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Mariner of the Seas Review

Mariner of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas - The British-Themed Wig and Gavel Pub Mariner of the Seas - Junior Suite Mariner of the Seas - Open Deck Kids Area Mariner of the Seas - Pool Deck
84% of cruisers loved it
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  • First of five Voyager-class ships to get Royal Advantage overhaul
  • Endless sea day diversions: rock-climbing to shopping
  • 22,000 square feet dedicated to kids' areas
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Mariner of the Seas Overview

By Carolyn Spencer Brown; updated By Dori Saltzman, News Editor
Editor Rating
4.5
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

While most passengers traditionally hailed from the U.S., with the ship's move to Asia the line does expect to attract a significant percentage of Asian passengers. Mariner of the Seas appeals to a wide variety of ages. (With so many kids onboard, the average age typically hovers around 40.) Regardless of age, passengers tend to be very active in spirit.

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.

We noticed that, on formal nights, passengers really did get into the elegant spirit of the evening -- for dinner, anyway -- then rushed back to cabins to change into more comfortable clothing for the evening's activities.

Mariner of the Seas Gratuity

Royal Caribbean passengers are charged $12 per person, per day ($14.25 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. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar tabs.
Next: Mariner of the Seas Cabins
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Mariner of the Seas Member Reviews

We are Royal Anchor & Crown Diamond member and we do at least one RC cruise per year. Many of them out of Singapore. Our latest one on the Mariner of The Seas was a big disappointment. It seems that RC has modified their formula to cater to ... Read more
My husband and I have just returned home from the worst RC cruise we have ever taken. We are loyal customers of the company. Our Diamond club membership reflects on our loyalty. We have sailed with them from the very beginning, when they based the ... Read more
01/15
Cruising out of Singapore Dec. 29th with my wife over the new year's eve to Kuala Lumpur for 5 nights. Having cruised with RCL before on board of the Allure, Oasis, Independence & Serenade, I was eagerly looking forward to this sailing & ... Read more
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