Even though this was only our third cruise, it was our second time on the Mariner in just three months. we really like the Mariner and for us Okies it is pretty easy to drive to Galveston. we did a "back to back" in December 2011 with the Carnival Magic and frankly there is no comparison. we think the Mariner is "the bomb"! the ship is wonderfully maintained, looks better than the brand new Carnival Magic with a much better layout. There are little bars and snack places everywhere.
The promenade cafe is great for a quick snack and beverage. The wig and gavel pub is nice too. had a cigar in the smoking bar one night. didn't even know it was there on the first cruise!
ate in Chops once. always good. ate in Portofinos twice, very good. both worth the extra moolah.
had a good table in the main dining room on level 3. ate breakfast and lunch in the MDR also. better choice than the windjammer IMHO although others may enjoy the buffet, The buffet is tasty and varied; I just don't like bumping into people and fighting for a table.
the captain is very personable. he actually seems to enjoy chatting with passengers. will stay and talk as long as you want. he gave a great presentation in the showroom on the last day too.
the new cast for the shows were great!! enjoyed the entertainment very much. Mitch the cruise director also struck the perfect tone. The quest was a blast and the ice show was great. sit at the "50 yard line" for best seats for the ice show.
the trolley roger is a nice inexpensive Cayman excursion. the montego bay shopping bus excursion is also a great Jamaica excursion and not expensive. both thru RCL.
paradise beach is nice in Cozumel. only 2 dollar admission and a great location beach and pool. Cozumel cab drivers are greedy when 5 cruise ships are in town...