we were on 23 june sailing from civitavecchia.
flew with jet2 from manchester to rome arranged with royal caribbean. Flight was very good and we were met at rome airport by cruise line reps who took our cases and led us to a waiting bus- we only waited about 5 minutes before setting off for the port.
We arrived about 55 minutes later.Check in was very quick and we were on board within 10 minutes as we had booked a grand suite. The other lines were also very short. We had lunch in the Windjammer which is self serve style. Only had salad so never tried the hot food. Grand suite and above entitles you to a "gold pass" which means you can eat breakfast and lunch in the speciality Chops restaurant which was a very pleasant perk as the Windjammer always looked busy at breakfast and lunch.
We were on anytime dining in the Sound of Music restaurant which was very handy as you could eat whenever suited you depending on what you wanted to do in the evening. The service on the first 2 nights was a bit disappointing but after that they got things right. Food on the whole was fairly good with a reasonable amount of choices. We found that the quality of food was not as good as on Celebrity or Holland America.
The ports of call were very good except for Valencia where the ship docks in an industrial area where there are loads of new cars on the dockside- not exactly a very pleasant view when you look out from on deck. We did not do any ship excursions so cannot comment about the quality of them. We only bought tickets for the bus to take us from the ship to the centre of Genoa and Barcelona.
The shows on the whole were fairly good- we saw the two production shows, one show with a Beatles tribute act, one show with an acrobaic duo and a fabulous ice show.
I would just like to mention the advantages of booking a Grand Suite. You get treated exceptionally well and having a Gold pass means you get reserved seating for the shows, reserved seating on the pool deck and as previously mentioned, the use of Chops at breakfast and lunch. There is also a wonderful concierge lounge with a great concierge called Luca who helps make any arrangements you want - he arranged for us to have a galley tour and a bridge tour which was wonderful. You can have a continental breakfast there and every evening they serve free drinks and delicious hot and cold hors d'oeuvres. The two waiters in this lounge are so polite and friendly, it was a pleasure to talk to them.
The suite is fairly large with plenty of space for 2 people with the exception of the balcony which is not very wide- the only bad thing i can say about it is that the carpets and soft furnishings are showing signs of wear. This goes for the corridor carpets as well- the only areas that were refurbished appear to be the public areas.
All the staff are very friendly and helpful - I could not fault any of them or the service given.
Would i go on the Mariner again? probably not but that's only because we usually like to sample different ships each time we cruise.