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
My wife and I and our 3 yr. pld daughter sailed on oct 13 2004 from san francisco to mexico for 11 nights. We had sky suite 1228 our butler keith and housekeeper victoria were great. the fine childrens program was excellent. The pastries were very good but the food was generally cheap. The manhattan resturant was a pretentious joke the food could not live upto the elegant surroundings. Its food was easily beaten like an egg by olive garden, sizzler ponderosa steakhouse and even hardees.
Our first and only shore excursion was to mazatlan the five star resort was a pig pen that even swine would escape from. We paid 5022.75 plus 800. in gratuities and bar bill. Not very good value. Lobster was only served on the last day and it too was dissappointment.
My wife and I took our first large ship cruise on the MERCURY from Seattle to Vancouver. This is the Alaskan inside passage voyage which we highly recommend to anyone.
We cannot speak highly enough of our experience on the MERCURY. We had a standard outside room with a balcony. The room was nicely appointed and we were delighted that we each had our own closet for hanging clothes. It seemed that anytime we stepped out of the room that it checked by the staff and any used towels were promptly replaced.
Throughout the ship the staff was most professional and always courteous. It was nice to be greeted with a smile and hello wherever one went on board. The food and service were excellent. In particular we enjoyed the main dinning room and were pleased with our choice of the late seating. There was so much to see and do on board the ship that we enjoyed our time at sea. An expert on Alaska was on board and he gave three outstanding lectures discussing hump back whales, bears and Orcas. I feel sorry for those who did not attend thepresentations.
Our time with the MERCURY was so enjoyable that we booked a 14 day cruse on another Celebrity ship next year!
My wife and I are in our fifties, live in South America, and we have made 5 cruises so far. This time we decided to take a cruise to Alaska, in the "Mercury" Celebrity ship, departing from Seattle.
We arrived to the Pier 66 at 10.45, and at 11.00 we were on board. So, embarking was perfect. We didn´t go directly to our window with veranda room, because we thought it was not going to be ready yet. At 12.00 we decided to take a look, and it was ready: clean and with all the amenities, and with plenty of room for our stuff.
. At 2.OO P.M, when we returned from lunch, we already had our luggage in the door of our room. The departure of the ship´ was two hours late, and we think the delay was due to a very slow procedure of baggage loading in the ship.
This ship is not precisely new. However, we found every places we went clean and nice, though in some details age shows (this is not important , it happens the same with human beings!!).
All the employees we met were niceand professional, and some of them outstanding, as we will explain forward.
When we made our reservation, we requested to be placed in the late seating for dinner. That was not possible because, we were told, a big group was on the ship and was placed precisely in that seating. It was true. We had to cope with the main seating (6.00 P.M), that is difficult for South Americans, who have dinner a lot later than that. But it was not really a problem. Already on board, we requested a table for two, and we got it at once.
Food in the Manhattan restaurant was excellent, and service outstanding. An Indian man, Xavier, was our waiter, an Indonesian guy, Tri, our bus boy ; and a French, Alexander, our sommelier. The three were exceptional. Without any doubt, Alexander was the best sommelier we have met in cruises so far.
Usually we had breakfast and lunch in the Palm Spring buffet, and though not excellent, it was good.
We used room service only twice, one for breakfast and another for a light meal, and it worked fine.
Our steward was William. We didn´t see him very much, but the maintenance of the room was perfect. That is what a steward is supposed to do. Efficient but not intrusive, nice and educated the few times we met him personally. His service was perfect.
Shows were good, and some of them, for cruises standards, were close to exceptional, particularly the dancers and the singers.
Let ´s say a few words about the cities we visited. First of all, we had a wonderful weather in the seven days of the cruise. We were extremely lucky. Even in Seattle, where bad weather is frequent, and where we stayed five days with a dear friend, we had only one rainy afternoon, and sun and warm weather in the rest of our stay.
Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan are beautiful places to visit.. But the highlights in Alaska cruises are given not by the cities, but by places that can be reached by tours - In Juneau we took the helicopter and dogsled tour. It is very expensive, and everybody, including us, complained about that.....before doing it. Back in the ship, everybody agreed that it was absolutely worth. The helicopter trip over the glaciers is wonderful, and the dogsled ride is an unforgettable experience.
In Skagway we took the White Pass & Yukon River tour, and it was also very nice.
In Ketchikan we book the Lumberjack show, that was O.K, and we visited the city and dedicated to shopping, but that visit was a real tour de force, because time was not enough. Why? Now it is time to write about was not O.K in this cruise.
The cruise didn´t respect the schedule announced in the Celebrity magazine we read when we decided to book it. We know that, according to the contract, the company may change the schedule or even delete some port of call. But good faith in contractual matters implies that is an exceptional possibility, and that when it is used, the reasons should be explained to the customers.
We had made a cruise, with in Celebrity, in January (Southern Caribbean) and onboard we got a Celebrity magazine to look for another cruises. We read that, in the Alaska cruise, the call in Skagway would last from 8 A.M to 5 A.M. Actually, the ship departed at 3. P.M (two hours before) and that was announced the day before in the bulletin, without an explanation.
The same magazine stated that the call in Prince Ruppert would last 4 hours. Actually, it lasted only an hour and only was "technical", that is, nobody could disembark. No call, and no explanation again.
And we read also there that the call in Ketchikan would last from 8 A.M to 3. P.M. Actually, it lasted from 9.20 A.M to 3 P.M.
This situation damaged badly our personal schedule. We finish our visit in Skagway and Ketchikan literally running. And we saw the port of Prince Ruppert from our veranda.
Obviously, we had made our schedule trusting Celebrity magazine itinerary. And even we knew changes were possible, we didn´t expect them to be so important and without any explanation. We understand that some changes are impossible to avoid. But it has to be remarked that all the changes in the schedule were aimed to shorten the stays in port.
What happens casts a shadow over credibility concerning future Celebrity cruises.
For us , that was a real problem in the cruise. But not the most important one. Why?
If you browse looking for a cruise, you will notice that, generally speaking, all the cruise lines offers more or less the same. Ports of call, food, shows, rooms, service. They are not the same, but in general they are very similar.
So, what makes the difference? There is a difference that defines the decision of the passenger.. For us, the difference in Celebrity is style. When we book Celebrity we are not looking for a "Fun ship", a floating kindergarten or a noisy seven day party. We are looking, yes, for some entertainment, but in a stylish and quiet atmosphere.
