November 8, 2002
My husband and I cruised on the Celebrity Mercury November 8th sailing. We were celebrating our first anniversary and this was our second cruise. Our first was on the Carnival Destiny. Overall, the cruise was a wonderful experience for the both of us and we had a great time. We sailed from Miami and stopped at Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Progreso, MX and Key West.
The Food and Dining Areas & Hours
We ate dinner during the main seating hours. Based on our last cruise, we liked eating early, so we could see the shows afterwards and not be too tired. Plus, we had gotten back from our excursions early enough, so the timing worked out really well. For dinner, there were choices of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, and desserts. Some of the foods listed were difficult to translate so our waiter helped with that. Dinner was excellent every night and I especially enjoyed the filet mignon. I even tried frogs' legs, which were also very good, and they do in fact taste like chicken. Our waiter could have been more outgoing and friendly. I think he needed a vacation. Our assistant waiter and the sommelier were also very nice.
During the times when breakfast, lunch and dinner were not being served, you could get burgers, hot dogs, fries, pizza or enjoy the afternoon teas and midnight buffets. The mini croissants at the afternoon teas were my favorite. We only made it to two midnight buffets during the cruise. The first was Italian themed and it was excellent. I never had ravioli that good before and I am from Brooklyn, so that's definitely saying something. The second buffet we went to was the Grand Buffet. My jaw practically dropped when I stepped into the main dining room that night. The decorations with the ice sculptures, and just the food layout were beautiful. The food was excellent too, of course. I enjoyed the beef Wellington immensely.
The buffet times changed on a daily basis, which was confusing to most passengers. I wish the hours were more consistent. For example, buffet lunch either ended at 2 or 2:30 depending on what day it was. It would have been more convenient if lunch were open until 3pm especially on port days, that way you wouldn't feel rushed in port to hurry back for lunch.
Ports of Call
Cozumel - Our excursion was the underwater bond and snorkel adventure. We had originally signed up to go to Xcaret, which is a big ecological park in Playa Del Carmen, but not enough people signed up so it was cancelled. We didn't know it was cancelled until after dinner the night before. Of course, by then the excursion desk was already closed and we had no idea what was available. We woke up extra early that morning to make it out to the pier to see what excursions had space available so we chose the bond adventure. A bond is a cross between a motorcycle and submarine, so your head is in a glass bubble and your body is in the water. After that was over, we went snorkeling in the same area. There wasn't as many fish as I would have hoped for. I also wish we had more time here because we didn't really get to see much of the island.
Progreso - In Progreso, we wanted to do ruins but we didn't really want to spend 3 hours on a bus to Chichen Itza. We went to Dzibulchaltun instead. It gave us a taste of the Mayan ruins and they were rather neat to see and some were in pretty good condition considering they were very old. The downside was that it was extremely hot.
Key West - Key West is a quaint little town with lots of shopping and history. We walked along Duval street and back via Whitehead street and then went back to the ship. We learned some pretty neat facts about Key West. The weather was beautiful.
Sea Days - During the first sea day, which happened to be the first full day on the ship, we were still trying to get acquainted with everything. We had two get-togethers planned for that day. First was the Cruise Critic party and then the anniversary party. The Cruise Critic party didn't have as big a turnout as I'd hoped for, but nonetheless, we met some nice people there. The anniversary party was very nice and we had our picture taken with the "Happy Anniversary" cake. Also, at dinner, the waiters came and sang Happy Anniversary to us and gave us this really good chocolate cake to share with our tablemates.
The second sea day was a bit rough. We were cruising through a storm and the water was very choppy and it was extremely windy. Some people were still determined to sunbathe! My husband was seasick, so he rested the whole day, I was a little sick in the morning and got better and had my appetite back by lunch.