3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I not even know what to talk about first. I took this trip with my mom and sister and I couldn't be more satisfied. The service, organization, shows, food, cleanliness, just about everything exceed my expectations. I went to the ... Read More
I not even know what to talk about first. I took this trip with my mom and sister and I couldn't be more satisfied. The service, organization, shows, food, cleanliness, just about everything exceed my expectations. I went to the flowrider and to the water slided which were pretty fun! There were also several Jacuzzis in different parts of the ship. The restaurants and menus had a wild range of foods to choose among. For those who like to stay up late is possible to have great food. There is always somebody there to serve you with a smile. A big thanks to Putra and Jonathan who served us every night with excellence. Hugo, the ship director was also great on what he was doing, always smiling and with a great contagious mood. I would hightly recommend this ship if you are looking for fun, hanging around, getting to know people, dancing, having a good time with your family, or just reading a book. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Stay away from. Room 2278. Noise from studio b till 3am That’s my fault for booking last minute cruise On the cruise as I write his. Customer service. Says they will write the wrong We’ll see in a bit. Food was good as expected. ... Read More
Stay away from. Room 2278. Noise from studio b till 3am That’s my fault for booking last minute cruise On the cruise as I write his. Customer service. Says they will write the wrong We’ll see in a bit. Food was good as expected. Chops still consistent after many cruises on this line. Disco party is exactly same in every ship so go me it’s a little long of tooth but for new cruisers splendid new hand was area at windjammer I trusting but think a slip And fall accident is in there future. I will recommend. Totally except my room Great for new cruisers. Family on budgets or Batchelor or batchlelorette parties at least 10 on this cruise. Hope you enjoy your next cruise if you select this ship Ps they changed liquor packages. So be careful and do the math if you think it’s too much as it’s now per room not person Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Ship has been refurbished but not carpet and drapes in cabins . There is a musty Odor because they are so old. The only way I would ever go back on this ship is if They refurbished the cabins. I was on this ship in November, when it was ... Read More
Ship has been refurbished but not carpet and drapes in cabins . There is a musty Odor because they are so old. The only way I would ever go back on this ship is if They refurbished the cabins. I was on this ship in November, when it was in Singapore. Everything about it then was awful. It was hard to believe it was a Royal Caribbean ship . The improvements have been significant, but until the cabins are re-done they should not tell you it has had a complete makeover. They did add a lot of fun amenities that the kids and myself really enjoyed. The staff were nice. The breakfast overall in the Windjammer could use improvement. The meats looked so greasy. The dining room food was good and the deserts were excellent. Overall , everything was acceptable, except the old, musty , moldy smelling cabins. When they complete this , I would go back. I am a Diamond Plus C&A member. So I have A variety of ship experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We love Royal Caribbean. We enjoyed our short getaway from singapore to malaysia with friends. Singapore - Klang - Langkawi - Singapore Make sure to choose the room with Balcony , worth the money! Upon checking in we go straight ... Read More
We love Royal Caribbean. We enjoyed our short getaway from singapore to malaysia with friends. Singapore - Klang - Langkawi - Singapore Make sure to choose the room with Balcony , worth the money! Upon checking in we go straight ahead at windjammer for lunch, the place is crowded since everyone is hungry during checkin. There's a wide selection of food for lunch. We had our dinner at rhapsody in blue at deck 3 , limited choices but feel free to order more since its unlimited. We prefer the breakfast at the Deck 3 instead of having it at windjammer which is more crowded but have more options. Ice cream & hotdogs are free at deck 11. Cafe Promenade is open 24hrs free pastries, fruits & coffee, tea etc. The fitness centre at deck 11 is huge make sure to try. Deck 5 Helipad is accessible as well, go there during sunset. Overall, we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2015
Our group of 9 friends embarked the Mariner of the Seas at Singapore for a 5 night cruise visiting the ports of Port Klang, Penang and Phuket. We stayed in the Junior suites, and right from check-in to check-out the experience was ... Read More
Our group of 9 friends embarked the Mariner of the Seas at Singapore for a 5 night cruise visiting the ports of Port Klang, Penang and Phuket. We stayed in the Junior suites, and right from check-in to check-out the experience was fantastic. We had carried some SIngle Malt Whisky in our check in luggage, being warned in the company guidelines that alcohol was not permitted to be brought on ship and were pleasantly surprised to find out bags outside our suites along with our 'liquid cargo' ! All the facilities on this super size ship were 5 star! The casino was a great attraction, and there were so many activities going on that the choice was mind boggling - Ice skating show, live music performances, 3D movies, dance performances and a huge shopping mall with top international brands at discounted duty free rates. The cuisine was delectable, and for small additional price we feasted on Maine Lobster and Red Crab, cooked to perfection by their master chefs. We were also delighted at the ease of visiting the various ports where we docked with minimal formalities for visas and immigration. The ship can accommodate 3000 guests with a staff of 1200! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
1. General Comments: A pleasant cruise; we had sailed on the Mariner in 2008 out of Florida. We are regular cruisers; purpose of this cruise was just to take a break. We booked a junior suite on the ninth deck. Details below. We ... Read More
1. General Comments: A pleasant cruise; we had sailed on the Mariner in 2008 out of Florida. We are regular cruisers; purpose of this cruise was just to take a break. We booked a junior suite on the ninth deck. Details below. We also used "My Time Dining," and it worked fine. The entire top level of the three level dining room was for this type of dining. We had the same wait staff for the entire week. The cruise had three sea days that were very relaxing. 2. Embarking: We have travelled many times out of Galveston, and this was the first time that embarking was a zoo. No fault of RCL; the story was that customs/immigration personnel were short handed on this Sunday. Processing of disembarking passengers was at a snail's pace. Thus, at 11:30, when the disembarking passengers are usually gone, there were still hordes of them at the terminal trying to leave while the embarking hordes were arriving. We stood in a line for one hour to enter the terminal. It took another hour to get through security and check-in. Having done Sea Pass check-in on-line did get us through the check-in procedures quicker. As it was 1:30 when we were finally on board, our cabin was available; luggage arrived at 3:45, just before the mandatory safety drill. The usual lunch was being served in the Windjammer area. This is the first cruise out of Galveston where we have run into the controls of the TABC (Texas liquor authorities) on a cruise ship. If, while the ship is in port or still in US (Texas) waters, and you want a drink, you may learn that you favorite tipple is not available. It is "locked up until we are in international waters." We are guessing that RCL only pays Texas taxes on certain brands of liquor. Thus, for example, you can get some beer in cans, but nothing on tap. Only two brands of scotch were available. And, if you order on-line a bottle of champagne to be in your cabin for you to celebrate your departure from Galveston, "forget about it." Our bottle could not be delivered while in port and was delivered the following day. Once the ship was in international waters, everything was available as usual. 3. The Mariner of the Seas: The junior suite is the way to go. Plenty of space, and plenty of storage space, including a walk-in closet. Suitcases fit well under the bed. Instead of that small shower, there is a tub shower. The cabin has a small safe and a small refrigerator (never used it). There is a TV that receives movies, CNN, ESPN, shipboard activities, and other channels. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are very few announcements on the PA system. While you get a daily planner, there is no newspaper. You have to get your news from the TV. There are also no nighttime chocolates. It takes a while to get a handle on what is where on the ship. You receive a map sheet after boarding, and there are maps at each elevator bay. There is a large childrens/teens area and programs for them. I defer to others with children to comment on this part of the ship. 4. Meals: Food in the Windjammer buffet - which almost everyone uses for breakfast and lunch - is good. There are plenty of choices at both meals, and you can eat as much or as little as you want. It is a bit hurried, though, and not a place for a slow meal. There is no self-service coffee in this area; you have to ask for it, or go get it yourself. The dining room's food was very good, well-prepared, and well-served. We only used it for dinner, although it is available with open seating at breakfast and lunch. Food portions are of respectable size, and if you don't try to eat all the courses everyday, you should not do bad weight-wise. If you want wine with your meal in the dining room, whether a glass or a bottle, you need to know what you want. There are no wine stewards on the floor. This duty has been assigned to the Assistant Waiters. He will have no idea about recommending a wine, and you need to tell him the wine's number on the list; he will not understand the wine's name. Once you understand this "system," it works well. There are wine stewards in the dining room, but they are in "the back of the house," pouring glasses and getting bottles being ordered by the Assistant Waiters. We had made reservations on-line for the Chops specialty restaurant. Excellent food and wine. Service was a bit spotty, but not fatal. The meal was worth the extra charge. There are other food outlets around the ship as well as a goodly number of bars including a pub, and a wine shop. You cannot go hungry or thirsty. 5. Dressing for meals: For this seven day trip it was two formal, and all the rest casual. A good number - perhaps half - of men at formal nights were in tuxedos or suits; some who did not want to dress up just did not appear for these meals. 