Well, having that in mind, we were amazed by the noise in this ship, due to unruly children that, without their parents and at any time of the day, and specially at night, ran, shouted and made noise in every place of the ship, corridors included.
That was a permanent problem in the seven days of the cruise. The proof: In one of the daily bulletins, parents were encouraged to take care of their children. But that was only a wish. The crew didn´t protect the customers, and allowed these unruly and bad educated children to make whatever they wanted.
We talked with many passengers who were also astonished by what was happening in a Celebrity cruise.
We don´t know if this situation was exceptional, and due to exceptional circumstances. Anyway, we think Celebrity should pay attention to what happened, because a lot of passengers were uncomfortable by that noise, and doubted about the future of their future choices.
We repeat: style is what makes the difference today, at least for us. If Celebrity is more interested in the number of passengers, and not in the way they behave, that difference will fade away. And the ones who look quiet holidays will switch (with an effort) , to even more expensive cruise lines, or to another ones (also noisy but cheaper).
We are planning to make another cruise (may be in Northern Europe) But we are in doubt in choosing Celebrity again. And the reason is simple: we are not sure. Schedule will be respected or not? We will find the quiet elegance and good manners we seek when we book Celebrity, or we will find again a cruising kindergarten?
Service in Celebrity continues to be the best we have seen. But it is sad that the two aspects we have mentioned (erratic schedule and noisy children) cast a doubt over our future selection.
My wife and I took the Celebrity Mercury round trip from San Francisco on May 17, 2004. We cruise fairly often and had previously taken two cruises on Celebrity (Millinneum and Constellation), but this was our first time on a Century-class ship. We had a "Category D" outside cabin without a verandah.
Ship Size: 77,713 tons Service Entry Date: 1997 Passenger Capacity: 1,870 passengers Crew Capacity: 909 crew Space Ratio: 41.5 Crew to Passenger Ratio: 1 to 2.1 Ship Registry: Bahamas
Cabins are one place where Celebrity really shines, and our cabin on the Mercury was no exception. It was large, clean and fresh. There was ample closet space and lots of drawer space, with room to sit comfortably on the love seat or at the small desk/dressing table. Four suitcases fit perfectly under the bed. The furnishings were clean and not too old. It was decorated in standard Celebrity chrome and light wood with blue fabrics and a nice modern print on the wall. The standard Celebrity bathroom is just the right size, with an outstanding shower, a hair dryer, and plenty of storage space.
My one quibble with the cabin-- and my biggest gripe about the ship -- was the relatively uncomfortable bed and pillows. (I usually take my own down pillow for cruises but somehow forgot this trip -- much to my regret, as the cabin pillows were hard and thin foam rubber.) The mattress wasn't terrible but this is one place where they could stand to spend a little more.
The Mercury is in fantastic shape after seven years. The elevators were clean, new-looking, and worked perfectly. Windows were washed every day and repainting was ongoing during the voyage. Most upholstery and carpeting was clean and fresh, and the woodwork and metal was in excellent condition. A+ on general ship condition for this middle-aged beauty.
I loved the ship itself. It is very understated for a cruise ship. Dark to medium blue, with some beige, and medium-toned wood with chrome accents, is a color scheme followed by the entire ship.
Compared to the dizzy pool architecture of Royal Caribbean, the soaring atriums (atria?) of many lines, the art-deco theaters on Millennium class ships, or the neon-glitz of Carnival, Mercury's decor is quite understated. It is much closer to Princess in interior design than to its parent company (Royal Caribbean).
For my taste, the ship's interior gets high marks for both function and atmosphere. The dining room is the quietest and most comfortable of any ship I have sailed. It glows in the amber reflection of the extensive wood surfaces. The entertainment was quiet and appropriate, either a string quartet or a pianist/vocalist (Manon -- more about her under music, below). A+ on dining room atmosphere.
Kitchen placement is *much* better than on the newer Millennium-class ships, resulting in much faster service and hotter food. You could easily finish dinner in 90 minutes, with 5 separate courses, compared to the very unsatisfactory 120-150 minutes on Millennium-class ships.
The Cova Cafe on Mercury is excellent. It takes up the full width of the ship, with a lot of tables and two banks of extremely comfortable armchairs/sofas and enormous windows. Premium coffee and tea are available all day, with free pastries in the morning and afternoon.
The theater is also excellent. Although not ornate, the decor is nice. The functionality, however, is outstanding. Unlike most two-level cruise theaters it is one-story with internal balconies on the wings; that is, you enter from one deck (Deck 7)at the back of the main floor, rather than the more common upper (balcony) and lower (main floor) entrance. The degree of pitch from front to rear is thus greater than usual. The result: Both sound and line-of-sight to the stage are 100% in every seat. The seats have enough leg and hip room, and the tables are adequate without mashing your knees. Exceptional.
I won't enumerate all of the little lounges and areas. The public areas get an A+. The only disappointment is the small and nearly inadequate library, unfortunately typical for Celebrity.
The pools seemed small to me and might be a problem for pool bunnies, but since this was an Alaska cruise I didn't pay much attention to them. The rear deck pool and lounging areas were great.
The spa and gym areas are good sized and adequate. Unfortunately, the wonderful thalassotherapy area (hot salt water jacuzzis), which is free on Millie-class ships, requires an extra charge (@ $10 per day).
The Lido (called "Palm Springs" cafe) was sometimes overcrowded, to the point where I once did an circuit of the entire area without being able to find a table (and I was perfectly willing to take two empty spots at a large table).
FOOD: The food in the main dining room has stabilized after a period of deterioration. Dinner was very good overall and sometimes excellent. Breakfast and lunch were good to very good.
Food in the Palm Springs Cafe was often unacceptable to us. The coffee is terrible. The free drinks (iced tea, lemonade, fruit punch) are not very good. Breakfast is just awful sometimes, depending on what you get. The bacon was inedible, often forming large clumps of partially-cooked gooey mess. The scrambled eggs are from frozen eggs and are no better than what you get in the Army. The omelettes tend toward cardboard. The toast ranges from inadequate to bad, due to their use of some sort of flash-toasting device that does not toast except on the very surface; you can easily get bread that is burnt on the outside and not even warm on the inside. I love bagels and you just can't get a decent toasted bagel anywhere on the ship.
