Sail Date: August 2019
We had a fabulous cruise. We sailed on the Mariner in a grand suite and loved it. We will never go anything below a grand suite from now on. The extra perks service, and huge room and balcony are so worth it. We have previously only ... Read More
We had a fabulous cruise. We sailed on the Mariner in a grand suite and loved it. We will never go anything below a grand suite from now on. The extra perks service, and huge room and balcony are so worth it. We have previously only cruised on Oasis twice, both times in regular balcony staterooms. THE SHIP: The Mariner was better than I expected for being an older ship (relatively). A few areas smelled a little musty, but they were few and far between. Certainly not enough to ruin my vacation like some people. Overall the appearance was beautiful and clean. The renovations looks great, although I have nothing to compare it to with it being my first time on Mariner. The water slides were a lot of fun too. For us, cruising is about being on a private balcony to enjoy the ocean, and going to the ports. We do not like crowds or rowdiness. Pretty much all of the activities or bars or what-have-you are not interesting to us, therefore we do not partake in the venues or music or dancing or drinking. So take this review with that in mind. THE FOOD: I always preface cruise food reviews with the fact that I am easy to please and will eat anything. I thought the food was fine. Could it be better? Sure. Could it be a whole lot worse? You betcha. The burgers in the windjammer are A LOT better than I remember on Oasis. There also seemed to be more of a selection than I remember as well. Like a taco bar among other varieties of foods. The only real "complaint" I would have had was that the room service pancakes were literally hard as rocks. You could throw them as frisbees. LOL. But again, will that ruin my vacation? Nope, just head upstairs to the buffet and get some more. Easy peasy. You can order from the MDR for room service, and the food was good. I would have liked to have seen actual chocolate cake though. I don't care for the moussey kind with thin layers of cake. THE STATEROOM: Our grand suite was beautiful. This is the largest stateroom category we have stayed in so far. Everything was spotless and perfect. Two loungers on the balcony as well as a table and chairs (with cushions!). Our attendant was incredible. The Suite Lounge was a really great perk for us. Our concierge Sue was fabulous and helpful. There were snacks and drinks available. They had me at chocolate strawberries. The lounge was such a nice and quiet, uncrowded area of the ship. Like I said, we do not like large and loud crowds, so typically we tend to stick to our private balcony, or areas of this ship where people aren't. PORTS: Had two amazing days - one in Nassau at Blue Lagoon, and then one at Coco Cay. No complaints. In the words of Jim Halpert, "I'm not a complainer". Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Disney and Celebrity cruiser goes on R/C, why? I wanted to see Coco Cay. They hit a grand slam home run. We wished the ship would just sail there and dock overnight. Already looking to book our next cruise to go back. That being said, ... Read More
Disney and Celebrity cruiser goes on R/C, why? I wanted to see Coco Cay. They hit a grand slam home run. We wished the ship would just sail there and dock overnight. Already looking to book our next cruise to go back. That being said, lets talk about the cruise. Cons: The 3 nt is a party run. No one was overly rowdy but into the drink. Food service was good but a little dis-jointed and forgetful Cabins did not benefit from the recent refit but were ok, fairly much on par. Music was way too loud as were the announcements and pool deck big screen. Main production show was awful. Pros: Main dining food was above average to the point where I wouldn't feel the need to pay for specialty dining. Public spaces were tasteful and well thought out. Drink package is worth it and I wouldn't go again without buying the key. Ice show was awesome, we went twice. Did I mention Coco Cay? Way above expectations esp. the food on the island. Better than Disney's. Best embarkation I've ever had. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this sailing for a quick end of summer getaway. There were 3 of us sailing--me, my mother and my daughter (8 years old). Because we booked late, we could not get a triple cabin (no triple occupancy available in any category). ... Read More
We chose this sailing for a quick end of summer getaway. There were 3 of us sailing--me, my mother and my daughter (8 years old). Because we booked late, we could not get a triple cabin (no triple occupancy available in any category). We ended up booking 2 adjoining mini-suites on deck 9. Embarkation was the smoothest we ever experienced. After an hour and a half drive, we dropped our luggage in the garage at 10:25 am, parked and were on the ship by 10:45 (would have been on sooner if we didn't have to stop for a wristband for DD). The suite line checked us in with iPads and gave us a card saying already checked in. We then cleared security and headed straight for the ship. There did not appear to be long lines for those that had to stop for the regular check in process. We had lunch at Windjammer. They did a great job with the refurbishment--it never felt crowded. The food was very good as well. While we were there, we made reservations for My Time for each evening. After lunch we explored the ship until cabins were ready (promptly at 1:00). After getting settled, we explored a bit more and had the safety drill (we were lucky and had an indoor muster station). That evening, we were going to watch "Mary Poppins Returns" by the pool, but the pools were closed due to weather and it was hard to find seats where we wouldn't get wet. In the end DD went to Adventure Ocean and we went to the casino. Saturday was spent experiencing the ship. My mom and I had massages (she said hers was the best she'd ever had), DD did FlowRider, we went to the pool and did the water slides. That evening, after dinner, DD did the Sky Pad. Sunday was an awesome day at CoCo Cay. DD and I booked the water park. It's awesome! Because of long lines, they've started issuing tickets for return times for DareDevil's Peak. We got to the park around 8 and got tickets to return at 10 am. We spent all our time at the tower with the slides that didn't have mats/tubes, the pool with obstacle courses and the wave pool. Except for the walk up, DareDevil's Peak was awesome. We had an awesome time!! The food from Snack Shack was good as well. We met my mom around noon and took the tram over to the pool. After a swim (and drinks from the swim up bar), we went to the buffet lunch. The taco area, burgers, dogs and salads were really good. The pre-made sandwiches were hard (from the warmer). After some more water park time and a short beach visit, DD and I returned to the ship--no lines getting back onboard. CoCo Cay was amazing! I can't wait to see the complete finished island (the remaining parts open in December). We saw the ice show the final evening and it was the best ice show we've seen on RCCL. Overall - Staff (except one person working the bar by promenade cafe) was excellent! They were as good as the staff on Harmony. Cabin attendant (Benny) was very friendly and did a great job! We requested the same servers in the dining room as we had excellent service from Dennis and Wayan. My mom and I had the deluxe beverage package and it was even easier than when I previously had it on Allure (nothing to sign this time). DD had the refresh package. She was the only one who had issues getting her drinks--but only at one location--who repeatedly said her account was closed (even after I filled out paperwork for a limit on her account and ensuring it was open). We would definitely sail Mariner for a short cruise again!! We loved the ship and staff!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise and the dates based on sports calendars and celebrations. We are a family of 6. Our kids are 21, 20, 18, and 16 years old in age. My oldest graduated from college in May and my 3rd graduated from high school in June. ... Read More
We chose this cruise and the dates based on sports calendars and celebrations. We are a family of 6. Our kids are 21, 20, 18, and 16 years old in age. My oldest graduated from college in May and my 3rd graduated from high school in June. We needed the cruise to be in the beginning of August because football starts on August 16th. So we were pretty tight with dates. This was our first cruise and we wanted to try it out so we thought a 3 day was perfect. We traveled with friends who had gone on 2 Disney cruises prior. I was very concerned that they would be unhappy but it was the opposite. They loved the cruise just as much as us. Our plan was to fly down the night before and then spend 2 nights at Disney after the cruise. We also needed to make this pretty economical so I had a budget of about 8,000. We do a bigger trip every 2 years. We have DVC points so Disney room was "free". We flew direct from Rochester, NY to MCO. We paid alittle bit more than if we had driven to Buffalo but we felt it was worth it to be 15 minutes away and not pay for parking. My oldest flew Frontier from Philadelphia as the flights were $49 and $82 ( with a bag returning). These flights were fine for him. Port transfers were something that I really researched for our family. I investigated renting a mini van, using Uber XL and finally went with Go Port Canaveral. It was the most economical. For $340 we spent the night in a suite at Hyatt Place Airport and they transported us to the port and back to the airport where we used Disney Magic Express to get to our hotel. On the morning of our cruise we were able to eat a good free breakfast and hang out a bit. Our pick up time was 11:45 and there were lots of people getting on cruises that day. The pick up was a bit disorganized and some people were very pushy. There was not a Go port employee there to divide up the passengers so my family was separated. Not a big deal at all but just a bit confusing. We were dropped off at the same time as the kids so no problem. We walked up and were on the boat by 1:15. It was very easy to embark and our rooms were ready so we were able to drop our bags and then head up to Windjammer. Our rooms were 2 interior rooms next to each other on the 10th floor in the back of the boat. Our friends were in 2 interior rooms on the 10th floor in the front of the boat. The rooms were tight but everything work out well. We did these rooms to save some money - total for both rooms with drink packages was $4, 400. I live with giants. My boys are 6'4" and 6'5". My husband is 6'10". My oldest son is a string bean but my husband and younger son as big guys. They had no problem with the room or shower. My oldest slept on the pull down bunk. The girls room was tight as my girls change outfits like 10 times a day but it all worked out. I would do this again. The only drawback was never really knowing the time without checking a watch. I had brought night lamps but we did not need them. We just left the bathroom light on and closed the door. Dining we enjoyed