3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Port Canaveral Arrival: We live on the east side of Orlando so I time it as follows: Leave house at 12 noon, park at the new garage at the Port (85 dollars for the Monday through Friday cruise; pay as you enter via automated gate, very ... Read More
Port Canaveral Arrival: We live on the east side of Orlando so I time it as follows: Leave house at 12 noon, park at the new garage at the Port (85 dollars for the Monday through Friday cruise; pay as you enter via automated gate, very easy), get through security and walk in room at 100 pm (we roll are own luggage on). There were four of us travelling; us mid fifties and our two adult (21/24) sons. Security/Embarkation: As stated above, was parked by 1230, through security by 1245, checked in with a rep by 1255 and walked in room just as they were opening. Since Royal has numerous check in reps roaming with hand-held devices we barely stopped walking from the time we got through security and got to our rooms. Why any one would pay for the"Key" or worry about status is beyond me at check in. As long as you had your set sail pass and docs/passports in hand you get checked in at lightning speed. Seapass cards waiting at room. Rooms/Ship/First Impression: We had two balcony rooms on the "hump" port side, floor 6. Excellent location, easy access to promenade and lower decks. Ships looks great, clean; rooms are average, could use updating. Put your water, soda in cooler/fridge right away. It does not get very cold. Cabin attendant was fine; quiet fellow but was around as needed and kept ice for us in our rooms as asked (extra cash tip likely helped). Lots of pushy up-sell for dining packages, specialty restaurants at boarding. We just said a polite no and kept walking. Plus the promenade looks more like a flea market with all the t-shirts, watches and junk littering the entire area. Not appealing at all. Drinks/packages: We bought the ultimate drink packages prior to sailing; I think we paid about 48 dollars a person (was watching on-line) per day. Good thing; the price was 81 a day for the first person and then "half price" for second person if you bought day of sailing. RCCL has got to be kidding with this "half price" gimmick. Whatever. Drink package well worth it. A domestic 16 ounce beer is now 9 dollars plus 18 percent gratuity, wine 13, and it only goes up from there. You also get the soda, bottled water, etc. with package and can use it on CoCo Cay. So we were happy with the drink package. Still carried on two bottles of wine for room and soda allowance (12 pack) for room cooler. No drinks cards ever sold (4 night cruise). Muster/Sail Away: Same old same old; stand outside and sweat for 20 minutes. We got there as late as possible. Plenty of time to get topside for sail away. Lots of servers on deck. Food/Bars: Food was average at best. The MDR (used two of four nights) was half full. Service was very good. Wear whatever you want because no one cares anymore. Main courses tasted bland and "banquet" quality, mass produced. I know it's mass produced but was not as good as previous cruises. MDR breakfast was better than dinner. My favorite omelet of the week (ham/cheese) was the one that came with room service. The Wingoldjamcorraler was a buffet; feeding trough. Borderline disgusting. Not sure what was worse the people there or the food. Just a mess. Horrible coffee, and something that sort of resembled orange juice. Best part about it was the guys singing as you walked in. Pizza on promenade best we have ever had on RCCL. Sandwiches actually pretty good also. Donuts in morning stale. Decent hot dogs/brats, slaw, potato salad on pool deck. Two ice cream machines on pool deck worked great, hardly any lines. Not sure why but never, ever, once waited for a drink at any bar, including pool. Sat in solarium one day, multiple roving servers. Even at Schooner Bar, casino bar, pub, etc., all had multiple bar tenders who were beyond helpful. Even the pools never seemed crowded and we got two chairs in solarium on sea day. Playmakers is nice but never saw anyone once order any food; it was never crowded. Bamboo lounge nice also as well as Pub. Great singer in there multiple nights and no one was ever in there, had the whole place to ourselves; we love live music but all the venues seemed to be under attended for some reason. Smoking: It is an absolute joke that it is almost 2020 and there is still smoking on half the pool deck and the casino. The casino smoke escapes into most of the areas surrounding the space; it is awful. On the pool deck parents were sucking down cigarettes, sitting with there small children; horrible. Hey Royal, just stop it, now. Designate some smoking areas away from the ones that are infecting the rest of the ship. CoCo Cay: We have been CoCo Cay several times. This is such a vast improvement it is hard to describe. Great food (two big venues with incredible array of fresh Tex Mex, salads and more, snack shacks with take away burgers, chicken sandwiches, mozzarella sticks). I liked the food better here than on the ship. Go to Youtube, there are numerous great videos showcasing the Island. Remember, you do not have to pay for a thing; all the zip lines, hot air balloons, water park are optional; there are more than enough beach chairs, umbrellas for all; and we got there late morning. Lunch in the big venues goes to 330 in the afternoon; zero lines ample tables. No other cruise lines private island comes close to this. Plus your drink package follows you on island and with the permanent dock the ship will never miss the stop (which happened allot before). Dogs: No (fake) service/emotional support animals!! Yes....! Crew: Very friendly, seems like a happy crew. Much happier than our last cruise on Independence. Entertainment: Pretty good; Guy from Jersey Boys show in Vegas was great; magician was entertaining. Comic probably not right for this ship (older female; more appropriate for a Holland America crowd). Cruise director was funny; do not recall his name, is from Chile and seemed like a nice enough guy. Nassau: We booked our own private excursion (less than 8 people) on a small boat; 4 hours (two snorkeling stops, remote beach, drinks, snacks included, very reasonable price); 5 dollar a person cab ride to a small marina. Allot of you are "stay on the boat" in Nassau people; do yourself a favor and get on Tripadvisor and find some out of the way things to do. New Providence is a beautiful island and there is lots to see and do beyond the Port; friendly people and great out of the way stops if you look. We did not go this trip but Atlantis is free (hotel/lobby/aquarium) after 5 pm. All aboard was 830 pm so many times you will have the chance. Debarkation: We did self assist off. Left room at 705 am (had to be out of rooms by 8 am anyway - did not really want to do the buffet madhouse on last morning); took elevator down to four and never stopped walking. One last seapass card scan (funny, one lady got stopped by security at last scan, was told to go to guest services/not allowed to leave ship - never seen that before), walked down to Customs; exited via facial recognition/never showed passport or anything. Was in car by 725. Some of you people remember what a zoo debarks were; this is such a vast improvement it is hard to describe how easy it is now. Overall: Great four night cruise; I think the 3 night would feel rushed. Mariner is such an improvement over the last ships that did this cruise (Majesty/Enchantment/Monarch); and having been on the bigger ships than Mariner, do not think could ever go on this cruise on anything smaller than Mariner. Would give it an 8/10 rating. CoCo Cay was definite high point. Only advice I would give is shop prices early (drink packages/even cruise fare); because prices were dramatically higher closer to sailing (for cruise fare also; book as early as you can). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Disney and Celebrity cruiser goes on R/C, why? I wanted to see Coco Cay. They hit a grand slam home run. We wished the ship would just sail there and dock overnight. Already looking to book our next cruise to go back. That being said, ... Read More
Disney and Celebrity cruiser goes on R/C, why? I wanted to see Coco Cay. They hit a grand slam home run. We wished the ship would just sail there and dock overnight. Already looking to book our next cruise to go back. That being said, lets talk about the cruise. Cons: The 3 nt is a party run. No one was overly rowdy but into the drink. Food service was good but a little dis-jointed and forgetful Cabins did not benefit from the recent refit but were ok, fairly much on par. Music was way too loud as were the announcements and pool deck big screen. Main production show was awful. Pros: Main dining food was above average to the point where I wouldn't feel the need to pay for specialty dining. Public spaces were tasteful and well thought out. Drink package is worth it and I wouldn't go again without buying the key. Ice show was awesome, we went twice. Did I mention Coco Cay? Way above expectations esp. the food on the island. Better than Disney's. Best embarkation I've ever had. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
A lengthy review of 4 night cruise to Nassau and Coco Cay aboard the Mariner of the Seas We live in Florida – so in less than 3 hours we were driving into the parking garage around 10:25 – and we walked onto ship at 10:55! Easiest ... Read More
A lengthy review of 4 night cruise to Nassau and Coco Cay aboard the Mariner of the Seas We live in Florida – so in less than 3 hours we were driving into the parking garage around 10:25 – and we walked onto ship at 10:55! Easiest embarkation EVER (8 cruises over the last 22 years). Our tablemates said they arrived around 1:30pm and that they did not have long lines either. TIP: If you are arriving by car – 1st drop off your luggage in the bottom of the parking garage (this was Port Canaveral Area B - Terminal #1) – then they will tell you to proceed up the ramp to park your car. You will have to prepay for your parking – an attendant was at the machine to help us run our credit card through. Then take an elevator back down and enter the building attached to the parking garage. It was so fast partly because not many passengers were there when we arrived and also because we had filled in everything ahead of time online (including providing our credit card) so check in only involved scanning our SetSail Pass and a quick look at our passports and a trip through x-ray. TIP: Be sure to print your “SetSail Pass” at home before you leave – it has a bar code on it. It serves as your SeaPass Card until you get the permanent card (which will be in an envelope on the cabin # sign outside of your cabin). TIP: get used to carrying your SeaPass EVERYWHERE – basically everything you do on board requires your SeaPass (even activities that are free). Lots of passengers had their passes on lanyards around their necks. And while we’re on the topic: be sure to bring a photo ID with you when you go into Nassau – you’ll need it to get back into the Cruise Ship area. You will not need a Photo ID on Coco Cay – you’ll just need your SeaPass Card. Since we got on the ship earlier than expected we just hung out on the Starboard side of the pool (Deck 11) – they were playing videos of funny animals and people doing funny or amazing things . . . almost like a montage of Funniest Home Videos without the commentary. TIP: if you dislike smoking you want to be on the Starboard (Right) side of the ship if you are on Decks 4 or 11 – if you are a smoker the smoking areas are on the Port (Left) side of the ship on Decks 4 and 11 (and one section of the Casino). We were VERY HAPPY that we had booked lunch in Jamie’s Italian Specialty Restaurant (12pm reservation but we went at 11:45 and they seated us right away). We booked lunch to avoid all of the passengers learning their way around the Windjammer on the 1st day. BIG TIP: request to be seated as far back into Jamie’s as possible . . . unfortunately we were seated near the door and heard the clanging silverware of a cleaning station in the Windjammer that must have been right outside the door of Jamie’s. This applies to Chops Grille as well – so when you walk in tell them you would like to be seated in the back of the restaurant. To enter either Jamie’s or Chops you do still need to enter into the Windjammer which means you will pass through the hand washing area – TIP: the paper towels are above the sinks – we saw people struggling to find the towels. There were two fantastic guys playing a guitar and singing “wash – wash your hands” to the tune of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline – this ship had entertaining little touches like that all over – we loved it. The menu at Jamie’s had appetizers that the waiter (Carlos – he was great) explained were small portions so that we were encouraged to order multiple appetizers . . . and so we did! We ordered the “plank” which had sliced meats, fresh mozzarella balls, some dry cheese, and a different kind of cole slaw – it also had some olives and peppers. We also ordered the garlic bread which were two big rolls with garlic and cheese on them – I’m a fan of soft bread so I liked those the best. 3rd item was the crab and avocado bruschetta – sounds weird but it was delicious. I also ordered the Caprese salad which was the same (yummy) mozzarella balls from the plank + two kinds of tomatoes as well as some baby basil leaves and a very nice balsamic drizzle. For the entrée they say you can order a small portion or the regular portion so I had a small portion of the mushroom “taglie something” pasta and it was plenty and fantastic flavor. Husband ordered the chicken which he said was flavored well and was sitting on a nice sauce. He also got a small portion of penne carbonara as his pasta. Dessert was a chocolate torte for me and a lemon meringue for husband – both delicious. Even though we prepaid both of the specialty restaurants – they still brought us a “zero” bill – I believe the sole purpose of this is in case you want to add an additional tip (a tip is already included in the price we paid for the specialty restaurant). We were pleased with both of the servers so we did write in an additional tip. I suppose if we had not wanted to tip extra we would have just left the slip at the table with nothing written on it. They made an announcement when the staterooms were ready – it was before 1:30 - we dropped off our luggage and met our wonderful room steward – Keisha from Jamaica. Then we ventured out again. TIP: If you want to do the Escape Room or Laser Tag during your cruise – be sure to book them as soon as possible on arrival day. We weren’t sure where to go so we asked at Guest Services and we were told to go up to the Rock Climbing Wall desk. There were two friendly guys up there with tablets. We almost signed up for the Escape Room but then found out there would be 13 people in the room (he was going to over-ride the max of 12 to add our party of 2 to the 11 people already signed up). Maybe I’m a Nervous Nellie but being closed up in a room with 11 people we don’t know didn’t really sound like fun for me personally. For some reason I thought it was limited to just 6-8 people. I have heard though that it is a lot of fun . . . maybe we’ll try it next time. Either way – we got up there around 2:30 pm and there were sessions already filled up. We did not sign up for Laser Tag but I heard those all filled up fast as well (before Day 3 and Day 4 when Laser Tag started). So be sure to get signed up early for those two activities. I can’t comment on the Flowrider – we didn’t do that – although I saw private lessons advertised so that may be an advance sign up as well? While we were on the back of the ship at the Rock Wall we decided to check out the “archery” – it is rather hidden – the Rock Wall guy had to point it out – it is next to the basketball court. Kind of cool – the targets are four plastic balls that float in the air because of compressed air blowing them up. The arrows just have soft rubber on the end of them – however they did fly pretty fast. There were only about 6 people there so we waited our turn and it was fun for a few minutes. I was surprised there was not anyone from the ship providing instruction – so passengers who knew how to use a bow and arrow were helping those who needed help. We weren’t there for long but I could see if someone really enjoyed it they could spend longer. They did have a tournament later in the week however we did not attend. We wandered around a bit checking out the upper back of the ship – there is a little area of hammocks and some circle rope swings over by the kids climbing thing (Lucky Climber) and a putt putt course (Mariner Dunes) – accessible by stairs – look for the green painted golf course sign on the wall near the stairs. The putt putt was something we meant to get back to but ahhhh . . . relaxing got in the way and we never made it back up there . . . next time! The Assembly Drill at 3:30 was painless . . . no need to drag the life jackets there as we had done years ago. A note to future passengers – be sure to be there on time – don’t dilly-dally – the faster everyone is there and accounted for (they will scan your SeaPass card) the faster it is over. TIP: if you do not buy the drink package that comes with a cup: bring your own water bottle – you can fill it up at the same Coke machines that the drink package folks use – the ice and the water choice do not require the chipped cup. We found two Coke machines across from the Pub on the Promenade Deck 5 and then of course in the Windjammer. Husband realized he forgot a hat . . . went to the shops on Deck 5 . . . TIP: the shops do not open until 5:30pm on the 1st day. We had early seating (5:30pm) for dinner . . . we ate there the 1st 3 nights and spent the 4th night at Chops Grille. TIP: check online for your dinner seating – I had talked to a Royal Caribbean agent on the phone who said we would be at a large table at the early seating however when we went by the dining room around 2:30 or so a dining room helper looked us up and told us we were assigned to “my time” dining which we did not want. No problem at all – he typed on his computer and moved us to an assigned table at 5:30. I’m really glad we had checked in with them before dinner time. We were at a small table of 6 and enjoyed our tablemates. Dining Room Dinners: the highlights for us were the French Onion Soup (available every night) and the desserts (berry cobbler on the 1st night – ask for the ice cream WITH sugar unless you like (or need) sugar-free ice cream). Dinners were good . . . just nothing amazing for our taste buds. That said – it was very nice being served each meal and we enjoyed each evening and the flavors were good – the only item that was not cooked thoroughly enough was the mushroom risotto on Night 3 which was a bit hard – it needed a few more minutes on simmer I think. We did breakfasts on Days 2, 3 and 5 in the dining room and lunch in the dining room on Day 2. Lunch on Day 4 was on Coco Cay. That means we only ate in the Windjammer once – for breakfast on Day 4 when we had an early excursion on Coco Cay. They had a buffet at both breakfast and lunch in the dining room – along with a menu to order from. The Dining Room breakfast buffet had scrambled eggs, little pre-made omelets, French toast, pancakes, waffles with multiple toppings, lots of fruit, pastries, and cereals. You can get all of that (and more) in the Windjammer – we just prefer the quieter, less hectic, atmosphere of the dining room. The lunch buffet (at Sea Day 2) was a salad prepared as we walked down the line and pointed to what we wanted added (lots of choices) + a pasta bar where again we could choose what we wanted and then they heated it all up in pan. The lunch menu had choices as well – I really enjoyed the heirloom tomato and goat cheese salad – it didn’t have any lettuce so I just added it to a small salad from the salad bar. I also had potato soup . . . if you like creamy potato soup then this is your jam . . . however I like chunky potato soup so I was mildly disappointed to not find chunks of potato. But oh how my disappointment turned to joy when I went to the dessert buffet . . . fantastic – tons of choices and everything we tried was great. TIP: if you are going to either breakfast or lunch in the dining room you will need to enter the dining room on Deck 3 Husband likes to drink an Old Fashioned sometimes – he was not impressed with the drink he ordered in the Dining Room on Night 1 – tasted like it had carbonated water in it. However he was very happy with the Old Fashioned that Eugenio in the Pub prepared on Night 2. So if you are serious about your mixed drinks it may be safer to visit one of the bars on the promenade (Deck 5) rather than using the Dining Room bar service – they do not mind if you carry your drink from the promenade bars into the dining room (or even into Chops which we also did). And now a note on dress code . . . as far as we could tell there is no enforced dress code. I think this is wonderful as it allows everyone to enjoy their dining without worrying if they have the correct attire. On the other hand we were stopped on formal night and asked how we knew it was formal night because the woman asking did not see anything announcing it. And she was correct – typically on prior cruises the dining room servers have told the table that the next night is “formal night” and they make a big deal about it. However instead of that announcement on Night 1 they were advertising the champagne brunch with galley tour going on the next day. Also on the Day 2 Cruise Compass (which was in our cabin when we returned from dinner + show on Night 1) the “Dinner Dress Code” for Day 2 was labeled “Wear Your Best” rather than “Formal”. So it definitely seems like they are moving away from “Formal Night”. However there were extra photo areas and an opportunity for a photo with the Captain and some of the passengers dressed up – so it seems like it is Formal Night for those that want to participate. We hardly ever get the chance to dress up and husband had recently bought a new suit so we gussied ourselves up and enjoyed ourselves. We dressed up again for Chops on Night 4 and found two gentlemen at the table to our right in suits and ties while the gentleman to our left was in shorts. So again . . . don’t worry about a dress code. If you want to know ahead of time which night is “Formal Night” just call Royal Caribbean – which is what I did – I just had to tell them the ship and sailing date and they told me it would be Day 2 – our Day at Sea. We attended the 7pm Ice Skating show (we did have to depart dinner quickly and were lucky to find two empty seats as the show was starting). The show was great – it is amazing how they can fit 10 skaters on a small rink. The skaters were from many different countries and included two pairs – one from Canada and one from the U.S. We enjoyed their skating and costumes. The theme is “Under the Big Top”. We are not Night Owls so we did not attend the 10pm Welcome Aboard Show. Our tablemates said it started with Marcelo the Cruise Director and then the comedian – so it lasted over an hour. They said the comedian (Steve Smith) was really funny. Have to admit here that our Day at Sea was mainly about eating and relaxing on our balcony reading our books . . . I did venture up to the gym for a run around 9:45 – found an open treadmill – it did get busy and almost every treadmill had an occupant. The treadmills face a window at the front of the ship so it is a wonderful view while exercising (a little warm – wish I had brought my battery operated fan to clip onto the treadmill but I survived). That is all I did in the gym so I can not comment on the classes or other equipment. I did check out the locker room – lockers, showers and a sauna were available. Oh and they do provide sweat towels so no need to bring one from your cabin. After lunch we watched a little bit of the Art Auction – they did a “mystery” auction where they had 8 prints – the buyers didn’t really blindly bid on them – seemed more like a ploy to keep the excitement up – when they turned them all around they were by Thomas Kinkade (“the painter of light”) and they were offered up for $400 a piece – two people took advantage of the offer – I have no idea if that is a good price but I will say that later that night I was walking through and heard the auctioneer guy talking to a couple and he offered the same $400 price – so it seems it was not just an “auction special”. The evening of Day 2 was the last chance for open ice skating (7-11 pm) so I went down around 8:15 and got into the 8:30 session. It was a popular activity so they limited it to 20 minute sessions. The only time I go ice skating is on Royal Caribbean cruises so I enjoyed just going around in circles – there were tons of beginners so a bit of weaving and dodging was required but I liked it. At 10pm they were doing a “disco” session however I did not stay for that – if it had been at 9pm I’d have been all over it! The only other open ice skating session was on Day 1 (1-2:30) so if you know you want to go ice skating be sure to note the times as they are limited – there is no advance reservations – just show up during the open time and fill out the waiver and they punch your SeaPass Card and they give you a ticket for the next available session. TIP: Long pants and socks are required – a lot of the kids were in their PJ bottoms so those pass as “long pants” as do leggings which is what I had on. On Days 3 and 4 the ice gets covered and the area turns into the Laser Tag area – so that is why Ice Skating is only on a few days and Laser Tag is only on the other few days. Day 3 was Nassau – we are SCUBA divers so we booked a trip with Stuart Cove’s – it is the same operation that the ship uses but since we were in port until 9pm I booked separately to save a little money. If they ship were leaving at 6 I would have booked through the ship to guarantee that we would not miss the departure time. It is a bit of a walk to the meeting point – but not too bad. We walked down the pier, passed through the building and then past the shopping kiosks and the people offering their private tours (“take your pretty lady on a 4 wheel ride” we politely declined and kept walking). We then had to cross the street and then go left on the sidewalk to a concrete/tile pink fountain that serves as Stuart Cove’s (and some other companies) meeting point. There were some locals passing by selling bottles of cold water ($1 each) and a bag of fruit (not sure on price). We had filled our water bottles on the ship so we didn't buy anything. It is about a 40 minute ride to the dive boat – through downtown and by the airport and then by resorts. Our dives were great – “Twin Sisters” is a fantastic wreck dive – two wrecks right next to each other – and then we went to Mike’s Reef which was a nice reef with another wreck. Quick trip in their gift shop and then we were back on their bus at 4:30. The bus dropped us off where it picked us up – to get back into the cruise ship area we had to show our Photo ID’s and SeaPass cards - then to get back onto the ship they only needed our SeaPass