Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review by Lenny Laws: 5 Nights in SE Asia from an Aussies' point of view
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5 Nights in SE Asia from an Aussies' point of view
This was our first ever cruise, but my sister had travelled with RCI before, so we knew quite a lot about what to expect.
We found the entire experience enjoyable, but we were determined not to allow niggles to upset us, and there were a few things that could have done so if we'd let them.
Boarding was fabulously easy, and we were so impressed with the friendliness and welcoming smiles from all crew members that we encountered. I know they're paid to be friendly, but it was still lovely to be greeted with good wishes no matter the time of day or night.
Our stateroom was very comfortable (we had a Grand Suite on deck 10) and really well-appointed, and we slept very well every night.
We were amazed at how quiet the ship was and how little movement we felt when underway.
The food was excellent (we ate in the Main dining room each night) and the only problem I had was that many of the dishes contained mushrooms and/or seafood -- this is More something I encounter in restaurants frequently, as well -- not really a issue though it did mean I had to order the same dish for my main meal a couple of nights (first world problems, eh?)
The cigarette smoke from the casino was awful, and as it is a thoroughfare from one area to another, I wish that RCI would deal with this.
Leaving from Singapore means this is primarily an Asian cruise, catering to Asian clientele. We heard a lot of grumbling about the pushing and shoving from other passengers, particularly waiting for elevators and getting on and off the ship, but once we got our heads round it, and learned to barge in ourselves, it just wasn't a drama. I guess many of the Asian passengers come from very crowded cities, and they have to push or they would simply never get anywhere. They were so polite though, and always seemed delighted at my mangled attempts to say 'Ni hao!'
This also meant the bars were always fairly empty, you could always get a seat or table, and the drinks arrived fast. We tipped a lot on the first day, and got fantastic service all the time.
One of our shore tours (the Phang Nga Bay tour in Phuket) was terribly poorly organised (not all RCIs fault, I would add) -- it got off to a shambolic start with far too many guests and no real plan for getting them off the ship, our tour bus was really late picking us up, the boat was one of the slowest in the known universe, the bus needed replacement due to faulty brakes, and the replacement bus also had a major problem with the brakes which resulted in us being really late getting back to the tenders.
We heard some very cranky remarks being made about it all; as far as we were concerned, we were travelling in a foreign country and we weren't expecting it to run like clockwork, it was all part of our Great Adventure.
We got off the ship in Penang and walked around, that ended up being the best shore excursion we had, so I think that next time we might avoid ship-booked excursions and plan them ourselves.
Because, oh YES, there will be a next time! we absolutely loved the whole experience, and we're already planning and saving to take our kids next year. Less
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