Sail Date: June 2009
I have been fortunate to travel on four cruises this year and when the travel agent recommended the Seven Seas Mariner, I was excited and yet questioned the reason for the cost of such a luxurious cruise to Alaska. Our travel agent ... Read More
I have been fortunate to travel on four cruises this year and when the travel agent recommended the Seven Seas Mariner, I was excited and yet questioned the reason for the cost of such a luxurious cruise to Alaska. Our travel agent explained the reason for choosing this high end ship in Alaska and when my husband and I finished the cruise we added up the costs and found we had only payed a few hundred dollars more for a 6 star ship and that isn't even comparing apples to apples, because we didn't include comparing it to a suite on a 4.5 or 5 star ship or the tips that go along with those cruises. To start Alaska is the most fabulous place you could ever visit!!!! The beauty is incomparable along with the expanse of the territory that goes on seemingly forever. To see Glaciers up close and wild life that is out in the wilderness is all spectacular. This cruise was excellent not only because of the experience and astounding beauty, but also because the ship was wonderful. There is no tipping and you would never know it - everyone is pleasant and goes out of their way to make your life easier without being in your face. Waiters in the dining room wait on you eagerly and bring wine and cocktails freely. The ship's standard wines are above average and are excellent. You can upgrade your wine of course, but it isn't necessary. The cabin stewards are excellent and provide service quickly and efficiently so as not to bother you if you are catching a quick nap. The food in all the restaurants was excellent and prepared to order. Only one night did our party of 10 register a complaint about a steak overly cooked and it was quickly replaced. Room service was excellent and our children used it frequently for midnight meals and frequently requested items without difficulty that weren't even on the 24 hour room service menu. My husband and I used room service for excellent breakfasts that were completely set up with silver and place settings by the server, Fresh fruit was set in the room daily as well as the restocking of our mini bar refrigerator. Daily afternoon tea was enjoyed by a few people in our party and cappucino machines and tea service was available throughout the ship.The excursions make this cruise a winner. They are fabulous, but also make this ship an excellent value as they are included in the cost (for the most part, at least). Excursions and tours involving sea planes, helicopters, and dog sledding, and some fishing/ boating experiences require you to pay a fee that is on average anywhere from $39.00 to $149.00. They are subsidized by the cruise line and herein lies the savings. Usually a helicopter/ dog sledding on a glacier tour costs $650 - $800.00 per person so you can see how this is a wonderful deal and if you were on a line where you only paid a $500.00 per person  for the cruise you probably wouldn't even schedule such trips since they cost more than the cruise and you certainly would lose out. You can not see the true beauty and expanse of Alaska from just visiting the typical ports of call - Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, Seward,and Anchorage. You must travel a bit inland to get the full UNFORGETABLE experience. The ports of call were also not to be missed and shopping in the towns for Alaskan trinkets, furs if your pocketbook allows and jewelry is not to be missed. The excursions were  fabulous with great service and truley fantastic people from the bus drivers to the helicopter pilots, everyone was akin to the Regent Seven Seas excellence of service. Excursions not to be missed include: Misty Fyjords sea planes, Tracey Arm Cruising, Helicopter ride to Mendenhal Glacier with visit to a mushing camp and dog sledding. Fishing for king salmon or halibut,ziplining, and ocean rafting. There are other experiences available, so don't delay and sign up for your excursions early. There are many more that we did as well in our family of four. Everything was well organized and getting off the ship at any time was easy without a long wait. With only 700 passengers on average everything is much easier including embarkation and disembarkation. Don't miss the train trip from Seward to Anchorage (before or after depending on your embarkation)  where you travel in domed cars for a 31/2 hour to 4 hour trip. The train is an excellent way to see more of the Alaskan wilderness and wildlife such as bears. moose and eagles are frequently seen. Last week the train stopped for the birthing of a moose calf right next to the tracks.Also, don't miss some type of boating excursion where you get to see the glorious mountain ranges and tributaries connecting seemingly unending waterways. You can see them a bit differently from a smaller vessel and you will enjoy seeing whales and their calves on a guaranteed whale watching tour.Make sure you don't forget lots of long underwear to layer and water proof jackets or you will be heading to town to find anything warm.  A scarf, hat, sunglasses, binoculars (not absolutely necessary), gloves are essential to your warmth at certain times of the day or when touring a glacier. A poncho is nice to have for some experiences too. We participated in so many excursions that we didn't go to any of the shows, so I cannot comment on that. The casino was small but held a fair number of regulars and was enjoyed by all. Bingo was well attended and the prizes were always nice, considering the number of players the payout was much more than the larger ships that have hundreds in attendance and pay out less than a $100 on a given win. The laundry rooms were usually busy and sometimes a machine was out of order, but quickly got repaired and for that I was surprised. Don't take a chance to be disappointed, go on this ship for a fabulous experience.I highly recommend this cruise ship and itenerary, you won't be disappointed if you book now. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
After 14 days onboard the SEVEN SEAS MARINER, I am having a hard time adjusting to life back on land. No, it was actually not the ship that made it special - I just love cruising on any ship, anywhere in the world. Radisson Seven Seas ... Read More
After 14 days onboard the SEVEN SEAS MARINER, I am having a hard time adjusting to life back on land. No, it was actually not the ship that made it special - I just love cruising on any ship, anywhere in the world. Radisson Seven Seas Cruises trots the globe with a small fleet of luxury ships. Radisson claims to be the company that offers the finest ships afloat. However, after cruises on other lines, namely Crystal Cruises, I have to disagree. The 3-year old, all-suite, all-balcony SEVEN SEAS MARINER is undoubtedly a luxurious, beautiful floating resort. And while there were many positives to rave about, I found just as many negatives to grouse about and those, unfortunately, slanted my view of the cruise overall. Our cruise was 2 weeks in Asia, sailing from Tokyo to Osaka & Hiroshima in Japan, and then on to Dalian, Tianjin/Beijing & Shanghai in China before ending in Hong Kong  (Note: I had to list Yokohama as Embarkation Port in the above field as Tokyo was not given as an option). The ports made the cruise, as each city was beautiful and fascinating. Asia was never high on my list of places to see, but having returned now I cannot wait to go back. Overnight calls in Osaka, Tianjin/Beijing, Shanghai & Hong Kong were spectacular as we were allowed more time to learn about these cities and experience the nightlife. Onboard ship, the first thing that struck me as being a bit odd was the indifference we experienced from the crew. For every smile we got from a staff member, there were two more in line who acted annoyed and bothered to be there working. The staff at Reception were stone-faced and many wait staff seemed to be distracted and inattentive. We spent many meals in the Compass Rose (the main dining room)waiting for water, drinks and bread, while servers chatted among themselves or disappeared altogether. Radisson has an open-seating policy which I don't care for. You don't get the same servers and, therefore, your dining preferences are not learned and there is no relationship built between guest and server. We had to track down our favorite servers and try to be seated at their station. Many thanks go out to Jerome from Germany and Renata from Hungary who were superstars in the dining room - always had a smile, joke and menu recommendation. We tipped them handsomely despite the line's no tipping policy. The ship itself is a stunning example of contemporary European design, following in the footsteps of older sister SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR which I sailed on in 2000. Despite catering to a well-heeled, reserved, 60-year old + crowd, this ship is shockingly modern. The decor is bright and airy and the suites are roomy and gorgeous. Every room is a suite, and every suite has a balcony. And truly, there is just nothing like cruising with a private veranda! This is not a ship to sail on for excitement. In fact, this was the most uneventful environment I had ever seen. Once dinner is over, the ship quiets down for the night. Once 10:30 hits, you can hear a pin drop. I entertained myself at Club.com by checking out the Internet. I am in my 20's, and while I am well-traveled and sail with only the best cruise lines, I found myself trying to stay awake onboard due to lack of activity. Stars, the disco on Deck 6, would blast hot dance tracks all night - only problem is that the only people in there were the lonely bartenders who stood at the bar chatting all night. A younger crowd drunkenly used the room sporadically toward the end of the 2 weeks for Karaoke, but even that was tame by typical standards. The food was a disappointment, I have to admit. While it was perfectly presented, the portions were tiny and tasteless. I usually ordered a BLT or a hamburger for most meals as those were the only substantial items. An amazing appetizer or main course would appear every now and then, but then we were stuck with the appallingly bad desserts and pastries. There are 2 alternative restaurants which were stunning and offered exotic cuisine, but these highlights were not enough to make up for the overall poor culinary quality. One of the two alternative restaurants were turned into a "Roadside Diner" for the last week of the cruise with the worst food I had ever eaten. Europeans really should not try to mimic classic American diner food. It was a cute idea, but poorly done. Entertainment was run-of-the-mill with a big Broadway-style show every few nights, mixed with cheesy variety acts the other nights. The production shows("Thoroughly Modern Broadway", "Beyond Imagination" and a Beatles show) were well-done and high quality. However, the Beatles show was cancelled on our cruise due to production difficulties; i.e. an unprepared dance team. Overall, I enjoyed my time onboard SEVEN SEAS MARINER. It is a gorgeous ship with amazing suites and phenomenal decor. And while there was good service here and there, and good food here and there, the quality level was spotty from day one and atypical of a line of this caliber. Radisson tries to be Crystal, but misses the mark. Asia was the highlight and I will definitely visit there on a cruise again. And despite my complaints, I WILL sail with Radisson again. With a tweak here and there, they have the potential to be as solid as they claim to be. Read Less
This review is of the Seven Seas Mariner cruise from Nice, France to Rome (Civitavecchia) Italy, September 15 to 22, 2002. For convenience of the reader, this review is divided into topics of PRE CRUISE ACTIVITIES, SHIP DESCRIPTION, brief ... Read More
This review is of the Seven Seas Mariner cruise from Nice, France to Rome (Civitavecchia) Italy, September 15 to 22, 2002. For convenience of the reader, this review is divided into topics of PRE CRUISE ACTIVITIES, SHIP DESCRIPTION, brief ITINERARY comments, descriptions of our POST CRUISE ACTIVITIES in Rome, and some brief FINAL COMMENTS; all to allow the reader to scroll to the topics of interest. PRE CRUISE ACTIVITIES Air travel for my wife and I was booked through Radisson. We had taken advantage of Radisson's sale on overseas business class seating and were glad we did. We left Oklahoma City on American Airlines mid morning on the 14th, and after the mandatory "hub stop" in Dallas, proceeded to JFK airport in New York to board a Delta flight to Nice. If you aren't familiar with JFK, it is an old "dinosaur" of an airport where little information or assistance is provided. We could find no signs or any indication of how to get to the Delta Terminal. When we asked people who worked in the airport how to get to Delta, they spoke to us in some language that had to be from outer space. Luckily, we found the Port Authority Police, and they took us to the proper terminal. With their kind help, we were able to find our gate in time, along with the many other guests on this cruise who were booked on this Delta flight. Unfortunately, our luggage, and that of many other guests, was not so lucky. It did not get on the plane to Nice, which we almost expected due our difficulties at JFK. The overnight flight to Nice was smooth and uneventful, and a great time to sleep in those nice business class seats. When we arrived in Nice about 9:00 AM we were greeted by very helpful Radisson representatives, who helped the many of us without luggage fill out the forms necessary to prompt a search. After we filled out our forms, we found out that many other Radisson guests had been routed with a plane change in Paris, where much of THEIR luggage had been detained by an impromptu baggage strike! The Radisson personnel certainly had their work cut out for them as to this luggage problem, and through their hard work were able, I believe, to get everyone's luggage to them on the ship by the next day. But while Radisson personnel were handling this higher priority problem, the matter of managing the hospitality room at the West End Hotel in Nice was necessarily "put on the back burner". As a result, when we arrived at this hospitality room, only large crumbs of what had once been breakfast remained. Not even any coffee! The food was not voluntarily replaced by the hotel staff (not an unusual event in Europe, I might add), and the Radisson personnel were engaged elsewhere in the more important task of chasing lost luggage, and weren't present to direct hotel staff. It didn't matter much to us, because we had already had breakfast on the plane. Considering the efficiency of Radisson staff in taking care of the more important luggage problem, the lack of food was a small problem at most, and I was ready for a drink anyway to take some of the edge off the worries about our lost luggage. SHIP DESCRIPTION As usual for Radisson, this ship was in perfect condition, with no signs of wear or deferred maintenance anywhere. She is actually a fairly large ship. Imagine, if you will, a ship of the size the would be set up for 1200 to 1700 guests on the "mass market" lines, but it is instead set up for only 700 guests. We were in cabin 735-in the "cheap seats". Nonetheless, the cabin was a 300 sq. ft suite with a walk in closet, separate living room and balcony. All the rooms on all the floors were the same, until you got to the large suites. It just didn't make much sense to us to pay more for exactly the same room on a higher deck. The layout of the ship was easy to navigate, and lines and crowds were nowhere to be found. There is a much discussed problem with headroom in the showers in the suites, which are in the tubs. Taller guests complain of bumping their heads on the ceiling while showering. I brought along a carpenter's tape to quantify this problem, to help prospective guests know if they are too tall for the showers or not. Within the living and sleeping areas of the suite, the ceiling is 6'11" high. In the marble bathroom, the floor is raised another 5", giving 6'6" headroom. Then, the floor of the bath tub is raised another 5", giving 6'1" of headroom in the showering area. If you are well under 6'1" as we are, there is no problem. If you are over this height this is something to consider in your ship selection. The shower head could be taken off and moved around, so I assume this is how the taller passengers manage to shower. This was our second favorite suite at sea, second only to that on the Navigator which has a separate shower stall with headroom of about 6' 6". Otherwise, there were three self service laundries onboard, each with a pair of washers and dryers, soap, an iron and ironing board. We found these most handy at the end of the cruise as we prepared for our stay in Rome. The decor of the suites is fairly warm, with considerable wood trim, arches, and draperies. The public areas are more contemporary and stark, with touches of Art Deco. As usual on Radisson ships, the Compass Rose is the main restaurant. Another restaurant called "Latitudes" offers pacific rim fare. The "Signatures" is the Cordon Bleu restaurant, and La Veranda tends toward Italian fare. Latitudes and Signatures require reservations, which should be made early in the cruise as they are quite popular. We ate only in the Compass Rose and Signatures, and though we are by no means qualified as food critics, we found the food excellent. There was one formal night with men evenly split between tuxes and dark suits, two informal nights requiring a jacket for men, but no tie, and four country club causal nights. Even though these didn't require a jacket, I noticed most men wore one over their sports shirts, without tie. My "fearless prediction" is that this is eventually become the men's dress code for all evenings, except on tropical cruises where jackets are too warm. Nightly entertainment was offered in the Constellation Theater, as well as in other lounges around the ship. We heard all was quite good, but experienced none ourselves. This was a very "port oriented" cruise, and we "old folks" needed to rest up for the next day's activities! The seas were very calm, giving us no indication how the Mariner handles rough waters. However, there was no vibration because her "Mermaid" electric engines are mounted outboard in insulated pods below the stern to drive the screws, eliminating the screw shaft that usually runs to the stern near the bottom of the hull, which is the source of most vibration on other ships. There was also no side to side "roll" indicating the stabilizers were state of the art. ITINERARY This is but a brief comment on ports, and our own activities there. NICE was only a boarding point, as we had no pre cruise stay there. It looked quite inviting, however. Because our luggage had been "detained" by an airline