The fruit, however, is very good and there is fresh milk.
Lunch in the Palm Springs was sometimes terrible, sometimes adequate, sometimes good. Usually a good salad is available, and sometimes the hot selections were quite tasty. Pizza and baked pasta, served all day at a separate station, are marginal. The hamburgers and hot dogs, also at a separate station, are quite good. The sushi is surprisingly good. But you might also get a sandwich or hot dish that is very poor -- I got the worst "reuben" I have ever had. I avoided the Palm Springs Cafe as much as possible after the first few days. The dining room had better food and I really just got tired of fighting for a table all the time.
MUSIC: The music was great and full of spirit, even though the performers had some technical flaws. MANON (can't remember her last name)was a pretty brunette French (or French Canadian) woman who played the piano and sang. She had a self-contained computer accompaniment on a separate keyboard, but sat at the very good Yamaha grand provided by the ship. I loved her music, especially when she would do ballads and samba appropriate for her voice (rather than the "New York New York" stuff the crowd asked for).
The Martini quartet appeared to be a family, with Mom and Dad on the piano/synthesizer, one daughter on the violin and one on the viola. Very pleasant.
The Black and White duo was a gas. A couple of middle aged men, one who played guitar and sang (or played harmonica on occasion), the other on the synthesizer and/or saxaphone and backup vocals. Both of them sounded like Willie Nelson. A lot of dance music (from Achy Breaky Heart to sultry Latin tango). My favorite was Johnny Be Good, which the guitarist really had fun playing.
Axis: soft rock and calypso for the party crowd. Not my cup of tea but they kept people on the dance floor and were pleasant.
There was also a "classical style guitarist" who was so bad I could not sit in the room while he was playing, but we didn't see much of him.
Standard upper-end cruise fare and lots of fun. Trivia of all shapes and sizes, cards (I did notice duplicate bridge games), basketball and golf competitions, Snowball bingo (with a $4500 jackpot the last night), crafts, cooking, party games (like Pictionary) and the usual "detox to lose 8 inches" nonsense from the spa. Most exercise classes cost $10 although there was one free aerobics class each day. The lectures were good for a mainstream cruise: a set of motivational lecture, a series of Alaska history and culture lectures, and 5 lectures on using a digital camera which were popular. The casino is excellent.
Celebrity does not have the raucous party games and pool games that you will find on Carnival or Royal Caribbean. The disco was active and quite good, but tended to close up at 1-2 a.m.
We visited San Francisco, Victoria B.C., Juneau, Skagway, Icy Straight Point, Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, and Ketchikan. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on the better-known Alaska destinations, since there is a wealth of information about them on the internet. IMO there is no such thing as a bad destination in Alaska. Even Valdez (the worst of the bunch) has an interesting little museum. Mostly, enjoyment of the destinations is a factor of the weather, and we got beautiful warm sunny days at every stop except Sitka.
However, much of the reason I'm writing this review is to describe the new port of Icy Straight Point, as we were the first cruise ever to stop there.
San Francisco -- How could anyone not enjoy a few days in Frisco? Clean air, great food, lots of great places to hang out, and a public transit system that can't be beat -- $1.25 buys you a bus transfer that is good on any bus or streetcar for 90 minutes to 4 hours, including return trips!
The one place I went that I had not been before was Mission Dolores, which I recommend for a sunny day. You can take the colorful streetcars, staring with the famous "F" train (which uses antique streetcars from all over the world) and changing to the "J" train if you don't want to climb the hill. Get out at the top of the Mission Dolores Park for a spectacular view of the city from the east (although the Golden Gate is obscured by downtown). Then walk down the north side of the park to the adobe Mission Dolores, the original settlement of San Francisco and the oldest building in the city. (Most of the city dates from 1906 or later, due to the devastating earthquake and fire of that year.)
Victoria -- I have been to Victoria before and it is a bit of a wasted stop on an Alaska cruise, necessitated only because of the "Jones Act" (technically the Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886, which requires that most cruise ships visit a port outside of the U.S.). It is a reasonably charming historical town (or small city), although very heavily tourist-oriented.
Inside Passage -- The cruise from Victoria through the inside passage is beautiful and really sets the stage for Alaska, as you begin to see snowy peaks, mile after mile of fir-topped mountain wilderness, and the occasional wildlife (mostly whales at this point).
Skagway -- the spectacular White Pass Railroad, over the route traversed by the Klondike gold miners in the late 19th Century, is an Alaska "must see". The tiny town is not much except for a few tourist shops, but it is pleasant.
Juneau -- a good town for a stroll. The best excursions here are a flight over the Mendenhall glacier and ice fields, and a trip up the Mount Roberts "tram" (really a funicular or gondola). I have previously been to the Taku Wilderness Lodge and loved it.
Icy Straight Point -- Our Mercury cruise was the first large cruise ever to visit Icy Straight Point, a new development outside the Tlingit Indian town of Hoonah. This is a joint venture of the locals, a special corporation partly financed by the State of Alaska, and Royal Caribbean Cruises (Celebrity's parent company). It is designed as a day stop for cruise ships. A large dock is apparently under construction for 2005, but for now passengers must tender to Icy SP.
Icy SP consists of perhaps 10 wood frame buildings of various sizes. These are very nicely done from local fir/pine/hardwood and include a roomy building for excursion rendezvous, a general area museum (free), a mock-up of a salmon cannery with period machinery and resin salmon (including salmon guts on the floor!), a cultural museum, and various shops and such. The area serves as a jumping off place for excellent wildlife tours.
About a mile down the road is the village of Hoonah. It's a nice walk down the bayfront, with the channels to the right and steep mountains to the left. Or for $3 an enterprising local guide will give you a ride in his bus, complete with tour commentary. We walked downtown and rode back.
Hoonah is a village of 800 Tlingits who were displaced from Glacier Bay. Although the internet says Hoonah means "by the cliff", the bus driver assured me that it REALLY means "protected from the north wind" and was chosen for its favorable climate. It occupies a large island to the west of Juneau. Just across a narrow channel from downtown is some sort of eagle sanctuary, and the downtown area is swarming with bald eagles and ravens. We also saw three orcas in the wider channel from Icy Straight Point.
