Just got back from the Mariner. This was our first RCL cruise and would happily sign on for more. The ship is in good shape and the crew were wonderful.
Even though the cruise was based out of Rome and Americans were a minority, the food, activities and general operations were designed for the American market.
If you want a "European" style cruise, you won't find it.
The food was good. Intimate the MDR is not at 1800 seats. We were assigned early seating but went to the maitre d that first day to get the My Time Dining option which we were granted .Food was fine with lots of choices if you didn't like a particular dish. Nothing that should be broiled comes out well. Service was good and staff makes a strong effort to learn your preferences.
The Windjammer, RCI's buffet had many options and the Asian area offered mall quality sushi. Believe it or not our biggest problem was overly attentive wait staff. Get up for more food with your dining companion and you would return to people sitting at your very recently vacated spots. Kinda funny.
We usually ate in the MDR for most of our meals. Sea days they served a great non self-serve salad bar. You point out what you want and they created your salad. Huge selection.
DW loved this option. Still had the choice of ordering from a menu. Breakfast worked the same in MDR. You could order from a menu or pick from a breakfast buffet. You could request a table for your party or they would seat you at a large table.
The promenade cafe was great. Perfect for a quick snack or that most important fifth meal of the day.
Our cabin was fine as was our steward. Happy to bring us more pillows and refill ice bucket daily. Maintenance staff quickly repaired our broken safe and TV remote. Sad to say ESPN was unavailable for the entire cruise so I couldn't watch any of the British Open golf. The cabin itself was well designed and well maintained although dated.
I would say there were things that were not fixed as quickly as they should have been. One of the 2 soft serve ice cream machines was broken for almost the entire cruise. Not a big deal except they didn't bother to attend to the remaining machine either. Huge lines with unhappy kids waiting for staff to refill machine.
Surprised how empty the casino was. (Hey RCL - offer a few free drinks and get more customers). Black-jack table minimum was $6. Odd.
Entertainment was about what you would expect. The CD , Simeon was usually the MC introducing the acts and closing the shows. A little went a long way although he ran the "quest" show well. Quest was more PG rather then R rated as on Carnival Pride. A lot of fun!
The Motown and Beatles tribute shows were good as was the "Master of the Pickpocket ". Very funny. Missed the stand up comedians offered on Carnival. The house band was very good.
One final note on embarkation. Not as efficient as it could have been. Looong lines. Another point on disembarkation. You are told you can only self disembark for a 1/2 hour period between 6:45 and 7:15. Why? People ignored this and we wish we has too. One of our bags tags became unattached. It was found but a small aggravation to end a nice trip.
Too bad. Having said this, there were a lot of staff on hand to smooth out the process.
The port itinerary for this cruise was good. It seemed the entire ship left for the Israeli and Athens stops. Very busy. We enjoyed all the stops. A Mediterranean cruise is great. We will try to do another. Perhaps next time there will be a day below 90 F. Not complaining as we didn't see a cloud the whole trip.