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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: Sue Clark
# previous cruises: 6
Date of Trip: March 9, 2001
Itinerary: South America

Celebrity Mercury, March 9, 2001 - 14 Days, Caracas, Venezuela to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

This was our first cruise on Celebrity and my overall score (on a scale of 1 to 10) would be a 9.8. My husband gives it a 9.9. The ship is beautiful and very clean - I didn't find a dirty or worn spot through the entire cruise. The staff is continuously cleaning; I'm sure our cabin steward was a magician because every time we left the suite, when we returned it had been cleaned up. Our Sky Suite was nice; the verandah huge and even where it was located on the top deck, there was very little ship movement just enough to rock us to sleep at night. Our butler was superb - he even tracked us down one afternoon in the Martini Bar where we were having 'tini's with our new dinner friends - to deliver our Hor d'oeuvres. The food was good - always served hot and the way it was ordered.

The pool areas were the most popular on this trip - there were people sunning and swimming all day every day. The band Opus played for the sail away party and several other times on the pool deck and everyone had a great time.

We don't usually do shore excursions on cruises, as we both work high stress jobs and really enjoy the time on board doing nothing, so I can't review any of these, but they seemed to be well attended and I didn't hear any complaints from other passengers.

We had two special surprises - one afternoon I had a call from a lady that said she had something to show us the next day. She picked us up at our stateroom the next day at 11:00 and led us through several hallways - I wasn't paying much attention to where we were going - the next thing I realized we were standing on the bridge. Then she grinned and said she was the Captain's wife. Captain Adamidis then came onto the bridge and introduced himself and we were given a special tour. As if that wasn't enough, on the last formal night, we received an invitation to dine at the Captain's table.

The following is a much longer review of the 14-day cruise. Remember these are just our opinions.

We were flown into Caracas, Venezuela on the day prior to the cruise - arriving at about 9:30 p.m. We (and a number of others) were met by Celebrity representatives and escorted to buses that took us to our hotel. We were at the Gran Melia, which is one of the most beautiful hotels I've ever been in. The next morning a continental breakfast was provided and then check-in for the ship was done at the hotel. This is one of the few things I think Celebrity could have done better. I detest waiting in lines - one of the reasons we booked a suite was the priority boarding. I think they could have had a line for suite guests the same way airlines have a line for first class passengers. After waiting in line for an hour and a half, we were checked in and given our boarding passes. We then checked out of our room and boarded a bus for the ship. Boarding was very quick, straight from the bus, through the terminal and into the ship.

The next day we were in Curacao - we had breakfast in our suite served on the balcony by the butler and then wandered around the town taking a few pictures. We did a little more exploring on the ship and then got ready for dinner (casual). The lifeboat drill was held right before dinner and I always enjoy watching the discomfiture of the first time cruisers walking around in the big orange vests. The drill was done very proficiently - our station was in the Casino so we had an opportunity to really look it over while we were gathering.

Then we took the vests back to the cabin and proceeded to the Navigator for a pre-dinner cocktail. The Navigator is a wonderful bar with huge expanse of windows overlooking the bow of the ship. It was very underutilized on our cruise so it was a nice quiet place for escape. We were at a dining table for 8 and the other couples were great, Jack and Joan from Canada, BrittMarie and Tommy from Sweden and another couple from the U.S., sadly I don't remember their names - they didn't eat in the main dining room most nights. It was early to bed that night (as most nights are for us - we are used to getting up at 4:30 a.m. for work).

We arrived at the dock in Aruba at about 7:00 the next morning (Sunday). Since we had no real plans for the day, we decided to have a light breakfast, croissants and coffee on the balcony before we went exploring. I could get used to having a butler! We spent a couple hours exploring the area and then headed back for the ship. It was time for a soak in the Thalassotherapy pool (T-pool) - ahhh life is good. That night was the first formal night so we dressed to the nines and went to Rendez-vous Square for pre-dinner cocktails and some good easy listening music. Most of the people on board were either in a dark suit or Tux and the ladies were, for the most part, in long gowns. The ship does have an alternative restaurant for those that don't want to dress for dinner. I look forward to the formal nights and really can't understand why someone would refuse to take part - they rent tuxes on board at a very low cost. We made a stop in Michaels for Cognac and a Cuban cigar my husband bought on shore. What a wonderful room Michaels is and never busy - perhaps it was just this cruise, but we never saw more than 3 or 4 people in it.

