4 Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas British Columbia Cruise Reviews

We have always wanted to try a Promenade room, and being that this was a low budget cruise, they all are, but be finally tried it and stuck with it; Getting to the just of this trip. We booked a 7 night cruise to the Mexican Riviera ... Read More
We have always wanted to try a Promenade room, and being that this was a low budget cruise, they all are, but be finally tried it and stuck with it; Getting to the just of this trip. We booked a 7 night cruise to the Mexican Riviera but the Swine Flu halted that one. RCCL was actually better to us than the cruises before and after us. They allowed us to cancel without penalty, or take a $250 OBC + a $250 FCC on our next Mex Riv cruise. Unfortunately for RCCL, they had to drop the room prices so drastically by giving Senior or Residency rates that we actually were above to save more than $500 by asking for a new rate. We already had a large OBC so we were in good shape. Packing was our only problem. Gone were the shorts and on came the sweaters. We love the Mariner and this trip was no different. We were lucky enough to have Captain Johnny and Cruise Director Ken Rush on this cruise. Although the weather was cold the first 5 days, we still had a great time doing all the indoor things with the many friends we had made through the Mix and Mingle group we chatted with on the CC boards. Our group did a cabin crawl, a pub crawl along with a poker run, we had a pre boarding party at a nice land Restaurant in LA, we had a "get leid" party in Schooner's before the Muster and a nice Sail away party at the Sky Bar. We also had one great "Slot Pull" that had half the casino rooting for us. We doubled our money - that's $9 the hard way. The food as always was great. We enjoyed breakfast, although a little more crowded than usual due to cool weather, in the Windjammer. We lunch and dinner every day in the dining room. We even cut our excursions short so we don't miss our early dinner time. I love to order a side of the daily pasta with marinara sauce with each dinner. I watched a couple of our table mates, all Cruise Critic M&M pals, order all appetizer dinners on one nite. Our PR room was a lot smaller than I was ready for, being we had balcony rooms in the past. I loved the window seat and view of the promenade but having the bed in the middle of this room made it cramped. All in all, it was still a good value cabin for the money we spent and I'd do it again if I was on limited funds... especially if I had a warm weather destination. The PR became tight mostly because we spent more time in it due to unavailablity (or undesirability) of the pool area for lounging... even the library was full the first 5 days while sailing. Now, 5/6 months before this cruise we cruised the Mariner out of Canaveral (nice port) and so we saw all the same RCCL shows we had before. But, we loved the shows which seemed to change based on the fact that we had Ken and now Drew this time (Drew is a very good Cruise Director, too.) The booked entertainers were different and that was enough to make the cruise different, not that it had to be. We love meeting new friends and enjoying a nice time on board, dancing and listening to the music, relaxing and eating (IMHO) fine food. We didn't like having to go to the COLD Northwest but we still loved being onboard this ship.. she is glorious regardless of the destination. Astoria, Oregon: RCCL and Astoria were not ready for this ship. One gang plank in the middle of the ship. It took hours to get everyone off. They had a nice little flea market just off ship. We disembarked last, did the flea market in the cold and rain and jumped back on before the lines to re-board got long. We watched those lines get long as we dined. I'm betting this was a nice pier, too. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Background Information: My mother-in-law (50's) and I (30's) flew from Minneapolis to John Wayne Airport the day before our cruise.  It's a small airport, but in the short time we were there we found it very clean, easy to ... Read More
Background Information: My mother-in-law (50's) and I (30's) flew from Minneapolis to John Wayne Airport the day before our cruise.  It's a small airport, but in the short time we were there we found it very clean, easy to navigate and had options available for those who may need to spend more time there.  We were picked up by family members and stayed with them Saturday night.  We used this free day to take in In-N-Out Burger (a must) and visit other family members.  On the cruise we were joined by another family member (40th birthday!) and her 3 year old son.  All of us were booked previously on Mariner of the Seas sailing to the Mexican Riviera.  Royal Caribbean was generous with their onboard credits and future cruise credits in my opinion since legally they have the right to change the itinerary at their discretion.  And since they changed due to the H1N1 flu outbreak - they certainly did not HAVE to do anything.  With so many people dropping this itinerary however, we were really hoping for an upgraded stateroom.  