or airport problem mentioned above, Radisson washed any clothing we might have that needed it on a complementary basis. MONTE CARLO in the Principality of MONACO is a picturesque city state rising on the mountains from the Mediterranean. We "flushed" about $5 Euro down the slots in the grand casino, and toured the areas on our own by foot. Later, I went on the ship's tour of the Prince's car collection, which is not to be missed by any car buff. The tour operator abruptly canceled, and was promptly fired via phone by the Tour Director, who immediately arranged for cabs. In Radisson style, the tour delay was no more than five minutes. PORTOFINO is a small Italian village on a bay in the Mediterranean, that is everyone's idea of what Italy looks like at its best. We toured it on our own by foot, and will never forget it. The Italian ice cream, gelato, which is available there is outstanding. LIVORNO is a major port and industrial center of Tuscany, and therefore is not the major attraction in the area, which includes Florence and Pisa. We chose the latter, via excursion from the ship. We just had to see that leaning tower. Many of those who chose Florence reported long lines to see the major attractions there, and it was crowded enough in Pisa. SORRENTO provides fairly close access to Capri, Pompeii, and the Amalfi coast. My wife saw the latter, while I visited Pompeii. It's a toss up between historical significance and natural beauty. This area is also known for "Lemon Cella", a liquor made from the huge lemons grown there. If you try it, you'll buy some. VALLETTA, MALTA is a separate English speaking country, The architecture of the city displayed its Moorish roots. The only problem is that it is apparently the custom in Malta to close and open establishments such as government buildings, museums, and stores on whim. We toured this area independently, and found many of these sites closed, for no apparent reason. NAXOS, SICILY returned us to quaint Italian hillside architecture. We toured via cab, which is better than by bus in this area, as many streets are very narrow. A highlight was part of the area where the film "The Godfather" had been made, and a small church which was mostly carved into a rock at the top of a cliff. CIVITAVECCHIA was the final port, where we were taken by bus the 60 miles or so to Rome for our stay at the Bernini Bristol Hotel for a two night stay before our return. POST CRUISE ACTIVITIES We arrived at the Bernini Bristol Hotel in Rome, booked through Radisson, about 1:00 P.M..and had to wait until 3:00 for our room to be ready (why do hotels always do this?). We walked to the Tevi Fountain to throw in the mandatory coins. But, despite the song, don't throw in three unless you want a divorce, according to local legend! Then, good news: we were upgraded to a suite at the hotel. Most of our touring in Rome was done the next day. We and two other guests from the ship had booked a limo and driver through Bob's Limousine Service. In an 8 ½ hour tour, we saw most all of the major attractions (St. Peters, The Vatican, the Pantheon, the Coliseum, and too many others to mention). Our English-speaking driver knew just when the lines would be shortest at each attraction, and also knew of several out-of-the-way sites we enjoyed as well. The cost for this fine tour came to only about $110 per person, including well-deserved tip. We can't recommend Bob's Limousine Service highly enough. Reservations can even be made via email at bobfraz@libero.it. Early the next morning, we were met by a Radisson representative, a driver, and a Mercedes sedan for our trip to the airport for our return flight home. The representative was most helpful in arranging for luggage handling, and walked us to security. We awaited our flight in the business class lounge and saw a full rainbow out the window through the only rain we had seen on this trip. It seemed fitting after this great cruise and vacation. Radisson had booked us on Lufthansa business class with a change in Munich, a continuing flight to Chicago, and an American Airlines flight to Oklahoma City. The flight was uneventful, despite extreme security screening in Munich and a bit of a long layover in Chicago. FINAL COMMENTS While this trip involved problems of lost luggage and shore excursion difficulties, none of which were Radisson's fault, it was reassuring to see how quickly and well Radisson resolved these problems. As a result, our enjoyment of the cruise was not diminished in any way. My experience with other lines I've taken in the past frankly scares the heck out of me when I think of what the result of the lost luggage problems would have been, had we been on one of those other lines. We, along with most other seasoned travelers, believe that the true test of a cruise line's ability to provide service occurs not when nothing goes wrong, but when it does. The test is then how quickly and how well the problem is solved. Here Radisson passed with flying colors. November 2002RichHRuth@aol.com Read Less
"Early in life I knew the sea would be not only my career, but my way of life. After being a captain for seven years I still love this life and the sea even more. After only a few weeks on leave from my ship and the life on board, ... Read More
"Early in life I knew the sea would be not only my career, but my way of life. After being a captain for seven years I still love this life and the sea even more. After only a few weeks on leave from my ship and the life on board, they seem to be calling me from the sea to return." Captain Jean-Francois Cotis, Seven Seas Mariner Radisson's Seven Seas Mariner - Review: A mariner is someone who makes a living at sea as a navigator or sailor - at least someone who spends a great deal of time at sea. The Seven Seas is an informal term for all of the oceans of the world ... Mariner and Seven Seas are a natural mix of terms. Thus, born for voyages at sea was Radisson's Seven Seas Mariner. This is a sleek plush ship navigating endless passenger voyages beyond each new and adventurous horizon - just beyond. Departure: From the bow, salty cool air sprayed my hair as dusk ensued. I envisioned the narcotic enticement that lures mankind to the sea. Surely for centuries the sea has been like seductive sirens calling to ancient seamen. The seas can be inviting and placidly temperate, or surly and tempestuous - but those shimmering horizons beckon - "Come to the sea ..." a primal urge to see and explore comes from the soul of those who love the sea. Today it is no different, for the sea is still that haunting temptress. This would be a wondrous adventure in many ways - exciting - I was at sea again! On a brisk fall day the sleek ship departed the ancient former city-state of Venice, Italy. Our voyage was in search of ancient wonders throughout the Adriatic, Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean Seas. It was appropriate to seek ancient wonders departing from Italy. Italy was the central focus hundreds of years for the dominating Roman Empire. Roman antiquities are all about this region for a thousand miles. We would end this voyage 11 days later in Barcelona, Spain another Roman bastion. Ship: The Radisson's Seven Seas Mariner was launched in 2001 in France. She is 50,000 tons at 709 feet. She is the elegant all-suite, all balconied ship, and this is a statement of finer - if not the finest cruising available. Four dining options including Signatures, which is dedicated to the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu cuisine, plus the welcomed open-seating ambience in the Compass Rose main dining area. Dine where you like, and with whom you like! The Allure: Pampering at the Judith Jackson Sea Spa might be one way to enjoy the day, and perhaps breakfast on your balcony. Need a slow pace? - try dinner in your suite from a restaurant menu - not merely a room-service only fare. Want to really go lame with relaxation? Visit the comprehensive library of books, games, and VCR movies and enjoy the ambience of your suite tonight. Guests have the benefit of an array of complimentary beverages in-suite, and fine table wines with dinner. There is no need to keep checking your cash available, as gratuities are completely included in the cruise pricing, and this is convenient and well received by patrons. Guests are appreciative of the cut-above quality of the Seven Seas Mariner. We have found highest standards likewise on Radisson's Paul Gauguin, which is stationed in the paradise of Tahiti year-round. Guests enjoy a port intensive itinerary offering quality excursions and on-board entertainment plus guest lecturers. Our venue included timely audience interactive lectures from former CIA director (1977-81) Admiral Stansfield Turner. Space galore: If you are not extremely aware of today's ships at sea, you might not know that a number of ships that are approximately the size of the Seven Seas Mariner carry nearly 1,100 people. The Mariner's full capacity is 700 persons: 50,000 tons at 709 feet with only 700 persons at most on 8 passenger decks - this is an equation for space aplenty! With several lounges about the ship, the library, spa, deck activities, your own spacious and inviting suite, it is common to wander about the Mariner and find pleasant nooks in almost solitude. Imagine cruising without the masses around and beside your every move - space, glorious space! This seems like a real vacation! This is what you really had hoped cruising would be. If you must mentally take your family and business along, the very cost friendly staffed Internet Cafe ensures keeping abreast is cheap and easy. A 1,000 word e-mail was one $1.00. Are you seeking entertainment or music to enhance an evening? Just follow the daily directory to your personal enjoyment. Your evening may include fine shows in the elegant Constellation Theatre, or casual socialization in the Mariner Lounge. What about a star-lit stroll on the decks in the fresh sea air? Your cabin: Seven Seas Mariner offers the very nice, to the unbelievable in the all-suite accommodations. Suite space starts at a generous 301 square foot Deluxe Suite with fine wood finishes and including its own balcony - of course. Cabins also have a sitting area, well appointed marble baths and walk-in closets, TV/VCR, and a stocked mini-fridge with an array of complimentary refreshments. It seems this beginning category resembles but surpasses many ship's upper tier facilities. From the Deluxe Suite it only gets better and more spacious. The next level up, and quite popular, the Penthouse Suite boasts 449 square feet. And there are increasingly larger suite choices up to the mind-boggling and breathtaking ... The Master Suite for larger families or a small group traveling together has an unbelievable 2002 square feet - larger than many homes. It has two bedrooms, plus pull-out beds, and two large balconies - one to the rear, and one to the starboard side of the ship. This colossal suite is accompanied by butler services. Itineraries: Our itinerary from Venice went to a former Soviet domain of Croatia. Split, Croatia offered excellent ancient structures amidst a bustling community and its outdoor markets. Other ports included the country of Malta near Africa, then back to Italy's opposite side for a Florence or Pisa stop - then on to Sardinia, Marseilles, France toward one of our favorite cities, Barcelona, Spain. Radisson's Seven Seas Mariner will take on an exciting routing system this year when the new sister ship, Seven Seas Voyager, sets sail. The Voyager will have the warm season in Europe from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, and the Seven Seas Mariner will be closer as it spends this year's warm season in the pristine Alaska route. Both ships will offer the same standard of luxury and excellence no doubt. This year discriminating cruising enthusiasts will have an alternative to the massive ships that ply the temperate rain forest paradise - Alaska - they will have the Seven Seas Mariner as an alternative. Or opt for the new Seven Seas Voyager for European explorations during warm months. Overview and critique: We found the highly superior aroma packed Arabiaca bean taste in coffee available only in the specialty restaurant. When we asked the chef about this, we were told each dining facility has its own measurements and brewing standards - to us good coffee is brewed not too overly strong featuring aroma, not pure caffeine - a personal daily delight we would have loved in every dining option. I discussed with the Hotel Director, Oliver Hammerer, about how superior the gym, showers, sauna, and steam room facilities were, but that there were no hairdryers in that area to enable one to go directly about the ship with dry hair, and he advised that they would be installed within two weeks at most - thus this is now a mute issue. I also added my comment that on both the Paul Gauguin and Seven Seas Mariner the luscious complimentary bath and body products in-suite by Judith Jackson featured only the lotion named Citresse (citrus aroma), which many guests found too strong in scent. We suggest the Judith Jackson alternative 'Tenderly' hand & body lotion a more familiar scented luxury product as an second option. Aside from our coffee niche, the gym hair dryers, and lotion scent - we would be hard pressed to find any substantive fault with Radisson Seven Seas Mariner - this is a quality managed cruising experience. Mariner's crew and service are superior, and the cuisine is quite nice. Overall we found Radisson's Seven Seas Mariner a special memory, and one that equals the fondness we felt for the Radisson Paul Gauguin. These are ships with which to reward your life, marriage, and personal vacation dreams. There is the ordinary or usual, and then there is that which is extraordinary - Radisson Seven Seas Cruises has earned her 5-6 star ratings - with hard work and excellent management standards. Your local trusted personal travel agency can help you seek any available specials, upgrades, or other promotions Radisson may be offering. It never hurts to aggressively ask for a discount or upgrade when cruising is on your vacation menu. My imagination can only envision what Radisson wonders await on voyages not yet taken on seas not yet explored ... perhaps someday special yet to come! "Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part." The Spell, by Hermann Broch (18861951), Austrian novelist dkr@otherside.com April 2003 Read Less
My wife and I went on a one-week cruise on the Seven Seas Mariner in early December 2001. We are in our late fifties and have taken 5 previous cruises. Overall we enjoyed this cruise. The ship and our cabin were wonderful. The dining ... Read More
My wife and I went on a one-week cruise on the Seven Seas Mariner in early December 2001. We are in our late fifties and have taken 5 previous cruises. Overall we enjoyed this cruise. The ship and our cabin were wonderful. The dining room staff could not have been better. They were always attentive, friendly, courteous; other staffs were almost as good. All but one of the previous cruises were on Crystal Cruise line ships. I therefore will be comparing for the most part the Radisson experience on the Mariner with our experiences on Crystal ships. We very much look forward to sailing again on the Mariner. The standard "deluxe" rooms on the Crystal ships seemed to us in the past well designed and comfortable. But they are far inferior to the rooms on the Mariner. The standard room on the Mariner is 30% larger, has a much larger bathroom, a walk-in closet and a balcony. These rooms provide so much space that is difficult for us to understand why anyone would want a higher class of accommodation. We were very satisfied with the room and the ship and regard the Mariner as the best designed ship we have been on. We are sailing on the Silver Shadow in January and will be interested to compare that ship to the Mariner. The quality and the preparation of the food on the Mariner were outstanding. The main dining room offers single seating dining to all passengers. It is well laid out and has less "bad" tables than do the Crystal ships, where locations near food preparation areas are common. We felt Crystal Cruises tends to offer well-prepared food of high quality; however the preparations are standard Continental and unexciting. Radisson takes more chances and more frequently offers food in contemporary, cutting edge preparations. Our mothers would love Crystal's food and often would feel that Radisson sometimes uses strange ingredients or too much spice; our children in their late twenties would greatly prefer Radisson's. We are impressed with the alternative restaurants on all three ships. The Prego restaurants on both the Crystal Symphony and the Crystal Harmony serve excellent Italian cuisine. The Signatures restaurant on the Mariner serves equally excellent continental cuisine. Latitudes on the Mariner offers each night a tasting menu that changes half way through the cruise. The food is spicy and contemporary for the most part with an Asian twist. It is simply a fun experience. The Asian restaurants on the Crystal ships are interesting but Crystal seems to us has not decided just what it wants to do with them. The standard luncheon menus on all three ships are very good. However, there is nothing on the Mariner that is comparable to the outstanding theme luncheon buffets served on the Symphony and the Harmony. On the other hand it was big plus to be served complementary wine at dinner on the Mariner and not to have to be charged for every bottle of water or soft drink that we imbibed. Generally we found the wines well chosen; in the one or two cases when the wine seemed wrong for a dinner, the wine steward cheerfully offered alternative wines. One of the pleasures of sailing on the Crystal Symphony or the Crystal Harmony is the music. On the average cruise there are three pianists, two bands, an instrumental trio, plus guest classical musicians. There is some musician playing in some lounge from three in the afternoon until 1AM. There is nothing comparable on the Seven Seas Mariner. The lounges are generally better designed on the two Crystal ships than on the Mariner. There was one very good pianist and a guitar player on the Mariner. We generally finished dining about 8:30 each evening. The pianist played from 5:30 until 7PM but then did not resume playing until 9:30 when she alternated with the guitarist the rest of the evening. There was no music any place on the ship immediately after dinner. The Mariner also lacked the guest classical musicians that enriched the voyages on the Crystal. The shows on the Crystal are of much better quality than on the Mariner. Crystal clearly spends a lot of money on quality producers and directors of its musicals, on impressive costumes, and on the rights to musicals. The Mariner shows in comparison seem amateur productions. The singers and dancers seemed somewhat better on the Crystal ships. The guest entertainers generally were also of higher quality on the Crystal ships. My biggest complaint that we had about Mariner cruise was the poor quality of the enrichment lectures. Particularly on the world cruise but also on a cruise to Alaska and a Mediterranean cruise, Crystal had lecturers who were experts in some facet of the region we were visiting and from whom we could learn. These individuals were historians, art historians, and reporters with some expertise. The Mariner had no one other than a "handwriting expert". Perhaps this weakness is inevitable on a Caribbean cruise and not a difference between the two cruise lines. The cruise consultant on the Mariner promised there would be more and better lecturers on other Radisson cruise. The Mariner visited four ports on our cruise: Nassau, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Key West. Unfortunately there were several other ships at each port, which overburdened the attractions of each island. The two organized shore excursions that we went on were satisfactory. Surprisingly there was no excursion involving snorkeling on Grand Cayman. We will sail on the future on both Radisson and Crystal. However we will expect different things from each line. When we want good entertainment, good music and shows, and quality lecturers we will sail Crystal. On the other hand when we want pure comfort and relaxation and more interesting food we will sail on Radisson. Hopefully the accommodations on the new Crystal ship will be more similar to the Mariner. Perhaps in the future the Mariner will offer more music and shows equal in quality to that on the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Harmony. mobrien3@san.rr.com January 2002 Read Less
