by M. Glenn
November 10, 2006
Embarkation at San Diego went fast with only 15 minutes from start to finish. We parked at Aladdin Parking a mile away and took their shuttle to the cruise dock. Fast and efficient in all regards.
My husband and I have cruised 6 times on Princess and Holland America. This was our first Celebrity and will be our last. We bought the tickets at a great discount because of the Norwalk virus scares in the spring along with the firing of the ships captain for being drunk on duty. We assumed they would have cleaned the ship and found a sober Captain by November and were intrigued to find out why Celebrity would consider themselves above Princess and Holland America cruise lines.
Our room inside cabin was adequate with plenty of storage. Not as fancy as Holland America in décor and electronics and bedding but with about the same amount of space as HAL and bigger than the Princess cabins we have been on. Later on we found that the sheets were threadbare, the towels were well used and just like everything else on the ship, the bedding needed to be replaced due to extreme wear and tear.
The first problem we had was with the seating for dinner. We had been put on second seating and we cannot eat that late. We asked to move to first seating and was denied. This is usually not a problem as we enjoy eating the nightly buffet upstairs on the Lido deck in every other ship we have been on. Not on Mercury. Mercury DOES NOT have a nightly buffet. They will take a few people for a FEE in the buffet area. I resent having to pay a fee to eat in the buffet room for dinner.
I would like to say the food was horrible straight away. Nothing was remotely cooked correctly in any meal and we are not fussy eaters whatsoever. The bacon was raw and clumped together when cooked. You could not get just one piece; you got a hunk of luke warm fat. Scrambled eggs were cold and overcooked, I could go on and on but you get the idea. Lunch was the same. We ate salads most of the time for lunch because the food was just so totally unappetizing. It took them 7 days of a 10 day cruise to find the salt and pepper shakers and put them on the tables in the buffet. Amazing. The tables were not cleaned from one user to another to the point where you had to ask a cleaner to stop talking to another cleaner and actually clear any of the tables so that a person could sit and eat at every meal.
The sushi bar at night reused the sushi. I accidentally pushed in one of the self served California rolls with the tongs while trying to serve myself and we were amazed to find the same piece on the tray the next night when we went back. The pizza bar had pizzas sitting under lights for hours and would not make anything new as long as it was under the warming trays. The hamburger grill did the same. Nothing was freshly made. None of the cooks seemed to care as well.
The ship was dirty. Not just used but filthy. The windows were caked with salt spray and you could not see out of many of them. The chairs in the Grand Foyer had holes in the arms. The elevator floors were marked and scuffed up badly and in desperate need of refinishing. The ashtrays and beer bottles were not picked up on the promenade deck for 4 days. I finally asked the front desk on day 4 to send someone up to the PROMONADE deck to take care of the more than 20 beer bottles and 5 overflowing ashtrays that had not been touched since we departed San Diego. It took them 5 more hours to attend to this.
The Promenade Deck you could not walk around because it was blocked off at each end. Since this was Mexico with 90 plus temperatures you would think they would have this deck ready for people to walk without getting in the sun.
The biggest problem I had was a freak occurrence that happened at the Cova Café where we sat daily for cappuccinos while playing cards. It has about 30-40 small café tables that seat 4. They also served small sandwiches and pastries in the morning which made up for the food in the buffet slightly. We were sitting there sipping our coffees and eating some snacks along with 4 or 5 other occupied tables in our first day in port in Cabo San Lucas. A man walked into the area with a mask over his face, a chemical tank on his back and a long wand in his hand. He proceeded to spray all the chairs that were not occupied including the two at our small table. The chemical that he sprayed bubbled on the chairs. It drifted into the air and onto our food and drink. We sat in amazement and tried to talk to him to ask him what in the heck he had just done but he was a man on a mission, spraying all the other chairs. We sat there truly puzzled and amazed at this. We stopped eating and drinking and moved away, however we ended up with a slight case of diahhrea for the rest of the cruise that I attribute to this idiotic behavior.
Other things to note that were truly truly wrong.
We never saw any officers on this ship, The shops were lacking items in every department and I saw the head of the flower shop berating her employees so many times we started calling her the Dragon Lady every time we walked by.
Overall I give this ship, the Mercury, a failing grade from start to finish. The ship looked like it had not been repaired or items replaced in the many years since it had launched. I have been on HAL and Princess ships the same age and felt they were brand new. I will never EVER consider Celebrity again. Not when HAL and Princess do it so much better consistently. What a horrid time and a horrible waste of money.