cards. It was a race to get to dinner but we got there at 5:40 so all was good! The Day 3 Headliner Show was a rock concert by a band called “Private Stock” and I thoroughly enjoyed them – they did songs by Elton John, Billy Joel, Journey, AC/DC, Guns & Roses, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi and Van Halen. Really good performers – the female singer even changed outfits and could really sing like Stevie Nicks and Heart and Janis Joplin. We went to the 8pm show – they did a repeat at 10pm. We saw some families with kids leaving after about 10 minutes . . . so unless your kids love rock hits from the 70’s & 80’s it might be better to go watch the outdoor movie instead (Wonder Park and Dumbo were playing that night). Day 4 was Perfect Day at Coco Cay and wow they have done a lot with this little island! We were there in 2008 and 2012 before they added so much to the island. It is great that they have a pier now so there is no need to tender over anymore. We did the one tank SCUBA dive excursion and we were the only two that signed up so we had our own private excursion. We got off the ship a few minutes after 8 and walked down the pier – then a left over the bridge to “Chill Island” – to the pink first aid building – the back side of the building is the little “Diver’s Den”. They had our tanks out and ready for us and let us stow our bags in their little office. We then put on our gear (except for mask and fins) and took the short walk to the beach. The reef is a bit far off shore so to save us from swimming out there they had us ride on the rescue sled of a jet ski – it was so fun! William took the dive guide (Brandon) out first and then came back for my husband and then for me. We went down and spent 45 minutes cruising around the reef and slowly making our way back to shore. The reef is a bit sandy and the visibility was not great but they have LOTS of great little tropical fish – we saw a couple of small rays and angel fish, file fish, trigger fish, parrot fish etc. I like the small stuff: flamingo tongues, jaw fish, juvenile tangs, juvenile angels, anemones with shrimp and tiny crabs – there was plenty of small stuff to be found. I saw one larger creature – a small shark cruised through real fast – he was cute. After the dive they had rinse tanks and a hose and hangers and a rod to stow our gear – they said we could keep our stuff there all day which was great – it gave the gear a chance to dry a bit. We had so much fun in the water that we hopped back in just to snorkel and spent about an hour in the water – they have a “shipwreck” which is really just a concrete wall with some cannons on it – but it is a nice little artificial reef and there were some nice critters hanging out on it (including two anemones and a beautiful bright blue/yellow juvenile queen angel fish). TIP: if you are planning on snorkeling bring a long sleeve “rash guard”/”swim shirt” whatever you call it you NEED it – there were so many sunburned backs on the snorkelers. Board shorts for girls are not a bad idea either – protect those cheeks! Be sure to apply lots of sunscreen to the backs of legs and neck and tops of hands – all of those body parts are exposed to the sun while we’re happily looking down into the water. We had lunch at the Chill Grill – buffet of tacos, Cuban sandwiches, burgers, etc – I had a nice fried Portobello and cheese sandwich – yum. Dessert options were chocolate chip cookies, brownies (yum) and soft serve ice cream. Forgot to mention there was also salads and fruit but apparently we weren’t into healthy eating after all the swimming we did! After a bit of lounging under an umbrella on the plentiful lounge chairs on Chill Island we hopped back in the water for some more snorkeling – a nice big Southern Stingray swam by – so beautiful. Have to note that there were some jellyfish in the water – more in the afternoon than in the morning. They did not have long tentacles so they were avoidable – have to look where you are going. One did brush my leg and I have a few spots – they kind of look like little red mosquito bites. They itch on and off so I’ve been putting anti-itch cream on them. After snorkeling Husband sat back on a lounge chair and I walked over to just dip into the Oasis Lagoon Pool (it is fresh water) – I discovered that the reason why Chill Island is so quiet is because the party was at the Pool! The Swim Up Bar was hopping, fun music playing and everyone was having a great time. A bit of shade can be found in the pool where there are some trees and then under a bridge. Most of the pool area is in full sun and I knew I had already gotten more sun than my pale skin should get so I headed back under the umbrella on Chill Island. We decided to take the tram back to the ship to avoid walking with our gear – the tram is on the other side of the Chill Grill so it was a little bit of a walk but not bad. A perk was that the tram goes all the way around the Thrill Waterpark so it gave us a chance to see a bit of it. One unfortunate detail of the tram is that the one that can take you around the island is NOT the same one that can take you to the ship. So the island tram took us sort of near the beginning of the pier and then we had to get off and get into a line (wasn’t too long) to wait for the smaller trams that can go up to the ship. Still well worth it to not have to walk all the way up the pier. TIP: To get onto the 2nd tram you have to show your SeaPass card so have it ready – you then have to show it two more times – and then a final time getting onto the ship. The tram took us to the farthest entry point (front of the ship) to get back onto the ship which avoided a line of people getting back onto the ship at middle of the ship. TIP: when getting back onto the ship they do require bags to be x-rayed – if you do not have a bag with you they’ll let you go to the left to avoid the bag x-ray line. After some relaxing on our balcony it was time to shower up and head to our final dinner – we prepaid for Chops and we were not disappointed! I had the mushroom soup with a drizzle of truffle oil (so good!) and husband had some sort of giant piece of bacon which he raved about. We tried the Wedge Salad as well as a mixed green salad with “crispy goat cheese” (yum). Husband is a steak eater and he enjoyed the ribeye – I had a white fish called “branzino” which was served with sautéed spinach. We each also had baked potatoes and shared some sautéed mushrooms. Dessert was cheesecake and a chocolate lava cake with berries. The entire meal was fantastic – we asked to sit in the back of the restaurant (away from the Windjammer) and we enjoyed a peaceful slow-paced meal looking out at the sea as we headed back to Port Canaveral. No one likes packing up . . . so we got it over with as quickly as possible – bags had to be out in the hallway by 11pm – we saved just our clothes for the next day plus a carry on with our toiletries and items we didn’t want to put in the checked luggage. Morning came too fast – we were out of our cabin by 7:45 (required to be out by 8am) and we went to our final breakfast in the dining room. On the last day they only do menu service in the dining room (we could have also gone up to the Windjammer) – so we ordered eggs and French toast and lingered there until our # was called. To depart the ship they had us go to Deck 4 and then strangely through the dining room to go outside onto the deck – not sure why the regular exterior doors were closed – maybe to be able to have enough room to snake the line around? Since we were #30 we were toward the end of the numbers called and there was not a long line. Off the ship at 8:55am – booooo – I wanted to get right back on – oh to be one of those “back to back” cruisers that get to stay on board . . . maybe in retirement we’ll get to do that! After getting back into the cruise terminal we went down a ramp and then to an area where they were telling Canadians and people with U.S. birth certificates to go the right and U.S. Passport holders to go straight. Not sure where someone from a country other than Canada or the U.S. were supposed to go? The passport line was easy – they had us walk up to a screen that did facial recognition – pause for a few seconds and then the agent told us we were good to go – he never actually looked at our passports – the facial recognition must pull up our passport info? Kind of freaky but also very quick and we liked that! Next stop was the luggage area and we found our bags in the #30 area very easily – I think there were less than 15 bags in the area and 4 of them were ours because of all of our dive gear. We than walked through what seemed like a customs area – there were booths – but no customs agents in the booths – so we just kept walking and boom we were back at the elevator in the parking garage. Back to the real world . . . after a 3 hour drive it was also back to our beloved dogs so at least reuniting with them makes it ok that the vacation is over! Hope you enjoyed the rambling review . . . as I read it back it occurs to me that I ate A LOT of mushrooms on this cruise (pasta, soup, sandwich, etc) – just want to assure the reader that there were lots of other menu choices I just really like mushrooms! *forgot to mention our cabin - #6692 Aft Junior Suite. We LOVE Aft cabins – and we use our points from the Royal Caribbean card to pay for the upgrade from a standard room to a Junior Suite. The room size was great – the décor/carpet/tile is aged a bit – I do not believe the staterooms were part of the giant upgrade that was recently done on the Mariner. However the bed was very comfortable and the linens were soft. Junior Suites have a nice big closet as well as a bathtub – I took advantage of both. We did feel some vibration while falling asleep and waking up and we definitely could feel when we were docking – but nothing was so bad that our sleep was impacted. We did not experience any soot on our balcony. I did smell cigarette smoke one time – not sure if it was from a nearby balcony (smoking is not permitted on balconies but not all passengers are rule followers) or from the crew area below. Overall we love the Aft cabins for their quietness and we do not mind the long walk to the elevator at all . . . it helps us offset all of the extra calories we are taking in during the cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We all had a great time on Mariner Of The Seas! This was a short 3-Night cruise that we took with my in-laws including two kids ages 2.5 and 7. The ship was excellent with many activities for all of us. Our 7 year old niece enjoyed ... Read More
We all had a great time on Mariner Of The Seas! This was a short 3-Night cruise that we took with my in-laws including two kids ages 2.5 and 7. The ship was excellent with many activities for all of us. Our 7 year old niece enjoyed the kids club- she asked to go back every night. We ate in the Main Dining Room all nights and had excellent service there... most of the food in the MDR was quite good- a few hits and misses- but the staff solved our few problems with grace, always offering another item. Lunch and Breakfast were surprisingly good in the Windjammer buffet... lots of variety... not fancy, but satisfying. Perfect Day CocoCay is great. We had a wonderful day there. The day before in Nassau was fine- not my favorite destination... but we took a 2.5 hour tour of Nassau from TripAdvisor that we all liked. After the tour we went back on the ship to enjoy everything Mariner has to offer. We loved the piano player in the elevator- he was outstanding. So our top things good about Mariner were the ship, the main dining room service, the atmosphere entertainment, and the surprisingly good buffet. Please note: Dress code for dinner was quite varied on the ship, but that was fine for the type of cruise it was... we, personally, always dressed nicely for dinner (as did several other cruisers) BUT it must be noted that some did not... and frankly, it’s not an enforced thing. Also Note: My 2.5 year old niece did not really have activities to participate in (we were not going to put her in the paid babysitting service- we just kept her with an adult family member at all times) Be aware there is no little kids splash pad on board- just know this if you are traveling with a little child... Now our 7 year old niece had a marvelous time- just perfect for her. She had so much fun- she did the SkyPad, the Rock Wall, the waterslides, and loved going to the Kids Club. So just know before you go what your kids will want in activities and plan accordingly. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We took Mariner of the Seas with two kids, ages 9 and 12 mainly so we could check out the new cococay! We have taken the 3 day disney cruise 6-7 times and absolutely loved it but felt like our kids were ready for some big kid activity! ... Read More
