Our cruise was from August 8th thru 15th, 2010. I hadn't been on a cruise for 10 years and that was my first cruise. My family and I went on the Millennium Mexican Riviera Cruise in 1999-2000 on the Rhapsody of the Seas. Back then, I was only a few years old, so I don't remember much. So, back to the recent cruise. We flew down to LA from Seattle on August 5th because my dad and brother wanted to watch the Little League games down in San Bernardino. We stayed with my grandma until Sunday morning.
Day 1—Embarkation, San Pedro. We took a shuttle from my other grandparents' house to San Pedro on Sunday. When we got there, I was amazed at how large the ship was. I knew the ship was going to be big, but pictures don't cut it. You have to see the ship in person to realize how huge it really is. Embarkation was smooth, once we got our SeaPasses. We headed up the escalators to the walkway that takes you to the gangway, took a few pictures, and stepped onto the grand Mariner of the Seas. Once inside, my family and I stared at everything in front of us, except for my grandparents, though. This was their fourth cruise on the Mariner. First off, we went to the dining room to find out where our table was. It was a table for 10, we wanted a table for six. We decided we would deal with it after lunch. As we were walking out of the dining room, a family stopped my grandma and asked her about My Time Dining. She explained it to them and then introduced them to me and my dad. They had 3 kids, two around my age. I became good friends with them by the end of the cruise. After the introduction, we explored the small library overlooking the Royal Promenade. Did I mention the Royal Promenade was my favorite place on the ship? Well, it is. Especially in the early morning when it's almost empty. After our library exploration, we headed up to the Windjammer Cafe for our first meal onboard the ship. During lunch, an announcement was made that the rooms were ready. So, after lunch, we went to check out our rooms. The rooms were smaller than I expected, but we got used to them. Our stateroom attendant, Wayne, introduced himself and then we strolled down to the dining room to get our table changed. Note: You might be using the stairs more than the elevators, because they're so slow. So be prepared to get in shape just going up and down the stairs. Once we got to the dining room, we had our table changed in about 15 minutes. We went to check out where it was located, and it was an excellent location. We wandered around the ship taking pictures until just before the mandatory muster drill. They made the announcement to go down to your muster station. My dad walked out of the room with a life jacket in his hands, and walked back in as quickly as he walked out. The reason? No life jackets are need for the muster drill anymore. So we all walked down to our station and probably stood there for about 20-30 min. When they set off the alarm, it wasn't ear-piercing, but it was eerie, because everyone just stood there quietly while the alarm echoed back at us from a container ship across the channel. Once the drill was over, my brother and I followed our parents up to the spa to check out the massages they have. My dad claimed some raffle tickets for a raffle drawing at 5:30. We both went to the raffle to see if he would win anything (he got a letter later during the cruise saying that he and my mom both won a selection of massages), and we were almost late for the first dinner! At dinner, we met our waiter, Richard, from the Philippines, our assistant waiter, Hendro, from Indonesia, and later in the week we met our head waiter, Vilas, from India. Dinner was delicious just about every night, though I was kind of disappointed that they never had calamari on the menu or true chocolate lava cake. They served warm chocolate cake one night, in which I ordered two of them thinking it was chocolate lava cake. I was sort of right. It was a little gooey in the middle, but not runny like true lava cake. Back to Day 1; after dinner, we got ready to go to the show in the Savoy Theater. The show was okay; it was a musical, and I'm not fond of musicals. The show finished and we went back to our rooms until the parade started. At 10:30, my dad, brother, my grandparents, and I met on the Royal Promenade to watch the parade. The best spot to watch the parade is by the casino stairs/airbrushed tattoos cart. After the parade, all of us went back to our rooms to retire for the night. I stayed in the room for a couple minutes and then walked down to the Royal Promenade to get my end of the day snack.
