Celebrity Cruise Lines - Cruisemates Reader's Cruise Reviews
Celebrity Cruises

by Lakelodge
Panama Canal
February 28, 2003

We sailed on a 15 day repositioning cruise from Miami, through the Panama Canal, and disembarked at San Francisco.We are a married couple, ages 57 and 50, professionals, and this was our ninth cruise in 10 years, our first with Celebrity. Our previous cruises were: RCI Nordic Empress, Vision of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Grand Princess, Dawn Princess, Carnival Celebration, and HAL Veendam. I will try to give an accurate description and draw comparisions where neccessary.

Embarkation went smoothly, and we thought the welcome aboard glass of champagne was a nice touch. We were in a standard outside cabin, 5052, which turned out to be a great location, just off the main floor of the centrum. We liked the wide hallway there, also had a ladies' room nearby, which was convienent at times when my husband was taking a little too long in the bathroom! Also, it was centrally located between the fore and midship elevators. It had a nice layout with plenty of drawer and closet space. I took a different outfit for each of 15 nights, plus a couple of other outfits for evening wear, 8 pairs of shoes, and lots of daywear and swimwear, in other words, I am a heavy packer, but I could have put in lots more before the closet was full. Mike brought a lot of things, too, including a tux, 2 suits, 1 sportcoat, and all the casual wear he wanted. There was a nice storage area behind the large vanity mirror, where we kept bar stuff (yes, we did bring on a small supply of liquor and mix, plus a few snacks). There was a nice size mini-fridge, a safe, the bathroom was not huge, but bigger than most we've had, especially the shower. The only negative thing I can say about the cabin was the hair dryer was nearly useless--bring your own!

We were impressed with the cleanliness and general upkeep of the ship, but not "blown away" by the appearance of the ship as we have been before. The RCI ships such as Radiance were far more attractive, with their nine story atriums, glass elevators, fabulous art, etc. The artwork aboard Mercury was not to my taste, I never heard any positive comments about it, but plenty of negatives. It was definitely "far out" modern stuff!

The staff was friendly and helpful, and really aimed to please.

The food is the strong point on Mercury, far surpassing our other 8 previous cruises. While not "perfect", it was always delicious, the right temperature, and presented beautifully. I would give it a 9 out of 10. We liked the fact that you could order things that weren't on the menu, if you did so the night before. (example: we loved the creme brulee served on night 2, so we told them to fix 4 orders of it every night, and these wereshared by our 8 tablemates, in addition to the regular desserts on the menu---also had shrimp cocktail, filet mignon, etc whenever we wanted it.) The gala midnight buffet was the prettiest one we had seen, true artistry with food. They serve something every midnight, some nights passing around trays of canapes and sweets, some nights they'd have a buffet upstairs or a themed party up on deck. Room service was very efficient.

The entertainment was so-so by comparison to our other cruises. The singers and dancers presented three variety shows, and they were average in quality (for professionals) with average costuming and special effects. They weren't bad, they just weren't GREAT. The "headliner" shows ranged from very good to pretty bad. Around the ship there was entertainment day and night, the best ones being the Nep Tunes, 4 young guys singing a capella, and On Lyne, the Caribbean band poolside, which was versatile enough to play all styles of dance music inside. (Though, IMHO, they should stay away from the country music!) There was only one act that REALLY got on our nerves, that being Fred the piano player who sang really really loud, and his renditions were like a bad lounge act. This was usually in the Cova Cafe, a centrally located spot that would have been a nice meeting place for a drink with friends, but no way could you talk there!
During the day, there were some activities, but not as many as on our previous cruises. This was a more relaxing type cruise, not a "Fun Ship". If you like Carnival-type atmosphere, you may find yourself bored at times. There were lots of elderly people on this particular sailing, playing cards, napping, and playing shuffleboard.

This was a dressy cruise, and we like that. We liked the way everybody would stay in their formal attire all evening long, not changing after dinner like so many do on the other ships. The "informal" nights were dressy as well, with many coats/ties, and cocktail dresses worn. "Casual" nights were still dressier than on other lines, perhaps it had to do with the age group.
All in all, we had a great time and would return to Mercury anytime. Please feel free to email any questions you might have. Martha.