We took Mariner of the Seas with two kids, ages 9 and 12 mainly so we could check out the new cococay! We have taken the 3 day disney cruise 6-7 times and absolutely loved it but felt like our kids were ready for some big kid activity! Because it was so much cheaper than Disney we decided to upgrade where we could so obviously that added to our enjoyment! The pros: 1. Jamies italian was very good 2. teppanyaki was very good 3. flowrider was a blast- we booked a private session, but got on again later 4. laser tag was really fun (free) 5. ice skating (free) 6. bungee jump was really fun (free) 7. we really enjoyed the under the big top ice skating show 8. buffet was not crowded and pretty good for breakfast and lunch 9. we loved mid day starbucks 10. cococay was amazing!! Much better than disney's private island! Its new of course but the water park was very fun and not crowded, the wave pool was fun, south beach was beautiful and lagoon pool was as well. It was under capacity so we never had any issues with finding chairs at the pool and beach. There were many food options and it was fresh and plentiful! all in all it was awesome! 11. in nassau we did a snorkeling and fishing through a private boat charter The cons: 1. the crowd was less kid friendly 2. they allow smoking in some areas 3. they had little to no activity during the day on the agenda aside from silly stuff like trying on perfume or the art auction 4. the rooms need updating even though the rest of the ship was amped 5. the kids club programming was blah-my kids checked it out once and said pass! 6. we paid extra for a lot-dining, soda, flowrider I will definitely try RC again to get to cococay, but didnt love the ship. If I do I may try a longer itinerary that is more family focused! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We choose this cruise for Cocoa Cay and we really enjoyed it. The food in the main dining room was delicious except one night. Part of my steak was chewy and part was delicious, order rare to get a medium rare. The deluxe beverage package ... Read More
We choose this cruise for Cocoa Cay and we really enjoyed it. The food in the main dining room was delicious except one night. Part of my steak was chewy and part was delicious, order rare to get a medium rare. The deluxe beverage package is on sale before getting on the ship and it is so worth it. No worries about charges later and water, soda, latte,capuchino, alcoholic beverages, etc all are included on board and on Cocoa Cay island. Entertainment in the lounges and the boardwalk were good The ice show was great. The regular show had a guest juggeler he was okay, three of the four singers we're good but only three harmonized well, the fourth person threw them off key . She sang well on her own. Trivia is in the bar by the casino so it's smokey we couldn't attend. There were lots of entertainment opportunities. It's a get four Day vacation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because we’d sailed on Navigator OTS and really liked the layout of the ship. Since Mariner OTS recently received an overhaul, she became even more attractive to us for a weekend get-away sailing out of our ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we’d sailed on Navigator OTS and really liked the layout of the ship. Since Mariner OTS recently received an overhaul, she became even more attractive to us for a weekend get-away sailing out of our favorite, close-to-home port - Canaveral. Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship within minutes of arriving at the pier, about a half-hour before our room became available. For the first time (and surely what will be the last), we chose a guaranty cabin based on cruise duration and price. It turned out to be a disappointing experience. Our interior room, located on Deck 8 and very close to the very rear of the ship, clearly had not been updated as evidenced by the stains on the back of the desk chair and the musty odor in the room caused by carpeting badly in need of a thorough cleaning and deodorizing, or better yet - replacement. Also, my husband called Maintenance staff in the middle of the night because he was unable to sleep due to the rattling and vibration within the room. When they left the issue seemed to be resolved, only to start up again within a short time. We were happily surprised by the quality and variety of food in the Windjammer Café and, although we had to scout around a little bit for seating, we were pleased with all of our breakfast and lunch visits. Our Main Dining Room experience was totally enhanced by the excellent service provided by our waiter Dony and his assistant Noril at Table 471. They were totally committed to providing superior service and a cheerful ambience --- the best waiters we’ve had in a long time! The meals were two hits and a miss. The chicken marsala was good; the beef tenderloin excellent; however, the green pasta totally lacked flavor and was barely warm. My husband enjoyed the seafood entrée and the beef tenderloin as well. We caught both general audience and adult comedy shows, and came away wishing they had been better. We like to play in the casino and found Mariner’s casino staff very friendly and helpful. Bar service was good throughout the ship. A special shout-out goes to Luis at the Boleros Bar! We’ve visited Freeport/Lucaya and Coco Cay in the past and since we’re not really beach and/or water park people, we stayed on the ship to relax and explore. While disembarkation wasn’t too bad at Port Canaveral, I must say, I absolutely love the digital disembarkation program now available at Miami and Fort Lauderdale ports, and hope that Port Canaveral will soon have it, too. With the exception of our accommodations, we had a good time onboard Mariner of the Seas. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I took this cruise as a quick getaway with friends. But it would be a great itinerary for singles, families and couples also. The ship was very diverse. Embarkation: Amazingly fast! We arrived around 1pm and were on ship in less ... Read More
I took this cruise as a quick getaway with friends. But it would be a great itinerary for singles, families and couples also. The ship was very diverse. Embarkation: Amazingly fast! We arrived around 1pm and were on ship in less than half an hour from parking the car. Disembarkation: Sadly a MADHOUSE. Customs got "full" and they stopped calling numbers at one point. Luckily, we had a very late flight and were self-disembarking so we were not in a rush and hung out on the ship. We still had time after leaving the ship and attempted visiting the Kennedy Space Center. We just had time to look around and were annoyed that after parking for $10 it cost an additional $60 per person to even go to the gift shop! We didn't have time to tour, so we left. Entertainment and Activities: The only downside to a 3 day cruise was there were so many things to do and we didn't have time to do everything we wanted! Some of the times were awkward and we could never find the "Box Office" to schedule things like laser tag. We had late set dining (hoping to avoid the kids and enjoy the evening entertainment), but often things were scheduled during that time. In the future, I would do MyTimeDining for a short cruise, but I will miss having the same wait staff each night. Service: Speaking of service, everyone was impeccable. Our room steward was wonderful, and the dining staff in the MDR and Buffet were great. Dining: The only let down was the MDR food. It came up unexpectedly bland and overcooked every night. To my surprise, some of the best food I ate was for lunch in the buffet. It had a better breakfast than the MDR also. Breakfast was a buffet in the MDR too, so unless you just like the relaxing atmosphere there, the Windjammer had more fresh choices. Deserts were only good once and I was sad that there were not better options in the Cafe Promenade where we have had excellent ones before. Ports: Nassau - This is a busy port but seems to handle the crowds well (5 ships in port that Saturday). We started the day early before most of the shops opened walking the 3-4 blocks up to the Queen's Staircase and Fort Finnacle. Easy to do on your own and not busy at 9-10 am. Nice but nothing overtly special. We shopped in town, ate lunch back on the ship and then went out for a Glass Bottom Boat tour with one of the locals sitting out in the port($35 pp). (Same excursion on the ship was only $5 more, so not a ridiculous savings. Bring cash and you can save a few dollars though with a local vendor.) We were going to go to the beach but decided to enjoy the ship for the afternoon. It was really fun eating dinner as we sailed away at 8:30! Coco Cay - BEST DAY EVER!!!! You can make this island whatever you want. Adventure: zip lining and water park, and rentals. Relaxing: plenty of free beach chairs, snorkeling, multiple swimming areas. We chose to spend the morning snorkeling at Chill Island, which was easy with my own gear even though they do have expensive rentals if you need some. Left that area and spent later in the afternoon relaxing on North Beach where it was actually quieter. There were a couple sharks and sting ray in the water to snorkel with if you were brave (only by the floating bar area)... which I was super excited about. Life guards are at each beach too and some organized beach activities. Free Food on the island was pretty good. A nice BBQ with mexican choices also. The drinks at the bars were some of the best on the whole trip. The pool bar looked like a fun party even though we went for relaxing areas instead. The entire family can be entertained here. I could have spent the whole cruise on this island! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because many of our cruising friends wanting to be on her first "return" sailing out of Port Canaveral after being gone for over 10 years. We also decided to have a first "Back to Back" experience, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because many of our cruising friends wanting to be on her first "return" sailing out of Port Canaveral after being gone for over 10 years. We also decided to have a first "Back to Back" experience, and so, also sailed on the May 10th sailing. Pre Cruise Stay We stayed, as usual, at Radisson Resort at the Port. For this first time, we elected to take their shuttle to the port; not sure why we never did this before, as, it was efficiently run and not overly crowded. We took the 9:30 shuttle, and were at the port and going through security well before 10. Check In Very efficient, at least for us (others in our group ended up waiting in long lines to get through security). We were approached by employees who scanned our Set Sail passess, checked us in, took our pictures, and sent us through the line for suites (we were in a junior suite). That was it! We then went to the departure lounge and waited roughly 15 minutes before they becan boarding (first Pinnacle and Suites, then, I believe The Key, then Diamond Plus, etc.) In any case, we were on the ship by 10:30. The only bad part, and this was not Royal Caribbean's fault at all, was the ship was being swarmed by love bugs. We had to walk all the way down Deck 4 to get scanned onto the ship, fighting the bugs the entire way. Gross. Later, we sat in The Schooner Bar were we had a good view of all the folks getting on the ship, shooing the bugs as they did so. This was the first time (other than when we were on Anthem) where they did not give us our Sea Pass cards before we boarded, rather, they were in an envelop outside our staterooms. Although the Set Sail Passes work to order drinks, etc., some in our group were told they could go to their rooms prior to 1:00 to get the cards. We were not told this, and, I was somewhat surprised this was allowed, as they typically do not want PAX wandering around the hallways while they are trying to get the rooms finished up. Ship The ship has been totally "amped" up. She is pretty, with a lot of interesting art work. The dining room was just lovely. Of course, this is the way of most Royal Caribbean ships. Other than the decor in the staterooms being a bit dated (still the "old" pink/green drapes, carpets, etc.), the ship was fresh looking. The Promenade is a bit shorter/smaller than Freedom Class, so, was missing a few things (e.g., Sorrento's). They'd swapped out Vintages for The Tiki Room. We were sorry to see Vintages go, however, our one foray to The Tiki Room was nice enough; interesting drinks and decor; although most of the time, it seemed there was a sign there saying "Closed for Private Function". The pool area was always packed, including The Solarium. There did seem to be more lounge chairs/seating available than what I recalled being on Explorer (sister ship). Everytthing was BRIGHT!!!!! There is a Dog House now on the pool deck, too. Other places we found ourselves frequenting were the pub (on Deck 5), Schooner Bark (Deck 4; good place to meet up with our group), and Ellington's (Deck 14), due mostly to The Diamond Lounge (also on Deck 14) being so crowded, they overflowed us to Ellington's. The only minor issue we had with the ship in general was the elevators. Many, many times, they elevators would go flying by our deck without stopping (even if there was no one in them). It was really weird. Food We ate dinner each night in the main dining room. There was a group of 7 of us, and we had the same table for both parts of our cruise (different wait staff team, though). Generally speaking, the food was just ok. I do think the quality and variety is slipping, though. For example, one night a bunch ordered the grilled tiger shrimp, and no one could get the shells peeled off. I order chicken cordon bleu and it was partially raw. Someone else ordered the extra cost filet from Chops and it was tough as shoe leather. And, everything comes with mashed potatoes! I like mashed potatoes as much as the next person, but not with every single entree I order. By far the best category of food in the MDR are the appetizers, soups, and salads. I think from now on, I'm just going to load up on these, and not even order an entree some nights. The desserts are ok too, they had special 50th anniversary cakes on the last night of the cruise that were pretty tasty. We also ate in the MDR for lunch one day and breakfast another. For whatever reason, the meals these times were much better, especially the lunch. We only ordered room service for coffee