We were told this would need to be taken care of on the ship at check in.Embarkation: We were dropped off at the port in San Pedro around 11am.  We sailed through security and did not wait in line at all for an agent to check us in.  We asked about the upgrade and we were told this would need to be taken care of on the ship at guest relations.  We waited for about 20 minutes for them to start boarding the ship and then were on and off on our adventure.  No one was allowed in their rooms until 1pm and we carried on entirely too much.  We first went to guest relations to ask about a room upgrade.  There was a sign saying the ship was full and there were no room upgrade options.  However, we did have other business to take care of there - so while speaking with the person at guest relations, we did ask if they could move our rooms closer to each other.  He said he would note the request and let us know.  Our next stop was to the dining room to talk to the Maitre D.  Since we were sailing together, obviously we wanted to eat together.  And despite our reservations being linked online prior to the cruise, we were assigned different tables and different times.  We waited in line to speak to him and it was worth it!  He was able to get us a table together and our new table was right by the window!  We were second in line and there were MANY behind us...so I believe it pays to get there early and wait.  After that we went to the Windjammer to eat and there were no tables available.  And many "vulchers" waiting to sit.  This was an extremely frustrating process for us given we had a hungry three year old and all of our bags.  Most frustrating because there were people sitting at tables reading books that could have read them ANYWHERE ELSE on the ship and given that table to people who were actually eating.  There were a few times throughout our cruise where we felt passengers were very rude and/or thoughtless.  Of course that is countered by MANY nice, kind, helpful people.  It does just make you wonder sometimes.Itinerary: Sunday: Departure from San Pedro (close to LA)Monday: At SeaTuesday: Astoria, OregonWednesday: Victoria, British ColumbiaThursday: Seattle, WashingtonFriday: At SeaSaturday: At SeaPorts of Call:Astoria, Oregon: We ate breakfast on the ship and then got off to sightsee on our own.  We walked up to the trolly "station" and hopped on that for a mere $2 per person round trip.  The trolley takes you from one end of town to the other.  Our impressions were that Astoria is a cute little town with lots of charm, but that they were not ready for a cruise ship of this size.  There were stores that were closed.  They could have much more available.  In their defense, this was a last minute change for them and I believe our sailing is the only one going there.  There are some things to see and do - but probably many more for those who have more time.  In the end - we rode the trolly to one end and walked back instead veering off to visit "main street" and see a little more of the town.  We boarded the ship just in time to get to our 6:30 dinner.Victoria, British Columbia: GORGEOUS!  Everything was very green and well kept.  We did the "Hop On, Hop Off - Double Decker Bus Tour".  We were late getting into port but they kept all excursions for the same amount of time that everyone paid for.  We were told to meet and wait in the Savoy Theater.  When they called our tour we were off and walked off the ship and over to the double decker busses.  There were a total of 8 stops, but due to construction they would not be stopping at the last 2.  It was overcast and drizzled on and off, but we had our umbrella's and had a great time nonetheless.  There were plenty of souvenier shops along the way for us to find some trinkets.  There was a lot to see and do here and I would vacation here anytime!Seattle, Washington: We were docked at Pier 91.  Royal Caribbean had buses available to shuttle passengers closer to the action.  They dropped us off at the Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is - among other things).  We hopped on the monorail which took us to the main shopping area and then we walked down to Pike's Place.  Again - Seattle is green and beautiful!  We were all pretty amazed with how clear the air seemed to be and everything just felt very fresh.  At Pike's Place we saw them throwing the fish, the flowers and fruits/vegetables were huge and gorgeous and fresh.  It was crowded, but not terrible.  We also went to the first Starbucks (my happy place!!).  We stopped at a few shops on the way back to the monorail.  We got right on the bus/shuttle and headed back to the ship.  Getting back on was a breeze as usual.The Ship: The ship was BEAUTIFUL!  Everything was in great condition and well maintained.  We were very impressed with the Mariner and would sail on this ship again in a heartbeat!  There were plenty of bars, places to eat, things to do...so on the ship we never really felt crowded. (with the exception of the first day in the Windjammer)  With so many days at sea, we wished there would have been more offered for shopping onboard, but since we didn't cruise for that - it is what it is.Cabin: I should note that we were moved at 10:30pm the first night from our interior stateroom near the back of the ship to a cabin overlooking the promenade right next door to our travel mates!!!  