Sail Date: January 2015
This was our first cruise, and it was a taster to see if it was something that we would like and to do more of, and the answer was absolutely yes!! The Mariner of the Seas is an incredible ship, and impressed us from the start from the ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and it was a taster to see if it was something that we would like and to do more of, and the answer was absolutely yes!! The Mariner of the Seas is an incredible ship, and impressed us from the start from the easy embarkation to the pleasant and very friendly staff. Everything seemed to run incredibly smooth and we could not get over that every single staff member would greet you with a big smile and would help if you needed it. The ship itself was immaculately clean and appeared to run like clockwork. Our room was a nice surprise as it was bigger than we expected with an incredible amount of storage. The shower fits one person with a movable shower nozzle, and the bathroom had plenty of storage too. The room was cleaned and checked twice a day, and we had the cute towel animals on our bed :-) Our cabin person Mark, was attentive to a T, and always made sure that if there was anything we needed he would help and sort it out personally, we were very grateful for that. He was an excellent staff member. We ate mostly in the Dining Room, and could not fault it in any way. We felt we were treated like royalty and the silver service and attention to detail could not be beaten. My husband and I got a cold the last few days on board, and the waitstaff assigned to our table came over without asking and asked if we would like hot water with honey and lemon to help with our colds It was so very thoughtful!! The food was absolutely beautiful, the meats all tender and vegetables crisp, the other specialities were delicious. We did dine a couple of times at the Windjammer, because of time schedules, and found the food to be nice but it was very busy, and people a bit rude and pushy, but other than that it was still good to eat there. We also ate at Johnny Rocketts for the $5.95 surcharge, and that was delicious too!! Our regular thing was to have a hot dog ( no fee) at the hot dog stand on Deck 11 in the afternoon, and they were very yummy! Overall, we found the food to be of excellent standard as some of the other critics that we had read had us a bit worried about the quality! Not for us :-) We had booked excursions and were very pleased with the way that they were implemented as with such a huge number of people on the boat, it would have been nightmare otherwise to get people off without a rush.It was done in an orderly fashion, and we disembarked in all the ports without any problems. With Phuket we had a tender, and never having been on one before, learnt that you need to allow time to wait for one and for it to return to the ship. It doesnt take long, but the tenders need to be full before they go, so you may need to wait about 10 minutes or so while it fills up both ways. It wasnt a problem for us, but if you had certain things you wanted to do in Phuket, it might be worth planning your days. With KL, you arrive at Pt Klang, and to get into KL it takes just over an hour. We found that it was easier to take the coach excursion then we did our own thing. Penang was easy, as we had pre booked an excursion through the ship which was excellent. We had never been to Langkawi and decided to do our own thing. When we disembarked there were many, many taxis that offered their services for the day. As there were us 2 and our 2 friends we hired a mini van for 350MYR for about 5 hours! Great day! Overall the whole cruise was an excellent experience and one we hope to do again in the future! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We just got home from our Spring Break Cruise to Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. Embarkation: This went pretty smooth. Line was a bit slow at 1st because there only seemed to be one scanner open, but began to speed up. We were in the ... Read More
We just got home from our Spring Break Cruise to Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. Embarkation: This went pretty smooth. Line was a bit slow at 1st because there only seemed to be one scanner open, but began to speed up. We were in the Windjammer within an hour of getting to the port. Stateroom: Everything was clean and in good condition. The TV did not work when we got there but our attendant was on it and it was fixed within 30 minutes. Not a big deal at all. Speaking of our state room attendant...Bernadette Prince. She was the best ever. The ones I have had in the past have been great, but Bernadette just went above and beyond. She paid so much attention to the small things. She even folded some clothes that were on the couch one night when we were in a hurry to get to the show. If she saw us coming down the hall she would open our door for us. MRD:We ate there every night. I was worried the quality had gone down after reading some of the reviews but there was nothing to worry about. Of course there were some things that needed more salt and pepper but I think considering they are cooking for 3500+ people they do an amazing job. Aaron and Christopher were good. A little shaky the 1st night,but on night 2 they had our drinks to us and most importantly kept my Diet Coke full. Aaron knew after night one how we liked our steaks. Christopher always made sure to keep my mom stocked up on her favorite savory bites. They were very accommodating in bringing us and extra appetizer, dessert, or entree. Shows: They were good. New cast and CD. The group Mosaic performed and blew the roof off of the place. We even ran into them the next day in Cozumel...very nice group of young me. Disembarkation: Total nightmare. Long delays. It took us about 3 hours to get off. I think it was a combo of too few agents and some problem with someone trying to bring something in that required the fire marshall to be called out. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Booked an inside guarantee cabin and got a Promenade Room directly over the small area for designated for entertainment (bands and other musical groups). We thought we were lucky to have a room overlooking the Royal Promenade, but soon ... Read More
Booked an inside guarantee cabin and got a Promenade Room directly over the small area for designated for entertainment (bands and other musical groups). We thought we were lucky to have a room overlooking the Royal Promenade, but soon learned we weren't so lucky afterall. First night into the cruise the entertainment featured in the promenade was the country western band...ended around 10:45 - 11:00PM. Second night...a mix of the country western band, the pool (regae band)...and a most welcome change...a lovely trio consisting of a piano and 2 violinists. The base drum and bass guitar resonated around the entire promenade including deck 6, 7, and 8 on both port and starboard sides. Then the third night...a near epidemic of sickness struck. First report(s) were that only about 49 people were sick. We later heard over 100 and calculated it must be even worse than that. Oddly, the 7th and 9th deck is where the majority of sick passengers were located with many of those over the promenade area...guaranteed to their rooms for 24-48 hours since their last 'system(s)' (please read between the lines here). These events were held throughout the cruise at various times in the afternoon during a time when many passengers enjoy a nice nap. "Not so much"...on this cruise. So, let's see! We have a bunch of people sick on-board quaranteed to their rooms. They're sick...in bed...sleeping...headaches...throwing up...diarrhea. Do you think it might be prudent to re-locate at least some of the louder venues, such as the country western band, to a vacant public area? Or should we continue to torture those sick passengers by sticking to our musical agenda? Nope..."we're gonna continue as planned". Without regard to our sick passengers. So, if you think a promenade room is a great choice, be prepared for regular pounding bass drums and bass guitar at inopportune times. For me...think I check back in at Holland America or Celebrity for my next 34 cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
My husband and I cruised on the August 19th sailing. We had a fantastic time. The English speaking passengers were very much a minority on this sailing(not sure if this is the case every week being that it sails from Civitavecchia). All ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the August 19th sailing. We had a fantastic time. The English speaking passengers were very much a minority on this sailing(not sure if this is the case every week being that it sails from Civitavecchia). All annoucements were made in English and Italian and there even was an Italian counterpart to the English speaking cruise director, who had a whole Italian speaking staff. Embarkation was the easiest I have every experienced. We were on the ship in minutes!!! The same went for Debarkation at the end of the week. We were on the Allure of the Seas in April, so the Mariner looked a bit tired overall to us. Another reviewer said that carpets looked new. It's most likely because they are in the process of replacing the carpeting in the hallways. The carpet outside our stateroom was replaced during our cruise. It was only after seeing and walking on the new carpet we were able to notice how old the carpet in the rest of the hallway was. Darren, the piano player/singer in the Schooner bar was wonderful. We spent part of every night listening(and sometimes singing along). The bar/waitstaff in the Schooner were also great. All of the ports were great. We only took 2 excursions. The first was in Cannes. We took the Grasse/St. Paul de Vence excursion. St. Paul de Vence is a wonderful walled city and the excursion was very enjoyable. The second excursion was in Mallorca. We did the Segway tour in Palma. Learning how to use the segway was easy and it was a lot of fun to ride around the city. We can't wait to go on our next cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
-Stayed over night in Rome the night before the cruise...2nd time in Rome, enjoyed it and was able to walk about the city relaxed since I saw the sights the first time around. Took the train to the cruise port, walked to the front of the ... Read More