The town is unspoiled Alaska. The prevalent buildings are very rural-looking small homes, either prefab or framed with aluminum siding, many with pretty little gardens. The only industry is a major fish packing plant, which ships something like 50 million pounds of fish (mainly halibut) per year. Two or three local restaurants, if you could call them that, seemed to be getting unusual business. There is a pretty little church, an elementary school, a tiny high school.
Unemployment is low in the summer and will probably be nonexistant if the new Icy SP development is a success (which I would say it almost certainly will be). The atmosphere is very different from Juneau or even Ketchikan. There are no hippies wandering around and, at least while our ship was in port, no aimless looking people anywhere.
One would expect that the cruise industry will have some impact on Hoonah, although only 30-40 ships per year are anticipated, so maybe Diamonds International and Little Switzerland will not open stores there. But some poor local homeowner's backyard stands between the dock and the best point for watching the bald eagles, and by the end of the day his grass was looking a bit trampled. The gift store SOLD OUT of merchandise. The shelves were almost completely bare (I confess, I bought a t-shirt.) When we departed we saw about 50 people waving goodbye to our ship! I felt like James Cook in Hawaii.
Hubbard Glacier -- One must see a big glacier from the sea. I can say that one suddenly realizes why the terrain looks like it does. I can say that a six-mile-wide river of ice casting house-size chunks of brilliant blue ice into the ocean, is awe-inspring. But I cannot explain the feeling you get by actually being there.
Ketchikan - Ketchikan is a very pleasant town, built on salmon canning. The primary excursions available are sea or air tours to Misty Fjords and coach tours of Saxman Village for cultural shows and a nice collection of Tlingit and Haisa totem poles. We did not take excursions here or in Sitka this trip.
Sitka - Sitka is the old capital of Russian Alaska, and the bishop's house, well restored and preserved, is a must see. Also excellent are the wildlife park, which is a short walk from the pier and full of bald eagles and totem poles, and the Indian Museum at Jackson College. This is where James Michener stayed while writing "Alaska" and has a memorable display of artifacts from the seven major tribes or tribal groups in pre-European Alaska.
OVERALL: One afternoon I walked out on deck and nodded to an Engishman who was taking a picture. He sighed and said, "you just can't explain it". I knew exactly what he meant. The magic of Alaska simply cannot be translated by words or photographs. Mile after mile after mile of majestic uninhabited mountains, covered in fir, punctuated by whales and seals and eagles, begets a feeling that cannot be expressed. One must visit it to understand why people love it.
I dont know where to start. This was the best vacation I have ever had. It was my first cruise so I had no idea what to really expect. We had a sky suite 1229. The room was wonderful. The balcony was gigantic. It could hold 20 people. The butler service was one of our favorite parts. It felt as if his goal in life was to please us. We enjoyed every single perk of the sky suite including full breakfast every morning on our balcony set up and served in 5 star fashion by our butler. He brings yummy food all day long, and even printed out special invitations, and delivered them to all of our wonderful table mates inviting them to a cocktail party out on our balcony before dinner. It was awsome. The ship is beautiful. Better than i inagined. There was tons to do. The casino is huge , and the spa is to die for. We used the T- pool every day sometimes twice. It is the best. It seemed to even cure a early morning hangover. The pool was very warm, and thejaccuzzis were hot. The food is the best part. I have traveled alot, and eaten in nice places but this food is to die for. anybody that says Celebrities food is slipping is nuts.
The dinning room service is first rate. The food comes out hot, and the presentation is amazing. These people working on this ship are happy. There is no way they could fake this. All week long all we could talk about was how great the service is, and how good the food is. I am talking food and service to die for. You feel like your rich when you travel on this boat whether your in the cheapest room or the best room. We saw a inside cabi, and a cabin with a window. Both seemed nice, and very clean. Leaving from S.F is amazing. the sky line is so beautiful, and sailing away under the golden gate bridge is heaven on earth. We stayed on the ship in Monterey since we have been there a illion times, and just enjoyed our own private boat all day. Catalina is a blast. Renting a golf cart and exploring is a must. The shopping and lunch on the water was great. Tendering in and out was a adventure. It goes smooth.They have a good system. Sailing in to Cabo is a real eyeful. The water and rock formations are beautful. We took a glass bottom boat ride as soon as we got off the boat. It cost 8 dollars each, and was one of our favorite moments of the trip. They take you very close to Los Arcos. We got some great pictures. The shopping and food is what you always expect in Mexico. $1.00 beers. You cant beat that. Back to the ship for a two day ride back home. We played bingo, and won twice. My friend won the slot tournament. That is a blast. The shows were pretty good better than I thought they would be. All in all this is a great cruise. Celebrity must have the best service in the industry because this could not be topped. When I got home I wanted to dial 7848 for my butler Rusty but to no avail. i had laundry waiting for me, and my husband, and kids wanted dinner. It felt like a wonderful dream that ended to soon.
A Celebrity cruise is nothing to celebrate about- except if it's your first innagual cruise. If so, this one-week extravaganza from San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas and back will meet your expectations.But,please understand I have been spoiled rotten by Crystal Cruises who have treated me royally with the best customer service and cusine on the universe! But, Celebrity is not Crystal.First of all,over 1,900 guests were aboard and upon arrival at the pier, the 90-minute wait just to get checked in was not a good way to start off.Plus, I was almost cheated out of $20 by a porter who promised to take my luggage and that I would avoid the long lines. This was not true as I paid another porter $1.00 and still waited in line. On board the crew was cordial, but usually seldem smiled. The food in the dining room was wonderful and equal to Crystal and the broadway type shows were outstanding.
But, the downside of the Mercury was the inconsitant food at the buffet in the Palm Springs Court.THe lasangua was awful; the hamburger buns were always cold; the burgers were pre-cooked; french fries werealso cold; a $20 charge to use the indoor jacuzzi was ridiculous; the theater movie screen was too small; there was just a limited amount of books in the library to take out; a very small jogging track was not appealing;there was a poor selection of video movies, none were recent releases;there was a constant breakdown of the computer server (this was due to poor weather conditions); also the 50-cent a minute charge to use the computer was prohibitive; the $2.27 charge for a soft drink was way too much. Plus,it didn't help us that the last two days coming back from Cabo we encountered 50-mile an hour winds and the 9-foot waves really caused a bumpy ride back to San Francisco. All in all I would rate this cruise a C with much needed improvements.
