We had pretty late flights arranged by Celebrity so we didn't get to the airport in San Diego until after 2 pm. Met the Celebrity people at the baggage claim and got directions where to find the bus outside. We thought about catching a cab, but the driver said he would be leaving soon. Well, about 45 minutes later we left. Some on the bus said they were there waiting over 30 minutes before we got on the bus. So we got to the ship even later than we hoped. But we made it before sail away which is the important thing! Next time we will catch a cab. The pier is very close to the airport.
The first sea day was very cold. Lots of die hards out by the pool trying to get a tan. Including yours truly. We were in CC cabin 1025, under the overhang. No sun on that side of the ship until after Puerto Vallarta. The pools were freezing cold with no one in them at all. Except me. That is one way to keep down the overcrowded pools. The Palms Springs pool in the aft was very popular. Especially with the kids. As well as the hot tubs. We tried the Thallasotherapy pool. Very nice just a little overcrowded.
We had a nice lunch in the Manhattan dining room. We try and eat lunch there when time permits. The food is better than the buffet and I always tend to over eat in the buffet. Just trying this and that and before you know it, you have a HUGE pile! It is also a good way to meet more people on the cruise.
We had a Concierge Cabin. It was the same size as the normal balcony cabins. There was Champagne and a fruit basket and flowers in the room and the bathroom. The best thing about the cabin I thought was the duvet cover, flowers and the mattress pad. The afternoon appetizers were not to our liking. Between being Elite members and being in a CC cabin we got a constant flurry of invites to things. Backstage tour, Wine Blending, Cocktail parties, Galley tour, etc. We were also honored to be invited to the Captain's table. Very nice . We had dined with the very same Captain in Alaska in 2003!
It was announced that afternoon that we would have to turn the ship around and head back towards San Diego to meet up with a helicopter. Apparently a 50 year old man suffered a stroke! Also a crewmember was suffering from Appendicitis The helicopter didn't rendezvous the ship until 3 am in the morning. We missed Cabo San Lucas and were late a few hours getting into Mazatlan. We left later than planned from Mazatlan to try and make up a few hours. What can you say. These things will happen on a ship with lots of people. You would never want them not to do whatever they could for the poor sick people. There were a lot of complaints. But I think some people thought if they complained they would be compensated. I think if it was a problem with an engine or something like that they might have been, but not for a medical emergency.
Mazatlan. We woke up to the view from our balcony of the misty islands in the distance. It was so pretty to see the sea birds darting about next to the ship with Stone Island peaking out of the mist . I look a very nice photo. When you got closer however you soon realized the mist was brown colored and was pollution from the nearby factories! Must worse than the other two times we came here. We were anxious to get off the ship after two sea days. We took an open cab to the Golden Zone for some serious shopping. I know that this port is good on prices and I was in the market for a pewter fish platter for my Mother. She saw one in Cabo a couple years back but decided it would be too heavy for her suitcase. Since we missed Cabo, I had to try and find the same one. It didn't take long to find. We had a wonderful lunch at Panchos on the waterfront. I can't say enough good things about the food there. Best Mexican food I have had. Of course you have to wash it down with a BIG Strawberry Margarita. There was a few musicians that came in the restaurant. For $5.00 American they would serenade you.
We took to the beach and swam a bit. The undertow is strong here. So be careful. There are a LOT of beach vendors here. But they are very polite and don't bug you if you say no thanks. I must have heard "almost free" a hundred times. I did get some nice pink coral and silver jewelry! Afterwards it was back to the ship. A little shopping at the shops by the ship and back onboard.
The next sea day was warmer. Lots of folks out by the pool. We had Eggs Benedict on our balcony. We just wrote in in at bottom of our breakfast menu.
Acapulco...I was very excited about this port. This was the first time my hubby Jim had ever been there. We booked the full day with lunch tour. Over 7 hours. Note.. We didn't book any tours until we got on the ship. There was no problem with room on the tours. It was a pretty morning and already warm. First we went to the cliff divers. A must do if you have never been to Acapulco before. Afterwards they took us to a jewelry factory. It was a small place with a gift shop. I was kind of surprised that we had over 45 minutes to shop in this little store. Nothing was mentioned in the tour description about the factory. They had a little fire in the air-conditioning in the ceiling. So the room filled with smoke and they had the fire extinguishers in action. But no real danger. Nothing to stop the die hard shoppers from spending $$ on the trinkets. I bought a pretty turquoise bracelet. No bartering here.
