launch the boats from the beach into the surf. On the way there I say dolphins and a seal. The boat toured the rocks and then anchored while I dove in. Schools of angel fish and other tropicals. The visibility was very good in about 20 - 30 ft of water. When we returned we enjoyed rum punch, beer and freshly made salsa and chips. They also had the grilled whole fish available here. Restrooms were available for customers. At 3:50 we boarded a bus back to the city for a 30 minute ride back to Puerto Vallarta Old Town. We walked about a mile to the shopping district where I surprised my wife with a set of ruby earrings to complete her ruby pendent, bracelet, earring set. We caught a taxi for 25 pesos back to Senor Frog's, which was near the bus stop, for liquid refreshment. Great fun. We are making an effort to visit all the Group Anderson establishments, having now visited Senor Frog's/Carlos & Charlies in Cancun, Cozumel, Aruba, San Juan, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Nassau. At 6:15 we reluctantly caught a taxi back to the pier for 75 pesos, arriving at 6:45. The ship sailed at 7! After enjoying the sail away, followed by a great seafood dinner in casual dress, we were tired from a long, very enjoyable day, and turned in early. They set the clocks back an hour to MST overnight.
Feb 26/Day 9: Our fourth sea day. Enjoyed the breakfast buffet with eggs to order. My wife spent the day in the sun around the pool. Having had too much already, I spent the day inside, checking email, reading, and watching TV movies (The Last Samurai) and the disembarkation talk on TV. Our luggage tags had arrived. Lunch was a Mexican themed buffet. I ordered another corsage as this was the third formal night. Their was a culinary demonstration in the afternoon, the second of the cruise. Each time they pass samples of what was prepared to all the attendees. Jackpot bingo was the event being publicized today, and my wife succumbed, falling only a few numbers short. We had our last formal photos done before pre-dinner dancing. It was lobster night and they were succulent.both of them. The show was after dinner at 11pm, a Broadway style production. At 11:3pm they opened the restaurant for viewing and photos of the Grand Midnight Buffet, and we headed there after the show. It was a remarkable display which included beef Wellington, something I've never seen on a midnight buffet.
Feb 27/Day 10: Our last sea day and it was windy and very cool. We relaxed, enjoyed some sun, picked out our formal photos, and made our last donation to the slots in the casino. The debarkation procedure asked that we have out luggage outside the cabin by midnight, so we packed before dinner. Dinner dress was, of course, casual the last night. We celebrated my wife's birthday at dinner, had a cake and the obligatory "Hoppy Birsday" chorus. After midnight I did go to the internet to print out our boarding passes for our Southwest flight.
Feb 28/Debarkation and return home. The ship arrived in San Diego at the pier at 7pm. Breakfast was available in the dining room until 8 and in the buffet until 8:30, and we could leave our carry on luggage in the cabin. With their debarkation luggage tags, all passengers receive an envelope with a memo directing them where and what time to go to a specific lounge for debarkation. As a result there are no announcements of colored tags being called, and no congregating at stairwells. Wonderful. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, did a little last minute socializing, and then picked up our bags from the cabin and reported at 9:30 to the Celebrity Theatre. At 9:45 they lead us off the ship. The process in the terminal going through customs/immigration and luggage pickup was a breeze, and the taxi queue outside was short. We had a taxi in about 5 minutes which hustled us to the airport for $10 before 10:30. With a 1:40 flight we had plenty of time.
Summary: Celebrity Mercury was a great ship, with excellent service by the entire staff, without exception. The embarkation and easy debarkation were a pleasure. The ship is in excellent condition. The lunch buffet's are unremarkable and seemed all very much the same, but they did have three freshly made pasta stations every day. The seafood variety and preparation at dinner was very good. Announcements are kept to a minimum because they replay daily programs on the shipboard TV. A minor complaint: We order a bottle of wine every night for dinner, reds, unless it is a champagne. The typical cost of what we order is $30. Yet in order to get us very large red wine glasses, as we use at home, the wine steward had to get a supervisor's permission, and that was just one night. They only give them to those ordering the $45-$100 wines. Unsatisfactory. Coupled with the dirty glasses at wine tasting, it did leave a bad taste in my mouth, so to speak.
I had heard that the West Coast cruises were cool due to the cool Pacific water (64 degrees), which is why we didn't select a balcony cabin. They were right. At least the first two and last two days were really too cool and windy for making the best use of the on deck facilities. The itinerary, without Cabo San Lucas, was half sea days, a bit more than I bargained for, since they weren't warm and sunny. But the ports were great, especially Ziuatanejo and Puerto Vallarta, which we'll be sure to visit again. Only one of the four ports was a tender port.