the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch each day and two late nights. We were always able to find a table for all 11 of us. The breakfast was probably our least favorite meal but we did not go hungry. Lunch was great. We had early dining in the Main Dining room. Loved it. The wait staff was very attentive and they seemed to enjoy our two tables. We had a table of the under 21s and an adult table. They were very sweet to the kids and brought them multiple appetizers, entrees and desserts each night. At our table they brought us whatever we wanted. They even gave my son to go desserts. The food was great especially since I wasn't cooking it. My least favorite part of the day is the dreaded - "Mom, what's for dinner?" question. We really enjoyed the pizza at Cafe Promenade. It was staple every night. My girls had the refreshment package so they enjoyed non alcoholic drinks and coffees. My husband and oldest son had the drinking package. They greatly enjoyed all the drinks and the bar tenders that knew their names. My son and I had the soda package. I did not really need any package as I drink water and unsweetened ice tea. We attended the ice show, 70's dance party, Dreams show and some of us went to the late night Comedian. We enjoyed everything we attended. The cruise director Marcello was a hustler. He was great. The boys did the flow rider, the water slides. We all enjoyed the pools and mini golf. We did not get to some of the activities but we were never bored. In fact I wanted to crack open my book but that never happened. The kids played the quarter game in the casino for over an hour with $5 in quarters. At Nassau we got off for 2.5 hours. We walked to Junkaroo beach where the kids put their feet in the water and ordered drinks legally. They even served the 16 year old. In their defense he is huge and does not look 16. In fact were we were disembarking he got snagged for being in the Casino. The security lady made a comment about him being in the casino and she thought he was at least 18. We all agree that if we come back we will just stay on the boat. Coco Cay was incredible. We did not pay for any extra activities and greatly enjoyed the beaches and pool and food. I brought googles and we swam around looking at the wild life. Enjoyed the food and went for dip in the pool. We all said we would come back just for this place. The kids stated this was the best trip ever and are already planning one in 2 years. My oldest is trying to get his buddies to come on one with him, The only drawback was that we were not able to communicate with the kids since we did not get the internet. We enjoyed being unplugged for 3 days but I would have liked to have a text feature. The kids were able to find us by checking the app and seeing were the drinks had been purchased. Disembarkation was easy and very quick with the facial recognition. We got a bus back to the airport by 8:30 and then transferred to Magic Express for our 2 days at Bay Lake Tower. I was nervous wreck about this trip since I had no prior experience but we are already planning for one in 2 years when the next 2 kids graduate from high school and college. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Family of 4 (2 kids ages 6-9), plus grandparents. We were excited to go on this ship after seeing so many fun videos on You Tube, as well as seeing pics of the renovated ship. The ship itself was nice, as was our stateroom. But, the ... Read More
Family of 4 (2 kids ages 6-9), plus grandparents. We were excited to go on this ship after seeing so many fun videos on You Tube, as well as seeing pics of the renovated ship. The ship itself was nice, as was our stateroom. But, the slides were closed half the time and the main pool was also closed most of Saturday (Nassau) as some one had thrown up in it. So basically, half the cruisers were trying to fit into the hot tubs, with kids jumping into them having splash battles. The Flow Rider was just ok, as it was basically just "boogie boarding " on a boat. (Our 9 yo said she was not given an option to "surf" even though she's done it before elsewhere). The food was terrible at the Windjammer and MDR. Honestly, it was akin to a 5th rate Vegas buffet. We had taken a cruise on Adventure of the Seas 2yrs ago and I recall that food being just average, but Mariners ' food was downright terrible - very bland, swimming in fat, same breakfast & lunch lineup all three days. MDR food was only a slight notch better than Windjammer and took so long to be served. Atrium was fine, although shopping not great, with limited selection. Entertainment was fine. Service was good, not great. Overall, this cruise was just barely average, especially with the price we paid. All 6 of us were disappointed. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
A lengthy review of 4 night cruise to Nassau and Coco Cay aboard the Mariner of the Seas We live in Florida – so in less than 3 hours we were driving into the parking garage around 10:25 – and we walked onto ship at 10:55! Easiest ... Read More
A lengthy review of 4 night cruise to Nassau and Coco Cay aboard the Mariner of the Seas We live in Florida – so in less than 3 hours we were driving into the parking garage around 10:25 – and we walked onto ship at 10:55! Easiest embarkation EVER (8 cruises over the last 22 years). Our tablemates said they arrived around 1:30pm and that they did not have long lines either. TIP: If you are arriving by car – 1st drop off your luggage in the bottom of the parking garage (this was Port Canaveral Area B - Terminal #1) – then they will tell you to proceed up the ramp to park your car. You will have to prepay for your parking – an attendant was at the machine to help us run our credit card through. Then take an elevator back down and enter the building attached to the parking garage. It was so fast partly because not many passengers were there when we arrived and also because we had filled in everything ahead of time online (including providing our credit card) so check in only involved scanning our SetSail Pass and a quick look at our passports and a trip through x-ray. TIP: Be sure to print your “SetSail Pass” at home before you leave – it has a bar code on it. It serves as your SeaPass Card until you get the permanent card (which will be in an envelope on the cabin # sign outside of your cabin). TIP: get used to carrying your SeaPass EVERYWHERE – basically everything you do on board requires your SeaPass (even activities that are free). Lots of passengers had their passes on lanyards around their necks. And while we’re on the topic: be sure to bring a photo ID with you when you go into Nassau – you’ll need it to get back into the Cruise Ship area. You will not need a Photo ID on Coco Cay – you’ll just need your SeaPass Card. Since we got on the ship earlier than expected we just hung out on the Starboard side of the pool (Deck 11) – they were playing videos of funny animals and people doing funny or amazing things . . . almost like a montage of Funniest Home Videos without the commentary. TIP: if you dislike smoking you want to be on the Starboard (Right) side of the ship if you are on Decks 4 or 11 – if you are a smoker the smoking areas are on the Port (Left) side of the ship on Decks 4 and 11 (and one section of the Casino). We were VERY HAPPY that we had booked lunch in Jamie’s Italian Specialty Restaurant (12pm reservation but we went at 11:45 and they seated us right away). We booked lunch to avoid all of the passengers learning their way around the Windjammer on the 1st day. BIG TIP: request to be seated as far back into Jamie’s as possible . . . unfortunately we were seated near the door and heard the clanging silverware of a cleaning station in the Windjammer that must have been right outside the door of Jamie’s. This applies to Chops Grille as well – so when you walk in tell them you would like to be seated in the back of the restaurant. To enter either Jamie’s or Chops you do still need to enter into the Windjammer which means you will pass through the hand washing area – TIP: the paper towels are above the sinks – we saw people struggling to find the towels. There were two fantastic guys playing a guitar and singing “wash – wash your hands” to the tune of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline – this ship had entertaining little touches like that all over – we loved it. The menu at Jamie’s had appetizers that the waiter (Carlos – he was great) explained were small portions so that we were encouraged to order multiple appetizers . . . and so we did! We ordered the “plank” which had sliced meats, fresh mozzarella balls, some dry cheese, and a different kind of cole slaw – it also had some olives and peppers. We also ordered the garlic bread which were two big rolls with garlic and cheese on them – I’m a fan of soft bread so I liked those the best. 3rd item was the crab and avocado bruschetta – sounds weird but it was delicious. I also ordered the Caprese salad which was the same (yummy) mozzarella balls from the plank + two kinds of tomatoes as well as some baby basil leaves and a very nice balsamic drizzle. For the entrée they say you can order a small portion or the regular portion so I had a small portion of the mushroom “taglie something” pasta and it was plenty and fantastic flavor. Husband ordered the chicken which he said was flavored well and was sitting on a nice sauce. He also got a small portion of penne carbonara as his pasta. Dessert was a chocolate torte for me and a lemon meringue for husband – both delicious. Even though we prepaid both of the specialty restaurants – they still brought us a “zero” bill – I believe the sole purpose of this is in case you want to add an additional tip (a tip is already included in the price we paid for the specialty restaurant). We were pleased with both of the servers so we did write in an additional tip. I suppose if we had not wanted to tip extra we would have just left the slip at the table with nothing written on it. They made an announcement when the staterooms were ready – it was before 1:30 - we dropped off our luggage and met our wonderful room steward – Keisha from Jamaica. Then we ventured out again. TIP: If you want to do the Escape Room or Laser Tag during your cruise – be sure to book them as soon as possible on arrival day. We weren’t sure where to go so we asked at Guest Services and we were told to go up to the Rock Climbing Wall desk. There were two friendly guys up there with tablets. We almost signed up for the Escape Room but then found out there would be 13 people in the room (he was going to over-ride the max of 12 to add our party of 2 to the 11 people already signed up). Maybe I’m a Nervous Nellie but being closed up in a room with 11 people we don’t know didn’t really sound like fun for me personally. For some reason I thought it was limited to just 6-8 people. I have heard though that it is a lot of fun . . . maybe we’ll try it next time. Either way – we got up there around 2:30 pm and there were sessions already filled up. We did not sign up for Laser Tag but I heard those all filled up fast as well (before Day 3 and Day 4 when Laser Tag started). So be sure to get signed up early for those two activities. I can’t comment on the Flowrider – we didn’t do that – although I saw