6. Shore Excursions: A word of advice: make your shore excursion reservations on-line! Otherwise you will either have to use the not-so-user-friendly on board TV system to make your reservations or stand in line on board at the excursion counter. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don't need the ship's tour office. RCL's tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through the ship's staff, you have support when there is a problem. Of the three stops, Falmouth was a new one for us. RCL has poured a ton of money into the pier area to make it attractive and a shopping center. I recommend you google the town to get its background. We took the two-hour walking tour of the town, and it was very interesting. A lot of restoration needs to be done of these old colonial shops and houses. RCL has taken on a huge task -- along with the Jamaican authorities -- to build up Falmouth as a tourist destination. It is located between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, so the town has serious work to do in order to compete with those two well-known tourist spots. 7. Shipboard entertainment: The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes: sports, lectures, bridge, bingo (for serious players!), etc, etc. Don't forget the rock climbing wall. And do not forget the ice skating rink. There are times that you can practice skating, and you should try and get tickets (they are free, but are needed) to see the ice show. We did not attend any of the shows on board; we only heard favorable comments about them. The casino was of good size and the payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. Duty-free liquor on board was reasonable; you order your liquor and it is delivered to your cabin the night before disembarking. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship's photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. There are various venues for night owls. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts (for cabin steward, waiter, asst waiter, and head waiter). The amounts are charged to your shipboard account; you no longer receive vouchers and envelopes for handing out to the named personnel. RCL has entered the 21st century, and this is all taken care of electronically with the staff. If you use My Time Dining, you will be billed the full tip amount when you book your cruise. If you use regular seating dining, you will be asked at some point by the Front Desk how you want to handle tips. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service breakfast. Your bar bill automatically adds 15 percent. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your cruise, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos) is punched into a computer; you sign one copy of the ticket and you receive a copy. You can track your account on the ship's TV channel. On Sunday morning you receive a paper final statement of your account. 10. Disembarking: On Saturday you will receive luggage tags with numbers. You also receive a sheet of paper telling when that number will be called for disembarking and where you have to be waiting in order to hear the PA announcement when your number can leave the ship. Your bags have to be out by 11PM, breakfast is early, and you have to be out of your cabin and in your designated waiting area. Again, you will only hear the announcements in the waiting areas. On this cruise, disembarkation was about 30 minutes late. It took us 50 minutes from leaving the waiting area, getting off the ship, getting our bags, getting through customs/immigration, and on a shuttle to the parking lot for our car. 11. Conclusion: While not an outstanding cruise, it was certainly pleasant, and we will be repeating it. If anyone has questions, send me an e-mail at LTC519@satx.rr.com. Fred Groth San Antonio, TX Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
We flew to Miami with Copa Airlines from Southamerica. Originally we were booked to fly with Aerosur, but this airline went bankrupt before our flight. We lost the money of the tickets bought with Aerosur, since nobody feels responsible ... Read More
We flew to Miami with Copa Airlines from Southamerica. Originally we were booked to fly with Aerosur, but this airline went bankrupt before our flight. We lost the money of the tickets bought with Aerosur, since nobody feels responsible for the refund. We arrived in Miami three days earlier than our cruise. We have spent a couple of nights at South Beach close to Lincoln Road. The hotel was the Albion hotel, which was OK but nothing special. The best thing about the hotel was its proximity to South Beach. Weather in Miami was not very nice, it was raining a lot. We arrived at 3 pm at the Port after having a good lunch in South Beach. Chek inn was smoth and we could have inmediate access to our stateroom. This was a promenade room, located in the 6th floor. The room was good, and big enough for both of us. Unfortunately we did not receive our luggage until about 11.00 pm, which meant we were not able to retire to sleep earlier than that. It was the first time I have experienced such a chaos with luggage delivery. Being Diamond members, we had access to the diamond lounge. The diamond lounge was not finished at the Mariner during the first days and the event took place at the Lotus lounge. Not a nice atmosphere at the Lotus and the host was not particularly relaxed. Later during the cruise, as the diamond lounge was inaugurated, the situation improved. The lounge served La Terre wine, some other drinks and small canapes. From my point of view, although the wine was not exactly, a high quality wine, it was drinkable and we spent very nice evenings at the lounge meeting fellow cruisers. The cruise itself was very nice. The captain made a good impression to us. Activities were diverse.The shows were OK. I have enjoyed particularly Mario DAndrea, whom I have already seen once at the Celebrity Equinox. His show has not changed much. I have liked his show then at the Celebrity I have liked his show also this time. Maybe for the third time there will be some innovation in his show.... We found the food at the Mariner of the Seas good. We have enjoyed eating at the MDR under the option of my time dining and we have also enjoyed the Windjammer. The sausages station next to the pool area was also very good. It was really a temptation! The fitness center was fine. It will be good though if the machines will be updated to those having individual TVs. The swimming pools were also fine. I enjoy that they change the water each day and this makes unnecessary chlorine and other chemicals. There were at least two heated swimming pools. What we did not like very much, is that some cruisers have the custom of just standing in the pools, without swimming. Unfortunately they stand almost in the middle of the pool and talk to each other without any consideration for swimmers. For us, this was kind of unexpected, since we have hardly seen this happening in other cruises or hotels. Definitely the best show during the crossing was the Ice Show. It was amazing. The ports of call were Teneriffe, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Villefranche sur Mer and Livorno. In Teneriffe we went to Teide. This was a tour organised by Konadave (a cruise critic fellow member). It was very nice. Thank you again Konadave! In Palma we just went to the city and did a litle of sight seeing. The Cathedral although impressive, was disappointing because they charge entrance fee to go to the church. This is the first time I have seen this practice at a Catholic Church. Not even at the Saint Pauls in Vatican City or at the magnificent Duomo in Miland have I experience entrance fees for the Church. But in Palma de Mallorca you have to pay. Is this a common practice a Spain now? In Villefranche sur Mer, we went to Nice and Monaco on our own. It was too much for one day. I would recommend just to choose one place and spend more time there. In Barcelona, we went just to the Ramblas. Time in Barcelona was very short. In Livorno, we took an organised excursion from the ship to Florence. This was good. Our guide was very well informed. We arrived early in Rome and disembarkation was quick and easy. We had opted for the self assisted option and carried our luggage on our own. In summary, this was a very nice crossing, the Mariner of the Seas a lovely ship and the ports of call interesting. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
This was our second trip on Mariner out of Galveston. Beautiful ship but probably ready for some updating. Crew overall gave excellent service. BUT... This was the first time we have experienced issues with our neighboring stateroom. We ... Read More
This was our second trip on Mariner out of Galveston. Beautiful ship but probably ready for some updating. Crew overall gave excellent service. BUT... This was the first time we have experienced issues with our neighboring stateroom. We had a honeymoon couple next to us (and probably some other adjoining stateroom(s) traveling with them. They were so noisy yelling and screaming on the balcony we literally could not hear the TV in our cabin. The bigger problem was their use of marijuana every time they came onto the balcony. As soon as they came out of their cabin, they would light up and we would have to go back inside. We complained to our cabin steward about the noise and it improved "somewhat" for a couple of days. We called Security on the ship about the drug usage. We were told they could not legally search the cabin but that their passports would be flagged and they would be interviewed by customs upon return to the US. We paid $3,000 for our trip and felt we were cheated out of the fun we could have had. My Time Dining has been a good experience for us previously. This time however, we were led to the same table in the back by the windows-cramped, crowded, no privacy, HOT. They have tried to squeeze so many tables into the area that there is no ambiance. The food and service were good but we couldn't overlook the other things and did not return. The maitre d' phoned concerned as to why we had not been to dinner and we explained. They offered a gratis meal at Chops (fabulous!!). We ate there another night (courtesy of our travel agent). Both nights wonderful food, service was great, atmosphere quiet and refined. Probably some of the best food we've had anywhere. Excursion-Extreme X-Rails to Jade Caverns. Don't waste your time or your money. The place was a dump, the equipment POORLY maintained, too many people on the "trail" at one time. Everything had an extra cost, and they demanded we take no pictures. Very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
After sailing on the Voyager twice, I was familiar with the layout of the Mariner. The Voyager & Mariner are pretty much identical, except the Mariner is newer & fresher. Everyone in my group noticed Royal Caribbean is cutting ... Read More
