Ranked #8 Celebrity fleet
Ranked #41 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 #8 Celebrity fleet
Ranked #41 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
I wish to elaborate on the 5-11-07 review.This was our first Celebrity ship.Vancouver is a lovely looking city,but we will not return due to the rude people we incountered there.The first problem was the port in Vancouver had been chossen to perform extra security screening,it took several hours for all to board Mercury.The rooms were still not ready so we spent a couple more hours waiting to enter our stateroom.All our bags were not brought to us untill late into the night.My son 11yrs old at the time,came with my wife Susana and myself.We ate in the main dinning area in the clothes we were wearing upon boarded .They are futunate nothing was said or I would have blown my top right there.
The food on this cruise was very dissappointing.This was the first cruise I had ever sent back a medium steak that was as tough as a boot.The dishes were uninteresting and even cold at times.Our head waiter we did not meet untill the fourth night,never seen that before. It was explained as to a group of dinners that were running all the staff ragged(around fifty people in thatgroup).This group was rude and smelled bad even. The entertainment on this ship was even worse than the food.It was campy and the performers were the worst we had ever seen on any ship - even Carnival ships were better.
We walked out of every show we went to.The only good part of the presentations was the naturalist Brent Dixon.By the third talk he had the theater packed.He was the best part of this entire cruise. The ports of call were Juneau,Ketchikan and Skagway.In Skagway we took a sub ride,it was really bad,do not waste your money.The canoe ride in Ketchikan was pretty good but book it on shore it was a half the rate as onboard Mercury. Sadly we saw no whales at all(upclose) and few passengers did.I did see an Orca breech three times but it was from miles away.Saw a pod of 40 porpoises in front of the ship one time.To see more wildlife go in July and August.Atlast the cruise was over,but the problems were not.The debarkation was as bad as the embarkation...badly organized and the baggage handlers were really awful.
They had all the different color tagged bags in all different order in different rooms so it took hours to find all your bags.This lead hundreds passengers to miss their flights out of Vancouver. We had a late flight or we would have missed our flight also. We will never take another trip to Vancouver and certainly never take another cruise out of this port.What a disaster!There are 71 different nationalities in Vancouver and a couple were the worst groups of passengers I have ever witnessed onboard any of the 12 cruises we have sailed.Sad but very true!!!
This was our ninth cruise but first with Celebrity. The Mercury ship had 3 back to back cruises with Norovirus outbreaks when we were notified that our cruise would be delayed 2 days for thorough cleaning. It would have cost us quite a bit to cancel flights & hotel, and thinking the ship would be the cleanest ship on the seas, went ahead with the trip.
The majority of the daily staff displayed such negative attitudes it seemed they didn't want to be there. There were very few smiles or eye contact and the service was slow and inefficient.
The food, entertainment & ports of call were fine, but the overall poor attitudes and below standard service created a very unpleasant environment on board.
We're willing to give Celebrity another try on a different ship, but not on the Mercury. After all, it's the officers who are responsible for crew & staff training and morale.
Embarkation: This was our 13th cruise, our 6th on Celebrity and our first departure from Baltimore. The terminal is a good example of function over form-not a lot of bells and whistles but good passenger flow. The only glitch was a problem with Mercury's computers which wouldn't allow Sea Passes to be issued at check-in, which resulted in delayed boarding. We were among the first to board at 1 p.m., had lunch, then waited until almost 3 before the cabins were ready. Our luggage was waiting and our cabin attendant delivered our Sea Passes before dinner. No big deal.
Cabin: #1201 on Sky deck. First time CC and our first balcony. Very nicely appointed but the standard 172 sq.ft. The balcony was huge, the width of the cabin but very deep like the Sky Suites. The cabin location was good-close to the stairs, elevator and door to outside. It was also one of the quietest cabins we've ever had. Our cabin attendant Victor was excellent. A1 service.
Dining: We were assigned a table for 8 on the upper level overlooking the lower level, a very nice location with super dinner mates. Onthe first 2 evenings, service was a little erratic but then smoothed out. Our waiter was very entertaining and after the first couple of nights he became very adept at remembering individual likes and dislikes. The food in the main dining room was very good and sometimes exceptional. Only once was I disappointed-and that may have been my personal taste. The desserts have improved greatly since our last Celebrity cruise. We had one breakfast and a couple of lunches in the buffet and I thought the food and variety were very good. We would have used it more but the older we get the more we like being waited on. There was one brunch held in the main dining room which we thoroughly enjoyed with numerous stations doing cooked to order, a selection of hot foods, a carving station, salads, seafood and decadent desserts. The downside to setting up a buffet in a 2 story dining room is that everyone wants to sit downstairs. People were wandering in without being assigned a seat, loading up their plates and then complaining that they had no where to sit. This was probably more the fault of the staff than the guests. We ate dinner once in the alternative dining venue in the buffet which would have been excellent if it weren't for the temperature.
