We flew to Miami with Copa Airlines from Southamerica. Originally we were booked to fly with Aerosur, but this airline went bankrupt before our flight. We lost the money of the tickets bought with Aerosur, since nobody feels responsible for the refund.
We arrived in Miami three days earlier than our cruise. We have spent a couple of nights at South Beach close to Lincoln Road. The hotel was the Albion hotel, which was OK but nothing special. The best thing about the hotel was its proximity to South Beach.
Weather in Miami was not very nice, it was raining a lot.
We arrived at 3 pm at the Port after having a good lunch in South Beach. Chek inn was smoth and we could have inmediate access to our stateroom. This was a promenade room, located in the 6th floor. The room was good, and big enough for both of us.
Unfortunately we did not receive our luggage until about 11.00 pm, which meant we were not able to retire to sleep earlier than that. It was the first time I have experienced such a chaos with luggage delivery.
Being Diamond members, we had access to the diamond lounge. The diamond lounge was not finished at the Mariner during the first days and the event took place at the Lotus lounge. Not a nice atmosphere at the Lotus and the host was not particularly relaxed. Later during the cruise, as the diamond lounge was inaugurated, the situation improved. The lounge served La Terre wine, some other drinks and small canapes. From my point of view, although the wine was not exactly, a high quality wine, it was drinkable and we spent very nice evenings at the lounge meeting fellow cruisers.
The cruise itself was very nice. The captain made a good impression to us. Activities were diverse.The shows were OK. I have enjoyed particularly Mario DAndrea, whom I have already seen once at the Celebrity Equinox. His show has not changed much. I have liked his show then at the Celebrity I have liked his show also this time. Maybe for the third time there will be some innovation in his show....
We found the food at the Mariner of the Seas good. We have enjoyed eating at the MDR under the option of my time dining and we have also enjoyed the Windjammer. The sausages station next to the pool area was also very good. It was really a temptation!
The fitness center was fine. It will be good though if the machines will be updated to those having individual TVs. The swimming pools were also fine. I enjoy that they change the water each day and this makes unnecessary chlorine and other chemicals. There were at least two heated swimming pools.
What we did not like very much, is that some cruisers have the custom of just standing in the pools, without swimming. Unfortunately they stand almost in the middle of the pool and talk to each other without any consideration for swimmers. For us, this was kind of unexpected, since we have hardly seen this happening in other cruises or hotels.
Definitely the best show during the crossing was the Ice Show. It was amazing.
The ports of call were Teneriffe, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Villefranche sur Mer and Livorno.
In Teneriffe we went to Teide. This was a tour organised by Konadave (a cruise critic fellow member). It was very nice. Thank you again Konadave!
In Palma we just went to the city and did a litle of sight seeing. The Cathedral although impressive, was disappointing because they charge entrance fee to go to the church. This is the first time I have seen this practice at a Catholic Church. Not even at the Saint Pauls in Vatican City or at the magnificent Duomo in Miland have I experience entrance fees for the Church. But in Palma de Mallorca you have to pay. Is this a common practice a Spain now?
In Villefranche sur Mer, we went to Nice and Monaco on our own. It was too much for one day. I would recommend just to choose one place and spend more time there.
In Barcelona, we went just to the Ramblas. Time in Barcelona was very short.
In Livorno, we took an organised excursion from the ship to Florence. This was good. Our guide was very well informed.
We arrived early in Rome and disembarkation was quick and easy. We had opted for the self assisted option and carried our luggage on our own.
In summary, this was a very nice crossing, the Mariner of the Seas a lovely ship and the ports of call interesting.