Cruise San Diego to Hawaii

return to San Diego

February 28 to March 15, 2009

(Celebrity - Mercury : Cabin 5067 OV H/C)


one week pre (March 21-28) and post (March 15-21) cruise in San Diego


Ports of call

bulletSan Diego, CA - pre cruise
bulletBoarding the Mercury
bulletat sea (4 days)
bulletHilo, Hawaii - docked
bulletKailua Kona, Hawaii - tendered
bulletLahaina, Maui - tendered
bulletHonolulu, Oahu - docked & overnight
bulletat sea (4 days)
bulletEnsenada, Mexico - docked
bulletSan Diego, CA - post cruise
bulletGeneral comments on the ship



Feb 21st - Feb 27th- San Diego, CA

We had a good flight to San Diego and arrived 30 minutes earlier than expected.  We had to transfer in Washington, DC.  We spent a nice week and the weather was very nice averaging 16 to 20C and sunny

Feb 28th - Boarding the Mercury

We had perfect weather for boarding, 20C and sunny.  Stephen dropped us of at the port around 1PM.  There were lots of people to process, but it went pretty smoothly.  The only hitch that we ran into was the actual boarding where the ramp was so steep that Norman had to walk up with his walker and I and another woman pushed the scooter up the ramp.  The woman that was following us was also in a scooter and she toppled right over and hit the railing, not a good start for the cruise.

Our cabin was ready so we were able to leave our carry-on there before going to the buffet for lunch.  We explored the ship.  At 4:15PM was the mandatory lifeboat drill, we were dismissed earlier as all the scooters and wheelchairs.  We brought our life jackets back to our room and we still did not have our luggage.  We went to the pool area to watch the sail away until supper time.  We are on the early seating, which is 6PM.  We met 2 of our 4 table mates.  The food was very good, we had the roast beef cooked to our taste.

Explored more of the ship, all the shops, but were very crowded where they were announcing all there specials.  So we will look at the shops another time.

The Welcome Aboard Orientation - A taste of things to come show was at 9PM explaining what type of shows we will be seeing over the course of the next 15 days.  We are very interested in the Enrichment series which will start tomorrow

When we got back to our cabin, our luggage was there, did some unpacking and we were so tired that we called it a night around 10:30PM.

Mar 1st - 1st Day at Sea

We were up early, around 8AM, we had a good night sleep, the bed is very comfortable.  Went and got all our shore excursions.  We went to the buffet for breakfast and had the omelette (omelette station is the way to go, you can have them prepare it anyway you like.  Went to the Café Internet to sign up for the wireless package.  On this ship, the only hot spots are deck 6, 8 and deck 5 around Guest Relations, our cabin is very close to Guest Relations.

We found a spot that we like at the back of the ship in the Palm Springs Pool area, you can sit indoors or out and watch the wake of the ship, very calming.

We went to the Celebrity Enrichment Series Presents: "Hawaii - Our Ports of Call" with Hawaiian Ambassador Paki Allen.  Paki talked on all our ports of call and what we could see, how to get around if we did not use the tour from the ship, what not to miss.

Right after there was the Celebrity Enrichment Series Lecture with naturalist, Milos Radakovich.  Today's topic: "Open Ocean Wildlife from Flying Fish and Birds to Whales and Sharks".  Milos is very entertaining and gives lots of info.

Today was formal night. So we got all dressed up for dinner.  After dinner was the Captain's Gala Welcome Toast is were the Captain presents all the heads of Departments and we all get to toast to a great cruise.  Champagne, wine was flowing during this time.

The Show was "And The Winner is" starring the Celebrity Signers & Dancers.  What a wonderful show of songs from the Oscars, Tonies, CMA.  They got a standing ovation.  That was one of the first times we saw such a great show.

Mar 2nd - 2nd Day at Sea

Today was our Cruise Critic Connections Party sponsored by Celebrity, they put out some finger foods, coffee, juices, water. We had it in the Navigator Club which overlooks the ocean.  Most that were signed up were there, out of our group there were 53 at the party.  I had made name tags for everyone.  Randy & Bev, from our group, converted everyone's names to Hawaiian names, ours are Kukana & Nolemana. We spent over 2 hours there chatting with our new Internet friends, it was nice to finally put faces to their screen names.