Common areas: Best described as elegantly understated. Mercury has been refurbished since we were on her in 2005 and it shows. I made a point of looking out for stained carpeting, worn furniture or burnt out lights etc. and could find none. The Navigator Club on deck 12 forward is a beautiful lounge and the perfect spot for that sail-away cocktail with its floor to ceiling wrap around windows. The Celebrity Theatre is very comfortable with very few obstructed views. The Cova Café, located in the 4 story atrium, was a popular spot anytime of day for pastries, people watching, the string quartet or just reading. Michaels Club is really too small to be used for entertainment and now serves as a private lounge for Elite members or as a card room. The Rendezvous Lounge is a nice spot and was packed every evening before dinner for drinks and dancing. The pool areas are well laid out and well maintained. The Spa was the only area where I noticed any wear and tear-there's a lot of wood that needs refinishing. We enjoyed the Thalassotherapy Pool-it was worth the extra money. The casino was packed every night-the non-smoking policy seems to have had no negative effect.
Entertainment: We've never been "wowed" by Celebrity entertainment and this cruise was no exception. The in-house entertainment was pretty good-the string quartet, a great guitar/singer, a pianist/singer, a good band and singer at the pool and the Rendezvous Lounge, and a first rate group of singers and dancers. With one exception, the guest entertainers were pretty lame- a British singer, a harmonica player, a so-called impersonator. There was a very talented Chinese dulcimer player but it was too much of a good thing. The exception was a young couple who performed acrobatics hanging from fabric streamers. They were outstanding. In my opinion, they were Cirque de Soleil caliber.
Ports of Call- St Thomas-our 7th visit and we finally made it to Megans Bay. Beautiful beach and not crowded as there were only 3 ships in port. St.Croix-we'd had one previous visit in 1988 and it is just as wonderful as we remembered. We docked in Fredrikstaad and took a bus to Christianstaad.
St. Kitts-not one of our favourite islands but since we were there last they have established Port Zandt (?), a large area of duty free shopping and cafes directly opposite the pier.Nice improvement.
Antigua- This was where we had booked our only shore excursion-a 6 hour cruise on a catamaran which included snorkeling, the beach and lunch. It was first rate. We've done a few of these but this was by far the best.
St. Maarten- Our all time favorite island.-much more tourist friendly than St. Thomas. Once again, only 3 ships in port so strolling Philipsburg was a pleasure, followed by a dip in the Caribbean and lunch on the beach.
We chose this cruise for 4 reasons-the price for CC, the departure city (half as close to Ontario as Florida), the cruise line but primarily for the itinerary. We enjoy sea days and we got 6, 3 in a row to start and 3 more to end. In between, 5 ports in a row. We also like this ship. For us, it's the perfect size and I find it hard to believe that it's now 13 years old. Inside and out, it is in excellent condition. The service and friendliness of the crew was outstanding.
On the downside, other than the entertainment, the temperature in the Buffet prevented us and others from enjoying it. Even when we were close to Baltimore and the temperature was in the 50's, the air conditioning was on full blast. We attempted to have coffee one afternoon but after moving 3 times we left. The other problem is accessing the dining room. The lower level entrance can only be used if you arrive by elevator-you cannot walk from midship to aft on Plaza deck because of the galley. Guests are requested to approach on the upper level, then those seated on the lower level have to use the stairs by the martini bar. I assume this is to keep the elevators free for the guests in wheelchairs. This was not a problem for us as we were on the upper level. And speaking of elevators, they are small and only 3 forward and midship but 4 aft. There was a huge contingent of disabled passengers on this particular cruise who were waiting up to 30 minutes for an elevator. I'm sure they would not rate this cruise as high as I have.
Unfortunately, I'm sure the Mercury's days are numbered. I, for one, will be sorry to see her retired.
What a fantastic cruise! We sailed on the Mercury about 2 years ago in Alaska and said that was the best cruise we had ever taken. Well, this cruise was even better.
In the last 5 months there have been some bad posts on the message boards about the Mercury and her staff. We did not let these posts interfere with our expectations of the cruise, and are glad we didn't. Weather, can always play a part on the cruise experience and it is up to the individual how they see and handle the situation.
The weather was great except for one day at sea when we had a strong wind. The passengers did not let that stop them from lying out by the pool and relaxing. However, the ship did list 80% Starboard, where our balcony went under water for a few seconds and when it righted its self there were all kinds of fish on it, which the kitchen staff served for dinner that evening. Talk about fresh fish.
This was a very relaxing cruise, with only 5 days in ports and 8 days on the ship you would thinkwe would have gotten very bored. Not the case. We wish we could have sailed another 14 days.