-Stayed over night in Rome the night before the cruise...2nd time in Rome, enjoyed it and was able to walk about the city relaxed since I saw the sights the first time around. Took the train to the cruise port, walked to the front of the port and the cruise provided a bus that takes you right to the ship.-Embarkation was easy, cookies and water while you waited in line. Took passports, which we got back after we left Greece.-Ship: Ship is newer, but the style seemed like someone from the 90s designed it...still nice and didn't seem old, just whoever designed it was in the 90s and not in the 2000s. Always things to do. My husband and I chose to relax this cruise rather than running around to all the activities. Pools were too cold to swim in, but hot tubs were good in the gym and outside areas. Our room was spacious and we never had trouble finding a seat anywhere for anything. -Entertainment: Bingo is always expensive...hard to swallow when you pay $40 and only play for 12 minutes because the guy next to you from Texas wins $1000! Shows were all good, the only recommendation I would make would be to have more shows rather than individual performers. After a piano player, violinist and guitarist I was hoping for some variety. The musicians around the ship were the best! We would grab a seat at the Schooner Bar or Pub and just hang out and sing songs most of the night. There was a dance club, but hardly anyone in there and the Quarter machines in the casino are fun to play, but they are rigged...you are warned! Ice show was the best! Get there early!-Food: Always something good to eat. We had breakfast in the dining room a few times when we could get up for it and they had traditional breakfast options along with a fruit and granola buffet you could help yourself to while you were waiting for food. Lunch buffet was always tasty. Dinner in the dining room was also always good...especially the desserts. If you want to save money on booze, I suggest getting the drink of the day (you get to keep the glass) or drinking 1/2 your bottle of wine at dinner and they will save it again for the next night. I will say that I did get ecoli poisoning the last couple days of the cruise and was miserable. I did eat off the ship and it was right when the ecoli outbreak was starting, so who knows where I got it, but I didn't hear of anyone else having the same problem on the ship. Didn't try any specialty restaurants...really wasn't a need to and there is a 24 snack bar with lots of munchies like pizza, desserts and sandwiches.-Athens, Greece: My husband and I almost never book excursions through the ship to save money. We always bring a GPS with us to help navigate and maps that we print out from frommers.com. We walked from the cruise port to the train station...it was a fairly long walk and Athens isn't pretty. Lots of stray dogs, awful fumes from traffic and constant smelling of piss. I've been to 17 countries and Athens goes down as 1 of the dirtiest! The train station isn't labeled to get you to the Acropolis, so luckily we found others to help out...research this before you go and hide your personal belongings. At the Acropolis, it is really just ruins. I've seen the better parts of it in museums in Berlin and London, but they are trying to fix it up. Do not touch anything! I went to take my picture in a field where stray dogs were roaming around and people were sitting on columns and I placed my hand on a pot for the photo and a guy came out of no where...cursing at me with his fist in the air like he was going to punch me. Needless to stay, I left crying and since I wasn't on a tour, there was no one to complain to. From there, I went straight back to the ship and was pretty much traumatized in Athens. In all the 17 countries I have visited in Central, North America and Europe I have never had an experience like this! Women, carry tissues with you for the bathroom!-Rhodes, Greece: Much better than Athens! Lots of little cafes with traditional stuff and you can walk around the city on your own. Beautiful scenery and lots of souvenir shopping. Tried Ouzo, 92% proof, tastes like licorice. If you are looking for a cheap lunch...keep looking...we overpaid and found a place for 1/2 the price right around the corner. No need to go on an excursion here, just read ahead and go on your own.-Ephesus, Turkey: My favorite port of the entire cruise! The people mostly speak english and were super friendly. We opted for our first cruise excursion here and were taken to the house of the Virgin Mary and the Ancient City of Ephesus...I do recommend a tour here with Tura Turizm...very knowledgable and good story telling. Beautiful scenery and if you are religious you will know all the stories and if not, it's just really cool to walk down the same road as Cleopatra and Caesar! Ate lunch at a beautiful resort with a delicious buffet! At the end of our tour we were taken to a Turkish rug shop. Now don't get me wrong, the rugs were really beautiful and take long to make, but for a small 3x3 carpet, $1000! If you are not interested, don't even blink at them! Turkish people are brutal salesmen...my husband was getting suckered in and for the price of 1 rug we could get new windows for our entire house, so I had to pull him away! Excellent shopping right outside the port and cheaper than Istanbul, so do your shopping here...Turkish eyes, lamps, scarves, etc. ...and by the way, I was able to get my husband a wool Turkish rug made in Turkey on Craigslist for $75 when we got home! -Istanbul, Turkey: This is the 2nd largest city in Europe...it is crowded! Very cool to immerse yourself in a 99% muslim population where men travel with men and hold hands, the same for women and women are covered. If you are a woman, be prepared to pay to use the public restroom and to pee standing up into a urinal type hole! I still don't know how they do it, but it wasn't pleasant trying! You can walk over a bridge from the port into the city or I would recommend catching a taxi a couple blocks from the port because they will charge you more at the port. Restaurants at the port are outrageously priced. When you walk over the bridge there is an underground market selling cheap garbage from China...the Grand Bazaar is also overpriced crap from China. However, I highly recommend the Spice Bazaar for good, authentic shopping. Took a tour with Viatour of the city, but regretted it. You can do everything on foot and pretty much may under $20 to see all the main sites...food on your own is really cheap. Blue Mosque was nice, the Basilica Cistern was cool...you can walk and do these on your own. Spice Market was my favorite stop. Dinner at Matbah restaurant was a highlight! Very romantic and the best food of the trip!!! Highly recommend. We made reservations ahead.Naples, Italy: Garbage was everywhere because the mob controls it. Booked another tour with Viatour, this one was worth it. Went to Pompeii and our tour guide was awesome! Ate pizza and wine for lunch...also amazing and part of the tour. Then climbed up Mt. Vesuvius with ecoli poisoning, but still made it to the top! When you see how their society lived not much differently than ours, it seems that all we have done in the past thousands of years is create the internet. Bought 2 bottles of wine from the mountain...should have bought 2 more! Red and white both good!The only thing that was disappointing on the cruise was that the cruise always left port during dinner, so if you wanted to eat in the dining room, you missed taking pictures or seeing the sites off the top of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Well since the snow is now melting here in Seattle I am coming out of my shock and figure I will out a review together. Marie and I had the joy of sailing to the Mexican Riviera on the Mariner last week. We signed up for this cruise about ... Read More
Well since the snow is now melting here in Seattle I am coming out of my shock and figure I will out a review together. Marie and I had the joy of sailing to the Mexican Riviera on the Mariner last week. We signed up for this cruise about 5 weeks prior which for me is the same as last minute. I am the type of person that like to spend months planning out a vacation so of course I was in utter panic when I realized I only had about 40 days to set up everything. Powering through the first weekend I managed to get arranged airfare (even used a companion coupon for Marie), ground transportation back and forth to the ship, tours in two ports and Chops reservations. Blood pressure dropped considerably by Monday. We decided to fly to LA same day of the cruise, I didn't think it was too much of a gamble since it was a 2½ hour direct flight, landing about 10:30 am. We actually arrived about 20 minutes early and after collecting bags headed to the ship via Super Shuttle. The driver was nice enough to point out to us where to go to get our return ride when we arrived back to LA. We handed our bags off to a porter who actually seemed surprise when I handed him a tip. Guess I could have kept that one in my pocket. Boarding took all of 10 minutes; the longest part was waiting in line to get our pictures taken for the sea pass. We did a stroll down the promenade then headed up to Windjammer for some lunch. Now I have seen people on CC rave about the honey stung chicken that is available of sail away day. Well I am now 0 for 2 when it comes to the chicken. Our first cruise it was dry and tasteless, this cruise it was not even offered. So I am giving up on that. Food in the Windjammer was what I remembered in our first cruise, it has its highlights and lowlights (is lowlight a word?). So one thing Marie and I were looking forward to this time was the sail away. One our first cruise the ship left Barcelona at 7pm and we had the 6:30 seating for dinner. So our view was from the dining room window. We were forewarned to wear a jacket because it may be southern California but it was November. We grabbed a couple of drinks, something they called a Miami Vice, I think it was a combination pina colada and daiquiri with a whole lot of rum added. In fact the waiter came by twice with the rum bottle and topped off the glasses twice. That got the party started. It was sunset when the ship departed which made for a beautiful view. We had a great time, Marie got in a little dancing before it was time to run down to the dining room for dinner and our first meet with our tablemates. For dining we were on deck 4 which is called Top Hat and Tails. We had a table for 6 next to the port side window. The two couple we shared the table with were John and Diana from Pennsylvania plus Jack and Margarite (sp) from Newfoundland. The cruise was a joy spending our evening meal with them, talking about our parts of the world and reliving what we did in the ports or on the ship. I have heard stories of miserable tablemates making dinner a challenge but we have batted a thousand so far. That evening the show was a comedian name Carl Banks that a number of funny jokes about shipboard life, in particular about the shower and toilet. I would add that they should hang a sign in the cabin bathroom that says "caution, you may experience minor hearing loss after flushing". Ours was a little on the loud side this time. The first day was spent at sea and my plan was lounging and reading. Marie had other ideas we compromised, I lounged and she explored and found ways to have fun. A little shopping hiking and line dancing for her, lounging for me. That worked. We did ht the Meet and Mingle which was a joy to put face to the names of the people we had been chatting with online. We had arrange a grab bag swap, Marie and I gave smoked salmon and Starbucks (we are from Seattle can you tell?). The M&M was fun; they had a drawing for a few prizes (I won a RCCL 64mg memory stick). That evening was the first formal night. I decided instead of renting an ill