The Royal Theater on Mariner of the Seas is a rather grand space that hosts original jukebox-musical-style shows as well as game shows such as the always funny Love and Marriage. The cast puts on two shows each night to cater to the early birds and night owls. "Gallery of Dreams'' follows an artist who brings history to life through his sketches, jumping from Austria to the Wild West to 1940s Morocco. On our most recent sailing, the performance was a little wobbly.
If you're after a more reliably liked dose of entertainment on Mariner of the Seas, your best bet is to grab tickets as soon as possible to Ice Under the Big Top. The circus-themed figure skating show features aerials and skits that scored high marks from most guests we talked to on board. The show is also family-friendly, with showtimes during the afternoon.
For a smaller ship, there are plenty of things to do on Mariner of the Seas throughout the day. These are all detailed in your Cruise Compass, which is left in your room every night, detailing what's happening the next day (and when). You'll find more details below on the pools, Solarium, fitness center, spa, and adventure activities like the FlowRider and rock-climbing wall. Bingo, themed and general trivia, dance classes, movies, poolside music, seminars on jewelry and spa products. There are also fitness and healthy living seminars and fitness classes plus DJs around the ship.
Nightlife aboard Mariner of the Seas is diverse enough to keep everyone happy, true to the Royal Caribbean brand. There are lively party spots and more subdued lounges all around the ship. Dancing lessons, dance parties, trivia, tournaments in the casino, game shows and movies on the pool deck are all on offer for those who have early bedtimes (and those who do not). Other evening activities include comedy shows, big stage productions, meetups and get-togethers for singles, LGBTQ+ cruisers and others. If you're planning on having more than a couple drinks per day, it's well worth your investment to get a Royal Caribbean drink package. Pay-as-you-go drinks are pricey (even for mocktails).
You'll find a different vibe at every bar. However, you might hear the most noise coming from Schooner's of all places, where piano sing-alongs and an array or rowdy trivia games take place nearly every night. There's also live music at Bolero's that draws a crowd (though it's a bit sleepy when no one's playing and the group gathering for singles and LGBTQ+ cruisers seemed mostly unattended during our most recent cruise).
Playmaker's is a draw day and night, with sports beamed in on several screens. Depending on capacity, Ellington's or Studio B function as the nightclubs, and a silent disco just might be on the agenda (it was one of the most popular nights on our last sailing). And don't forget karaoke -- if you're lucky you'll have a host that whips everyone up into loud rounds of laughs and applause.
Mariner of the Seas' Casino Royale has everything from slots to gaming tables. It's easily one of the busiest places every night aboard the ship. You can either use your cruise card or arrange to pay in cash. Just keep in mind that Royal Caribbean is allowing smoking in Casino Royale, which will either put you off entirely or make you a happy cruiser.
For a Good Old-Fashioned Singalong: The Schooner Bar is easily one of the most popular early-evening destinations on Mariner of the Seas. There's a pianist who belts out great versions of pop songs spanning the decades and singalongs can get lively. It's also one of the main venues for trivia games, which also tend to get boisterous (and are definitely worth a pit stop on your way to shows in the Royal Theater).
For a Dose of Latin Music: Boleros serves chic drinks in a space that features a small stage and dance floor. Bar seating and tables for two and four fill the space, but many patrons stand at the balcony overlooking the Centrum and onto Deck 3, where you can watch Studio B show-goers coming and going. The feel there is distinctly Latin, with salsa dance lessons and other Latin music.
For the Sports (and Bar Food) Enthusiast: Playmakers Sports Bar has that neighborhood sports bar feel, complete with nearly three dozen televisions (all tuned to sports or sports highlights), a small pool table and bar-friendly grub. During games and in the early evenings, Playmakers can get crowded, and there might be a short line at the bar. The same holds for later at night.