After sailing on the Voyager twice, I was familiar with the layout of the Mariner. The Voyager & Mariner are pretty much identical, except the Mariner is newer & fresher. Everyone in my group noticed Royal Caribbean is cutting back on some of the perks. For instance, the steaks in the main dining room were not top grade & the lobster was extremely small. However, the food quality is still very good. I highly recommend the appetizers in the main dining room. If you do want top quality steak & lobster, spend the extra $20 - $ 30 to eat in The Chops Grill or Portofinos for one or two evenings. Everything is excellent in these restaurants & well worth the extra $. Another example of cutbacks was in the amount of activities on board. A few years ago, there were bean bag toss tournaments, ping pong, etc. Now they still have these activities, but only once during the 7 day cruise & often scheduled at 4:30 which conflicts with early dining. They have also cut back on the quality of prizes given out. There is an excellent singer who sings and plays piano in one of the lounges every evening. He wears a cowboy hat & can pretty much sing any song you suggest. He has an excellent personality for entertaining. Speaking of entertainment, the cruise ship singers put on several top quality shows. The skaters are amazing. Don't miss the skating show. The cruise ship orchestra is small, but good. The Mariner didn't have a great karaoke leader, like the Voyager did last year. I missed going down to the Pig & Whistle bar for karaoke. Even though the cutbacks are obvious, the staff is still very service oriented and extremely well managed. We needed a leaky faucet repaired in our bathroom. It was repaired within an hour of our complaint. From our stateroom attendant to our dining room staff, the employees were bending over backwards to please. Thank you RCC! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We're loyal to Royal - maybe you could call it "love at first sailing" or simply an addiction... but from the first moment we stepped foot onboard a Royal Carribean Cruise in our early twenties, we knew we wanted to continue ... Read More
We're loyal to Royal - maybe you could call it "love at first sailing" or simply an addiction... but from the first moment we stepped foot onboard a Royal Carribean Cruise in our early twenties, we knew we wanted to continue with them as loyal passengers. Now almost 30, we have taken 5 Royal Carribean Cruises out of 3 different ports: Florida, California and Texas. Our most recent cruise we just returned home from today off the Mariner of the Seas and we we're sad this cruise fell short of fabulous. We had taken this route before on another ship before they replaced the Key West port with Falmouth Jamaica and had a fantastic time... however from start to finish this trip was a nightmare. We invited another young couple to come on their first cruise with us onboard the Mariner. We met up at Hobby Airport - anxious and excited to embark. When we checked out of our hotel and headed to the port, we quickly were notified that there would be a delay getting on the ship. At first we didn't mind and kept great spirits but after a total of 4 hours crammed into the port building waiting to get on, we quickly felt annoyed and confused. There were no real announcements beyond hear-say as to what exactly the situation was. Vaguely, we found out that someone was ill on the last trip and they had to clean up the ship. We weren't told that there was risk involved before we were finally let on. Once we were comfortably onboard, the Captain announced that there was a virus "Nurovirus" that circulated previously and to wash our hands. Well, by day 4 not only did someone get sick on OUR cruise, but a total of 74 people became ill and ended up in the hospital despite the ship's efforts to sanitize and contain the problem. Fortunately, my husband and I didn't get sick - but the mood on the boat was BLAHHHHH. The poor crew were all overworked, tired, cranky and short - surely not the kind of customer service we had come to love and enjoy with Royal Carribean. At first I figured the crew should be cut some slack, given the difficult work loads they faced during our trip. But, there were far too many instances of rudeness we were treated with to overlook and brush off as "a tough week." We were treated poorly by 3 seperate Customer Relations Desk crew members, one Cafe Promenade worker, a "Barista" and a Casino Cashier to name a few. Without going into details, we simply didn't feel much hospitality on this boat. As for the boat itself? the room (cabin 9202) on the forward side of the ship resting just below the bridge was very clean and had a good amount of floor space. The stateroom attendant was friendly and did a great job of making sure we didn't need anything. Something that blows my mind is the fact Royal Carribean doesn't stock the cabin bathrooms with antibacterial handsoap - I am convinced that this might be where they drop the ball with regards to illness. Bring your own hand soap for the cabin because the waxy bath bar is sub par. They boast a "shopping mall" Promenade on this boat as one of the highlights - but to be honest with you it seemed like the same basic shops you find on board their smaller class ships except they left the ceiling open in a grand vaulted style and slapped in a little walk way bridge with two miniature pubs. We we're annoyed with the lack of seating in on the Promenade deck - each little pub has maybe 4 or 5 tables out front so show up beyond early bird for a good seat for any Promenade activities. The floor plan was terrible on this ship - cramped, tight turns and walkways as well as overcrowded bars. Don't get me started on their pool deck - which looks basically like a railing jungle with overly divided tiny swimming features. The pool deck's floor plan isn't open, so if you enjoy a little more privacy rather than people watching/pool activities then this boat is for you. We were surprised that RCCL now runs your Seapass when you want a pool towel - forget to return the thing and it will cost you $25.00. The dining room was noteworthy and by far one of the most beautiful ones with classy gold accents and a romantic statue sitting on the top of the grand stair case. Windjammer? amply seating and good selection of food - but we're not really fans of the buffet route. For better quality food, presentation and service it's worth spending most of your time in the dining room. Johnny Rockets is onboard - but someone should install another deep fryer because you will commonly wait a long time for some of those beloved "all you can eat onion rings or fries". The $% cover charge covers any food you want, but you have to pay normal ship rates if you want a soda or milkshake. The service was pretty good in Johhny Rockets but best to eat here around 1:30pm on days at sea because everyone wants to do lunch around 12 and you will end up waiting. This boat was greatly lacking physical activities and seemed mainly geared towards older cruisers. Every time we showed up for a sports competition such as volleyball or ping pong, nobody was around to delegate the activities or get people involved like previous RCCL cruises we took. The only fitness classes I saw were bicycle and yoga - no pilates? really? As for dancing - little or no opportunities for broad ballroom styles of dancing with your partner on this ship. The Bolero Bar only had either Carribean music or Latin music, which was a lot of fun but we sorely missed a chance at tearing up the floor with an old fashiioned Waltz or Fox Trot. No ballroom dance classes either - other RCCL cruises had ballroom instructors and different classes but Mariner fell short, again. Ice Skating? ya - you can do it... but the sessions are ridiculously short (around 45 minutes TOTAL) so by the time you put your skates on and the REQUIRED construction looking helmet, they're calling end of session. The skates were terrible so bringing your own isn't a bad idea as they did offer a session for those who did so on the cruise. The rink is tiny, although the skate cast did produce a great show and made the rink appear larger than it really was. Skating was bumpy, music was boring, and there is nobody enforcing any safely rules on the ice so don't be surprised if you have to dodge kids going the wrong way OR other passengers posing on the ice for 30 pictures instead of actually skating. The dining was excellent, we enjoyed every meal. The snacks need work as the items offered in Cafe Promenade got ridiculously old (pizza and little skimpy sandwiches or hard cookies). Baristas were terrible - our coffee specialty drinks were beyond scorching hot and didn't taste consistent from day to day. Skip the coffee bar and make yourself a "makeshift mocha" at the coffee station with the free hot chocolate packets, some cream and some regular coffee. Internet is ridiculous!!!! .65 cents a minute or a "package" with the cheapest one being $35.00. A little tip: Starbucks can be found at most port of calls and they offer free wifi with basic signups so save yourself a bundle and use it when you can. Best value cocktail on the Mariner? A Mojito for $6.00 - our favorite was a Pineapple Mojito from The Bolero Bar near the Casino. Avoid the fancy frozen drinks as they get pricey. Make friends and tip the bartenders beyond the basic gratuity if you want a generous pour. We won't be returning to Mariner in the future and prefer the floor plans on the slightly smaller class of RCCL ships. ALSO - if you sail out of Galveston and you are NOT a Texan... be prepared to have Texas shoved down your throat the entire time. THey even had "Texas Trivia" activities, asked how many Texans were in the audience at every show and waved Texas flags around the dining room during the server parades. Getting off the ship was also a nightmare, they tell self assist passengers to wait in the Savoy Theater but then allows everyone to mob the next floor up. Skip the Savoy and grab a great seat in the Schooner Bar - that's the closest hot spot to the door they let you off the ship at and get a seat EARLY. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This is the largest of the 17 cruise ships we have sailed on. Passenger capacity is 3,114, double occupancy. There were only a few vacant cabins on our cruise. There is an international staff and crew of 1,185. I was concerned that the ... Read More