and continental breakfast (anything else has a charge); the coffee is HORRIBLE, but, we use this as a sort of wake up call. Better coffee is to be had in either The Diamond Lounge or The Promenade Cafe (there is also a Starbucks, but of course, there is a charge for this). We had a few breakfasts in The Windjammer (The People Jammer); it was ok. Buffets are not my thing. Bevos We had the alcoholic beverage package; got a good deal on it during last year's Black Friday sale. It was MUCH more expensive on board, but, they were having a BOGO 1/2 off sale (no surprise given the make up of the majority of the PAX on this cruise and the one following, party animals!) Anyway, between the drinks, bottled water, specialty coffees, etc., it is worth it for us. Crew and Service We hardly ever run into any issues with any of the crew or the service. This time, all of the folks that took care of us (stateroom attendant, dining room team, bar tenders, etc., were just great. Even the headwaiter on this cruise was personable and came around several times (and found us our own pepper mill to keep at our table each night!) Entertainment Cruise Director Ricky and team were good. I like the silly shows they do on the Promenade (70s, 80s, etc.) We also watched a magician/comedian (can't remember his name) who was good with the magic but that was about it. The performer in the pub was good (even if he sang the same songs every night) as was the guy in Schooner. As of now, we're just not huge show people, and, we've already "been there done that" so many times with The Quest, Majority Rules, etc. Casino We don't gamble and it was always WAY TOO smoky in there. Stateroom See cabin review section Ports See port review section Fellow PAX I think a lot of first time cruisers this go around, and, a lot of huge groups traveling together for weddings (I think we saw at least three weddings) and family reunions. A good amount of children, too, which somewhat surprised me being it was a Monday-Friday cruise in early May. Most seemed friendly and having a good time (if a bit clueless). Some of the upper tier PAX (Diamond, Diamond Plus, Pinnacle) were downright snotty. Disembarkation As we were on a B2B, we did not do the usual disembarkation process. Also, since we did not change staterooms, we did not have to pack up. Rather, we met in lounge (maybe 20 of us total) and they checked us out/in there. After all the other PAX were off, they walked us off, took us through customs, had us sit in the departure lounge for a few minutes, and then walked us back on. Final note. This and the following cruise were pretty expensive for four nights/three nights, meaning, each leg was close to what we've paid for 7 night cruises in the past. I think some of this is Royal's strategy to entice younger professionals and/or families who can only get away for shorter periods of time, but, are willing to pay to do so. My guess is we won't run into this on longer cruises and/or shorter cruises on some of the older, smaller, less "amped" ships. As much as we like Royal (and are now Diamond Plus), we'll probably move toward the more sedate sister company Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
There was kids sail free promotion going on with Royal Caribbean Cruise and this was perfect sailing for our group. This was our first cruise and wanted to go on short cruise. We were 28 passengers in group including kids. Ship is ... Read More
There was kids sail free promotion going on with Royal Caribbean Cruise and this was perfect sailing for our group. This was our first cruise and wanted to go on short cruise. We were 28 passengers in group including kids. Ship is recently rebuild so interior is modern and rooms are spacious. We were all had interior rooms but still found spacious enough even 4 of us (2 + 2). Staff were awesome and they arranged welcome gestures in form of making animal from napkins. My kids love that. Dinning facility was outstanding. This was our first cruise so we were quite worried about food and our special dietary requirement but they have taken care of this very well. They arranged our big group very easily. There were so many options that we never felt short of option. From 24X7 Pizza to special dinner all were perfectly arranged for all needs. We loved theater act as well magic show. Kids loved movies on deck at pools. Shore excursion are little costly compare to direct purchase but still they have enough option, if you want to use their services. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I have not sailed on the Voyager class - have been on all the others but somehow missed the Voyager class - Mariner was like an abbreviated Independence of the Seas! Anyway, I usually dislike weekend cruises because of the hassles ... Read More
I have not sailed on the Voyager class - have been on all the others but somehow missed the Voyager class - Mariner was like an abbreviated Independence of the Seas! Anyway, I usually dislike weekend cruises because of the hassles boarding and disembarking - lines, crowds, chaos AND the cruise lines typically use older, less feature rich ships. So when I saw the Mariner OS pop up and I found out she has just completed a massive refit - I decided to risk it and go. While the price was no deal, and since I went solo it was double the fare(almost), it was worth it to me to get on the ship. I did receive an onboard credit so I bought the Ultimate Dining Package with it so that as a solo I would not have to navigate the MDR. Upon arrival at the Port of Miami to the new monolithic RCCL terminal , I have to admit I was impressed. While I am Diamond with RCCL it did not matter at all as I was through check-in, security, and on the ship within 15 minutes of hitting the curb - Amazing. No lines, no fuss, no muss. Once on board at 12:30 Cabins were not available so I explores the ship and went to johnny Rockets for lunch. I must admit my first impression was that the ship was spotless and appeared almost new - everything was refreshed and shimmering. Lunch was ok at Johnny Rockets as I was the first customer I didn't get any of the fun stuff - just a burger and drink. Rooms became available and I went to my "inside" cabin with a window overlooking the Royal Promenade - I had chose a guarantee rate and this is what I received. It was very spacious and centrally located. I then went looking for the Diamond Lounge and found it on deckk 14 - I love the Diamond Lounge as it can be an Oasis of Calm on these dold out cruises - and it was! I used it extensively all weekend. Beautiful sail away from Miami as the sun set behind the skyline. It got dark and we were out to sea about 2 and 1/2 hours out we were told we were returning to Miami due to a medical emergency. What a treat (for me, not the poor patient being rushed back) as the skyline of Miami was in full illumination and it was spectacular. Dinner night one was at Jamie's and I would rate it as just ok, nothing outstanding - Service was less than attentive and I attributed this to being a solo diner. Dinner Night Two was at Izumi and it was fabulous - the food was excellent and service spot on! As good if not better than land based Sushi restaurants. My only dislike was the Teppanyaki shows were ongoing and LOUD but hey that is part of what Teppanyaki is about. Dinner Night Three was in Chops and though I am not a beef eater, I found plenty on the menu and it was very good - service was excellent However, my best dining experience was Sunday (Nassau) for lunch and I opted to go to Jamie's - It was outstanding! I had the Brushetta - yum, the chicken in mushroom cream sauce - Outstanding - lick the bowl clean good and a light Raspberry custard desert that was amazing. Service was attentive and friendly - a great experience. Coco Cay - Will be amazing when finished. The new pool is incredible and the facilities are on par with a Disney WaterPark! Just worry the first hurricane will take it out! The Solarium pool was my hangout as I had the ship to myself while at Coco Cay and Nassau and I was extremely please to see the lifeguards and pool attendants enforcing the 30 minute chair reservation limit AND the smoking rules. Shows were mediocre Lounge acts were excellent Ship is gorgeous and clean!!!!!! Fellow Passengers - all types - some loud and obnoxious others respectful and nice while many were drunk becuase they had purchased drink package and wanted to get their money's worth! All in All - very nice to excellent Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We travelled as a family of 3 - Mom, Dad and our 7yr old daughter. We chose Mariner as the itinerary worked for us and we’ve cruised Royal previously. We were also looking forward to the newer amenities offered since the ship’s recent ... Read More
We travelled as a family of 3 - Mom, Dad and our 7yr old daughter. We chose Mariner as the itinerary worked for us and we’ve cruised Royal previously. We were also looking forward to the newer amenities offered since the ship’s recent revamp. Embarkation: Dead easy. We booked a Jr Suite so we were swept up to the Suite lounge once we arrived at around 1:30pm. Once our docs were checked we were onboard in less than 15 minutes. Fantastic. Cabin: Our 10th floor Jr suite - Rm 1694 - was at the very back of the ship (stern for ship folks..) with an awesome view from our balcony. This was our third time in a Jr suite but our first rear balcony and we loved it! As others have described, the room was very spacious; certainly spacious enough for the 3 of us. The pull out sofa which was made up nightly was perfect for our daughter but I imagine it would not work for a child over 10, maybe 12 years old. The bathtub was great and necessary for our daughter who still likes to take baths. It was also good for our showers. The balcony was huge... a respite from the busyness of the ship. My favorite place. Dining: We ate at Windjammer buffet, the main dining room (5th floor), Chops Grille and the Promenade. Windjammer was fine. Lots of variety and we were only challenged with finding seats on the 3rd morning. Otherwise the buffet seating was more than adequate. The food was decent enough - not great, not bad. We enjoyed it. We only ate dinner in the MDR once and it was just okay. The service was excellent but the food was average. My husband liked his steak but my short rib wasn’t very good. My daughter isn't a foodie so no real opinion from her. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I wanted something short but not too short since this was our first cruise with my 10 & 12 yr old kids. 4 nights and 5 days cruise was great! Stayed at Holiday Inn night before embarkation. Walking distance to shops and ... Read More
I wanted something short but not too short since this was our first cruise with my 10 & 12 yr old kids. 4 nights and 5 days cruise was great! Stayed at Holiday Inn night before embarkation. Walking distance to shops and restaurants. Uber over to the port and it was easy. Embarkation: I set for 11:30 am check-in. We were there around 11 and on the ship by 11:30 am. I did online check in before I arrived and made embarkation very quick. Hardly any wait. Deluxe drink package (including alcohols): online purchase offers a few different deals from time to time. I got mine about two weeks before embarkation and got 20% off each person. I think one of the reviews mentioned to buy it before getting on the ship but not really. I think they were offering 30% off on the ship. Deluxe drink package is perfect for someone who drinks. Also, includes bottled water and pops. By the way, no IPA beer. LIttle bumped! You can get your drink as soon as you get on the boat. Just show your printed seasail pass until you get your seapass at 1 pm. Nassau: We didn't do any excursion. Hung out at the ship most of the time and went out for a short time to hang out in the city for a bit. Not a lot of people on the ship so it was nice. Grabbed our lunch and sat by the pool table. Coco Cay: Ship docks. I did not know that. Perfect Day at Coco Cay was not open but still a lot to do. My drinks were included since I had the deluxe drink package. We did snorkeling. You pick up your gear and just jump in the water whenever. You can get in the water as many time as you would like. Buffet lunch was served and pretty good for what it was. Entertainments, activities, and service: Service was awesome. Everyone was so nice and friendly. Entertainments were just OK. Activities were nice. Plenty to do but sky pad was close the whole time. Disembarkation: We carried our own bag. We did not want to get stuck in the crowd and wait to get out so we decided to grab a quick breakfast from the promenade cafe and went. It was around 7:30 am. Disembarkation was quick too. I think we could have taken our time a bit. Got the Uber and waited for about 15 minutes and we were on our way to the airport. By the way, if you go end of the terminal there is an area where you get picked up by Uber or Lyft. Cabin: We had inside stateroom. It was small but we were barely in there. Kids slept on the bunk bed and they loved it! A few notes: I saw one of the reviews mentioning to bring outlet since there are not too many. True. But don't. They don't let you use them. You can just ask your room attendance for one. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I picked this cruise for a family vacation that includes 2 teenage boys (13 &17). It has been 19 years since the last time I cruised and A Lot has changed. Embarking and disembarking were Extremely easy, quick, and efficient. ... Read More
