We boarded the ship at Rome and embarkation was swift and efficient. There was a slight delay in being let into the staterooms but we were able to find our way around the ship and fight for a table at Windjammers. We had a de luxe outside cabin on deck 6 and found this to be very clean and comfortable. Mariner of the seas had experienced Novo Virus the week before and during our 12 night voyage 26 were taken ill at some stage. My wife suffered an upset tummy on the third night though this was swiftly dealt with by way of injection in sick bay. Even so, we had to cancel our excursion to Athens the following morning!
Some of the blame for sickness must lie with the cooking on Mariner. Food in the restaurants was never piping hot and warm food gives rise to bacteria multiplying. In Top hat and tails the food was passable but breakfast in Rhapsody in Blue was far from satisfactory. On four separate occasions I ordered a soft boiled egg: two were delivered hard boiled! i sent them back only to receive 2 undercooked eggs but the 5th was just right. By day eight and without the benefit of an egg timer and complaints to waiters and Maitre d'hotel I finally resorted to Windjammer for self service breakfast!
At dinner all passengers are advised that shorts and vests are not allowed yet several were allowed into Top Hat and tails in this dress without challenge. It is also clearly stated that sun beds are not to be reserved and that towells left longer that 1/2 an hour would be removed. needless to say this was copletely ignored and some beds were left unattended for up to 3 hours!
Suggested tipping is quite extortionate. Cabin stewards are recommended to receive $10 per person per day:waitresses $3.50 per person per day. Let me put this in context: Over a 12 day voyage my wife and I would have been expected to pay $240 or Â£160. Would we have left this size tip to the room maid in any hotel? I think not! I have been told that Cunard charge just Â£40 in tips which is then divided between all staff. Personally I abhor tipping as it is demeaning to passengers and ship's staff.
Another reviewer has commented on the high price of drinks and the 15% surcharge. I can only endorse his sentiments.
Entertainment could have been better and proved a mixed bag but the Ice show was wonderful. Fortunately we met some wonderful people and enjoyed ourselves in spite of everything. Probably we will sail with Royal Caribbean again but it will not be in the near future.