The Celebrity Enrichment Series continues with Naturalist Milos Radakovich.  Today's topic was "Sea Mammals of the Pacific".  He spoke on all the different mammals and where they descended from through evolution.

Later we spent some time enjoying Afternoon Blue Hawaii Melodies with Henry Kaleialoha, Hawaiian Ambassador Paki Allen and his Hula Maidens.  Took some photos and some movie clips.  It is so nice to watch Hawaiian hula dancing.

The show was the Comedy of Janine Gardner, she has headlined at the Comedy Central, Showtime and A&E and also appeared at he MGM, Riviera and Bally Resorts in Las Vegas.  She was very funny and it was a clean show.  She will be back later in the cruise for another show.

The seas were a little choppy but not that much.  We could still walk though but sometimes we could miss our step.  We are finding this cruise to be much smoother sailing than our last cruise to Hawaii.

Mar 3rd - 3rd Day at Sea

Today is another nice day, sunny and about 20C (68F).  We both had a good night sleep and were up and about before 7:30AM.  We had breakfast and the Palm Springs Café - Omelette station, they sure make great omelettes with what ever you want in them.

Next was he continuation of the Celebrity Enrichment series with Naturalist, Milos Radakovich.  Today's topic: "Night Sky, Stars, Planets & Constellations".  He had some wonderful slides and photos and the conclusion is that we are just a spec in the universe.

We had lunch in the Manhattan Restaurant which was nice to sit and be served.  We had our waiter Nevel from our last cruise on the Summit, it was nice seeing him again.

Our next event was the Ukulele: The icon of Hawaiian Music with Living Legend of Hawaiian Music, Henry Kaleialoha Allen.  He gave us the history of the ukulele and gave us a few demonstrations.

Tonight's show was Top Brass!! Gary Guthman.  He plays the trumpet and flugelhorn.  During the show he did a medley of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. What a trumpeter, he brought the house to a standing ovation.  If you ever have the chance to see him perform, don't miss it.

Mar 4th - 4th Day at Sea

The weather is getting much warmer, though cloudy today with sunny periods.  We were at the pool area, watching people go by.  The seas are pretty calm today, really has been a nice crossing.

For lunch we tried the selection of Chinese Dishes at the buffet.  Every day they have a different theme at that station.

The next theme for the Enrichment Series by Milos was "Fire from the Sea - Volcanic Hawaii".  We found out that all the Continents, at one time were all fused together, now we are talking billions of years ago.  We had a chance to talk to Milos while we were on the back Aft watching the wake.  We were watching an Albatross bird flying around and he was explaining what the bird was doing.  He lives on ships and gives talk all over depending on the time of year, he would be on different itinerary

We watched part of the bingo as they were giving away the Royal Suite to the winner for the rest of the cruise, what a nice upgrade.

Before diner, we stopped at the Champagne Bar and listen to Lloyd Baskin sing and play the piano.  The Champagne Bar is just beside the Manhattan Dining Room.

The show tonight was: The Celebrity Vocalists in Concert and featuring Adagio Sensation Duo Velikovi.  The Vocalists were able to sing their favourites songs and the Sensation Duo acrobats are sensational.

Mar 5th - Hilo, Hawaii

Today was our first ship tour Imiloa Astronomy Center & Essence of Hilo.  We boarded our tour bus, we were 20 on this tour.  We started heading to the newest visitor destination Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, which explores and celebrates Hawaiian navigation, culture and the modern journeys of exploration by today's astronomers on Mauna Kea.  We went to the 3D show under the Full-Dome Planetarium named "Mauna Kea: Between Earth and Sky" which tells the legendary story of the birth of the Hawaiian Island, with stirring scenes of underwater volcanoes, eruptions and the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, as well as a fly-through of one of the observatories on the summit of Mauna Kea, and a look at the night skies over the island.  Our guide took us through the unique exhibits: Piko - Connecting Mauna Kea and the Stars, Kumulipo Theater - Hawaiian Origin Chant in a sound and light show, exhibits on Astrological Origins of the Universe, 4D2U Voyage through Space - a 3 dimensional journey from real astronomical data from the Subaru Telescope.

We then went to downtown Hilo along Banyan Drive and the Liliuokalani Garden, an Oceanside Japanese Park en route to Rainbow Falls with a surrounding rainforest of mango, banyan trees.  We also stopped at the Big Island Candies a famous Hilo landmark.  We arrived too late to see the candies being made.