fitting tux from the ship I would bring a sports coat and a couple ties. It was much more comfortable and fit in when those around us. I was able to enjoy some snails as a starter to the meal (two orders). Guess the main course was not too remarkable as I had to look it up (filet of beef).The evening's show was a comedy act again so I was hesitant. But it was well worth it, a Vegas act that was a couple of brothers from Argentina (I think) Mario & Daniel. They were better than the guy the previous night. The next day was Cabo San Lucas. Other than a couple hours in Tijuana we have never been to Mexico. We decided to just spend the day walking around the town, taking in the sights, shop, eat, drink, all the required things for a fun day. We were warned that once you get off the tender boat there would be a wave of people wanting to sell souvenirs, tours, etc. There was, but to be honest we have seen much worse. The people hawking their wares never got in our way and were rather polite in their approach. Nothing high pressure at all. It was a beautiful day in Cabo, low 80s calm winds, just what you want in mid November. First thing Marie bought was a hat to keep the sun out of her eyes (I brought mine). We wandered a few hours, comparing prices and just making it a leisure day. Marie found Hard Rock Cafe where she could buy her jacket. I think her goal is to get one in every country they are located. Good luck. There was a row of little restaurants along the water so we stopped in the one that had the most customers, not the best reason but what the heck we were on vacation so no need for major decisions. It was shrimp ceviche and fish tacos that were delicious. Margaritas for Marie and dollar Coronas for me made for a tasty relaxing lunch. A quiet ride back to the ship and a great port visit was over for us. The show this evening was the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. We saw similar shows on the last cruise. To be honest, these are shows are entertaining but not memorable. Still a fun way to spend part of the evening. I forgot to mention that Marie has been hitting the casino slot machines each night. On a $20 a night budget she has been doing well on the penny and two penny slots. The twenty bucks has been lasting her about an hour even with me stopping by a pilfering a few of her coins now and then. So this evening about 11:30 there was going to be dancing under the stars and a buffet (like I need more food). Sounded like a great way to end a fabulous day. Well after the show we made the mistake of stopping by the room to "rest" for a half hour. Yeah, we were pretty much snoozing by 11:30, good intentions. The next day was a visit to Mazatlan and a tour with the famous Mazatlan Frank. We read about him on CC and there was nothing but good reviews so we figured we would give him a shot. We were not disappointed as he took us to all parts of Mazatlan in our 5 hours with him. Cliff divers, a walking tour in Old Mazatlan, a drive through the golden zone, shopping opportunities and a shrimp & lobster lunch at a beachside restaurant. Great fun for 40 bucks. That evening we had reservations at Chops Grille. We tried Portofino on our last cruise and really liked it so we decided to give Chops a try. No disappointment here, just steaks that melt in your mouth, shrimp and crab for starters and really decadent desserts we could not finish. It was also nice to have one dinner for two with a little extra personalized service. This evening we also decided to go to the Love & Marriage show, one of many things we missed last cruise. We wanted to get a good seat so we showed up early. Bingo was about to start (guess we were really early) so we decided to play, no winners here. The L&M show was fun, had a couple married 57 years, one married 5 days and another in between. Was like watching the old Newlywed game on TV, plenty of embarrassing responses to the questions, good fun. Last port visit was Puerto Vallarta and here we decided to use the ship's 4 hour city and shopping tour. What a waste. There was 20 minute stop downtown where the guide showed a few statues and a quick walk through a cathedral. Then there was a 30 shopping stop at some RCCL sponsored jewelry stores (we snuck across the street and bought painted tiles). After that it was a drive 16 miles south for a 3 minute stop to take a picture of the beach where John Houston filmed Night of the Iguana. Then it was back on the bus to drive all the way back into town to stop at a beachside restaurant for a 30 minutes drink/food break (the margaritas and shrimp were awesome). I quick stop at some more ship sponsored store and then it was back to the ship. I guess I should not have expected much for $26 each. The last stop Marie was feeling the margaritas and did some serious bargaining so it was not a total loss. We heard a lot about the town form the guide as we drove around, it just seemed like we did not see a lot of the town. Don't remember what dinner; I think it was the catch of the day (cod). That evening the headliner show was the Coasters. Great fun hearing all those old rock n roll songs, Charlie Brown, Yakety Yak, Poison Ivy. The 70s dancing in the street on the Royal Promenade later that evening was fun as well. Some passengers from I think Utah dressed up in the Village People outfits and did a rousing version of YMCA that got everybody moving. When the dancing started we were already in our usual spot at the Cafe Promenade so we were front and center for the dancing. Every evening after the evening show we headed to the cafe for the tasty sandwiches and cookies. Eating again at 10 in the evening was a habit we broke quick after getting back home. The next day was at sea and heading north. First thing that morning there was a medical emergency so we actually pulled in to the harbor at Cabo to let someone off. I was tantalizing to see the beaches so close but it was a quick turnaround and we were soon back at sea. Late morning there was a walk for the Make a Wish Foundation. So Marie bought one of the tee shirts for the fundraiser and participated in the 5 laps with other passengers and many of the crew. I found a lounge chair to park my rear in and cheer her on as she walked by. In the afternoon there was the international belly flop competition by the pool. I found a vantage point the next deck up to take pictures while Marie edged her way poolside. Lots of fun as we all got to participate in the scoring. It really was an international competition as the guy that won was from Scotland. We had met him earlier in the cruise, we shared a breakfast table with him and his parents, his name was Michael I think. The rest of the day was relaxing in the sun since we were pretty sure it would be too chilly tomorrow. That night was the second formal night and lobster for dinner. The wait staff appears to be responsible for more tables this time and was scrambling around a lot throughout the week. But our waiter Ramil still made sure to come around to all of us that ordered lobster and de-shelled them for us. I figure I will take a few minutes at this point to talk about our wait staff. We had Ramil from the Philippines for our waiter and Luis from Brazil for assistant waiter. They did well but don't expect them to vary too far from the menu. Early on evening I asked Ramil about getting a cheese plate. I know it was not on the menu but come on, it's not that difficult to put some cheese on a plate. He gave me updates two or three times through the meal about the progress (the idea was to have it as a starter but I kept silent) but by meal's end it never did arrive. I figured he may try to make up for it the next night but nope, not a word or slice. One of our tablemates had ice tea every night and had to ask for it every night, and for refills on occasion. Last cruise I had asked for ice tea the first night and every night after that a glass arrived shortly after I sat down. I think Luis was kind of new at his job so I will cut him some slack when we had to ask for bread a couple times. But Ramil was an 11 year veteran. One thing he was good at was reminding us on two different night to be sure and fill out the survey and please check the 'excellent' boxes on the survey as 'good' is frown on by management. Well I give high marks if I see service worthy of high marks, and I don't think I saw that this cruise. So that night was the Quest game, something we had also missed last cruise. I will not go into details for those who have not yet experience it, but I will say it met all expectations. Funny, naughty and plenty of good clean fun. Next day we were also at sea and as expected it was too cold to hang out on deck. So I got in some serious reading, Marie did some window shopping on the promenade and we started packing for the return home. We signed up for the valet baggage service. This was well worth the extra $20 a bag (we each only had one bag to check). They delivered special luggage tags to the room and our boarding passes for our flight the next day. All we had to do was get the bags in the hall that night and the next time we saw them was on the luggage carousel in the Seattle airport. It was so sweet not having to hump those bags from the terminal to our ground transportation and then from there into the airport. I figure you spend as much as you do for a cruise and airfare, any extra $40 for that convenience was worth it. The last night there was another parade on the promenade, an island theme this time. It amazes me how much enthusiasm the staff puts into these activities. The do those same parades week in and week out, probably could do them in their sleep. But they still come across as enjoying the time, maybe many of them still are. All I know is it was fun for us, well done. Disembarking the ship was delayed about an hour, some issue with the express customers. That was ok as it left us with only a 30 minute wait in the airport once we got to the gate. Flight was uneventful but as we landed in Seattle we saw snowflakes falling. Sad ending to what was a really great cruise. So far we are two for two cruising with Royal Caribbean. It will be another 18 months before head out again, this time to the eastern Mediterranean. Looking forward to doing it again. Thanks for hanging with me on this review. Bill Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
Our trip began from Northern Virginia with a 5 ½ hour flight to LAX. Once we touched down we found a shuttle to the San Pedro Crown Plaza Hotel via a red shuttle which I recommend avoiding and using the Super Shuttle (blue). The ... Read More