This is the largest of the 17 cruise ships we have sailed on. Passenger capacity is 3,114, double occupancy. There were only a few vacant cabins on our cruise. There is an international staff and crew of 1,185. I was concerned that the large number of people would cause lines most everywhere. I was wrong. We booked a D-2 balcony cabin and were very satisifed with the layout and space. A unique feature of this ship is the Royal Promenade that is 4 decks high, from decks 5 through 8. It stretches longer than a football field. The 'street' is lined with shops, eateries, and bars. One of the snack bars is open 24/7 and free. The ship is 1020 feet long and 158 feet wide. It rides very smoothly through the seas and has two sets of stabilizers on each side of the ship. The ship is rated at 138,000 tons. The stabilizers weigh 25 tons each. Cabins are smaller than on Holland America, Celebrity or Princess, but nevertheless, nicely laid out with ample storage space. The food quality and variety certainly matches or surpasses that of Holland America and Princess. Desserts and pastries are much tastier. The prime rib and lobster were especially tasty. The dining room is three levels and is noisy except in the area reserved for 'As You Like It' dining. We chose that venue for supper unless we wanted a quick meal. Then we went to the Windjammer Cafe. The Windjammer is huge and has multiple buffet tables with a wide variety of dishes. As on other cruise ships, sometimes it is difficult to find an empty table at peak meal times. There are several 'specialty' restaurants that charge and are 'fancier' than the large dining rooms. We had a coupon for a free supper at the Chops Grill. The food was delicious and there was a little more ambience but the cost of $30 per person is exorbitant. The rock climbing wall, ice skating rink, miniature golf course, full basketball court, and inline skating track are all well done and open frequently for all guests. Five laps around the outside jogging track is one mile. There are two pools, one heated. One of the pools is reserved for adults only. There is always space in one or more of the 6 hot tubs. The ship is 'children friendly;' it has a huge arcade with all kinds of video games [for a charge]. There are children only and teen only recreation areas. There were about 300 youths aboard our voyage. Christmas week there will be over 900 kids. That many rambunctious kids would be disruptive in the common areas. The show lounge is large and really well designed. Visibility is good from all areas and sound is well balanced. The seating area around the ice rink on deck 3 is ample because there are multiple performances. The production stage shows were technically complex and well done. The ice skaters in their show are totally amazing; most have performed in the Olympics. The staff and crew are very pleasant and go out of their way to be friendly and helpful. Internet access is limited to the Internet Cafe and a few hot spots around the ship. Reception is not as consistent as on other lines doing the same itinerary. Some of the newer ships have internet access throughout the passenger areas. That is much more convenient than lugging the laptop to a hot spot. The shore excursions were numerous and pricey as on all cruise lines. Excursions could be ordered on line before the cruise as well as via the interactive TV in every cabin. Extensive descriptive information was available regarding each trip both on line and in the cabin. Most passengers avoided the long lines at the Shore Excursion desk. Tipping is done with cash in envelopes provided at the end of the cruise or can be prepaid at the rate of $11.65 per day per person. If tipping is prepaid, a voucher is given so that everyone can hand their waiter, cabin attendant, etc. an envelope provided on the last day of the cruise. The casino is large, smoke filled, and extremely noisy. If one wants to charge gambling to the shipboard account, there is a 3% fee for the amount charged. The slots are extremely tight. The gym that adjoins the spa is huge and extremely well equipped. Machines were almost always available. It is virtually impossible to visit all of the lounges, bars, eating venues, relaxation areas, etc. on only a 7 day cruise. That is why we have booked a 16 day transatlantic voyage for late fall, 2012. Two unusual aspects of this cruise were first of all, the long delay and confusion at the pier before boarding. It turned out that there had been an outbreak of Norovirus during the previous cruise and the ship was being completely disinfected by the staff and crew. Upon boarding, each passenger was required to have their hands sprayed with disinfectant. Staff and crew were continuously wiping down all touchable areas of the ship during our 7 day cruise and staff was outside all dining venues requiring passengers to use the disinfectant before entering the dining areas. Everything possible was done to prevent the recurrence of the dreaded ailment. Disembarkation, luggage retrieval and customs/immigration were handled very efficiently. The second unusual aspect of the cruise was when the captain announced that there would be a 'short' delay in the departure from Falmouth while the crew removed one of the 25 ton stabilizers that refused to close. The task involved divers removing the stabilizer from the ship after attaching huge inflatable balloons to the thing, then filling in the holes with plates to keep the water from entering the ship. While the holes were being secured, the stabilizer was towed to the pier where it would be lifted, packed and returned to the ship yard for repair. The captain assured the passengers that the smooth ride back to Galveston would not be affected. He proved correct. This was a great cruise; the ship, the staff, the food, and the service were all super! December 19, 2011 Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Boy, was I in for a disappointment! It is very evident that RCCL is pinching pennies and cutting back...and that might be part of the problem! No warm greeting, no welcoming champagne.....just a brief announcement to head to Windjammer for ... Read More
Boy, was I in for a disappointment! It is very evident that RCCL is pinching pennies and cutting back...and that might be part of the problem! No warm greeting, no welcoming champagne.....just a brief announcement to head to Windjammer for a tasteless, mass produced buffet. Our cabin was adequate and clean, but no robes were available for Diamond members until a day or two later. I was amazed to discover that ice was no longer furnished, but had to be requested...and our attendant did keep us supplied! My Time Dinning proved to be difficult and were forced to set at a table for two even though we had stated in our reservation we wanted a large table. Service was SLOW and the staff did not interact with the passengers, it almost seemed that they were short staffed most of the time. Breakfast and Lunch in the Dinning Room was also very slow! Dinners at Portifino's were amazing and the service was impeccable! The shows were lack luster and cost cutting was evident in costumes and stage backdrops....the sound system also seemed to have issues...the band played so loud you couldn't hear singers. Extremely disappointed in the shows. Best entertainment on the ship was Phil Anderson in the Schooner Bar, drew big crowds. The Beatle Mania show was probably the best, but again the sound system seemed flawed. The Ice Show was entertaining and worth the time to stand in line to get tickets....I guess! Ports of Call... Cozumel...the port was closed and all water based excursions were cancelled Grand Cayman....the port was closed and we were forced to go to Spots Bay, which is an isolated beach with little to offer...again most water based excursions were cancelled. Falmouth, Jamaica...docked at the new pier, but a big flop in my books...poverty is evident and tourist are routinely hassled by the locals, don't understand RCCL putting a port in this location...shopping is the main attraction with most excursions requiring long bus rides. The gym was clean, well equipped and available most any time. The Solarium was also clean, but the hot tubs varied in temperature, one day hot, the next day much cooler. All in all the Mariner did not live up to my expectations and I have serious questions regarding the cuts RCCL has made. What will the future hold? The staff needs to be trained to deal with the largely Texas crowd....a warm smile and simple greeting will go a long way. Disembarkation was quick...even in a pouring rain! I will probably not cruise on Mariner again and talked to many other passengers that were unhappy...such a shame!When I think back to the other ships I have cruised on out of Galveston....Voyager and Rhapsody......Mariner doesn't even come close! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
I needed some time away and the only option I had was to travel alone, somewhat daunting at first as a 57 year old woman holidaying alone, I found this to be the safest option open to me. It was so easy from getting on the plane to ... Read More
I needed some time away and the only option I had was to travel alone, somewhat daunting at first as a 57 year old woman holidaying alone, I found this to be the safest option open to me. It was so easy from getting on the plane to arriving in Italy from there on it was excuse the pun plain sailing on arriving in Italy everything was sign posted posted to the Rep then to the coach, well that was the last I saw of my luggage until it appeared outside my cabin. My cabin was clean spacious, and had everything I needed, traveling alone gave me more room to myself. the view from my room was great overlooking the promenade, watching the hustle and bustle, I never really felt lonely, didn't have the time, you can chose to join in or just find a quiet spot, and that was a reality I could always find a quiet corner. The staff were amazing, nothing was ever to much trouble, always had a smile, I used room service on several occasions they were always prompt even at 6am in the morning.The food was outstanding, going to the gym each morning was a great start to the day if that's your choice only put a pound on and had great food all the time I would recommend this form of travel to any single ladies or gents, don't be daunted by it just do it and enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Boarding the ship was pretty good. We arrived at the cruise terminal around 10:30 before the lines were actually open, so there was a line outside the terminal, but once the lines opened, things moved quite quickly. Our Set Sail said that ... Read More