This was FANTASTIC!  We were on deck 6 in the middle of the ship and it was a great location!  It was fun to be able to look out on the promenade and see all that was going on.  If you plan on sleeping at 9/10 at night this might not be the room for you.  There are a couple nights when there are things going on where it may be a little loud - but it's not til all hours of the morning, so if you're taking in the parades anyway you'll be just fine!  Our cabin steward kept our room in great condition so we have no complaints.  He was not overly friendly like others we'd see.  But truthfully as long as our room was clean we took no issue with him.Dining: As mentioned, we were moved to a table by the window at the main dining on the 3rd floor - Rhapsody in Blue dining room.  We were at a table for 10, but the others never showed so we had our own table which was GREAT.  Our waiter was OK.  Our assistant waiter was fantastic.  Our head waiter was very attentive.  I was not feeling well 2 of the days where my travel mates ate lunch in the dining room.  When Merrick saw I was not with them and asked why - he promptly got a plate together with apples and soda crackers to send back the room for me.  Very thoughtful!  With so many guests and two different dinings, for him to even notice that I wasn't there was remarkable in my opinion.  I was very appreciative.  We ate breakfast in the Windjammer most days.  The fruit was always very good and fresh.  I never did get to try the omelet bar.  Lunch in the dining room was excellent.  We also ate at Johnny Rockets one day which was very good.Entertainment: We took in Ice Under the Big Top which we found very impressive and a fun night for us!  We got in line early and got front row seats!  We also saw the two shows with the RC singers and dancers in The Savoy Theater which were both quite good.  We took in the Love and Marriage game show which is always funny, and kareoke which was unusually very bad (with a couple exceptions).  There were lots of activities going on about the ship....the mens bellyflop contest and mens sexy legs contest were both funny.  There was also trivia every day and many other opportunities to join in.  Service: In general, there were some good crew members and some bad.  We often felt crew members would say they'd get right on it and then do nothing.  We had some issues getting our onboard credits taken care of so were at the guest relations desk multiple times a day.  There was one gal there that was very polite - but totally blew us off.  Another gentlemen, Gaston, was SOOOO helpful and really worked with us to get our issues resolved.  He was very understanding and really seemed to care whether we were taken care of/happy or not.In summary, we had a great cruise vacation at a great value.  We would definately cruise on Mariner again and had a wonderful time with many fond memories.  Hopefully this review is helpful. 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Sail Date May 2009
Our first cruise. We booked 3 months ago and were really looking forward to the trip to Mexico! Imagine our surprise (and initial disappointment) when swine flu changed our itinerary to San Francisco, Seattle, and Victoria. We already had ... Read More
Our first cruise. We booked 3 months ago and were really looking forward to the trip to Mexico! Imagine our surprise (and initial disappointment) when swine flu changed our itinerary to San Francisco, Seattle, and Victoria. We already had airfare paid for, childcare arranged, and my work was covered (also very difficult to do, and moreso to undo). So whether we were up for the cruise or not, we had no choice. We were going!The transfer from LAX to the port went just as expected. We stayed in a hotel the night before (flew in Sat evening) and shuttled back to the airport and had no problem finding the RC shuttle people. They were very friendly and helpful.Saturday night, we stayed at the travel lodge. Unfortunately, the shuttle took us to the wrong travel lodge. There are two, and one has its own shuttle, and one doesn't. It was very confusing. We finally found a taxi to get us to the right hotel.Embarkation. Oh. My. Goodness. It was an awful mess. We hadn't eaten - and didn't expect it to be a 2 - 3 hour embarking process. Next time, we know to eat. Embarking itself wasn't bad, but the lines were long and slow. Our travel agent had put us in an upgrade line for the cabin - we knew there'd be alot of people canceling, and were hoping for a little cabin upgrade. The agent walked us to the line for that, which was actually the incorrect line. Finally, they walked us to the correct line. We were told that it'd be between 100 and 1000 dollars to upgrade. We got our names on a list, and then proceeded to wait. Forever. And ever. And finally the lady came out, and instead of having the courtesy to walk to the group of folks waiting on her (maybe 75 - 100 of us), she allowed herself to be stopped