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A little background: My husband and I have had the pleasure of sailing more then 20 times with various lines. We decided to try the Celebrity Mercury because this was our 20th anniversary cruise and we were taking no children. This was a new itinerary to us.
We arrived in San Francisco with a full day to explore. There were many things to do and with so little time we decided to do the full tourist thing since neither of us had been to San Francisco before. We took the Red and White Ferry (17.00) for a short cruise around the bay, past Alcatraz, and under the Golden Gate Bridge. This was a lovely way to start the morning and the views were wonderful. We arrived at Fisherman?s Wharf and looked around some (don?t miss the Sea Lions) and then decide to take the Gray Line Motorized Cable Car tour to familiarize us with the city in case we should decide to go there again. Our guide was wonderful and we enjoyed seeing, Chinatown, the crookedest street in the world, Union Street, the Palace of Fine Arts, and Union Square. Well worth the $27.00 per person.
That evening we had dinner at Neptune?s Palace at Fisherman?s Wharf. We met 7 others for dinner that we had talked to via a message board. We all had a wonderful time and we knew we would have a great time.
We left our hotel Hyatt Pier 39 (paid $60.00 per night via Priceline) we arrived at the pier in San Francisco around 11:30. It was crazy with passengers trying to disembark and embark. Embarkation was a breeze as we were one of the first ones there. We received no escort to our cabin but we did get our complimentary champagne on boarding.
We were in a concierge class cabin on deck 10. The room was fine for 2. There was enough storage. One morning I did hear dishes from the Caf? above but it really didn?t bother us. When we arrived in our room we looked for the extras that we thought would be a nice touch to our trip. There was a bud vase in the bathroom that contained small roses and a vase on the desk that didn?t have flowers until the 3rd day. Our champagne was chilling and 2 glasses were there for our enjoyment. There was also a basket of fruit which was replenished daily. The bathroom had 2 hair dryers, toiletries and extra fluffy bathmat and towels. The shower head was very powerful which I loved. On the desk there was an ice bucket and a water pitcher. Each evening we received canap?s before dinner but they were nothing to write home about. Our cabin steward was OK.
We spent the rest of the day exploring the ship. We met all our cruise board friends at the Sky Bar for the Bon Voyage party on the deck. Many that didn?t join us for dinner joined us this evening and we all became friends very quickly. What a wonderful bunch we were and everyone enjoyed themselves laughing, drinking, dancing and gambling all week.
On a personal note: My daughter was home alone for Hurricane Jeanne and all these people were extremely supportive of us all week. Some loaned us their phones to call home, others just listened to us. If it wasn?t for this group of people we probably wouldn?t have enjoyed ourselves as much. I truly hope we get to sail with all of these people again as I consider them all friends.
We sat at a table for 8 and had 2 wonderful couples with us along with a gentleman I had met on a cruise board. We spent lots of time laughing and enjoying each others company and the wonderful service we received from our Waiter Saby and our Assistant Waiter Felix.
The Ports: First stop LA. It really was a wasted stop. If you didn?t take the ships tour then you would have to get a cab to go anywhere. Very expensive. We decided to go to Ports of Call a small shopping area reachable from the ship via the Red Cars. The ride on this rail car costs only $1 per person. We looked around and returned to the Mercury for some rest.
Next stop was Catalina Island. What a lovely island this was. Sorry that I really didn?t get to enjoy it but Hurricane Jeanne was hitting our home as we got there. We did manage to have a friend loan us a phone and everything appeared to be OK at home. We stopped at Luau Larry for some refreshments and roamed around the streets some.
Puerto Vallarta-We jumped in a cab with some friends for a tour of Puerto Vallarta. It was hot! We went to taste some Tequila and then shopped a little downtown. The area reminded me of downtown Cozumel. Back into the cab and the best part of the tour began. The homes were lovely and the view even lovelier! We really enjoyed the day.
Cabo San Lucas-I decided to book the one hour boat trip to Los Arcos. Absolutely the highlight of my trip. The view was spectacular and it was well worth the money. I shopped a little and met friends for drinks at the Giggling Marlin. What a place, they hang people upside down and pour shots in there mouths. Was totally exhausted after the long hot day.
Our last day was packing up and catching up with our friends. My birthday was the day we disembarked and my husband arranged for all our friends to come to the casino at midnight to sing Happy Birthday. It was wonderful and a nice surprise. I also had a good evening in the casino and won for the 9 day trip a few hundred dollars, mostly at Black Jack.
The Ship: The ship was well kept but rather plain in comparison to other ships we?ve been on. The crew was good but not very friendly. The service in the dining room was outstanding but the rest was just OK. The casino staff was very nice and we enjoyed our time there.
The food: Having heard much about the Celebrity cuisine we were very interested in the food aspect of this trip. The beef dishes in the dining room were excellent, tender and served to your preference. The rest of the food was pretty average as a whole. The buffets were typical buffet food but the fresh waffles at breakfast were very good.
Comparisons: We?ve been loyal to Royal Caribbean for many years and really wanted to try Celebrity?s upscale experience. There were some nice extra touches like the champagne greeting but it fell short in our expectations from everything I read online. I would sail Celebrity again as we had a great time but in this case it was our fellow cruisers that really made the trip for us. Special thanks to all of them for their love and support.