Pre Cruise Stay We flew to Fort Lauderdale the day before sailing, Easter Sunday. Celebrity had booked our flights with TWA. When we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, according to the instructions Celebrity sent us, there was to be a representative to meet us at the gate. No one was there, so we made our way to the baggage claim area to retrieve our bags so that we could put our cruise tags on our luggage (we chose to wait till we got to Fort Lauderdale before tagging our luggage so that if it did not make it to the ship we would know at what point it got lost). Our luggage arrived and we tagged it but did not see a Celebrity representative to ask to make sure they would retrieve our luggage to take it to the ship. We asked another representative from another cruise line if they knew where the Celebrity representatives were. They informed us that we needed to go to a desk were all the cruise lines representatives are located in the baggage claim area. When we got to the desk we informed them that we had our luggage and they told us that it was good that we did not put it back on the carousel because there were no Celebrity workers to retrieve it from only the TWA carousel to take it to the dock. We were glad we didn't follow the instructions Celebrity had sent us. The representative ushered us to the bus which only held two other passengers, who turned out to be two fellow internet friends we were to meet on the ship, and delivered us to the Airport Sheridan in Fort Lauderdale, then took our friends to the Sheridan Plantation Suites where they were to be staying. The hotel was okay, but you have to take a taxi to any restaurants or stores. After our luggage had arrived we contacted another couple, staying in the hotel that we had also met on the Internet to make arrangements to meet for dinner. We had made reservations for the Marks Restaurant (a Celebrity suggestion) which was pricey but very good.
Embarkation On Monday morning we left our luggage in our room which was collected and then put on truck to be delivered to the dock. The buses were to start leaving at 10:30 am for the cruise ship. There were so many people waiting in line that we choose to wait in the lobby till the line got smaller. It took about 15 minutes to get to the dock. Once we arrived we were ushered into a waiting room (because of the amount of people to be checked in) before we were to go into the area where you could check in. We had joined the Captains Club when we had sailed Celebrity before, so we were able to go ahead into the check in area and checked in right away instead of having to wait.
Arriving on the Mercury We stepped foot on the Mercury about 11:30am and headed to our Cabin (Royal Suite 1034) to drop off our carryon's and store them in the closet out of the way while the cabin was being cleaned. Before when we were on the Mercury we had a category 2, which we were very pleased with, so you can imagine the pleasure we experienced in having Royal Suite for 14 days. After we dropped off our carryon's we headed to the Palm Springs Cafe for lunch. At 1:00 the Aqua Spa opened for tours, which we did first thing and I booked a Reflexology massage for a sea day. We went back to our Cabin and waited for our luggage to arrive. It arrived by 1:30 so we started unpacking. Mac our butler showed up to help us to get organized. We asked him to book two excursions for us (the Deluxe Cartagena and Fortress in Cartgena, Columbia, and the Carobici River Rafting in Puero Caldera, Costa Rica) and also informed him that we were going to have company with some Internet friends that evening. At 4:30 we had the lifeboat drill and we sailed at 5:00pm. Mac brought in a tray of assorted cheeses and fruit for our little get together at 5:30. Dinner was assigned seating so we were able to meet our tablemates who turned out to be great.
The Cabin What can I say but "Oh, the Suite life". Do to very fortunate circumstances we were able to afford a Royal Suit, which we will probably never be able to do again. Unless, of course, we win a huge lottery.
The Royal Suite is 537 sq. ft. with a 94 sq. ft. veranda. The bedroom is separate from the living room and dinning room. In the living room you have wood floors with a huge area rug that the couch, two chairs, and a large round coffee table sit. The wall where the verandah is, is floor to ceiling glass windows with a sliding glass door. There also, is a 29" TV, a VCR, and a multi disk CD player. The dinning room has a round table with four chairs with a back wall that has selves, drawers, cabinets, and the refrigerator. The bedroom is a little bit wider than a category 2 and has a single chair by a floor to ceiling glass window and a door that opens out onto the verandah. You also have end tables on both sides of the bed. There is a 20" TV, a safe and more drawer space on the opposite wall of the bed. The walk in closet has a vanity and separate is a small section with drawers. When you walk into the bathroom you are amazed at how big it is. It is mostly a dark marble. There are two sinks, a whirlpool tub, a separate area that can be closed off for privacy with a toilet, and a huge shower.
One of the things we were most curious about was the size of the verandah. We were hoping it would be wider than the one we had with the category 2 cabin. It was, although, not by much but enough for us to be able to fit two lounge chairs that Mac was able to obtain for us. We also had two chairs with footstools and a small table. One thing we were disappointed in was the fact that the table was not large enough for us to be able sit out on the verandah in the mornings and be served our breakfast. Oh well can't have everything.
The cabin was so enjoyable I had a hard time getting my husband to leave it to go socialize by the pool. Usually it's the other way around and he's the one wanting to go do something. This 14 night cruise turned out to be the perfect one, with all the sea days, and the people we met, for us to live the suite life.
The Ship We were very pleased to see how well the Mercury has been maintained. It was clean and showed very little wear and tear from when we were on it about two years ago. We had read on the message boards how the elevators glass was all scratched up but we found that it wasn't as bad as we were led to believe, in fact we probably wouldn't have even noticed had we not read about it. Just like any home there is bound to be some wear and tear, which in some ways only adds characteristics to the environment.
The Aqua Spa My husband enjoyed getting up a few mornings and taking advantage of the fitness equipment. We both liked the Thalassotherapy Pool the last time we were on the Mercury and found that we enjoyed it just as much this time too. Unfortunately the steam room was not working about half the time we went, which was a disappointment. I ended up booking two Reflexology massages and one 1 hour massage during our cruise. My husband had 1 Reflexology massage and four 1 hour massages. On port days the spa usually has special discounts which we took advantage of during two ports (Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas). Our thanks for a job well done to Phillipa and Felicia.