Our trip began from Northern Virginia with a 5 ½ hour flight to LAX. Once we touched down we found a shuttle to the San Pedro Crown Plaza Hotel via a red shuttle which I recommend avoiding and using the Super Shuttle (blue). The red shuttle had very darkened windows and it appeared to be nighttime and you could not see outside at all and their 7 minute wait was actually 20 minutes circling around and around the airport for more passengers. The Crown Plaza was lovely. We requested a room on a higher floor facing the water and we were not disappointed. At 5:00AM the next morning we could see the Mariner of the Seas arriving. We had dinner at the Green Onion and it was wonderful which had been a recommendation by other Cruise Critics. We had breakfast at the Crown Plaza after failing to find other places open and it was fine. I understand that normally the ship starts embarking about 11:00 but for some reason it was delayed until about 11:30 so there was a bit of a wait. We were booked into a Grand Suite so we did have priority embarking. We were on the ship in about 30 minutes. The ship was beautiful, clean and sparkling. Our Grand Suite was just as beautiful. The highlight was the bathroom, all marble, spacious, great lighting and storage and more like a luxury hotel. The closets and drawer space was more than ample. We had been in a Junior Suite in the past and this far exceeded. Our attendant was Carl and he was just great. Some great perks with the Grand Suite is the concierge lounge with Alan who could not be more helpful. You are also able to take your food from the Windjammer into the restaurant Chops. This is really nice as the seating in the Windjammer was always very full whenever we were there. Chops personnel that served us were wonderful. You can also order anything off of the Main dining room menu to be served in your cabin if you have a grand suite. The food. We last cruised with RCCI last October on the Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore and the food was terrible, bland and tasteless. I have come to think that the food is geared toward the main age group and that cruise was a mainly elderly based group. The food on this cruise was much much better. We mainly ate room service breakfast on our balcony or from the Windjammer (and took into Chopps); the food was good with the exception that we tried to order Eggs Benedict twice and could not get it with a slice of Canadian bacon on it. One day we had lunch in the dining room and ordered the salads that they prepare for you with your choice of ingredients. The person who prepared my salad was impatient and almost a little rude. We did not go back. The lunch food from the Windjammer was ok. Dinners in the dining room were actually good most nights. The meat was always good and cooked to perfection with the exception of the New York strip that did not seem like a very good cut. I would say that the dinners were good 5 out of 7 nights. On the final night nothing really seemed very appealing and we tried many things and nothing really tasted very good. Excursions. In September, Mexico is very hot. Be prepared. We booked an excursion with Mazatlan Frank who was very helpful and professional. We were booked at the RUI hotel for 5 hours and it was all inclusive. I have to add that the buffet food was not great. It was extremely hot and the pool water was really only warm and not much relief. I think I would use Mazatlan Frank again but skip the RUI Hotel and opt for one of his other (non-inclusive) options. Cabo San Lucas (just as hot) was our favorite stop. We had nothing planned and ended up going around the water front in water taxis and small glass bottom boats around all the beautiful rocks formations and doing some bar hopping. Puerto Vallarta. Be careful with taxis. They tell you they will take you to a tequila factory and I do not know what it actually was, maybe they should have called it a tequila tasting station. We were then taken "shopping" and driven to a street side area with vendors which I do think I got some great deals on jewelry but spent more than I planned. Then next it was to Chico's Paradise for lunch where we asked the driver if we could pay by credit card and were told we could. The food was great but we really did not know how much it was costing us and it turned out to be over $100.00 for the 2 of us. The food was not really priced and we should have asked before hand. When we were brought the tab we found out we could not charge it to our credit card. After spending money on the jewelry and this costly lunch we were down to about $70.00 cash and we owed the taxi $100.00 ($25.00 per hr). The remaining time with the taxi driver was very uncomfortable trying to get additional money from ATM's and Wall mart. We also noticed that our driver got "cash kickbacks' from the shopping stop and from the tequila tasting place as well as bragging about the free lunch from Chico's. This is my 4th cruise in 3 years and I have not really mastered the excursions yet. In closing I would say that the cruise was Great and I loved every minute of it with the exception of a few port stop misadventures which is only my own fault. I would definitely do this cruise again and highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
I just wanted to warn people ahead of time about the Mazatlan time shares to say no when sales people approach you. If you are not good at saying no don't go to the 1 hr presentation. We were lured by the free cab rides and free food ... Read More
I just wanted to warn people ahead of time about the Mazatlan time shares to say no when sales people approach you. If you are not good at saying no don't go to the 1 hr presentation. We were lured by the free cab rides and free food and drinks and the so called 5 star resort which turned out to be 3 stars in my opinion. However, after saying no, we had fun cooling off in the El Cid Beach Resort pool which was the nicest attraction there with slides I must say. We all enjoyed our swim there. I came back and out of curiosity googled El Cid resort with the word scam and there were numerous complaints on how people were lied to and how people got ripped off 16,000 USD or more. They expect you to show them your credit card, but cover up your numbers if you go. Also when we were dining at the El Cid restaurant they said my daughter did not have a wrist band that she would have to pay. We were adamant and said the sales lady said she's a minor so she wouldn't have to pay. I just told him off and said I'm not paying. We could tell the restaurant manager was trying to weasel money out of us. This kind of give you a picture of what kind of sleezy company El Cid is. So I wanted to share my experience for those that are attracted by the nice swim. It's good to read the other posts about the how treacherous the ocean could be too. At Cabo we also went swimming at a hotel by the swimming beach after we took a 10 dollar boat tour per person to see the arch and to transport us to the swimming beach roundtrip. At first the guy said 15 but I said no. The arch is not really a big deal. I also tried parasailing for 35 bucks for 10 min. there. It's something that I can say I did, but not something I would do again. It's sort of like the california parasailing ride. At PV we had prebooked online the zip line at Los veranos which was super fun but make sure you wear clothes you don't care about due to the grease which was so hard to wash off. All in all we had fun and as other said the food wasn't great. The food was never hot just barely warm in the dining rooms. The best food I had there was the tandori chicken in the windjammer one day and the prime rib in the dining room. I have to say that the entertainment was fun: love and marriage show, comedy shows. I had lots of laughs more so than on NCL or Princess I must say. But I have to say the food was the worst I have had on a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
My partner and I went on this cruise December 13 through December 20, 2009. We have cruised many times before, and this was my 30th cruise. My partner has been on 10 cruises. We mainly use Royal Caribbean (RCCL), Princess and Royal ... Read More
My partner and I went on this cruise December 13 through December 20, 2009. We have cruised many times before, and this was my 30th cruise. My partner has been on 10 cruises. We mainly use Royal Caribbean (RCCL), Princess and Royal Caribbean's subsidiary, Celebrity. We have both been on this particular Mexican itinerary about 6 times. We have been on cruises to Central America and the Caribbean as well. I will say that I like RCCL better than Princess. Since Carnival bought Princess Cruises a few years back, the Princess experience has been "Carnivalized" as a ship's officer once told me. I thought that was pretty funny when the top staff used that word. We went on a Princess Mexican cruise in 2007 and 2008 so I will compare this trip with those. We have been to these ports many times and have taken the different shore excursions so the last few cruises we didn't even leave the ship. It's nice to have the ship to yourself while everyone else is out touring. I ended up violently sick with the "Norovirus" on this trip while cruising on the Mariner of the Seas. More about that later in my review and how I am disappointed in RCCL's response. Getting to the L.A. harbor was very easy for us since we only live about 45 minutes away in Pasadena. We drive there and park our car in the cruise terminal lot. Embarkation was very easy and quick. We arrived at about 12:30 p.m. and walked right up to the check in desk then onboard the ship. The one thing I like about RCCL is that there is a photo by-pass line for those of us that have enough pictures. There was no chaos at lunch and there was plenty of seating. Compared to Princess last year where there were no defined lines at the buffet the first day so we were on our own to fight your way through the hoards of people. We were able to find seating very easy on this trip. We love the free ice cream machine on RCCL and use it often. We thought all of the food was good. On Princess I would see a desert that looked tasty only to get it back to the table and found it to look better than it tasted. Not the case on the Mariner.....everything that looked good tasted good. When we got to our stateroom on the 8th floor mid-ship it was ready for us. We always get a balcony room. Our housekeeper was very nice and kept things rolling the entire time. One of the other things I like about this ship compared to Princess is that the showers have real doors on them and not just curtains and the soap is in a dispenser attached to the shower wall. Another small but significant item is that the toilet paper is soft, not that rough sand paper (septic friendly) stuff Princess uses. There is also tile on the backsplash of the sink. The rooms appear to be about the same size at the other ships we've cruised on. Day 2 was at sea and we went to breakfast and there were not lines, all food buffet stations were open and there was plenty of seating. The bacon was crisp and the hash browns are triangles that are dry....very tasty. On Princess the hash browns and bacon are floating in so much grease I hated to touch them. All the food was good. We went to the movie that was showing that day. The nice thing about the Mariner compared to Princess is that the movie is in a real movie theatre, not a screen in the lounge. We went to the ice skating show that evening. It was very good. I would say that it's a must see. It plays a couple of different times during the cruise. Get there early for a seat because it fills up fast. Day 3 we received a departure form to fill