Oh what a fantastic experience it was!! I suppose it might help if you all knew something about me, just to see what I base my opinions upon. I'm in my mid 30's, this is my 7th cruise (first on RSSC), I'm married (almost 8 ... Read More
Oh what a fantastic experience it was!! I suppose it might help if you all knew something about me, just to see what I base my opinions upon. I'm in my mid 30's, this is my 7th cruise (first on RSSC), I'm married (almost 8 years), the proud mom of a 2 3/4 year old girl and a practicing pathologist. My husband is a stay-at-home-dad ("retired" as he prefers to say it; although he works harder than I do), formerly an engineer. We've cruised the Caribbean, eastern and western Mediterranean, and Alaska. We've been on Holland America, Princess (twice), Crystal, Celebrity and Windstar. My two favorite things (other than my husband and daughter) are food (both cooking and eating!!) and cruising (other travel is close behind). If I'm leaving anything out of my review, please ask me questions. I do have more to come, but don't want to leave anything out of interest to all of you who were so kind to give me very helpful information on Cruise Critic's message boards. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale just before noon on 3/22/01 and were promptly met at the gate by a RSSC representative. After getting our luggage, we were transferred by bus for the 5 minute trip to the pier. My first view of the ship was from the air as we landed in Ft. Lauderdale and she is beautiful. All white with clean elegant lines. Boarding took no time at all, each woman was presented with a single long stem red rose. Once on board, our suites were not quite ready so we were escorted to the Mariner lounge for a welcome beverage then given a deck plan so that we could explore the ship at our leisure. I won't go into too much detail about the ship as there is an excellent ship tour with many fine photographs available at psp.club.tip.nl. A few comments: The observation lounge is beautiful but a bit out of the way and seemed underutilized during the cruise. Unfortunately, there is no outside front deck space. Deck 12 does not wrap all the way around the front of the ship. This was a real disappointment during the transit of the canal. The atrium is spectacular with it's soaring walls and glass roof. The glass elevators are a nice touch. It can be quite entertaining to just watch the atrium from above (especially when people in the elevators don't realize that you can see them!) The wire sculpture with the flashing colored lights is simply out of place, not at all like the understated, elegant art and furnishings throughout the rest of the ship. The alfresco dining area behind La Veranda seems a bit undersized but the teak furniture is lovely. The pool area can only be described as vast. No problem ever finding a deck chair in either the sun or shade. The library is truly a library, not just a small room with a few tired old books. This library is stocked with hundreds of titles; fiction, non-fiction, travel, reference, children's, art. Many video tapes can be borrowed in addition to the movies which are shown on the in cabin TV. I didn't make much use of the computer area but many passengers did and seemed very happy with it. There are a few funny things about traffic flow through the ship. The garden promenade is lovely but when it is being used for art auctions, it is awkward to pass through on the way to the rear of the ship. Also if you come down the aft elevators to deck 5 and the rear doors to the Compass Rose restaurant are closed (which they often are when the restaurant is closed) you're sort of trapped and must go up a deck where your may run into the garden promenade in use. After a delicious, beautifully presented lunch in the Compass Rose restaurant, our cabin (a standard category F) was ready at 2:30. They are simply the nicest cabins I have ever seen on a ship. Lots of cabinet space, a true walk-in closet with a dresser and safe, a very well designed vanity with three-way mirror and a beautiful marble bathroom with more than adequate storage space. The shower is very nice with an adjustable showerhead and great water pressure but may pose a problem for those who are less physically able or tall. I'm 5'10'' and my head nearly hit the ceiling. It's quite a step up to get into the shower. We enjoyed some inaugural champagne on our balcony. They're quite spacious with comfortable lounge chairs. The only minor problem is that the dividers between the balconies offer essentially no privacy. There was a cocktail party up on the pool deck at sail-away. The azipod propulsion system is so quiet and vibration free that you scarcely know that you're moving. Dinner the first evening was in Latitudes. The menu is the same each evening and consists of an appetizer sampler, a three-soup sampler, a salad and four wok-cooked entrees. The wok cooking is done in the dining room. They didn't quite have the logistics of serving the entrees down on the first night but by the end of the cruise service had much improved. The presentation and quality of the ingredients was top-notch. The service other than the entree quirk was very good. In fact, any time staff noticed that something was wrong or a complaint was made, it was handled in the quickest, friendliest manner possible. The staff seemed very proud of their new ship (and rightfully so). After dinner we returned to our cabin to sleep. The beds are fairly firm but comfortable. There is a separate duvet for each person. My husband found it a little strange that there was no top sheet on the bed, just the duvet cover. He also prefers a blanket and our stewardess brought one immediately. The cabins are attended by a European stewardess and an assistant steward. Both of ours were polite, efficient, unobtrusive and quick to respond to any request. The TV did not seem to be working the first evening so we simply drifted off to sleep. The second day was at sea. We received notice in the daily newsletter that the self-service laundries were not yet operable so everyone was given a $50 shipboard credit as a goodwill gesture. Quite generous and typical of the response of the staff to the mostly minor problems which arose and were to be expected on a ship so new. I participated in the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. The first class meeting was at 10:00 am, there were 3 two-hour sessions which met during days at sea and alternated between 10 am and 3 pm. The class sessions were run by two chefs from Le Cordon Bleu; one a chef de cuisine who was from the London school (although a Frenchman) and the other a chef de patisier (sorry about mangling the spelling!) from the Paris school. At the first class we all (16 of us) received and apron, a toque and a tea towel. Then the chef demonstrated an appetizer followed by groups of 4 of us replicating it then enjoying it! The chefs were excellent instructors and the recipes we made were unusual but also something which could be made at home. They were very patient with the many questions and extemely knowledgable. The second class was the preparation of an entree, the third was a dessert. There was also one cooking demonstration (without class participation) for all the guests on the ship. In addition to the classes, we were taken on a very thorough tour of the ship's provision areas and galleys lead by the fleet-wide executive chef, the ship executive chef, the guest chefs, and the provision officers(really fascinating) and had dinner one evening with the chefs. Finally, we had a "graduation party" where we received our "diplomas" and an excellent Le Cordon Bleu cookbook (which the chefs were kind enough to autograph). The only improvement I can really see that could be made to the experience would be to place students into groups according to their knowledge/experience level (there were two class groups). I did not attend any of the other special guest lectures as they often conflicted with the cooking classes. Perhaps those scheduling conflicts could be resolved on subsequent cruises. I did hear from other passengers that the lectures were mostly excellent. Dinner the second night was Formal Night, the only one of this 9-night cruise. It seems to me that it could easily be done away with since there was only one (or alternatively add a second). About half the men were in tuxedos, the rest in dark suits. The women were dressed elegantly, not the overdone glitz so many other formal nights seem to suffer from. (Although Kemble the pianist made up for the glitz with his sparkly jacket and shoes; would have made Liberace proud). The Captain's reception was a subdued, elegant affair. We ate in the Compass Rose. Once again, the food was of very high quality, beautifully presented and perfectly cooked. The wait service was generally very good, only occasionally uneven (as to be expected). The sommelier we had (Frank) was excellent. Very knowledgeable and approachable. The pouring wines were of high quality and changed every night (one white, one red); in addition they were different in each restaurant. How great to be able to sample so many wines over the cruise! When I expressed an interest in a certain wine, he went and laminated the label for me! One word of warning though, don't ask the non-sommelier wine servers questions, they really know nothing other than to keep your glass full (which they do very well) We didn't see many of the shows, 10:00 pm start time was a bit late for me and I'm not a huge fan of musical reviews. We did see the comedian (who was very funny) and heard that the magician was very good. The Constellation theater is a nice facility, good sight lines and comfortable chairs. One small criticism of the public areas of the ship: the public restrooms are poorly marked, both hard to find and hard to tell if you're going into the "right" one. Also the doors do not consistently open either in or out; I saw several passengers struggling with them. The lounges on the ship seemed sadly underused. They were all beautiful rooms and the service in them was very good. However, it seems due to RSSC's very generous in-room bar set up and the fact that everyone has a balcony, passengers just didn't frequent the lounges. A shame because the other passengers were very friendly interesting people and the fun of mixing and mingling was absent. I would hope RSSC would rethink their alcohol policy. As it is now, with wine included at dinner, the very generous in-room bar set-up (which we didn't finish) and the inclusion of all other beverages it seems the cruise is 99% of the way to being completely all-inclusive as Silversea is. Go the one extra step to making Mariner all-inclusive and perhaps more passengers would utilize the lounges. OK, I'm off my soap box. A few words about the other passengers: the crowd was a bit younger than I expected. There were several families and a few children ranging from 5 to 15 years old. Once again RSSC responded well to the presence of the kids and a "junior cruisers" set of activities appeared on about the 3rd day. All of the kids were very well behaved. I've already described formal night dress. On informal nights nearly all men wore jackets, some with ties, some without. The range of style for the women was a bit broader, but always understated. A few men even wore jackets on Casual night. Women wore anything from sundresses to cocktail dresses. Our first port was Cozumel (after a very brief sail-by of Playa del Carmen to drop off passengers for shore excursions). We anchored at the main pier in town. There's not a whole lot to do in San Miguel, so I thought it strange that we spent so much time there (until 1 pm the next day). We took the discover SCUBA excursion. It was well organized and fun. Dinner that night was again in the Compass Rose. The service was quite chaotic as it seemed some of the crew were enjoying their first (and well deserved) break in Cozumel. We spent the next morning up by the pool. The service by the pool was excellent. It was so nice to be able to order soft drinks, bottled water or any other non-alcoholic drink and not have to sign for it! In fact when disembarking in any port, a large table of bottled water was set up by the gangway for passengers to take ashore (a great idea in such hot climates). Other cruise lines charge for every little thing and you feel like you're getting nickled-and-dimed to death. Not on the Mariner. The prices for alcoholic beverages were very reasonable too (unlike Windstar where I found them outrageous). We had dinner the night after sailing from Cozumel at Signatures. It was the best dining experience I have ever had on a ship and one of the best I've ever had anywhere! The room is beautiful, the service nearly flawless, the menu wonderful, and the food simply outstanding (as you would hope coming from Le Cordon Bleu). There was only one very small problem; the lights in the room do not have a dimmer switch so it's pretty bright. RSSC is aware of the problem and is working to fix it. I didn't find that it detracted form the experience at all, but some passengers did. The next day we arrived in Grand Cayman. All ships tender into shore here. The crew needs a bit more practice sailing the tenders. Grand Cayman is very pretty and the best shopping seemed to be here. We took the Catamaran tour to Stingray City and I highly recommend it! The boat is beautiful, it's a great experience to sail across the bay and there is nothing in the world like getting in the water with so many rays. They seem to pet you as much as you pet them. We were able to feed and even hold these amazing creatures. Our only disappointing dining experience was in La Veranda. The food and service were just not up to the standards of the rest of the ship. The breakfast and lunch buffets were only OK, the food uninspired, sometimes not replenished quickly enough and not labeled. The outdoor Pool Grill was good but essentially the same every day. Room service was excellent. It arrived promptly, the food was hot and nicely presented. We ate breakfast and lunch either in our cabin or the main dining room as we felt these were the best. We didn't try dinner in our cabin but spoke to passengers who did and they were very pleased. We enjoyed a day at sea then arrived in Cartagena. It's a much larger city than I imagined. It's well worth taking a tour here. Once again the tours were run very efficiently, were enjoyable and I felt were a good value. Just be prepared for the street vendors who can get pretty aggressive when trying to sell you merchandise. Good bargains on local handicrafts can be found and supposedly good prices on Emeralds. Next stop...Panama Canal! We waited in the holding area outside the Gatun locks along with the Crystal Harmony until approximately 7:30 am. We transited the locks at the same time as the Harmony which really enhanced the experience. It gave perspective to the locks and the level changes. Plus it was fun to wave back and forth with passengers on that ship. It was the first time I've seen the Harmony since I sailed on her 3 years ago. It was a great ship, but this is better! Crewmembers on each ship seemed to know each other and shouted back and forth. It was like a big floating party. Three small sailboats were in the lock with us. What an amazing experience for them. It was too bad that there was essentially no front deck space, but there was plenty of rear deck space and of course, balcony space. The only drawback to being on your balcony was that the canal guides announcements could not be heard in the rooms. The TV had a few quirks, and this was one of them. Once through the Gatun locks we anchored just past them at the Gatun Yacht Club. The crew still needs more practice with the tenders! Once ashore, you can take a free shuttle back to the locks to see them up close from a different perspective, take an eco-walk, enjoy local entertainment, swim in the canal (!!), or fish in the canal. Nice local handicrafts are also available. We had a great time. It was such a wonderful addition to the canal crossing, so much better than sailing straight through. We cruised Gatun Lake in the afternoon then transited the other locks at night. Seeing them at night was interesting too, again an experience other cruise ships miss. We finally reached the Pacific at around midnight. The next day was at sea. I took advantage of the Judith Jackson Spa. I found it to be fairly equivalent to spas on other large ships. Nice but nothing special. My husband used the exercise facilities many times and was very pleased with them. Nice equipment and good hours of operation. A few more comments about the cabins: the beds seem larger than the European kings found on other ships, but not quite a full king. The Judith Jackson toiletries are wonderful. In addition to plush terry robes, the cabins have a (good) hairdryer, a shoehorn, and an umbrella. The TV is a little hard to use and reception is variable. There is a great channel which continually updates information about the ship's position, speed etc. The temperature readings always seemed off - it was usually 115 degrees outside according to the TV!! Dinner menus can be found on another channel. This last evening there was a farewell reception, similar to the welcome reception. Dinner the last night in the Compass Rose was a disaster. They were not prepared for every one to come to dinner after the reception. We waited for 25 minutes at the door before anyone even acknowledged our presence. The food was below par and the service rushed. The Compass Rose suffers from a seemingly easily fixable problem in that no Maitre d' is consistently at either the front or rear entrance although there are stands at both entrances for that purpose. As a result, passengers wander into the dining room and have a hard time getting seated efficiently. Also, the Maitre d' is a bit too pushy about suggesting that couples share tables with other couples. If I ask for a table for two, that's what I want. None of these problems are overly significant though and I'm sure RSSC will work them out. Tipping is never mentioned and did not seem expected. We saw a few people tip servers with whom they had developed a good relationship (we did as well) and it was graciously received. Disembarkation went fairly smoothly even though all the berths in Puerto Caldera were full. We just had to wait for the Windsong to move. The tour with lunch to the Poas volcano was fantastic! The Camino Real Intercontinental was a lovely hotel. I would strongly encourage people to stay at least one day in Costa Rica. Overall, this has been the nicest ship I've ever sailed on. It exceeded my expectations, especially for a maiden voyage. This ship will have no peers in a short time once a few minor things are ironed out. I'm a RSSC convert; next time it's Tahiti on the Paul Gauguin for our 10th anniversary. I hope everyone has enjoyed this review. I tried to be as objective as possible.March 2001 Read Less
