Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: October 21st, 2005
Celebrity Cruise line
While this is an older ship, generally it is good condition. There is a little normal wear on the carpets here and there and a few scuffs and wear on some chairs but nothing that would spoil your vacation. The food is fairly good both in the Dining Room and the Buffet. Entertainment started out mediocre but towards the middle of the cruise got much better with some good comedians, singers and Acrobats. Embarkation was a challenge as the ship was late reaching San Diego and hundreds of guests were crowded into the lounge and it took a long time and lots of steps to get on the ship. They were equally challenged when it came to disembarking at the various ports of call- in fact it was horrific with long waits for “tenders” and poor organization both at tendering and when docked. Most of the issues with this voyage related to “management” where there was a lack of co-ordination in a number of areas.
Would we cruise on the Mercury again? Probably not but in fairness this was not an expensive cruise and on a cost to value basis you get a fair return for your money. One thing is certain on the basis of this cruise there is no difference between Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and certainly nothing that would warrant a premium to travel on Celebrity.
AND NOW for the detail.
There is only one word -TERRIBLE. We waited for over 2 hours in the embarkation lounge along with hundreds of others in fairly cramped conditions as the ship was late arriving. Check in itself was easy – but then we had pre-registered by computer so that did not take long. When we did eventually get to move, there were 2 flights of steps and long lines to get onto the ship and have your photo taken as identification. Why this could not have been done in the terminal is anyone’s guess.
The staff was also totally incompetent when it came to disembarking passengers at ports of call. I don’t think the same system was used at any port of call, making it confusing for all concerned. It took ages at Cabo San Lucas to get people off the ship with the result that some people missed their tours. In Acupulco, we got off the ship only to be herded into a compound where we stood for over 30 minutes until we were marched two by two into holding areas under cover. We then waited another 30/40 minutes to be guided to our tour buses. I could detail every ports problems but suffice it to say that the staff would do well to study the system used on RCCL of getting people into a lounge with stickers and getting them off the ship one tour at a time.
Lastly SADLY, Disembarkation at San Diego when we returned was a nightmare. We were told that all NON US Citizens were to go to the Nightclub at varying times for Immigration clearance and that no one would be allowed to leave the ship, including US Citizens until every non US Citizen had been cleared. Over 500 people plus a large number of US Citizens who had lined up in the wrong queue stood in a winding line for over 2 hours (in many cases) and not one person got off this ship even though it docked at 7am before 10am. While immigration are partly to blame (there were only 5 officers), not one member of the ships management team took charge of the line, made sure only the correct people were there, or offered any explanation for the long, long delays. We should have been off the ship by 9.15am (our color tag –deemed to meet our flight needs) and in fact only got off the ship at 10.15am missing our 11.15am flight. Many, many others were still on the ship and I would imagine it was well after 11am before the last managed to escape.
We were booked in a Deck 8 Ocean view Stateroom but to our delight when we checked in at the terminal we found we had been upgraded to a Balcony cabin on Deck 9. We greatly appreciated this gesture and it did add to our enjoyment of this cruise. The cabin was clean, well organized and while the beds would benefit from replacement, they were o.k. The cabin steward did an excellent job keeping the cabin spotless and our every wish (though there were not many) was her command. Hurray for service with a smile. The only complaint I heard on cabins was from 2 couples who had to leave their rooms on the 9th Deck due to flooding from a burst water pipe and a few people who like us thought that the beds could have been a little more comfortable. Otherwise it was a real good experience.
Food was fair to good both in the Dining Room and in the Buffet Restaurant. It was certainly NOT exceptional and indeed we thought that the food on the Brilliance, which we cruised on in Europe was better. The food was good quality, meats were tender and there was plenty of it but it was very bland lacking any zip and any WOW factor. The shrimp cocktail was the saddest shrimp cocktail I have ever had (4small/medium shrimp) rather than the 5/6 Large Shrimp we got on other cruises. The Breakfast Buffet had only 2 types of fruit each day – Half grapefruit and either water melon or pineapple and while the hot food had all one could need, by the time you found a table to sit it was invariably only warm and often cold.
EXPECTATIONS/VALUE FOR MONEY
I wonder if these days our expectations are too high. This is the first time I have cruised on Celebrity a Premium Cruise Line. I find no difference at all between this cruise line and RCCL with whom I have cruises several times. I would certainly not pay a premium on the basis of this cruise to cruise on Celebrity. The cost of about $120 per day per person was good – and on that basis we probably got reasonable value for money. It was not the experience of a lifetime advertised by Celebrity but then you only get what you pay for- and sometimes not even that.
I would be pleased to answer any specific questions if you wish to send me a private e-mail though the site.