Boarding the ship was pretty good. We arrived at the cruise terminal around 10:30 before the lines were actually open, so there was a line outside the terminal, but once the lines opened, things moved quite quickly. Our Set Sail said that our boarding time was 12:00 pm, but we were all checked in and on the ship by 11:15. We only stopped to make reservations at Chops, then went right to the Windjammer for lunch. We were easily able to get a table, but before we were finished eating, the place was packed and our table was pounced on as soon as we stood up. The doors to the staterooms were opened promptly at 1:00, and we checked it out. We were in #1362. The bed was by the balcony and the sofa was closer to the hall door. It was a new arrangement for us, but felt a bit roomier than the stateroom on Holland America that we had in September. The closet was smaller than on other ships, but adequate for us. The shower in the bathroom was rounded and although still small, gave the illusion of having more space then the rectangular ones. It could actually hold four average sized adults if one wanted to try for some kind of shower stuffing record. (Don't ask how I know this.) My husband bought the Fountain Soda package on the first day. He won't do it again. He felt he had to drink more sodas than he otherwise would have in order to break even with the individual price. With the only diet option being Diet Coke, he got tired of the whole thing. The package comes with a big insulated bottle, but is a pain to carry around. Fortunately the package includes drinks served in regular glasses anywhere on the ship. He wound up adding his own vanilla to the Cokes after our first port stop. That helped. The ship is quite nice. The Promenade is especially impressive. The Promenade Cafe is a great place to pick up a snack (loved the granola bars) 24 hours a day. The rooms that overlook it are a bit strange, but we talked to a man who was in one and said he really liked it. The double paned windows kept out the noise except when one of the parades was going on. There were signs of wear and tear, but you also saw people working on maintenance during the trip too. The best show on the show on the ship was the "Ice Under the Big Top". The skating, costumes, set, etc. were all comparable to the land based ice shows, although smaller. Knowing that the skaters are working on ice on a rolling ship was most impressive. A nice touch is that skating classes are offered late in the cruise (sign up early), and they are conducted by the performers themselves. They also handle handing out the skates and getting people signed up. It was fun meeting them up close and getting to interact with them. They were quite patient with us newbies. They do have periods when the rink is open for free skating. Some people even brought their own skates. The production shows on the main stage were OK, but the talent was not the best. We missed one that sounded like it was the only one not to miss. We did enjoy the backstage tour one day conducted by the dance captain and the lighting director. Even if the shows are great, you can appreciate what the performers especially the dancers have to cope with when you feel the stage moving. There are lots of activities on board. Of course all the usual, but the ice skating and the rock wall climbing were unique and quite fun. The fitness center was very nice and well maintained. A couple of treadmills were out of order one day, but back in use the next. The trivia and Name That Tune contests were mostly held in the Schooner Bar. There were so many people participating that it was often impossible to find a seat and once you did, to hear what was being said. For popular activities, they should find a larger more convenient venue. We found the crew to be friendly and helpful. Our waiter in the dining room, Jasonn Joya, was great, as was his assistant, Reynato. In the Windjammer, Verheek was the best. The iced tea from concentrate that they serve is undrinkable, so I brew my own, much to the mystification of most waiters, but when I put in my standard order, Verheek knew I wanted to brew my own tea and brought me extra ice and extra hot water. Kudos. The food was adequate. A few individual dishes were outstanding, but the overall quality could only be considered average. We did have an excellent meal in Chops, one of the specialty restaurants, but wouldn't have paid the extra cost for it. We got it comped as part of the deal for booking the cruise. Our major complaint was the corridor outside our room. Apparently someone was sick there, and it took days for the smell to dissipate. It made you gag, and we were holding our breath walking down the corridor until we got into our room. The second day after it happened, we overheard an officer telling the steward to shampoo it. It helped, but the smell didn't completely go away until the last day of the cruise. We really appreciate the Express Departure on RCL. We had used the same procedure on Holland America, which was much better publicized and operated. On RCL, the information was just three lines on the As You Depart sheet. You really had to look for it, then listen to the whole 20 minute TV presentation about disembarkation to get any details. The Guest Relations desk didn't have any information when we checked there. We were told to report to one location, then moved to another. It appears that the popularity of just walking off and taking you own bags with you was underestimated by the staff, so procedures were changed at the last minute to accommodate the crowd. It was a minor inconvenience, and the crowd was adapted to quickly, but with a little more planning (like Holland America does), they would have known ahead of time how many were planning on doing this. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We live 40 miles from the Port of LA, so getting to the ship is never a problem on Sun morning. Being we had no reason to be home on Sat, we booked the park & sail at the Crowne Plaza so we could start our trip a day early. It was a ... Read More
We live 40 miles from the Port of LA, so getting to the ship is never a problem on Sun morning. Being we had no reason to be home on Sat, we booked the park & sail at the Crowne Plaza so we could start our trip a day early. It was a great idea and we would do it again in a heartbeat. We were able to check in at 11:00am park the car and go straight to our room. We dropped off our stuff and headed out for a lite lunch accompanied by too many Bloody Marys. We highly recommend the San Pedro Brewery two blocks up from the CP. We then walked up the harbor to a restaurant with an outdoor patio so we could watch the Princess ship sail out. Then back to the brewery for dinner. The hotel pkg came with two free drinks in the lounge so after a night-cap we headed to the room to get a good nights sleep. Sun 4:30am, I was out of bed at the window waiting for the Mariner to sail in, she didnt arrive until almost 6:00, so once she was docked I hit the pillows for a little more shut-eye. We had a coupon for free breakfast, but wanted to save out appitites for the Windjammer. So after checking out at 9:00am we opted to not take the complimentary shuttle, and walked our luggage from the hotel to the ship. It took about 30mins and was a beautiful walk. Being we got to the pier before 10:00am there was still alot of passengers disembarking. There was some confusion as to where we were to drop our luggage, but we asked a gentleman and he walked us to the right spot. Then we stood in line outside for about 45min waiting for the ship to clear customs. Once inside we went through the screeners, filled out our medical questionaires, and walked through the priority checkin, got our sea-passes and waited for boarding to start. We were in the Windjammer by 11:45 eating our honey stung chicken. We were in our rooms by 1:00 and had our luggage by 2:00. Spent the day exploring, had a beer at the pool bar (tradition for us). No life vests at the drill was really nice. We went up to the Viking Crown for our sailaway cocktail, and then down to get ready for dinner. Being this really was a complete R&R cruise for us there are no details about the ports, we walked around, had a beer and local food, and went back to the ship. Loved Cabo but hated the pushy solicitors, hated Mazatlan as there is nothing to see or do unless you want to get wet. It might be better if you were on a tour. PV was much better, had a great seafood lunch at Tinos. After reading some of the posts about the food and service over the last year, I was concerned that RCI has really gone down hill. My concerns were unfounded. The food EVERYWHERE was GREAT!!!! The windjammer had a great selection, if you cant find something there you must be very picky. I think some people dont make it all the way around the entire windjammer, as the stuff on both sides and even in the middle are not always the same. On the 3rd day DH said he wished they still had turkey sausage, I had one on my plate, he had never seen them at the buffet. So if you only go to one section you might be missing something. We had late seating in the Top Hat & Tails dining room, we were at a table for 10 and were the only two there the entire cruise, so obviously service was superb, but I am pretty sure if it had be a full table the service still would have been superb. I will say I wish there were a few more entree choices, but everything we ordered was on spot every time. The family style spinach salad they served day 4 was so good, I told our waiter I could eat that everyday, so for the rest of the cruise I did. The lobster was perfect moist and tender. We had dinner at Chops on Wed and I don't ever remember being so full. I got the 10oz fillet and ate every bite, DH got the lamb chops and actually left one, but they too were amazing and both were cooked to perfection. The mud pie and cheesecake we delicious, but only could manage one bite of each. Didn't see any entertainment, used the concierge every night and met alot of really nice people over drinks there. I started cruising RCCL in 1980, and yes things have changed, but I still think they offer the best vacation experience for you dollar. The only regret we have is that we don't have the vacation time to do this cruise more often Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Rates were so low- we could not resist fares 5 weeks before the cruise at give away prices. THis was our 4th cruise on Royal and 8th overall. The quality of the 3 prior RCCL cruises was going down progressively in terms of food and ... Read More
Rates were so low- we could not resist fares 5 weeks before the cruise at give away prices. THis was our 4th cruise on Royal and 8th overall. The quality of the 3 prior RCCL cruises was going down progressively in terms of food and service. We wanted to see this class of ship (Royal Promenade, Ice Rink, etc) so this trip would make it or break it for RCCL and us. The food turned out to be pretty good, at least in the dining room. We chose the "Any time dining" that worked out really well with a standing 7:15pm reservation. The service was very good. It was surprising the the ship, though at capacity, did not feel crowded. We did not eat in the specialty restaurants as we were very happy with the main dining room menu and quality. The Windjammer Buffet was another story. The food lacked viual appeal and was consistently cold. Was not happy up there for breakfast, or lunch. Walked through at dinner to look and ran away. The parade through the Royal Promenade was kind of like Disney on acid - fun but strange. Hanging out for a night at the Wig and Gavel Pub was fun - decent singer that got the crowd moving. The food quality at the cafe in the promenade was fresh - go there for a snack rather than the Windjammer. Main show entertainment with the on board cast was typical - good, but that's about all. The "headliners", though we never heard of them were very good! We did not expect too much for the ports but had fun. Did some snorkeling in Cabo which was pretty fair. Walked around the old section of Mazatlan...eh. Puerto Vallarta was very nice along the Malecon. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