private lessons advertised so that may be an advance sign up as well? While we were on the back of the ship at the Rock Wall we decided to check out the “archery” – it is rather hidden – the Rock Wall guy had to point it out – it is next to the basketball court. Kind of cool – the targets are four plastic balls that float in the air because of compressed air blowing them up. The arrows just have soft rubber on the end of them – however they did fly pretty fast. There were only about 6 people there so we waited our turn and it was fun for a few minutes. I was surprised there was not anyone from the ship providing instruction – so passengers who knew how to use a bow and arrow were helping those who needed help. We weren’t there for long but I could see if someone really enjoyed it they could spend longer. They did have a tournament later in the week however we did not attend. We wandered around a bit checking out the upper back of the ship – there is a little area of hammocks and some circle rope swings over by the kids climbing thing (Lucky Climber) and a putt putt course (Mariner Dunes) – accessible by stairs – look for the green painted golf course sign on the wall near the stairs. The putt putt was something we meant to get back to but ahhhh . . . relaxing got in the way and we never made it back up there . . . next time! The Assembly Drill at 3:30 was painless . . . no need to drag the life jackets there as we had done years ago. A note to future passengers – be sure to be there on time – don’t dilly-dally – the faster everyone is there and accounted for (they will scan your SeaPass card) the faster it is over. TIP: if you do not buy the drink package that comes with a cup: bring your own water bottle – you can fill it up at the same Coke machines that the drink package folks use – the ice and the water choice do not require the chipped cup. We found two Coke machines across from the Pub on the Promenade Deck 5 and then of course in the Windjammer. Husband realized he forgot a hat . . . went to the shops on Deck 5 . . . TIP: the shops do not open until 5:30pm on the 1st day. We had early seating (5:30pm) for dinner . . . we ate there the 1st 3 nights and spent the 4th night at Chops Grille. TIP: check online for your dinner seating – I had talked to a Royal Caribbean agent on the phone who said we would be at a large table at the early seating however when we went by the dining room around 2:30 or so a dining room helper looked us up and told us we were assigned to “my time” dining which we did not want. No problem at all – he typed on his computer and moved us to an assigned table at 5:30. I’m really glad we had checked in with them before dinner time. We were at a small table of 6 and enjoyed our tablemates. Dining Room Dinners: the highlights for us were the French Onion Soup (available every night) and the desserts (berry cobbler on the 1st night – ask for the ice cream WITH sugar unless you like (or need) sugar-free ice cream). Dinners were good . . . just nothing amazing for our taste buds. That said – it was very nice being served each meal and we enjoyed each evening and the flavors were good – the only item that was not cooked thoroughly enough was the mushroom risotto on Night 3 which was a bit hard – it needed a few more minutes on simmer I think. We did breakfasts on Days 2, 3 and 5 in the dining room and lunch in the dining room on Day 2. Lunch on Day 4 was on Coco Cay. That means we only ate in the Windjammer once – for breakfast on Day 4 when we had an early excursion on Coco Cay. They had a buffet at both breakfast and lunch in the dining room – along with a menu to order from. The Dining Room breakfast buffet had scrambled eggs, little pre-made omelets, French toast, pancakes, waffles with multiple toppings, lots of fruit, pastries, and cereals. You can get all of that (and more) in the Windjammer – we just prefer the quieter, less hectic, atmosphere of the dining room. The lunch buffet (at Sea Day 2) was a salad prepared as we walked down the line and pointed to what we wanted added (lots of choices) + a pasta bar where again we could choose what we wanted and then they heated it all up in pan. The lunch menu had choices as well – I really enjoyed the heirloom tomato and goat cheese salad – it didn’t have any lettuce so I just added it to a small salad from the salad bar. I also had potato soup . . . if you like creamy potato soup then this is your jam . . . however I like chunky potato soup so I was mildly disappointed to not find chunks of potato. But oh how my disappointment turned to joy when I went to the dessert buffet . . . fantastic – tons of choices and everything we tried was great. TIP: if you are going to either breakfast or lunch in the dining room you will need to enter the dining room on Deck 3 Husband likes to drink an Old Fashioned sometimes – he was not impressed with the drink he ordered in the Dining Room on Night 1 – tasted like it had carbonated water in it. However he was very happy with the Old Fashioned that Eugenio in the Pub prepared on Night 2. So if you are serious about your mixed drinks it may be safer to visit one of the bars on the promenade (Deck 5) rather than using the Dining Room bar service – they do not mind if you carry your drink from the promenade bars into the dining room (or even into Chops which we also did). And now a note on dress code . . . as far as we could tell there is no enforced dress code. I think this is wonderful as it allows everyone to enjoy their dining without worrying if they have the correct attire. On the other hand we were stopped on formal night and asked how we knew it was formal night because the woman asking did not see anything announcing it. And she was correct – typically on prior cruises the dining room servers have told the table that the next night is “formal night” and they make a big deal about it. However instead of that announcement on Night 1 they were advertising the champagne brunch with galley tour going on the next day. Also on the Day 2 Cruise Compass (which was in our cabin when we returned from dinner + show on Night 1) the “Dinner Dress Code” for Day 2 was labeled “Wear Your Best” rather than “Formal”. So it definitely seems like they are moving away from “Formal Night”. However there were extra photo areas and an opportunity for a photo with the Captain and some of the passengers dressed up – so it seems like it is Formal Night for those that want to participate. We hardly ever get the chance to dress up and husband had recently bought a new suit so we gussied ourselves up and enjoyed ourselves. We dressed up again for Chops on Night 4 and found two gentlemen at the table to our right in suits and ties while the gentleman to our left was in shorts. So again . . . don’t worry about a dress code. If you want to know ahead of time which night is “Formal Night” just call Royal Caribbean – which is what I did – I just had to tell them the ship and sailing date and they told me it would be Day 2 – our Day at Sea. We attended the 7pm Ice Skating show (we did have to depart dinner quickly and were lucky to find two empty seats as the show was starting). The show was great – it is amazing how they can fit 10 skaters on a small rink. The skaters were from many different countries and included two pairs – one from Canada and one from the U.S. We enjoyed their skating and costumes. The theme is “Under the Big Top”. We are not Night Owls so we did not attend the 10pm Welcome Aboard Show. Our tablemates said it started with Marcelo the Cruise Director and then the comedian – so it lasted over an hour. They said the comedian (Steve Smith) was really funny. Have to admit here that our Day at Sea was mainly about eating and relaxing on our balcony reading our books . . . I did venture up to the gym for a run around 9:45 – found an open treadmill – it did get busy and almost every treadmill had an occupant. The treadmills face a window at the front of the ship so it is a wonderful view while exercising (a little warm – wish I had brought my battery operated fan to clip onto the treadmill but I survived). That is all I did in the gym so I can not comment on the classes or other equipment. I did check out the locker room – lockers, showers and a sauna were available. Oh and they do provide sweat towels so no need to bring one from your cabin. After lunch we watched a little bit of the Art Auction – they did a “mystery” auction where they had 8 prints – the buyers didn’t really blindly bid on them – seemed more like a ploy to keep the excitement up – when they turned them all around they were by Thomas Kinkade (“the painter of light”) and they were offered up for $400 a piece – two people took advantage of the offer – I have no idea if that is a good price but I will say that later that night I was walking through and heard the auctioneer guy talking to a couple and he offered the same $400 price – so it seems it was not just an “auction special”. The evening of Day 2 was the last chance for open ice skating (7-11 pm) so I went down around 8:15 and got into the 8:30 session. It was a popular activity so they limited it to 20 minute sessions. The only time I go ice skating is on Royal Caribbean cruises so I enjoyed just going around in circles – there were tons of beginners so a bit of weaving and dodging was required but I liked it. At 10pm they were doing a “disco” session however I did not stay for that – if it had been at 9pm I’d have been all over it! The only other open ice skating session was on Day 1 (1-2:30) so if you know you want to go ice skating be sure to note the times as they are limited – there is no advance reservations – just show up during the open time and fill out the waiver and they punch your SeaPass Card and they give you a ticket for the next available session. TIP: Long pants and socks are required – a lot of the kids were in their PJ bottoms so those pass as “long pants” as do leggings which is what I had on. On Days 3 and 4 the ice gets covered and the area turns into the Laser Tag area – so that is why Ice Skating is only on a few days and Laser Tag is only on the other few days. Day 3 was Nassau – we are SCUBA divers so we booked a trip with Stuart Cove’s – it is the same operation that the ship uses but since we were in port until 9pm I booked separately to save a little money. If they ship were leaving at 6 I would have booked through the ship to guarantee that we would not miss the departure time. It is a bit of a walk to the meeting point – but not too bad. We walked down the pier, passed through the building and then past the shopping kiosks and the people offering their private tours (“take your pretty lady on a 4 wheel ride” we politely declined and kept walking). We then had to cross the street and then go left on the sidewalk to a concrete/tile pink fountain that serves as Stuart Cove’s (and some other companies) meeting point. There were some locals passing by selling bottles of cold water ($1 each) and a bag of fruit (not sure on price). We had filled our water bottles on the ship so we didn't buy anything. It is about a 40 minute ride to the dive boat – through downtown and by the airport and then by resorts. Our dives were great – “Twin Sisters” is a fantastic wreck dive – two wrecks right next to each other – and then we went to Mike’s Reef which was a nice reef with another wreck. Quick trip in their gift shop and then we were back on their bus at 4:30. The bus dropped us off where it picked us up – to get back into the cruise ship area we had to show our Photo ID’s and SeaPass cards - then to get back onto the ship they only needed our SeaPass cards. It was a race to get to dinner but we got there at 5:40 so all was good! The Day 3 Headliner Show was a rock concert by a band called “Private Stock” and I thoroughly enjoyed them – they did songs by Elton John, Billy Joel, Journey, AC/DC, Guns & Roses, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi and Van Halen. Really good performers – the female singer even changed outfits and could really sing like Stevie Nicks and Heart and Janis Joplin. We went to the 8pm show – they did a repeat at 10pm. We saw some families with kids leaving after about 10 minutes . . . so unless your kids love rock hits from the 70’s & 80’s it might be better to go watch the outdoor movie instead (Wonder Park and Dumbo were playing that night). Day 4 was Perfect Day at Coco Cay and wow they have done a lot with this little island! We were there in 2008 and 2012 before they added so much to the island. It is great that they have a pier now so there is no need to tender over anymore. We did the one tank SCUBA dive excursion and we were the only two that signed up so we had our own private excursion. We got off the ship a few minutes after 8 and walked down the pier – then a left over the bridge to “Chill Island” – to the pink first aid building – the back side of the building is the little “Diver’s Den”. They had our tanks out and ready for us and let us stow our bags in their little office. We then put on our gear (except for mask and fins) and took the short walk to the beach. The reef is a bit far off shore so to save us from swimming out there they had us ride on the rescue sled of a jet ski – it was so fun! William took the dive guide (Brandon) out first and then came back for my husband and then for me. We went down and spent 45 minutes cruising around the reef and slowly making our way back to shore. The reef is a bit sandy and the visibility was not great but they have LOTS of great little tropical fish – we saw a couple of small rays and angel fish, file fish, trigger fish, parrot fish etc. I like the small stuff: flamingo tongues, jaw fish, juvenile tangs, juvenile angels, anemones with shrimp and tiny crabs – there was plenty of small stuff to be found. I saw one larger creature – a small shark cruised through real fast – he was cute. After the dive they had rinse tanks and a hose and hangers and a rod to stow our gear – they said we could keep our stuff there all day which was great – it gave the gear a chance to dry a bit. We had so much fun in the water that we hopped back in just to snorkel and spent about an hour in the water – they have a “shipwreck” which is really just a concrete wall with some cannons on it – but it is a nice little artificial reef and there were some nice critters hanging out on it (including two anemones and a beautiful bright blue/yellow juvenile queen angel fish). TIP: if you are planning on snorkeling bring a long sleeve “rash guard”/”swim shirt” whatever you call it you NEED it – there were so many sunburned backs on the snorkelers. Board shorts for girls are not a bad idea either – protect those cheeks! Be sure to apply lots of sunscreen to the backs of legs and neck and tops of hands – all of those body parts are exposed to the sun while we’re happily looking down into the water. We had lunch at the Chill Grill – buffet of tacos, Cuban sandwiches, burgers, etc – I had a nice fried Portobello and cheese sandwich – yum. Dessert options were chocolate chip cookies, brownies (yum) and soft serve ice cream. Forgot to mention there was also salads and fruit but apparently we weren’t into healthy eating after all the swimming we did! After a bit of lounging under an umbrella on the plentiful lounge chairs on Chill Island we hopped back in the water for some more snorkeling – a nice big Southern Stingray swam by – so beautiful. Have to note that there were some jellyfish in the water – more in the afternoon than in the morning. They did not have long tentacles so they were avoidable – have to look where you are going. One did brush my leg and I have a few spots – they kind of look like little red mosquito bites. They itch on and off so I’ve been putting anti-itch cream on them. After snorkeling Husband sat back on a lounge chair and I walked over to just dip into the Oasis Lagoon Pool (it is fresh water) – I discovered that the reason why Chill Island is so quiet is because the party was at the Pool! The Swim Up Bar was hopping, fun music playing and everyone was having a great time. A bit of shade can be found in the pool where there are some trees and then under a bridge. Most of the pool area is in full sun and I knew I had already gotten more sun than my pale skin should get so I headed back under the umbrella on Chill Island. We decided to take the tram back to the ship to avoid walking with our gear – the tram is on the other side of the Chill Grill so it was a little bit of a walk but not bad. A perk was that the tram goes all the way around the Thrill Waterpark so it gave us a chance to see a bit of it. One unfortunate detail of the tram is that the one that can take you around the island is NOT the same one that can take you to the ship. So the island tram took us sort of near the beginning of the pier and then we had to get off and get into a line (wasn’t too long) to wait for the smaller trams that can go up to the ship. Still well worth it to not have to walk all the way up the pier. TIP: To get onto the 2nd tram you have to show your SeaPass card so have it ready – you then have to show it two more times – and then a final time getting onto the ship. The tram took us to the farthest entry point (front of the ship) to get back onto the ship which avoided a line of people getting back onto the ship at middle of the ship. TIP: when getting back onto the ship they do require bags to be x-rayed – if you do not have a bag with you they’ll let you go to the left to avoid the bag x-ray line. After some relaxing on our balcony it was time to shower up and head to our final dinner – we prepaid for Chops and we were not disappointed! I had the mushroom soup with a drizzle of truffle oil (so good!) and husband had some sort of giant piece of bacon which he raved about. We tried the Wedge Salad as well as a mixed green salad with “crispy goat cheese” (yum). Husband is a steak eater and he enjoyed the ribeye – I had a white fish called “branzino” which was served with sautéed spinach. We each also had baked potatoes and shared some sautéed mushrooms. Dessert was cheesecake and a chocolate lava cake with berries. The entire meal was fantastic – we asked to sit in the back of the restaurant (away from the Windjammer) and we enjoyed a peaceful slow-paced meal looking out at the sea as we headed back to Port Canaveral. No one likes packing up . . . so we got it over with as quickly as possible – bags had to be out in the hallway by 11pm – we saved just our clothes for the next day plus a carry on with our toiletries and items we didn’t want to put in the checked luggage. Morning came too fast – we were out of our cabin by 7:45 (required to be out by 8am) and we went to our final breakfast in the dining room. On the last day they only do menu service in the dining room (we could have also gone up to the Windjammer) – so we ordered eggs and French toast and lingered there until our # was called. To depart the ship they had us go to Deck 4 and then strangely through the dining room to go outside onto the deck – not sure why the regular exterior doors were closed – maybe to be able to have enough room to snake the line around? Since we were #30 we were toward the end of the numbers called and there was not a long line. Off the ship at 8:55am – booooo – I wanted to get right back on – oh to be one of those “back to back” cruisers that get to stay on board . . . maybe in retirement we’ll get to do that! After getting back into the cruise terminal we went down a ramp and then to an area where they were telling Canadians and people with U.S. birth certificates to go the right and U.S. Passport holders to go straight. Not sure where someone from a country other than Canada or the U.S. were supposed to go? The passport line was easy – they had us walk up to a screen that did facial recognition – pause for a few seconds and then the agent told us we were good to go – he never actually looked at our passports – the facial recognition must pull up our passport info? Kind of freaky but also very quick and we liked that! Next stop was the luggage area and we found our bags in the #30 area very easily – I think there were less than 15 bags in the area and 4 of them were ours because of all of our dive gear. We than walked through what seemed like a customs area – there were booths – but no customs agents in the booths – so we just kept walking and boom we were back at the elevator in the parking garage. Back to the real world . . . after a 3 hour drive it was also back to our beloved dogs so at least reuniting with them makes it ok that the vacation is over! Hope you enjoyed the rambling review . . . as I read it back it occurs to me that I ate A LOT of mushrooms on this cruise (pasta, soup, sandwich, etc) – just want to assure the reader that there were lots of other menu choices I just really like mushrooms! *forgot to mention our cabin - #6692 Aft Junior Suite. We LOVE Aft cabins – and we use our points from the Royal Caribbean card to pay for the upgrade from a standard room to a Junior Suite. The room size was great – the décor/carpet/tile is aged a bit – I do not believe the staterooms were part of the giant upgrade that was recently done on the Mariner. However the bed was very comfortable and the linens were soft. Junior Suites have a nice big closet as well as a bathtub – I took advantage of both. We did feel some vibration while falling asleep and waking up and we definitely could feel when we were docking – but nothing was so bad that our sleep was impacted. We did not experience any soot on our balcony. I did smell cigarette smoke one time – not sure if it was from a nearby balcony (smoking is not permitted on balconies but not all passengers are rule followers) or from the crew area below. Overall we love the Aft cabins for their quietness and we do not mind the long walk to the elevator at all . . . it helps us offset all of the extra calories we are taking in during the cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Went on this cruise 7/22-7/26 and left Port Canaveral for Nassau and Coco Cay. Boarded ship with ease to very friendly welcome leading us to the ship. We were early boarders (11:00 or so) and were able to explore the ship but our room ... Read More