Untitled Document Western Caribbean Ft. Lauderdale – Nassau, Bahamas – At Sea – Ocho Rios, Jamaica – Georgetown, Grand Cayman – At Sea – Key West, Florida – Ft. Lauderdale SNAPSHOT ... Read More
Untitled Document Western Caribbean Ft. Lauderdale – Nassau, Bahamas – At Sea – Ocho Rios, Jamaica – Georgetown, Grand Cayman – At Sea – Key West, Florida – Ft. Lauderdale SNAPSHOT The Radisson Seven Seas Mariner is an attractive 50,000 tonne ship, contemporary and proportionate in its design, with soft, flowing lines. Mariner’s remarkable space ratio of 71.4 provides guests with a great deal of space to move about and there is never any sense of crowding. As the first all-suite, all-balcony vessel of its kind, the Mariner offers spacious, attractive, and very practical guest accommodations for its 700 guests. Issues exist with the small bathtub/shower combination and the inadequate balcony partitions, though. The multiple dining restaurants are all elegant in their design and appearance, and first-rate in quality of food and service. The in-suite dining experience is nothing short of extraordinary. Various public rooms, lounges and areas serve different purposes and, for the most part, are all sensibly designed, decorated and configured. Nice touches such as included gratuities, complimentary wines, bottled water and soft drinks are provided. Service throughout the ship is consistent and excellent. We have deemed the Radisson Seven Seas cruising experience aboard Mariner as one of “simple elegance and sophistication.” FOR STARTERS We initiated our “respite from reality” a day early in Ft. Lauderdale (as well as extending it), choosing to stay at the oceanfront Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, a 15-story resort with exceptional views of the Atlantic Ocean, and located 10 minutes from the cruise ship pier (a $10 cab ride). Lush, tropical landscaping with waterfalls and garden walkways abound. While the hotel can tend to be “busy”, plenty of areas for escape to peace and quiet are easily found. Pay the premium for an oceanfront category on one of the upper floors, and in the 07 through 37 blocks, which provide direct, unobstructed and panoramic vistas of the beach and ocean beyond. The sounds and views of the sparkling Atlantic and its crashing surf are worth the additional cost. As well, the resort is located less than a mile north of the entrance to the inter-coastal where all the ships arrive and depart from Port Everglades, and from your room you can easily watch the parade of cruise ships. Better yet, do as we did, pack some beverages and take the twenty minute stroll down the pristine beach to witness the magical evening exodus of the departing ships from a mere distance of 75 yards. It all gets underway at about 4:30. And, if you’re so inclined, you can wake at 5 in the morning to watch them arrive – albeit in the dark. FIRST IMPRESSIONS The RSSC cruise documents clearly spell it out – embarkation is between 3 pm and 5 pm, although you’ll likely be comfortably accommodated in one of the ship’s lounges prior to that time. Consider an alternative: Arrive a day early, stay at the Harbor Beach Marriott, request late checkout (1 pm), enjoy the beautiful pool area, have lunch, and head to the pier at 3:30 pm. We arrived at 3:45 to a nearly empty Port Everglades, since all ships had boarded, and we registered effortlessly at the RSSC desk. At time of registration, our cruise account was also established, and moments later we were at the main reception area of the ship where our security photos were taken, followed by a champagne toast, and an escort to our suite. All completed in less than 10 minutes. Our luggage was about 5 minutes behind us. Nice and smooth. HOME, SUITE, HOME We had originally booked a Category H guarantee, which subsequently was upgraded by Radisson to a Category D on Deck 10. The standard suite provides 252 square feet of stateroom area and a 49 square foot balcony. We actually ended up upgrading to a Category B Penthouse Suite, deciding that the additional 124 square feet of interior space, and additional 24 square feet of teak balcony, was worth the incremental cost. We noted that the balcony of the Category B stateroom was entirely unobstructed in that there was no raised “lip” (about 12 inches) as there was on the balcony of the Category C stateroom. A small fact, perhaps, and likely not noted by many, but we wanted as much visual access from the balcony as possible. The Penthouse Suite interior is beautifully designed, and very functional. Containing a comfortable living area with a wrap-around couch, complete with a small table, and armchair with footrest, this suite provides an abundance of room to relax or entertain. The living area leads to large floor-to-ceiling windows, and a sliding glass door to the balcony allows easy access to the beauty of the outdoors. Opposite to the couch stands a large wall unit, stretching floor to ceiling, and it stores the mini-bar, television/VCR, writing desk and assorted drawer space. The bedroom area is nicely separated from the living area through use of dual decorative columns and attractive curtains that may be drawn. Close by is the roomy walk-in closet that is quite able to handle a wardrobe for the longest voyage. And with the handy laundry facility on board, there is no need to over-pack. A vanity area and a second armchair with footrest complete the bedroom configuration. This suite (as like all others aboard Mariner) is tastefully decorated and very inviting. The only major concern with the suite’s interior is the design of the bathtub/shower combination. If you’re six feet plus, you’re quite likely to bruise your head trying to shower. If you’re vertically challenged, climbing into the tub is an event on its own since the tub’s base itself is raised off the floor, and the high sides of the tub will challenge even the finest Olympic hurdler. As was first done with Radisson’s Navigator, there should have been a separate shower installed. The new Radisson ship Voyager, due out in 2003, will have such a configuration, so Radisson obviously realized the mistake with Mariner. Minor grievances include the European King size bed, which is much narrower than a North American King size. The TV/VCR unit is difficult to operate and the choice of in-house films and satellite channels less than stellar. CNN, CNN-Headline News and ESPN are the satellite networks, although TNT was advertised in the program guide. While CNN and ESPN are a must, surely Radisson can expand the programming to provide a better variety. How about Nickelodeon’s “Nick at Night” or ABC’s Monday Night Football? While on the subject of in-suite television and video entertainment, the film video library was another disappointment. Any of the interesting videos that were available were snapped up right away, and of the remaining that were remotely interesting, the quality of some tapes was poor. We had the opportunity to tour the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator in Key West, and already a full day into their itinerary, the video library aboard that ship was impressive, with many great films still available. Our biggest disappointment with our suite, however, and the Mariner as a whole, was the balcony partitions. In our view, the partitions are ridiculously inadequate, in that each is 4 by 6½ feet, leaving a 16-inch wide gap from the balcony rail to the front edge of the partition, and a 4-inch gap between the back edge of the partition and the suite itself. If you’re of the social kind and love to mingle with your neighbors, then you’ll be just fine. Better yet if you’re a voyeur. If, however, you’re like us, and view your balcony as a place of respite, privacy and solitude, think again. You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your neighbors, and you’re at the mercy of the cruise line in that you don’t know who is going to end up beside you. Not meaning to belabor the point (well, maybe just a little), but how cruise designers, and subsequently cruise lines such as Radisson, can accept balcony partitions designed as they are on the Mariner (and on many other cruise ships), is baffling to us. Especially on a ship such as the Mariner, which is marketed by Radisson as “uncompromising quality”, it would appear Radisson has discounted that its guests might be looking for peace, quiet and respite on their balcony. And Heaven help you if you’re downwind of a smoker. Although the balcony’s privacy leaves much to be desired, Mariner’s Penthouse Suite is still one of the nicest suites afloat that we’ve come across, combining roomy living and sleeping areas, while maintaining a close connection with the sea from either, due to the large floor to ceiling windows, and no solid balustrade on that not-so-private balcony. The Mariner and Master Suites are home to the most private balconies (verandas), but you pay the price. We had the opportunity to tour most of Mariner’s suite categories and would offer the following observations. For the ultimate, the Master Suite is a gorgeous two-bedroom layout, complete with a huge, private forward facing veranda. The veranda has a protected portion, with a glass-enclosed area outfitted with lounge chairs and a teak dining set – table and 4 chairs. If price isn’t a concern, this is the place to be. The Mariner Suite is a very attractive two-room retreat, with the living room and the bedroom each embracing the very private balcony. Unfortunately, the price of the Mariner Suite is still one of those “if you have to ask, then you probably can’t afford it.” The Horizon, Seven Seas and Grand Suites are practical layouts, different only by the size of the suite and balcony. A common theme across these suites that we found disappointing (except for the Seven Seas Forward) is the bedroom areas tend to be set away to an interior corner of the suite and, thus, lose much of any connection to the sea. If you’re the type of cruiser who prefers quiet as opposed to the sound of the ocean at night, then this won’t be a problem in these suites. But if you’re like us and relish the sounds of the ship dancing with the swells, then these suites could potentially drive you to sleeping out in the living area by the balcony door. The other comments we’ll make are directed to the suites located aft; balcony partitions are also less than private, you might feel you’re staying next to a waterfall (ship’s wake), and there always seemed to be a prevailing, albeit slight, scent of engine exhaust in the air. The standard suite aboard Mariner is a comfortable arrangement, although the living area is somewhat “cozy” with a small couch, table, chair, and wall unit. The narrow design of the suite may cause claustrophobia for longer voyages, but is likely quite suitable for the shorter durations. However, we ourselves were very glad to have upgraded to a Penthouse Suite. One final, small (but nice to have) feature is the doorbell at the suite door. The soft sound of a chime is much more welcome than a startling rap. IF FOOD BE THE MUSIC OF LOVE, PLAY ON (oh, wait a minute ...) Five dining venues, plus a pool grill, are available aboard the Mariner, and we took advantage of each. We relished the open seating, when-you-darn-well-feel-like-it dining policy, having previously been tied to a specific time and table on all our previous cruises. We fell in love with the in-suite dining, choosing to have all our breakfasts, most lunches and a few dinners in the privacy and comfort of our suite. Radisson has hit the mark with this service, and should be complimented for providing a top-notch experience for its guests. Starting with the specially fitted table-top, retrieved seemingly from out of nowhere by the waiter, a table for two is created inside of a minute, complete with crisp linens, crystal, and china. Ordered meals are served a course at a time, with impeccable timing, and the quality of food and service is as good as at any other dining venue on board. Dining on exquisite creations, dressed in your comfortable terry cloth robe, while the sea rushes by you just feet away, and the warm Caribbean breezes tickle at your toes, well, enough said. Exceptional. As for the other venues, we dined in the reservations-required Signatures and Latitudes. The service and food quality was very good at these highly touted restaurants, although we left Signatures somewhat “peckish” since the portions were small across the appetizer, entrée and dessert. We felt Signatures to be over-rated, having come aboard expecting something extra special. Signatures is worth a visit, but just one visit. Latitudes’ portions, too, were small, but plentiful, at this “tasting” restaurant. No need to call room service as we did after Signatures. The Compass Rose restaurant, the largest of all venues, is an attractive dining room, well staffed and offering varied menus. No complaint with the quality of food or service and we would remark it is very similar to that of Crystal Cruises’ dining rooms. The nicest dining experience we enjoyed (with the exception of the in-suite dining) occurred at La Veranda Restaurant with its Mediterranean Bistro theme that provides for the opportunity to dine al fresco. With the distant, twinkling lights of Key West visible from our private candle-lit corner table, we delighted in fare such as fresh antipasti, grilled Prawns with Risotto, and flambé Mango and Vanilla Ice Cream, as the warm Caribbean air circled around us. Perfect, perfect, perfect. As for the pool grill, the standard items are available – including steak sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and salads. All freshly prepared, to order, and delicious. No pizza, unfortunately, although you can order it to your suite through room service. It, too, was delicious. Afternoon Tea was served in either the Horizon or Observation lounges. The Observation lounge is a much nicer venue to enjoy tea with better sea vistas through the floor to ceiling windows. The tea service itself is fairly simple with Lipton as the “house tea” and special teas by request. There is also a self-serve sandwich table. Some improvements would be welcome for the afternoon tea set-up, as it certainly isn’t up to the same standard embraced by Crystal Cruises. A table for two in any of the dining locations was never a problem for us and it seemed that most guests preferred dining in this manner. Obtaining reservations at the specialty restaurants is simple and we had no difficulties receiving our desired dining time or requested table for two. There was absolutely no pressure to dine with anyone else unless desired to do so. Special note to make is the beverage policy aboard the Radisson ships. Complimentary bar set-up and unlimited replenishment of soft drinks and bottled water is a big plus. It was a welcome relief to find continuously stocked water in our fridge, without having to pay for it. This is the kind of benefit that should be standard on all luxury cruise lines (without mentioning names). Right Crystal? Oops, it slipped out. As well, the availability of 10% or 18% cream for your coffee is a nice touch, something we could not get consistently when sailing Crystal. The coffee’s very good, too. As for the complimentary poured wines, that was a welcome bonus, as the wines served were very good quality. For example, one evening of in-suite dining was accompanied with bottles of excellent Saint-Emilion and Pouilley-Fuissé wines. IF YOU PLEASE, SIR Service levels across all ship hotel areas are consistent. The staff performed their duties promptly, efficiently, and pleasantly. For dining, no need to ask for water refills, fresh ground pepper, or additional warm bread and rolls. And, yes, they even remember your favorite beverage. The room service staff (both telephone and wait staff) deserves special recognition for their superior level of service and care that made in-suite dining such a highlight. Service from staff outside the dining areas is also very friendly, warm and efficient. Our inquiries and requests always met with willing smiles and timely follow-up. OUT AND ABOUT The Mariner exudes a feel of a traditional ship with a sedate, muted décor. Much artwork is placed throughout the hallways, lounges and other public rooms, and the ship has a definite cosy and intimate feel to it. The Mariner, as one would expect, is in immaculate condition. A very high standard of care is obviously exercised and it’s reflected in the cleanliness and overall appearance throughout. However, there’s no particular focal point of the ship that we would deem as “striking”, for example, the atrium entrance to Crystal’s Symphony (or Harmony) ships. While all Mariner’s lounges and such are, for the most part, bright and spacious, there is a theme of simplicity throughout, thus our label of the Mariner as “simple elegance and sophistication.” What’s noticeably missing is a connection with the sea, as there are few large windows that allow for panoramic views of the outside land or seascape. On either side of the ship on Deck 7 is a working promenade (not wraparound), with very little incentive for guest traffic, and to which a number of lounges and hallways look out upon. The fitness complex is rather small, and is sectioned into two areas, with one