Monday was a sea day - my favorite - I would really love a 14-day cruise with about 4 ports of call. A leisurely breakfast at the buffet restaurant followed by a soak in the whirlpool on deck 12 and a little bit of sun. We spent most of the day lounging either on our balcony or in the room napping and reading before heading down for cocktails and dinner. Rendez-vous Square was quite busy that night and the dance floor was always occupied. Dinner was informal - cocktail dresses for the women and jackets and ties for the men. We went to both the Navigator and the Pavilion nightclubs for a short time after dinner. The Pavilion was busy after the late dinner seating with a lot of people dancing to a variety of music by Opus.

Tuesday morning we woke up early and after calling for coffee watched the ship dock at Cartagena, Columbia. We decided not to go ashore this port so we followed our sea day routine that consists of doing a lot of nothing. Don't get the wrong idea, there is a full agenda of activities offered each day - with even more on sea days, but we don't often attend them. As we walked around the ship, it seemed that each of the activities was full, so I'm sure we are in the minority. I find that the luxury of lounging and being waited on is just too good to pass up. Another soak in the T-pool, a little more sun and a lot more reading. We had lunch in the Manhattan restaurant and then a short nap. Tea served by our butler at 4:00 and then Hor d'oeuvres at 5:00 and we were not hungry at all for dinner. So we decided to skip it with the hope that we would still be able to fit into our clothes at the end of the trip.

We were scheduled to anchor outside the San Blas Islands at 8:00 on Tuesday morning and as usual we woke up early and called for coffee. Silven (the butler) was worried when we didn't want croissants with our coffee that morning - we assured him that everything was fine - we would eat later in the buffet. We took the first tender to the island (a privilege of the suites is priority tender boarding). Hmmmm, what can I say about San Blas, except I wonder why Celebrity stops there. The island is small, and the local Cuna Indians had their hand-stitched work for sale. We bought an appliq-d t-shirt, took a number of photographs of the Indian women in full native costume (and parted with a couple dollars each time), walked around the island and then tendered back to the ship. By that time most of the tenders coming ashore were full as the crew was providing a beach barbecue. The others at our dining table stayed for the lunch and said it was good. The excursion offered looked interesting, but was sold out by the time we decided we might take it. It was a tour via large canoe-type boats of several of the nearby islands with visits to the villages. After reboarding the ship, we had a quick lunch in the main dining room and then went to the library to check out the selection of books and spent about an hour on the jigsaw puzzle on the table. A quick soak in the Jacuzzi and the rest of the afternoon was spent on the balcony reading before going to dinner. After dinner we went to the show which was quite good - well above the quality found on many other ships.

The next day was in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. After our usual leisurely breakfast on the balcony, we went ashore and walked around the city and the waterfront. Wow, it was hot, by 11:00 we were looking for a cool one - and, of course, we found one. We sat in a nice sidewalk cafe and enjoyed our cervesa with lime and did a little people watching. Tourist watching is always quite comical. We bought some coffee and headed back to the ship.

Finally another sea day en route to Grand Cayman! This was the day of our first surprise - being escorted for a private tour of the bridge by the Captain's wife. Dance lessons were in the Pavilions nightclub that afternoon - we watched the action there for a while and then made our one trip to the Casino. I lost a roll of quarters immediately to a slot machine and Jim played one of the tables for a while loosing about $25.00. That was it for us - gambling is not high on our list of entertainment. The Casino is large and beautiful and always had a lot of action going on for those that like it. Dinner that night was formal so we donned our clothes and went to a cocktail party in the suite of one of our dinner table friends. Then off to dinner, then a post dinner drink and it was bedtime for us.

Saturday - we are anchored in Grand Cayman so we tendered ashore and decide to rent a car. This is a real adventure as they drive on the left. We did a little swimming at a beautiful beach and then drove to Hell. I took a few photos in Hell - you never know when you'll need to prove you've already been to Hell. Then we went to a great restaurant and had an assorted conch appetizer tray and an "umbrella" drink and then headed back toward Georgetown. After 4 hours of driving on the wrong side of the road, Jim said he'd had enough - so returned the car and walked around through the shops a bit and then tendered back to the ship. That was a full day and we were both tired so we had a quick nap, tea & pastries, and Hor d'oeuvres and then convinced ourselves we should go to dinner. We had fun telling our friends our experience driving around Grand Cayman.