For those who might have thought about taking home a souvenir from your stateroom there was a printed letter left in our stateroom saying,"For those interested in taking a Mercury large towel home there will be a $28.00 charge that will be posted to your shipboard account. Boy, how's that for hotuspa! As far as "freebes" go, it was classy that each night our room steward would leave us a chocalate on our pillow. Though, if we thought of taking any of these home, we were reminded by the cruise director to declare these free chocolates on our customs form.
After flying from Washington State to San Diego, it was a refreshing surprise to find the cruise ship terminal only an $8 taxi ride from the airport -- extremely handy.
The Mercury was tied up next to the famous Star of India sailing ship. What a difference a few years make. The Mercury is a 77,000 ton floating premier hotel with all the amenities a traveler could wish for.
Embarkation was the smoothest we have ever experienced after, a few minutes' wait to enter the terminal area due to extremely tight security checks of our passports and those of everyone else entering the area. After we removed our bags from the taxi, they were scooped up by one of many waiting longshoremen and disappeared into the large warehouse.
We then got on line inside the terminal and within five minutes we were at the counter being processed for boarding by a Celebrity rep. Five minutes later we were heading up the gangway onto the ship. What a luxury to be greeted by ship staff with champagne and then escorted to our outside cabin on Deck 4 and offered an explanation of the featuresinside our stateroom. Celebrity is copying the style of Four Seasons Hotels and is going first class with the embarkation.
Our stateroom was more than adequate and the bed configuration was as we requested, together. There was plenty of room under the bed for our suitcases, lots of closet space (but not enough hangers), lots of drawer space, an electronic safe behind the mirror, 20-inch TV, and the best-designed bathroom facilities we've ever seen on a ship. The shower was more than adequate and the controls were simple. Air flow into the stateroom is constant with only a temperature adjustment available. Our stateroom attendant performed adequately but never bothered to introduce himself, ask how we were doing, or even speak to us other than good morning or good evening. We did note that other attendants were much friendlier with their passengers.
The ship is kept in excellent condition, very clean and constantly attended to by the staff. There were no signs of wear and tear or rust.
The public rooms are quite adequate, but half of the ship always smells of smoke as smoking is allowed, except in the inside dining areas or the theaters. The library has a fair number of books, mostly fiction. The theater and conference center got quite warm and stuffy when the movie was playing to a full house. The theater that showcased the major entertainment is one of the best-designed we have ever experienced, with most seats having unobstructed views. The excellent stage setup included a turntable and a section of the stage that rises up from the pit, which was well used in the excellent Broadway-style productions put on by the ship's company.
Dining experiences ran from fair to excellent depending where you ate. The main seating in the dining room is for 5:45 p.m. on this ship and second seating starts at 8 p.m. This caused a few issues during the 11-night cruise, with people arriving late for the first seating and thus delaying the start of the second. Our waitress admonished the guests at our table who arrived late to be on time as being late caused a backup in service. We found that the problem was actually caused by a backup from the kitchen in providing meals in a timely manner.
Breakfast service in the dining room was perfunctory at best, with the menu never changing. The buffet breakfast never changed either, except for small differences – i.e., smoked salmon was only served three times for breakfast, cheese blintzes were there one day and not the next, and then back again. Day after day, fresh fruit included honeydew melons, cantaloupes, watermelon, orange slices and grapefruit - nothing else. Service in the breakfast buffet area was generally excellent except for a couple of occasions where the staffers were too busy chatting to be attentive. On these occasions though, the maitre d' was quite good at chasing them back to work.
The grille areas were excellent, with pizza, hot dogs and the best hamburgers at sea I have ever tasted. Congratulations, Celebrity.
There is no real alternative dining on the Mercury except for a limited menu available from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. for a $2 service fee. Reservations were required and service was in the buffet restaurant area. Casual dress was accepted.
The food served on board was adequate most times in the dining room. Nothing really wowed us, not even the only lobster night; the lobster was quite chewy and very small. Other passengers said they ordered two, as they knew they would be small. Fish entrees were undercooked a couple of times but all in all everything was properly done and tasty. Desserts were generally very good in the dining room but the selection at the buffet was at times limited. They ran out of cream for the coffee on the last day at sea, and staff did not want to tell anyone at first but finally they did, and said we should use milk instead.
Our waitress was in a little over her head, and rushed most of the time. The assistant was very competent and the maitre d', Sasha from Croatia, was excellent, always checking with us throughout the journey at night, in the morning and even at lunch.
This cruise had a very busy itinerary, stopping at Cabo San Lucas (a tender port), Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and then on to Acapulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (tender port) and finally Manzanillo. We journeyed through all these ports on our own, thoroughly enjoying the sights (once we escaped the relentless taxi drivers/tour buses) and had no problems anywhere. Zihuatanejo would be an excellent choice for a one-week stay to experience Mexico at its best. Acapulco cliff divers were spectacular as promised. Weather for all ports was excellent. Celebrity did a great job in the tender ports and we experienced no real problems with catching a tender either going to shore or coming back.
The swimming pools are salt water and during the busy times were a little dirty. The pool in the rear of the ship under the sliding dome (which was never opened more than two or three feet) is clean but very small and not adequate for any exercise. This ship does not have a promenade deck that goes all the way around. The jogging track was adequate but not the same as walking the promenade deck three or four times to make that one mile. We took the stairs most of the time; the elevators (there are 10) are very small.
Disembarkation went very smoothly; we met U.S. Customs on the ship, so we could receive our passports back again from the ship's guest relations. We were then allowed to wait in our stateroom until our color was called to go to the Celebrity Theatre and await permission to leave the ship. We waited just 15 minutes before we could disembark. The search for our luggage once off the ship was a madhouse. After being told all day before that we would be checked by Celebrity security, no one ever checked us on the way out. Taxis were waiting right outside and the trip to the airport was quick and painless.
All in all, a very nice and relaxing cruise and we would be delighted to travel on Celebrity again.
