After sailing on the Voyager twice, I was familiar with the layout of the Mariner. The Voyager & Mariner are pretty much identical, except the Mariner is newer & fresher. Everyone in my group noticed Royal Caribbean is cutting back on some of the perks. For instance, the steaks in the main dining room were not top grade & the lobster was extremely small. However, the food quality is still very good. I highly recommend the appetizers in the main dining room. If you do want top quality steak & lobster, spend the extra $20 - $ 30 to eat in The Chops Grill or Portofinos for one or two evenings. Everything is excellent in these restaurants & well worth the extra $.
Another example of cutbacks was in the amount of activities on board. A few years ago, there were bean bag toss tournaments, ping pong, etc. Now they still have these activities, but only once during the 7 day cruise & often scheduled at 4:30 which conflicts with early dining. They have also cut back on the quality of prizes given out.
There is an excellent singer who sings and plays piano in one of the lounges every evening. He wears a cowboy hat & can pretty much sing any song you suggest. He has an excellent personality for entertaining. Speaking of entertainment, the cruise ship singers put on several top quality shows. The skaters are amazing. Don't miss the skating show. The cruise ship orchestra is small, but good. The Mariner didn't have a great karaoke leader, like the Voyager did last year. I missed going down to the Pig & Whistle bar for karaoke.
Even though the cutbacks are obvious, the staff is still very service oriented and extremely well managed. We needed a leaky faucet repaired in our bathroom. It was repaired within an hour of our complaint. From our stateroom attendant to our dining room staff, the employees were bending over backwards to please. Thank you RCC!