My husband and I sailed on Mariner of the Seas on February 5 to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We booked the cruise nearly a year ago and I researched and planned to the final detail to make sure this was the perfect vacation. Royal Caribbean and Mariner of the Seas did not disappoint! It was an amazing vacation with incredible highlights and memories!
Embarkation - Yes, there was a line - but we expected that. All told, the process to board the ship took just about an hour. I highly recommend to have all documents together (shore excursions, etc.) A file with a stretchy band that goes around it was extremely helpful! Once we boarded, staff was ready to guide us to our stateroom and then we went on to the Windjammer for lunch.
Cabin - Size was great, storage was awesome, bed was comfortable, linens were fabulous. Cabin attendant Maha was awesome.
Service - Impeccable. Our main example - My husband goes by his middle name, but we were registered with his first name due to passport, etc. On the first night, when we checked in at the dining room, we gave our name. My husband responded, "I go by ______." They made note of that, and every other dining experience had the waitstaff calling my husband by the name he uses. Absolutely amazing!
Food - We chose MTD, but still ended up with the same wait staff several nights. We were given a table for two many nights, which was awesome for our romantic cruise. We also ran into a couple we knew and the dining room staff had no trouble placing us together for one night. The waiters and assistant waiters for awesome! The food selection, timeliness and preparation was out of this world. Everything was amazing! We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer each day and the food was great there, too. Sometimes, it was difficult to find a table, but we never had a time where we couldn't find one at all. The Cafe Promenade was awesome for a mid-afternoon dessert, 10 p.m. pizza, or whatever we wanted.
Soda package - We pre-purchased the soda package, and really didn't worry if it was worth the cost or not. It does include Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and ginger ale (which we would get at night.) We are Dr Pepper drinkers, but only Johnny Rockets included Mr Pibb on the soda package. However, our soda at Johnny Rockets was much larger than the soda of the non-package drinkers. The soda package just made it easier to get a drink. Also, I had seen ahead of time that punch and tea would be available around the ship, so we brought our own larger cups. We did not see drink stations, so glad we did the package.
Don't miss the soft serve ice cream! Fabulous treat near the pool area!
Entertainment - I've seen other reviews mention the piano player in The Schooner Bar - he is awesome! The ice show was just amazing - get your tickets early! Our tickets interfered with our MTD reservation and the MDR changed our time with no problem. We also enjoyed other shows and two comedians.
Activities - We enjoyed some of the daytime activities, but also did some of our own thing - cards, ping pong, mini golf. We were younger than many of the passengers, so we were not as interested in some of the scheduled activities. One of the evening activities was a "Name that Tune" contest where I thought my husband would rule. However, there were songs in the game that were 20 years older than us, so that was a stretch.
Shore excursions - In Cozumel, we booked the RCCL "America's Regatta" sailboat race. This is an amazing excursion - even when the wind was almost non-existent!
In Grand Cayman, I had booked a tour with Nativeway Watersports. They were highly recommended on several websites and we had the most amazing tour with them. Eldon and Sharon Eubanks are extremely hospitable and truly share their love of Grand Cayman with their guests. We had an incredible tour swimming with the stingrays, snorkeling, and seeing all the highlights of Grand Cayman. Because of this awesome tour experience, Grand Cayman was our favorite stop. It was an amazing day!
In Falmouth, we did the trolley tour of the town. We had planned to return to the pier on the trolley, then walk back out to have lunch. The maps of Falmouth on the RCCL website make it look like it is very easy to walk out to a town currently under restoration and do a self-guided tour and fine something to eat. I had even found a couple of restaurants on travel websites with wifi. This was not the case. We enjoyed the trolley tour, stopped at the Anglican Church and bought some crafts, and returned to the pier. We shopped at the market at the pier, shopped a bit at the jewelry stores at the pier. We had a Red Stripe, but there really wasn't anywhere to have lunch. We returned to the ship and had lunch at The Windjammer, instead. Falmouth has a lot of potential and we now wish we had booked an excursion - whether through the ship or a private one. I had foot surgery 6 months ago, so climbing Dunn's Falls was not possible, but we could have done something else.
As I mentioned, as two 44-year-olds, we were much younger than most of the passengers. We were travelling child-free and there were a few families with children, but not enough to make me feel guilty that our kids did not come along for this vacation. We are already planning to take them on a future cruise, so they can have the same fabulous experience we did.
Our only minor complaint involved room service. We ordered breakfast one morning and I ordered two of each thing I ordered. Made since to me - there were two of us. Oddly, it all came on one plate. Very minor, and we made do. In the future, my husband would go to the Cafe Promenade and get us coffee in the insulated mugs we brought along, then we went to The Windjammer for breakfast. Also, the one day we were going to do the pool buffet (BBQ), the line was incredibly long and we gave up. Otherwise, we were extremely pleased with our entire experience!
Ship is beautiful, food is fabulous, service impeccable! Will absolutely cruise RCCL again.