I picked this cruise for a family vacation that includes 2 teenage boys (13 &17). It has been 19 years since the last time I cruised and A Lot has changed. Embarking and disembarking were Extremely easy, quick, and efficient. You can tell Royal Carribbean has put a lot of money into their Port Terminal. My 13 year old enjoyed the cruise the most. He loved trampoline and flow rider the most. 17 year old liked the rock climbing wall and challenging his Dad to mini golf. Had 2 rooms that had a promenade view. That made rooms seem bigger but due to late night activities it could be a bit noisy late at night. It was really easy to join the action or to run down for a quick snack. The promenade made it easier for me to orientate myself on the ship and finding room easier. Nassau....eh....not my favorite stop. Coco Cay was our Favorite stop. RC was handing out umbrellas for free that day and we hung out on the beach and went snorkeling. Food was a lot more variety than I was expecting from previous reviews. We could have spent our whole trip at coco cay. The new pier made it really easy to get on and off the boat. The main dining room experience was enjoyed by all of us. Our two waiters Paritosh and Moch went out of their way to personalize our service. Always took extra time to give us cruise tips or to chat about our day. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was the third Royal Caribbean cruise for my fiance and I. We've sailed on Oasis of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas, and thought Mariner would be a good in-between. Since the cruise was short, this was a precursor to a Disney ... Read More
This was the third Royal Caribbean cruise for my fiance and I. We've sailed on Oasis of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas, and thought Mariner would be a good in-between. Since the cruise was short, this was a precursor to a Disney trip we took after disembarking. We chose Mariner because it was recently updated and appeared to have great night life. We flew into Miami the evening before and stayed at the Ramada airport hotel. It was our second stay there, and we love it. Very cheap, but clean and the attached pub is really good. The following morning we took an Uber to the port. The terminal is brand new and beautifully designed. When we arrived at check-in, we were surprised to see someone with just an iPad. The employee took our photos on the iPad, checked our documents and sent us through security. We received a paper with boarding info an a bar code, but no Sea Pass cards, which we were confused by. It turned out that the paper we received was our temporary sea pass until we got our rooms at 1pm. I found this to be super strange and inconvenient, as paper gets wet when trying to get bartenders to scan it on the pool deck. Several people were confused about this as well, I'm not sure when they stopped printing Sea Pass cards at check-in. When we boarded, none of the bars on board were ready, and most locations on top deck were still being cleaned. We did find one bar open but they were out of several items. It was strangely quiet compared to when we boarded our other cruises. No music, not a ton of crew members around. We did go on the bow a few times, and it's SO cool. Definitely check that out if you can, we didn't have access on our other cruises. Once we set sail the bars were fully stocked and open, and everything was in full swing. We got into our stateroom at 1:30, and our luggage was there early as well, although we actually found it down the hall waiting at the wrong door. Our steward's name was Sid, and he was very nice, though we only saw him twice, and not until the second day. He did a great job, we were just used to having more of an introduction than we got with him. I always enjoy that personal touch that the stewards bring with formal introductions. Our interior stateroom was comfortable and identical to all the others we've had. We were on Deck 10 and felt a lot of vibration in the evenings, but otherwise it was great. On the second night in the hallway there was a terrible sewage smell that luckily didn't penetrate through the door into the room. It was gone the next day but alarmingly strong the entire evening. Overall, the ship was well run but the cruise itinerary was very predictable. The stage show put us to sleep. The Quest was awesome as usual, and the ice show was great as well. We saw the comedian on the final night and found him to be average. We also went to the Perfect Couple Game Show, but both thought Love and Marriage was better. They did not offer it on this cruise. There were also several themed street parties on the promenade. The balloon drop was very cool, but otherwise these parties were repetitive and I never want to hear the Cupid Shuffle again in my life. Also, the Red nightclub experience was not worth our time, as most of the cruise was full of spring breakers who just wanted to create mosh pits and jump all over everyone trying to dance. I DO highly recommend the silent party called "Hush"...just go to it. You won't regret it! We did shop on the Promenade, but had issues with our Sea Pass account. I went to purchase a shirt and didn't have spending privileges. It turned out that our account hadn't been set up properly, but the store cashier was very rude and loudly exclaimed in front of everyone that I must not have enough money when my card didn't work. We ate in the dining room the first evening, which was good. Nothing too special, the menu is pretty similar on all RCCL ships. On the second evening we went to Jamie's Italian. It was incredible! Highly recommend it. We both loved everything they brought out and even tried new foods. Loved everything, would eat there all nights if I could. The final night we ate in the Windjammer which was good comfort food and I had no complaints. Our first port was Coco Cay. We were the first ship to ever dock at the new pier, which was pretty cool! We rented a beach bed for $125 which came with lunch, Evian water, floating mats and drinks service. Worth every penny. It was so peaceful, an absolutely perfect day. We also went to the floating bar and saw a shark and stingray in the water. We went snorkeling in the roped off area but didn't see a ton of fish this time. Last trip they were everywhere. We figured it had something to do with the tide. Next we went to Nassau. Last trip we went to Atlantis but this time we decided to just get lunch and head back to the ship. We went to Fat Tuesday for daiquiris. The rest of the day was spent on top deck at the pool. Overall, a good cruise. I wouldn't say it was my favorite but it was good. There were definitely moments where we felt things could have been handled better. The entertainment is all the same across the cruise line and we felt like we'd just seen it all before. I did enjoy the food and Coco Cay the most, and I think our next cruise we will be mixing it up and staying away from the short itineraries. We just want more time to soak things in. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This is the review that we left in our Royal Caribbean survey Matthew Gauthier the piano player was outstanding. He was the best piano player we've ever experienced on any Cruise. We thought the hidden piano player was also very ... Read More
This is the review that we left in our Royal Caribbean survey Matthew Gauthier the piano player was outstanding. He was the best piano player we've ever experienced on any Cruise. We thought the hidden piano player was also very funny and good. Bobby and Jamee in the main dining room made a great team and we really enjoyed having them serve us. We did however, feel rushed during our 9 p.m. dinner seating. We did not particularly care for each evenings dinner service entertainment by the waiters. We actually felt bad for them. Alex from the Cruise director activities team was horrible. There were several games that he was leading that we walked out of. He seemed to make up the rules as he went along. We found all the other entertainment staff to be quite good. We thought The Quest was very well run. we totally loved the silent disco and wished that it would run on multiple nights. We'd like to suggest, in addition to karaoke, you consider a lip sync activity option for those who like to sing but don't have the voice for it. It may also bring out the showman in some guests which may be entertaining for other guests. We did not like the perfect couple game as it was difficult to see what was going on and lack to the of the enjoyment of the love and marriage game. Please bring back love in marriage. We walked out of the comedian's "family friendly" performance. We found him offensive, borderline racist and not very funny. It should be noted that we spoke to other people on the cruise who expressed the same opinion. The overall suite experience was highly disappointing. While the ship offers many amenities for the standard cruiser, the same can't be said for suite guests. The suite program on Mariner is inconsistent with that on the other Royal ships. For example, there is no internet included in a suite program on Mariner. The amenities for suite deck are substandard to what we've come to expect from the other ships. The lack of coastal kitchen detracted from our overall dining experience. The suite level accommodations for guests on cococay were downright embarrassing. The beach was small, unclean, and the chairs were worn. Transportation to the suite Beach was mostly absent and also not clearly communicated nor adequate signage available. The view from the cabanas was subpar. The beverage service in the lunch area was broken. Fortunately we had brought our own water to drink. We were never approached by any servers on the beach to see if we wanted something to drink. As it relates to the pool deck we have the following comments. There needs to be at least one more towel station potentially up in the sportsplex for the water rides. We did think that there needs to be some additional protection from the smoking area going into the solarium. There was quite a bit of smoking odor pouring into the solarium without this protection.The adults only policy in the solarium was not enforced and defeats the purpose of having an adults-only solarium. We did however find the deck seating and quantity of PODS available for use to be quite satisfactory. We also especially liked the seating outside of the suite lounge. We found it difficult to find places to get a beverage during the day and the unsweetened iced tea was nowhere to be found on the ship except windjammer. We purchased dinner at chops the first night. Our server was very friendly and we enjoyed her company. The food was just okay. We really would have been better off eating in the main dining room and getting the chops fillet there for half the cost. We went to Chops dinner at 6 on the first night and they were already out of the bronzini. At the time there were only about six people in the restaurant and the table next to us got the last two. That was very disappointing. We tried breakfast at chops one morning as suite guests. The service was very very slow, the order was messed up and we ended up going to windjammer to finish our breakfast. Lastly we would like to say how much we thoroughly enjoyed the escape room. Christopher was our guide and really made the experience enjoyable. Congratulations for providing a top-tier activity that the whole family could enjoy. That was definitely worth the extra money. You exceeded our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Embarkation at the new terminal A in Miami went fine. Not a fan of the Port of Miami..much prefer Port Canaveral. As Emerald and Diamond members we should have been placed in the expedited check in line but were shuffled into the regular ... Read More
Embarkation at the new terminal A in Miami went fine. Not a fan of the Port of Miami..much prefer Port Canaveral. As Emerald and Diamond members we should have been placed in the expedited check in line but were shuffled into the regular line. Loved our cabin steward and waiter. Assistant waiter was ok..not great. Would recommend you get your towels at the pool before you go to Coco Cay as there was a long wait on deck 1 to get towels. Would recommend that Royal Caribbean have the towels available right after you get off the ship at Coco Cay as it would be more efficient. Windjammer Cafe is too chaotic for me so we ate breakfast in the dining room. Food in dining room was very good. Loved the French onion soup! Beds in cabin were super comfortable. They need to have the activities open longer hours. Ice skating was only open front 10-11:30pm the last night if the cruise. Laser tag was completely booked due to limited offering of the activity. We were the first passengers to walk off the ship at Coco Cay instead of tendering in which was awesome. The pool is now open on Coco Cay also...very chilly but excellent pool bar. We bought a day pass for Atlantis Aquaventure from www.bahamasdaypass.com. Was cheaper than using cruise line. Just pay $4 per person for taxi over to Atlantis. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We live in Florida and were looking for a quick weekend getaway. We're pretty loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers (Platinum) and we had been on the Liberty (same layout as Mariner) so we knew we liked the ship style. We got this cruise at ... Read More
