Age: 46 to 55
Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: June 11, 1999
Itinerary: Vancouver to Seward
This was my first cruise although, technically I did cross the Atlantic on the Empress of England in 1965. I had a wonderful time on the Mercury and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. We were assisted in setting this up by Cruise Holidays of River Oaks in Houston and they got us a good price on both air and water transport and were very helpful with little tips for a first-time cruiser.
The ship was magnificant, shiny, and very new. Our cabin was bottom of the line (lower deck, inside) but was still very nice and plenty big. There is lots of storage space and the bathroom was plenty big. The shower was fantastic! Not having a window was the only drawback. The cabin steward was very nice and thouroghly efficient though we never saw him except in the hallway.
The food on the ship was quite good, though not quite what I had been led to believe. It doesn't quite compare to the best restaurants we frequent but, then again, those restaurants only serve 60 or 70 meals a night while the chef on the Mercury has to prepare food for 2,000 people. All things considered, the quality was beyond acceptable. The variety was less then we would have hoped. No oriental food, no Indian food, no real ethnic food or any sort. Just good European cuisine. Our waiter was superb though he spoke English so rapidly and with such a heavy Turkish accent that no one had a clue what he was saying most of the time.
We did not take any of the ship's shore excursions. After some internet research, I planned our own trips and we had a great time. Of special note was the Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Sitka.
The entertainment was fine by me. The singers and dancers put on a very good show, the comic was funny, and the magician was clever. We went to the show every night and never regreted it. The lounge entertainment was better than I expected. We especially enjoyed listening to the string quartet every night after the Theater show.
The scenery was very nice though we had poor weather most of the way and never got a good look at the mountains in the background.
Complaints: I have three. 1. Celebrity should adopt the so-called "Coke card" that some other lines have so the kids can get soft drinks without paying cocktail lounge prices. 2. The exclusion of kids from the exercise facilities is really short-sighted. The line should at least have a few hours a day when teen-agers can use the treadmills or the exercise bikes. 3. The cruise director was insufferable. If I had a nickel for every time he said something was "truly wonderfull" or "I mean this sincerely", I could have paid for the cruise.
I was aghast at how many of our fellow cruisers left the ship and headed straight for the airport. We stayed in Seward for a couple of days and had a great time. (A nice little B&B is the Melody Inn, a couple of blocks from the dock.) We took a boat trip in the Kenai Fjords National Park and saw so much wildlife it made the whole trip a success. More people should stick around.
Bottom line: the Mercury is wonderful ship. The whole family had a great time and would do it again at the drop of a hat.