Sunday was another sea day!

The next day was Cozumel - we've been here before so we decided not to rush. We went ashore about noon and immediately walked by the Atlantis submarine place. Since Jim didn't get to take the deep dive research sub in Grand Cayman (it was cancelled) we decided to do the Atlantis trip. It was a good trip; everyone had a clear view through large portholes. The sub goes down to 100 ft. and had a nice route with coral and brightly colored fish. When that ended we had a shot of tequila and browsed a bit in some shops and then back to the ship where I headed for the T-pool for a quick soak before getting ready for dinner.

The ship was scheduled to dock at Calica, Mexico on Tuesday, but a freighter was in its place so we anchored outside Playa Del Carmen. As we were just there a few months ago on our way to Akumal, we decided to skip going ashore. We did the usual treatment in the Spa that morning at 10:00. What fun, it's designed for couples; you are given a private area with two rooms - one a changing room with shower and the other a steam room with rain and body showers and pots of mud to smear on your bodies. It was a lot like finger-painting each other. After getting thoroughly muddy, we enjoyed the cool showers for quite some time and then had to escape the steam room - it was just too hot for me! After another quick shower and hair wash we used the provided massage oils and then dressed and left. It really was a refreshing and fun experience. We spent the rest of the day reading and lounging - this is a life I could get used to! At dinner that night, our table mates were very happy with Playa - they enjoyed the shopping and the beaches there are always great. It really is a much better port of call than Calica.

The trip is coming to an end - this is our last sea day and the last formal night. As our butler was bring us our morning coffee Jim picked up the papers pushed under the door during the night. There was an invitation From the Master of Mercury inviting us to dine at the Captain's table. What an honor! No, we are not rich or famous. I, of course, spent a bit more time primping for dinner that night, as did my husband only he won't admit it. The Captain dines at the late seating and we are early seating type people, so we took a bit of a nap in the afternoon and had plenty of time to enjoy our appetizers - then we headed to the Rendez-vous Square for pre-dinner cocktails and time to enjoy the music before we were escorted to a special reserved area where we met the other people we would be sitting with. After everyone in the dining room is seated the Captain and others are led down the main staircase to the central table. A photographer took pictures and one was delivered to our stateroom the next morning.

We went into Key West with our friends from Sweden and wandered around the town. It is a very picturesque place. We went to a couple museums and a few shops - having a beer at Sloppy Joe's, a piece of Key Lime pie at the Key Lime Pie store, and some conch fritters and a wonderful waterfront restaurant. Then back to the ship to pack - the worst part of any trip, but when we met our friends for a farewell cocktail before dinner, we were done and they had to do it following dinner. It was rather sad to part with our new friends, but after exchanging email addresses, we promised to keep in touch.

Ft. Lauderdale and the end of a great vacation - We were in the first group to disembark and immediately claimed our luggage and went to the bus for the airport.

Public Areas
Our favorite area of the ship (other than our suite) was Rendez-vous Square where they played easy listening music prior to dinner. The Spa is wonderful - everyone should go to the T-pool at least once.

Food and Service
The dining room is lovely and quite spacious, the food good and the service excellent.

Our Sky Suite was nice; the verandah huge and even where it was located on the top deck, there was very little ship movement just enough to rock us to sleep at night.

The Cruise Director, Ray Carr, is perfect and the videos made during each day's activities and shown on the ships internal TV channel were wonderful entertainment. The art throughout the ship is interesting, I didn't particularly like it, but we had fun looking at it.

Not every thing was perfect - the whirlpool bathtub in the suite didn't work well even after they said it had been repaired twice, the wait in line in the hotel in Caracas to check in for the ship, and the wait for picking up my passport were really the only things I can think of and they certainly weren't enough to spoil the cruise at all.

Who Goes
We will certainly sail again with Celebrity and if the Mercury is available where and when we want to go, all the better. Thank you to Captain and Mrs. Adamidis for our special surprises. SueClark@aol.com

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