Went on this cruise 7/22-7/26 and left Port Canaveral for Nassau and Coco Cay. Boarded ship with ease to very friendly welcome leading us to the ship. We were early boarders (11:00 or so) and were able to explore the ship but our room would not be available until 1:00. We ended up on Deck 11 (main pool deck) to music and HUGE large screen t.v. playing videos, etc. All the bars were open and everyone was just so friendly. We found a restroom (very clean and nice) and changed into swim suits to sit in pool and await the room. Cruise staff did a welcome dance on the stage to about 4 songs. They were great! We headed to our room around 1:15. We had interior room on deck 8. Room slept 4; 2 beds and 2 upper wall beds that fold out There were only 3 of us. Obviously it's a cruise ship. Our room was just fine when it comes to size. It was clean with room to put clothing away (in necessary), and shower/tv/fridge. I was given a welcome on my floor as well with my last name. Food in dining room and buffet was delicious and generous. We purchased drink package and just used the sea pass card whenever ordering. Also linked our credit card to sea pass card in case we wanted to make any purchases in gift shops or specialty restaurants. Bahamas was beautiful and we strolled thru straw market. Yes, people constantly ask you to buy things but we didn't mind. Be respectful and they are the same way. Politely decline if you don't want the item. Had a few drinks and headed to Blue Lagoon Island Dolphin Encounter. Loved it. The island was so beautiful to lounge on beach rest of day. Food & beverages including alcohol available for purchase. My pictures are beautiful. Coco Cay was truly a perfect day. Yes, you do need to purchase water slide activities at about $70 or so. The rest of island is free. Free food, free drinks, free pool, free beaches. They drive you from one side to another if you need it. We had the most beautiful time and would go back in a minute. Plan to go again next year or sooner. Mariner is a beautiful ship with the nicest staff. Their entertainment (singers) were very talented. Absolutely nothing to complain about. My son used the gym as well. Nice equipment. Did not understand the review from April of the gentleman who was disappointed. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose this short cruise from Port Canaveral because a friend of mine was heading down there for job training, and we wanted a quick look at the newly renovated Coco Cay island. I'll break down my review into several parts: The ship, ... Read More
I chose this short cruise from Port Canaveral because a friend of mine was heading down there for job training, and we wanted a quick look at the newly renovated Coco Cay island. I'll break down my review into several parts: The ship, the cabin and steward, the food, the bars and service, and Coco Cay itself. We also went to Nassau but I think Nassau is terrible so I won't let that be part of my review. THE SHIP: As most of you know it's newly renovated and the Mariner now has some new features like an escape room, laser tag, the Bamboo room, etc. It's a beautiful ship with a wonderful Royal Promenade where I honestly spent too much time in the bars, haha! My friend and I did the escape room and liked that alot, I think it's worth the extra cost of about $20 per person. I also liked how the ship didn't feel too huge, and you got to see the same people wandering around regularly. I like to interact with folks so getting to know the people on even a short cruise for me is nice. THE CABIN AND STEWARD: We had an interior cabin on the 7th floor. I don't think I'll do that again, not because the cabin was bad, but because I don't think it every really got cool enough for my tastes, and at night in the absolutely darkness it feels like I'm in a prison cell. Some people however, love this cool dark atmosphere so if you enjoy such a thing, you do you. I didn't care for it after sailing on balcony's previously, and I missed that connection with the outdoors and light. However the price was right for a July sailing because otherwise the summer makes balcony travel nigh-unaffordable. Our steward, Ada, was honestly average. She did her job cleaning the room, she brought me extra pillows when I asked for them. Other than that, we barely saw her which was fine. My knock on her was the towel animals. We only got one towel animal on a 3-night sailing. This was my friend's first cruise, and that's the sort of thing I was wowed by on my first cruise. I feel like he got screwed out of an experience there and thus I was unhappy about that. THE FOOD: If I'm being honest, it was just okay. That's about it. I can't say the food was amazing or bad. It was just there, because we ate in the MDR every night, and also in the buffet during the day. I understand specialty dining is better, but I'm already paying a large amount of money just to cruise, I don't think I should have to pay extra to get good food too. I think we should pay extra to get EXCELLENT food. I'm fine with that. I'm not fine with paying to get okay food and having to pay money to get good or better. I have been on Norwegian and Carnival and I would say Royal Caribbean is probably 2nd in terms of complimentary food behind Carnival and ahead of Norwegian. Again, this is about complimentary food only, we didn't do the specialty dining for a 3 night cruise. THE BARS: I spend most of my time drinking in the Promenade so I'll review those bars. The Bamboo room is nice and never very crowded with really unique drinks. I do wish they would turn up the lights a little in there, because it's honestly too dark in my mind to hang out there forever. The Barnacle and barrel is nice as well, not very crowded, and a good table setup that extends out into the promenade itself without getting you in the way of the crowds going by. Donald at the bar was very good and remembered my name and my drink. He also made sure we had table service when we moved from the bar to sit down. My only knock on the place is that some of the chairs can be a little small if you've got bigger hips. Just be away of that and choose the chairs without the arms. Playmakers was my go-to bar after the first night, and it was because of the bartenders and the TV selection. The British Open was going on, so I could watch the golf, along with other cool sports going on, while getting the full bar experience. My two bartenders were Sasa and Al, both from the Phillipines. Al was on his 5th contract, Sasa was on his 16th. They remembered my name, remember my favorite drink, and would give me new ones repeatedly without having to ask for my card information over and over. They just knew it, and had it down pat. They were friendly, asked me questions, and talked about their lives on board and back home. Great guys, and I feel like they were the highlight of my trip. COCO CAY: The island is crazy. It's a theme park in the Caribbean, which I've never seen before. I'd love to go back when I was feeling better, however I spent most of the day in Captain Jacks nursing myself back to life after my first two days of cruising. The people at Captain Jacks were amazing, and the place was probably the coolest spot I could find on the island. Jimmy the guitar player basically played requests all day. He's good and interacts with the crowd. Bar service is again phenomal. They bring you drinks and if you're at a table you barely have to get up except to use the restrooms, which are right there. It was the perfect relaxation spot while my friend went running around to the water park. OVERALL: Overall I go on Cruises for the 5 things I listed, and I give them all stars when I do a review. You either get a star or you don't. I gave this cruise 3 stars because it was a great cruise, but it fell short in two of the areas, which was the food and the cabin. That's okay though because I would take another 3 star cruise any day of the week, and while this was a great cruise, I think they can do some of these things better and it will be an excellent cruise. I suggest going and trying out the Mariner of the Seas to see what you think! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose to try a cruise with our 11 and 14 year old daughters. My wife and I last cruised about 15 years ago on the Radiance of the Seas and wanted to see how we liked the experience as a family. TL;DR version: we loved it and are ... Read More
We chose to try a cruise with our 11 and 14 year old daughters. My wife and I last cruised about 15 years ago on the Radiance of the Seas and wanted to see how we liked the experience as a family. TL;DR version: we loved it and are making plans to sail again in about 8 months! We elected to book a Grand Suite as it was nearly the same cost as two balcony staterooms and we liked the perks. Fair warning: once you "suite" you never go back. Not sure I can ever not book a suite again. Booking and before the trip: We booked our cruise through Costco Travel and the process was seamless with about a 10% discount (plus a Costco Card worth about $250) over RCI posted prices on their site. We booked about three months before sailing. As we approached about 14 days about, we used the RCI App to check in -- all went very seamlessly. Prior to our cruise, we spent 4 days at Universal Orlando and stayed at the Residence Inn at Port Canaveral. Great hotel, just a three minute drive from the terminal. About a week prior to the cruise, we received an email from the Suite Concierge (Thanks, Tao!) explaining our benefits and inviting us to the Suite Lounge immediately on embarkation. Check-in and embarkation: We arrived at the terminal at 10:30am and dropped our luggage off and parked our car. Parking is a bit expensive at about $20/day -- or twice what our hotel would have charged us to leave the car there. At least we didn't have to hassle with a shuttle or cab. Luggage drop off was very quick and efficient. Upon entering the terminal, we showed our SeaPass. The terminal personnel identified us suite passengers and then walked us through the entire embarkation process including passport, security, etc. We were on board in less than 15 minutes. Embarkation culminated with our photo and we then immediately headed to the Suite Lounge. The Suite Lounge: Located on Deck 14, the lounge overlooks the sport deck and pool deck. Tao, our concierge, spent about 15 minutes explaining the ship and securing us some reservations we were unable to make prior to getting on board. Additionally we had access to some snacks and drinks. He directed us down to the main dining room for our lunch. As suite guests, we were able to avoid the rush at Windjammer and eat lunch in the main dining room. The snacks and drinks came out in the Suite Lounge every day at 4pm, so we enjoyed this perk on each day of our cruise. Plus, if we ever had any questions or requests, Tao was ready to help. Dining: We ate three meals in the main dining room. While the variety of food was good, the quality was "good." I have sailed on RCI twice and both times I found the main dining food to be good, but clearly the mass produced nature of it shines through. For instance, my "New York Strip" was quite thin and had grill marks, but had clearly been cooked and held. I recognize this is a necessity but I just want to explain why the dining room only gets a "Very Good". Windjammer: we ate one meal (lunch) in the Windjammer. The food was plentiful and I was very pleased to partake in a small selection of Indian food (curries). The rest of the food was "Good" with varying quality on taste and freshness. It's a buffet