The Food Although the food was still good we felt it was better two years ago, but we also learned that there is a different menu for the Alaska sailing's than the Caribbean sailing's. My husband loves fish and felt the fish was better when we sailed in Alaska.
We had breakfast in our cabin every morning, which my husband enjoyed taking advantage of having expresos and cappuccinos for free in the cabin that is only offered to suite guests.
For lunch my husband liked to go to the dinning room while I preferred to go to the Palm Springs Cafe because I had a better selection. In the Palm Springs Cafe they had a buffet from 12:00 to 2:00 every day. Next to the buffet pasta is also served daily. You can also choose to go to the outdoor grill by the outdoor pool for hamburgers, hotdogs, and the best French fries. The outdoor grill also would serve one other meat dish (i.e. ribs or chicken). From 12:30 to 2:30 the Palm Springs Grill would offer theme food. For instance they had Chinese one day and Mexican another. On top of all this home made ice cream was also served from 12:00 - 2:00. The lines could be long and except for the day the Chinese food was offered they moved fast.
Dinner was always enjoyable. Joey our waiter and Estefon our assistant waiter did a great job. We had brought our own Champaign (7 bottles) on board so when we wanted a bottle for our evening meal we simply set it out in our cabin and Mac would see to it that it was delivered to the dinning room. Our wine steward was the only one on the ship that we have complaints about. At the beginning of the cruise he never showed up at our table till we were on our entree. One day we decided to order a bottle of wine from our room via TV. We waited 40 min. before we ended up asking the restaurant manager where our wine steward was and our wine. He himself went and got our wine and served it to us. Needless to say after that for the rest of the cruise the wine steward gave us good service.
For dinner one evening we met with our Internet friends and the Captain's wife and her mother at the alternative dinning at the Palm Springs Grill. Here you order your entree then go and get horderves and salad. I ordered the Salmon, which was the worst meal I had on the ship. It was way over cooked and I had a hard time chewing it. I think part of the problem may have been the fact that 16 people (all of us) showed up all at one time, which they were not use to. Even though I did not enjoy the food it was still worth going just to be with our friends that evening. If you asked me if I would go again or not? May be. Everyone has an off day and it might have been the chefs' day.
The Entertainment We knew what it was going to be like when we booked with Celebrity so there were no surprises here. It was a little better than two years ago, however this is one area that Celebrity needs to improve on.
We enjoyed going to Kareoke nights with our friends and a few of us even had nerve enough to get up there and sing. Of course everyone was amazed at how well we did and the offers started pouring in for us to do an encore the next Kareoke night. There was Kareoke 3 nights and we attended all 3.
When we cruise I usually like to go and play Bingo. On this cruise however, I only went two times. Seems I was busy doing other things such as reading, sleeping, partying, sleeping, siting on the balcony or just sleeping. Yes, you guessed it; my favorite entertainment on the ship was SLEEPING. Rest and relaxation what can I say.
I only went to the casino a couple of times, as did my husband. I decided I would rather buy some ear rings in Columbia than to loose it on the ship. However, my last night on the ship, I did close down the casino and ended up winning $100 on the slots. My husband also won some.
Fellow Cruisers The average age was 50 to 60. We are in our mid 40's and enjoyed being with this age group as we would have with a younger age crowd. On board we met with 6 other couples that we had emailed and met via the message boards on the Internet. They were a great group and just made this cruise even more enjoyable. Our tablemates also turned out to be a fun group and we really enjoyed meeting them. It seemed every where we went on the ship we would run into some one we knew.
The Personnel Our Internet friends and us were all surprised to find out that Captain Adamidis's wife had been following the message boards and knew of our group meeting (40/50's Club) on the 17th. She showed up with Danielle the Social Hostess (who we enjoyed meeting very much) and escorted us up to the Bridge for a tour. The Captain's wife is a wonderful and interesting person who loves to meet new people. We would meet or just run into her several times during our cruise and she was always available. She has some of the most interesting stories which come to find out will be published in her first book soon. Captain Adamidis was also seen often around the ship and available to passengers if they wished to talk. In fact they want to hear from passengers no matter what they have to say (good or bad).
The staff no matter who, were friendly, courteous and polite, even our wine steward. We received excellent service everywhere, with the exception of our wine steward. Mac our butler went beyond the call of duty with all the parties we had, by seeing we had cheeses, fruit and plenty of ice for wine or beers. Joey and Estefon were always there if you needed anything and even if you didn't. They made a great team. We didn't get a chance to talk to Ray Carr, the Cruise Director, much but when we did he was very friendly. The message got out that if you submitted a blank tape he would tape the Mercury today show that he did of us going through the Panama Canal. When we ran into him we asked if we could also get the show he did when we were in Aruba with the Duncan Donuts (it was so funny). He said he would be happy to do it.
