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Kathie Spears

Age: over 40

Occupation:Professional

Number of Cruises: One

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Mercury

Sailing Date: November 3rd, 2004

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

This was my husbands' and my first cruise. We live in Stockton. We sailed out of San Francisco. The sail out of San Francisco port was very bumpy, but I had been warned about that from another cruise review prior to sailing. The sail away party was rained on, but the presentation was still terrific. We got some great photos, even in the rain. Dinner in the Manhattan restaurant was bumpy as we sailed out of San Francisco, but the food was amazing. Our waiter Vladimir was the most attentive and knowledgeable person I have ever had wait on me. Dinner is served in the restaurant in a white glove manner. We had second seating which is 8:30 pm. This worked out great on those days that we went on shore excursions. We had time to shower, relax and dress for dinner without being rushed. We never ate dinner in the buffets.

Our stateroom was neat and clean, it wasn't anything fancy, but had a lot of storage. I was a little disappointed in the quality of the beds, however. They were a little on the saggy side. We had two twin beds that were moved together to form one bed. We did feel the seam, but it wasn't particularly bothersome. The T.V. in the stateroom definitely was a major disappointment. I made a point of mentioning this on my comment card before the end of the cruise. If you are in a category 5 or higher, your room has a vcr. I would recommend taking a couple copies of your favorite videos, if you want to relax in the room and watch T.V. The interactive T.V was pretty good as far as for booking excursions, and ordering room service, flowers, etc.

We met some wonderful couples that we have exchanged photos with since returning home on Sunday.

The food in the buffets was pretty good, I wouldn't rate it as great. Most of the meat served was overcooked and dry. The variety of breakfast foods was pretty much the same every day, but there was so much to choose from (e.g., waffles, omeletes to order, sausage, eggs, bagel, kosher meals, vegetarian meals, and lots of fruit). They offer 3 fruit juices for breakfast, apple, orange and grapefruit, however there are no V-8 or other vegetable drinks. They have excellent coffee and a wide variety of teas (including herbal and caffeine free).

The ports of call we visited were Monterey, Catalina Island, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. There were two changes in the itinerary due to the time change for our convenience, and unfortunately one due to a passenger getting very ill while at sea one night. Mercury's captain accommodated us very well due to the un planned return to Puerto Vallarta. We were allowed to stay in Mazatlan until 8:00 pm.

Our visit to Puerto Vallarta was nice, we took the Resort/Beach break excursion. We were taken by air conditioned bus to the Paradise Village Resort on the beach, our package included a complimentary drink and buffet lunch. We spend about 3 hours on the beach. The water was so warm, the waves were mild and fun. Then we walked back up to the resort pool and relaxed in the pool and lounge chairs. The buffet lunch was very good, as long as you could ignore the bees hovering all around the food. To get an additional beverage it cost $2.00 and they only served Coke or Diet Coke or Ice tea.

The service by the waiters was not the greatest, but the view from the dining patio was spectacular and shaded with all of the tropical trees. The pools at the resort were open to everyone, and most people played by the rules. The water was cooler than the ocean, but very refreshing. There were two water slides made out of concrete in the form of crocodiles for the kids, but adults were enjoying them just as much. Later in the day one of the slides was closed for painting. There was never more than 2 people waiting to use the slide. One drawback is that there are several vendors peddling their handmade items bothering you while you relax on the beach. They apparently were not allowed up by the pool area, as they did not approach.

My favorite port was Cabo San Lucas, because of it's rich history, and the cleanliness of the main areas. We hired a driver who took 10 of us around the town on a personal tour. He took us to some great shopping areas that we most likely would not have found on our own.

The absolute worst port was Manzanillo. What a cesspool. If you have ever visited Tijuana, it's about the same. It is filthy, the shop owners are horribly rude and very few accepted U.S. money or travelers checks. It was impossible to find a restroom. We bought bottled sodas that were served to us warm and they wouldn't return our money. And we were warned not to use their ice. So as hot as it was, we only had warm soda to drink.

Entertainment on the Mercury is spectacular. The singing group "Centerfold" performed most days poolside. They sang a wide variety of songs and sometimes they took requests if the whole group knew the song. The guitarist Noli was also very good. He performed poolside on the deck and at the indoor pool in the evenings with relaxing music. The entertainers in the Celebrity theater were absolutely amazing. The comedian Noodles Levenstein was hilarious with his jokes about the quirky things about being on a cruise ship. He also sold his videos in a "G" version and an adult version with a little profanity for $20.00.

There was just so many things to do that we had a hard time deciding between them. The on board Casino was especially kind to me.

The only thing that I would have to say was outrageous was the cost of soft drinks and alcohol. A can of soda served in a glass with ice and straw was $2.00 plus 15% gratuity. A glass of champagne was $9.00 per glass. If you like fruit punch, lemonade, coffee or tea you're all set.

Our overall cruise experience was wonderful, and we are already planning our next one. We will most likely go on Mercury or another of Celebrity's ships. It is a woman's true vacation. No laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning or best of all 11 nights without any telemarketers bothering you.

I would be interested in anyone's feedback regarding their experience on this ship or other Celebrity ships. Thank you for letting me share.

K.Spears
Stockton, CA

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