Day 2—At Sea. I woke up around 6 am and my dad and I headed up to the jogging track to jog and watch the sunrise. It was cloudy, but we could still see the sun rising through the clouds. After jogging 10 laps, or 2 miles, Dad and I walked down a deck to the Windjammer to eat a very early breakfast. It was peaceful there, just like every other place on the ship during the early morning hours. We got a window seat in the Jade section of the Windjammer without a problem. The service and staff in the Windjammer and the main dining room was outstanding the whole week. Even the staff not in the eating area was friendly. Not once did one crew member pass me without nodding or greeting me. When I needed someone to do something for me, they gladly helped me. Back to eating breakfast in the Windjammer. Once we finished a delicious breakfast, we took a cup of coffee to my mom and strolled along the Promenade. We had lunch later that day in the Windjammer and ate there for lunch just about every day of the week. The selection of food they serve there is delicious and it would satisfy a picky eater because I'm a picky eater and the food satisfied me. After lunch, I went to our room and rested for 20 min. and joined my grandma on the pool deck. At around 4:20, I went back to the room and slept for 40 min. After my nap, I got ready for the first formal night. We headed to the Rhapsody in Blue dining room at 6 o'clock to enjoy the formal dinner with Richard, our waiter. Right after dinner, we headed directly across the Royal Promenade to meet Captain Per. I greeted the captain with a brochure of the Mariner of the Seas I made on our computer. We got pictures taken and then we walked around and got more pictures taken before we headed to the theater to watch the show. I can't remember what the show was, but it might have been a tribute to The Temptations. One night it was the tribute to the Temptations, it was excellent! Can't remember what night though. After the show we went to sleep. Did I mention the beds are comfortable? Because they are, and I usually don't sleep very well on a bed that isn't mine!
Day 3—Cabo. Hot and sticky that day, I'll never forget it. I'm not used to that weather. Got on the priority tender—the big one—took some pictures of the ship, got off at the docks, and walked right back on a tender an hour later. My grandparents and I were the only ones on the tender and the captain let me drive the boat. He just said, "Here, your turn" and let me drive the tender for a little bit. We got on the ship and enjoyed the Jacuzzi while the emptiness lasted. My grandma and I walked to the Windjammer to eat and the food was the same as it was at lunch. They just let it sit there and dry out under the heat lamp. If I were you, I'd avoid the afternoon snack from 3pm to 5pm in the Windjammer. Other than that, the food was great at other times of the day. The day ended normally—dress up for dinner, eat dinner, watch the ship leave port, watch the show, go to sleep, dream.
Day 4—Mazatlan. The day started with my parents waking me up to watch the ship pull into port. Then we got up and had breakfast in the Windjammer. After breakfast, my dad and I walked along the promenade deck on Deck 4—not the Royal Promenade—to the bow to take pictures. Then our family got off the ship and walked into the cruise terminal. A very nice English-speaking man named Victor met us at the exit of the cruise terminal and offered to take us in a private, air-conditioned van to see Old Town, the flea market, the cathedral, and the Golden Zone—all for only $25 per person. We took his offer and had a very nice tour of Mazatlan. At the end of the tour, he recommended a guy in Puerto Vallarta named Xavier. I will talk more about Xavier later. We got back onboard the ship and then my mom and I got ready for dinner and walked to the bow to see us leave Mazatlan. Then we went to dinner and had a wonderful rest of the night. We went to the show that night, as we did every night.
Day 5—Puerto Vallarta. By far, my favorite port. We walked off the ship in the morning and searched for the man Victor recommended, Xavier. We found him within five minutes after stepping off the Mariner of the Seas and it was the same thing, he would take us in a private van, air-conditioned, to see Old Town, some really expensive houses, and a nice restaurant in the jungle. So off we went. Once we got into the jungle, we had lunch at a restaurant with bees swarming around every sweet thing in sight. I just about fainted trying to stay away from them. I am deathly afraid of bees. While we were waiting for our food, we spotted our friends from the ship. After a so-so lunch, my brother and I took a swim with our friends in the Nogalito River. The river was located next to the restaurant and you could access it via stairs. We headed back to town after the swim and shopped at Diamonds International. Then we headed back to the ship. Back on the ship, we enjoyed dinner, watched the show, and danced to the music on the Royal Promenade at the '70s Dancing in the Streets. We literally danced to the music, because they played the song Dance to the Music!
Day 6—At Sea. My favorite days. At sea. They're my favorite because you get to explore the ship's many activities. On this day, I bought two Royal Caribbean T-shirts, watched some of the belly-flop contest, and watched bingo with my grandparents. My grandpa was enjoying himself—if you were on this cruise and you watched or played the win a cruise bingo at 4:00pm on day 6, he was the person who went quack-quack when the announcer called a certain number that had to do with ducks. My grandpa was also the one who went "Hoo-Hoo".
Day 7—At Sea. The final full day. I went ice skating at 11:00 am, it was open skating, and taught myself how to ice skate—on a cruise ship! Then I watched my friends ice skate at 11:30, and spent most of the day with them—playing basketball, attempting mini-golf in 42mph winds, watching one of them climb the rock wall, reading in the library, and staring in awe at their Grand Suite. That was pretty much the whole day.
Day 8—San Pedro, Disembarkation. Disembarking went rather smooth, according to my mom, than it was 10 years ago at the same port. The only issue we had was we found out that our dog ran away. Fortunately, someone found her, and the day after we got home, we went to pick her up. Now, all is well. Sorry for the extra long review!