by an irate group of about 6 or 8 folks and she didn't budge. We finally gave up and just got on the ship. I couldn't imagine the embarking process going any worse than it did. We ended up in our original stateroom that we booked. The sad thing is, I would've even been willing to pay for the upgrade, but the Los Angeles RC crew didn't give us the time of day to do so. I'll definitely try to avoid cruising out of LA in the future. At this point, we were regretting booking the cruise. It was a terrible start to our week, and even though some of the ground staff were very friendly and helpful, ultimately, it really tried our patience and if you would've asked me then if I would ever sail RC again, I wouldn't have let you finish the sentence before saying "Absolutely not."Now, on to the positives, because everything else was positive!Public Rooms. No lack of em! Our favorite was Ellingtons on the 15th floor. I devoured many oreo milkshakes there. We enjoyed the promenade alot too. The theatre was very nice. We didn't try out the smaller movie theatre. The ice-skating rink/Studio B was great too. All of the public areas were great and the service was great too.Our Cabin (6109) was nice, but our stateroom attendant was superior. He took awesome care of us. We took afternoon naps several times. We never woke up because of anything we heard except on the first two nights, where the swells were very high. We heard the waves crashing on the front of the boat a few times and that was loud enough to rouse us.Fitness and Rec. We didn't do anything but play putt putt. We decided to just be lazy this week. We did have a spa treatment, which was nice, but pricey. Same for the hair salon. The people working those stations were very friendly and helpful, but most services were above what we were willing to pay.Rates - well, we could've spent more money, and could've spent less. Some things were reasonable and some things were quite high. The fountain drink package was a saver, even though it was expensive in its own right. If we wouldn't have purchased that for both of us, we would've racked up quite a bill in cokes. It ran about 40 or 50 per person. We didn't have alcohol, so I can't comment on those rates. The pictures were nice, and at 20 bucks, weren't too bad. We ended up with 2 really nice 8 x 11 portraits as keepsakes. And don't buy the RC wear on the first few days. On the last few days, they have a big sale, and some awesome stuff is 50 percent off. I made some great purchases right there in the promenade for some really nice clothing.Dining. I expected to not be overwhelmed here because of the reviews. Maybe it is because I am a first time cruiser, but I thought this was a highlight of our trip. The dining was fantastic, bar none. We ate in Windjammer for the first 2 days (we ate there on day 1, liked it, and returned for day 2). Finally on day 3 we went to our assigned dining time (Rhapsody dining room, 8:30 dining time) and we went there from then on out. It was so nice. The food was wonderful. Alex, our waiter from India, and his assistant, were by far the best waiters I have ever had in my entire life (no kidding, they were that awesome!). They both had our names down the 2nd night and we didn't have to ask for anything. He spoiled us. My entire table (9 of us) wanted to take him home with us. We might have been abit worried about sitting with strangers, but this ended up as a highlight of our trip too. We made great friends and we are so glad we didn't get a table for 2 (and thus, not meet anyone). On the first night, we also ate at Portofino for the Murder Mystery Dinner and the food there was fantastic too! But the main dining room was the food highlight of our trip.Entertainment. There was a constant variety of things to do at all times. We didn't do nearly everything, but we experienced quite a bit. So much to do. Some of the highlights for us personally - The Quest (big scavenger hunt, I never laughed so loud in my life), the Love and Marriage game show, the comedians and jugglers, and the ice skating spectacular. All of these were just excellent. The cruise director, Ken, and his staff made these things even better. I only wish I could've seen more. The first two nights were rougher on us as far as bedtimes go, but we were able to actually watch the shows we missed on the television in the stateroom, so that was pretty cool too.Service. I saw some lower reviews in service, but I didn't see this at all. As I already mentioned, those who took care of us did so in a wonderful fashion, and the entire crew seemed friendly and always said hello and did their best to make our time a pleasant time.Excursions. We ended up only going on one, the whale watching trip with Orca Spirit in Victoria. Highly recommend, with weather as quite a variable.Our disembarkation and transfer back to LAX went much better than day 1. It was smooth and we made it to LAX in more than enough time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We were visiting San Diego when we observed numerous ships docking. Those with Mexican Riviera destinations had nowhere to go. Next day I got on the internet and discovered huge bargains. I contacted my travel agent and we were booked. I ... Read More