Tonight, during diner, the Captain announced that we will be passing by Kilauea Volcano since it is still erupting.  What a view, I did catch some of the fire with my camera, but it is not like seeing it live.  We could see some of the lava coming down the mountain.  We stayed up on the Sky Deck until 11PM to watch this event.

Our show tonight is featuring Top Brass Gary Guthman & The Comedy of Janine Gardner. What a great show.  They will be leaving us in Honolulu.

Mar 6th - Kailua Kona, Hawaii

We were up early today as our excursion was at 8:30AM at the pier.  This is a tender port.  We had breakfast in our cabin then met everyone in the Celebrity Theatre to get our tender tickets.  Once the ship was cleared by customs, it did not take long for our number to be called.  Our tour was Kona Nature Cruise & Dolphin Search.  We boarded the largest glass bottom sight seeing boat in Kona.  We watched Wild Spinner Dolphins while taking panoramic views of the Big Island above and below the ocean.  We spotted many pods of Dolphins and some where performing aerial acrobatic which I manage to catch one with my camera.  What a sight to see.  On our way back we had an Hawaiian dancer singing and explaining the different dances she was doing.

Between the two diners, our Cruise Director Stewart put on a Party for all Canadians in the Navigator Club.  We were able to mingle with fellow Canadians and dance.  We are over 300 on this cruise.  That was a nice touch by Stewart, again someone suggested it and he responded with this party.  The club was decorated with red and white balloons and they only played Canadian artists, which was a nice touch.

Tonight show was A Touch of Broadway with the Celebrity Singers and Dancers. Another great show and another standing ovation, well deserved.

After we went to Back to the 50's & 60's Dance Party with the music by Party Band Headlines.  Very popular, since this is the second show of this type of music music.  We are an older crowd and it was requested to bring it back and they did.

Mar 7th - Lahaina, Maui

We arrived early this morning and we are here for the whole day (from 7AM to 11PM).  So if you want to do lots, there is lots of time to do it.

Since this is another tender port, and we must use the wheelchair instead of the scooter, we got off around noon and went to the park where the largest Banyan tree in the USA.  There was an arts and craft show under the tree.  Looked in a few shops and then went back to the peer for our tour Maui Whale Watch which is really a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the grace and beauty of one of earth's largest living creatures, the Humpback Whale.  The whales migrate from Alaska, where they spend the summer months feeding, to the warm waters of Hawaii to mate and have their calves.  The vessels are not allowed to go within 100 feet, so if the whale comes over to the vessel (this is called mugged), the vessel must stop the motor and we stayed there until the whales left.  Got lots of up close and personal photos.

While we were out today, we had lots of sun but this morning and evening, fine showers.  So far it has rain some in every port.  Hilo has the most rain (153 inches per year).  Kona again rained before we were out so it did not interfere with our tour.

Since we are in port so late, there is open seating in the dining room but keeping with the hours of main and late seating.

There was no show tonight so they were showing a movie.  We decide to turn in early.

Mar 8th - Honolulu, Oahu

We are in Honolulu until tomorrow at 2PM.  We ordered breakfast from room service as our tour started at 9AM.

We congregated in the Celebrity Theatre for our tour stickers, which we place on us so we don't get lost.  Our tour today is Explore the North Shore.  We drove over the3 Ko'olau Mountains to Oahu's windward side.  Our first stop was the Valley of the Temples where we visited the Byodo Temple located at the base of 2,000-foot cliffs.  We then travelled along the shores of Kahana Bay arriving at Laie Point where we can see many native plants and seabirds species. Continuing North to Kahuku, we passed by shrimp farms and saw some endangered wetland birds.  We then Stopped at Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline.  Our next stop was Turtle Beach where we saw a turtle come ashore.  He was called Brutus and weighed about 250lbs.  We drove by the historical village of Haleiwa, home to many surfers, artists and craftspeople.  Our final stop was the Dole Pineapple Plantation, a collection showcasing unique pineapple species from all over the world.  This tour was about 5.5 hours.

Tonight was open sitting and also a BBQ on Deck 11 (Resort Deck).  We opted for the dining room but went a peeked at what they were serving at the BBQ.  Took some photos.

