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Carol Gordon

Age: 65

Occupation:retiired

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Mercury

Sailing Date: 2010-01-23

Itinerary: Bahamas

We chose this cruise because it sails from Baltimore so we would not have to deal with the airlines. My husband has advanced Parkinson's disease and dementia so I can never book until the last minute as I do not know how he will be at any given time in the future. This 9 day cruise to Charleston, Key West and Nassau seemed to meet our needs. Most of the passengers were seniors so life on board was pleasant and congenial. We had a lot of cold weather and rough seas but that is no one's fault. I thought Celebrity was more upscale as their ads claim but at least the Mercury is not. We prefer Crystal Cruises and in comparison, the Mercury may as well have been a Carnival ship. It is dated and a little tired looking although well maintained and clean. My major issues are that Celebrity Customer Support outright lied to me on one issue and fudged on another, both before sailing. That left a very bad taste in my mouth during and now after the cruise. What is important is that my husband enjoyed every minute of the cruise and that is priceless in my book.

The food was plentiful but not of the best quality. The menu in the dining room is ambitious, but the results are hit and miss. In a seafood entree, the linguine was cooked perfectly al dente and the sauce was wonderful, but it was topped with one mussel, 1 small and mushy scallop, 2 small shrimp with the tail shells intact and one pinky-finger-sized strip of something I could not identify. The meats are Grade A , not Choice. The prime rib and steaks were wafer-thin and rather tough. The Veal Cordon Bleu was scary. It looked like freezer-burned hamburger, all brownish-gray and leathery. I sent it back. The food at the cafeteria-style buffet was ordinary. No upscale fruit like mango, papaya, kiwi, pears or grapes. Only American and Swiss cheese except for some crumbled bleu cheese at the salad bar. There was never any chilled shrimp, baby back ribs (they must have gotten one heck of a buy on short ribs because they were served every way imaginable all week long) good deli meats or other goodies. I would describe the food overall as ordinary.

Our stateroom was very satisfactory. It was one of the Sunset Verandah mini-suites aft on Deck 8. We could not use the nice verandah (balcony) much because of the weather. The room is long and has sliding glass doors out to the balcony so we never felt closed in. There was supposed to be a flat-panel TV but a tube TV was squatting on the corner cabinet housing the honor bar/refrigerator. There is a lot of storage space and even room to accommodate my husband's folding transport chair. A sliding wood door with opaque glass panels could be closed to separate the bedroom and living areas which I really liked as my husband goes to bed early and I could watch TV. The couch opens out into a queen bed which is where I slept quite comfortably. The room was spotless but tired looking. There were some stains on the carpeting and I had to request that the mildew-stained shower curtain be replaced. The only problem we encountered was the maintenance people chipping paint near our room one morning at 8AM and waking us up.. When I complained, they stopped.

They were varied and interesting but sedate for the most part. There were some good lecturers; programs on health, fitness and wellness; and some disco type activities in the night clubs plus all the standbys like bridge, trivia games etc. There was nothing that gave me a WOW! moment.

In 22 cruises we have rarely taken shore excursions. We prefer to rent a car or hire a cab driver to show us around. We don't like to be moved along at someone else's pace. Being given only 3 hours in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg was a real downer. We had previously been to all the ports of call on this trip so we had to reason to book and shore excursions.

All in all it was the relaxing break that I, as a full-time caregiver, needed. My husband, who has very limited options for enjoying anything these days, was content. I would not sail with Celebrity again for the following reasons. One, we were assigned late dinner seating at 8:30PM. Due to my husband's medical condition, we asked to be switched to early seating. His doctor emailed and called Celebrity Customer Support and they agreed to change us. When we got on the ship, they had no information about this change and refused to take any action to verify it. Two: I asked Customer Support what the smoking policy was on the Mercury. I was told there was no smoking anywhere indoors (most understandable) but it was permitted on open air decks and balconies. When I boarded, I found out that one could only smoke on the port side aft deck and a small corner of the mid-ship deck on Deck 11. There was no protection from the biting wind, rain or cold. I could not smoke on my balcony although it extended farther af than any structure on the ship. It was punitive and discriminatory. No more Celebrity for us.

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