Background: My partner and I have cruised about a dozen times on several cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean (we are Diamond members), Carnival and Norwegian and we are currently booked on a Princess cruise this winter. Hotel: We ... Read More
Background: My partner and I have cruised about a dozen times on several cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean (we are Diamond members), Carnival and Norwegian and we are currently booked on a Princess cruise this winter. Hotel: We stayed at the hotel Maya in Long Beach before our cruise which is literally a stone's throw from the Queen Mary hotel/museum. I would not recommend this hotel for several reasons. There was a constant smell of sewage from the harbor, the bathrooms were quite small (we literally had more counter space on the ship), the cost was excessive for the product ($179/night plus $15/night to park) and the location was obscure-you had to drive through the Queen Mary parking lot to get to the hotel. Embarkation: We arrived a little early, around 11:00 am and there were very few people in line. Since we are Diamond members, we received priority check in and we waited until about noon before we were allowed to board. The Diamond member waiting area if far too small and doesn't contain nearly enough seats for all the members. The cabins on the "hump" on Voyager class ships offer a little extra space near the sliding door wall, which is an advantage. There is ample storage space for 1 week, but not much more. The bathroom is cramped, but adaquate. The shower has a sliding door rather than a curtain which is much better. Thre are no amenities provided except shampoo. The bed was comportable, but not great and you certainly need extra pillows (which are provided). Ship: The Mariner is well maintained and very clean for a ship that is about 6 years old. We were allowed into our cabin about 1 pm. We had category D2 on the "bump" which provides some additional room in the cabin. Our cabin steward was very efficient and nice. We hardly ever saw him, but the cabin was made up in the time it took us to eat breakfast in the Windjammer. The service, as always, was excellent on Royal Caribbean and we experienced no problems. I noticed that there are a lot more service personnel in the Windjammer who can't do enough for you such as getting drinks, condiments, etc. They also have a bar trolley in morning now that provides bloody marys and mimosas-nice touch. Although everyone has a different opinion about the food, we thought it was pretty good in the main dining room and we are kind of particular. We chose the "my time" dining and our waiter was Fahart. He made good suggestions and was very friendly as was the assistant waiter, Michael. The "my time" dining isn't really your time. You must select a dining time when you board and they kind of insist that you stick to that time unless you notify them in advance. We tried Chops which I didn't find to be all that great for the $25 surcharge, but the service was awesome. We also tried the wine dinner in Portofino which was very good and they were quite generous with the wines. There is a $49 fee for this dinner, but it included 4 different wines which were refilled upon request. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
After months of wondering whether we would be going north due to the swine flu, we were ecstatic to find out that the Mexican Riviera cruises would resume.  We loved this ship.  It was constantly being maintained and cleaned and the ... Read More
After months of wondering whether we would be going north due to the swine flu, we were ecstatic to find out that the Mexican Riviera cruises would resume.  We loved this ship.  It was constantly being maintained and cleaned and the artwork in the stair wells was really enjoyable and different.  I noticed a lot of granite and tilework throughout the ship and it was very pretty.   The cabin was nice, bed was comfortable, storage was adequate and this time, it wasn't so hot that we couldn't use our balcony.  I loved waking up to see the huge expanse of ocean.  We had room service for breakfast (but if you want a decent amount of fruit, I suggest ordering more than 1 plate of it at a time) and just enjoyed being outside and alone.  The bathroom has a round shower with doors, but be careful to be sure the shower head isn't pointing out the door when you turn it on!!!  (Yes learn from my mistake!  I had pointed it away from the door, but the weight of the hose caused it to swing back to the door - no more explanation necessary!)  Only shampoo and soap were provided so be sure to bring your own conditioner and lotion if you use it.  I didn't think of it, but the first night my son said he was disappointed that there were no towel animals or chocolates on the pillows. The towels appeared starting the second night, but alas, no mints this sailing. We had early seating, and really, we enjoyed the food.  The meat was good and tender and we loved the desserts. We enjoyed the 2 nights when the salads were brought to the table in large family style bowls.  It seemed to me that the portions were smaller than past cruises, but that suited us better as we were not so overly stuffed after each meal as in the past.  Of course, it was always OK to order more of anything or to try a second appetizer, main course or dessert - the waiter and his assistant were so happy to bring us anything and after a couple of days started anticipating when we might want something and brought it without our asking.  They were fairly quiet until the very end of the cruise, but did their jobs impeccably. We really enjoyed all the shows, the mini golf, the shuffleboard (although one had pucks that were smaller than the openings on the rods you push them with - really useless!)  Quest was a lot of fun, the Love and Marriage Game very funny and the Temptations show excellent.  We loved the comedian-jugglar - he was a riot!  Matt Yee in the Schooner Bar got to be pretty boring after a few minutes, but maybe you had to have been one of the regulars and totally blitzed to enjoy it - lots of people were really into it.  We enjoyed the Promenade Cafe, but the cookies are no longer the huge gooey ones they used to have (boo hoo - I loved those cookies) - now they are just the ones from the buffet. The small movie theater was a nice addition, but the seats were lined up such that you were looking the head of the person in front of you, and seats were angled so that it felt like you might slide off the front - not too comfortable. Out of the whole week, those were pretty much the cons.  Getting on and off the ship took no time at all - it is so very organized.  Get on the ship at 11 am and make a whole day of it is our advice.  It was a great week with enough for everyone's varying interests and tastes. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
Let me start by saying a big thank you to Royal Caribbean for allowing my wife and I to change our cruise date to July 5th 2009 from May 10th.  Swine flu caused the May 10th sailing to be re-routed to Oregon, Washington, and Canada.  ... Read More
Let me start by saying a big thank you to Royal Caribbean for allowing my wife and I to change our cruise date to July 5th 2009 from May 10th.  Swine flu caused the May 10th sailing to be re-routed to Oregon, Washington, and Canada.  I'm sure these are beautiful locations but that's not my idea of a vacation.  I was not forced to pay the cancellation and rebooking fees.  I only had to pay the difference in the cost of the cruising dates which equaled $300.  I got $150 back in onboard credit because I chose a balcony room.  The ship returned to it's normal Mexican Riviera route at the end of June so July brought good hot weather and three beautiful locations.Embarkation:  Day one can usually tell you how your vacation is going to go.  Sooooo.... Embarkation in San Pedro wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  My ride pulled up to the curb right outside the registration building.  The courteous porters took our bags and we entered the building to register.  We showed all of our papers, passports, and pre-printed sail passes.  We only had a couple short forms to fill out (swine flu form and some other one).  We got out Sea Pass cards and were onboard in less than 10 minutes.  I was surprised at how well this was organized.  Keep in mind that this ship holds over 3000 people.  We arrived just as the crowd was picking up so I guess we were lucky enough to beat the rush.  I didn't hear anybody complaining about their embarking so I'm rating this perfect.  I immediately went to the Guest Relations once onboard so I could start my Sea Pass account.  I always use "cash" accounts so I can limit my onboard spending.  The last time I used my credit card I went way overboard on the spending.  The people at the desk were pretty friendly and helpful.  They also mentioned that I would be able to use my $150 starting the next day.  I was expecting them to be a little more grouchy (like people at customer service in stores) but they were extremely nice.  My wife and I went to the Windjammer Cafe (the buffet) to eat since the rooms weren't ready yet.  The food was pretty good.  But I've had better buffet food with Carnival CL.  Side note: breakfast was great every day in the Windjammer.  Food for lunch sometimes was a little undercooked.  We only ate dinner there once and it was okay.  Nothing to get excited about though.  Speaking of food...Food:  Again, the breakfast in the Windjammer cafe was great.  This buffet and Jade are connected and really just feel like one big buffet.  I'm a hamburger or hotdog guy when it comes to lunch.  The problem was that they always seemed to be undercooked.  Not good when I'm hungry.  The pastries weren't too bad.  My wife and I only tried one specialty restaurant.  That was Johnny Rockets. Cost $4.95 and $2.50 more for sodas.  Excellent burgers and fries were served.  My wife enjoyed the onion rings.  I didn't like that we had to pay extra for the sodas here but at least they were large sodas.  I got up and danced with the waiters as they danced for us.  Not bad.  We wanted to try Portifino's or Chop's grill but we could not find the time because of all the things we did on this ship.  We will next time.  The dinners in the main dining room (Rhapsody in Blue level) were okay.  Most nights the dinners were great but there was a couple nights I had the waiter return my food for something else.  Sorry, I'm picky (especially after I've paid a lot for something).  Our waiter Remy was awesome.  His assitant waiter was very nice as well.  They occasionally worked in the WindJammer as well and they always greeted us and remembered who we were.  