A Sad Goodbye to Celebrity Mercury

Celebrity Cruises announced that in Feb 2011, the Mercury will be leaving the Celebrity fleet to move to the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. joint Venture with TUI. This announcement had been rumored in the “Blogosphere” for months now as, unlike its sister ship the Century, the Mercury did not receive an extensive make over a few years ago. I had the pleasure to sail three times on this ship, the only ship I have sailed more than once. I will miss having this wonderful ship as a choice in the the Celebrity fleet.

The Mercury was the ship that my husband and I chose for our 10 year anniversary cruise back in 2003. The ship offered an 11 day sailing out of San Diego to the Mexican Riviera. The two things that attracted us to the ship were the home port and the smaller more intimate size of the ship. We were not disappointed. The ship offered great entertainment, food and service. We met some delightful fellow passengers and thoroughly enjoyed the entire cruise. A few days into the cruise, we both said “We waited 10 years from our Honeymoon cruise to this cruise, but there is no way we are waiting that long again.” In the next 4 years, in addition to our cruise on the Infinity, we sailed the Mercury two more times.

Our favorite part of the Mercury was the intimate layout of the ship and the multiple entertainment venues. With only about 1800 to 2000 passengers, depending on occupancy, the ship had a more intimate feel than most of the larger ships that are now sailing. We often ran into the same nice people we had met earlier in the cruise and had the chance to continue our conversations with them. We always felt the service on the Mercury was extremely personable and personalized. In addition to an observation lounge/disco, the ship also offered the Pavilion Night Club, which provided live music and entertainment on a regular basis in the evenings. The area reminded me of the traditional lounges on the classic older ships I grew up cruising. The aft location of the dining room, though sometimes prone to vibration from the ship’s propellers, offered spectacular views of the ocean, especially during Alaskan voyages during which the sun had not set at dinner time.

The Mercury was not without some problems and critics. For some unknown reason, the Mercury seemed to be more prone to Noro-Virus outbreaks than other ships. They had one particular cruise during which many passengers became sick and the following few cruises were know as “Bleach Cruises” as the ship was in a constant state of disinfection as the workers tried to prevent any further out breaks. Those voyages received a lot of negative publicity in the “Blogosphere.” After those cruises, an outbreak, no matter how small, seemed to make it into the cruise news. As recently as Spring of 2010, the ship had another outbreak, which caused the ship to delay departure of the next cruise for 24 hours so that the ship could be thoroughly cleaned before the next group of passengers boarded her. The ship also had problems with excessive propeller vibration in the aft section of the ship. I often called this the free massages, but when the ship would make a sharp turn or maneuver into port, the vibration was enough to wake you up in your bed. During our departure from Vancouver, passenger transportation delays pushed out our sailing to the dinner hour. Our dining table vibrated profusely off and on all through dinner as the ship maneuvered out of the port city. The ship was also criticized for being old and dated looking. Despite the fact that the carpet was replaced on a regular basis, cruisers still seemed to delight in criticizing its worn and outdated appearance. Because the ship was older and cruisers wanted to prove it, they would find a section of worn upholstery, take a picture of it, and then post it on the internet. Others who had been accustomed to larger newer ships, couldn’t bring themselves to appreciate the smaller size and lack of bells and whistles. While those who loved a traditional cruise loved her, those used to the latest and greatest often criticized her for being outdated and had trouble appreciating the ship for what it offered.

Perhaps it is because of the many detractors that Celebrity has decided to move her from the fleet. For those of us who cruised on her many times, she will be well missed. For a trip down memory lane with the Celebrity Mercury, be sure to visit our photo gallery where we have three different cruise albums featuring the Mercury.