and a solid, competent one at that. I was pleasantly surprised, however, the fries were always fresh and hot. Twice, we went to Windjammer for a snack and dessert, just prior to bed. The desserts in the evenings (after 9pm) were usually quite tasty and fun. So: meh for lunch, great for late-night snack. Izumi: We chose to eat one dinner at the new Japanese Steak House on board. This was the best meal we had. The prices were reasonable, our chef was terrific and the food was among the best teppanyaki I've had. On board activities: We played laser tag -- a free activity -- and had a load of fun. My older daughter and I did the Escape Room and found it to be quite challenging -- more so than other rooms we've done together. The kids did the Sky Pad (VR trampoline jumping) and loved it. We also just enjoyed exploring the ship. Entertainment: On the first night, we saw the comedy show -- worth the effort and family friendly. On the second night, we saw the ice show -- that started off slow, but got much better as time went on. Our highlight, however, was the piano guy in the elevators. Each night, a very talented Australian gent had an upright piano in one of the main guest elevators. During your ride, you could sing along. Great fun! Excursions: We elected to just walk around Nassau for about an hour and then spent the rest of that day on the ship. It allowed us terrific access on the ship as most everyone else was on shore. On the second day, we stopped at Coco Cay and rented a cabana. It came with access to the water park for all four of us. The park, cabana and island were all terrific. Our cabana included a nice, comfy couch which may or may not have been responsible for an unscheduled nap. Disembarkation: the last perk as suite guests was totally worth it: we were escorted of the ship and avoided the massive line in the terminal. Time from ship to car: 10 minutes. All in all, we had a great time. We're already planning the same ship again and are looking at future cruises in new destinations! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We all had a great time on Mariner Of The Seas! This was a short 3-Night cruise that we took with my in-laws including two kids ages 2.5 and 7. The ship was excellent with many activities for all of us. Our 7 year old niece enjoyed ... Read More
We all had a great time on Mariner Of The Seas! This was a short 3-Night cruise that we took with my in-laws including two kids ages 2.5 and 7. The ship was excellent with many activities for all of us. Our 7 year old niece enjoyed the kids club- she asked to go back every night. We ate in the Main Dining Room all nights and had excellent service there... most of the food in the MDR was quite good- a few hits and misses- but the staff solved our few problems with grace, always offering another item. Lunch and Breakfast were surprisingly good in the Windjammer buffet... lots of variety... not fancy, but satisfying. Perfect Day CocoCay is great. We had a wonderful day there. The day before in Nassau was fine- not my favorite destination... but we took a 2.5 hour tour of Nassau from TripAdvisor that we all liked. After the tour we went back on the ship to enjoy everything Mariner has to offer. We loved the piano player in the elevator- he was outstanding. So our top things good about Mariner were the ship, the main dining room service, the atmosphere entertainment, and the surprisingly good buffet. Please note: Dress code for dinner was quite varied on the ship, but that was fine for the type of cruise it was... we, personally, always dressed nicely for dinner (as did several other cruisers) BUT it must be noted that some did not... and frankly, it’s not an enforced thing. Also Note: My 2.5 year old niece did not really have activities to participate in (we were not going to put her in the paid babysitting service- we just kept her with an adult family member at all times) Be aware there is no little kids splash pad on board- just know this if you are traveling with a little child... Now our 7 year old niece had a marvelous time- just perfect for her. She had so much fun- she did the SkyPad, the Rock Wall, the waterslides, and loved going to the Kids Club. So just know before you go what your kids will want in activities and plan accordingly. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We took Mariner of the Seas with two kids, ages 9 and 12 mainly so we could check out the new cococay! We have taken the 3 day disney cruise 6-7 times and absolutely loved it but felt like our kids were ready for some big kid activity! ... Read More
We took Mariner of the Seas with two kids, ages 9 and 12 mainly so we could check out the new cococay! We have taken the 3 day disney cruise 6-7 times and absolutely loved it but felt like our kids were ready for some big kid activity! Because it was so much cheaper than Disney we decided to upgrade where we could so obviously that added to our enjoyment! The pros: 1. Jamies italian was very good 2. teppanyaki was very good 3. flowrider was a blast- we booked a private session, but got on again later 4. laser tag was really fun (free) 5. ice skating (free) 6. bungee jump was really fun (free) 7. we really enjoyed the under the big top ice skating show 8. buffet was not crowded and pretty good for breakfast and lunch 9. we loved mid day starbucks 10. cococay was amazing!! Much better than disney's private island! Its new of course but the water park was very fun and not crowded, the wave pool was fun, south beach was beautiful and lagoon pool was as well. It was under capacity so we never had any issues with finding chairs at the pool and beach. There were many food options and it was fresh and plentiful! all in all it was awesome! 11. in nassau we did a snorkeling and fishing through a private boat charter The cons: 1. the crowd was less kid friendly 2. they allow smoking in some areas 3. they had little to no activity during the day on the agenda aside from silly stuff like trying on perfume or the art auction 4. the rooms need updating even though the rest of the ship was amped 5. the kids club programming was blah-my kids checked it out once and said pass! 6. we paid extra for a lot-dining, soda, flowrider I will definitely try RC again to get to cococay, but didnt love the ship. If I do I may try a longer itinerary that is more family focused! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I paid 17k for the two bedroom family suite and received the most horrible service I have ever received on a cruise ship. We are frequent cruisers (over 120 days at sea) but this was our first and only Royal Caribbean. Embarkation ... Read More
I paid 17k for the two bedroom family suite and received the most horrible service I have ever received on a cruise ship. We are frequent cruisers (over 120 days at sea) but this was our first and only Royal Caribbean. Embarkation went smoothly. It was nice to be met and checked in by someone with an Ipad but i am not fond of having to wait till my room is ready to get my cabin key. This limits your initial access to suite guest only sections (your key is what opens the door) and makes taking advantage of your beverage package difficult. The 2 bedroom family suite is nothing fantastic or over the top. Basically two standard cabins made into one. Nice to have the whole family in one suite but def no luxury for the price. PRETTY BASIC One of the two bathrooms had a bathtub but the other was super tiny (like one in a lower lever cabin where shower doesn't even have a pan you stand on the actual tile floor of the bathroom) The balcony was very spacious and added a good spot for older children to hide from the younger ones. Room service had a nice assortment. Was especially nice to be able to order a whole pizza. Normally stateroom staff go out of their way to help make you comfortable and happy. This particular staff didn't seem to care one way or the other. The didn't even learn our names. Normally by day 2 the cabin steward is greeting you by name or at least remembers you special needs. When you have 8 family members in a suite 6 towels aren’t going to get it! We had to BEG BEG BEG daily for sufficient towels. One of our children become ill and when we called at 9:30 pm and asked for new linens we were RUDELY told by the lady on duty that she was alone and that it was going to be awhile we would just have to wait. There was a special section at the pool reserved for suite guests. This area had nicer chairs with comfy cushions. There was not a waiter assigned to the suite section. If we needed a drink we had to walk to the bar and wait. Our 22 month old was WALKING BACK AND FORTH in the ankle deep water at the pool (there was no kiddie pool) and we were asked to remove her from the pool because she wasn’t “toilet trained”. Keep in mind there was a group of 4 grown men in the pool drinking beer that HAD NOT GOTTEN OUT FOR OVER TWO HOURS, ONE HAS TO WONDER WHERE WERE THEY URINATING. For Royal Caribbean to feature the only two bedroom “family” suite, they ARE NOT FOND OF CHILDREN. I paid 2k for a 22 month old to be in the ship and she wasn’t welcome in the pool and if we wanted child care for any reason there was an extra charge. If they know they don’t have any services for a toddler why charge full ticket price. The one night we did use child care the workers seemed nice. They were very high pressure about scheduling child care ahead of time. It was difficult for us to know when we might need child care so after day 1 we just kept her with us. Our 6 year old was super excited to go to child care the first night (she loves being with other kids) but after being there one time she didn't want to go back. She said it was boring. We purchased the excursion to Atlantis but ended up passing up the bus ride and hired a taxi. It was just taking way to long to get everyone organized. Once we were issued bracelets for the water park we left the group. CocoCay was the highlight of the trip. We purchased a large cabana at Chill Island. The service on the island was impeccable. I truly wish we could return to this island without taking another RC cruise. I could go on and on but to sum it up DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY OR VALUABLE FAMILY TIME ON RC. I don't believe the price structure they use is proportional to the service they offer. I hope they spend my 17k well because it is the last they will ever see from this family of avid cruisers. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband and I traveled with another couple for a long weekend getaway. The new updates they have added to the ship were great. The Escape room was a lot of fun and definitely different than what we were used to locally; which added to ... Read More