containing the standard array of treadmills, stair-steppers, and other cardio equipment. A larger-than-required aerobics area is adjacent and was seldom utilized. The treadmills were positioned facing a number of picture windows but these windows were really inadequate in size to allow in the beauty of the outside. For some reason, Radisson has installed a small television at each individual piece of cardio equipment that makes the area awfully noisy when a busy crowd abounds (and on this cruise, the days at sea meant a noisy gym). There is a universal weight gym that may only be used by one guest at a time due to a single weight stack; we observed that there occasionally was a wait for guests to use this piece of equipment. Located on the starboard side, opposite the fitness complex, is the Judith Jackson Spa, which offers various services and facilities. Important to note is to that if you do not reserve a Spa treatment as soon as you board, forget about getting any (of the most popular) treatments at all. Radisson’s shipboard credit program means that’s where guests head as soon as they get on board. We accepted that as the penalty for joining the ship later in the afternoon – no available Spa appointments and poor selection of film videos from the library. C’est la vie. The theatre is attractive, subdued and unassuming, and provides excellent sightlines from every vantage point. The library is much smaller then expected, and actually is not so much a room as it is an alcove. The choice of reading material was similar to that of the film videos – inadequate. Mariner’s casino is small and intimate with a mix of tables and slots, and the table play tended to start later in the evening. The slots area was a fairly quiet and sedate environment during the times we challenged the one-armed bandits. The computer room is actively used but there was never a shortage of workstations. Radisson charges by the second for its Internet use, but only when page data is being loaded; the result is a fairly inexpensive means of staying in touch with the outside world. It’s also less expensive to utilize your own personal email account as opposed to having an email account through Radisson. As for the shopping arcade, there are only two boutique stores on board, which are located in separate areas. The largest boutique has a mix of fashion and jewellery articles for sale but does not really entice one to enter. For those inclined to physical activity outdoors, there are paddle tennis and shuffleboard courts (no teak for the shuffleboard, however) located aft. The paddle tennis court is covered with a mesh net that is hung far too low, and a number of finely placed ball returns failed when contacting the net above. A golf driving and putting area is also located adjacent to the paddle tennis court. Radisson should invest in upgrading the golf equipment as the drivers and irons were in poor condition (where’s the Calloways?). The outside public areas and sunning spaces are adequate, with an upper walking/jogging “track” encircling the lower pool area. Two hundred times around equalled a mile…well, maybe it was only eleven times around, but it seemed like more. We sorely missed a wraparound promenade deck for those invigorating “sea walks.” The pool area itself was somewhat disappointing with few decorative touches such as floral displays or tropical plants. The area was actively used but never crowded. Radisson should do something to diminish the sterile ambience. Keep in mind there is no cinema, café, or ice cream bar on Mariner, as there is on similar upscale vessels, such as the Crystal ships. As a result, there isn’t the greatest motivation to get out and explore the ship. THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! The entertainment program varied between Broadway-style reviews, cabaret, and a piano/guitar ensemble, in addition to guest lecturers and other enrichment activities. Due to the lure of our suite, combined with the later start of most entertainment (9:45 pm), we just didn’t make it out to any of the shows and, therefore, are unable to offer any comments as to the calibre of entertainment. We’re sure it was very nice… THE NEIGHBORHOOD We observed a wide range of age groups aboard this particular cruise, with very few under the age of 20. For the most part, it was an older crowd, with many estimated in their late 50’s and beyond. Of the remaining, there seemed to be an even representation from the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s age groups. Disappointingly, there was an assortment of guests (in their 30’s and early 40’s) who conducted themselves in a manner that was more suited to a Carnival cruise, with loud, boisterous behavior, complete with bare feet in the public rooms and hallways. Where’s the gangplank when you need it? Whether this was due to a number of cruise groups, including travel agents, who were apparently on board, one can only surmise, but it was unexpected, and disappointing, to observe poor behavior on a cruise line of this calibre. WHERE TO TODAY? Western Caribbean. Nassau, Ocho Rios, Georgetown, Key West. Itinerary was not a real influence in taking this cruise, and since this was a repeat itinerary for us (except for Key West), we did not spend much time off the Mariner. One note of observation regarding the docking pattern for the Mariner. In Ocho Rios, the Mariner docked directly at the Bauxite mill, which provided a very undesirable view for passengers on the starboard side of the ship. In Key West, the Mariner was docked at the former Navy Dock, and while the centre of “tourist” town (Mallory Square) was only ¼ to ½ mile away (in a straight line), it would be quite a swim to get there since that direct line meant crossing a harbor channel. The result was a 15-minute shuttle through the former Navy base, including three security checkpoints, aboard a Conch train. The Navigator was located right at the Mallory Square dock which allowed passengers to disembark right at the centre of the action. We concluded that the starboard side on this itinerary was not the preferred side to be located and one would be better off on the Port side. IT'S OVER, PLEASE LEAVE Simple. Up at 7, breakfast in our suite, out by 8 and off by 9. Due to the high space ratio of the Mariner, it was easy to find a quiet corner to await your debarkation call. LASTING IMPRESSION Undeniably, the flexibility and quality in its dining, particularly the in-suite dining, attractive guest suites, special inclusive touches, and high guest space ratio are reasons enough to sail Mariner again and again. And while we could argue the Crystal ships may have slightly more attractive interiors and additional incentives for leaving your suite then Mariner does, you will be hard-pressed to match the overall value that Radisson delivers. We couldn’t imagine returning to a rigid dining assignment (and forget about those so-called free-style, personal choice dining arrangements), or having to pay for bottled water or soft drinks. As for the issue of Mariner’s inadequate balcony partitions, Radisson should consider retrofitting the existing partitions with proper privacy dividers. Or, at the least, giving its guests the opportunity to interview their prospective neighbors. With either unlikely to happen, the lack of balcony privacy is the only reason we could find that would dissuade us from choosing the Mariner again – or at least waiting until our lottery win so as to afford the Mariner or Master Suites. All considered, though, Radisson delivers a very, very good cruise experience. ccccccc@canada.com Read Less
This is a brand new 700-passenger ship, all balcony suites. They are awesome - big and well appointed. (But no clock other than that on the VCR, which is not visible from the bed.) The ship is very roomy, no sense of crowding, very ... Read More
This is a brand new 700-passenger ship, all balcony suites. They are awesome - big and well appointed. (But no clock other than that on the VCR, which is not visible from the bed.) The ship is very roomy, no sense of crowding, very comfortable public rooms. The library and computer areas are particularly fine. There are four dining areas with open seating, although two of them require reservations. Because of the open seating the dining rooms are somewhat restricted in what they do for entertainment - no Baked Alaska parade! Embarkation and disembarkation left something to be desired. Although we arrived at the terminal before 1pm we were not allowed to board until three, and there was no buffet setup - just a glass of champagne. At the end of the cruise we were turned out of the suites at eight, and off the ship by nine. There were thirty wheel chairs and instead of letting them (and assorted zimmers, walkers etc) dismbark first, they had to follow the color-coding scheme, which meant that they were bunched up before the gangway area. There are a number of design problems. Art, of course, is a personal taste, but that on display can only be described as undistinguished. The Atrium goes up seven or eight decks, but is rather narrow and one wall consists of the workings of the elevators, which is really ugly. It is not a place to sit and watch the world go by. There are not enough public restrooms; several of them consist of large spaces with only one stall, and the ladies complained about having to line up inside. There are no hooks to hang coats on. The food and service received much hype, but there are problems. Wait staff should not wear perfume or aftershave. In some dining rooms there appeared to be too many personnel, which meant that the attention one received varied considerably. The chef seems more concerned with eye appeal than palate appeal - some concoctions gave us to believe that he really had no idea how they were supposed to taste. The pastry chef was first class, but had lapses - chilled crepes stuffed with chocolate mousse and banana, cold potato pancakes. What do you think of a rosemary and thyme flavored sorbet? There was one dessert described as apple and pear crumble; the apple crumble was acceptable, but it was topped by a stone hard slice of pear which was obviously not meant to be edible. Some fish dishes were overcooked. The menu in the Cordon Bleu Signature restaurant did not change from night to night; altogether, we had the impression that the food all came from the same kitchen, like Disney World. I was surprised when I asked for a tomato soup (not on the menu) and was told that it was not available. Other service issues: deck chairs were put out daily only on the pool deck; the sun deck would have been a good place to sunbathe. Also, on windy days deck six would have been a great place to bundle up and lie on, in the best traditions of Atlantic cruising. It was not to be. The entertainment was acceptable, but the cruise staff did not do much for the passengers. Most of the activities centered on exercise, which given the average age of the passengers seemed a little optimistic. The lectures were good. Conclusion: as a floating hotel, particularly for the old and infirm, this is the ship. It is not a cruise ship as I understand the phrase (and I have been on over twenty ship voyages ranging from five weeks to four days.) Topmost@aol.comApril,2001 Read Less
We flew to Ft. Lauderdale on the 8th and arrived around 1:15 p.m. We asked the RSSC rep how many guests they were waiting on and we were told four. Wow, there are normally hundreds on the other lines waiting for a bus. Anyway we were ... Read More
We flew to Ft. Lauderdale on the 8th and arrived around 1:15 p.m. We asked the RSSC rep how many guests they were waiting on and we were told four. Wow, there are normally hundreds on the other lines waiting for a bus. Anyway we were off to claim our baggage and into a cab a little after 1:30. It was only a ten minute, $10 ride and we were at Pier 21. Now we are on our way. A brief trip inside to the terminal desk shows only four people being registered. We are immediately taken care of and an imprint of my credit card is made. It is now just before two o'clock. Anyone having cruised before will realize how expedient this process has been so far. We were informed before they do not board prior to three o'clock. Well not this time. We are escorted immediately to the ship stopping only for a security picture and a boarding photo opportunity. We are told that our room would be ready at three. Upon boarding our small carry on bags are taken by a steward, a glass of champagne is offered and were are escorted to the Mariner Bar for a snack and more champagne. At this point we are immediately impressed with the look of the ship. She is truly beautiful. Just before three we are told our room is ready. Upon rising from our chair our bags are once again taken from us and we are escorted to our room. Our room was a cat H on deck seven. This was the least expensive cabin but in all honesty it was centrally located to most everything. Doing the ship again I would request the same category and floor. We enter the room and are amazed at the dEcor, craftsmanship and expanse. Many pictures are available on various websites but you can't get a real feel until you see it for yourself. It is not pretentious yet has an elegant look. Throughout the ship the same theme look repeats. The wood is gorgeous and everything is of the highest quality. Our luggage arrived before we did. Another pleasant surprise. Lots of room in the closet and the bathroom is huge. The tub is odd in that it is so high off the floor and tall folks have a tough time in the shower. I'm 6 feet tall and my head could touch the ceiling over the tub if I tried. Well, the glass of champagne (which was refilled twice before getting to our room) is now empty. An iced bottle is there waiting courtesy of Radisson. A second bottle is there as a gift from American Express for being a Platinum member. Also we find two shipboard credits. A $200 book and deposit credit from Radisson and an AMEX Platinum member credit of $300. My wife is determined to use it all. Two bottles of vodka, 2 beers and an array of mixers and soft drinks are in the fridge. Almost forgot, no lock on the fridge door. One bottle of vodka is sent back and a bottle of red wine replaces it. Canyon Road Cabernet. Nice wine. The beer and spirits are not replaced but the mixers, soft drinks and water are always replaced. Out to the teak floored balcony to try our own champagne. Wonderful view without Plexiglas panels. I guess this is because there are so few children on board this line. On this cruise there were two wonderful kids still in strollers. They never screamed or cried. Kudos to the parents of these kids. We put the keeper on the champagne and off to explore the ship after unpacking. We went down to deck five where we had embarked to the reception desk to get a ship map. On the way another glass of champagne is placed in our hands. The purser's staff is efficient and oh so polite. The layout map though is large and we thought it would be nice to downsize it a bit. No matter it was not needed for long. The ship is easy to find your way around. By the way she does not seem small at 50,000 tons. The layout is done perfect with entries to lounges and other rooms only on one side. This allows the rooms to be larger. The Observation Lounge and the Horizon Lounge have the feeling of being large but comfortable. Honestly to me the ship seemed to be in the 70,000 ton class due to the efficient ingress and egress into the ship spaces. The mandatory safety drill was effortless and comfortable. We assembled in a lounge for rehearsal of the drill. The poor folks on a Royal Caribbean ship across from us stood in the western sun of the promenade deck for what seemed like 30 minutes. Thank you RSSC. Off we sailed at 6:00 for our best cruise yet. We did dinner tonight in La Veranda which becomes a Bistro at night. This is the breakfast and lunch buffet area during the day. At night they cleverly close off a portion (the buffet area) of the restaurant to make an intimate dining area. Here comes the wine. Woo, we hardly had recovered from the afternoon champagne. An excellent white wine in a bottomless glass as well as another excellent selection of red. I love wine and this cruise did not disappoint. Dinner was great with the best Tiramisu for desert. Tonight was a casual night and it was nice to see many of the men in sport coats. Friday brings an at sea day as we head for Grand Cayman. It is nice to relax and explore more of the ship. We really love sea days. After breakfast we look for a chaise by the pool. No problem finding two together. When more are needed a pool attendant sets more up. At times we wonder where the rest of the guests are. After inquiring we find there are between 440 and 450 passengers out of 700 or so. This is great! Lunch all days is in La Veranda and the pool grill. We get a steak sandwich and pair it with a good salad from the buffet. The selections are numerous and delicious. Always plenty of cold seafood like crab claws, shrimp, mussels and wonderful seafood salads. Tonight is formal night and there are many tuxedos and many dark suits. Only a very few non-conformers but a least all gents had a jacket. We did dinner this evening in Signatures. Remember to make a reservation. This is the Cordon Bleu Restaurant and the service and wine were excellent. The room is candlelit and romantic. The food was good but not remarkable. After dinner it is off to the casino to rid my pocket of some loose bills. The slots are very tight and there are quarter and dollar machines in a smallish area. The casino is a separate room that you don't have to pass through. Very little smoke as there are not many smokers on the cruise. What a pleasant surprise. There is one mini-craps table, one roulette wheel and three blackjack tables. They make the table totally fill before opening another. I swear I counted 9 at one table. The dealers are very pleasant as are all the staff on board. I will not discuss the ports but will comment on the docking. Cayman is a tendering stop. At Cozumel we docked in town and spent one and a half days there. No taxi needed. In Key West we docked at the Hilton Marina. No need for the tram. This was appreciated though I do wish we had an overnight here instead of Cozumel. We assumed there would be three casual nights, one formal night and three informal nights on board. We were wrong and definitely over packed the good stuff. We ended up with only one informal night and most were dressed in country club attire (open collar with jacket). The ladies looked great each and every night. Not overdone, just great. One guest lecture we really enjoyed were the proprietors of Dry Creek Vineyards. A husband and wife who had a true passion for their art. The first lecture and tasting brought out four different Fume' Blanc's and the second meeting they sampled Zinfandel, red not white. Their products were excellent and they answered many questions. They even politely ignored the French person who stated "French wines are far superior to California". Typical and rude remark. We ate at all four restaurants. We liked the Bistro (La Veranda) for its small size and wonderful service. Signatures is a must do one time only. The Compass Rose looks like a standard large main restaurant. The service was very good as were the wines and food. Remember Radisson pours excellent complimentary wines with dinner. There is a list of different wines so if you don't like the evening suggestion ask for the list. We were fond of the Pinot Grigio and the Red Bordeaux. The most memorable dinner to me was our time in Latitudes the other reservation required restaurant. The evening we dined there was a wine pairing tasting menu with more wines from Dry Creek Vineyards. The menu here is fixed. You sit down and they bring you a sampling of appetizers, soups and entrees. It was a difficult menu for the Dry Creek folks to pair but they did an excellent job. Try their wines if you see them in the store. One downside to the cruise occurred the final evening aboard. We were weary after a long day in Key West and wanted to eat in La Veranda. Honda had about ninety people on board and they reserved the restaurant this evening. They had reserved the horizon lounge one other evening. I would have appreciated Radisson putting a note in the daily news stating this. The final morning we asked for room service before our departure. When it arrived the waiter set up our table and it was large enough for our big breakfast and us. They hide a table top under the couch. White linen, china, silver and the best coffee ever on a cruise ship. We waited longer than what we were told was normal for the ship to start debarkation. Some passengers did not show up for immigration as ordered. Our color though was called first. There are basically two groups. Those with fights before noon and those after. Down the ramp we went and easily found our bags. Many taxis were waiting and we were on our way to the airport. To sum it up: This was our most enjoyable cruise ever. We have done ten now. The ship is very quiet but the disco does wind up around 10:30. For us it was so relaxing. The staff was excellent, always had a smile and a greeting. No tipping. Great complimentary wines at dinner. The best food yet. A great cabin and a wonderful vacation. We will visit her again. Feel free to send comments and questions. rpetersen1@charter.netFebruary 2002 Read Less