We live in Florida and were looking for a quick weekend getaway. We're pretty loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers (Platinum) and we had been on the Liberty (same layout as Mariner) so we knew we liked the ship style. We got this cruise at a decent price and didn't have huge expectations for a three night cruise, but were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food in the dining room and the friendly crew and excellent service all over the ship. Embarkation was so easy. We left out of Terminal A and we drove there from home. Plenty of parking and it would have been very convenient to drop off luggage (we didn't). Arrived at about 11:45 and basically walked right into the terminal and on to the ship. We had done online check-in so all we had to do was show the Set Sail passes on the phone and get pictures taken. There were no lines and no waiting. Once on the ship we went to Excursions to pick out our Coco Cay bungalow (has reserved online previously). No lines there either. Then we went in search of food. The Windjammer (beautifully renovated by the way) was busy but not packed and we found a table right away. Food was decent and there was lots of variety. Standard Windjammer, but the quality seemed higher than on the Liberty a few years ago. While we were in the Windjammer they announced rooms were open so we went down to our cabin. We originally had booked a balcony guarantee but before we were assigned a cabin there was a price drop. I called my TA and she was able to get us upgraded to a spacious balcony cabin midship on deck 9. Although the cabin hadn't been completely redone it had been "freshened" with new carpet, drapes and some wallpaper behind the lights next to the bed. It was larger than I expected with about 2 feet of space between the end of the bed and the wall and a full size sofa. Bathroom and closet were standard. It was clean (although there was a stain on the couch) but my complaint was our cabin had a metallic smell that I found annoying and I didn't smell anywhere else in the ship. It may have been some kind of disinfectant but it wasn't bad enough to complain about. Our stateroom attendant Kundo was the best I have had in a long time. He knew our names, greeted us warmly each time. and kept our room immaculate. Our last cruise was on Holland America where we had terrible stateroom service, but this time the cabin was done immediately after we left in the morning and when we went to dinner in the evening. My only complaint about the balcony cabin was every single time we were out there trying to relax someone was smoking on a nearby balcony. It wasn't just one cabin - all around us were smokers. Obviously the no smoking on balconies is ignored and no one enforces it. It was very disappointing - since the casino is a huge indoor smoking area and the whole port side of the pool area was one big smoking party. Not like there is no where to go. The ship was full of large parties (families, birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties) all doing a lot of drinking and having a good time, but it was not an issue - there was always a quiet place to go so the ship didn't seem that crowded. Because this was a weekend cruise and relatively inexpensive there seemed to be a lot of first-time cruisers and a lot of locals. We probably heard more Spanish than English spoken on the cruise and announcements were done in both English and Spanish. We really liked the decor of the ship and it seemed in pretty good shape, but we did notice the carpets around the elevators were stained and the day of the week inserts in the elevators were literally threadbare. It did not seem like maintenance was a high priority. We had dinner in the dining room the first night and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and the excellent service. Our waiter, Rogelio and assistant Jennifer were top notch. Definitely a step up from our last few cruises. The dining room has been refreshed and looks modern and is very attractive. The food was very good - also a step up from past RC cruises. Second day was Coco Cay. Tendering was a nightmare - worse than any tendering on any cruise we have experienced. The bungalow does not get you priority tendering and there seemed to be a lack of organization and too few crew members. Because there was no one directing where to go people were trying to cut into the line as they came off the elevators. Then we were delayed by the crew debating whether or not to put a pallet of water on one of the tenders. Over an hour later we finally made it to the island. It is REALLY under construction. Right now there is only a small portion of the island that is usable. Construction didn't bother us but was very visible. The bungalow/beach bed/clamshell area is at the far end of the island from the tender area and we were driven by golf cart to the area. The concierge gave us wrist bands and they do patrol the area to make sure everyone belongs there. The bungalow was very nice - comfortable sectional and a coffee table and the canvas curtains were great in blocking the sun. They have you pre-order lunch and it was ok - nothing special. It would have been a long walk to the buffet or I think they will shuttle you there if you prefer. No one ever came to ask us if we wanted drinks but the bar is very close and I did see drinks being delivered to some bungalows. It was a very relaxing experience for us and I would do it again. The water is awful - weedy and shallow a long way out. The sand is very uneven so it's difficult to walk all the way out to the sandbar. Not an area for snorkeling. We had our second dinner at Jamie's Italian. It was awful. The service was decent and I think if you stuck with the things they tell you are good then maybe it would have been ok, but frankly I would say don't waste your money. For appetizers we shared the "famous" plank, I had calamari, my companion had the crab and avocado bruschetta. The plank had a slice each of several cured meats, some olives and pickled peppers, one small ball each of burrata (it wasn't really burrata - it wasn't creamy enough) and one small cracker with a tiny slice of parmesan and a dollop of pepper jelly. And the stupid rainbow slaw, which is nothing except cole slaw (Italian? really?). Anyway the bruschetta was good and the calamari was ok. The entrees - chicken with a mushroom sauce and the crab spaghetti were both not just bad, but awful. I have never returned a dish because I didn't like it but I seriously considered doing it. No excuse for gummy, overcooked pasta at an Italian restaurant and the sauce had only a hint of crab - and no other real flavor. The chicken had been cooked under a brick and was all bones and not meat. They redeemed themselves with the lemon meringue cheesecake - fabulous - but my raspberry pavlova had a few raspberries on top and mysterious blue something on the inside. A true waste of money for the dinner. We ate breakfast in the MDR one time - same food as elsewhere on the ship but service was good. The Promenade cafe was packed all the time. Never had the pizza but the sandwiches were good and you can get fruit and desserts. I was disappointed no salads were available there. The pub and Playmakers never seemed very crowded and the Viking Crown and Star lounge were empty during the day. Ate lunch at Johnny Rockets one day (now an $11.50 upcharge) and the food was decent. The next day was Nassau. Been there, done that so we just walked up and down Bay Street and got back on the ship. Had a relaxing day (good spa treatment and relaxation in the Solarium). We had dinner in the Windjammer - food was good (most tender roast beef I have ever had), lots of variety, and lots of friendly servers. Disembarkation was amazing. We has self disembarkation so were supposed to leave between 6:30 and 7:15. Walked out of our cabin and 7:15, elevator down to 4, no line, walked off the ship and then a long way through the terminal to the Customs face recognition terminals. What a great improvement! No customs forms, no lines, nothing! Activities - we found there wasn't a whole lot going on around the ship compared to longer cruises. We went to trivia a few times but that was about it. We saw the ice show (well done and fun) the first night, went to the production show (awful) the second night and went to bed early the third night so we missed the feature show (a semi-finalist from America's Got Talent). Never saw the comedian. The pianist in the Schooner bar was good, Boleros was packed all the time, and the group that played in the Promenade was really talented. Overall it was a short cruise that met expectations in most ways but was memorable because of the crew and the above average food in the non-payment dining areas. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Our family of 4 chose this cruise since the MOTS was recently renovated and the itinerary lined up well with school vacation. I thought that the Coco Cay pier would be complete by our cruise date since it is not guaranteed that the ... Read More
Our family of 4 chose this cruise since the MOTS was recently renovated and the itinerary lined up well with school vacation. I thought that the Coco Cay pier would be complete by our cruise date since it is not guaranteed that the tenders can operate if too windy. At the time of cruise booking, the pier was scheduled to be complete at end of 2018. My fears were realized when captain decided that it was too windy to stop at CC, so we stayed in Nassau an extra day. Embarkation was very smooth. On the ship in 20 minutes. Entertainment was decent. Ice show and comedian were very good. They had this other revue show about ‘dreams’ which was subpar. I prepaid for arcade for my kids which was a bad decision. Arcade was decent size, but many games were broken. Food in the MDR was decent. I recommend ordering multiple entrees as portions are not that large. Service in the MDR was excellent. We did the WJ for breakfast/lunch which was ok. We stayed in panoramic ocean view on 12th deck which was one of the newer rooms. Nice view. Decent size beds, even for 4 people. Activities were ok, nothing great. I wished they had more trivia games offered. Promenade area became crowded at night since there is not much action on the pool deck after sundown. If you can get a decent price, I would recommend getting the premium drink package. My wife and I did not drink all that much and our bar tab came in about $30 cheaper than if we purchased the PDP. Debarkation was smooth as well. We had time for breakfast in the WJ before leaving ship. Our only POC was Nassau. You get the aggressive hawkers of taxi drivers and hair braiders. If you know how to bargain, you can get a decent price for those services. We used a 3rd party vendor to spend the day at Atlantis. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This was a charter, On the Blue Cruise, a rock music cruise leaving and returning to Miami. This cruise was all about the music, which was great. The ship itself is large, 4500 guests can be accommodated, I believe. It's a ... Read More
This was a charter, On the Blue Cruise, a rock music cruise leaving and returning to Miami. This cruise was all about the music, which was great. The ship itself is large, 4500 guests can be accommodated, I believe. It's a cruise for young people or those with children with laser tag, escape room, surfing, bungee jumping with virtual reality glasses, mini golf (we did this), rock climbing. The buffet was one of the best I've eaten in on a cruise ship. The dining room hours did not appear to be at all coordinated with the concert hours. For example, most evening concerts started at 6 p.m. but that was when the dining room opened. It was closed at 5 p.m. One day the dining room closed for breakfast at 8:30, this when many stayed up late at various venues. Our inside cabin had a small sofa which was very useful, both for the occasional television viewing and also for a seating place besides the bed. The King size bed (which can be made into twins) took up the entire width of the room so it was necessary to crawl into bed from the bottom. The ship was clean and the staff was friendly. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
The Mariner OTS was recently refurbished after returning from Asia. Food and entertainment were good ,service in MDR was also above par for RCI. The entertainment was good, great comedian, juggling act and ice skating show. RCI did a ... Read More
The Mariner OTS was recently refurbished after returning from Asia. Food and entertainment were good ,service in MDR was also above par for RCI. The entertainment was good, great comedian, juggling act and ice skating show. RCI did a FABULOUS job on the upgrading and updating of the public venues on the Mariner.....ship looked brand new with beautiful new decorating (carpeting, furniture etc).....however, they left the cabins UNTOUCHED. Our cabin, a hump balcony on deck 8, had the most horrendous, overwhelming odor upon entering the cabin. We talked to "Guest Services", they sent up housekeeping to assess, they claimed to 'deep clean' the carpet....but it never got a drop better and even grew worse....it was MILDEWED carpeting (the carpet shampooing probably made it worse by adding water to the flooring??). Thank goodness we were only on this ship for a 4 day cruise. This cabin was barely liveable and it was most likely unhealthy to be breathing in mold as well. It ruined what was to be and should have been a wonderful cruise on an otherwise beautiful ship!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We just came back from a 4 night Bahama cruise on the recently updated Mariner of the Seas. Some of the changes especially the aesthetic ones are absolutely stunning such as the Dinning Room and the Diamond Crown Lounge. The new Skypad ... Read More