My husband and I traveled with another couple for a long weekend getaway. The new updates they have added to the ship were great. The Escape room was a lot of fun and definitely different than what we were used to locally; which added to the excitement. The water slides were great but closed at 6pm or 7pm every night. The pools and hot tubs other than the poolside movie pool closed by 7pm. Mini golf and the rock wall closed at 5pm or 6pm every night. This was a bit disappointing since it would have been nice to do some of these things outside of the normal kid hours. The food in the main dining room was great and we had wonderful choices with a good variety. The room service food was not edible and definitely not work the $7.95 charge they have now added to the service. We had the opportunity to eat at Izumi, it was amazing! Great experience and amazing food! The excursions of CocoCay were a bit disappointing because this was the first time they had two of their ships in port at the same time so you had very limited access to any excursions. Way too many people for one island when two ships are there at once. However, CocoCay was fun, clean and colorful. My biggest complaint was the number of smoking areas!!! It seemed like every where we went there was a smoking area! The casino, of course, was smoking but so were many outside locations. Even on whole side of the ship on the pool deck was smoking, and with the wind blowing it really meant the whole pool deck was smoking area. I found it disgusting for myself and travel companions but if my kids would have been traveling with us we definitely would have complained for the amount of smoke that was always present by the pool. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed our trip, with a few disappointments. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We choose this cruise for Cocoa Cay and we really enjoyed it. The food in the main dining room was delicious except one night. Part of my steak was chewy and part was delicious, order rare to get a medium rare. The deluxe beverage package ... Read More
We choose this cruise for Cocoa Cay and we really enjoyed it. The food in the main dining room was delicious except one night. Part of my steak was chewy and part was delicious, order rare to get a medium rare. The deluxe beverage package is on sale before getting on the ship and it is so worth it. No worries about charges later and water, soda, latte,capuchino, alcoholic beverages, etc all are included on board and on Cocoa Cay island. Entertainment in the lounges and the boardwalk were good The ice show was great. The regular show had a guest juggeler he was okay, three of the four singers we're good but only three harmonized well, the fourth person threw them off key . She sang well on her own. Trivia is in the bar by the casino so it's smokey we couldn't attend. There were lots of entertainment opportunities. It's a get four Day vacation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because we’d sailed on Navigator OTS and really liked the layout of the ship. Since Mariner OTS recently received an overhaul, she became even more attractive to us for a weekend get-away sailing out of our ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we’d sailed on Navigator OTS and really liked the layout of the ship. Since Mariner OTS recently received an overhaul, she became even more attractive to us for a weekend get-away sailing out of our favorite, close-to-home port - Canaveral. Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship within minutes of arriving at the pier, about a half-hour before our room became available. For the first time (and surely what will be the last), we chose a guaranty cabin based on cruise duration and price. It turned out to be a disappointing experience. Our interior room, located on Deck 8 and very close to the very rear of the ship, clearly had not been updated as evidenced by the stains on the back of the desk chair and the musty odor in the room caused by carpeting badly in need of a thorough cleaning and deodorizing, or better yet - replacement. Also, my husband called Maintenance staff in the middle of the night because he was unable to sleep due to the rattling and vibration within the room. When they left the issue seemed to be resolved, only to start up again within a short time. We were happily surprised by the quality and variety of food in the Windjammer Café and, although we had to scout around a little bit for seating, we were pleased with all of our breakfast and lunch visits. Our Main Dining Room experience was totally enhanced by the excellent service provided by our waiter Dony and his assistant Noril at Table 471. They were totally committed to providing superior service and a cheerful ambience --- the best waiters we’ve had in a long time! The meals were two hits and a miss. The chicken marsala was good; the beef tenderloin excellent; however, the green pasta totally lacked flavor and was barely warm. My husband enjoyed the seafood entrée and the beef tenderloin as well. We caught both general audience and adult comedy shows, and came away wishing they had been better. We like to play in the casino and found Mariner’s casino staff very friendly and helpful. Bar service was good throughout the ship. A special shout-out goes to Luis at the Boleros Bar! We’ve visited Freeport/Lucaya and Coco Cay in the past and since we’re not really beach and/or water park people, we stayed on the ship to relax and explore. While disembarkation wasn’t too bad at Port Canaveral, I must say, I absolutely love the digital disembarkation program now available at Miami and Fort Lauderdale ports, and hope that Port Canaveral will soon have it, too. With the exception of our accommodations, we had a good time onboard Mariner of the Seas. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I took this cruise as a quick getaway with friends. But it would be a great itinerary for singles, families and couples also. The ship was very diverse. Embarkation: Amazingly fast! We arrived around 1pm and were on ship in less ... Read More
I took this cruise as a quick getaway with friends. But it would be a great itinerary for singles, families and couples also. The ship was very diverse. Embarkation: Amazingly fast! We arrived around 1pm and were on ship in less than half an hour from parking the car. Disembarkation: Sadly a MADHOUSE. Customs got "full" and they stopped calling numbers at one point. Luckily, we had a very late flight and were self-disembarking so we were not in a rush and hung out on the ship. We still had time after leaving the ship and attempted visiting the Kennedy Space Center. We just had time to look around and were annoyed that after parking for $10 it cost an additional $60 per person to even go to the gift shop! We didn't have time to tour, so we left. Entertainment and Activities: The only downside to a 3 day cruise was there were so many things to do and we didn't have time to do everything we wanted! Some of the times were awkward and we could never find the "Box Office" to schedule things like laser tag. We had late set dining (hoping to avoid the kids and enjoy the evening entertainment), but often things were scheduled during that time. In the future, I would do MyTimeDining for a short cruise, but I will miss having the same wait staff each night. Service: Speaking of service, everyone was impeccable. Our room steward was wonderful, and the dining staff in the MDR and Buffet were great. Dining: The only let down was the MDR food. It came up unexpectedly bland and overcooked every night. To my surprise, some of the best food I ate was for lunch in the buffet. It had a better breakfast than the MDR also. Breakfast was a buffet in the MDR too, so unless you just like the relaxing atmosphere there, the Windjammer had more fresh choices. Deserts were only good once and I was sad that there were not better options in the Cafe Promenade where we have had excellent ones before. Ports: Nassau - This is a busy port but seems to handle the crowds well (5 ships in port that Saturday). We started the day early before most of the shops opened walking the 3-4 blocks up to the Queen's Staircase and Fort Finnacle. Easy to do on your own and not busy at 9-10 am. Nice but nothing overtly special. We shopped in town, ate lunch back on the ship and then went out for a Glass Bottom Boat tour with one of the locals sitting out in the port($35 pp). (Same excursion on the ship was only $5 more, so not a ridiculous savings. Bring cash and you can save a few dollars though with a local vendor.) We were going to go to the beach but decided to enjoy the ship for the afternoon. It was really fun eating dinner as we sailed away at 8:30! Coco Cay - BEST DAY EVER!!!! You can make this island whatever you want. Adventure: zip lining and water park, and rentals. Relaxing: plenty of free beach chairs, snorkeling, multiple swimming areas. We chose to spend the morning snorkeling at Chill Island, which was easy with my own gear even though they do have expensive rentals if you need some. Left that area and spent later in the afternoon relaxing on North Beach where it was actually quieter. There were a couple sharks and sting ray in the water to snorkel with if you were brave (only by the floating bar area)... which I was super excited about. Life guards are at each beach too and some organized beach activities. Free Food on the island was pretty good. A nice BBQ with mexican choices also. The drinks at the bars were some of the best on the whole trip. The pool bar looked like a fun party even though we went for relaxing areas instead. The entire family can be entertained here. I could have spent the whole cruise on this island! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We are diamond members after loyally cruising with Royal Caribbean and wanted a weekend getaway for Mother's Day. Perk 1 - gone - Since you have to bid/gamble your money to get an upgrade, I guess RC did away with rewarding Diamond ... Read More
We are diamond members after loyally cruising with Royal Caribbean and wanted a weekend getaway for Mother's Day. Perk 1 - gone - Since you have to bid/gamble your money to get an upgrade, I guess RC did away with rewarding Diamond members with occasional upgrades. Perk 2 - gone - Viking Crown Lounge was packed 10 minutes after 5pm so there was no seating to be found. Food was on a kitchen counter behind a semi wall. You stood in a long line to order a drink at a table littered with bottles. This was supposed to be another Diamond member perk, free appetizers and drinks from 5 to 8pm at the Viking Lounge overlooking the boat/water. Perk 3 - gone - They no longer provide special blocked off seating for Diamond members at shows and events. Perk 4 - gone - Disembarking early. Used to be second off the ship only behind self assist and Pinnacle members. Our luggage tags said "39" on them making us the second to last to leave the ship! I'm so sad to say that I wasted all my time cruising on RC only to have no loyalty rewards after all this time. I was using a RC credit card to establish points for spending money on the cruises but now I'll have to switch to another type of card to accumulate points for a different cruise line. The stateroom attendant Ketut was amazing. Our room was always spotless and he was such a kind person and always smiling. That was about the best thing I can say about the cruise other than we really enjoyed the ice show. An older man fell going down the steep stairs on the way to a seat and had to be assisted out due to a severe head injury. Kind of put a damper on the event. The spa was good but I hate the pressure afterward to buy very expensive products. I can buy them on Amazon if I want them so why pressure me and make my relaxing spa time stressful? The food was good and now that they have arranged the setup differently it is not so crowded to pick out your meal. Still, never enough seating and I wonder if that's because people choose not to use the dining room anymore. Overall it was a slap in the face to start using other cruise lines. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Fresh off of the boat and I wanted to write this before I forgot some details. I have cruised several times on different ship but prefer RCL so here goes. I live in Merritt Island where I am about 10 miles from the port so I didn’t ... Read More