out. We checked the box "I need to leave the ship between 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. so we expected that we would get the luggage tags that reflected that when we were ready to put it in the hallway the night before the cruise was over. RCCL screwed that up so our nice housekeeper took care of it for us a few days later. Day 4 we docked in port and woke up to beautiful singing. We sleep with our slider door open so we heard school children singing Christmas carols in Spanish on the dock. Very nice! Another nice thing about RCCL is that the outside rooms are on top of one another so we have privacy. They are not terraced like Princess. On Princess your neighbors above can look into your room and we could look onto the balcony below. On the evening of day 4 I became violently ill. I mean really sick with diarreah and vomiting at the same time all night long. Day 5 I went to the ships doctor. The doctor told me that I had contracted the "Norovirus" which is a gastrointestinal illness. I have seen TV reports of this virus going through ships, but it was the first time in 30 cruises that I had it. The doctor quarantined me in our room and my partner was told to stay away from food stations. He ordered room service. I was so sick I couldn't eat for the next 3 days. The doctor gave me an injection for the vomiting and Imodium for the diarrhea as well as Gatorade for dehydration. I was told to come back the next day where the nurse told me to avoid food stations, etc. I was too sick to even leave my room. Needless to say from day 4 through 7 were ruined because I couldn't even get out of bed. Day 6 there was a letter from the purser's desk giving me one day's credit for a future cruise. I appreciate the gesture, but the medical staff had me in my room for 2 days and I couldn't leave my room on the last day because I was so sick. I had the medical records showing my initial doctor visit as well as my follow-up visit where the nurse told me to stay away from food areas and gave me more medication for my illness. When I returned home I wrote to Royal Caribbean asking for a voucher for 3 days instead of one since I was told by the medical staff to stay away from food areas as well as I was so sick I couldn't leave my room. I even included all the medical notes that the doctor and nurse made on the forms which included all medications. I have good health insurance and we always purchase travel insurance when we book the cruise. I am disappointed that Royal Caribbean only sent me back a form letter basically saying they would only allow the ONE DAY voucher. I am a good customer and the "Norovirus" is something that was on the ship. I only wanted credit for the 3 days I was sick and was told by staff to stay away from food stations and the dining room. Even the ships medical staff said they had treated other patients on the same cruise with the same illness. Despite using the stationary hand sanitizers around the food area, as well as keeping our own in our pockets, I still contracted the "Norovirus." From what I have read on medical web sites, the "Norovirus" can go though cruise ships easily because people are in close quarters. I don't think Royal Caribbean was being fair to a good customer and now I will have to rethink traveling with Royal Caribbean again. I don't think I was asking for too much. Enjoy your trip! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
First of all, it seemed like a totally different ship to me than the Mariner we sailed a year ago from Auckland to LA. The staff were not friendly and indifferent. The officers would pass in the hallways and not even make eye contact, let ... Read More
First of all, it seemed like a totally different ship to me than the Mariner we sailed a year ago from Auckland to LA. The staff were not friendly and indifferent. The officers would pass in the hallways and not even make eye contact, let alone speak. Staff did their jobs in a very mechanical fashion. Hardly a smile or a greeting. We were appalled when a lady asked for a tray at the coffee shop, for example, and was told to call room service. The dining room was subpar to any ship I have ever sailed and we have been on over 25 cruises. The wait staff was greatly over extended. We had to make multiple requests for items such as iced tea, for example. We felt hurried with the waiters asking us for our desert choice when initially taking our order. One usually does not know if one wants desert or not until after the meal. The food budget had obviously been cut since the selections were far less desirable than on previous cruises. On the whole, I would have to say we have had superior food and service on Azamara, Celebrity and Holland America. I had to send dinners back twice and have never done that before on a ship. I have never heard so many passenger complaints on a ship. One lady said she had sailed over 1,000 days with Regent and will never sail again. Our experience on Azamara three weeks prior was so much better in every way; food, service and staff and yet at a third the cost. We will be canceling our 35 day trip from Capetown. I just do not feel comfortable on that ship anymore. There are serious staff morale problems and they have obviously cut food and staffing budgets. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
We took the July 5 sailing out of Los Angeles.  We are Diamond Plus RCCL members.  Everything positive that members have written about we concur with.  The ship is immaculate, with two exceptions staff incredibly friendly and helpful ... Read More
We took the July 5 sailing out of Los Angeles.  We are Diamond Plus RCCL members.  Everything positive that members have written about we concur with.  The ship is immaculate, with two exceptions staff incredibly friendly and helpful and almost everything far exceeded our expectations (food quality has gone down quite a bit). Big kudos to RCCL for having the wisdom to put a first class ship to sail out of Los Angeles instead of the old rust buckets the other cruise lines have dumped here.  If you have the opportunity to sail this ship, do not hesitateit's a great deal.  The only caution we can  issue would be regarding three of the excursions.Cabo San Lucas:  We took the beach resort tour to La Finisterra Beach Hotel.  The hotel is located maybe a two minute drive up a steep hill from the dock, you are taken by bus.  The hotel faces the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo so the ocean is extremely rough with a pronounced rip current. The beach is a distance from the resort, you are not ocean side. The brochure is quite accurate that swimming is not recommended.  So that leaves the use of the three large swimming pools.  This is a great resort for the winter time but really hot in the summerthere is minimal shade and desert landscaping.  This is really a lay by the pool and relax facility, not much other activities other than water volleyball.  There is a swim up bar and restaurant which offers an excellent included Mexican buffet lunch.  Two drinks are included.  After a couple of hours a number of our group got bored and packed up and walked the short distance back to the dock (it's all downhill). Be aware that Cabo San Lucas is undergoing its never-ending road improvement project so getting into town is a real trek. Also, last year we went to the Nikki Beach Resort on an RCCL tour.  Avoid this at all costs. It is a huge rip-off.  For all the beach resort excursions in Mexico be sure to inquire which resort they will be using. For some reason in the excursion descriptions they never state the name of the resort you will be going to.  Mazatlan: We booked the Stone Island Adventure through Port Promotions website.  They used Best of Mexico/VIajes Sabalo tour company. Inspite of being at the gangway as instructed half a hour early, the tour operator never showed up no was any representative at the tour center.  Port Promotions does not provide a local phone number so there was no way to contact them.  We finally took a local Stone Island tour for $30 each and he provided the exact same tour.In our opinion, there is no way RCCL should be offering this tour, it is so below their standards.  Stone Island is not a quaint, traditional sailor's village.  It is an improvised community of junked cars everywhere, mounds of bagged trash in front yards, cratered dirt roads, abandoned houses, etc.  The Stone Island Resort is probably the worst possible excuse for a beach resort imaginable.  Their are two restrooms (not working with no hot water the day we visited) a restaurant, a large covered area with plastic chairs and tables (not enough for everyone) and an incredibly dirty and rocky beach with a pretty good undertow.  There is no pool and you are encouraged not to leave the "resort" area.  Going to the water you are mobbed by vendors.  They have some beat up kayaks without seat backs, some ATVs, a horseback tour and a carriage tour pulled by an ancient emaciated horse.The bar area is part of the restaurant area and was served by a young bartender wearing a surgical face mask.  Apparently he had a cold as he would take the mask off to sneeze or blow his nose on a filthy hankerchef and then return the mask to his face (I never saw him wash his hands).  I think our biggest concern was the kitchen.  After watching the bartender I walked several feet over to watch the woman inside the cooking area of the kitchen.  She was preparing refried beans in a pot, took the ladle out, dropped it on the floor and replaced it back into the pot. I was also fascinated watching large cockroaches climbing up the white tiles on the area under the cooking stoves.Needless to say, we made arrangements to return immediately to the ship.  Apparently a common occurrance because no one asked why or seemed surprised that we were leaving within 20 minutes of arriving.I discussed the above with the RCCL excursion desk representative who seemed appropriately uninterested until I got to the cockroach issues.  He then mentioned that RCCL had a female shore excursion inspector at Stone Island that day.  He said she was from Miami because the Stone Island people know all the other ones from the west coast.Puerto Vallarta: Las Caletas Beach tour is one of the best we've ever taken and we always go then in Puerto Vallarta.  We booked through RCCL.  There were only two issues there and they are very serious issues.  The restaurant area is infested with ground dwelling yellowjacket hornets.  These are rather placid members of the hornet family but it they feel like it can really sting.  The Los Angeles Zoo had problems years ago with them and resolved it with careful management of open food containers and spraying.Two days before our arrival Puerto Vallarta had a big summer storm which caused ocean currents to break loose microscopic pieces of the local fire coral.  You can't see them but they stinga lot.  The Las Caletas people knew for two days that they had fire coral in the water but did not inform RCCL so that people could make a decision of whether or not to go in the ocean.  The first we were aware of this was when people started running out of the ocean saying they were being stung. The tour guide did not mention this until everone was geared up to go snorkeling and was standing on the beach..  His solution was to offer wet suits.  Of course, your face, hands and feet got stung. He referred to the fire coral as "little stingy things".  Even the captive seal got stun in the eye.While yellowjackets and fire coral are an act of nature and out of the control of RCCL, their existence was known by the Las Caletas people and RCCL should have been informed.  This is a remote area, accessible only by boat.  If anyone with a sensitivity to insect stings or venon was stung they would be in trouble.  There are only minimal first aid on the island.I discussed this with the shore excusion desk and got their standard answer "write a letter to RCCL".  I refused to accept that response and insisted that the representative understand the possible medical issues yellowjackets and fire coral represent.  He finally said he would review this with the shore excursion director.  I was not impressed with his casual attitude.Enjoy the ship, but watch out for these shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
