We flew from Phoenix and stayed in Long Beach at the Avia hotel for the night prior to our cruise. The hotel is in a great location with a great staff and comfy rooms. The concierge arranged airport/pier transportation with a local company at an additional cost. Very nice service. After checking our bags at the hotel we toured the nearby waterfront of Long Beach, had lunch and visited the Aquarium of the Pacific. It was crowded but we enjoyed the exhibits. This was all within walking distance of the hotel. We had the transportation company reserved to pick us up at 11am the driver was there promptly to drive us to the pier. We quickly got a porter and were off to check-in. The Platinum check in line was empty and we quickly proceeded to the ship. We grabbed a bite to eat in the Windjammer and toured the huge Mariner of the Seas. Our room was ready at exactly 1pm. Prior to leaving home I purchased some chocolate covered strawberries and they were in the room waiting for us! Very nice. Our cabin was kept clean and well stocked throughout the week.
We had a deck 7 balcony toward the aft of the ship. There was plenty of room for all of our stuff and the suitcases fit under our beds with room to spare. The bathroom was small but efficient and the shower had a door. No floaty/sticky shower curtain. Yippee!
The Mariner is a beautiful ship with many venues to suit your needs. The bars were plentiful with nice seating. The Cafe Promenade is open 24 hrs and was nice for early birds, like me, to get coffee and tea.
We picked MTD and it was a perfect fit. After visiting the maitre'd we were seated in a great area by a window. We stopped by each day to arrange a dining time and were always immediately seated at the appointed time. The maitre'd's name was Rock and he always remembered our names. The food was okay, nothing really spectacular but we were pleased.
We didn't attend any of the big production or ice shows. We did go to Love and Marriage, Name that Tune and the Quest. All of those were great and Quest was outrageous. The Cruise director was Casey Pelter and he was very very funny. There was a crew vs. guests' dodge ball game that was hysterical.
My daughter was old enough to gamble and had beginner's luck at the roulette table and the slots. She managed to come out with more than she put in.
In Cabo, we arrived to a very hot and sunny day. We prearranged a private sailboat tour and had a wonderful day sailing around the arches. Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta were just shopping days for us. On the sea days returning we even saw a whale from the ship.
Disembarkation went very well. We were called at our appointed time and were off the ship within minutes. In summary this was one of my most favorite cruises. The Mariner is a picturesque ship with many amenities that appeal to various age groups. There are so many activities planned and there was always something to do. The food was good and the service was outstanding. I have already booked this ship again for Dec 2010.