We are Jim and Sue, in our mid-50's - all kids grown and gone. We both work fairly high-stress jobs and Jim works out of town much of the time. For us, a cruise is a way for us to kick back and have time together without cell phones, pagers or radios beeping. We book ships that offer an elegant experience rather than a casual or high-energy atmosphere. For the Caribbean and Mexico, we tend to book for the ship and stateroom rather than the ports. We spend much of the time in the cabin and on the verandah, so for us booking a suite makes sense.
This was our second cruise on Mercury and our second Escape Cruise. We were on the first Escape sailing in September 2002 and really enjoyed the adults-only ambiance. We always book carefully for a time when most children will be in school - not that we dislike children; we just prefer to vacation away from them. I've looked forward to returning to Mercury for two main reasons: the Thassolatherapy (T-pool) and the Rendezvous lounge. Both are much better than their counterparts on the newM-class ships. We booked Royal Suite 1026 and were very much looking forward to the butler service and special pampering that go with this level suite.
I should also mention that through the message boards we had become "acquainted" with about 50 of our fellow cruisers and were looking forward to meeting them. Some special friends from a previous cruise, Ray and Joann, were also to be onboard.
We flew from Denver to San Diego on Sunday, the day prior to sailing, and stayed at the Embassy Suites. At 5:30 we met some other message board acquaintances staying at the same hotel for cocktails. This informal gathering was a great start to the cruise; 20 people came (some from other hotels in the area) and it was fun to finally meet the people we had been talking with on the message board. It was especially nice to see Ray and Joann again.
Monday morning we took a taxi to a nearby liquor store for a case of champagne (for cocktail parties in the suite) and headed to the ship. We had received E-docs for this trip, so we had to get luggage tags at the pier and fill them out. The E-docs were disappointing because we had always looked forward to receiving the nice package in the mail, but I guess that's the way the world is going. We handed our luggage to a porter and went into the terminal, where we were guided to a special table for suite check-in. The Social Hostess, Shelly White, came to welcome us. We checked in within five minutes but were then guided to the dreaded waiting area. After about 20 minutes we were allowed to go through security screening and onto the ship.
We were handed a glass of champagne at the top of the gangway (one of the special touches Celebrity recently added) and welcomed aboard. It was about 11:30 and staterooms wouldn't be ready until 1:30 so we went to Cova and did a little people-watching, then set off to re-explore the ship. We soon joined some of our new friends by the pool. A little after 1 p.m. we went to see if our suite (RS 1026) was ready - it was. The suite was very nice; we loved the walls of windows in both the living room and the bedroom. Sliding doors from the living room and a regular glass door accessed the balcony. The balcony was not too large, but there was plenty of room for two chairs with footstools, a cocktail table and a padded lounge chair. The bathroom was all marble with a Jacuzzi tub and a separate shower. The toilet was in a separate room with a door. There was more than enough storage space for all our bathroom stuff. The walk-in closet in the bedroom had a dressing table at one end. The bedroom itself was very large and had a second TV and additional drawers and cupboards. I didn't care for the art in the suite -- large framed small designs that looked to me like classic modern art from the 60s.
We sat on the balcony and watched the happenings on the dock. We popped our bottle of champagne and the vacation had begun. Throughout the afternoon our butler, Keith; the steward, Daniel; and the assistant steward, Jose, all came to welcome us. The Assistant Hotel Manager, Fivos Papadapolas, also stopped in to say hello and to tell us that Captain and Joyce Adamidis (our friends from Millennium) had told him to take special care of us. Now I feel like a Queen!
We attended the lifeboat drill, dropped our life-vests off in the cabin, and hurried up to the Sky Bar for a sail-away party with our new acquaintances. About 40 people turned out. It's amazing what the Internet has brought to today's cruise experience. After sail-away we went to (early) dinner and found that we had a great table directly in front of the Captain's Table and a very nice couple to share it with. Two seats at our table were empty, but we were assured they would be filled - this is important because we often skip dinner and hate to leave others stranded. We always tell our table-mates the first night that if we aren't there at 6 p.m., we aren't coming and to go ahead and order. After dinner we went to the Rendezvous for an after dinner drink and then to bed.
Tuesday - Sea Day
It's always a treat to have the first day be a sea day; we woke early and ordered coffee from room service since it was before our butler was on duty. I went to the T-pool later that morning (Mercury's T-pool is to die for!). We looked through the Daily and didn't find anything we had to attend so we spent the day relaxing and reading. We delivered invitations to a cocktail party in our suite that evening and made arrangements with Keith to chill the champagne and deliver some snacks. At 5:00 our cocktail guests began arriving and we had a nice time talking with them and hearing about their day. At 5:45, we cut the party short because we had to meet the group for the Captain's table. The Chief Engineer and the Chief Sanitation Officer hosted. Our table-mates and another couple that had been assigned to our table were also invited. We enjoyed the dinner, but declined the priority seating at the show because we were tired.
Wednesday - Cabo San Lucas - New Year's Eve
When we awoke, the ship was docking at Cabo. We called Keith for our coffee and breakfast and killed the morning reading and relaxing. We saw a number of whales spouting from the balcony. We met the group (14 people from the message board) for a chartered whale-watching trip. We didn't see any whales, but had a great time. After we returned to the ship from the whale-watching trip, we were very tired and decided to have dinner in the suite and dress later to attend the New Year's Eve celebration. If you have a suite on Celebrity you can have full dinner service in your cabin, served course by course by your butler - this is one of my favorite benefits of the suite.
Dinner was excellent and we still intended to dress about 10 p.m. to attend the party, but by 9:30 we were both falling asleep so we toasted each other with a nightcap and went to bed. I was very disappointed to miss the celebration, as it was one of the main reasons for booking this cruise. People who attended said it was wonderful and included a huge lighted ice sculpture that said 2003; at midnight they broke away the 3 and replaced it with a 4.
New Year's Day - Mazatlan
Since we had previously visited Mazatlan we stayed on the ship. Our day started with coffee, juice and rolls delivered by Keith. We spent a couple of hours on the balcony having an extended breakfast. Later we both went to the T-pool for a long soak. Then we wandered around the ship and browsed the photos in the Photo Gallery. We decided to go to the buffet for lunch and even though I tried to take very small portions, I ended up eating too much. Throughout the trip I found the buffet meals to be good, with a nice variety of items from which to choose. I never had a chance to try the pasta station, but it smelled great. We took bowls of ice cream back to the suite and spent the afternoon on the balcony reading. We ordered a small dinner in the suite that evening. It was a wonderful day for relaxing. I find that the days in port, when most people are off the ship, are almost like having your own (very large) yacht with extra attentive service. We very often don't get off the ship much when we sail in Mexico or the Caribbean.
