Mariner of the Seas is a splendid cruise ship. This was my first cruise and was nervous because I get sea sick. actually sea sickness did not occur even once so I was very pleased.
The process of checking in at the port went smoothly but we were perturbed that we could not bring on board the travel iron we had purchased at edinburgh aiport that morning and popped in our hand luggage. We were told to hand it over and would get it returned to us at the end of the cruise. I cannot see any reference to this prohibition in our travel documents. Anyway that was a bit of the weird start.
Onboard we met up with the friend we were travelling with and had a bud light near the Solarium to watch the ship set sail.
The Solarium was one of our places to sunbathe and was good if it was too windy on deck. Otherwise finding a sunbed was not an issue as there are hundreds of them and because you are open to the sun on top deck its great! I forgot my book but there is a Library onboard so I could find a book for reading which was great. Some days at sea we would do some crazy golf on top deck that was great fun. There is also a basketball court, table tennis and rock climbing and a roller rink but we didnt do that. The ice rink looked good but we didnt have time to do everything.
The shops on board were good - but I think they could have a better selection of 'essentials' - i.e. I ripped my tights one night but didnt have a spare and sun cream wasnt in great supply so buy before you fly!
Internet is super expensive - we had to pay $0.65 per minute - so tell your friends that you might not be able to imessage them on holiday - there was free wifi in the port of kusadasi in places, also in naples. We just didnt always think to take our phones / ipad off board to check that out.
We went to Johnny Rockets on our first night and what a treat it was. There were hardly any other guests in the restaurant and it was a nice relaxing start. There was a wee surcharge but then it was eat all you can. The milkshakes are excellent, the chips, onion rings and service were great. We actually went back 2 times after that it was so good.
We always ended up in the English pub of an evening before we met up for dinner. Beer wasnt too badly priced but I was a bit taken aback that one glass of wine was $10, so for every 2 beers my friends had I had one glass of wine to keep the bill fair!
Lunch at Sea we just did in either Windjammer buffet style, or just didnt was we had eaten a lot at breakfast.
The main dining room was very elegant and when I went in dressed up it made all the difference. I was glad I had brought a few evening and cocktail dresses. Captains cocktail made it extra special with a free glass of champagne on arrival. I think though that the main dining room had understaffing or overworked staff which may have taken the limelight away a little but they always did seem to smile and be accommodating. We chose booking 9 pm slot and had a table with 3 other people who were very friendly. We didnt always eat in there however as we felt other options were better.
We tried all the speciality restaurants and i think my favourite was Chops Grille where the steak was amazing and the portions huge. Service was very good in there.
We didnt realise 1 week into the cruise that you could get free tea and coffee at Cafe Promenade as well as snacks, a wee lunch or continental breakfast. This was good if we fancied a cup of tea to take up to the pool or our room of a morning or evening.
Breakfast we would recommend the main dining room as the Windjammer was pretty 'jammed'. We would spend a good 20 minutes of a morning circulating the restaurant to try and find a table for the 3 of us. I guess the advice would be to go as early as possible or as late as possible to guarantee a seat somewhere. The positive note on the Windjammer was that the selection of food was immense. I miss having my bagel salmon and cream cheese for breakfast. You do have to pay for fresh orange juice though but there is plenty free supplies of tea coffee and concentrated fruit drinks including water. The main dining room for breakfast was very glamourous. We enjoyed the table service for hot meals and the self service for the continental breakfast. No flip flops or sun bathe clothes in this restaurant mind!
The trips with Royal carribean were super expensive but some of them were worth it. We would recommend doing the following the RC - the trip to the war memorials in alexandria (but take note its an all day trip and no lunch provided!), the trip to pompeii and mount vesuvius in naples but I admit the pompeii part was a bit long haul for me. The trip to jerusalem which was excellent. Our guide Amit was a star and was from Jerusalem so that made all the difference. We wouldn't recommend paying the bus to Ashdod City Centre unless you are just getting off at the beach stop just before it. Ashdod City Centre was a bit like Romford shopping centre - and was just fine for exchanging our money. We did Athens on our own - taking one of those open top red bus City Sightseeing tours. Kusadasi was good as the port is right next to the town itself. Naples was good for the day - after the trip to pompeii and vesuvius we had enough time to go for pizza and peroni for a late lunch before heading back to the ship to do some sunbathing.
I made use of the Spa and got my nails done & hair.
I made a few attempts to run around the running track on top deck which was great the first few days but then it did get super windy but nice to watch the sunrise - and when windy I would just pop down to the gym for some treadmill action.
Our room was okay - we had a Stateroom with Balcony room 1232 on deck 10 - the balcony is really a good size - the shower room is small but to be honest it was just what we needed for our trip. We weren't in the room very often. The cleaner did throw away a carrier bag I had some tissue paper in for my good shoes one day so don't leave anything on the floor that may be misconstrued as rubbish. I also dropped the box for my prescription on the floor which was also swept up one day. The room was serviced twice a day so we always had fresh towels at the right time. Room was always immaculate also so the cleaner did a great job there. The mini bar was a little expensive but we needed the bottled water. The bottle was about $4.80 I think.
We are definitely considering doing another cruise again with Royal Caribbean. A bit pricey but worth it we think.