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G. W. Cassina

Age: 44

Occupation:Police Officer

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Mercury

Sailing Date: March 17th, 2006

Itinerary: n/a

Celebrity Cruise Line
Mercury Cruise Review
Mexican Riviera 10 Day

G. W. Cassina

I hate to start on a negative note but, this experience was not at all what I had expected. I was cruising with my wife, mom, and dad. We take two cruises per year, and have cruised on Royal, Princess, and now Celebrity. I have always heard positive things about this line, especially this ship.

When we arrived at the port, the ship looked beautiful. Prior to check in, we had to fill out a CDC form asking if we had any gastrointestinal discomforts. This should have been a clue. We were about to board a sick ship. When we reached the foyer of the ship, we were greeted by the staff, wearing gloves, and the area smelled of bleach. Before we could accept the glass of champagne, we had to sterilize our hands with alcohol. I expected this grand feeling as we actually entered the ship. Instead, the glass, mirrors, handrails, brass, and elevators were dripping wet with a very strong bleach mixture. I expected to be blown away with the beauty of this ship. It was disappointing. The carpets were dirty as well.

Aside from the smell of bleach throughout the ship, our room was clean and our room steward was great.

The food in the main dining room was good. Before entering, we had to sterilize with alcohol. Before entering any eating area, all passengers were required to sterilize. They refused entry until you did. The buffet was just enough to sustain life. Luke warm scrambled eggs, and assorted breakfast meats "EVERY DAY". Later we discovered that 20 or so staff members fell ill to the virus on the ship. They were forced to use alternate employees to cook. They did have a waffle bar for breakfast as well. If you wanted to wait in a huge line, to get a couple of waffles, the food was pretty good. The only problem is everyone else soon discovered the food was better at the waffle bar. Enough about the food.

The ports were the best thing about the cruise, except for tendering. We tendered in Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, and Ixtapa. They started tendering with two tenders! There were nearly 2,000 passengers on board. After numerous complaints, they hired tenders and things picked up. This was typical on all tendered ports. It seemed like they were always "reacting" to complaints instead of trying to please us before we complained. I have always heard, and I think their motto is something about being spoiled. Not so on this cruise.

My wife and I met a real nice lady from Canada. In talking to her, she stated her husband and son had been quarantined, due to illness. I didn't think much of this until I saw her again a few days into the cruise. Her husband and son stayed in the room for the entire cruise. Fortunately, we didn't get sick. The Captain offered free medical assistance to anyone who thought they were sick. People that complained of being sick were sent to their rooms for 24- 48 hours. I heard of one person being kicked off of the ship for not obeying the quarantine. This happened in PTO Vallarta.

With 4 cruises, I'm not an expert. However, I've cruised enough to know a nice cruise from a not so nice one. This was not so nice. I'm going to stick with Princess at this point. I may sail with Celebrity again, never on the Mercury. CDC gives this ship a 95?
I give this cruise 3 stars.

Although they claim the virus was carried onboard by a passenger, I feel we should have been notified. 200 people on the cruise prior to this one, and 145 people on this one fell ill. I would have understood a delay for cleaning the ship, instead of allowing us to enter a really sick ship. The CDC website has pretty good information on ship cleanliness. I'll be sure to use it prior to my next cruise.

I hope this information is helpful, and once again, I'm sorry for being so negative. This experience deserved negative comments.

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