That's a feat in itself with so many people on this ship.  I liked how they always recommended several meals and told us what to expect for the next day.  Deserts were excellent but my wife ate mine most nights.Ship Appearance:  Overall this ship is huge.  I know you've probably heard this multiple times but really, you have to see it up close to realize how gigantic it is.  When you're inside, it doesn't feel too large though because of the way it is layed out.  Everthing is well organized and easy to remember how to get to.  Maps are located all over the ship so you won't get lost unless you can't read a map.  The promenade is beautiful.  It's about as long as a city block with stores on either side and lots of decorations.  Expect to see a couple parades here and to participate in several celebrations here.  The pool deck is just beautiful.  There are so many jacuzzis that you never feel crowded.  The pools are large enough to accomodate a lot of people as well.  The adults only area felt more crowded than the public areas so we stayed in the public pools.  The movie theater was kind of small but comfy.  There isn't a movie in there that you won't see in your own stateroom anyhow so I didn't really see what the point of it was.  The showroom theater aka the Savoy theater was fairly big.  There were only a few bad seats in the house (mainly ones with poles in front of them).  Great acoustics as well.  The sports deck was awesome.  Inline skating, rock climbing, basketball, golf, ping pong, and a few other sports were offered.  I got plenty of exercise here.  Studio B (the ice skating rink) was nice looking.  Fun music was played here as you got to ice skate around.  The Lotus Lounge looked like the perfect karaoke bar.  Very comfy as well.  One more place I'd like to suggest you see is the gym.  It is huge for a cruise ship.  I'm sure there will be no waiting for machines because there are so many.  There are a lot of other locations on this ship but I only wanted to mentioned the ones I visited.  I liked the color schemes on the ship and the ship seemed to be in good upkeep.  Suggestion: go all way to the front of the ship at night and sit down at least once at night.  It's a beautiful view.  Not many ships allow passengers to go all the way to the front.Entertainment:  The shows were great.  My suggestions:1) The ice show: You've probably already heard about how good it is but you have to see it to really understand just how good it is.  It's emotional, magestic, and funny all in one.  You feel like you're in the show.2) Love and marriage: This is basically like the Newlywed game.  But the three couples they picked for this show were the most popular people onboard once the show was over.  The cruise director Ken (who was on loan from the Oasis of the Seas) is simply hilarious. 3) The Quest: Let me start by saying this show is NOT for children but it is the most hilarious competition for adults that you will ever see.  I cannot tell you all about it because you have to see it for yourself but believe me... you'll be glad you went.4) Tribute: We were fortunate enough to see a group called tribute sing Temptaion songs.  They were spectacular.5) All other shows in the Savoy:  I mean the ones by the RC singers and dancers were okay.  Almost like Vegas shows.  Not bad at all.Disembarking:  This process is well organized.  If you want to get off quickly, take your own bags.  We had too many so this was not an option.  But still, we had plenty of time to eat breakfast and then depart when they called our group down.  Going though customs was a breeze.  Finding our bags wasn't hard either.  Always a plus.Overall:  This was a very fun ship to be on.  Really, even if we never left the ship I would have enjoyed this cruise.  This ship has so much to do that you would really have to be a boring person to not enjoy yourself.  I mean that.  Ken Rush, the cruise director, and his team made sure you were having plenty of fun throughout the day and the night were even more fun.  As far as the ports went, I've never been to funner places in my life.  Will I go again.... definitely.  I'm already planning for next year but we're trying to decide between waiting for the Oasis of the Seas or just cruising on the Mariner again.  You'll find out our choice soon enough.  Enjoy folks! 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Sail Date: June 2009
Personal Info:  I booked this cruise a year ago to celebrate my husband's 50th birthday (yes, the one who  pays!) and to have one more family vacation before my son moves to the east coast.  We traveled with our son, 23, and our ... Read More
Personal Info:  I booked this cruise a year ago to celebrate my husband's 50th birthday (yes, the one who  pays!) and to have one more family vacation before my son moves to the east coast.  We traveled with our son, 23, and our daughter, 20. DH and I had a center hump on the port side (8618) and the "kids" had a Promenade cabin down the hall (8593). Embarkation: Our 8:00am Alaska flight out of San Francisco left on time and we were at LAX getting into a Prime Time Shuttle by 10:00. We opted for a private van, since we wanted to stop at a grocery store for some supplies. This cost an extra $10 to the $80 fare, but, hey, it's vacation! We did a very quick pit stop at a Von's supermarket near the pier and bought a case of water, diet pepsi, etc. and we were at the pier at 11:00. No line or wait at the Platinum, Diamond, D+ check in counter, got our sea pass cards and then sat to wait in the "lounge" which was 3 rows of plastic purple chairs. We were soon told we could board and we were on the ship by 11:30. After going to Chops to adjust our reservation, we headed to the Windjammer. Not too crowded yet, and we sat at a window, had the first cold beer of the week, and sighed contentedly. Thought I'd try the Honey Stung Chicken, since so many have raved about it, but I found it pretty dry and unappetizing. Salads were good. As was the beer...did I mention the beer? Our cabins were ready promptly at 1:00, and as the family decided naps were the thing to do, (it is Father's Day, and he can do whatever he likes!)   I grabbed my camera and hit the ship. We were all happy napping and snapping... Sailaway:  So much fun...Captain Johnny didn't disappoint with the horn blasts, the fireboats were shooting all that water and they were holding up a birthday sign for one of their friends on board. There was a fly by with some planes (the double winged type, not sure what they're called!) Add sunshine and mango tangos and well, all is good in the world! Miscellaneous Boarding Day Stuff: Bags arrived while we were at the muster drill intact ; ) and we had drinks in the Wig and Gavel, before heading to dinner. We had second seating in the Top Hat and Tails Dining Room, table for 8,   #409, at the window, which we shared with four nice folks from ScotlaThe Vidalia Onion Tart was unbelievable! And before I forget, my DH fell in love with the egg salad sandwiches in Sorrento's, and was sad to find out they were only prepared on boarding day. (I said to him it's probably for the best, maybe they're using up last weeks eggs...just a thought!)  The proscuitto  sandwiches were very good, also.  We watched the parade from our kid's PR cabin, not the best view, since it was on eight. Since we most likely wouldn't have gone to the promenade to watch it, the view was great. Back to the Wig & Gavel (which now we call the Wiggle Waggle for some silly reason). Day 2 at Sea: Woke to cloudy skies, it had rained during the night. Went for a run/walk on deck with DS and DD, DH hit the gym. Went to the sports deck to donate $20 to the Make a Wish Foundation, and got a pretty nice t-shirt ($10 would get you one, too, however). Out on the pool deck reading by 10:00, and even though it was pretty cloudy, the chairs were filling up fast!  Sun appeared at about 12:30 and there was a bucket of Coronas heading our way! Family  had "the most amazing lunch" in the DR, I foolishly opted to stay in my chair and have my DD bring me a piece of pizza. Oh, well, I washed it down with an ice cream cone and got by.             The Deck Patrol was doing their job, and I honestly didn't see too many obnoxious chair hogs. Although, here are three things that really annoyed me:             The announcements...way too loud...way too often             The  "reserved"  suite chairs...empty all week             The waiters asking if you want a drink every two minutes...all afternoon...but  yes, I suppose they have been waiting a long time for a sunny sea day. Trivia at 5:15 in the Schooner bar...fun, but a lot harder than I thought it would be. Where's Merion Mom when you need her? We went to the Dragon's Lair for the CL cocktails.  As my husband says " I feel like I'm being punished" ...It was too early to be in a dark bar, in my opinion. So as I am a lowly diamond member, I won't need to worry about that any more anyway! It's formal night, and we rented tuxes for the guys...and they looked great! The tuxes were waiting in the closet, and it was a very painless experience. After dinner, we went to the Schooner Bar to see Matt Yee, an adult sing-a-long show.....so funny!  But catch his show from beginning to end once, because he repeats and repeats.....and repeats. But definitely good the first time!  Late night comedy was also good...Darrell Joyce....and that's it for our first sea day! Night night!                             Day 3...Cabo San Lucas: Coming in to port at about 8:45-9:00 we were treated to an amazing view of El Arco on the port side. Tendering was very efficient and we decided to walk around the Marina for a bit, before heading to Medano Beach to jet ski. We stopped  at a place with a sign that advertised  a bucket of beer for $8.99...how can you walk by? I wish I could remember the name of it, but it also had advertising for an EcoCat  catamaran . A nice guy named Bernardo called a buddy who rents jet skis at Medano Beach (Baja Water Sports) and got us on his list. We got on a water taxi and in about a five minute ride we were hopping off at the beach. And a half hour later, all four of us were zipping around the ship (I felt like a Royal Caribbean commercial!) and out by Lover's Beach. So great!!!  