A superb but short cruise to beautiful British Columbia

Just for fun...Our Four Day Mercury cruise.

To see the photos from our cruise, click here.

This was one of those cruises that you take just for fun. It was four days out of Seattle with stops in Nanaimo and Victoria, British Columbia as well as a day at sea. We had been to Nanaimo and Victoria on numerous occasions and folks, there just aren't that many reasons to go back for us. But this cruise was all about friends and cruising and a bargain. When you can get a suite on a Celebrity ship for less than $600 each for four days, you go. Going with Bob and Judy (two of our bestest Martini Mates) we knew we would have a bunch of fun so we booked it.

Since it was a short cruise this will be a short review. Embarkation was a piece of cake. We arrived at the cruise terminal at 10:15, dropped the ladies and the luggage, went to the cruise park, walked back, checked in, sat for 10 minutes and went onboard. Quick and easy.

Once on board we dropped our carry-ons in our cabin and headed to lunch at the grille. We really noticed the difference between this smooth embarkation and our Solstice embarkation. We love smaller ships. When we went to eat there were plenty of places to sit and the grille and buffet were easy to navigate. The buffet still has trays! Yahoo!

We were in our cabin by 1:30 and we met our butler David and our cabin attendant Herme. Both were outstanding. We asked David for a hand-held hair dryer and he was back in five minutes with a brand new one. We asked for two additional down pillows and an egg crate mattress pad (Kathleen has a bad hip and needs one) and it was taken care of. Both of them were outstanding and took great care of us. They watched us leave for breakfast and had our rooms made up within minutes. 

An interesting note about the lifeboat drill. It was our first one without life jackets. We just had to meet (without jackets) in our muster station (which for us was the casino) and then we were told to go to the actual lifeboat station. But just before we started down the stairs to the next deck, we were told, “The drill is over. You can go.” Didn’t feel real safe but it was nice. If I was a rookie cruiser I might not feel real confident about that drill but as a long-time cruiser I liked it. We were already dressed for dinner and we just headed up to our Cruise Critic meet up.

Overall review of the Mercury:

We had never been on Mercury before. We had been on both her sister ships, Century and the dearly departed Galaxy. We liked them both. We now like Mercury just as much. And we are very happy to say that she was in better repair than Infinity was last August when we sailed her to Alaska. In fact we thought the public areas in the ship looked to be in great shape.

Her crew was a little different from the others we had encountered on Celebrity before and that was a good thing. They weren't better, just different. They were closer to each other. There was more of a family feel. Many of them went out of their way to almost defend Mercury as a great little ship. I think this stems from the fact that X seems to be moving more towards large ships and they are afraid that their lovely little Mercury will go the way of Galaxy, Zenith and Horizon. We hope that doesn't happen as we really enjoyed sailing on her. In talking with crew members we also noticed that many of them were long-term Mercury crew. On other X ships it would be common to hear that someone had been on numerous ships but here we often heard that even though they had been on other ships, they had been on Mercury for six, seven or eight years. That' s impressive.

We thought that overall the service on Mercury was some of the best ever. X is famous for service but this was even better than usual. We ran into X crew that we knew from previous cruises who went out of their way to check in with us whenever they saw us. We were impressed with every single crew member we came in contact with. They were all outstanding.

We thought Mercury had a lot of great public rooms and we enjoyed many of them. The best word to describe Mercury for us was cozy. All of the public rooms were clean, well kept up and great to just lounge in.


We did breakfast and lunch in the buffet or grille and all of our dinners in the main dining room. The buffet was typical for X. I do appreciate the new way they are doing “fresh” eggs benedict. But the waffles were premade and there were no blueberries for them at all and I missed that. In the dining room, we (four) were at a table for eight right at the front of the lower deck of the dining room (right next to the Captain's Table). The first night our fellow diners didn't show up so we had a great dinner alone. We (Judy and I) were thrilled that we could get escargot every night (and we did). There was quite a list of things you can now get every night, including salmon, apple pie la mode, shrimp cocktail and the aforementioned escargot. Yummy. Four nights entrees--NY steak (available every night), chateaubriand, seafood risotto and osso bucco (braised veal shanks) were all good. We had an excellent waiter (Manny) and asst. waiter (Kamel) who took great care of us as well as Sam the asst. maitre' d who stopped by to make sure we were all set.

The second night the other four at our table showed up but we weren't there as we had all been invited to eat with the Staff Chief Engineer (George) at the Captain's table. We went and had a great time. George was hilarious and we had a great time with him. On the third and fourth night we were all back at our regular table with our tablemates who were very nice folks from the Olympia, WA area. Great service and great food every night.