Just returned from our May 21-28th cruise on the Mariner, WOW what a fantastic ship! Just to let you know about my family, I am 42, my wife Katherine is 34 and our son Chase is 11 going on 25. We live in Ocala, Fl. so it's only a 2 ... Read More
Just returned from our May 21-28th cruise on the Mariner, WOW what a fantastic ship! Just to let you know about my family, I am 42, my wife Katherine is 34 and our son Chase is 11 going on 25. We live in Ocala, Fl. so it's only a 2 hour drive to the port in Cape Canaveral. (Pre-Cruise) We decided to take some of the stress out of our trip by leaving early Saturday and staying at the Radisson at the port and starting our vacation early. The Radisson offers a nice room, beautiful pool and tropical bar area with a nice buffet breakfast free of charge for the family. Another contributing factor in staying here the night before our cruise was the fact that they allow you to park your car there at the hotel for the week of your cruise at no charge so when you take into the consideration the fee at the cruise terminal for parking we basically paid $30 for the nights stay and got a nice breakfast and they shuttle you over to the port at the time you desire and pick you up after the cruise and return you back to your vehicle. I also want to commend the hotel for making these shuttle trips painless and very well organized, you reserve the time you want to leave for the terminal ahead of time so there is no mad rush for the shuttle and upon return it is a 1st come first serve basis to get back to the hotel, again this was VERY well done. (Embarkation) This couldn't have been easier, we arrived at the terminal at 11:45am and were through customs and onboard the ship by 12pm with a warm cookie in hand and a glass of lemonade from the terminal. (The Stateroom) The room was exactly as advertised online. Balcony stateroom 7th deck just forward of the "hump" amidships on the starboard side. Plenty of room in the closet for all of our hang up items and the 5 suit cases fit nicely under the bed. Our son liked the pull down bunk bed that is directly over the kingsize bed below. The balcony is large enough for no more than 4 chairs and a very small table, we had 3 chairs and spent a large amount of time while at our room out on the balcony. The bathroom was well laid out and functioned just fine. I took the advice of other cruise critic members and brought a power strip as there are only 2 115 volt outlets and I had my laptop, camera charger and portable computer speakers for a little mood music ;) (The Ship) Absolutely Beautiful. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail on this because you can go online and look at pictures of this ship all day long like I did prior to going on this cruise "just a little healthy pre-cruise obsessing". I will say that there is nothing in the layout of this ship that is difficult to navigate or any room that was a disappointment. The artwork was wonderful as well, I walked both of the centrums from top to bottom just to look at the artwork on each floor's landing. (The Food) The food wasn't a high point of this cruise but we didn't book this cruise thinking it would be, so we really weren't that disappointed. The food was never bad just never quite exceptional either. We had reservations at Chops Monday evening, but we didn't make it through our dinner there "more on that in a minute". Room service for breakfast and pizza in a pinch for our son was always timely and fresh. Prominade cafe had good deserts for that after excursion hunger pang. The Windjammer was decent buffet fair in a very nice atmosphere. (Service) Our room attendant Carlos was wonderful as was our waiter and assistant waiter in the dining room. We were at table 404 in the "Top Hat and Tails 4th deck portion of the dining room". Service was always prompt in the dining room and there was never an issue with getting what was ordered and getting it with a smile. The waiters really did go out of their way to provide an elegant atmosphere and we tipped them appropriately. We would never confuse the quality of the food with the quality of the service. (Entertainment) We had a great time at "The Quest" absolutely hilarious...get there early as they were turning people away at the door, I was told by our tablemates that arrived a little late. We also enjoyed the "Love and Marriage" show. The only other show we attended was the farewell show and this was also very entertaining. I have to say the cruise director Becky "Hello Luv" was everywhere on the ship and really did a great job getting people involved with a great sense of humor. Whatever RCCL is paying her they should double it, she was that good. (Excursions) We booked the Dunns River Falls tour through Pete Taylor online for our Jamaica visit and he and his son were just fantastic. They get you to the falls early to avoid the mob of people that hit the falls later in the day then take you on a tour of the area all very informative and very entertaining "highly recommend". We did the Playa Beach Resort in Cozumel and it was an average day at the beach. We couldn't believe the level of devastation to the area from last years hurricane. (Kids Program) Fantastic!!! Our son made friends so fast there and enjoyed himself so much we almost never saw him unless we were on a excursion. The youth personnel there were all wonderful, qualified and caring people. Chase would leave in the am when he got up "if we were lucky he would stay for breakfast with the old parents" and off he would go. He would insist on staying for the late night festivities and we would have to go and drag him back when they closed up for the night often not till 1am! But what the heck he was on vacation too and we had every confidence in his well being with the people in charge of the program. (Disappointment) Now back to why we never got through our meal at Chops Restaurant. Our son Chase has asthma. Normally it's not a problem, he is very athletic but he can be prone to coughing attack when overheated at times. He was at the youth program while we were at dinner and a friend of his did something my son described as the "hillbilly dance" he started laughing very hard it tuned into coughing and he ended up throwing up a bit. Well, the ship, we come to find out has been in a code yellow alert for Norwalk virus for the last 3 months and anything of this nature draws an immediate and automatic trip to the ships doctor. Well my wife tried to tell the doctor that this wasn't unusual for Chase and about his asthma but we ended up quarantined to our stateroom for 24 hours. While we were disappointed we understood completely that they were just trying to ensure the best for all of the cruise guests and to limit any possible health issues. RCCL guest relations immediately informed us that all movies in the room were free, mini bar items free and put us on a priority with any room service orders. It also made it a little more bearable that our son of course was fine and didn't have the virus. We did miss Labadee and it was hard for our son to watch people on jet ski's and at the beach park from our balcony but he survived. The only negative when dealing with guest relations was that they had informed us we would be receiving a credit for the time we spent confined to our cabin but nobody there could tell us what the credit would be, only that we would receive a letter on the last day of our cruise with more information. Well the letter didn't come so my wife had to make numerous calls to ensure we didn't leave the ship without the credit letter, this got to be a small irritation. I will only say that if my wife hadn't been given the runaround on this one item the service for the ship would have been a 5+. As it turned out we didn't get all the answers until a couple weeks after we were off the ship in regards to the credit. RCCL ended up giving our family of 3 a $500 credit for a future cruise which we were more than happy with, we just wish it would have been handled with the same level of service we received in every other part of this cruise. (Summary) This ship is incredible and is the ideal vacation for the family just as advertised. We look forward to cruising again with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
This will be a long winded review but there is so much to say. First of all we got to the dock at about 12;30. It only took us about 1/2 hour to get aboard. It was all very easy. The ship was just beautiful. This was our third cruise. We ... Read More
