November 20, 2006
This was our fifth cruise, two others on Celebrity (Horizon, Summit)one on Holland Ryndam, one on Dawn Princess. We would be hard pressed to ever cruise on another line than Celebrity as they simply stand a notch above the others, particularly in the areas of cuisine and service.
If your idea of great food is a visit to the local mall food court, Celebrity is not for you. Their main dining room offers delicious and meticulously prepared high continental cuisine. From the wonderful appetizers, to the delightful soups, delicious entrees, and "to-die-for" desserts, the Mercury simply shines. Everything is made from scratch, and the ice creams, sherbets, and breads all are freshly made on the ship. One taste of their consomme and it immediately becomes obvious that they know food preparation.The quality of the meat and seafood is what you would find in a better restaurant, in fact every meal in the Manhattan restaurant is what you would expect in a four or five star restaurant.
The buffet also provided a huge variety of food that ranges from good to excellent. Don't miss the cheese station that offers gourmet aged cheeses or the homemade ice cream and sherbets offered daily. The sushi bar was quite good, the pasta station excellent: even the poolside grill provides a great hamburger and the best french fries we ever have had.
The service is exemplary: everyone we dealt with on the ship bent over backwards to meet our desires. The crew was happy, based on our lengthy conversations we shared with them. The ship was spotless and showed little sign of her age. Staff constantly were cleaning, polishing, and sanitizing the public areas.
The oceanview stateroom was comfortable and pleasant. The shows ranged from good to great in our opinion. Lots of activities are provided daily, and the culinary demonstration was very interesting.
The ports are typical cruise ports typified by hordes of obnoxious cab drivers, hawkers, and vendors. We did not partake of the excursions as we enjoy the shipboard experience more than spending a day on an excursion. We have found little differences between cruise lines in this regard. Embarkation and debarkation was orchestrated well.
We loved the Mercury, in her understated beauty, and the overall experience was the best we have experienced on any cruise. We saw no sign of corner cutting in the food compared to past Celebrity cruises, as indicated by some reviewers. In fact the Mercury was rated the best in the world for cuisine by Conde Nest.
Compared to our Holland and Princess experiences, which also were quite pleasant, all the Celebrity cruises stand above them in the areas of service and food. Celebrity truly tries to provide a gourmet food experience and succeeds, the others provide good food.