Our show tonight was The Drums of Polynesia featuring native dancers, drummers & musician from the Hawaiian Islands.  Another great show!!

Mar 9th - Honolulu, Oahu

Again since we have a 9AM tour, we ordered room service for our breakfast.  Norman was not feeling good this morning so he stayed on the ship and I went on the tour.

Our tour today was Natural Highlights of Oahu.  Our tour begins driving down the coast passing Waikiki Beach on to Diamond Head Crater.  Our guide explained the origins and history of the world famous landmark and the creatures and plant life that inhabits the area.  We then traveled along Oahu's southern coast to Hanauma Bay where we were able to stop and take in some of that scenery.  We could see lots of snorkelers.  We then continued down the coast to the famous blowhole at Halona Point where the sea is forced through volcanic vents erupting into a large fountain.  Then we stopped at Makapu'u Lookout, what a spectacular view.  Our next stop was an Hawaiian archaeological site and former war temple.  Our guide explain the history of the temple and some of the plant life.  Our final stop was to be the Pali Lookout which is situated high in the Koolau Mountains.  It started to rain heavily and we could not see anything, so I guess we will have to go back another time to Hawaii.  Our guide then decided to bring us to the historical downtown where we find the King Iolani's Palace before returning to our ship.  We left Honolulu at 2PM for Ensenada, Mexico.

Tonight was the Captain's Club cocktail party, for all passengers that have cruise Celebrity before.  We get free drinks during that time.  They give out an award and bouquet of roses to the passengers with the most cruises on Celebrity, and the winners had 32 cruises.

It wasn't long before we were rocking and rolling, but really not all that bad.  Tonight's show was Across the Pond with Variety Entertainer Jack Walker.  Another great show and standing ovation.  He can sing any kind of music from Opera to Rock and Roll and anything in between. I must say that the Mercury have the best shows we have every had at sea.

Mar 10th - 1st Day at Sea

We got up later this morning as it is a sea day, so no rush.  We had breakfast in Palm Springs Café, omelette station.  The seas are calm today, it is overcast and 20C (68F) so not too many tanning.

We went to the Navigator Lounge and found the Hula Dancing had been transferred there because of the wild seas we had.  The pool area was closed all day.  Before Paki started their hula lessons, the  Hula Maidens did a couple of hula dances.  I took some video so you can get an idea how smooth they dance.

Our Enrichment Series by Milos resumes today.  Today's topic was Are we Alone? Milos is very entertaining, as usual.  Are we alone, no concrete evidence, but they believe that there is some type life or beings out in the universe.

The show was Nadeen the Undisputed Queen of Hypnosis, she hypnotized 15 people from the audience, some did what she told them and some did not react.  I was not that impressed with this show.

The ship's crew continued to wipe down everything that we could touch and server everything including bread, salt and pepper in the dining room.  They are taking every precaution so that the Norovirus does not spread.

Mar 11th - 2nd Day at Sea

The seas are a little tamer today, there was no sun and the wind was very strong, so not to many happy campers.  We had breakfast in the Palms Springs Café then we headed down to the Celebrity Theatre where they were playing $4000 Mega Jackpot Bingo.

The enrichment series continues with Milos Radakovich.  Today's topic was Sharks, Sharks, Sharks.

We stayed on for the Hypnosis Revealed! with Nadeen.  She explains that hypnosis can be used for loosing weight, releasing stress, eliminating pain and much more.

The show tonight was Variety Vocal Entertainer Jack Walker and the Performance of Adagio Sensation Duo Velikovi.  Both shows were incredible.  Jack can sing anything from Opera, Musical, Elvis, Country and anything else.  He again got a standing ovation. We were so impressed with his signing that we purchased one of his CDs.

After they show we went to the Pavillon Nightclub for another night of Back to the 50's and 60's Dance Party - Let's go back to the Golden Age of Rock 'N' Roll.  This is a very popular band and popular show.  It is the 3rd time with back to the 50's and 60's

Mar 12th - 3rd Day Sea

Today we got up later and headed for the last minute breakfast.  The sun is out but it is still very windy.  I saw some people out there trying to get a sun tan but it may be more a wind tan.  The seas are not bad today, we can walk without too much zinging and sagging.

The Enrichment Series continues with Naturalist Milos Radakovich.  Today's topic was Deep Impact: Comets & Asteroids.

