We have been wanting to experience RCCL for quite a while and finally found an itinerary and time that worked for us. Also, because CC has been so helpful to me in planning some of my past cruises, this is my first CC review with the hope of helping others as well. We traveled with my sister and brother in law who live in L.A. We came in from NYC. Mariner was a beautiful ship and we had great service from the dining room staff (thanks to head waiter, Ayessa and maitre d, Merrick for changing our first table to a better one)! Overall it was a great experience but I will list the positives and negatives.
POSITIVES: EMBARKATION AND DEBARKATION: Smooth and quick as I have ever experienced!
SERVICE: As I already mentioned the service was great. The staff were all cheerful and couldn't be more receptive to fulfilling any requests if possible. I think this is because they actually seemed to enjoy their jobs! This was not the case on some of my past cruises which have included Princess, NCL and Celebrity.
FOOD: The food was quite good and even though the Windjammer was a times crowded, we usually were able to find a table with a view. I miss morning meusli from some past ships but everything else was good. I loved afternoon snack when they would make fresh waffles with FRESH whipped cream. I wish they had these fresh waffles in the morning but hey, nothing like having several breakfasts on a cruise! My only food negatives were lack of more veggie dishes and lack of more fresh berries, even though melons and pineapples were in abundance. We never tried or felt the need to try any of the specialty restaurants.
ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was quite good. I always enjoy the comedians and they had a musical impressionist who was fabulous! The ice show was unique and it was nice to enjoy their originality and talent. The singers and dancers were fine but after so many cruises I am tiring of this aspect of entertainment.
CRUISE DIRECTOR: Casey was charming and no attitude!
CASINO: I loved that on formal nights the casino had a no smoking policy. I can't remember this on past ships and it was great as I'm a non-smoker! The dealers were very pleasant.
NEGATIVES: (few but notable) At the one midnight buffet, they had a suckling pig! I don't begrudge meat eaters but I don't wish to see a dead animal on display either! I found this totally offensive and I would think that many other cruisers with varied cultures and religions may have taken offense as well. I'm glad my children weren't there as well as this would have upset them too.
NON-SMOKING ROOMS WITH BALCONIES: We had a non smoking room but were dismayed that our balconies allowed smoking! So, once I opened my balcony door smoke would stream in from my "non-smoking" room neighbors. I would love to see this policy revised.
ElEVATORS: So slow but the positive aspect was I took the stairs more and any additional exercise is a plus. This cruise was for major relaxation and we've been to Cabo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta on previous cruises. Other than walking off the ship in Mazatlan we opted to relax on the near empty ship during port days..another first for us and something we wouldn't have the opportunity to do if we were with our sons. All in all, we will definitely travel with RCCL again! Actually, will be going on the Liberty in August with our two sons, ages 14 and 16, and I look forward to reviewing what I am hoping will be our second great RCCL cruise!