This will be a long winded review but there is so much to say. First of all we got to the dock at about 12;30. It only took us about 1/2 hour to get aboard. It was all very easy. The ship was just beautiful. This was our third cruise. We cruised on Carnival the 1st 2 times but thought that we'd try RCI this time. We're glad we did. Nothing against Carnival but the Voyager class ships are a cut above them. First off our room was nice. Not large but you're not there for the room. The bathroom also was small but again see previous comment. There was plenty of storage & hangers for our clothes. And of course having a balcony is great. We cruised the first time without one & will never go back inside again. The views are great. After getting situated we went to explore this vast ship. The Royal Promenade was the first stop. What a great place to people watch. Make sure you stay up the 1st night for the welcome parade down the length of the mall. It made for great video. By the way if you have a video camera use it. Pictures are great but for some things like that parade nothing is better. The Cafe Promenade was a great place to get a good cup of tea or coffee. They also had great deli style snacks, cookies & cheesecakes. Specialty coffees are extra but not overly priced. Overall the Promenade is a great place to hang out. Next the food review. You no doubt have read some of the previous reviews that complained about the food. If you're looking for 5 star restaurant type food you're in the wrong place. Besides you never get enough food in those kind of places. The main dining room is an absolutely beautiful place to eat. It's very elegant without being stuffy. You actually feel a little special eating there. Our waiters name was Anis. He was from Tunisia & a very nice fellow. The food was very good. It was well presented & very tasty. As some of the other reviews said make sure you try the escargots. I've never eaten a snail in my life but I decided to be adventures. They were awesome. Also try all the soups. There isn't a bad one on the menu. And don't be afraid to ask for seconds. They are more than happy to feed you as much as you want. The windjammer is also very good. I know some people complain about the food not always being hot but I don't think you'll ever find a buffet where all the food is hot all the time It's the nature of the beast. I would recommend eating breakfast there because of all the different things to choose from. Lunch as well is very good. In a nutshell be ready to over eat. There is too much to choose from not to. Also if you're looking for a more elegant dining experience go to Chops Grille. We had our best eating experience there. The staff if possible was even better there. My wife thought that Darko was a hunk too. Well worth the money & a great way to dine. There are so many places to enjoy a drink, but by far the most spectacular was the Viking lounge. It's on deck 14 & the view is marvelous. There is a waiter there named Ashley. He looks a lot like Chris Rock & is almost as funny. And he'll probably want to stow away in your suitcase & go home with you. Ha ha. Go there at dusk & enjoy the view. Lastly we would recommend the ultimate island experience to Magen's Bay. It's a little crowded but there is a reason. It's beautiful. On the way there you'll stop at a few places to take pictures & the views are spectacular. Also Coco Cay was very nice. Not much for shopping but the beach is why you're there anyway. There is so much more to comment on but suffice to say a cruise on this ship is a great time & highly recommended. As always there a few inconveniences here & there but overall this is a can't miss vacation. Go for the gusto & have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
We sailed on the Mariner of the Seas July 17 from Port Canaveral. Here are my three tips: 1. Bring lots of cash. Perhaps this is well known to regular cruisers, but lots of cash is essential. For a family of four next time, I would ... Read More
We sailed on the Mariner of the Seas July 17 from Port Canaveral. Here are my three tips: 1. Bring lots of cash. Perhaps this is well known to regular cruisers, but lots of cash is essential. For a family of four next time, I would bring $1,000. There are room safes, so your cash is protected. You can book your tours through the ship and use your card, but if you choose a less expensive option, like the many taxis and tours offered as you disembark, cash is key. Dunn River Falls, local tours on Grand Caymen, and the fine beach stops on Cozumel do not accept credit cards for payment. Cash is king. So bring it. 2. Avoid the soft drink sticker for adults ($6 a day) unless you like spending a lot of time going back and forth to the bar. The cups are twice the size of a dixie cup, so its not like you can get a regular sized beverage and enjoy your lounge chair. You have to go back and forth to the bar. 3. Bring long pants if you want to ice skate. They are required and unless you know that, you may end up skating in your suit pants. The ship is clean. The food is acceptable and the service from waiters to bartenders to cabin stewards is wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2003
Mariner of the Seas Inaugural, November 16, 2003. What a cruise! I've never been on a maiden voyage before. This one was a blast! A quick, one-word review for the major items: Crew: excellent Food: excellent Service: very good ... Read More
Mariner of the Seas Inaugural, November 16, 2003. What a cruise! I've never been on a maiden voyage before. This one was a blast! A quick, one-word review for the major items: Crew: excellent Food: excellent Service: very good Entertainment: good (we didn't go to any shows, but they looked good) Ports: very good (Port Canaveral, Nassau, San Juan, St. Martin, Port Canaveral) Ship: Beautiful! Mariner of the Seas literally gleamed as we pulled up to the port. Fresh from her journey across the Atlantic and her 2-day cruise to nowhere, she awaited her first real boarding of passengers. Our group consisted of 6 friends. Four of us had cruised before. Two of us had been on 5 RCI cruises before this one, one of those on Explorer, so we were familiar with the Voyager-class ships. Our trip started the Thursday before the cruise. We went to Orlando and visited Disneyworld on Friday. Had a good time there. Saturday we drove to Port Canaveral. We stayed at the Radisson Resort. It has a great pool area. I thought it had a view of the port, but it doesn't. Almost immediately we started meeting people who were also on the cruise. There were quite a few there. Some of them we had already met online, but we had no idea what they looked like. It was fun to put faces to names. That evening we went to Grill's, a bar & grill type place that the ships pass as they take out. We were supposed to meet some of our Cruise Critic friends there. After meeting up with them we all sat around several tables drinking, eating, and getting to know one another. Soon we watched Disney Magic and HAL Maasdam sail out and begin their journeys. The next day would be our chance. Sunday morning we dropped of our rental car and took their shuttle to the pier at 10:45. Mariner was waiting. We flew through the security entrance and went directly to the check-in lines. Something new that I hadn't seen before was that RCI had different lines for different cabin levels. Decks 2-4 had one line, 5-7 another, etc. We checked in at the Platinum & Diamond counter. The line there was the same as any other, so it wasn't much of an advantage to check in at this counter. Later in the day it was probably more of a benefit. We were told we would board first, but at 11:30 they actually opened up all boarding. After taking the obligatory boarding picture, we made our way down the hallway and boarded Mariner of the Seas. As could be expected, everything was shining like new. We made our way to cabin 9390, a starboard aft cabin on the corner. I had thought the balcony would be larger, being an aft cabin, but it was a quarter-pie-wedge shape that didn't stretch back too far. The balcony also had no cover, which I kind of liked, because you could lay out on your balcony with no shadows. One drawback, though, was that the balcony above could look down on you. One thing I did like was the access to the balcony. No sliding door. Instead there was a regular, half-glass door situated next to a large round window. I always thought the sliders were a little cumbersome to open and close quickly. You can peek around the balcony dividers easily, and I could see that the balcony in the identical E1 cabin next to ours was at least twice as large. While we had just 2 chairs and a small table on our balcony, the balcony next to ours accommodated 2 lounge chairs from the pool area. Still, I enjoyed our balcony. We walked down to the Royal Promenade and looked around. Vintages, the wine bar, looked cozy. The Wig & Gavel also appeared like your bar around the corner. All the other stores had their usual RCI appearance. Cafe Promenade already had their snacks stocked. We ate in the Windjammer. This Windjammer reminded me of the one on Brilliance. It was very warm and welcoming. The entry foyer had teak benches arranged for conversation. The layout of the Windjammer was easier for large groups, with food spread out all over. It took people a while to realize that the first line they came to was not necessarily the line they wanted to be in. Jade is the first are of the Windjammer. It serves up Asian-inspired cuisine, complete with square trays and chopsticks. Portofino and Chops are also at the entry to the Windjammer. Prices for these two alternative restaurants is $20/person. We never got to eat there, so I can't tell you how it was. Past Jade is the usual Windjammer, again with different lines of food, some serving the same things to ease the flow of traffic. We only ate there this first day, and on the last day before debarkation. We went up top for sailaway and met up with our new friends. Protesters were making their presence known by flying a banner behind a plane saying "Got sewage? RCI dumps their daily." It was a little humorous, actually. Sailaway was delayed due to a late produce truck. We watched it unload its foodstuffs onto the ship, and then we were off. We again encountered protesters alongside the channel, but their small group seemed impotent juxtaposed against a behemoth like Mariner. I would never begrudge anyone their right to voice their protests, but it wasn't going to get me off that ship! Dinner that night was served very late -- 9:00pm. Didn't bother me, though. The dining room is just incredible. At the landing between floors 1 and 2, there are bronze statues of Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews as the Captain and Maria von Trapp from "The Sound of Music." Behind them is a mural of the large staircase inside the mansion that was von Trapp's home. There are deep wood columns with beautiful light fixtures, but the crown jewel of the dining room was the chandelier. I understand the one on Voyager is a sight to behold, but this one was breathtaking. The dining room had a very formal feel to it, more than any I've experienced. I liked it. It was soon clear that the waters were going to be a little rough. Motion was certainly detectable, although it wasn't too harsh. The captain warned us it would be rough for a while. In fact, it was still so rough on the 2nd sea day that the pools had to be shut down. The water was being tossed around so roughly that it was spewing out of the pools in huge sprays. Monday saw us in Nassau. Just did some shopping here. The next day was at sea. The winds had picked up the night before, and they continued on this day at sea. It was also pretty cloudy. These factors combined with the rough seas made for a tough time to lay out and get some good sun. But it was still possible. San Juan and St. Martin were fun. Saw San Juan with a small tour bus group that included the Bacardi factory, and we hired a cab in St. Martin. A word about rental car agencies: one of our friends had reserved a rental car with Budget for St. Martin. He arrived at their booth at the pier to pick up his car, only to find the booth unmanned. He was told by someone that hardly anyone was ever there. He called Budget, and they told him he would have to take a cab to their other location. He canceled the order and used another agency that was at the pier. A tip about the Bacardi factory: you never actually get to see rum being made or processed. The free tour is just a stop at their visitor center, which has staged replicas of the