First, I would like to thank Cruise Critic for giving Host Richard the go-ahead to arrange the CruiseCritic.com cocktail party. It was a lot of fun & we met some really great people who were our friends throughout the cruise. And ... Read More
First, I would like to thank Cruise Critic for giving Host Richard the go-ahead to arrange the CruiseCritic.com cocktail party. It was a lot of fun & we met some really great people who were our friends throughout the cruise. And thanks, Richard for doing all the work. The Mariner is a beautiful ship of understated elegance. We had a standard stateroom which was just like any of the photos you've seen. Plenty of storage & extremely comfortable. The verandah was just about my favorite place to be during the day. I think a comment had been previously made about the comforters on the beds. The king beds have two comforters so whenever I rolled over I ended up being uncovered because they weren't wide enough. They also were not long enough. Next time I will definitely ask for sheets & blanket. The walk-in closet was huge & had more than enough of the assorted hangers. The bathroom was the largest I've had on a ship--very spacious with lots of shelves. You've probably already read in some reviews that the shower ceiling is too low. This is very true. I'm 5'9" & I felt like Alice in Wonderland. My husband's head skimmed the ceiling at 6 ft. so I'm sure it was very uncomfortable for taller people. One feature the ship was lacking was a full promenade deck. This one was simply a work area for the crew & a staging area for loading the lifeboats. I hope Radisson includes a traditional wrap-around promenade deck on their next ship. Other than your verandah, the pool deck & sun decks were the only places you could be outside on the ship. Speaking of which, the pool deck is huge & there were plenty of lounges. We enjoyed eating at the Pool Grill which offered hamburgers & hot dogs & a self-serve bar of side items. On many days, there was also an outdoor buffet (in addition to the regular buffet in La Verandah) with differing food themes. The computer lab could probably use a few more computers. Many of them weren't working properly and a computer instructor was not often seen in the lab. Users were asking other users how to use the computers. Not a problem but it did add to a lot of extra conversation while some people were trying to concentrate. The price of accessing the Internet was very inexpensive because we were not charged while reading a page, only upload or download time was billed & that was 75 cents a minute, in one second increments. Can't beat that. All of the restaurants were lovely. The food was excellent. We found the menu in the Compass Rose to be varied & the food well prepared & beautifully presented. Service in the main dining room was very good but many times the waiters seemed harried. Taking care of so many tables that were at different stages of service really kept them on their toes. I posted an earlier review [on Cruise Critic's Cruise Boards] of Signatures while on the ship. BTW, there's no problem with getting a table for two in Compass Rose. Just time it either early in the dining time or mid-way when there might be turnover. The interior of the ship was beautiful & comfortable. Plenty of tables & chairs throughout to sit any time to read, people watch, or just look out the window. The windows were covered with blinds which gave a cozy atmosphere, but it was no problem to just pull them up to get a clear view out. The artwork throughout the ship is really good. Take the time to go on an art walk, this includes all the stateroom decks as well as the public areas. Service in the lounges & on the pool deck was not as good as I've had on other lines where the servers work for tips (it wasn't bad; just not as good). In one lounge that was the gathering area for the dining room, there appeared to be a shortage of waiters & it would often take quite a long time before they'd come around for a drink order. We usually had to flag them down. The service, however, was very friendly, if not prompt. In fact, all of the staff with whom we crossed paths were extremely friendly & courteous. Speaking of lounges, we usually had pre-dinner drinks & often had an after-dinner drink in one of the lounges. The price of drinks was so inexpensive that we didn't feel badly about paying for drinks even though we had a bar setup in our suite. I would love to see other lines adopt this type of drink policy. The Observation Lounge was our favorite after-dinner gathering place where Kemble entertained us with his singing & piano playing. He was a real treat so try to get up there to see him. The smoking policy on the Mariner was very ambiguous. The theater & a couple of lounges were non-smoking, but, otherwise, there was no "smoking policy" on board. I've been on other ships where they designate one side to be non-smoking, unless you're in your room or in one of the non-smoking lounges. However, there was no such designation on the Mariner. On the pool deck, all the tables had ashtrays on them so there was no one side you could go to if you wanted to avoid all smoke. We were later told that one half of the Observation Lounge was non-smoking but there were no signs nor was it ever stated in "Passages," the ship's newsletter. I think Radisson could be a little clearer on this issue. Radisson seems to offer a very refined type of cruise; but in my opinion, it may be little too refined. Bingo was so boring that we didn't go back. There was no noontime band. I don't need glitz or constant activity, but I do like there to be a festive atmosphere. Perhaps I'm in the minority since I was among one of the younger groups of passengers on this cruise (and I'm not that young). An area that needs vast improvement is their embarkation & disembarkation procedures. For a line of this caliber, it was a joke. It was the proverbial "hurry up & wait." Radisson really needs to work on this area of passenger service. Disembarkation was worse. There were just 65 of us disembarking in San Diego, but they hadn't worked out a good system for passengers to pick up their passports & turn in customs forms. It was not a smooth procedure & it took us 2 hours to get off the ship from the time they told us to report to pick up our passports until the time we walked off the ship. I think this all comes under the heading of "details" which Radisson, in my opinion, is not very good at handling. I heard similar grumblings from other passengers. I hope they start paying attention to this because enough times of things not going smoothly, whether it's before, during, or at the end of the cruise, takes away from the wonderful cruise experience they're trying to offer. All in all, it was a fabulous cruise of greats: food, accommodations, service, weather, and new friends. And even with my so-called negative comments about things which are mostly fixable, we have reserved space on the new "Voyager" coming out in 2003. And I would go on this ship again in a heartbeat. lovebora@aol.com June, 2001 Read Less
Just returned home to Florida from the RSSC Mariner's cruise to the Leeward Islands out of San Juan. From the moment that we arrived at the dock to board the ship, everyone and everything exceeded our expectations! Superb does not ... Read More
Just returned home to Florida from the RSSC Mariner's cruise to the Leeward Islands out of San Juan. From the moment that we arrived at the dock to board the ship, everyone and everything exceeded our expectations! Superb does not adequately describe our cruise experience. We have been on other cruises. A suite on Celebrity with butler service does not approach the experience that we enjoyed on Mariner. The suite was spacious and had more closet and drawer space than my husband and I could use. The bathroom was beautifully appointed. Our cabin steward and stewardess were very attentive to all our needs and wants. The ship overall conveys an understated sense of gracious luxury. Everything is tastefully done without "shouting and working at it". One major asset is the entire ship's staff. Everyone is extremely well trained in the art of fine service. What a treat! The dining venues offer contrasting menus that we thoroughly appreciated. Lattitudes has an Asian infusion menu that was described as a tasting menu. Service was impeccable and the food memorable. Our only regret was that we were only permitted one reservation. Similarly one reservation was permitted in the Cordon Blu restaurant Signatures. Here the menu had a French flair and the rack of lamb was outstanding. We also enjoyed the Compass Rose, the main dining room, which does not require a reservation. Here, too, the menu choices and service were wonderful. However, this is a large room which fills quickly and we would have appreciated a quieter and more dimly lighted dining experience. On the formal night, each table was softly candle lit and this made a tremendous difference in the ambiance of the room. In hindsight, I would have liked RSSC to state that there would be one formal night, one informal night and the rest of the evenings would be casual. It would have made packing easier. Lastly, the one flaw in our entire trip was the flight arrangements that RSSC made for our return from San Juan to Jacksonville, Florida. You must leave your cabin by 8:00am. We were off the ship by 9:15 and used the ship-to-airport transfer offered by RSSC. We arrived at the airport before 10:00 and our flight left at 1:20pm. We were routed on Delta thru Atlanta and then back to Jacksonville. Arriving in Jacksonville at 7:00pm, we were in transit from the time we left our cabin for over eleven hours. This was a marked contrast to our flight schedule to San Juan. RSSC routed us thru Miami to San Juan which took a total of five hours. The eleven-hour return was a very long and tiring day after such a lovely cruise. However, we enjoyed our cruise so much that before leaving the ship we booked our next trip and can't wait to return to the Mariner to be pampered again. SGREEN106@aol.comApril 2002 Read Less
EMBARKATION We arrived at the Mariner in Copenhagen early ? around 11 AM, since we did a pre-cruise for a few days in Finland, and the only flights available got us into CPH at 10 AM. It was pouring rain when we arrived at the Mariner. ... Read More
EMBARKATION We arrived at the Mariner in Copenhagen early ? around 11 AM, since we did a pre-cruise for a few days in Finland, and the only flights available got us into CPH at 10 AM. It was pouring rain when we arrived at the Mariner. We were the first ones there. They told us that they could not normally board us this early, but due to the weather, they allowed us on board to await formal check-in. They showed us to the Mariner Lounge, where we were immediately approached by Nico who offered us drinks. Being too early, we declined ("Too early" changes as the cruise wears on, of course ). He didn't just walk away. He then said the magic words, "Can I get you a coffee OR CAPPUCINO" (This was important because on a prior cruise on Celebrity a major complaint was the inability to get capuccino when we wanted it)? He brought our capuccino, and we sat & talked with him for quite some time. What a personable guy! Then the Cruise Director came to us, and offered us a tour of the ship. She escorted us around the ship, and back then to the Lounge. Jane, the piano player, arrived to get ready to begin playing for the embarkation. We had a friendly conversation with her, and then listened to her terrific repertoire of songs. We would visit her frequently throughout the cruise. Also during this time, a few of the ship dancers approached us & again we had friendly conversation with them. After a few more minutes there, we were brought our room cards, and told we could go to our cabin. We arrived & Luiggina, our stewardess, was just finishing up. We left our carry-ons & went to the pool deck for lunch. Again, we were overwhelmed by the friendliness and service there. Not an ordinary " burger & 'dog" poolside spread. As happened at all times in the buffets, we were greeted by crew members who carried everything for us (Actually, a few times later in the cruise I really WANTED to carry my own stuff ? but they wouldn't let me!) By the time we finished lunch, we went back to our cabin, and there was our luggage. Unfortunately, one of our bags was not waterproof, so some contents were wet. A dark shirt ran onto my wife's white top, which caused some black smudges on the shoulder. DINNER WOW! We looked at the menus, posted on the TV & in front of Compass Rose, and Latitudes looked interesting. They vary the menu depending on the location ? using food of the location & blending it with food from the opposite part of the globe. The menu was a Russian-Oriental blend. It looked wonderful, but it tasted so much better than it even looked. If this was not the best meal I ever had, it certainly ranked right up there in the top 3 (Le Toison D'Or in Dijon may beat it) But that wasn't all ? the service! Friendly. Flawless. We were at a table for 2, but the interaction among those around us was great, and it seemed like a few of us were all together. This was pretty consistent throughout the ship ? a friendly, efficient crew and friendly, interesting guests. What a great combination! We booked for Friday night as we left. Day 2 - VISBY Fortunately, the arrival in Visby was not early morning, so we did not need to set an alarm. We woke up early anyway though, and went to the Veranda for breakfast. WHAT DO THEY DO TO THEIR EGGS???? Even a simple item like that they manage to make special! They were terrific. And the Salmon ? LOTS & LOTS of salmon ? good salmon. Yummy! As usual, too, the service was impeccable. Our coffee cups could not get empty, our juice glasses refilled without asking. Food carried to our seat. If we wanted more food, we could just ask and it would be brought to us (MORE FOOD? Ugh! ) Despite having been in Visby before, we took the Ship's tour of Visby so we could learn a bit more about what we had seen previously. I think I'd have preferred to go on our own with a guide book. That day a Medieval Festival was beginning in Visby, and the place was swarming with people ? many of whom were in medieval garb. It added a festive atmosphere to the place, but also made it more difficult to maneuver around. As we love to do in Scandinavia, after the tour we stopped at a lovely little cafe & had a brew. Love sampling local beers & ice cream ? and were not disappointed here. After returning to the ship, yet another instance of the incredible Radisson service surfaced. I had asked our Stewardess for extra pillows, and a blanket instead of those puffy things they use on the bed. I also asked if we could get olives (I like olives with my vodka). She wrote me a note telling me that she did everything I asked, and then saying she could not get the olives, but room service could. I picked up the phone & accidentally hit the Call Stewardess button. I immediately realized, hung up, and then began calling room service. I pushed only 2 buttons & there was a knock at the door ? it was Luiggina answering the page! YIKES ? so Quick!!! (I did NOT follow the No ? Tipping for her, and a few others). That evening, Formal Night, we ate at the Compass Rose. Uh Oh ? trouble. The food was much too good for a "regular" restaurant. I cannot recall specifically what we ate when, but I do recall remarking that the worst food we had on this cruise was very very good. As we were entering we were speaking with another couple & asked if they wanted to join us for dinner, so we sat with this couple. The introduction was humorous. The man held out his hand ,saying "Hi. I'm Gil" to which I replied "Hi, I'm Gil!" Gil is not a very common name, so it was funny that we ended up together like that. After dinner it was off to the Lounge to listen to Jane. Played a few of our favorites. We did not go to the show, a magician, as we are not generally show people. Prefer a lounge atmosphere, or comedians. TALINN Here again we took the Ship's tour, and were glad we did. We were interested in hearing the Concert at a church in Talinn, and it was very nice to sit in this medieval courtyard listening to Bach. The guide also pointed us in a good direction for shopping. We had heard reports that Talinn was good place to buy sweaters. It sure was! That evening it was back again to the Compass Rose for another outstanding meal. Different menu there each night. I was a little reluctant