Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: March 13th, 2004
Itinerary: Coastal California, Mexican Riveria
I recently returned from a spring break cruise with Celebrity Cruise Lines on board Mercury to Coastal California and the Mexican Riviera. This was my first cruise so I made sure that I knew all about the ship before I left. I was disappointed when I couldn’t find a review from another teenager. I wanted to know a bit about teen life on board. As a teenager I will write about my cruise because I know that I am probably not alone in that thought.
Embarkation: Upon arrival at the San Francisco Pier we went into a large warehouse type area where check-in was. I suggest that you check in as early as allowed because later on when we went ashore to do some shopping the check in line was huge. If you get there when the line up is quite small check in is very easy. Basically you give them the info they need and they give you a cruise card. They ask for your passport and they will keep it until the end of the cruise.
*NOTE- keep your cruise card with you at all times. It allows you to get on and off the ship, purchase drinks and of course get into your stateroom.
*NOTE- bring your seasick remedies, I had to use mine once or twice.
Getting on board Mercury: After receiving your card you can head to the ship. They take a picture of you before boarding-a bon voyage picture that can be purchased during the cruise- then once on board you are greeted with champagne or orange juice and another picture is taken-this one is for id purposes. After scanning your card you are taken to your stateroom by a stateroom attendant. My luggage arrived about an hour after boarding to my stateroom door.
Shopping: San Francisco has Fisherman’s Wharf. A bunch of shops that were pretty good, not too pricy as most of the stuff was on sale. Monterey also had a fisherman’s wharf, not as many shops and in my opinion not as nice of stuff. Mazatlan had a lot of shops but they all had pretty much the same things. I found some great stuff though. I got my hair corn rowed here for $12american. Search around for the good deals and BARTER. Cabo San Lucas had a building full of shops with great stuff, but it was a lot harder to barter here. The beaches are the best places to buy stuff. It’s really cheap and some of the stuff is neat. The shopping on board the ship was not geared for teens. I personally didn’t like the stuff they were selling. This is the only thing about Mercury that I didn’t like.
Teen Stuff Onboard: I was traveling with a friend and of course we wanted to meet other teens. We did not go to the teen center the first day and as we learned later on…big mistake. By the time we met up with teens the second day they all had their little cliques so it was hard to get into them, luckily we succeeded by the third and made some good friends. At night starting around 9:30 the navigator turned into a disco and it seemed that only the teens were in there at this time, which was great. However due to our ages we got kicked out at 11. So to keep us occupied there was another dance area that started at 11:30 at the rendezvous lounge, not as secluded or dark, but still fun. We were there until 1 or 2 in the morning most nights. The best places to hang out after the dance shuts down are the extremely comfortable rendezvous lounge chairs-you’ll want to take one home- and the pavilion night club couches. That nightclub is deserted at that time so it’s a good place to chat.
The Pool Area: There are four pools onboard Mercury. An indoor pool in a room beside the buffet area, the spa pool, which you have to pay to use, and the two main pools outside. One is cold and one is warm but both are salt water. There are also four hot tubs outside, two on one side of the deck, one on the other and one in the middle. The water was really rough a couple days causing the pool to drain. It would drain 2ft on one side then the other. We were allowed in the water still, just watch out for suction if you go in during this time, otherwise the water is great. The two outdoor pools are surrounded by lounge chairs. Deck 11, 12, 13 have lounge chairs; deck 14 says it is reserved for topless sunbathing, however, I heard that is only when the ship travels in Europe.
The Food and dressing for dinner: I had read reviews that put down the food on this ship, I disagree. Food was great. I chose the buffet for breakfast every morning as opposed to the dining room. Line-ups were never more than ten people due to four serving areas. Usually breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, eggs, pancakes or French toast, hash browns, bacon, sausage, corn beef hash, mini boxes of cereal, cream of wheat and pastries. I also chose the buffet for lunch it was mostly themed, there was Mexican, Chinese and others. If you chose not to have the buffet there or in the dining room, there are grills on the decks that serve fries, pizza, hot dogs and burgers. Of course dinner was in the Manhattan Restaurant. My table was right beside the two story glass windows, which was nice. The menu changed nightly, but there was usually fish, chicken and steak on the menu every night. The night of baked Alaska, there was lobster. Casual nights were casual, i.e. nice pants and a shirt, same with the guys. In formal (semi-formal) was fairly dressy, I opted for a skirt and a nice top. Formal was formal, cocktail dresses or a dressy pantsuit, the guys wore a suit.
Pictures: You’ll get a lot of pictures taken. As mentioned earlier, once before boarding and one once boarded. If you go onshore early enough at the ports you’ll get your picture taken with Celebrity crewmembers dressed up to fit the port. You also get pictures taken on the formal dinner nights at your table. All these photos are developed and put on display in the photo gallery where you can purchase them. On the formal nights, you may also have professional portraits taken on the grand staircase or numerous other locations on the ship. You do not have to purchase any pictures and you can have as many taken as you want without being obligated to buy them.
Stateroom: I had also read in reviews that the staterooms were so small they weren’t even functionable. I disagree. I had an inside stateroom. The area with the beds is large enough to function. There was about two-three feet between the beds and the vanity with the mirror had a safe behind it. The bathroom was right across from the closets so in order to get into either the other had to be closed. The bathroom was a pretty good size. The shower was fairly big. I’m a small person but there was quite a lot of room in there. The stateroom attendant cleans the room every night while you’re at dinner and after you leave your room in the morning. You always know if they’re in your room cleaning because they leave the door open a crack and they’ll leave if you need to change and what not.
Stuff to do on board: Shuffle board, swimming, tanning, ping-pong, basketball, volleyball, casino, games-trivia, battle of the sexes…lots of stuff. There is a talent show onboard so if you want you can perform.
The Shows: The shows were very good. They ranged from the celebrity dancers, an impressionist, and singers to a professional xylophonist. The dancers were amazing. High energy and good dancing.
Entertainment other than the shows: There was a band called Axis that played outside on the pool deck stage. They were very fun to watch. A very high energy group that danced around the stage and deck a lot. They also had good music, quite a variety. There was also a deck party one night that the band played at, it had a Hawaiian theme. There was a western theme dance as well one night.
The Wonderful Crew: The crew on the ship was amazing. The crewmembers that we interacted with daily came to know our names after the first night. Our waiter-Julius- was fantastic. Totally accommodating to our likes and dislikes. Our bus boy-O’Neil- whom we came to know as “Shaq,” was very nice. The somolier-Christiano-was very good and helpful to those at our table who drank wine. The Matron’d-Sasha - was also great. He brought us soup special one night when we didn’t like what was offered. Finally there was the hard working stateroom attendants-Newton and his partner- they did a fantastic job tidying my room and replenishing whatever was needed-ice water, toiletries, etc. The crew was great.
Disembarkation: Bring a carry on bag to put your left over clothing, etc in for the last night because you have to put out your suitcase the night before you leave. You claim your suitcase after you get off the ship by the coloured luggage tag you’re given the night before. You also claim your passport very early the day you leave.
Some funny questions asked during the cruise:
Q-Does the crew sleep onboard?
A-No we ship the crew back to land to spend the night.
Q-While still docked in San Francisco, someone asked why their ocean view window had
buildings in the way!
A-Well we haven’t left yet, there’s no ocean to see.
Q-Does the ship generate it’s own electricity?
A-No the ship has an extension cord going all the way back to San Francisco.
I totally recommend cruising, it is more geared towards older people but i still had a great time.