Written on: 22/02/2004 by Seafarer (1 review written)
Excellent food, flawless service, extremely efficient shipboard maintenance and cleanliness
Embarkation with Celebrity Cruises, Mercury in Vancouver was effortless. we parked about a block away from the terminal and were assisted with bags, etc. Reasonable parking prices. Good security.
Once aboard, we were upgraded to a window room, which we much appreciated in Alaska, as we were never out of sight of land. The views were magnificnet. For Caribbean and Mexican cruises we have always found inside rooms to be more than sufficient. Ship was clean and well-maintained. Children were corralled and entertained with a number of programs and very rarely consitiuted a nuisance. Activities were numerous and seemed to be well-attended and efficiently organized. The poolside activities were low key and did not intrude on relaxation poolside.
Entertainment was the usual cruise ship fare with production numbers, singers, a magician/ventriloquist. Etc. Not my cup of tea, but my fellow cruisers seemed to enjoy it all immensely.
The food service was wonderful, and in comparison to the ten other cruises we have taken, quite a cut above. The dining room staff was primarily Eastern European and very attentive and professional. Alternative dining, at a minimal extra cost and necessitating reservations, was available each evening in a nice dining section in an inside/outside poolside area.
The buffet dining room forward had unobstructed wide views of the sea around us and it was a nice place for quiet coffee and conversation at non-peak times.
While it seems trivial, the dark blue and white color scheme of the ships exterior seemed to blend well with the Alaskan landscape.
Other public rooms were attractively furnished and decorated for quiet reading or for a drink and conversation as appropriate. The casino was spacious but did not intrude on the rest of the ship. All the bar staff were friendly and informed.
In all, this was one of the finest ships on which we have traveled, and I would certainly recommend it.
The ports orf Juneau and Ketchikan were primarily tourist areas, at least in the port section. Sitka was less so, and much more interesting as a typical small Alaskan town. Some recommended shore excursions for those who cannot afford the $150 to $250 charges to go flying off in a helo or bush plane to see the glaciers:
1. Mendenhal;l Glacier and Salmon Bake tour at Juneau. Beautiful vistas of the glacier without getting your feet wet, just outside town, followed by a Salmon Bake at a little compound specially built for that purpose. Covered eating areas if there is a storm, openpit salmon bake and barbecued ribs, followed by live entertainment with an Alaskan flavor. visit the nearby falls, a short walk from the bake area. See salmon crowding the stream, in August at least.
2. The Silver Fjord Salmon Hatchery tour in Sitka. Take a cruise along many miles of fjord lined by misty mountains with bald eagles soaring around. The salmon hatchery is very interesting and gives one the experience of seeing how salmon are farm raised and restocked in the sea. Dress warmly and carry a rain slicker.
You might be able to get a slightly better price on the
The weather in Juneau and Ketchikan was very warm in Augusat , shorts and t-shirt weather. I enjoyed Sitka most primarily because the mist and colouds made it seem more like the "Alaska" I had expected. Next time we'll travel in May.