We just came back from a 4 night Bahama cruise on the recently updated Mariner of the Seas. Some of the changes especially the aesthetic ones are absolutely stunning such as the Dinning Room and the Diamond Crown Lounge. The new Skypad and water slide area were extremely inviting although we did not partake in the fun on this trip we would in the future. Cocoa Cay is under construction but don't be put off by that. RCI has gone out of its way to assure that your day there is absolutely the best. We found it exciting to see the new dock work in progress as well as the the water slides. This was the first cruise since 1988 that we have sailed without any friends and family and we were looking forward to enjoying a table for 2 in the main dining room. Hubby always like to check on the first day to see where our table is located and we were surprised to find that we were at a table of 8! A table of six is difficult enough to converse at but a table of eight is even worse. We immediately addressed this issue to find there were no table for 2 left in the main dining room and they suggested My Time Dining. We were hesitant as we enjoy getting to know our wait staff and did not think this would be possible with MTD. The first night our table was next to the serving station and my chair was bumped by the serving carts a couple of times so we weren't sure if we would become fans of MTD however we learned on our way out when it was suggested to reserve for the next night that we could request a table and we did. We requested table 270 for the next night and were seated at 269 which is in that same section with the same wait staff and were very pleased. Dony and Tehela were exceptional and we were able to keep that table for the rest of our vacation. Therefore, if MTD is your only option don't be afraid embrace it! We did not partake of any of the Entertain activities because we spent a good amount of time in the evenings relaxing in the Diamond lounge. One huge improvement in the Diamond lounge is on this class ship they offer breakfast which we enjoyed very much. KUDOS to RCI and I hope that this concept is recreated on all the ships. Our staff Grecia and Ricardo were very warm and welcoming, the best Diamond staff we have ever encountered. As this was a short cruise and we have sailed this itinerary before we decided to stay on board in Nassau and enjoy the pool area. This was a very relaxing day and much needed. In Cocoa Cay we rented a day bed for $125 which included the bed, 2 loungers, 2 floaty mats, a cooler with 4 liters of water, towels and lunch which was brought to us. Plus there was a concierge checking on you through out the day. This excursion can accommodate up to 4 people. You select your location of your day bed and your lunch on the first day so head straight to the excursions desk before heading to the Windjammer! This was the highlight of our trip and would highly recommend to anyone who wants to really relax and enjoy a beautiful beach day. Let's talk about the Windjammer ... before you can enter the extremely crowded buffet area there are 12 hand washing stations, yes hand washing stations complete with soap, water and paper towels, 6 on each side with a staff member strongly urging you to wash your hands. Think gestapo. Anyway, the new furnishings are lovely however the ebb and flow is still difficult to navigate and finding a table to dine at is nearly impossible. Back to the hand washing stations this was a very expensive upgrade that is not likely to cut down on the germs definitely not a fan. My recommendation is to avoid the jam up at the Windjammer at all possible cost! Just a few other minor changes that I found disappointing but they would not deter us from sailing on the Mariner again. There is only 1 frozen zone and only froyo is available and there are no, I repeat NO self service drink stations. This was annoying especially if you were lounging at the pool. All in all we had a great time and look forward to our next adventure with RCI on Granduer in April 2020, a 12 night southern Carribean. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We were a party of 8 adults and 7 children ranging from 14 to 2. We chose this cruise based on dates and ship description. The ship met our expectations. Clean, good food, very friendly staff. There was never a dull moment. Always ... Read More
We were a party of 8 adults and 7 children ranging from 14 to 2. We chose this cruise based on dates and ship description. The ship met our expectations. Clean, good food, very friendly staff. There was never a dull moment. Always something to do. We made reservations for the skypad and lazer tag in advance. The children loved the water slide and flow rider. The line was not bad and moved quickly. It's January so the pool water was chilly but the children didn't care. The wind was a bit chilly. I would not recommend nor book a January cruise for the Bahamas again. When the wind wasn't blowing, it was nice. But the ship is moving on the cruising day so we had wind all day. But a jacket and a towel solved the problem. Our dining room attendants were especially great with the children. We ate in the dining room every night. Very good food. Excellent service. We chose the Blue Lagoon Beach Day and it was excellent. Half of our group chose the dolphin swim and it was excellent as well. It was not very crowded and the water was crystal clear. Quite beautiful. Our day in Cococay was cancelled due to wind, which I found out is an issue in January. We were very disappointed as we were looking so forward to a warm day in the sun. The bad part was that we were at Cococay waiting for the announcement that we could leave the ship when the captain made the announcement that they were cancelling our day. They did their best to provide us with activities for the day and we made the best of it. We were there to have a fun family vacation and that's what we did. Guest services provided great service. We had a few hiccups with some charges and they took care of it. We were in balcony cabins near the front of the ship. No motion problems. The cabins were nice and clean. The ships promanade is beautiful. Never extremely crowded. We saw a magic show and juggling act. Both were great. We were not able to purchase any photos due to computer issues. We were very disappointed as this was our first cruise as a family. I will say, your cruise will be what you make of it. For my husband and I, this was our 6th cruise, For our children and grandchildren, it was their 1st cruise. Overall we had a great experience and would definitely book with RC again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We went as a family of 4. 16 yo son, 13 yo daughter. We have not been on Royal Caribbean in 10 years. We have tried Disney, Norwegian, Princess and Holland America but decided to take a short cruise as we didn't want to go for a ... Read More
We went as a family of 4. 16 yo son, 13 yo daughter. We have not been on Royal Caribbean in 10 years. We have tried Disney, Norwegian, Princess and Holland America but decided to take a short cruise as we didn't want to go for a week. I was hesitant to go on one of the older ships but the price point was right. I'm not a fan of Nassau but I liked the idea of being able to spend more time at the Atlantis as the ship was leaving at 11:59 PM. We were able to rent a room at the Comfort Suites and have full access to the Aquaventure for the day. The ship under went a recent upgrade with a lot of fun activities for kids of all ages. Flowrider, water slides, Skypad, rock wall, Ice rink, mini golf. Some were new. The new Miami facility was a breeze to go through. We were on the ship in about 15 minutes. Our room was ready by 1 PM. We had 2 balcony cabins on the Deck 8. Lots of storage and the balcony was a comfortable 8' X 4.5' with reeling chairs. The rooms have limited (one) USB port so you will need to bring your own. We got out bathing suits and went on the water slides. Lunch in the Windjammer was decent. I liked the paella. The windjammer is very well run with a lot of options. Dinners had a lot of vegetarian options for my son. We did my time dining and were always happy. After the first night we would order my sons vegetarian meal for the next night. The entire staff could not have been nicer. We didn't go to the specialty restaurants. My son enjoyed spending times with the other teens and liked the Escape Room. My daughter preferred Bingo and the teen facial. They have a decent gym with free weight and a lot of cardio machines including a stair mill. We all had a private lesson on the flowrider. We were disappointed that our stop at Coco Cay was cancelled as the seas were rough and we could not tender. The pier is still not ready. I saw one show but I really enjoyed all the live music. Drink prices were higher than I remember. $12 for a cocktail and $8 for a beer. We brought 2 bottles of wine on board and had them with dinner. The wait staff on the Mariner has been ranked #1 in the entire fleet and they work hard to maintain that distinction. I liked the "smaller" size of the ship. There were never any long lines or waits. There were many family groups as it was the winter break. The ship is well maintained, especially the public areas. I would go on this ship again and would recommend it to others. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This cruise was a comp from M Life that we booked in May. I was a little hesitant based on some of the negative reviews and the fact that the ship is 15 years old. I am happy to say that I was wrong in my hastily preconceived notions. ... Read More
This cruise was a comp from M Life that we booked in May. I was a little hesitant based on some of the negative reviews and the fact that the ship is 15 years old. I am happy to say that I was wrong in my hastily preconceived notions. The embarkation was less than 10 minutes long which was incredible. The new Terminal A was brand-spanking new and glorious. We stayed in cabin 8248 which functioned without any glitches. Our steward was a very nice young male named Francis who had a good attitude and was eager to help. I ordered chocolate-covered strawberries for my fiancée and non-alcoholic sparkling wine, which we enjoyed on the 12th deck while the ship was pulling out. This was my 5th cruise and leaving port never gets old. We dined in the main dining room the first night and unfortunately they were not prepared for my vegan fiancée, but they were pleasant and tried their best to accommodate her. We were seated at section 222 and a very pleasant young Chinese woman named Xoieau (unsure of the spelling) was very sweet and helpful. I ordered the surf and turf for which I had to pay extra. The steak was great but the lobster was tiny. We dined the second night at Chops Grille and again there was some misunderstanding and miscommunication about a previously planned vegan menu for my fiancée. She wound up eschewing their menu due to confusion and just settled on a baked potato and vegetables, which she usually has at steakhouses back in the states. The 3rd night we dined at Jamie Oliver's which we highly recommend. I had the mushroom tagliatelle which was divine and my fiancée had penne Pomodoro which was great. The final night we dined at Izumi hibachi restaurant. I thought it was good but my fiancée thought the Filipino chef was a bit sloppy and dirty compared to other chefs. I thought his routine was amusing until I noticed all the other chefs had the same routine. The casino video poker machines were disappointing until the last night when I won all my money back. The casino personnel were all very good and the dealers had a great sense of humor. The problem with the casino wasn't the machines or the dealers--it was the players who interrupt a good run on blackjack without asking if they could join the game or players who just don't know how to play. The casino hosts were outstanding--they left a bowl of fruit one day for us and on the last night left a bottle of wine. On our second day we went to the Blue Lagoon Island. The boat ride was entertaining as the crew of the boat tried to lighten up the crowd. The blue lagoon island was a very nice, quiet, peaceful diversion. We initially were at the lagoon until we recognized the ocean on the other side. The lunch was standard American fare but they did have a veggie burger for my fiancée. I have to say that all of the bartenders were amazing. My fiancée does not drink alcohol but I am a martini drinker. Every one of them knows how to make a proper dry martini, which is more that I can say for some professional bartenders on land. We did the water slide on the ship twice and for 2 middle-aged people we had a blast! The gym was well-equipped and busy on most of the days. The photo shop was so efficient that we selected our pics and paid for them within 10 minutes. The prints were ready at the specified time as well. We wanted to go ice skating but didn't manage to fit it in. We won the caricature quiz and got 2 pens. On the final night we went to the karaoke bar on the 14th deck which was fun. The weather was perfect for the first 3 days but on the last night there was a thunder storm and the crew handled everything perfectly. The debarkation was faster than the embarkation. It took longer to get an English-speaking Uber driver than to get on and off the ship combined. In conclusion, the ship is 15 years old and you wouldn't know that at all from the refurbishment. I would not hesitate to go on Mariner of the Seas again. The service was impeccable. We were made to feel special, and who doesn't want that? We can't wait for our next RC cruise! Read Less
Mariner of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 4.5 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates N/A 4.3

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