My husband and I went on the September 8 sailing on the Mariner of the Seas to the Eastern Mediterranean. Before the cruise, we took a 5-day land tour of Italy, as part of a RC Cruisetour package. The land portion of the trip was excellent.
We had a Promenade cabin. It was noisy. I do not recommend them.
We usually cruise with Celebrity. We chose this package because of the itinerary, especially Alexandria and Naples (Pompeii). Alexandria was cancelled because of unrest in Egypt. Perfectly understandable. Istanbul was a very fine substitute. When we got to check-in, we saw a letter stating that the port call to Naples was also being cancelled, ostensibly due to the ship being bumped from its pier space. They gave passengers $100 per cabin shipboard credit, and substituted a call on Valletta, Malta. When we arrived, we decided to go into Valletta, since we could not get on the shore excursion we wanted. It was Sunday, and the entire city was CLOSED!! Only a few restaurants and cheesy souvenir shops were open. People were just trudging up and down the streets in front of closed shops. This was RC's substitute for Naples. We returned to the ship. The other ports, Athens, Taormina, Rhodes, Istanbul, Kusadasi were very good, as were the shore excursions.
The food in the dining room was adequate, but not great. Half of the dinner entrees had no meat or minimal meat. The buffet had little variety. We noticed a lot of the same kind of food (if not the same food) served for lunch, snack, and dinner. You can't help yourself to beverages. They are doled out by the glass. Dishes are plastic. There is no poolside grill.
Many passengers were very irritated that half of the pools and hot tubs were closed most of the time, including days at sea. A sign hung in front of the closed pools said that they were closed due to "local regulations". At sea? Oh, and you have to sign out pool towels, and sign them back in, or incur a $25 charge on your account.
There were things that we enjoyed. The ship is really nice, and public areas are attractive and clean. Service on the part of room stewardess, dining room staff, room service and most ship personnel was very good. Entertainment was just OK. The shipboard activities were all right if you're into dancing and a lot of game shows and competitions. The enrichment program was really good, with several very well attended lectures. The best was a series of lectures on forensic science as it applies to history and criminal investigations. The lecturer made the subject material interesting and enjoyable.
Since Celebrity is owned by RCI, we didn't expect that there would be that big a difference between the two lines, but there was. I doubt that we will ever take another RC cruise.
The Acropolis and the Parthenon met expectations, but Athens as a city was underwhelming. Of course, it was Sunday, and a lot of places were closed.
There was a lot to see and do, and this was the most exotic port of the cruise. A little intimidating.
Ephesus was amazing. Kusadasi was also nice, if you can get past the aggressive market vendors.
Everything was closed. It was a bore. Even if everything were open, it still doesn't have much appeal.
Very interesting and historic
Absolutely beautiful. A great port day.