October 5, 2003
Itinerary: San Francisco to Monterey, Catalina, Cabo San Lucas, and return to San Francisco.
Celebrity experience: We like Celebrity. The ships are beautifully decorated, clean and contemporary and not over-done. Staff and service are great, and it's a great value. Mercury is a beautiful ship. Some of the public spaces are gorgeous, and the staterooms are nicely done and comfortable. We had sailed Horizon before, which was smaller, but there were things we liked about Horizon, such as Michael's Club, more than on Mercury.
Activities: On-board activities were plentiful. We didn't participate a whole lot, but I did enjoy the BINGO sessions, and won once! We did not try the Jacuzzis on the pool deck, but people at our dinner table commented on the water being just warm. Shows are enjoyable, if you're not expecting Broadway caliber. Dave and Stuart (Cruise Director and Asst. Cruise director) were a lot of fun. Movies were OK. (who cruises to see movies?)
Dining: We enjoyed very good food and service, but it was not amazing. We loved the soups and sorbets. The dining room staff at Manhattan Restaurant was always smiling, warm and friendly. They all seemed eager to meet any special requests that were made. Our assistant waiter seemed a bit overworked (long waits on drink refills, etc), but maintained a friendly demeanor. We saw a whale from the window at lunch time! There was a lot of engine vibration in this section of the ship, but it didn't bother us. We thought some of the staff at the Palm Springs Café (buffet dining) had "attitudes". I enjoyed a nice large helping of pineapple cheese cake here. One of my favorite things about the cruise was the pastry cart in the Cova Café in the afternoons (with a nice specialty coffee, this was great!) The homemade ice cream was a treat also.
Itinerary: We chose this cruise, instead of an Alaska sailing, because we wanted warm weather and some sunny days by the pool onboard. There really wasn't a lot of opportunity for this due to cloudy conditions, and cooler temperatures in the Northern California coastline. Cabo San Lucas, in contrast, was a very warm day off the ship. All the ports on this particular sailing are accessible only by tinder. Tindering was well organized and quick, but next cruise, I would try to pick with ports accessible by pier. We do not regret that we did not purchase shore excursions, and easily managed to have nice experiences at port on our own.
Monterey: We walked from the ship to the Monterey Aquarium. We enjoyed the aquarium very much.
Catalina: We rented a golf cart ($30 for an hour) and drove around in the hills. Lots of fun! Beautiful views.
Cabo San Lucas: It was touristy. There were a lot of street vendors here. The beach was very nice, however. We are not experts, but thought the jewelry prices were high. I thought there were good buys on jewelry on the ship. If I returned, I wouldn't spend any time shopping, but would just enjoy a nice day at the beach. We had lunch at the Giggling Marlin, which was recommended. It was a touristy place, the food was mediocre, we thought. We were greeted at our table by a live rooster.
San Francisco: We had a day after the cruise to spend in San Francisco and rented a car. We love Muir Woods, and the views from Mt. Tamalpais were spectacular!
Overall: It was a great experience. We would sail Mercury (or Horizon) again without hesitation.