March 6, 2006
We did the 12 day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Mercury.
THE GOOD NEWS: Ths ship was clean and the dinner and lunch food and main restaurant service were great.
Although about 150 people got the Norwalk Virus, the ship did everything possible to prevent its spread. Infected passengers were quaranteened in their staterooms. There were hand sanitizing stations everywhere. They would not permit people to re-board from the towns without sanitizing their hands.
There is an excellent string quartet and there were lectures by astronauts. We did not go to any of the shows.
THE BAD NEWS: They served the absolute worst bacon that I have ever had. The bacon was very fatty and often undercooked. And the breakfast ham resemebled SPAM. This is disgracefull given the excellent food at the other meals.
Mixed drinks were watery and over-priced. This is a clear rip off of a captive audience. Next time, I will bring my own. Celebrity will sell you a one liter bottle for your cabin for $50 for low-end liquor. Another rip off of a captive audience.
The worst rip off is the Internet. They charge $0.75 per minute ($45/hour) for very slow (~28Kbaude) speed. You can do much better on shore when you visit the towns.
The walking tours were also a rip off. There just isn't that much to see in these towns so, after seeing the cathedral, they take you to their favored shops. It is much better and less expensive to hire a local cab for a ride around town.
March is too late to go on this cruise. It was very hot and humid in all of the towns.
SUMMARY: We would probably go with Celebrity again. I would bring my own liquor, be more careful about shore excursions, and not use the on-board internet.