original factories and a short movie about the Bacardi family and their history. I worked out almost every morning in the Shipshape Center. One thing that was a small inconvenience there was the fact that to get a key for a locker, one had to go upstairs to the Shipshape Spa. Not that far, but the spa opened at 8:00, while the workout area and lockerrooms opened at 7:00. So if you don't trust your items in an unlocked locker for an hour, you'll have to carry them around in the Shipshape Center. There were plenty of cross-training machines and treadmills. There are weight machines and free weights. All the machines are by LifeFitness, and you can probably see them on their site. There were 2 parades during the cruise, both on the Royal Promenade. There was to be a Caribbean party on the pool deck on Caribbean night, but it was too windy and rough, so they moved it to the Royal Promenade. There were different theme nights for dress. They are as follows, along with the entertainment for that night. Day 1 - Casual; Comedian Jeff Jana Day 2 - Casual or Colorful Caribbean; Comedian Rondell Sheridan Day 3 - Formal; RCI Singers and Dancers, "Front Row" Day 4 - Smart casual; Ice Under the Big Top, ice show Day 5 - Casual or 50s-80s attire; RCI Singers and Dancers, "Pure Energy" Day 6 - Formal; The Original Drifters Day 7 - Casual; Farewell Variety Show and comedian Tim Jones One budget-tightening move I noticed, which was probably a good one: instead of printing a "Cruise Compass" AND a daily planner, the planner was incorporated into the "Compass" and could be torn from the "Compass," resulting in a pocket planner. I liked that RCI left a form in your cabin, allowing you to elect to pay gratuities via your SeaPass account OR allowed you to pay via cash on your own. This way you didn't have to stand in line at the Guest Services desk to let them know which one you wanted to do. A nice surprise was that everyone received in their cabins one night a certificate certifying that they were a guest on the inaugural sailing of Mariner. Each certificate was accompanied by a photo of Mariner, similar to the type you'd buy in the photo shop. Also, we were given fanny packs with the RCI logo and name of the ship embroidered on it. One entertainer you can't miss while onboard is Matt Yee. He is the piano entertainer at the Schooner Bar. He is HILARIOUS! He's a great singer, but his big thing is audience participation, and he get people involved almost to the point of embarrassment. I attended his show on more than one night. He plays great sing-a-long tunes, and everyone has a great time. The captain is Johnny Faevelan and he is the best captain I've experienced. He's personable, outgoing, funny, and a great speaker. Ken Rush was the Cruise Director, and he's also tops, constantly facilitating activities and getting passengers involved. While there were some kinks on this cruise, they were to be expected on a first sailing. It was never enough to mar the fun of a cruise. This was my 6th RCI cruise, and I know I'll be back for more. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I paid 17k for the two bedroom family suite and received the most horrible service I have ever received on a cruise ship. We are frequent cruisers (over 120 days at sea) but this was our first and only Royal Caribbean. Embarkation ... Read More
I paid 17k for the two bedroom family suite and received the most horrible service I have ever received on a cruise ship. We are frequent cruisers (over 120 days at sea) but this was our first and only Royal Caribbean. Embarkation went smoothly. It was nice to be met and checked in by someone with an Ipad but i am not fond of having to wait till my room is ready to get my cabin key. This limits your initial access to suite guest only sections (your key is what opens the door) and makes taking advantage of your beverage package difficult. The 2 bedroom family suite is nothing fantastic or over the top. Basically two standard cabins made into one. Nice to have the whole family in one suite but def no luxury for the price. PRETTY BASIC One of the two bathrooms had a bathtub but the other was super tiny (like one in a lower lever cabin where shower doesn't even have a pan you stand on the actual tile floor of the bathroom) The balcony was very spacious and added a good spot for older children to hide from the younger ones. Room service had a nice assortment. Was especially nice to be able to order a whole pizza. Normally stateroom staff go out of their way to help make you comfortable and happy. This particular staff didn't seem to care one way or the other. The didn't even learn our names. Normally by day 2 the cabin steward is greeting you by name or at least remembers you special needs. When you have 8 family members in a suite 6 towels aren’t going to get it! We had to BEG BEG BEG daily for sufficient towels. One of our children become ill and when we called at 9:30 pm and asked for new linens we were RUDELY told by the lady on duty that she was alone and that it was going to be awhile we would just have to wait. There was a special section at the pool reserved for suite guests. This area had nicer chairs with comfy cushions. There was not a waiter assigned to the suite section. If we needed a drink we had to walk to the bar and wait. Our 22 month old was WALKING BACK AND FORTH in the ankle deep water at the pool (there was no kiddie pool) and we were asked to remove her from the pool because she wasn’t “toilet trained”. Keep in mind there was a group of 4 grown men in the pool drinking beer that HAD NOT GOTTEN OUT FOR OVER TWO HOURS, ONE HAS TO WONDER WHERE WERE THEY URINATING. For Royal Caribbean to feature the only two bedroom “family” suite, they ARE NOT FOND OF CHILDREN. I paid 2k for a 22 month old to be in the ship and she wasn’t welcome in the pool and if we wanted child care for any reason there was an extra charge. If they know they don’t have any services for a toddler why charge full ticket price. The one night we did use child care the workers seemed nice. They were very high pressure about scheduling child care ahead of time. It was difficult for us to know when we might need child care so after day 1 we just kept her with us. Our 6 year old was super excited to go to child care the first night (she loves being with other kids) but after being there one time she didn't want to go back. She said it was boring. We purchased the excursion to Atlantis but ended up passing up the bus ride and hired a taxi. It was just taking way to long to get everyone organized. Once we were issued bracelets for the water park we left the group. CocoCay was the highlight of the trip. We purchased a large cabana at Chill Island. The service on the island was impeccable. I truly wish we could return to this island without taking another RC cruise. I could go on and on but to sum it up DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY OR VALUABLE FAMILY TIME ON RC. I don't believe the price structure they use is proportional to the service they offer. I hope they spend my 17k well because it is the last they will ever see from this family of avid cruisers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean, I was looking forward to a fun, relaxing time. My girlfriend is legally blind, she has low vision, so we always contact the cruise line ahead of time to make sure she is comfortable enough ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean, I was looking forward to a fun, relaxing time. My girlfriend is legally blind, she has low vision, so we always contact the cruise line ahead of time to make sure she is comfortable enough with the ship and the itinerary, as we have done with the three previous cruises we have been on with other cruise lines. None of what Royal Caribbean said ended up happening, this includes large print menus and cruise compasses. I realize that this really doesn’t affect most people, but for people with disabilities, especially a visual disability, rely on feeling safe on a ship to be able to enjoy themselves. Now on to the ship itself. CABIN: The cabin was your standard ship cabin, although, it was the smallest balcony we have had. The cabin itself was worn looking. There were stains on the couch cushions, and throughout the carpet. For some reason, all of the wood, desk, cabinets, etc. were really sticky. We had to wipe everything down before feeling comfortable in there. FOOD: the food was wildly inconsistent, and was ok at best. We did not eat at the buffet at all. The food in the dining rooms lacked flavor and any sort of creativity. The pizza at the promenade cafe was pretty good. We ate breakfast in the dining room every day. One thing that bothered me about breakfast service is, they had a buffet set up in the middle of the dining room. The was strange to me, if I wanted a buffet, I would’ve went to the buffet. It felt like they were trying to get away from serving the guests. The worst part of breakfast was that they couldn’t even make fresh toast, it was just sitting in a basket, and was rock hard. SHOWS AND ENTERTAINMENT: we didn’t see the ice show or the stage production. Our biggest issue here was the fact that they kept changing the schedule for shows and events. We saw the comedian at the welcome show on the first night, he was funny, so we were looking forward to the other comedy shows. This ship has the new Royal Caribbean app, which has the full schedule for the entire cruise available. The schedule for the comedy show kept changing, in the end, the only other comedy show was on the last night at midnight, had to be off the ship early the next morning, great job. We also love playing trivia while on the ship. The entertainment staff couldn’t even do this right. One time, a crew member came down to play the completely wrong game, and told us we were wrong, a moment later, the lady came over to host our game and had to tell the other guy he was in the wrong place. Another time, actually later on the same night, we went for trivia, and the host actually played the trivia game from the night before, wouldn’t listen to us when we tried to tell him. PORTS: We did not get off the ship at Nassau, this was our third time there. At the new Coco Cay, we rented a bungalow on south beach. We were told the shuttle will bring you right to the bungalow area, no, got dropped off about a half mile down the beach through deep, soft sand. There were plenty of servers around to take drink orders, they just didn’t walk around much at all, not one server walked near our bungalow all day. The island is beautiful though. OVERALL SHIP CLEANLINESS: the refurbishments on this ship are beautiful, but was still probably the dirtiest ship we have been on. Banisters were dirty, carpets were dirty. We never saw anybody cleaning, which is uncommon for a cruise. We saw staff riding the elevator, just not wiping anything down. This was our fourth cruise in the last three years, and this was the first time we did not enjoy ourselves at all. My girlfriend actually felt scared going around this ship. 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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