Friday - Puerto Vallerta
We barely woke up in time to see the ship "thread the needle" as it entered the port at Puerto Vallerta. We had watched ships do this several times from the nearby Westin Regina Hotel and wanted to see it from the ship. It was just dawn and the lights of the city looked beautiful, especially since many Christmas lights were still on. I'm always amazed at how today's big ships can maneuver in small areas; after going through the narrow entrance to the port, the ship turns around 180° before docking.
Laziness won out again, and instead of going ashore, we repeated our routine of the day before. We planned another cocktail party that evening and made the arrangements with Keith. We spent a little time wandering the ship delivering the invitations and stopped for a cappuccino in the Cova. For lunch we went to the soup and sandwich area and had a good ham, turkey and cheese wrap. We found Ray and Joann sitting on the aft deck eating their lunch and joined them. Our cocktail party guests started arriving about 5:00. We had a great time - by now most of the group had gotten know one another so it was a very relaxed fun time. Then we had appetizers and soup for dinner in our suite. And another day slipped away.
Saturday - Sea Day
This was another day at sea and would be a formal night for dinner. I went to a lecture on Maya culture and found it to be pretty mediocre; since I've traveled and studied that area a lot for my photography, I was disappointed. I didn't attend the follow-up ones on the remaining sea days. We went to the buffet for a small lunch and after a quick nap we got ready for the Captain's Club party in the Navigator just before dinner. Our table-mates were surprised to see us in the dining room that night and seemed happy to have us back. It was fun listening to the stories of their adventures in port. After dinner we stopped in Rendezvous for a Cognac and met Ray and Joann and the late dinner group having pre-dinner cocktails. This between-dinners meeting became a pretty regular get-together through the rest of the cruise. Later we went up to the Cova/Martini Bar and listened to a very good singer/piano player do Sinatra-type songs. When his set was over we invited him to join us for a drink and soon Shelly, the Social Hostess, joined us and bought another round for the table. After about an hour we figured we had had enough for one night and headed for the cabin.
Sunday - Acapulco
Most of the day we followed our usual lazy routine, but that evening I had made reservations through the Internet for dinner with Joann and Ray at La Perla, the restaurant that overlooks the cliff divers. We met them at the gangway and took a taxi to the restaurant; we agreed on a price and the driver would wait for us. Our table had a wonderful view of the divers. Dinner was only so-so, but it was one of those things you have to do. After returning to the ship the four of us went to the Martini Bar and listened to the piano player again. A little before 11 p.m. when the ship was due to sail we excused ourselves and watched the sail-away from our balcony.
Monday - Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo
This is a port we had never visited and I was interested in exploring it. We were already at anchor when we woke up and called for coffee. The harbor where we anchored was beautiful. I wanted to go to a small beach we could see from our balcony, but Jim reminded me of the fairly long tender ride and then the trip by boat taxi to the beach. I'm sure he was right, but I am still disappointed we missed it. We decided we would have a sail-away cocktail party that evening. Since it was to be an informal dress night and we had a mix of both early and late diners coming, I made sure to put "come as you are" on the invite.
I soaked in the T-pool and then we checked the photos in the Photo Gallery again. By now, we have adapted well to the routine of not having any pressures and spent the day relaxing and reading.
It was another great cocktail party and we watched the port grow distant from the balcony. We were having so much fun the party went on far past the start of early dinner. When it ended we decided that we had eaten so many "little sandwiches", cheese & crackers, shrimp and chips and peanuts that we couldn't eat anything else anyway! We headed to the Rendezvous and met the group prior to late dinner for a cocktail and then called it a night.
Tuesday - Manzanillo
We didn't leave the ship and I'm sure by now you can guess what we did to occupy ourselves. (It may sound boring to some, but to us it is pure heaven.)
Wednesday - Sea day
Our last two days will be at sea; this will be a formal night for the Captain's Farewell Dinner so we plan to eat in the dining room. It was a beautiful day, although the temperature was getting cooler as we headed north. The pool area was crowded, but people were staying in places that were out of the wind. We spent some time in the shops and in Cova people-watching. The afternoon was spent reading and napping, with the knowledge that this would end all too soon and we would have to return to real life.
We dressed early for dinner and had several formal pictures taken and then our pre-dinner cocktail in the Rendezvous. The dance floor was quite crowded; it seemed that no one was skipping this last formal dinner (we noticed this on some past cruises). Dinner was lobster and prime rib (there were other choices but these were the favorites) and both were done well. We excused ourselves before the Baked Alaska parade and went back to the Rendezvous where I could sit in a more comfortable chair. The late-dinner group was there and invited us to join them for karaoke later that night - someone from the group was going to sing. Normally we wouldn't choose to do that, but we decided to give it a try and found some seats in the Pavilions Nightclub. Soon about 30 people from the group were there and the singing began; it ranged from bad to not quite as bad, but everyone was having a great time.
The next thing we knew they announced that our whole bunch was going to sing as a group. That was a surprise, but helped along by a few adult beverages Joann and I got up with the rest of the group and we did Louie Louie. I'm sure it was a Grammy-winning performance, but we had a good time. Following karaoke we all went to the Navigator for dancing. The music was for the younger crowd, and as many times as we asked for something for the "older folk," they only played one song. After about an hour we left and went to bed - about 1 a.m., very late for us!
Thursday - Sea Day
This is our last day aboard Mercury. It's always a day of mixed feelings -- happiness at all the great times, and sadness that it's all ending.
We decided to have one final cocktail party to finish off the champagne and to have a last chance to visit with a few of our new friends. I had a final soak in the T-pool. As we wandered around the ship we met many of the group and had some great conversations. During the afternoon we did our packing. Then it was time for the party. We had fun discussing where our next cruises were going to take us and all the things we had done on this one. At about 6:30 we ended the party because we needed to go into the dining room and deliver our envelopes to our waiters. We said our good-byes to our table-mates and then met the late dinner group in the Rendezvous one last time.
Friday - San Diego
Disembarkation went smoothly; being in a suite, we were in the first group off the ship. We found our luggage quickly and were in a taxi in about 10 minutes. Airport check-in went just as well and we killed three hours in the Delta Crown Lounge.