Only two complaints I have about the food. The first was the coffee. On Solstice in March and last August on Infinity we were thrilled with the new X coffee but that has not trickled down to Mercury yet. Their coffee (other than the cappuccinos we had from the Cova Cafe) was horrid. No matter where we drank it; the buffet, the grille, the dining room, even at Michael's Club, it was horrible.

The second complaint concerns the buffet. They had the new X brunch in the main dining room on our sea day. We have enjoyed this brunch on two separate occasions in the past. Once on Infinity and once on Solstice and both were much better than this one was. Both of the others featured shrimp and a lot more variety than this one. Not that I needed more to eat but most of what was in the brunch was also on the buffet upstairs as opposed to the two previous brunches which featured more variety.

Captain's Club

This was our first cruise since X instituted the new Captain's Club benefits. The new benefit we used the most was Michael's Club. They had a continental breakfast in Michael's every morning from 8:00 am to 10:00 am for Elite Captain's Club members (more than 15 cruise credits) and a cocktail reception every afternoon from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. We would have a real breakfast in the buffet in the morning and then would go down to Michael's Club for our complimentary cappuccino. Before dinner we would stop by for our complimentary cocktail and appetizers. The best part was that everything was complimentary. We also enjoyed the company as the others who stopped by were usually long-time cruisers so we had lots of comparisons to make and cruising stories to share.

What I really think needs improving is Michael's Club itself. It is way too small for these receptions. On the first day there weren't many Elites who stopped by but by the last three days it was packed. It's not like there isn't more room to be had. They have used a screen to cut off about a third of the club to make it a card room. This is OK most of the day, but they could easily take the screen down and convert it back to Michaels for the four hours a day that the Elite reception takes place. There are a bunch of other places to play cards for those four hours a day. There were 51 Elites onboard and X should have realized that if even half of them showed up, it would be way too small for that number. Plus the crowd playing mahjong in the card room side was really loud (enough to stop conversation).

Our Captain's Club hostess Angela was outstanding. She took such great care of us and made us feel special in a bunch of ways. First by inviting us to the Captain's Table. Then when we told her we really couldn't leave Bob and Judy by themselves at our regular table, finding room for them as well. Then she surprised us with a phone call making sure that we would be at the Captain's Captain Club reception that night before second seating as they would be honoring us as the two cruisers with the most Celebrity Cruises.
This really surprised us as we only have nine Celebrity cruises and we know that Bob and Judy have more than that. X counts cruise credits and not cruises so since we sail in Concierge Class (which counts as a credit itself) and give another credit for 14 day cruises (we have done three) we show as having 22. That made us number one. It kind of felt wrong but Kathleen took the beautiful bouquet and we shook  Captain Nickos Frantzis’ hand. Angela also arranged a really nice tour of the bridge for us on our sea day as well.


We love shows but we haven’t gone to many on recent cruises because X hasn’t changed the production shows for quite a while. We went to the opening show this week which usually is an overview of the shows for the rest of the week. They did a nice production number and then turned it over to maybe the best comic juggler we have ever seen, Charlie Peachock. I am not usually a big juggling fan but this guy was HILARIOUS! The second night was a production show entitled “And the winner is.” It featured music from award shows. Since we usually don’t like the music award on shows when they are on the the awards shows, we skipped this one. The next night featured the “totally clean comedy” of Fred Klett. Fred was not only clean, he was also HILARIOUS. Had the best time and laughed for a full hour. Would see him again any day. The final night of the cruise was another production show, this time a Broadway tribute. We skipped this one as well and went to pack. Our skipping the big shows had no reflection on the quality of the shows, just the fact that these shows are no longer our cup of tea.

Things we didn't like so much

Besides the coffee the only thing we really didn't like was the Martini Bar. Being part of the original Martini Mates we love to hang out in the Martini Bar. On Mercury the Martini Bar is tiny. Less than 20 total seats. And those seats are uncomfortable as all get out. Considering that X is famous for its martinis and that the Martini Bar on M-Class and Solstice were huge and really nice we were shocked at the size of this one. If you have not been on Mercury before but have been on Galaxy, the Martini Bar on Galaxy was on deck 5 and flowed into the dining room. And upstairs above it on deck 6 was a tiny champagne bar. Well these are reversed on Mercury and who knows why? How many people on X drink champagne? How many would drink the outstanding martinis? Switch the bars X, switch the bars. Other than that I can't think of any major problems we have.

Our overall opinion

That said, we had a great time and would highly recommend Mercury to anyone. We just wish she went more places that we want to go. It would be great if X would put her on the West coast and leave her there. She could run up and down the West Coast from the Mexican Riviera to Vancouver and throw in a Hawaii trip once in awhile.