Overview: We planned this cruise to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We were not disappointed on the whole but I will note some small issues as I write this review.
Ship: Mercury is a beautiful ship, but after cruising on Brilliance of the Seas in the meantime, it is a little dated even though it was commissioned in 1997. Deck space was a little sparse, especially on sea days when pool usage was at a peak. Mercury does have an awesome AquaSpa with a thalassotherapy pool that was incredible. We enjoyed this tremendously.
Stateroom: We had a Sky Suite, room 1204 that comes with a personal butler which is an awesome touch. What ever we needed, we just let Joeseph know and with in minutes, there it was. Out stateroom was approximately 300 sq.ft. with a 150 sq.ft. balcony which we used constantly. The balcony was great to eat, read, or watch the Mercury dock at a new port on the Mexican Riviera. The room had tons of storage space and was very comfortable, but as with the rest of the ship, the furniture was a little cheap and dated looking even thoughMercury was launched in '97.
Dining: The dining options were just OK even though the food in the main dining room was great. There are only a couple of places to get lunch outside of the dining room (who wants to dress for lunch?) and the buffet which was a little limiting unless you like buffet style, or hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza. Brilliance has many options for lunch and dinner which we found more to our liking overall.
Service: Just fantastic! We loved our butler in our Sky Suite, Joeseph. Our waiter at dinner Osaun, was alos great and we got to be friends (as much as you can be on a cruise) with both. They both seemed to appreciate that we enjoyed their service and did not gripe or complain as they mentioned about 80% of the passengers do. I do not recall our cabin attendants name as she was so unobtrusive and kept our room so clean we hardly ever saw her.
Ports: I will not go into detail for each port but we enjoyed Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa the best. Mazatlan and Manzanillo are very poor areas. There were such differences in the cities based on what kind of resort area it was. Cabo and PV get a lot of other tourists beside cruise ships which raises the standard of living appreciably. Acapulco was OK though the area where the port is located is a very poor area with skinny dying dogs laying around on the street and sales people following you around for blocks trying to get your money.
Entertainment: Just so so as on any other cruise line. A great comic on night 4 but the only broadway style show that was worth seeing was the 10th night (I believe) and it was not very memorable. Lot's of activities, but the cruise director was not very friendly after I tried to talk with him one night after he had MC'ed a trivia game.
Overall: A pretty great cruise over all. I would give the entire cruise a 4 star rating out of 5. Service and food was much better than any other cruise line we have been on but as I stated, Mercury is already a little dated. We would sail on Celebrity again in a minute, we would just pick one of the newer Millenium class ships. We were very excited to hear of the two new 117,000GT ships, the first of which will debut in 2008.
After reading so many great reviews of Mercury, we had high expectations. We've been to these ports before on a Carnival cruise, so our expectation was simply a short quiet break from the daily routines. Our understanding of Mercury Mexican cruises should fit nicely with our modest expectations - low key, decent service, good food and revisit of these portals. One of us is retired, cruised before and have liberal discretionary recreation expenditure. On paper, we are good match for Celebrity's target clients. So we thought.
With those criteria, here is our review.
The ship is beautiful, diligently maintained and the cabin services are as good as (if not better than) other cruise lines (3 we know first hand). The 0 announcement policy on PA ranked very high on contributing to our enjoyment scale and worked very well for we had an inside cabin which became pitch dark and totally quiet when we took our afternoon naps. So an A in the category of shipshape and peacefulness.
The at sea enrichment programs (4 days) were well put together for the ones we attended - the wellness series and the music series. We saw only2 movies as we'd already seen the others. We sampled couple of other series too. Dancing was OK. We enjoyed the few times we were at the Rendez-Vous.
The spa was beautiful. Treatments were first class. We partook the massage, facials and consultations. We were happy with the exercise programs.
The nightly entertainments were typical of the cruise ship calibre - couple of really good ones and a few ordinary ones. Of course, almost everyone liked the cruise director.
The land programs were ok. We partook 3. A little too much shopping for our taste, except the horse ride on the beach. These horses were trained to walk in a straight line, nose to tail. Riders had no control of the horses at all. In that we felt a little like human cargos.
What disappointed us most was the dining experience. The food was good in general with many exceptional dishes. Deserts were alway great. So what was the disappointment? You may ask.
We had orders mixed up numerous times. My service had been purposedly missed several times (I can only speak for me). We are the most laid back and least demanding diners. Even so, we felt that we were manipulated (man handled?). This bad service continued throughout the cruise. In this case, mangement fell short in not able to corecting the problem.
After spending $300/day on Celebrity for 2, I feel a reportcard is due. Name and date are encoded for anonymity.