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Age: 21 to 35


Number of Cruises: First Cruise

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Mercury

Sailing Date: November, 21 1998

Itinerary: 7-day Western Caribbean

EMBARKATION: Embarkation went really well for us. There were no lines and no hassle. When we got to our rooms, our bags were already there.

ROOMS: In the brochures, the rooms look small, but they're pretty good sized rooms. I was very impressed on the cleanliness of the rooms, not just on the first day, but everyday! I lucked out and got a room to myself because the person I was sharing a room with had to cancel at the last minute. I hardly saw the room attendant, but the room was always made up, once in the morning and once at night (with chocolates on your pillow at night). The bathroom is always kept clean, plenty of towels, and toiletries. One thing I do recommend is to check on the first day to see if you have bathrobes in the closet. If you don't, TELL THE ATTENDANT! I didn't know that I was supposed to do this and they tried to charge me $90.00 for two robes that weren't there to begin with. But I got that taken care of.

FOOD: Wow! The food on the Mercury was excellent! We had the late seating. This is a good time because when you're on land all day, you need to have time to rest a while and get ready. And you don't want to be rushing, especially on formal nights. The only downside is that dinnertime lasts from 8pm to 10-10:30pm. When you're not used to being waited on, it's kind of amusing to watch the waiter and busboy work. Some nights you can feel the motion of the boat, but you get used to it as evening goes on.

ENTERTAINMENT: The only disco club they had was the Navigator Club. The music started at 10pm and maybe a total of 5 or 6 people would be there. At 11pm when it starts to get packed, the club is only open to those who are 18 and older. I can understand this for certain reasons because of the alcohol, but some just want to dance. My 16-year old brother was there with my parents and he had to leave. And despite what they say, there is no teen dance club. All the teenagers were escorted to a room next to the club, that had a jukebox, but were not allowed to use. So he spent his nights trying to get in the club and not be noticed. The band, Onyx, played for about an hour or two. They are a pretty good band. Then the DJ would play his music. If you're into upbeat dance music, this is great. I enjoyed it, but when you start hearing the same mixes of songs everynight, it starts to get to you.

SHOWS: I didn't get to see any shows except for the one on the last night. That was good.

I think next time I'm going to arrange it so I can have time before dinner to see the shows.

KEY WEST: We arrived here at 7am & departed at 1:30pm. So, we really didn't do too much shopping here.

CALICA: To me, this was the best place to do your shopping if you're into crafts and so on. We went to Playa del Carmen. There were many vendors there and if you want things cheap, you need to bargain with them and stick to it. I'm not good at this but my dad is, so we were having fun watching him bargain over jewelry, shoes, belts, whatever. While we were shopping, a guy was trying to get us to go to a promotional thing put on by a hotel. We went and they provided free food from a mexican buffet (it was delicious!), 2 bottles of tequila, and two blankets, just for looking around their hotel. The ocean there is beautiful. Clear water and white powdery sand. There is even a place near the ocean in Playa del Carmen where you can get something to drink and just enjoy the view.

COZUMEL: We did some more shopping in Cozumel. Let me warn you. If you are a nervous type of person, you're not going to enjoy the taxi rides at any of these places. But if you are somewhat adventurous, you'll have fun in the taxi itself. We went to the Hard Rock Café for drinks and then we went to this store called La Fiesta. Right when you walk in, on your left hand side, there's a little place set up where you can take free shots of tequila. Then we ate at Pancho's Backyard. This is a good place if you want a quiet setting. But if you want something a little more livelier, I heard Carlos ‘N Charlie's is the place to be.

GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND: I would definitely recommend getting your shopping done at the other ports of call. There they have a high standard of living and the prices are outrageous! But, it is a must that you try the rum cake, especially at Tortuga's.

For our first cruise, it went far beyond our expectations. I would definitely recommend this cruise. The next cruise we are scheduled to go on is Carnival's 7-day Mexican Riviera. Definitely looking forward to that one also!

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