The next stop was the beautiful resort the Mayan Palace. Our main reason to take this tour. I was here a couple years back and wanted to return for a visit. We had a very nice buffet lunch in a pretty dining room and then 3 hours to make full use of the hotel facilities. The pools are beautiful here. We also went down to the beach and played in the ocean a bit. The pools and the ocean were warm. I would definitely do this tour again and again. I think it is the best way to enjoy Acapulco. We got back to the ship and decided to take a shower and head back out . We took a LONG walk from the ship to downtown. We wanted to see everything close up. Not from a bus or cab. We caught a cab finally to take us up the hill to the Diamond district to go have dinner at Senior Frogs. The cab driver insisted on waiting for us. He said with only one ship in port there is a lot of competition with so many cab drivers. (Always set a price with the cab driver before you get in.) We had fantastic view of the bay and very good food as well. This is not the a wild and crazy Senior Frogs. Maybe after 11 pm. it might pick up. But at 8 pm it was a quiet restaurant with families eating. There was a nice breeze that kept the place cool. We were surprised that most places are not air-conditioned. It was very warm and muggy. But up on the hill was much nicer.
Zihuatanejo ( pronounced zee-wa-tin-a-ho)..This is what all Mexican ports should look like. Pretty little bay with a lot of the local fisherman. Some repairing nets the old way. Some cutting their catch to sell right on the beach. You tender in to a short dock and right away to the right and straight ahead are the straw markets and restaurants. There is a nice path that runs along the beach and maybe three blocks deep of shops to the left. We walked along and bought a few things. After a while we stopped and had a Beer and Margarita to cool down. ( I know we sound like alcoholics. But at home I hardly ever drink. But I am always afraid of germs in Mexico and on the ships so I make sure I kill them with alcohol.) We walked back to the tender area where they were selling tickets for the water taxi to Gatas Beach. It is a short ride across the little bay. It was only $3. per person round trip! You caught it right next to where we landed with the tenders. They have boats leaving every ten minutes. It is a neat ride over to the beach because you go right past the ship on your way. Right from the landing at Gatas beach there are a long row of restaurants all with tables and chairs and lounge chairs. We picked a pretty one with the grass umbrellas (Palapas). We asked the guy working there how much $$ for the lounges for the day. He said it is free as long as we buy food and drinks there during the course of the day. He brought my husband a bucket of beers on ice. You pay for as many as you drink. I had shrimp tacos later in the day. They were good and a reasonable price. The beach... For those who say that the Caribbean beaches are nicer, you have to go here. This was so much like the Caribbean beaches! Clear water very nice white sand with coral reefs close to snorkel. Very beautiful here. A local picked up a baby sea turtle and showed everyone before he put it back in the water. This was just paradise. Absolutely the best port on the cruise. It is too bad we didn't spend longer there.
Puerto Vallarta... We took a tour to the resort Paradise Village. About 45 minutes out of town on the ocean. It is a very nice resort . We have been here a few times before. We were served a nice buffet lunch and then had a few hours to just relax and enjoy the resort. We had a few sprinkles of rain. But not much. Afterwards we went back to the ship and went straight too Wal Mart to pick up a few things. Antibiotics are very reasonable here. It is an easy walking distance from the ship. We took a cab back because it was raining and our time was getting very limited. It is only a $2.00 cab ride back. I had to do some last minute panic shopping. There were still a couple of people on my list I had to buy presents for.
The ship... This is the 6th time I have been on the Mercury. I was very surprised by the sad condition we found her in. She needs to be fixed up Celebrity! Lots of torn and worn cushions in all the public rooms. The white leather seats in the casino are almost worn through. The piping on a lot of chairs are split open and tattered. The sink in our cabin was all stained. Pink and green towels were bleach stained, the chair by the vanity mirror was broken and wobbled when you sat on it etc. Celebrity wants to promote themselves as a five star experience. I could find nicer accommodations at any Holiday Inn. Our Mercury needs a dry dock NOW! We spoke to a crew remember that said the crew area is very bad as well. She said they keep putting off the dry dock. We will be canceling our September cruise on the Mercury and taking the Infinity instead. But I still think the crew is the best! The ship was very clean. The food excellent as usual the entertainment very good, Dru our CD was fantastic. A very fun cruise. I feel completely spoiled. We did hear about a lot of passengers getting a bad cold with sore that. Our waiter said a lot of the crew had it. Also a few at our table. Then there those who had Norwalk type symptoms. Nausea vomiting lots of diarrhea. My hubby also had some bad diarrhea for a couple of days. I am so sorry for those who got sick. Not much fun. And my prays for the poor man who suffered a stroke.
I still love Celebrity and plan to stick with them for our future cruises. We have been on most the other lines and have learned to appreciate the things that Celebrity does for us.
Gook Luck to all future cruisers. Hope you have has much fun as we did!
Note... You have to check out Edwardo in the Martini Bar. He is great and a lot of fun.