This was my first cruise and i took it with my brother and some friends.
We flew in the morning of the cruise to LAX (i know they say dont do that, but i had a free ticket to use and i didnt want to fly in early to spend money on a hotel room). There were no flight delays or problems getting a cab. Since i travel for a living, i only take carry on luggage when i travel. Even on vacation!! So i was able to convince everybody i was traveling with that they should try to do the same. At the end of the trip they all thank me profusely.
Since we didnt have to wait on any luggage we immediately headed to the cab line and took a van to the port.
Once we got there the boarding process was pretty painless. I hear people always complaining about waiting in lines but the process went smoothly and we got our boarding id's and got right on the boat.
We were there a little early so we headed to the Windjammer for some lunch. The Windjammer would be my only "complaint" when it comes to the food. There was definately a good selection of food to choose from, but the freshness of some of the items were my biggest problem. Anything like breads, buns or cookies were always hard as a rock. And im not exagerating. When we had breakfast there we would take our toast and hit it on the table and it sounded like someone knocking on a door. LOL.
So at best the Windjammer is basically cafeteria food. And as the trip went on you would notice items like the taco meat would get darker and darker. Probably from them reheating it over and over.
Dont get me wrong, not all the food on the Mariner was questionable. I had my time dining and we sat at the same table everynight. The food in the main dining room was great. The portions were just right. And if you wanted more, you could always ask for more.
Our waitstaff was great. They remembered our names by the second day and also had remembered what my drink was. (white russians)
Ok, enough about the food.
I dont remember the type of cabin i had, but it was on the 7th floor on the inside. So we had no windows. There were 3 of us staying in the room. Me, my brother and a friend of the family. I'll be honest, the room was small. Especially with 3 grown men in it. The friend had to sleep on a pulldown bed that came out of the ceiling. It was amusing watching him climbing up the ladder each night to his bunk.
Our room attendent was good. There was ice in our bucket each time we came back to our room, and everything was clean.
The ammenities on the ship were good. I had several massages while on board. People always complain when they have to sit and listen to the sales pitch for their products after the massage is over. I guess i have no problem being honest with people and i told my massues at the beginning that i wasnt interested in buying any products, just getting a massage. She understood fully and never mentioned products again. I tipped her very well since she understood.
I spent more than my fair share of time in the casino. It was rather small, and they only had 1 craps table. But everytime i went there always seemed to be room for me to get on. Luckily i can say i won more than i lost. YAY!!!!
I saw the ice show, the comedy show, the ports shopping show, they were all good. We did the putt putt competition and shot a 23, but one lucky player got 3 holes in one (out of 9 holes) and won the tournament.
On the boards people always complained about there not being enough seats out on the decks or by the pools. I just didnt see that. There was always somewhere to sit.
When it came time to get off the ship to go into the ports, the only one that was a issue was Cabo San Lucas. Since we had to take a ride off the boat, the line moved very slowly and took us over 40 minutes to get ashore.
Overall, the cruise was great. I got plenty of sun and fun and lots of good memories.
See my port reviews for details on them.