May 18, 2007
Having read the 2 most recent reviews on this site, before we left on this cruise, I was curious to compare my own experiences.
This cruise was a gift; we have previously only sailed on Holland America, and if the Mercury is a typical example of how Celebrity treats its older ships, we will definitely stick with HAL. Simply put, the ship is getting old and shabby looking -- bedding and upholstered furniture in both cabins and public areas is worn and in desperate need of replacement. Lots of the windows were dirty - many in the Navigator Lounge were fogged up between the panes, and completely opaque. We were on one of the last cruises on the Maasdam before her total retrofit last year, and that ship was in much better condition!
The quality of the entertainment was quite inconsistent - the naturalist on board was fantastic, the comedian was also quite good, but the rest of the entertainment was not worth sitting through.
On a more positive note -- the food and service in the Manhattan Dining Room were fantastic. I didn't have a single meal all week that I didn't think was great. (To be fair, my wife says she preferred the plainer fare on Holland America.) I was not nearly as impressed with the buffet restaurant, and the only sushi I had all week was dry and had apparently been sitting out for some time.
As for the service in general, I'd also call it inconsistent. Some of the crew were very friendly and helpful, while others really didn't seem to care. The public washrooms didn't seem to get cleaned very regularly: they were often out of hand towels, and littered with paper towels, overflowing the bins. Overall, I'd consider Celebrity again, but only on a newer ship.
Being from Vancouver, I'm embarrassed to admit that the staff at the Port were horribly unhelpful. Because we were with a larger group, some of us left the terminal to pick up our own vehicles, intending to come back and pick up those that were left behind guarding the luggage. The cruise terminal staff refused to allow us to get back in to pick up our luggage, saying that only people dropping off passengers were allowed. I should have lied and said I was dropping people off.