This was a very good cruise, but not the best we have taken. Mercury remains one of my favorite ships; she is well cared for, clean, and for the most part, staffed by excellent crew. We would sail Mercury again without hesitation and will definitely sail on another Escape Cruise. The sailing before ours (Christmas Cruise) had 500 children onboard so the crew members were all very glad to have the adults-only cruise.
There were some noticeable areas of concern; some appeared to be cost-cutbacks and others just disorganization. In the past if you asked for something that was not readily available the response had been that they would immediately check into it and see if they could locate it. If they couldn't get it, some substitute was always offered. This time, the response often was "No, we don't have that" - and that was the end of the conversation.
Some cost cutbacks were evident: no cream or half & half for your coffee, only non-dairy. It took several days of asking before they came up with some whipping cream from the main galley to put in our butler's pantry for us. They no longer use coasters for drinks, only a cocktail napkin which quickly shreds with the moisture off the glass. These are small things that probably wouldn't be noticed by a first-timer on Celebrity, but were commented on by several in our extended group.
We just returned from an 11-day Mexican Riviera cruise on Celebrity Cruises' Mercury. I have taken many past cruises on all major lines. My family always travels together, so we were a group of four, with two teenagers.
The embarkation in San Diego was undoubtedly the most efficient in the industry! We arrived at the pier at 10:45 a.m. and were on board ship by 11:00, in our cabin sipping champagne. What a way to begin a vacation!
The ship is a bit older, and has some of the worst art (if you can call it that) we have ever seen on a cruise ship. The ship itself is still spotless, and the service is reserved but always perfect.
The age make-up of the passengers was one of the only things that really turned us off a little. I would say the average age was 65+; most passengers' biggest interest seemed to be playing card games. There was someone playing bridge everywhere you went, tables of people playing cards...this is about as exciting as the days got. Since we just completed a western Caribbean cruise on the new Carnival Conquest some weeks before,this was very disappointing. The day's shipboard events ranged from bridge lessons to discovery lectures, watercolor instruction, and other quiet, subdued activities. I guess it's just a matter of what you want to do on a cruise. This time we filled our days with rest, relaxation, and many a good book.
The dining room food was the very best we have ever experienced on any ship; each night was a true dining treat. The noise level is a bit high, since we were directly over the engines. The service was top notch. Our waiter was always perfect, and to our great pleasure, there were no nightly singing performances by the wait staff (like on all Carnival ships). However, the food at the buffets was perhaps the worst food we have ever had, so maybe they balance each other out.
Overall, we enjoyed this cruise because it gave us time with our children (there were no other teens on this ship) and time to relax. However, we would not choose to cruise on this ship or itinerary again, and would be careful not to book Celebrity for more than a seven-day cruise, since the longer cruises always attract an older crowd.
The service was great, and the food too. There was nothing I can really put my finger on that would make me say this wasn't a great cruise; but on the other hand, there was nothing to make it a great memory either. With all the ships and lines to choose from, especially the newer Princess and RCCL vessels, I would not recommend this ship unless you really wanted to see Mexico. I can honestly say I would recommend the Carnival Pride over Celebrity Mercury. The level of fun just isn't noticeable on the Mercury; it was almost like a retirement community.
Itinerary: San Francisco to Monterey, Catalina, Cabo San Lucas, and return to San Francisco.
Celebrity experience: We like Celebrity. The ships are beautifully decorated, clean and contemporary and not over-done. Staff and service are great, and it's a great value. Mercury is a beautiful ship. Some of the public spaces are gorgeous, and the staterooms are nicely done and comfortable. We had sailed Horizon before, which was smaller, but there were things we liked about Horizon, such as Michael's Club, more than on Mercury.
Activities: On-board activities were plentiful. We didn't participate a whole lot, but I did enjoy the BINGO sessions, and won once! We did not try the Jacuzzis on the pool deck, but people at our dinner table commented on the water being just warm. Shows are enjoyable, if you're not expecting Broadway caliber. Dave and Stuart (Cruise Director and Asst. Cruise director) were a lot of fun. Movies were OK. (who cruises to see movies?)
Dining: We enjoyed very good food and service, but it was not amazing. We loved the soups and sorbets. The dining room staff at Manhattan Restaurant was always smiling, warm and friendly. They all seemedeager to meet any special requests that were made. Our assistant waiter seemed a bit overworked (long waits on drink refills, etc), but maintained a friendly demeanor. We saw a whale from the window at lunch time! There was a lot of engine vibration in this section of the ship, but it didn't bother us. We thought some of the staff at the Palm Springs Café (buffet dining) had "attitudes". I enjoyed a nice large helping of pineapple cheese cake here. One of my favorite things about the cruise was the pastry cart in the Cova Café in the afternoons (with a nice specialty coffee, this was great!) The homemade ice cream was a treat also.
Itinerary: We chose this cruise, instead of an Alaska sailing, because we wanted warm weather and some sunny days by the pool onboard. There really wasn't a lot of opportunity for this due to cloudy conditions, and cooler temperatures in the Northern California coastline. Cabo San Lucas, in contrast, was a very warm day off the ship. All the ports on this particular sailing are accessible only by tinder. Tindering was well organized and quick, but next cruise, I would try to pick with ports accessible by pier. We do not regret that we did not purchase shore excursions, and easily managed to have nice experiences at port on our own.
Monterey: We walked from the ship to the Monterey Aquarium. We enjoyed the aquarium very much.
Catalina: We rented a golf cart ($30 for an hour) and drove around in the hills. Lots of fun! Beautiful views.
Cabo San Lucas: It was touristy. There were a lot of street vendors here. The beach was very nice, however. We are not experts, but thought the jewelry prices were high. I thought there were good buys on jewelry on the ship. If I returned, I wouldn't spend any time shopping, but would just enjoy a nice day at the beach. We had lunch at the Giggling Marlin, which was recommended. It was a touristy place, the food was mediocre, we thought. We were greeted at our table by a live rooster.
San Francisco: We had a day after the cruise to spend in San Francisco and rented a car. We love Muir Woods, and the views from Mt. Tamalpais were spectacular!
Overall: It was a great experience. We would sail Mercury (or Horizon) again without hesitation.