The Ports of Call Oranjested, Aruba - We left the ship and walked to end of the dock where all the jeep and car rental agency's were located. We had reserved a jeep through Avis. We told them we would be there at 7:30 am and they said they would be there. After waiting till 8:00 and they did not show up we decided to rent a jeep with another agency. We headed to the Lighthouse, Santa Anna's Church, Natural Bridge, the Caves with carvings, the Island dump, and Baby Beach. We got lost a couple of times, thus found the Island dump, but always managed to find our way. We covered all of this in about 3 ½ hours. When we returned to Oranjested we wanted to go to a store on the opposite side of town and because of the traffic it ended up taking us about as long as it did to drive around the island. By the time we returned in the jeep... more to come???
The passage of time when I'm on a ship has always been different than when I'm home. It's slower on a ship. Maybe that's because there is so much to do, or perhaps it's because I try to slow things down and savor the moments and memories. A cruise has a rhythm and at 14 days this cruise is more like a 10K run than a 5 to 7 day cruise which is like a sprint. On a longer cruise I know I have to pace myself, especially when it comes to food and alcohol consumption. Such concessions I will gladly make to be at sea. This was my 22nd cruise (crossings not included) and my 3rd on the Mercury. In fact, I did the west to east Panama Canal crossing in 1999 on her.
Embarkation Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale is a sprawling facility. Seven cruise ships were in port, yet there were no traffic jams to the actual ships themselves. Once inside the warehouse sized space it was a slightly different story. Yes, herding is involved as Celebrity separates the lines for the sign in by deck number. Somelines move faster than others, WAY faster. From drop off to boarding it took an hour. Grade B.
Bugs in the News It's never a good thing to see your ship on two news stations the day you embark informing you that a norovirus flare up had sickened 185 passengers on the previous cruise. The staff and crew of the Mercury conducted a "hard cleaning" of apparently every surface on the ship which was evidenced by a milky haze on everything from the floors, tables, chairs, even the walls within inches of the ceiling. I had to wonder, just how much touching of the walls above 6 feet really goes on, but I guess the important thing was breaking the cycle of infection. It appears to have worked for the most part because on our cruise the number of passengers infected with norovirus was "insignificant." Unfortunately, one of those who did get sick was me, which meant I got to spend a couple of days sequestered in my cabin. I certainly don't blame the staff, who dutifully squirted disinfectant on your hands anytime you entered the dining venues, and cleaned the ship like their lives depended on it. Viruses, be it colds, flu or norovirus are difficult to contain anywhere people are in close proximity.
The Ship -- Initial Impressions The Mercury is still a taut ship, and obviously well cared for. From the outside she is not the most beautiful ship afloat. With a stub-nosed bow and boxy lines she is rather homely. On the inside it's a different story. No nine story atriums here. You'll always know you're on a ship, not a Las Vegas hotel that happens to have propellers. What it lacks in the gild and glitz factor it makes up for with functionality and beautiful interiors of wood and brass. The cabins are clean, handsome and well designed, although some of the furniture and fixtures are showing their age. The gripes I have about her from two previous cruises haven't changed. There is no full promenade deck and with the exception of the Navigators Lounge and the Pavilion Nightclub, the other Lounges are essentially thoroughfares to and from the restaurant. The spaces lack intimacy, although you can find a quiet nook and cranny here and there. Other than that, I love the ship. Grade B+.
Fellow Passengers A bit of everything and everyone from a newborn baby to the elderly being put ashore on stretchers in the various ports to be flown home. The nationalities were equally diverse with many German, U.K., Italian, Asian and French in addition to the majority of U.S and Canadian passengers. This was not a party ship, although for the right event, such as the 1950's sock hop they could pack the lounges late into the night. While there were a number of first timers, there were also many passengers with extensive cruise experience. Several had done more than 60 cruises. Since one of my favorite things to do is chat with people who love ships and travel, I was in heaven.
The Food For many passengers food is the litmus test of whether a cruise is a success or failure. From the comments I heard they were not disappointed.
Dining Room: This is a traditional dining ship with assigned seating and dinner times of 6pm and 8:30pm. Having the same table companions for 14 days can be a bit of a risk. If you're lucky, as I was, you'll share experiences and your tablemates will become an integral part of your cruise experience. If you're not so fortunate, by all means ask to have your table changed. It's your cruise, why eat in awkward icy silence? From appetizers to dessert the food in the Dining Room was consistently excellent. Yes, there was an entrée that didn't quite measure up here and there, but that was the exception. The service at my table was nothing short of phenomenal the entire cruise. Food Grade A Service A+.
Buffets: The Palm Springs Café on the Lido level is the buffet venue. Unlike newer ships where everything is in specialty stations, the Mercury relies on four main stations that serve pretty much the same thing. In all honesty, I now prefer this arrangement so I don't have to trudge around trying to get a complete meal. For breakfast there is a good selection of the usual fare. Make sure to check out the pancake/waffle station in the rear pool area. Of special note, the coffee is fresh brewed and actually very good. The rotating theme selections for lunch (Italian, Mexican, etc.) could be a bit heavy handed, although they have a very respectable salad bar, individually prepared Caesar salads, made to order sandwiches, and wraps of the day. The pizza and pasta station in the rear pool area was very good as was the burger and hot dog bar in the main pool area.