For Something a Little Chic: The Bamboo Rooms was added during the 2018 refurbishment, The Bamboo Room, a Polynesian-inspired bar with updated versions of classic tiki-lounge cocktails, looks amazing with its bold, leaf-patterned wall coverings, dark wood and bamboo accents throughout. The menu was inspired by tiki bar classics, so expect lots of rum, fruit juice and bartenders who are friendly, fun and know their way around a cocktail shaker. Light bites are available
For the Night Owls (or Live Music Lover): Depending on ship capacity, Ellington's is used for late-night dance parties. You'll also find jazz and Latin music here on some sailings. The
Mariner of the Seas' pools are all located on Deck 11. There are two main pools for adults and kids to use and a trio of whirlpools as well. Not all guests love that kids can use these hot tubs and the main pool area definitely gets a little rowdy during the day. A large movie screen hanging above the pool shows movies at night.
If you're after an adults-only sanctuary on Mariner of the Seas, head to the Solarium, also on Deck 11. There, you'll find a pool and a pair of whirlpools, plus loungers, tables and large daybed-like areas to relax on. It's still a lively place to hang out during the day (there's a bar, after all), but lacks the sometimes towel-strewn vibe of the main pool area. Due to its shape and position, sections of the Solarium pool on Mariner of the Seas are in shadow for long parts of the day, with the best sun exposure coming around noon.
Lifeguards are visible and on duty whenever the pools or hot tubs are open. Hydraulic lifts are available in pools and whirlpools, both in the main pool area and in the Solarium.
There's no shortage of recreational offerings on Mariner of the Seas. The rock-climbing wall features routes of varying difficulty as well as safety harnesses and belay equipment (plus basic instructions).
The FlowRider, Royal Caribbean's signature surfing simulator, always has a line. You'll see everyone give it a try, from experienced surfers to newbies. The instructors and safety crew give tips to everyone who rides, and those who fall off early get a quick second ride before rejoining the line. Nearby seating allows a crowd to gather and watch those brave enough to try.
The Perfect Storm -- twin racing water slides that appear to hang out beyond the edge of the ship -- is another popular spot for kids and adults alike. Though the line is often considerable, it moves reasonably quickly.
You can't miss Mariner of the Seas' Sky Pad, a giant yellow orb overlooking the sports court and FlowRider. A virtual-reality bungee trampoline experience with four trampolines, the Sky Pad always has a long line of cruisers ready to strap themselves into a harness and virtual-reality headset. Once bouncing around on a trampoline, they could choose one of several VR games to play.
The sports courts aren't the most popular spot. You'll see a few people playing basketball, though the whole area wasn't in the best shape during our last sailing.
At the front of the ship on Deck 13, Mariner Dunes is a nine-hole mini-golf course, featuring bright, cartoonish obstacles like lighthouses, pirate ships, shells and dunes.
The primary sun decks aboard Mariner of the Seas surround the main and Solarium pools, and extend up onto Deck 12 above. Tiers of loungers to either side of the pool bar are reserved for suite passengers. The pool deck does get crowded, but the sun deck above usually has plenty of room to spread out. Signs advise passengers not to reserve seats, but that didn't stop people on our sailing; as a result, pool attendants were vigilant in removing any paperbacks, cover-ups, sunglasses and flip-flops being used to save seats after a reasonable time span.
Other sun decks are located on Deck 12 aft and Deck 13 aft and forward. The aft area is a mix of tables and seating overlooking the Sports Court, FlowRider and rock climbing wall. The forward area on Deck 13 -- Mariner Dunes -- is packed with loungers that are seldom used, as this is where the ship's nine-hole mini-golf course is located.
Like all Royal Caribbean ships, Mariner of the Seas internet connection is faster than you'll find on most ships. Download speeds for large files are slow, but you can access data programs and other online software pretty easily if you do need to do some work. Video calls through apps like Whatsapp work acceptably, though video chatting programs that use larger bandwidths likely won't work perfectly. It is expensive, and each package only allows one of two devices to be on the internet at any time, but if you want to stay connected at sea, Mariner of the Seas' WI-Fi is a solid bet.
Royal Caribbean's app works aboard the ship even without purchasing a VOOM Wi-Fi package. This lets you see what's going on every day, hour by hour, as well as what restaurants and bars are open, what entertainment is coming in the evening. You can make reservations and book shore excursions and activities for Mariner of the Seas with the app as well.