to go to Open Seating, but in the end, I liked the idea of just strolling on in whenever we felt like eating. I was struck by how well dressed everyone was on this ship. Not "pukey" nice, but comfortably nice. Even on the Casual nights, sport jackets were common. A nice touch, I thought. ST. PETERSBURG TERRIFIC! We had also been to St. Pete before, so this gave us a chance to see what we missed last time. We signed up for the trip to Peterhof Palace the first morning. It was a magnificent palace, and well worth the 4 hours. My wife thinks we were there last time, but I don't think we were. So even if we were, it was worth seeing again. Took a hydrofoil ride there, then the bus took us back. I am not really an Art fan, but I enjoyed the palace tour & seeing the magnificent artwork, decoration, etc. That afternoon we were scheduled for a tour that was cancelled due to failure to get the minimum (10). That was Jewish heritage" tour. So this was our opportunity to enjoy the ship for an afternoon. After yet another magnificent dinner in Compass rose, we were off to Yusopov Palace for a tour & Opera performance. That was wonderful. Greeted by young people in period costumes, a tour, champagne & caviar, strings, and then Opera highlights in the Theatre. I am very glad I chose this tour over the Ballet option. MOSCOW LOOOOONG Day! Worth the trip. We were whisked to and through Pulkovo airport in St. Pete onto a charter jet, much more modern than I had expected. Comfortable seating ? similar to our shuttle flights in NY. Took off without delay, and landed without delay in Moscow. It seems as though we were given some kind of priority/VIP status. A police escort in Moscow brought us to the Kremlin. The police didn't help very much to slice through the terrible traffic. After touring some churches & the Armory until early afternoon, it was off to a lunch at the Cafe Pushkin. What a terrific meal! And a beautiful restaurant! People were actually taking pictures in the bathrooms there. What a contrast to other bathrooms in Moscow. After lunch it was off to Red Square & a visit to the GUM department store. What a disappointment that was! It wasn't a Department store as we know it. Rather it was a huge indoor mall ? but a very Upscale one at that! All the typical American brands that we see in the Malls here in the U.S. It was here that I saw one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. There were many beggars in Moscow, many young women carrying little babies. The flight back to St. Pete made me a little bit nervous. After passing through security, we boarded the plane, but there was a definite fuel smell in the plane. I assumed this was due to the fueling of the plane & others nearby. But in the air, the smell was still there. I was a bit nervous about flying with that smell in the plane, and was very happy when we landed. Arrived back at the Ship tired, hungry, and appreciative! The Veranda stayed open late to serve all of us returning from Moscow. This was Buffet food??? It was TERRIFIC! I had a steak there that was juicy, tasty & cooked just right. And it was just sitting out in a buffet. Steaks at Morton's or Ruth Chris aren't usually that good! Had dinner that night with someone who works for Radisson. In addition to being a lot of fun, I learned a lot about the new Voyager. ST. PETE - Day 3 The best day of the cruise. We hired a private guide, through RSSC, and were very happy that we did. Since we had our Jewish Heritage tour cancelled, and we were not able to do the Dostoyevsky tour due to it conflicting with Moscow, we made our own tour to combine these two. The visit to the Synagogue was awe inspiring. We also went to a small annex there where I was asked to join a prayer group. After a visit to a cemetery, our guide took us to stroll on the Nevsky Prospect. Here we found a Blini Kiosk. What fun that was, to order blini's with all kinds of fillings, from jellies to meats. After a quick (but delicious) lunch on the ship, we took a ship's tour to visit a Russian family. This was a highlight of the trip! We visited Yuri, an artist, and his wife, in their relatively upscale apartment. This was the only time it rained, and as we drove up to the apartment, yuri greeted the Van we were in with a large umbrella. The lobby of the building looked like a burned out tenement from the 20's. But the inside of yuri's apartment was exactly what you'd expect from an artist. It reminded me of something in the East Village in the 50's. Yuri & his wife were charming. We discussed life in Russia before & after Perestroika. We discussed 9/11. We were served Tea & cakes & cookies. Yummy stuff! That evening we ate at Signatures. We waited until the 2nd day of the cruise to make reservations there & were unable to get any. But as we were talking to our neighbors on the balcony, we mentioned that we could not book, and they invited us to join them as they had booked, but were only 2. Adding two was OK. Glad they invited us. In addition to the good company, the food was, again, outstanding. Our entire table ordered the Lamb Chop. It melted in my mouth. The flavoring was exquisite. The service, as usual, was impeccable. After dinner we attended the Crew's Latin Music show (By this time we knew the dancers so well that we almost Had To attend!) It was a fun show. They were pretty good. Not Patti LuPone, but good for a cruise show. HELSINKI - Oh no! Last day! Helsinki is great! The city is clean, and accessible, and full of interesting shops, sights, parks. And there is the Rock Church. We heard a concert there of Sibelius compositions by a couple of students from the Sibelius music school. The acoustics & the beauty of this church make the music sound better. I was also able to find Cloudberry Liqueur in a store there (Stockmann's Dept Store ran out of it) & we bought 3 bottles to take home. A little Cloudberry mixed with Vodka & a splash of Sprite makes a great Cloudberry cocktail. Or Cloudberry in coffee makes a good after dinner drink. And the ship served Cloudberry cheesecake in Latitudes. Good Stuff! We had to be back on the ship at 2:30. Not enough time! I'd love to see them change the itinerary to do an overnight in Helsinki ? maybe disembark there the next morning instead of sailing to Stockholm. Dinner again in Latitudes. Different wines, same food. YUM YUM YUM!!!!! STOCKHOLM - NOOOOOO!!!!!! I DON"T WANT TO GO HOME!!!!!! Luiggina said I could stow away in the walk in closet, but thought I might have some trouble when the next people checked into the room. Disembarkation was smooth & painless. Had room service breakfast that morning, and then an unrushed departure. Said our goodbyes to crew & passengers. Exchanged a few e-mail addresses/business cards. Grabbed a cab, and there we were at airport ? empty when we arrived. Was able to make changes to our flight home to get a better routing. NEGATIVES Hmmmm ? Not much, really. Definitely needs to be longer. 7 days was just not enough. As mentioned, an overnight in Helsinki would be good. And the trip really needed a Sea Day. Many people were tired after those 3 days in Russia, and a day "off" before getting to helsinki would have been nice to have. Due to the busy schedule, there was really no time to learn the ship. If I were designing the cabin, I'd use slightly smaller furniture in the sitting area. There were 2 large chairs there ? one for the desk. These could havve been a little smaller which would have provided slightly more room & still been comfortable. I'd put the vanity where the writing desk is, and add more room by having no vanity. But since I am not designing the cabin, I'll gladly go back again as is! Fortunately, I am short, or I'd have had problems in the shower. I think anyone 6' tall will have trouble hitting their head. Why'd they make the tub so high? I have heard people talk about how high the tub wall is, making it difficult to get in. I found no problem there, as the tub is the same height as my tub at home, so I am used to that. As is clear, I am afraid I may have been spoiled for good by this ship. I'll have to go back again soon to confirm my belief that this was an Incredible Cruise!September 2002 Read Less
Our trip started in snowy Pittsburgh Pa, making our connection in Charlotte by the skin of our teeth. We made it to San Juan and proceeded to go to our pre cruise hotel, the Caribe Hilton. I had read that the resort underwent millions in ... Read More
Our trip started in snowy Pittsburgh Pa, making our connection in Charlotte by the skin of our teeth. We made it to San Juan and proceeded to go to our pre cruise hotel, the Caribe Hilton. I had read that the resort underwent millions in renovations, I really think it could of used a few million more. The room was just ok. The woodwork was broken off in many spots and the walls in the room had been patched and painted with paint that didn't match. The public areas looked old and tired, also. On the second night, we taxied to the Condado Plaza to have dinner and try our luck in the casino. We were really impressed with the Condado's decor, though we didn't see the rooms. On to The Mariner!! Embarkation was a breeze, taking maybe 10 minutes at the most. What a beauty she is. We were allowed to board early, grab some champagne and look around. The ship still looks brand spanking new. Nothing is worn or chipped. The carpet looks like it was laid yesterday. The atrium is quite spectacular for a Radisson ship, more elaborate than the other ships. The only thing I found odd was the strange art work lining the walls of the atrium. I am not really sure what they were, but they appeared to be metal women's dresses. Almost like modern suits of armor? On to our suite, as soon as we opened the door we were happy clams. The idea of an all balcony ship is, I think, the only way to go. Of course, all was spotless when we arrived. All I had to ask for was foam pillows for myself, and they came a minute later. The duvets are to die for. They keep you at just the right temperature. I also liked the thermostat, you can crank it to an almost subzero temp. The bathroom is done in beautiful marble and is quite roomy. I didn't find the shower to be annoying, as I have heard reported, but then again, I am 5' tall. My husband Mark, who is close to 6' didn't find any real problem with the height of the showerhead either. The walk in closet is another really nice feature. You can store all sorts of stuff on the floor and keep your cabin much less cluttered. Waiting for us in our cabin was more champagne from Radisson, a stocked fridge with the beer that we had asked for and a bottle of Absolut. A knock on our door brings our kind friend Al, who we had met prior to the cruise on the Cruise Critic message board, with a bottle of Dom Perignon. We decided to save that special treat for when we got home :) Speaking of the Cruise Critic message board, we had met a group of nearly 30 people online, who turned out to be quite the charming group when we actually met them on board. It made the cruise more personal having them all on our sailing. We spent time together in the Observation deck and one evening, we were all invited to Kris and Tony's suite for a get together. The tv has maybe 14 stations on it, international CNN, 4 movie channels, each day the 4 movies are shown all day long, TNT and several ships channels with announcements and the ships heading info. There is also a video library where you can grab a couple of movies and bring them back to your room to watch on your vcr. Room service was great. The menu is quite extensive, the food comes quick and it is hot when you receive it. Try the chicken Caesar salad, it's fantastic. We had breakfast every morning in our room, nothing like eating in your pj's while looking out your balcony door. Dining There are 4 restaurants, two requiring reservations. We chose to eat most of our dinners in the main dining room, Compass Rose, we just preferred the atmosphere there over the other dining options. We sat at a table for 2 each evening, with the same waiter, Mathias, who was a gem. When dining in the Compass Rose, you stop by the desk at the front of the restaurant and tell the Maitre d where you would like to sit and what size table. On the second evening, we asked to be at the same table for the rest of the week and of course it was no problem. Several of the tables around us had done the same thing and we had got to know them all quite well by the end of the trip. The only "reservation only" restaurant that we tried was Latitudes. It was an Asian fusion type menu that didn't change for the course of the week. It was an experience, but we weren't that fond of the food. You receive 3 samples of each course, appetizers, soup, entree and desert. We never made it to Signatures, the Cordon Bleu staffed restaurant, but we heard it was a better choice over Latitudes. If you want to dine in one of these venues, make you reservations as soon as you can, the book quick. The other dining option was the Veranda restaurant which by day is a great buffet for lunch and at night is a Mediterranean menu. We had thought that the free flowing wine at dinner was outstanding. One evening, I asked if any German wines were going to be served, the wine steward came back in an instant with a nice Piesporter. It just seems that they can't do enough to please you. The pool grill for lunch had some great themes, Mexican, seafood, etc. It was our choice for lunch. Entertainment I guess I can say, I am not an expert on this topic. We never went to any of the shows, so I cannot comment on that. We did find the casino entertaining, tho :) There are quite a few slots, black jack, poker, craps, roulette, and maybe some other tables I am forgetting. I found a lucky slot machine and won a few hundred dollars one night. Islands First stop was St. Thomas. Since we have been there several times, we just lounged around the ship and then did a little shopping Next stop was Antigua. OK, this was not our favorite island, it just wasn't as scenic as the rest. We opted for a snorkeling excursion here and we were surprised to find ourselves snorkeling 3 miles off the coast in the middle of the ocean. We had brought our own gear with us, but since the excursion included it, we left our gear in our room. That was our first mistake. The masks were old and as soon as you put your face in the water, they filled up. There were also no snorkel floatie vests, I had to make due with an old beat up orange life preserver. I really am glad I had it on, it helped keep me afloat while i was dumping the water out of my mask, all while my eyes were burning from the salt. Next stop, St. Barts. A very beautiful, charming island. Here we opted to snorkel, too, but it was quite different from the day before. We brought our own gear and the snorkel location was off shore. A really relaxing day. Next, St Maarten, another beautiful island. We chose to take a taxi to Orient beach, my first visit to a total nude beach. I kept my clothes on :) The beach really was beautiful, with the occasional very large nude backside blocking the view. Last stop, Virgin Gorda, the highlight of our trip. The thing to do on this island, is the Baths. Huge house size boulders all clustered on the beach, make for a fun day of exploring. It really was the most spectacular island stop that we made. Additional stuff Here is some stuff I can't think of any other category to put it in: Ship board photography was very good I thought. I usually groan and try to hide the pictures from other viewers. But this time, I had a hard time deciding how many pictures to buy. Of course, my husband wanted to buy the pic of him with his eyes closed, so no one else would see it. The shipboard credit was great. We were only expecting $200, but somehow we ended up with $400. Before we spent it, we checked with reception to make sure it wasn't a mistake, and we were delighted to learn it was an extra credit from Radisson. Since we couldn't seem to spend it all on board, we used it to deposit on a future Radisson Voyager sailing. Our friend Bob filled us in on the details, it is a deal you can't pass up. You deposit $100 per person for any sailing. You don't have to choose the date right away. You receive $200 ship board credit on your next sailing, plus your 5% past passenger discount and also $200 off that price. You give them your travel agents name and you are all set. Before we left for this cruise, we attended several chat sessions with the other friends we had met on Cruise Critic. One suggestion was to bring our binoculars, which we did. Mark and I sat on the balcony a lot, and the binoculars came in handy. Also before we left, we had read a review from a man who had nothing nice about the ship. He complained about everything under the sun, stating that if Radisson paid him to stay in the owners suite, he would decline. If Radisson makes him that offer, and he declines, I will be happy to fill in for him. This makes our third Radisson cruise and they just keep getting better and better. Ever since we took our first Radisson cruise, I find it hard to travel on any other cruise line. I think I will give up on the others and stick with one I know is the best. I would be glad to answer any questions, feel free to email me at stan2@nauticom.netApril 2002 Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Touted as the best experience in cruising. Extremely disappointed doesn't even describe our experience. Had the best cabin on the ship (Master Suite) for a $60,000 experience of a lifetime on the Seven Seas Mariner for the late June ... Read More