The layout of the Palm Springs Café is open and inviting with plentiful seating along the floor to ceiling windows on both sides of the ship. The staff was always looking to assist passengers with mobility issues with their trays. This is a gesture I really like and another example of the Mercury's culture of superior service. They also use a section of this venue at night for casual dining which I did not participate in, but those that did enjoyed the food and the experience. Food B. Service A.
Activities A full schedule of activities was presented daily. From trivia to enrichment lectures plus featured entertainment in the evenings, you'd have to be exceptionally grumpy or antisocial not to find something you'd enjoy. Grade A.
Cruise Director and Staff The cruise staff performed their jobs of trivia, bingo, pool games and such and the like adequately, but when not engaged in their sponsored functions they spent a lot of time huddled amongst themselves, probably trashing the passengers. The dancers from the production shows really made an effort to socialize with the passengers in the lounges at night, which made the cruise staff's sullenness even more apparent. The cruise director spoke faster than an auctioneer on diet pills. By day 10 my jaw was clinching every time he launched into one of his "I'M SO EXCITED" monologues where everything from the gold-by-the-inch sale to the slot tournament was guaranteed to be a stupendously magnificent once-in-a-lifetime experience. While not completely incompetent, nor was he the slightest bit genuine or credible. Grade C-.
Entertainment Entertainment has never been Celebrity's forte nor were there any big surprises here. Let's be honest, you will never get a Broadway or Vegas entertainment experience on any cruise ship. They don't pay enough to get top tier talent nor are the facilities big enough for sprawling production numbers. The evening entertainment in the Showroom rotated between production shows, a comic, magician, and a "headline" singer. There were no knock-my-socks-off moments. It's not horrible, nor is it wonderful, it's just something to do other than drinking, gambling or going to bed early. With the exception of the Celebrity Orchestra, which was extremely talented yet strangely underutilized, the other bands and lounge musical acts had a "oh are you still playing?" quality. The pool band got on my nerves singing the same songs in the same order, in the same way, day after day. Finally, I fled to the upper decks in the stern for a little quiet time during lunch. Grade C.
The Panama Canal You'll get lots of information on the Canal from one or more of the enrichment lecturers and from a dated but still relevant documentary you can watch on your stateroom TV. To clarify some questions that were still being asked the night before we arrived at the Canal: (1) No, you can't get off the ship. (2) There are no shore excursions. (3) The transit does take all day, so pace yourself. What I find amazing is how well 1914 technology still works today. The Locks are what everyone goes for, but Gatun Lake and the Gaillard Cut are my favorites. As you enter or leave the Pacific side you will be greeted with the skyline of Panama City which invokes images of Hong Kong with its high density towering skyscrapers that will have you wondering "why didn't I know that?"
Ports This was a sea day intensive itinerary, which is exactly why I booked it. An observation is warranted. The more developed the tourist facilities are onshore the less you have to rely on the ship's excursions.
Cartagena, Columbia: Was under the weather (meaning locked in my cabin) and watched the inauguration, so I can't offer any insight.
Puntarenas, Costa Rica: This is not the lush and green Costa Rica of the Caribbean side, but sort of the Detroit of the Pacific side. There is great local trinket shopping along the beach front park next to the pier, but if you want to see something other than a dusty rough looking town take one of the ship's excursions as you have few options onshore. I did the rafting trip on the Corobici River and absolutely loved it.
Huatulco, Mexico: This is pronounced "WA Tule Co." This port is a jewel. Not overdeveloped (yet), amazing bays, beaches and friendly locals. Take a taxi into the town of La Crucecita, it only costs a couple of bucks, or you can walk there in 20 minutes. You'll be greeted by a shady town square park, quaint church, sidewalk restaurants and local arts and crafts. When a better airport is built that will support flights directly from major American cities, this place may become an eco friendly version of Cabo. Is that a good thing?
Acapulco, Mexico: More mega city with mega city issues of traffic congestion than resort town. The stop is so short that unless you have never been there before, it's almost "why bother?"
Cabo: Tender port with a stop from 7am to 3pm, so there's not much time. More of a California experience than Mexican and any excursion you can purchase on the ship, you can do better at the pier. The reason to book a ship excursion here is for priority disembarkation.
Tipping Now Required As of January 15, 2009 Celebrity now adds the onboard gratuities to your account. Although they're a little late to the party, I'm glad they finally made it. The dining room waiters and room attendants rely on tips for their compensation. Not to cast aspersions on fellow travelers, but the temptation to stiff the staff does happen. In the old days when your tablemates didn't show up on the final night, you (and your waiter) knew what that meant. It's not their fault that your bar bill was double what you budgeted. At my table they didn't complain about mandatory tips, but discussed how much more was appropriate considering the exceptional level of service.
Cruise Pics and Pans Pick: The Mercury has a culture and commitment to passenger service that is nothing short of brilliant.
Pan: The deck party. They spent two days setting up the BBQ in the main pool area, dragging all the lounges out, replacing them with the wood furniture from the stern of the ship, and for what? That the space would be overwhelmed with people within minutes, staking claim to the tables and dining on second rate BBQ with all the "fixins" -- even if that meant the same stuff they served in the Lido at lunch? Unless you like the deck party scene, which is essentially wandering around asking if this or that seat is taken, go eat in the dining room which for that night had open seating. One of my tablemates said it best; we went from the best dinner (the night before) to the worst.