Afterward, we walked a block inland and had an amazing lunch at Las Gardenias. There was great  fish, chicken and pork tacos, nothing fancy, just authentic and good. I bought some silver from the local vendors, all selling things at "liquidation prices". Dinner was okay, not great, and the casino was nicer to my husband than to me. Day 4...Mazatlan: Although today we had the worst weather, it was the probably the best day. We were greeted at the pier by a band and a big "Welcome Back" banner. I heard there were to be fireworks as we entered the pier, but the rain cancelled that. We had reservations with Randi's Happy Horses, and she met us right outside the terminal. We got into the back of two pick up trucks with canopies on them and headed to a little ferry boat area about 5 minutes away. It is raining. Hard. We met a couple who were on their honeymoon and a nice couple with two boys. We are all soaked and no one cares, it is just a big, wet adventure. After getting to Stone Island, we get into other trucks and are taken down a dirt road to where the horses are. We meet the most wonderful Mexican family who take care of the horses. Daniel, Tony and Maria are so friendly and help us get paired up with our prospective horses. After a nice stroll through the coconut groves, we hit the beach. Note: These horses have not had any customers in seven weeks. They are ready to run. And they do! We are flying down the beach trying not to fall off or get too bruised. It was so exhilarating! It was still pouring rain and we went quite far (and very fast) down the beach before we turned around.  It's important to mention that the word "Whoa" works well both for English speaking and Spanish speaking horses.  "Slow down"...not so much!  We were then treated to a Pacifico Beer or a soda by Randi, who was waiting for us at Victors, an open air (including the bathroom) restaurant on the beach. It's funny standing at a sink washing your hands in the pouring rain...!  We had delicious Garlic and Cocoanut Shrimp, drank many more Pacificos and our bill was around $40 not including tip for the four of us. We took a group shot before saying goodbye to our new friends. I highly recommend Randi's Happy Horses...it was an experience I won't forget! Had a fantastic meal at Chops that night...wonderful window seat....lots of clouds, no sunset! Oh well, I'll have to book another cruise for that. The Love and Marriage show was ok, but I'm skipping it next time, it seemed the "older" couple was staged. Day 5...Puerto Vallarta We woke to cloudy skies, but no rain. As we came into port, there were construction workers on a big high rise cheering and whistling at us. I'm a big waver, so we got along well. There was a band playing in the distance, also, as well as a Walmart and a Sam's club. We booked the Los Veranos zip line and had to be at the Canopy office at 10:30am. Life being what it is, we were late off the ship and grabbed a shared white van-cab (when Los Veranos said take a yellow cab) so I stressed about getting there on time, since we had to drop a couple off in town. So take a yellow cab which is through the gates at the pier if you do this. We made it with time to spare and boarded a large comfy air conditioned bus for about a 40 minute ride. The staff and guides at Los Veranos were very funny and professional. Lots of jokes about finding "the broken one" as they strapped you into your gear.  I think there are 14 lines and some of them are very long and high above a river gorge. I can't believe I hung upside down across one...really, I did! When we turned in our equipment we had a cold beverage and could have had lunch there...it's quite a tropical setting and I think it would be a nice place to dine if you wanted. But we decided it would be better to check out the tarantulas and go into a big cage with some squirrel monkeys. They are adorable! They eat baby formula out of your hand and they are like all the stuffed monkeys I've bought for my daughter growing up. Back in town, we had a nice lunch in Los Distillery, which is on the second floor overlooking the Malecon. Then back to the ship for a much needed shower and for some, a nap.  Name that Tune with Simeon is not to be missed! So much fun (maybe because I got almost all the answers right!)  He'll be on the Mariner until November and then he's going to the Oasis. Dinner was bad. Got through it. Quest is always fun for me, and tonight, it was extra fun. My DS and DD were captains of our team and we actually won! Great time! Then off to 20 at the Solarium where I did my share of Mojitos.... Day 6...Sea Day:Woke to cloudy skies again and lots of wind, not to mention sore bodies from 3 days of being "out there".  Found cushy seats in the solarium, which looked much different than the night before, and read a lot. Weather never really did break, so we went to Ellington's and played some games, had a couple of drinks.  Went to name that tune again, and it was still fun. We then headed to our cabins to get ready for our second formal night. To my amazement, neither my husband or my son are complaining about getting into a tux....again. It's a wonderful day at sea! Most of us had lobster and it was good...my son liked it a bit too much and our fantastic waiter Milton kept it coming. *sigh* Peeked in on the Battle of the Sexes, but we were late so we ducked in and out of the singing impressionist show Paul Boland. He was good, just not what we wanted that night. Back to Wiggle Waggle...I mean Wig and Gavel...then we enjoyed a smoke free night in the Casino! Yes! I even won a little (very little) Day 7...Sea Day: We got some chairs by the pool even though we had more clothes on than you want to on a Mexican Riviera Cruise. One of  the band members had a San Francisco sweatshirt which made me laugh...probably had to buy it that first day in SF! I've taken quite a few pics of the Mariner coming into the bay and most of the time it's been chilly to say the least. And by the way, (she says proudly) one of my shots made it to picture of the day in travel on Webshots!  A small thing, but still I had to share! So the water is rolling out of the pool, and the sun is peeking out, and we are all just loving this ship and this week, even if the weather could have been better. Our lifestyle picture came out as goofy as we are and I'm planning my next cruise in my head. Departure Day: We chose express departure and I don't think I'll do anything else ever again. You get to keep your bags in the room for the last minute stuffing, and we literally walked off the ship with no lines at 8:30 (even though they say you need to debark between 7:30 and 8:15) Whoosh! Onto the Prime Time Van and to LAX with no traffic. Got there WAY to early for my family's taste....9:30 for a noon flight....oh well, I'll do better next time....just as soon as I book that next cruise!                           Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
My DW and I were on the "abbreviated" Mexican Riveria cruise that left LA on April 26th on the Mariner of the Seas.  This was our first cruise.  As well documented by others, we visited Cabo and then, due to the Swine Flu ... Read More
My DW and I were on the "abbreviated" Mexican Riveria cruise that left LA on April 26th on the Mariner of the Seas.  This was our first cruise.  As well documented by others, we visited Cabo and then, due to the Swine Flu "epidemic", were rerouted to a port call in SF, and then back to LA to complete our tour.Yes, it would have been nice to have visited the other Mexican ports per the planned ittinerary, but we still a had a very nice time. So nice, we're already talking about our next cruise. What we liked: While this was our first cruise, we are both experienced travelers and have been all over the world.  We thought the Mariner was a BEAUTIFUL ship and even though it's no longer new, it's still beautifully maintained and well layed out. We had a D1 balcony near the stern on the 10th floor. The stateroom had lots of storage and was very nicely layed out. Loved the ability to lie in bed with the sliding door open to the ocean. The stateroom had very good soundproofing and we heard very little from the outside.  We really enjoyed the balcony access/view. We thought the RCL people were generally OUTSTANDING.  As a corporate manager who hires/fires, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the RCL people (and their training) that we frequently dealt with and were also impressed by how they went out of their way to provide a relaxing time, and to try to make a positive experience in spite of a challenging circumstance. We really enjoyed the dining experienced (ate mostly in the MDR), both from the relative quality of the food, but also from the service AND maybe most importantly, having conversations with our fellow travelers who were really just great people. We thought that in general the food quality was very good (probably not as high as good food places in Southern California where there is a very high food standard, or in major US cities) but we always enjoyed our meals.  We did try to avoid "gaining five pounds" which may be a traditional cruise standard, and tried to pace ourselves and came to most meals hungry (this probably helped our experience). We also did Chops one night and had a very nice meal (the mud pie was one of the top two deserts I have EVER had) and thought it to be a good value..  Also ate at Windjammer a couple of times, and it is what you'd expect..buffet food with buffet chaos.  Not a bad experience, nor bad food, just a busy place.We also enjoyed the excercise facilities and did most of the entertainment events. Enjoyed the Nelson's, iceskating, trivia shows, marriage game, etc.  Thought the juggler/commedian was OUTSTANDING. The singer in the Irish/English bar was also really good and very fun.  Very good entertainment, but I would also agree with a comment I read on another post which said: "if you do broadway quality shows, and expect that quality, you will be disappointed"... Still, a very enjoyable set of entertainment. I was extremely impressed with the cruise director Ken. I think he did an admirable job trying to handle the change associated with not visiting the Mexican ports.  As you might imagine people were not happy with the change, but I thought Ken (and really all of the RCL people) did wonderful job of trying to make it "ok".  For us, the cruise "experience" was still great, and even though I would have preferred the 80' temps of Mexico, SF is still a beautiful city and even though I've been there before AND the weather was crappy, we still had a nice time.I thought RCL, for us, did a good job of "rolling with the situation" and trying to protect it's passengers health. In hindsight, it's easy to fault them for the situation, but really I cannot fault them at all for what they did. In their shoes, I would have done the same thing.  Other good things: There were many, but we enjoyed getting off of the ship via the express process (haul your own bags).  We were walking off of the ship before 8:00am.  Tux rental was easy.  Wonderful people.  Whale breaching outside of cabo was cool.. the group of a hundred dolphins we went through as we went south to cabo was wonderful.  Not being at work was nice too.. Lol. Small annoyances:  Getting on the ship wasn't the best time. Not really bad, it probably only took us 15-20 minutes from when we got off the shuttle bus to getting through the final check in on the ship, but it did make you feel a little bit like cattle..   other than that, just little stuff.  Read Less
Mariner of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 4.5 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates N/A 4.3

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