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Alaska Inside Passage
August 31, 2008
Embarkation Port: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
We flew into Vancouver international Airport on Saturday August 30, arriving at noon. Clearing customs and was on our way to our hotel by 12:30pm.
We choose a one night stay at the Hotel Moda which is located in downtown Vancouver at 900 Seymour. This boutique hotel was centrally located and we would recommend this wonderful place if you are looking for a pre or post cruise hotel.
We requested a cab the night before and checked out of our hotel around 11ish, to our delight the cab was waiting for us after check out and were driven directly to the Ballentine Pier where embarkation was completed in less than 20 minutes. Once onboard we were greeted with the traditional Celebrity greeting Welcome Aboard!, champagne included, and although rooms were not officially ready we made our way to our stateroom which for this cruise was an inside cabin on deck 12, to drop off our carry-on bags, the stateroom (1235) was larger than anticipated and had plenty of space for storage and clothes. The safe was concealed behind the desk mirror and Hermi our stateroom attendant had to show us where it was.
Hermi was excellent, providing non intrusive service, while making sure our every need was met. He even provided us with complementary ink pens and lotions that are normally reserved for concierge staterooms.
We then made our way up to the spring grill for the buffet, the food on this cruise was adequate but in our opinion was lacking in quality from previous cruises.
The buffet is now separated into specific cuisine oriented sections, with American English, and Asian, being the predominate offerings.
During the breakfast hours Celebrity is now offering eggs benedict in their buffet line, which is a great idea in theory but lacks in presentation, when these types of food offerings sit too long the muffins become quite difficult to cut and the eggs turn to a hard boiled stage. They are also served without hollandaise…Very disappointing.
Once a cruise they also offer a Brunch in the main dinning room, Once again a wonderful concept but the food loses its quality. We believe they need to rethink this concept.
As select members of the captains club they have begun to offer more amenities, especially for select and elite members. Such as a tour of the bridge, coffee with senior officers, those are of course in addition to the standard captains' club cocktail party.
Our main dining room staff, although showed a lot of effort and desire to please, they were not as professional as in other cruises, however they must be given an A for effort. The assistant Maître de Melvis was outstanding! As it turns out he received his training under the tutelage of Andrzew Ponchek, our wonderful Maître D from our Century cruise of a few years ago.
All in all the Mercury is an excellent ship very clean, well maintained and would not hesitate to book them again if the occasion presented itself.
So to briefly recap, the ship and service as always was terrific. The food is still a work in progress. Celebrity remains our favorite line.