Pick: Guest lecture enrichment series. Interesting topics, interesting speakers and definitely worth your time, and because every cruise is different I won't name the names of the individual speakers.
Pan: Closing off, wrapping in plastic and resurfacing one half of the sunning/walking area above the mid ship pool on deck 11 during the aforementioned deck BBQ. It was out of commission for the rest of the cruise with the plastic snapping, ripping and generally annoying the passengers in the considerable breeze.
And, in the End ... At the beginning of the cruise I watched Mercury enter Fort Lauderdale, thinking someone's cruise is ending as mine was about to begin. The last day out I recalled that feeling. Even though by now I was ready to go home, I envied them their upcoming journey. Were there annoyances? Certainly. I have yet to have the perfect cruise, but the overall cruise experience was excellent. With the exception of a few individuals, the level of service on the Mercury was absolutely first rate; the food was great, my cabin clean and comfortable and the conversations with my fellow passengers interesting and informative. How do you beat that?
My wife and I try to cruise every fall. We are in our early/mid 40's. This was our 13th cruise and our 3rd time on the Mercury. We were pleased with the ship based on our previous sailings but for this particular voyage we sailed Mercury mainly because of the itinerary and because we were able to sail with friends. This was really a repositioning cruise but it was billed as a 9-night "wine cruise" based on the ports of call involved. I won't spend too much time detailing the ports of call we visited (Victoria, Seattle, Astoria, San Francisco, Monterey). I will focus this review on what we experienced on the ship itself.
The Ship While I would consider the Mercury to be in 'good' condition, she is far from being in excellent condition. Several areas throughout the ship were in need of maintenance. Nothing that would ruin a cruise, but there were many items that we thought needed attention. Examples; the exterior handrails in many places looked like they had not been varnished in months. The wood floors in the elevators were well worn and were in need ofrefinishing. The exterior decking material was worn, chipped and discolored in many places. In the Navigator Club, many of the windows had broken seals and the panes were fogged as a result. Again, none of this would ruin anyone's vacation, but it was a shame to see things like this that could be easily fixed with a little TLC.
Our stateroom was in decent condition but one of the chairs was so badly bent we could not use it. There was some wear and tear in the bathroom including rusty fixtures. Also, the toilet was a bit slow to react sometimes. Many times we had to wait 30 seconds or so for the flush to kick in after hitting the flush button.
Celebrity (like most other cruise lines) seems to be very concerned with preserving our environment. I applaud them for this. However, some of what they are doing on the Mercury borders on being extreme. To save electricity (which on a cruise ship results in saved fuel) many of the ship's interior lighting fixtures have been shut off. In the hallways leading to the cabins for example, all of the overhead lights were off for the entire trip -- only the wall lighting was on. This resulted in a very dark, dank appearance. In many of the lounges, lighting was so low that they completely lacked any ambiance. Had we not sailed the ship previously we may not have noticed this, but since we had, the difference was dramatic. The majority of the lights on the pool deck were also shut off after dark. Even the crew that was working to clean the pool deck after sunset was working in the dark. Did any of this ruin the cruise, no -- but little things like this do factor in to one's overall enjoyment.
Service Without a doubt, service was top notch in almost every area. Our waiters, bartenders, cabin stewards and everyone else we encountered were all exceptional. We have only positive reviews here. Several members of the photography staff were especially friendly and outgoing.
Food Food is always very subjective, but in our opinion the food quality and selection have gone down a notch or two since the last time we sailed with Celebrity two years ago. Many dishes were excellent, but we had more than usual that were just OK at best. One thing they did do on this sailing was the replacement of the midnight buffet with a brunch buffet. This was done on one of the sea days in the main dining room. We found this to be a great idea because after our late seating, we're never hungry for midnight buffet food anyway. Nice decision on their part.
Entertainment We spent most of our evenings in the Rendezvous Lounge. The band that played here was quite good. While we do not normally attend any of the Broadway style shows, we do enjoy shows that feature comedians and other specialty entertainers. On this trip we were unable to enjoy a lot of the entertainment because there were virtually no shows scheduled after the late seating. On all of our past cruises, those that selected late seating were able to enjoy shows that were scheduled after dinner. On this voyage, all of the shows designated for late seating guests were scheduled BEFORE dinner. This seemed odd to us and we missed out as a result. Stateroom TV was mediocre at best. Pay per view movies were available but most of them were about $12.
Miscellaneous Comments I appreciate the need to keep germs in check, HOWEVER Celebrity is a bit over the top with their hand sanitizing techniques. As you enter the dining room and the buffet areas, there are sanitizing dispensers you can use. No problem there. But, next to the dispensers they also have staff members with gallon jugs of the stuff squirting people. They attack you like trained snipers. Then, as you re-enter the ship from port, you are rarely allowed through security until sanitizing is forced upon you. This is especially awkward when you have your hands full of bags, IDs, etc. without a spare piece of exposed skin for them to squirt. As the cruise progressed we referred to these folks as the "Squirt Police". Watch out -- they will get you!
