Mariner of the Seas Review

Editor Rating:  4.5
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Mariner of the Seas Ratings

  • Category
    Member
    Editor
  • Dining
    4.0
    3.0
  • Public Rooms
    4.6
    5.0
  • Cabins
    4.5
    5.0
  • Entertainment
    4.0
    5.0
  • Spa & Fitness
    4.4
    5.0
  • Family & Children
    3.8
    5.0
  • Shore Excursions
    3.9
    3.0
  • Enrichment
    3.7
    2.0
  • Service
    4.5
    3.0
  • Value-for-Money
    4.1
    4.0
Editor Rating
4.5
Member Rating
Why Choose Mariner of the Seas?
  • Pro: Crew and onboard activities are designed to appeal to Chinese clientele
  • Con: Non-Chinese passengers may feel out of place on Mariner of the Seas
  • Bottom Line: Mariner of the Seas caters specifically to the Chinese market

Mariner of the Seas Overview

By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief; Updated by Dori Saltzman, Senior Editor

Royal Caribbean's 138,279-ton, 3,114-passenger Mariner of the Seas, launched in 2003, is the fifth and last vessel in the company's game-changing Voyager class. Mariner is largely identical to its siblings -- Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas, but it was the first of its class to get the Royal Advantage upgrade treatment as part of a $300 million initiative designed to create uniformity across the Royal fleet and add signature elements first introduced on the 5,400-passenger Oasis-class ships. As such, travelers who have sailed on a Voyager-class vessel will experience a number of twists beyond the signature ice rink, rock-wall and Royal Promenade.

Mariner of the Seas' Royal improvements, added in April 2012, include the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery, a dedicated space for the under 3's (boosting the family-friendly appeal for a ship that's already extremely family friendly); the addition of the casual, surcharge-free eatery, Boardwalk Dog House; a new family-style Italian restaurant, Giovanni's Table (which replaced the more elegant Portofino); a giant outdoor movie screen by the pool; shipwide Wi-Fi; flat-panel TV's in every cabin; a new Diamond Club for the line's Diamond loyalty members; and an interactive digital Wayfinder system that lists onboard activities, customized directions, as well as ship factoids.

Still, after cruising on Royal Caribbean's Freedom-class ships, we were worried that the Voyager-class ships would be a disappointment. It's true that they were once touted as the most revolutionary vessels afloat, with their novel rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks and Royal Promenades, a shopping mall-esque shopping-and-dining space. But then came the Freedom class, with even larger ships and even more outrageous amenities, such as onboard surfing and family suites that sleep 14. And then came the 225,282-ton, 5,400-passenger Oasis-class ships, which added a foliage-filled Central Park, zip-lining and an outdoor AquaTheater for Cirque-style performances.

Yet we were pleasantly surprised to find that Mariner of the Seas, the last of the Voyager-class ships to make its debut, did not feel like a disappointing second to its newer siblings (and the Oasis-style updates certainly help). The ship -- really only 15 percent smaller than the Freedom-class ships -- can still keep an active cruiser engaged for hours on a sea day. You don't miss onboard surfing or zip-lining when you're busy rollerblading, playing miniature golf, relaxing in the thalassotherapy pool, catching a parade on the Royal Promenade or playing poker in the casino. Kids have an enormous warren of play rooms (including an arcade and exclusive outdoor deck space) and diners have five restaurants, a cafe and a hotdog counter from which to choose.

Ultimately, one of the best things about the ship is that, despite its size, Mariner of the Seas just didn't feel that big. The ship's design makes every effort to create a smaller-ship feel. What was fun about discovering Mariner was that you could pretty much divide the ship into neighborhoods -- the promenade and the sports and recreation area. (Hmm, perhaps this layout was one of the inspirations for Royal Caribbean's newest ships, Oasis of the Seas, which has been designed around a neighborhood premise.) Another reason: Activities, whether during sea days or in the post-dinner evening hours, were so well-scheduled and organized that passengers really were spread out on all parts of the ship. We never felt crowded.

Mariner of the Seas Fellow Passengers

The vast majority of passengers on Mariner of the Seas hail from China. 

Mariner of the Seas Dress Code

During the day, dress is casual, as is evening dress except on formal nights (the number of which depend on length of itinerary). However, even on formal nights many men wear suits rather than tuxes. Dress at the alterative eateries is always smart casual (cocktail or summer dresses for women and nice shirt and/or sports coat for men), and dinners at the Windjammer buffet are casual.


Mariner of the Seas Gratuity

Royal Caribbean passengers are charged $13.50 per person, per day ($16.50 for suite guests). Gratuities can be prepaid or will be added on a daily basis to passengers' SeaPass accounts during the cruise. Passengers can modify or remove gratuities by visiting the guest services desk while onboard. An 18 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar tabs.

Next:  Mariner of the Seas Cabins

By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief; Updated by Dori Saltzman, Senior Editor

1,121 Mariner of the Seas Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

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HedgeFunder
Member Since 2017
1 review
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
Sailed three weeks ago
We are a young family that went on our 2nd cruise for some much needed RnR during the school holidays. Initially, we were a little worried about the cruise being a little too Asian themed, having read the reviews here, but we managed to ... Read more
kbeanz
Member Since 2017
1 review
4 forum posts
0 helpful votes
Sailed four weeks ago
The ship was great and overall had an okay time. Embarkment was smooth and relatively effortless. The Cafe Promenade was great (the pizza I heard was amazing) for late night snacks. Our cabin was on the 7th deck - had a balcony. ... Read more
Bellamariya
Member Since 2012
4 reviews
297 forum posts
0 helpful votes
There were 4 of us, myself and my daughter and my friend and her husband. Our ages ranged from 30 to 50. This was my 8th cruise, 5th with RCI and 2nd on Mariner of the Seas. We were there to celebrate my friends 50th birthday and this ... Read more
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