I booked my cruise 15 months in advance, but I think RC had no idea that the Mariner was docking in Galveston on the morning from the very disorganized check in process. The check-in personnel were untrained and very disorganized. One would think RC was new to Galveston. The priority check-in area was very crowded and the area for cruisers needing assistance was crammed in with the priority area. Lots of unhappy cruisers. Disembarkation upon return to Galveston was a nightmare. So much for priority debarkation for loyalty members, another amenity given to grand suite and above cruisers. Express debarkation started late and was disorganized, the escalator in the terminal broke and debarkation ground to a halt for almost an hour. Then, there was mass confusion and disregard for the scheduled times when everyone crowded the one gangway on deck one that RC finally opened to departing cruisers. Then there were two lines in the terminal. One for cruisers that didn't need a porter and one for those who needed one. Guess what, the people went for the shortest line and then tried to get a porter. All the delays were naturally blamed on Customs & Immigration. They were organized and professional. Hope RC improves their Embark and Debark process as I see there were similar complaints in New Orleans for the Voyager processing.
Once aboard the ship, it was a different world. The cabins were excellent and well maintained. The food and service in the dining room and the Wind Jammer was excellent, and the promenade area of the ship is very beautiful. Love the cafe that is open 24/7.
The crew is very friendly and professional. The entertainment was good especially the ice skating performance. The "Quest" is a must. There were lots of activities to entertain all. Yogurt machine by the pool was very popular and very habit forming. One event not to miss, the very informative lecture presented by Captain Nielsen. He is to be commended for his availability to everyone all over the ship.
Lots of complaining from C&A Society Diamond Members and Junior Suite cruisers about RC change in rewards. Cruisers in Grand Suites and above were given special treatment even if they were first time cruisers, like Special Gold Card giving them access to private dining area in Wind Jammer, reserved seating in shows, priority tendering, access to Concierge Lounge among other things at the expense of the Diamond members. Justification for change was too many cruisers reached "Diamond Level" by taking too many 4 & 5 day cruises. What a way to treat loyal cruisers of all of RC Lines.
Overall, the cruise was excellent. Wonderful weather, good ports of call, beautiful ship, wonderful crew and good seas.