We spent some time in the Palm Springs area, near the indoor pool.  Lots of card players on this ship, they are everywhere.  It is still too windy to sit by the outside pool.

After diner we went back to our cabin, we did not like what the entertainment was going to be.  We put our clocks ahead an hour, this was the second time since we left Hawaii.  Our last one will be tomorrow night before we dock in San Diego.

Mar 13th - 4th Day Sea

Today was another lazy day.  We were able to make the waffle station in the Palm Springs before it closed  at 10AM.  We kept missing it.  So as you can see we have been sleeping in late on sea days.  The seas are very calm today, only 2-4 feet waves, so that was great for getting around.  It was still very cool and windy at the pool, nobody out there, so everyone again are playing cards, readying or at the Casino.

Our Enrichment lecture today, with Milos was If We Had No Moon - The Origin of our Celestial Neighbor.  He just put this together over the past few days and we were the first to hear this lecture.  He is so entertaining that you want to go and not miss any lectures.

Tonight was our last formal night.  Everyone has to be careful not to ruin their clothes as with all the bleach that they are using for disinfecting every surface, many passengers have had their clothes ruined.  I checked on the CDC website and it was reported that we have a number of passengers: 113 of 1862 (6.1%) and number of crew: 6 of 834 (0.72%) declared norovirus cases.  Everything was being sanitized as we pass by.  Even the pens that are used to sign for your purchases are being sanitized.  I brought my own pen.

Tonight's show was "Dance Around the World" with the Celebrity Singers & Dancers and featuring a Special performance by Duo Velikovi.  There were numerous costume changes and all done seamlessly Another wonderful show and another well deserved standing ovation.

After the show, we went to the Pavillion Nightclub for "Dance Through the Decades Party" with Party Band Headlines.  They were featuring music from the 40's to the 80's.  This band is really great and they can sing anything, what a joy to watch and listen too.

Mar 14th - Ensenada, Mexico

Neither one of us had a good night sleep, I guess the anticipation of the end of our cruise.  Even with the Norovirus present, the constant bleaching and sanitizing that the crew are doing (this is hard on the crew also as they are now working 14 hrs per day instead of 10 hrs.

We had a very late breakfast, Norman had a nap while I started the packing, filling out the Cruise appreciation form and the custom form.

We arrived in Ensenada at 9PM and we leave at Midnight.  We did not getting of the ship, for such a short time and so late, it is not worth it to us.

Mar 15th - Mar 21st - San Diego, CA

We arrived early in San Diego, since we only had to do 70 nautical miles from Ensenada.  Immigration came on board for all the non US and non Canadian passengers,  in fact we did not even have to go through customs.  Our ship was cleared around 9AM and de-embarkation started.  We were sitting waiting for Stephen to pick us up at 10:30AM.   By 10:40AM all the passengers were off.  VSP (Vessel Sanitation Program) staff will board the ship for inspection before it can leave on it next voyage scheduled later today.

We are now in San Diego until next Saturday before our return home.

General comments on the Ship

Our cabin

We had a Ocean View Handicap accessible (see photos).  We had lots of space to be able to turn the scooter around in the room.  Celebrity still has great soap, shampoo and conditioner bottles.  Also provides lotion, cotton balls.  We get our chocolates on our bed every night.  The beds need to be renewed but we asked for an egg crate foam topping that did help.

The Ship

This is a wonderful size ship, not too big not too small.  Being an older ship, you can see some of the wear and tear, especially on the carpets.  I believe the Mercury is going into dry dock sometime this spring.  The public areas are immaculate, the restrooms have an orchid plant, a bowl of rose peddles and cotton cloths to wipe your hands.  Since Norovirus has been declared, the cotton cloths have been removed.

On March 7th, we received a notice in our cabin that there were some passengers that were sick with norovirus.  So every precaution is being taken now, we cannot serve ourselves at the buffet, not even for coffee or water.   In the dining room, even the bread, salt & pepper is served by the waiter. The staff is cleaning everywhere and wear masks as the solutions they use to disinfect are very strong.

The Food

The buffet has been wonderful.  Great variety, food warm, the best we have seen in a long time.  The dining room was excellent, all our meals have been great and the service superb.

The Cruise

This cruise is a much older crowd.  I don't think there is even 10 kids aboard.  The time of year and the length of the cruise probably dictates this type of passengers.

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