We were visiting San Diego when we observed numerous ships docking. Those with Mexican Riviera destinations had nowhere to go. Next day I got on the internet and discovered huge bargains. I contacted my travel agent and we were booked. I immediately contacted friends in San Francisco and Seattle to arrange get togethers. We are in our early 60's and had previously sailed with HAL, Carnival and Princess. At times I will use such cruise lines as a comparison.The embarkation was basically sit and wait. We sat on plastic chairs for about 1 hour since our 11:00a.m arrival. We spent the time talking to other passengers, everyone was friendly and excited. We boarded around noon and went to the Windjammer buffet since our cabins were not ready until 1:00p.m. on the dot. This ship is HUGE. It dwarfed all our prior ships. It's primary focus is deck 5 which is described as the "Promenade". It duplicates the main street of a small town with shops, complimentary light meal and pastry cafe, wine bar, and a small stage for entertainment. It is also a 7 deck atrium which encompasses almost the entire length of the ship. We were impressed. This was the place to go so you do not have to linger in your cabin.Speaking of cabins, ours was in deck 2, ocean view. I prefer lower decks due to motion sickness. Seasickness was not a problem since the seas were calm and this huge ship can seem to override most choppy waves. I stopped taking bonine the third day. The cabin was 161 square feet, the same as Princess but smaller than Carnival or HAL. The configuration differed from Princess. Thus the Princess cabin had more closet space but less area to stand and walk in. In addition it had a small sofa. Both had small baths. However, the shower on this ship had a slidding shower enclosure which gives you more space and spares you from the dredded shower curtain assault.Our first port was San Francisco and Fisherman's Wharf. It was cold and windy, verifying Mark Twain, who pronounced "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco!" We visited a free carnival machine museum and a WWII submarine then dined with friends at a local Italian restaurant. Don't miss Boudin's bakery. Their display showed a 6 foot baked bread alligator. They are famous for their soup in a sourdough bun.Next stop was Victoria B.C. The temperature was 88 degrees. A record.We toured Craigdarrock Castle which is a huge mansion built by a coal baron. Then we went to the Butchart Gardens which are beautiful. My wife is a docent at Descanso Gardens in L.A. and she was impressed. The Empress Hotel looked more spectacular outside than inside.Next stop was Seattle. Again record heat, 87 degrees. We met a friend at Pike's Place Market and had lunch at Turkish Delights which serves delicious and inexpensive Middle Eastern cuisine. At Pike's we observed the legendary fish catching. We then took the monorail to the Space Needle. Again another must. For a large city Seattle seems clean and efficient.Back on board and now to the all important dining. We dined at the main dining room which is a three level set up with each level having it's own name and unique decor. RCCL has been criticized for mediocre food. I disagree. Although not up to HAL standards, the food was good to very good. The desserts were much better than Princess. The service was excellent. Each day our waiter would inform us of the next days activities, both port and dinning choices. Clearly outstanding. The Windjammer buffet was good. During the first days most passengers would line up at the first lines thus causing conjestion. Later on they realized that there were numerous other stations available thus easing the wait.The shows on board were mostly good to average. The ice show was spectacular. Obviously a unique feature. There was nightly entertainment on the Promanade and the many, many, bars. I recommend Ellington's for the slow lane crowd since it offered easy listening sounds, just our speed.The cabin attendants were efficient and did a fine job. Several minor criticisms. Instead of shampoo bottles the showers had a dispenser. This is tacky and Motel 6 ish. The elevators were erratic and at times would go up when it was announced they were going down. At times they would skip your deck while you waited. There were few enrichment lectures. However, the numerous trivia games were well attended.Since school was mostly in session about 200 children were on board. The June 7th sailing was scheduled to have 600+ kids on board. This ship has an incredible amount of children thru teens programs. A must for families. For the older folk I would recommend sailing during the school year or bring the grandkids. All in all a great cruise.               Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Mariner of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.5 N/A
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 4.5 4.3
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.5 N/A
Service 4.5 4.4
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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