Having read some many mixed reviews regarding Mariner in Asia I was a bit concerned.
We had a wonderful holiday, starting from embarkation which went rather smoothly considering how many people they had to process.
Lunch in the Windjammer was very crowded- food was good and there was a wide variety of food available.
Breakfast in the Windjammer on the first morning was ok- we were up early as we had a shore tour so finding a table was not a problem. Wasn't too impressed with the choice of food available though especially since there was no egg station where you could order your omelettes etc. All the fried eggs were cooked and placed on plates and kept warm under lights. The scrambled eggs were very dry and not nice to eat.
The shore tour was basically a shopping tour as we were dropped off at Midvalley Mega mall and then picked up at a certain time.
Breakfast on the second day we tried the main dining room. As there were 6 of us, we had a table to ourselves. I ordered a smoked salmon omelette which I couldn't finished as it was dry and tasteless.
We did join any shore tours for Phuket as we had been there before and was happy to go it alone.
Dinners we mainly had in the main dining room - my time dining. I was disappointed that the waiters did not dress up for formal night. On other cruises we have been on, the waiters have formal night attire and the tables are set out more elegantly ie napkins folded differently etc. We had none of that this cruise.
The only time we had lunch on board was the sailing day - we went to Johnny Rockets for the kids and I am so glad we did! The burgers were so good and delicious, the onion rings to die for and the chips tasted better. Well worth the cover charge of $4.95 as you could eat as much as you wanted.
Overall thoughts on the cruise:
On a short cruise you need to decide whether you want to see the sights when in port or stay on the ship and enjoy the facilities. There is simply not enough time to do both and I found that very frustrating. We never once used the pool or went to any activities on the ship. We did go to the ice show which was spectacular and I highly recommend seeing it even if you are not really into ice skating.
I found it frustrating that there were staff who were obviously brought in to cater to the many Chinese cruisers did not speak very fluent English, so they didn't understand what we asked them. I asked on staff member on the first day as we were a bit lost where studio B was and he told me to go to guest relations?
Another annoying thing is smoking is allowed in the casino obviously to cater to the clientele however the smell of smoke drifted up the stairs to the promenade area. It was very unpleasant and we didn't go to the casino for that reason.
I would like to cruise on the Mariner again when she is back to her American ways and not Asianised. We found the fellow cruisers to be rude and impatient and pushy- barging in front of my children in queues etc left me quite disappointed as we have always told our children to use good manners all the time.