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My wife and I have cruised many time in the Caribbean (Royal Caribbean and Carnival). This was our first cruise in Asia. We love the relaxing atmosphere of a cruise, so we usually don't have ridiculously high expectations. We went with two concerns: 1 - We read some rather negative reviews on this site and 2 - we had two "cruise virgins" with us and we were concerned that they have a positive experience. It turned out we had nothing to worry about. Embarkation - easy, crowds, but nothing unreal - longest wait was getting through immigration and even that was not so bad. Disembarkation - even easier - they offer a "carry off your own luggage" option from 8:30-8:50. We travel light so chose this option. We were on shore by 8:30AM! Dining - "Your Time Dining", but since it was a full ship they recommended reservations. The young lady handling this was (like pretty much all other staff) very pleasant, knowledgeable and accommodating. We had a table for four each evening (7:45PM) at the railing of the third floor - a grand view of a grand room! The food choices were varied and interesting and included many different national choices, although surprisingly similar to an American cruise (according to the reviews we had read we expected more Asian influence - this may be the case on the cruises to China - our cruise was very international, primarily Australians). The food ranged from just OK to very good. We really enjoyed the Filet Mignon on formal night (included, not the one you can purchase separately at other sittings). We were never unhappy with a meal. The service was very good and the waiters very friendly and accommodating. Cabin - we always get a low, middle of the ship cabin. Why waste money on a window when you are only in there in after dark anyway! The cabin was plenty spacious for two adults. Every space is useful. It was great that we were able to unpack everything and then put our bags out of the way. Our Cabin service steward was very good - unobtrusive - he seemed to be invisible, yet the cabin was always clean and ordered every time we were out! Great job Reynoldo! On board activities - Daytime - On this five day cruise, you are only on the ship one full day if you do excursions at each port. We pretty much hung out at the Solarium (adults-only deck) - plenty of chairs and the two hot tubs and the pool were rarely too busy. Nightime - the after dinner (late) main show was good to great. Enjoyed each one as they were quite varied. For late late night activity we enjoyed the variety of music in the various lounges and bars - something for everyone. We generally met in Ellington's Bar for pre-dinner drinks and also rang in new year here. Very quiet and sophisticated. Loved the string/piano trio from the Ukraine. Great service, We fell in love with the young Chinese girl who served us! It goes without saying that the ice show is amazing! Excursions: We took a RCL organized excursion in KL and Pukket. Both were very organized with knowledgeable staff. Only real problem is both ran late and we had to race back to the ship. But you can at least relax when you are on one of their own tours as you know the ship is not likely to leave without you! We took a walking tour from the Tourism Office in Georgetown (Penang). Love the fact that the ship docks right in town, so easy to enjoy the town without a long bus ride. Negatives - not many 1 - Don't bother with Johnny Rockets - you can get a better burger at the poolside for free! Was a huge disappointment,especially when you pay 6.95/person cover charge and 5.00 for specialty drinks. The service was also poor. I love Johnny Rockets in the US, so I am surprised that they keep their name on this poor copy of the original. 2 - The continual video at the main pool. I escaped to the adult only area, but the continual movies, music and other videos was annoying. It felt like visiting a rude neighbor who refused to turn the TV off while you were there! I would suggest scheduled move nights would be more effective -and a live band poolside!

Exceeded Expectations; Pretty Much Everything We Hoped For

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review by cheerfuldougg

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2015
  • Destination: Asia
My wife and I have cruised many time in the Caribbean (Royal Caribbean and Carnival). This was our first cruise in Asia. We love the relaxing atmosphere of a cruise, so we usually don't have ridiculously high expectations. We went with two concerns: 1 - We read some rather negative reviews on this site and 2 - we had two "cruise virgins" with us and we were concerned that they have a positive experience. It turned out we had nothing to worry about.

Embarkation - easy, crowds, but nothing unreal - longest wait was getting through immigration and even that was not so bad.

Disembarkation - even easier - they offer a "carry off your own luggage" option from 8:30-8:50. We travel light so chose this option. We were on shore by 8:30AM!

Dining - "Your Time Dining", but since it was a full ship they recommended reservations. The young lady handling this was (like pretty much all other staff) very pleasant, knowledgeable and accommodating. We had a table for four each evening (7:45PM) at the railing of the third floor - a grand view of a grand room! The food choices were varied and interesting and included many different national choices, although surprisingly similar to an American cruise (according to the reviews we had read we expected more Asian influence - this may be the case on the cruises to China - our cruise was very international, primarily Australians). The food ranged from just OK to very good. We really enjoyed the Filet Mignon on formal night (included, not the one you can purchase separately at other sittings). We were never unhappy with a meal. The service was very good and the waiters very friendly and accommodating.

Cabin - we always get a low, middle of the ship cabin. Why waste money on a window when you are only in there in after dark anyway! The cabin was plenty spacious for two adults. Every space is useful. It was great that we were able to unpack everything and then put our bags out of the way. Our Cabin service steward was very good - unobtrusive - he seemed to be invisible, yet the cabin was always clean and ordered every time we were out! Great job Reynoldo!

On board activities -

Daytime - On this five day cruise, you are only on the ship one full day if you do excursions at each port. We pretty much hung out at the Solarium (adults-only deck) - plenty of chairs and the two hot tubs and the pool were rarely too busy.

Nightime - the after dinner (late) main show was good to great. Enjoyed each one as they were quite varied. For late late night activity we enjoyed the variety of music in the various lounges and bars - something for everyone. We generally met in Ellington's Bar for pre-dinner drinks and also rang in new year here. Very quiet and sophisticated. Loved the string/piano trio from the Ukraine. Great service, We fell in love with the young Chinese girl who served us!

It goes without saying that the ice show is amazing!

Excursions: We took a RCL organized excursion in KL and Pukket. Both were very organized with knowledgeable staff. Only real problem is both ran late and we had to race back to the ship. But you can at least relax when you are on one of their own tours as you know the ship is not likely to leave without you! We took a walking tour from the Tourism Office in Georgetown (Penang). Love the fact that the ship docks right in town, so easy to enjoy the town without a long bus ride.

Negatives - not many

1 - Don't bother with Johnny Rockets - you can get a better burger at the poolside for free! Was a huge disappointment,especially when you pay 6.95/person cover charge and 5.00 for specialty drinks. The service was also poor. I love Johnny Rockets in the US, so I am surprised that they keep their name on this poor copy of the original.

2 - The continual video at the main pool. I escaped to the adult only area, but the continual movies, music and other videos was annoying. It felt like visiting a rude neighbor who refused to turn the TV off while you were there! I would suggest scheduled move nights would be more effective -and a live band poolside!
cheerfuldougg’s Full Rating Summary
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Batu Caves
    Long bus ride to KL, although bus was comfortable and the ride was smooth. The Caves are amazing, but the place is a chaotic mess. We are westerners who live in Asia, so are used to it. There was much more to this excursion than I expected, given that you must spend 2-3 hours just getting there and back to the ship. A very good buffet meal was served at the Tourism center, which is very well maintained. Interesting visit to a Tin dealer. Quick photo op of the Petronas Tower from the ground - and then a ride up KL Tower for great panoramic views of the city. Had to make a mad rush to catch the ship! Guide was knowledgeable and in control.
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  • Penang
    Nice that the ship docks right in town. Enjoyed a free walking tour with the Tourism office in Georgetown. Lots of time to enjoy the historic city and enjoy some good food for lunch.
    View All 102 Penang Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Penang Cruise Port Review
  • Singapore
    Quick and easy - well organized both on and off at the end of the cruise.
    View All 569 Singapore Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Singapore Cruise Port Review