We just returned from an 11-day Mexican Riviera cruise on Celebrity Cruises' Mercury. I have taken many past cruises on all major lines. My family always travels together, so we were a group of four, with two teenagers.
The embarkation in San Diego was undoubtedly the most efficient in the industry! We arrived at the pier at 10:45 a.m. and were on board ship by 11:00, in our cabin sipping champagne. What a way to begin a vacation!
The ship is a bit older, and has some of the worst art (if you can call it that) we have ever seen on a cruise ship. The ship itself is still spotless, and the service is reserved but always perfect.
The age make-up of the passengers was one of the only things that really turned us off a little. I would say the average age was 65+; most passengers' biggest interest seemed to be playing card games. There was someone playing bridge everywhere you went, tables of people playing cards...this is about as exciting as the days got. Since we just completed a western Caribbean cruise on the new Carnival Conquest some weeks before, this was very disappointing. The day's shipboard events ranged from bridge lessons to discovery lectures, watercolor instruction, and other quiet, subdued activities. I guess it's just a matter of what you want to do on a cruise. This time we filled our days with rest, relaxation, and many a good book.
The dining room food was the very best we have ever experienced on any ship; each night was a true dining treat. The noise level is a bit high, since we were directly over the engines. The service was top notch. Our waiter was always perfect, and to our great pleasure, there were no nightly singing performances by the wait staff (like on all Carnival ships). However, the food at the buffets was perhaps the worst food we have ever had, so maybe they balance each other out.
Overall, we enjoyed this cruise because it gave us time with our children (there were no other teens on this ship) and time to relax. However, we would not choose to cruise on this ship or itinerary again, and would be careful not to book Celebrity for more than a seven-day cruise, since the longer cruises always attract an older crowd.
The service was great, and the food too. There was nothing I can really put my finger on that would make me say this wasn't a great cruise; but on the other hand, there was nothing to make it a great memory either. With all the ships and lines to choose from, especially the newer Princess and RCCL vessels, I would not recommend this ship unless you really wanted to see Mexico. I can honestly say I would recommend the Carnival Pride over Celebrity Mercury. The level of fun just isn't noticeable on the Mercury; it was almost like a retirement community.