June 8, 2001
We are just back, June 8. 2001, from a 7 night, 8 day, southbound cruise aboard the Mercury along the inland passage of Alaska. It was our first cruise experience and a most enjoyable one. We wanted to stay onboard for the northbound leg! Service was incredibly professional with just the right touch of personalization. The ship was immaculately clean and in excellent repair. The spa was terrific, very attentive staff, exceptionally clean. We had a steam-massage treatment and were treated as if we were the only ones on the ship they were there to serve! Our cabin was a category 2 with veranda. We were in the stern of the ship, a drawback only because a full treck of the ship was required for certain activities. Midship location would have been better. Cabin cleanliness, condition and service were exceptional.
We dined at a table with two friends, late seating. The wait staff was most gracious and professional. No request was too much. We were so very pampered, unmatched by most high quality land experiences we've had. Breakfast we usually had at the buffet. Wonderful choices including smoked salmon, herring and deli meats for a Scandinavian breakfast if you so desired. We never made the midnight buffets, but the next to last night we visited it. An incredible feast for the eyes. Something I have never seen, for sheer scope and quality of decoration and food, and I've attended some very lavish land affairs. It's probably worth skipping dinner that night so you can enjoy the buffet.
We have sailed on small pleasure boats, but we had thought these large liners would not give a "moving" experience. In that we were wrong. The ship definitely rolled on the swells of the ocean and the sea was quite calm while we were on it. We adjusted without a problem, but it would be wise to bring sea sickness medication, just in case!
Never used the pool, too cool, but during the one day in Juneau when the sun came out, several groups took advantage of the hot tubs (there are four). Nice track on the upper deck for walking or jogging. Fabulous workout room in the bow of the ship with treadmills placed to allow you the ability to see what the captain sees. The Navigator Bar is just below it and is a wonderful place to follow the passage of the ship.
Fellow passangers were interesting. Most were older, 65+, many with disablilites. Many of them appeared as if they were VERY unfamiliar with fashion, looking incongruous in the elegant decor of the ship. Formal nights in the dining room must have scared many away to the buffet at the Palms Springs Cafe.
Overall our experience was exceptional. We're already planning our next cruise. We think we'll do the Panama Canal and we're looking at Crystal - the timing is right - for December. We've also heard Crystal "Symphony" is a superb cruising experience. It will be fun to compare it to Mercury.