We took the Seven Seas Mariner from LA to Port Everglades via the Panama Canal. We choose this line because we took the Paul Gauguin and were very happy with it.
We were very pleased with this ship, the service, and the food. The food was among the best. They have 4 dining rooms. Three were great and the fourth was good but its eclectic tasting menu was a bit much for some of the guests (we thought it was a nice change but not our favorite). The French restaurant was great and the Mediterranean restaurant was unexpectedly good and seemed to be popular. Breakfasts were a little boring at the buffet, but you could order things that were not on the menu in the main dining room. Room service is provided at no charge. All seating was open where you could have a table for two some nights and meet new people in a table for four or six other nights.
The entertainment was very good. They had single entertainer each night. It may have been better to have several entertainers each night to be sure that there would be something for everyone.
All cabins have balconies and are quite spacious with a king size bed AND a sitting area. You will be happy with the lowest cabin category.
The ship is 50,000 tons and has only 700 passengers. As a result there were always tables available in the main restaurant, lounges available by the pool (although the shady spots are limited) and seats in the theater. You never felt crowded.
We went because we wanted to see the Panama Canal. The canal passage was great and they had a lecturer who lived in the Canal Zone for 25 years and did and excellent job. They also featured food and wine on this itinerary and had lectures on wine and cheese and they had cooking demonstrations from a chef from Sonoma CA. She was good and the demos were interesting.
Some of the ports on this trip were mediocre. Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco were so-so. Huatulco, Mexico was a pleasant surprise and is worth considering for a return trip. Puntarenas, Costa Rico was nice for a day stop but Costa Rico deserves more than one day. The other stops were San Diego and Key West – great places but not via a cruise ship.
The bottom line, top notch ship, service and food. While I prefer smaller ships, this is my favorite “big” ship.