I found all of these posts on Cruise Critic to be so helpful so I wanted to pay it forward and hope this helps all of you reading out there... Here is a recap of our recent cruise on Mariner of the Seas to the Mexican Riviera.
We Had Aft Balcony 1690, and Main Seating deck 3
Onboard: We live in the So Cal area so departure day consisted of a final pack of clothing (kept everything pretty wrinkle free) and an hour drive to San Pedro. Got dropped off by family at the front door of the terminal around 10am and was in the doors waiting for the RCL folks to check every one in. A quick and easy check in process and on board by 10:45-11:00. Quick trip up to the Windjammer for lunch and sat in the very back section with Mildan (from Croatia) as the waiter. He was very nice, friendly and personable to the point that we would look for him whenever we went to the Windjammer throughout the week. I tried the honey stung chicken everyone raves about, not much to talk about in my opinion, not bad just nothing spectacular.
We then walked around the ship and explored a bit u8ntil just before 1pm. No announcement as of yet but we checked to see if our cabin was ready and were happy to find the cabin ready for us. Our room steward, Winston (from the Philipines), quickly introduced himself, brought ice for the room and did the quick 'tour' of the room. Our cabin was in good condition, clean and no issues with any of the fixtures, bedding, etc. We relaxed in the room for a bit then more exploring around the ship with a trip to the Promenade and the Wig & Gavel.
Luggage came to the room about 5:00 and then some unpacking and changed for dinner.
Wayne (from Jamaica) was our waiter and Samvil (from India) was our asst. waiter. Both were friendly and efficient on day one and only got better throughout the cruise. Much like many other reviews on here, by day 2 and 3 we had drinks already waiting for us as we arrived for dinner and extra entrees were brought out without even having to ask.
We didn't do most of the stage shows but did go to the show on Day 2. The group Abbacadabra was on board and did a great show of Abba music. They hit all the highlights and even did a song from Queen to add a little humor of the show. Great performers, great show and all with only 1 hr rehearsal as this was their first show on the ship. A definite must see!!!
Most days on the ship were spent relaxing and enjoying the smaller events. Many trivia contests in the Schooner bar (won many keychains, luggage tags, travel wallets and my personal favorite gerbil bags), nights at the Wig and Gavel, rock climbing, ice skating, ping pong, mini golf...
Ports: Cabo San Lucas we didn't have any excursions planned so we waited until about ½ hour after the tenders started and were off the ship with in 10 minutes. Our plans were to do a little shopping and go back to enjoy an empty ship. We were overwhelmed with all of the locals offering a water taxi, atv tour, glass bottom boat experience. etc... Walked over to Cabo Wabo had the best shrimp ever (tequila, lime, jalapeno I think). Bought souveniers and then back to the ship. Pool deck was empty and we enjoyed having the ship to ourselves for a few hours. Pure relaxation and vacation at it's best.
Mazatlan was day 1 of golf. We booked the Estrella Del Mar golf course through the ship and it was a very nice course on the ocean with some great pictures taken on a near empty course. There were 15 total that booked through the ship and I think we were the only ones on the course. It took about 30 minutes to get to the course and at one point we even had to wait for the cattle herd that was blocking the road. Round was fun, course was fair, but with a lack of signage at some points that made it confusing as to where the next hole was. Had some drinks, chips and salsa at the clubhouse after the round then back to the ship. WARNING -- bugs aplenty at the golf course. Take some bug repellent or at the least buy it at the course, you'll be glad you did. Didn't notice too much more than ants, but returned to the ship with many bites that did not look to nice the rest of the week.
Puerto Vallarta was day 2 of golf. Booked the Flamingo's golf course through the ship, personally I liked Estrella Del Mar better but this course did offer some interesting memories. The course runs through a nature preserve so through our round we saw badgers, crocodiles as well as crabs running across the fairways. The weather was wet and humid as it had rained overnight. This left the course very wet and muddy in many places to the point that our cart was fishtailing as we drove down the fairway. Again, bugs aplenty and we didn't learn our lesson so more bug bites, by this time I look like my legs have mumps or measles or something. NOTE - this course offers caddies which we found to be helpful. At first we were hesitant but then settled into having some course knowledge to help throughout the round. Take some cash for the tip if you use the service.
After golf and a quick shower at aboard the ship we went over to the Malecon and had lunch at Bubba Gump's right on the water. Nice meal, but not much different from any other Bubba Gump's (the kid loves his bucket of trash). The weather really took a turn for the worse while we were eating as the skies opened and the rain was coming down hard. We decided not to walk around and get soaked so we just headed back to the ship.
Last Day: Debarking was as quick and painless as could be. We hadn't been on a cruise for about 10 years and this process is one that has definitely improved. We remembered the hassle of getting up and having to be out of the room early in the morning so were surprised to see that we had access to our cabin until our 9:30-9:45 scheduled departure. Paperwork stated that we would have to go the Savoy theater to hear announcements, but we sat at the Schooner bar just outside the Savoy and watched the TV screen which constantly updated with groups to depart. Around 9:15 a crewmember came to the bar area and said we were all clear to leave regardless of group color.
We quickly exited off the ship and into the port building, expecting a mess of bags to sort through. We found our bags very quickly and were off to meet family who were picking us up at the port. Our cruise vacation was officially finished.
Overall it was a great relaxing experience for the week. • No airline hassles (from southern California made this a positive) • Food was good (nothing spectacular, but then try cooking for 3000 people and see how well you do) • No dishes to clean • Beautiful view off our aft balcony (definite plus as the wind was brisk the last 2 sea days)
Any questions please feel free to ask and I will be happy to answer what I can