New Year's Eve cruise on the Mariner. We received an email informing us that embarkation would be delayed, and this was correct. As Diamond Plus members, we were shown to a separate waiting area. Previous cruises on the Voyager included champagne and cookies while we waited; Mariner only offered cups of water. The RCCL people in the area were very friendly.
The crew seemed truly happy to be on the Mariner. We had a D1 balcony on the port side. Great views of the island and pier at Roatan, with the local band playing below us. The little village has some great costume jewelry at reasonable prices.
Tendering at Belize City was complete by 9:30, with a 30+ minute tender ride each way from the ship to the dock. The sea was calm for us, but it might be a rough ride in bad weather. It pays to go early if you book a tour.
In Cozumel, we had a terrific view of the Allure coming into the port and docking right beside us. Taxi rides downtown are $8 each way and the cabs are well organized and easy to use. The Forum seems to be a great place to shop. Everyone we encountered in Cozumel was friendly and helpful.
We ate at Chops twice and it was excellent. The ice show "Under the Big Top" was great as was the Beatles tribute show. RCCL singers were very good.
Room service is free unless you order food between midnight and 5 AM.
We went to the Royal Promenade on New Year's Eve for the midnight Balloon Drop. At first it was fun listening to the music, then more and more people crowded into the space, stepping on our feet, etc., so we finally watched from a balcony. There were many other venues open for celebration; maybe RCCL should limit how many can crowd into the Royal Promenade?
As Diamond Plus, we enjoyed the Concierge Club on Deck 9. Concierge Luca dealt with problems and provided assistance very professionally. Children are now permitted in the Concierge Club with their parents during the evening cocktail hours if they are "well behaved". Francisco and Gabriele were amazing servers there, making each visit very special.
Also as Diamond Plus, we enjoyed the Diamond Club Lounge on Deck 14. Glass windows with beautiful views, comfortable chairs, and Eric, the Diamond Concierge. Toni took great care of us there. This lounge has a private outdoor area with tables and chairs. Right beside the rock climbing wall and overlooking the sports court, we always had fun watching the action.
Debarkation was not pleasant. Electing to use the "Self Assist Departure", we were instructed to go to the Dining Room, Deck 4, and wait for the 7:45 clearance announcement. Knowing that the elevators would be full, we went down at 7:15 to "wait comfortably". Hundreds of people had the same idea, most of them not understanding the concept of being in a line. The Dining Room doors were closed, and people struggling with their huge suitcases stacked up on the stairs, the casino, the lounges, and finally blocked the elevators.
I questioned the RCCL person standing in the middle of this chaos, and he just said we were not supposed to be here this early. (?) He yelled at another employee to shut the fire doors to the casino so people would quit breaking in line, but the man could not even hear him.
Finally the Dining Room was opened and those of us who were actually in line were some of the last people to finally exit the area. RCCL should have been prepared for this. Not a good way to end a wonderful cruise.
We have booked the Allure and can't wait to see it from the inside.