Mariner of the Seas also offers a bevy of services and shops. Guest Services is located on Deck 5 and lines are long at the beginning and end of any itinerary. There's also a next cruise desk, where you can score discounts on booking your next Royal Caribbean sailing, plus a shore excursions desk.
The Royal Promenade is also home to several shops featuring duty-free liquor, Royal Caribbean- and Mariner of the Seas-branded clothing and merchandise, and a jewelry store. On Deck 3, the Art and Photo Gallery draws visitors to look at the artwork for sale and the photos taken by the onboard photography team. The conference center on Deck 2 has ample meeting space.
There's no self-service laundry onboard Mariner of the Seas, but you can pack a bag with dirty clothing and have it washed and folded for a hefty fee. However, sailings are short on this ship, so this likely isn't necessary.
Mariner of the Seas' Vitality Spa is a lovely place to unwind, offering a large range of treatments that include Swedish and deep tissue massage, acupuncture and facials, as well as medi-spa treatments to fill or smooth wrinkles. Soft colors, pleasant music and essential oils scenting the air via discreet diffusers add to the atmosphere. Individual and couple's treatments are available, with private and couple's treatment rooms provided as appropriate.
There is no thermal suite on Mariner of the Seas.
The Vitality Fitness Center is open early every day and has all of the equipment you'll need for a full workout. Ellipticals, treadmills and stationary bikes are your cardio options and there are both machines and dumbbells as well. Classes are free. Locker rooms, the sauna and showers are all free, though check to see what's open before setting your heart on a steam.
The jogging/walking track on Deck 12 gives you a view and a breeze while you exercise; eight laps around is 1 mile. However, it's essentially only usable in the early morning or when the sun has gone down, as the track is lined with packed sun loungers all day long (and waiters ferrying drinks).
Unfortunately, Mariner of the Seas does not have a spa food option, meaning you won't find any protein shakes or healthy bites for after your workout.
Mariner of the Seas is family friendly and has plenty of facilities and activities for kids (computer stations, arts and crafts workshops) and teens (a video arcade and The Living Room hangout area). The only thing missing is a kids-only pool.
Note that all activities listed below for different age groups are subject to change based on ship capacity.
Autism-friendly activities are provided as needed, as are other program modifications designed for children with a wide array of needs.
Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean Youth Program divides kids into age-appropriate groups. Only children 3 and older who are fully toilet trained may participate. Aquanauts (ages 3 to 5) might feature activities like an alphabet scavenger hunt, story time and Adventure Theater acting classes by Camp Broadway. Explorers (ages 6 to 8) play backwards bingo, make their own surfboards and engage in basic science activities. Voyagers (ages 9 to 11) play foosball and capture the flag, as well as engage in science experiments on topics that range from earthquakes to hail storms.
Generally, activities at Adventure Ocean cease during lunch and dinner times, but there is the occasional organized meal outing for lunch (to Johnny Rockets, for instance). In the evening, Adventure Dining lets the kids dine with the Adventure Ocean staff and their new friends, giving their parents a break for dinner.
The Late Night Party Zone, a group baby-sitting program, is available until late, with age-appropriate activities provided, including a quiet option for Aquanauts. Be sure to pick your kids up on time. The service is not free.
Royal Babies and Royal Tots is free and offers supervised care for children aged 6 months to 3 years. There is no in-room babysitting service.
Teens are divided into two groups, as well: Tweens (ages 12 to 14) and teens (ages 15 to 17) -- so cool, they don't have a kitschy name.
All have a robust offering aboard Mariner of the Seas. Activities designed for tweens and teens include get-to-know-you mixers and icebreakers, a selfie scavenger hunt, card games, party games and activities that run until late Other activities include Perfect Storm water slide races, game shows and themed parties. On shore days at CocoCay, there are teen activities onboard and on shore. There's also a space called The Living Room, a lounge perfect for hanging out with newfound friends; it's adjacent to Johnny Rockets.
As noted above, there are plenty of things to keep teens busy, from waterslides to the FlowRider and rock climbing. Note that activities for teens, like all children, can be limited depending on capacity.
* May require additional fees