Many of the little special touches Celebrity used to provide were missing on this trip. On all of our past cruises for example, we were always given a small piece of chocolate with the coffee we purchased at the Cove Café. That is no longer provided and when we asked the bartender about it, he explained it was cut out to save $$$. Not a huge deal, but a small mark against Celebrity in our opinion. This was something that set them apart before and now they seem to have come more in line with other cruise lines.
Summary Mercury is no longer pristine and several of the little 'special touches' Celebrity used to provide are no longer available, but overall this was a nice trip.
This was our 18th cruise over the past 15 years on a variety of cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Cunard, Princess and Carnival). It was by far the finest experience we have had in many years cruising!
The food was superb. The service in the dining room was exceptional. Our cabin steward was attentive and very responsive to our needs. The nightly entertainment was very good. The embarkation and disembarkation process in Vancouver were quite easy and stress-free. The entire on and off process at all three ports (Ketchikan, Juneau & Sitka) was simple and easy.
We found the ship's crew to always be friendly and helpful. My highest compliments to the crew and staff of the Celebrity Mercury.
Having read the 2 most recent reviews on this site, before we left on this cruise, I was curious to compare my own experiences.
This cruise was a gift; we have previously only sailed on Holland America, and if the Mercury is a typical example of how Celebrity treats its older ships, we will definitely stick with HAL. Simply put, the ship is getting old and shabby looking -- bedding and upholstered furniture in both cabins and public areas is worn and in desperate need of replacement. Lots of the windows were dirty - many in the Navigator Lounge were fogged up between the panes, and completely opaque. We were on one of the last cruises on the Maasdam before her total retrofit last year, and that ship was in much better condition!
The quality of the entertainment was quite inconsistent - the naturalist on board was fantastic, the comedian was also quite good, but the rest of the entertainment was not worth sitting through.
On a more positive note -- the food and service in the Manhattan Dining Room were fantastic. I didn't have a single meal all week that I didn't thinkwas great. (To be fair, my wife says she preferred the plainer fare on Holland America.) I was not nearly as impressed with the buffet restaurant, and the only sushi I had all week was dry and had apparently been sitting out for some time.
As for the service in general, I'd also call it inconsistent. Some of the crew were very friendly and helpful, while others really didn't seem to care. The public washrooms didn't seem to get cleaned very regularly: they were often out of hand towels, and littered with paper towels, overflowing the bins. Overall, I'd consider Celebrity again, but only on a newer ship.
Being from Vancouver, I'm embarrassed to admit that the staff at the Port were horribly unhelpful. Because we were with a larger group, some of us left the terminal to pick up our own vehicles, intending to come back and pick up those that were left behind guarding the luggage. The cruise terminal staff refused to allow us to get back in to pick up our luggage, saying that only people dropping off passengers were allowed. I should have lied and said I was dropping people off.
It wasn`t as great as their claims.
This was our fifth cruise, two others on Celebrity (Horizon, Summit)one on Holland Ryndam, one on Dawn Princess. We would be hard pressed to ever cruise on another line than Celebrity as they simply stand a notch above the others, particularly in the areas of cuisine and service.
If your idea of great food is a visit to the local mall food court, Celebrity is not for you. Their main dining room offers delicious and meticulously prepared high continental cuisine. From the wonderful appetizers, to the delightful soups, delicious entrees, and "to-die-for" desserts, the Mercury simply shines. Everything is made from scratch, and the ice creams, sherbets, and breads all are freshly made on the ship. One taste of their consomme and it immediately becomes obvious that they know food preparation.The quality of the meat and seafood is what you would find in a better restaurant, in fact every meal in the Manhattan restaurant is what you would expect in a four or five star restaurant.
The buffet also provided a huge variety of food that ranges from good to excellent. Don't miss the cheese station that offers gourmet aged cheeses or the homemadeice cream and sherbets offered daily. The sushi bar was quite good, the pasta station excellent: even the poolside grill provides a great hamburger and the best french fries we ever have had.
The service is exemplary: everyone we dealt with on the ship bent over backwards to meet our desires. The crew was happy, based on our lengthy conversations we shared with them. The ship was spotless and showed little sign of her age. Staff constantly were cleaning, polishing, and sanitizing the public areas.
The oceanview stateroom was comfortable and pleasant. The shows ranged from good to great in our opinion. Lots of activities are provided daily, and the culinary demonstration was very interesting.
The ports are typical cruise ports typified by hordes of obnoxious cab drivers, hawkers, and vendors. We did not partake of the excursions as we enjoy the shipboard experience more than spending a day on an excursion. We have found little differences between cruise lines in this regard. Embarkation and debarkation was orchestrated well.
We loved the Mercury, in her understated beauty, and the overall experience was the best we have experienced on any cruise. We saw no sign of corner cutting in the food compared to past Celebrity cruises, as indicated by some reviewers. In fact the Mercury was rated the best in the world for cuisine by Conde Nest.
Compared to our Holland and Princess experiences, which also were quite pleasant, all the Celebrity cruises stand above them in the areas of service and food. Celebrity truly tries to provide a gourmet food experience and succeeds, the others provide good food.