Touted as the best experience in cruising. Extremely disappointed doesn't even describe our experience. Had the best cabin on the ship (Master Suite) for a $60,000 experience of a lifetime on the Seven Seas Mariner for the late June 2019 cruise departure. We booked the cruise about 18 months in advance to have the selection of cabin and itinerary that best fit our schedule. Unfortunately, 2 days of the 8 ruined by engine failure and weather with very poor communication from the Captain and Cruise Director for explanations of the issues and a 12-hour delay in Ketchikan that forced us to miss the port of Juneau (where most of the best excursions were planned). Food and specialty restaurants a joke with respect to quality or food selection. Inedible pancakes delivered to our stateroom that could serve as hockey pucks or an entire day's salt intake. If you like waiting for service and having your meals delivered cold and late, you can dine in the specialty restaurants (but only once or twice if you are traveling with other family members not in the Master Suite). The Italian restaurant and main dining room had incredibly variable service and menu choices that did not vary much over the entire sailing. We have sailed on over 30 cruises with other lines and really loved Oceania (3 prior Owner's Suite sailings). We were told by everyone from the travel agent to the butler that we would have a great time and that the Alaska cruise would be memorable. Offered a meager $750 credit on a future tour. Gave comments mid-cruise that were not addressed and Regent's Customer Service extremely rude and unapologetic for the voyage. The company's marketing of the cruises is superb, but the execution of the logistics and services was the worst I have ever experienced. There are many other superior cruise lines that are happy to have the bookings. The Alaska itinerary was the standard northbound passage from Vancouver. The pre-cruise hotel was very good, but transfers were disorganized. Embarkation was promising when they poured a glass of champagne and had a steward lead us to elevator (who subsequently pushed the floor button on the elevator, dropped our bags, and exited the elevator). This was only the first comedic event of many notable missteps during the cruise. Our Master Suite was listed to be ready at noon. About 10 minutes after we arrived, about 40 travel agents and staff came in to the room and started touring the cabin while we were out on the front balcony-no apologies or explanations from the cruise management. No butler introduced himself for about 2 hours and the on-board phone system was not working in port. We were happy to come back home and see more whales off the coast of Boston than we saw during the entire Alaska sailing! Eventually got a reply from the Customer Service office with really no admission that sailing was sub-par or that Regent needed to improve anything with respect to service, dining, or accommodations. Clearly, they don't understand that customer service is everything and their reputation will suffer especially when touting their cruises as unique luxury experiences at a very expensive price. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise and ship because we had been on the same ship with a different itinerary less than 2 years ago. We even chose the same room. We were told that the ship had been refurbished. Not so, at least in our cabin. So many ... Read More
We chose this cruise and ship because we had been on the same ship with a different itinerary less than 2 years ago. We even chose the same room. We were told that the ship had been refurbished. Not so, at least in our cabin. So many things were wrong that it is hard to know where to begin. We boarded the ship at 2PM and didn't get our luggage until 5:30PM. The staff was all flustered. Something was off with the staff the whole voyage. Our cabin had stains on the carpet, rust on the balcony and lots of mold. The service at the restaurants was awful. The staff was inattentive and didn't clear tables, so we all ended up waiting or sitting at dirty tables. We had lots of trouble with our reservations at the specialty restaurants. The food was decent, but not terrific. Even on the first night, when the staff was introduced, they were not "on." Something felt off the whole voyage. We were supposed to leave Ketchikan at 4PM and didn't leave until 4am, so we missed all of our excursions and one whole day in port. That left us at sea for 3 out of 6 days. We got little in the way of an explanation and were each offered a voucher for $750 good on another cruise. Who would want to take another Regent cruise after this one...Viking is so much better and we are very avid high end travelers... Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was a cruise in celebration of forthcoming Golden Wedding and a birthday on board. We had selected this cruise because of recommendations from our friends how helpful they had found the crew with respect to special meals. We had ... Read More
This was a cruise in celebration of forthcoming Golden Wedding and a birthday on board. We had selected this cruise because of recommendations from our friends how helpful they had found the crew with respect to special meals. We had sailed on one of the early voyages of the RSS Explorer in 2016 and found the service and cabin exceptional, catering for every need without any problems. On this cruise we experienced exactly the opposite. The special meals coordinator was not dedicated and had other duties that prevented him devoting detailed attention to our requirements compared to the one on the Explorer. The chef was laid back and whilst promised to make special exceptional dishes in addition to the prepacked meals to meet our dietary requirements did not check the food preparation and presentation so it lacked the finesse one would expect. It appeared it had been left to an apprentice chef to deal with our requirements. On several occasions we ate with friends we had made on the voyage, they being aware of our special Kosher diet. We always gave the special diets coordinate more than 24 hours notice of our requirements and where we would be taking our meals. Even so, when we "strayed" from the main dinning room we experienced major problems. Our table had been preordered and whilst the other guests made their selection of the dishes, ours had already been registered. Imagine having to sit at a table where the other guests had been served with their food and after a half hour our food had still not appeared. One of the other guests dinning with us summoned the head waiter and asked why our meal had not been served at the same time as theirs. There were apologies all round by the crew but the truth of the matter was as we were the only ones on the ship having Kosher food the buck was passed between the restaurant staff, the kitchen and the executive chef - the later could not even be bothered to express personal apologies nor did the Restaurant Manager. As to the prepacked Sterling Kosher meals they left a lot to be desired and were certainly not of gourmet standard one would expect, but more like economy airline meals. We had selected a dessert on several occasions and when it was presented in its prepacked package found that the packaging had changed, even though we had been assured that we would be served all of our pre cruise food selection - it was as if, as one of the waiters put it, the kitchen staff had found the same item that had come from previous voyages. When we requested to speak to the Provisions Manager to query this, the Executive Chef advised that they all work for him and it was his responsibility but he could not give us an assurance regarding this issue and did not consider it of any importance that old stock was being used. Of course the individual packages did not have the date they were prepared or a use by date and the Executive Chef claimed the date was on the outer packaging of the box. When we had booked the cruise in October, it was on the proviso that we could disembark in Singapore the day before the general disembarkation at that port. From the date of the booking till the night before our disembarkation nobody advised us that when early disembarkation takes place one is expected to take ones luggage off the ship and proceed to the port immigration. On the night before our disembarkation we received a letter in our state room advising that there would be nobody from Regent Seven Seas who would help us to disembark with our luggage. We immediately emailed the CEO of Regent pointing out this was not an acceptable way to handle disembarking passengers from a six star cruise but we received no reply. The distance from the ship on the elevated bridge to the immigration was 330 meters. We requested assistance from the front desk of the ship who refused as did all members of the crew who were going ashore. As such, since there were no trolleys available because the Port Authorities do not provide them for passenger use until after immigration, we were left to take 5 suitcases, including 2 carry-ons, with 4 hands, to the Customs & Immigration area. We had a schedule to meet after our disembarkation and we could not wait around even though we had advised the Front Desk 2 days earlier that we would be disembarking at a certain time.to meet our onward schedule. What a wonderful way to end an expensive superior luxury cruise. Certainly we would not recommend Regent after this experience. . . Read Less
55 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We thought Regent Seven Seas was a "premium" cruise line. It's not. From the first day there were problems. In our cabin, we tried to turn on the tv to see the safety information. The tv didn't work, so we tried to ... Read More
We thought Regent Seven Seas was a "premium" cruise line. It's not. From the first day there were problems. In our cabin, we tried to turn on the tv to see the safety information. The tv didn't work, so we tried to call someone to fix the tv. The phone didn't work either. One night we turned on the bathroom faucet and muddy, dirty water came out and didn't clear up until the next day or so. Another night the toilet didn't work. Our bathroom door wouldn't shut. After workmen came to fix it, when they left we tried to open it and the handle fell off. The food was mediocre. The waitstaff in the restaurants kept getting the orders wrong, or forgot to bring orders at all. The reception clerks were perfunctory and didn't seem to know what they were doing. The "unlimited" wi-fi either didn't work at all on some days or on other days it was intermittent and slow. There was a big leak in our bathroom. Our shower didn't drain, so we showered in pools of water. The women's public rest rooms had broken toilet seats and doors. The wallpaper on one of the walls in our cabin was peeling off, so workmen had to come in and replace it. We had hoped for a relaxing and pleasant cruise, but with the constant stream of workmen coming in and out of our cabin to fix things, it was one interruption after another. By the end of the cruise, I had a serious eye infection and both my wife and I had severe allergy problems, probably from exposure to all the work dust and fumes. Maybe things changed when Regent was taken over by Norwegian Cruise Lines and Apollo Mgt. That's what other passengers told us. They are obviously trying to cut back and have turned what may have once been an upscale cruise line into a mediocre one, certainly not worth the money they charge. Read Less
70 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We just returned from our cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner to Alaska, from Vancouver - Seward, sailing May 21-31, 2017. This was our first Regent Cruise and our last. We are experienced travelers, we dine out 3 - 4 times per ... Read More
We just returned from our cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner to Alaska, from Vancouver - Seward, sailing May 21-31, 2017. This was our first Regent Cruise and our last. We are experienced travelers, we dine out 3 - 4 times per week, and I am a trained chef. We most recently cruised with Crystal in October 2016. The ship was beautifully appointed and our suite was wonderful. The crew in general was friendly, but they seemed unorganized and not well trained. Our room was generally not made up until mid-afternoon. While we took advantage of many excursions, this only became an issue on the days spent at sea. The primary reason I would not sail again with Regent is the poor dining room experience. We managed to try most of the dining options, including the Compass Rose, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Coffee Connection throughout the day, the Veranda for breakfast and lunch, the pool side buffet for Lunch, Sette Maria ,Signatures and Prime 7 for dinner. In general the quality of the food was only fair to good, and the selection about the same. Most disappointing was the cut of steaks being so thin, that it was impossible to receive anything but a medium well temperature. Rare was not an option. The second most disappointing issue with the food was the fact that on an Alaska Cruise, one could order Alaskan King Crab legs only once in seven days, and only at Prime 7. Big disappointment. And no Baked Alaska either. My friends who travel the other spectrum on Celebrity were scoffing at this. Even the selection and quality of breads and pastries at breakfast were meager. The service in the dining room was worse than the food. At breakfast buffet, juice was not offered at the tables. A coffee refill required one to be lucky enough to gain the attention of a server. The omlette station cook would touch his face and hair with the same hands (with glove on) that he used to cook and serve. I was served pancakes that were not cooked through. At a pool side Indian Buffet I was served cold food from the chafing dishes, and raw chicken from the grill. At dinner, I requested a Riesling White Wine, but when the sommelier would refill the glass, he would pour in the evening’s selection of a Chardonnay. I guess they are both white, so close enough. Likewise with the water. I would order Pelligrino, and get refills of ice water. I would request lemon and lime wedges with the water, and always had to ask twice. If a baked potato was ordered, I was not offered accoutrements. I would have to ask for butter or sour cream. The same when lobster tails or scallops were ordered. Where was the clarified butter? Coffee refills with dessert required the same looking for the server. As was a replacement for a dropped piece of silverware. By observation, most of the staff was untrained, did not learn how to work as a team, there was no Captain or Floor manager keeping eyes on the operation, and in general no one seemed to care. I did request to speak with the Restaurant Manager, who finally made an effort to talk to me, but only after our farewell dinner. His excuse was that this was early in the season, and the crew needed time to work together. This is not the Maiden Voyage of the Mariner, and I did not get a discounted rate for being on a training cruise for the staff. My last complaint was that my suitcase was damaged in the transfer to the ship from the pre-night in Vancouver at the Four Seasons Hotel. I reported this to reception before we set sail. I was told they would make an attempt to repair it for me in the carpentry shop. On the sixth night, I was told it could not be repaired. If made aware sooner, I could have purchased a replacement in a port, or had one shipped ahead of time to meet me in the next port. Instead, I was told I would receive a ship board credit to my account. At disembarkation, my final statement was not ready, and the credit was not applied. I did manage to get a $200 credit before I left the ship. Again, this is an indication of poor training and lack of supervision. I honestly must say, that passenger experiences on discount cruise ships have an overall more enjoyable experience than we did on Regent. PS: I had contacted the cruise line after this vacation. I received the usual corporate line, we are sorry you had some complaints, and we will strive to do better on your next cruise with us. They did not even offer a discount if we would sail again with them and give them a second chance. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
this was not my expectation, and not my first cruise. It was a nightmare. never again. never ..they are awful. not according to their brochure. they have breached the contract with me, since i did pay and did not deliver what they had ... Read More
this was not my expectation, and not my first cruise. It was a nightmare. never again. never ..they are awful. not according to their brochure. they have breached the contract with me, since i did pay and did not deliver what they had promised. they should be reported to the health authorities. ship was 3 hours late, Bed bugs,was itching and my arm got bloody and then infected, and the ship doctor would no help me and said: what do you want me to do? dirty linen, bed vibrating, noises, my room under the pool, restaurant, under the chaises, chairs, no chairs for the pool, no one would help, i had to lay on the floor, no clean towels by the pool, from 6:00 am to 2:00 AM had not one moment peace because of my bed vibrating..my bed was vibrating for the entire trip, pillows smelled body odor, room service never came with the orders , missing always food, and the then food was served with fowl smell, horrifying service, fatty food, gym had al broken bikes, and equipment, spa? what spa. all leftovers, from the night before or no service at all. always ham or pork, never a decent meal. had to wait almost 2 hours for to be served. they would not add me to the big table to meet and sit with other, since i was traveling solo. awful entertainment, hardly anyone in the big theater. ship was flying, and i was wobbling for 10 days. hit my ring and i lost my emerald, the ship was going to fast but then found it. i had no sleep for 10 days, and then the staff, under the captain, called me in to ask me to sign a paper so i would not complain ever. they are a disgusting company and i am never going on another cruise as long as i live. i spend a fortune and now AMX is not even helping to withhold the funds and help me with this aggravated expense that i did not need to spend. Read Less
130 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Choose to go on a short cruise to test Regent because we booked a 4 week cruise in Jan 2018. As a result of this 7 day experience, we are cancelling the LA to NZ cruise. The ship was poorly maintained, the cabin was worse. We had mold ... Read More
Choose to go on a short cruise to test Regent because we booked a 4 week cruise in Jan 2018. As a result of this 7 day experience, we are cancelling the LA to NZ cruise. The ship was poorly maintained, the cabin was worse. We had mold in the door to the veranda, lights that did not work, carpet that did not adhere to the door frame, the door frame was so beat up that the door to the veranda was very difficult to open, caulking around the shower was missing and the toilet emitted an unusual odor. The TV picture was so bad that one could not even read the credits and watching sports was out of the question. The railing the aft elevator was broken the entire cruise. The crew was as tired as the ship...not friendly and only our butler called by name...other than that we were never called by our name the entire cruise. One night for dinner we were seated in an aisle...yes an aisle. Speciality restaurants...only got to eat in Prime one time. Hard to get information for getting on and off the ship because we were independent travelers. The gift shop selection was very weak...lack of sizes and selection. There is more but I am sure you have the idea.....our 31st cruise and it was on Regent...our first time and our last. So save your money...go on something else. We did tell Regent...what a waste....sorry if you book another cruise with us we will give you $500 cruise credit....What a joke! Read Less

Top Seven Seas Mariner Itineraries

Seven Seas Mariner Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.9
Enrichment 4.5 3.7
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 5.0 4.1

Find a Seven Seas Mariner Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise