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   Cruise Travel - Reader Reviews

Welcome to Your Favorites, where you have the opportunity to share your travel experiences with fellow Internet Travelers around the world.

Celebrity Cruise Line

MV Mercury

Your Rating:Four Stars
Reviewed by: Vickie Ruehl
# previous cruises: 21 to 30
Date of Trip: January 4, 2004
Itinerary: Mexico-Western

This was the second time I did this itinerary (different ship last time) and it was a good experience which I would definitely repeat. I was impressed w/Celebrity (this was my 5th Celebrity trip) - the ship's layout, decor, daytime entertainment, policy of no announcements and food.

Public Areas
Public areas are a high point on this ship. There were many lounges all of which were attractively decorated and, more importantly for me, had lots of natural light so they were great for hiding away on a cloudy day and reading or playing games. The daily trivia games (3 per day - general trivia, classic TV trivia and name that tune) rotated between 3 lounges which was a nice touch. I avoid the pool (too crowded and noisy) & casino (smoky and loud), so can't comment on those. The interior pool was nicely decorated with wicker lounges and tropical plants, and was well utilized (either as a warm place to snooze or respite from a too-windy outdoor pool). No walk-around promenade, but the promenade deck was wide with a fair number of metal/plastic lounges (the lifeboats overhead made it feel somewhat closed in however). Lots of deck space on decks 12 and 14 (14 is reserved for topless sunbathing; averaged 5-6 topless folks each day).

Food and Service
Food overall was better than average. The Manhattan dining room offered sufficient variety, well prepared and good service. Some older folks did complain that the food was too fancy, but I take that with a grain of salt. The menu was imaginative but not bizarre and you could always request plain meat (one night nothing appealed to me and I asked for roast chicken - no problem). The pastry chef was extraordinarily good and our table often ordered multiple desserts. Lunch buffets...can't comment since the lines were long and the food didn't appeal to me. I did use the pool grill but - other than the pizza - was not impressed with the grill. Burgers & hotdogs were not cooked to order, but were grilled and kept warm in a bin. But, the great lunch idea was the sandwich bar near the interior pool. Every day they offered a special sandwich which was made in front of you on a variety of breads, w/all the toppings available. They also had a special salad each day - Cobb, greek, etc. This was speedy, good quality and the right quantity. Daily tea (4-5) offered an assortment of tiny tea sandwiches (very tasty), cookies and cakes. Breakfast - I had my cereal every day so can't comment except that the pastries were spectacular - great brioche, croissant (finally, a real buttery, non-greasy croissant), sticky buns, etc.

Service in the dining room was very good, although our waiter was Turkish and rather difficult to understand (no idea what nationality the bus boy was and he barely understood English). They definitely aimed to please and smiled/laughed a lot. (I drink a lot of water and they kept my glass filled - to me, that's a mark of good service.) The asst. maitre'd accommodated several special orders very willingly.

I had cabin 9059, forward on deck 9 (an outside cabin). It was fine - window was big and the loveseat was handy for watching the sun set. Two full length (floor to ceiling) closets about 2 ft. wide and one floor to ceiling with drawers and shelves. Other drawers in nightstands and dressing table. I had plenty of room for my clothing but think that two people would fill up every drawer/shelf. Very quiet - no mechanical ship noise nor crew noise. Bathroom was larger than some - shower was roomy.

Entertainment - a downfall as on most ships. The production shows were lousy - that's all you can say. Yes, those "kids are trying hard and work hard and are so cute...blah, blah" but they're still second - or third -rate. Dancers were not synchronized, didn't know the steps/routines, singers had weak voices (that could be attributable to the sound system), costumes were amateurish, choreography was dull and the content was the same old show you see on every ship ....broadway, America's regions, and hit songs. Heard lots of negative comments about these shows.

They did have a very funny comic - Noodles Levenstein. With a name like Noodles, you'd think he'd be full of schtick or cliches but he was good. So well received that they added a special 11:45 pm late show later in the cruise. Also had two classical musicians - violinist and pianist who were very good and also did two shows. Also had a Rat Pack wannabe who seemed like a nice guy but was a so-so performer.

Cruise director was smarmy - like a used car salesman and very rarely seen anywhere on deck or in public areas. The cruise activities staff were very good - large staff who seemed to genuinely enjoy their job and liked chatting w/passengers.

The daytime activities took place on sea AND port days and were great - the best I 've seen on any ship, including Crystal, QE2, Princess, & HAL. Three trivia games, various sporting events (putting by the pool, volleyball, etc.), enrichment lectures (not interesting to me, but I heard good things about them), 3 movie showings, other games (cribbage, scrabble, boggle, etc.), bingo, horse races, port talks, dance lesssons, and more. Truly amazing variety.

Ports were Cabo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco and Ixtapa/Zihautenejo. Been there before so didn't get off again. People at my table split between those who explored on their own and those who took a fair number of ship tours and enjoyed them.

Who Goes
I expected a younger passenger demographic (more 40-55), but I would say the average age was 68. According to the cruise consultant, significant senior discounts were offered for this cruise, so that might explain the number of older passengers. People I met at trivia or my dinner table were pleasant, college educated but no-one I'd stay in touch with.

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