Fresh off of the boat and I wanted to write this before I forgot some details. I have cruised several times on different ship but prefer RCL so here goes. I live in Merritt Island where I am about 10 miles from the port so I didn’t stay in any hotels. The cruise I just got off was the Mariner of the Sea departing on the 6 May and returning 10 May. My room was a balcony deck 6 room 6588. Embarkation: This went very smooth and RCL did a great job despite of all of the Love Bugs that we had. These bugs were so thick that they got into everything and more. We went to Cruise Terminal 6 (CT6) after entering the building the line moved in a steady pace and we were out and on the ship within 15-20 minutes. Cabin: Now this was an experience, the cabin was a little smaller than I expected. When you walk into the cabin on your right was a walk-in closet directly across was the bathroom. The room had a pull-out couch which we didn’t use and a pullman bed from the top which we didn’t use also. And it had a desk and TV. Although it was small, we put our bags under the bed and in the closet. This is where it gets fun, the shower is very small and has a wand for the shower. If you need to lean over to wash the sand off your legs open the sliding door then lean over, this is how small it was. Women good luck with shaving. Dining I am going to break this down into four section. Main dining, Windjammer, throughout the ship and Specialty dining. 1. Main dining. This is subjected to each person how they liked the dining and their experience and the food. I thought the dining experience in the main dining was fine. We were seated in a table of 8 against the window as I requested. The company was fine. The food was very well prepared served hot. You had a very good selection each night. My only complaint was the Slow Roasted Prime Rib. This was very tough and over cooked. Overall, I can’t complain about the food. 2. Windjammer: I have been on the Mariner of the sea several years ago and I have to say that the changes were great. The new layout provided everyone access to any type of food that you want without standing in line. There were more than enough seats that you didn’t have to walk around looking for a seat. As far as taste goes you had a great variety to choose from and like any buffet you will pick and choose what you like. I used the buffet for breakfast, and lunch and found it very good for what I ate 3. Throughout the Ship: There are many different venues on the ship that serves food, from hot dogs to sandwich to hamburger and everyone favorite, unlimited soft serve ice-cream. I did not go into Johnny Rockets so I can’t speak about the food. One place we use a lot in the evening was the Boleros. Pizza and sandwich for late night way to go. 4. Specialty Dining: Ok I am going to use red typing here. We selected Chops Grill for my dining on Wednesday the 8th at 6:30 pm. This is the only thing that I can say is good is the correct time we were given and they were expecting us. DO NOT and say again DO NOT book your specialty dining at Chops. Chops is located on the 11 deck right next to Windjammer. The first thing you notice is that the tables have no tablecloths on them. Our table in the main dining room had very nice table cloth, the napkin was folded in thirds and stood up on our places to eat. The napkin in chops is if folded in a square and laid on your place mat which was a brunch mat, (woven bamboo strips) The service was nothing to shout about. They came to the table and ask about drinks and handed you the menu. Now this is where I got a little upset. The steaks that were listed were also on the main dining menu. If you looked at the bottom of the main dining room menu, you will see steaks listed there for a cost. This really got me upset. Why did I pay that price for a “Dining Experience” only to get the same steaks for $11.00-$13.00 off the main dining room menu? We selected the filet mignon and we selected the mash potato, cream spinach. This was a shared condiment and what was offered was bland and not worth eating, also I checked just to be sure I used my tablespoons to check the portions and sure enough one tablespoon per person. Both steaks were medium as requested and good. While we waited for the steaks, we were offered no bread or anything else other then our drinks. Despite the whole issue we did eat the steaks. By the way no tip. 5. Entertainment: This was ok. We went to three shows; ice rink and two headliner shows. The ice rink show was very good and nice to see previous world class ice skaters. The other shows were a juggler and magician. There something about cruise line’s booking juggler and magicians they all do it. Both were ok, I thought that they were both better stand up comic then juggler or magician. 6. Disembarkation: This was the easiest disembarkation that I have ever done on a cruise ship. We selected to take our own baggage off and we were off of the boat in 10-15 minutes. The only problem was that the ship was docked in CT1 and we had to take a bus to CT6 to get our car. RCL provided a bus and short of being crowded it was fine. 7. Coco Cay: What can I say but WOW!!!!! This private island is so worth it. When you get off of the boat your ready to relax by the pool or ocean. There motto is “Have a perfect day” and you can’t help but have one. Food was good and plenty to go around and a variety of food is offered. By the way all of the soft serve ice cream again you can eat. What you see in the advertisement is exactly what you will get. If anything, book this cruise for the island and prepare to have fun and a relaxing day. In summary, overall the cruise is very good. RCL has an app that all cruiser should download. It is called “Royal” This app has everything you need for your cruise. It has a list of activity and what and where all activity is going on. The great part about the APP is it track your spending on your sail away card, so you can follow every day how much your spending. The only thing I wish it did was locater to show you where you are on the boat. This APP is a must. Don’t be confused this is NOT WIFI service this is only internal WIFI. I was happy that the boat has an “Adult” only section called the solarium and it is located at the very front of the ship. The flow rider was a hit with the kids, I on the other had watched. The round bouncy court still closed pending investigation on an accident that injured a person. I enjoyed that cruise that I am booking another one. I know that I go to the same island but there is something to be said about a boat that has a personality, this one did. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
As a diamond plus member and having cruised on Mariner transatlantic several years ago, I was excited to try the newly refurbished ship. I was not disappointed. My cruise was the first Mariner 4-day sailing out of Port Canaveral. Most ... Read More
As a diamond plus member and having cruised on Mariner transatlantic several years ago, I was excited to try the newly refurbished ship. I was not disappointed. My cruise was the first Mariner 4-day sailing out of Port Canaveral. Most experiences/activities were near perfect! Meals in the main DR were timely, tasty and HOT. Service was outstanding. Windjammer food was excellent - plenty of choices - and HOT. Servers in Windjammer were very helpful and doting. The addition of new 'rides' - flow rider, etc., looked to be very popular. The new hand wash stations at the entrance to the Windjammer is an excellent upgrade. There were far more activities on board than I have previously seen on 4-night cruises - and they were well organized and ON TIME! The new Coco Cay is an outstanding get away for families. In summary, Royal has a true winner with this ship! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean, I was looking forward to a fun, relaxing time. My girlfriend is legally blind, she has low vision, so we always contact the cruise line ahead of time to make sure she is comfortable enough ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean, I was looking forward to a fun, relaxing time. My girlfriend is legally blind, she has low vision, so we always contact the cruise line ahead of time to make sure she is comfortable enough with the ship and the itinerary, as we have done with the three previous cruises we have been on with other cruise lines. None of what Royal Caribbean said ended up happening, this includes large print menus and cruise compasses. I realize that this really doesn’t affect most people, but for people with disabilities, especially a visual disability, rely on feeling safe on a ship to be able to enjoy themselves. Now on to the ship itself. CABIN: The cabin was your standard ship cabin, although, it was the smallest balcony we have had. The cabin itself was worn looking. There were stains on the couch cushions, and throughout the carpet. For some reason, all of the wood, desk, cabinets, etc. were really sticky. We had to wipe everything down before feeling comfortable in there. FOOD: the food was wildly inconsistent, and was ok at best. We did not eat at the buffet at all. The food in the dining rooms lacked flavor and any sort of creativity. The pizza at the promenade cafe was pretty good. We ate breakfast in the dining room every day. One thing that bothered me about breakfast service is, they had a buffet set up in the middle of the dining room. The was strange to me, if I wanted a buffet, I would’ve went to the buffet. It felt like they were trying to get away from serving the guests. The worst part of breakfast was that they couldn’t even make fresh toast, it was just sitting in a basket, and was rock hard. SHOWS AND ENTERTAINMENT: we didn’t see the ice show or the stage production. Our biggest issue here was the fact that they kept changing the schedule for shows and events. We saw the comedian at the welcome show on the first night, he was funny, so we were looking forward to the other comedy shows. This ship has the new Royal Caribbean app, which has the full schedule for the entire cruise available. The schedule for the comedy show kept changing, in the end, the only other comedy show was on the last night at midnight, had to be off the ship early the next morning, great job. We also love playing trivia while on the ship. The entertainment staff couldn’t even do this right. One time, a crew member came down to play the completely wrong game, and told us we were wrong, a moment later, the lady came over to host our game and had to tell the other guy he was in the wrong place. Another time, actually later on the same night, we went for trivia, and the host actually played the trivia game from the night before, wouldn’t listen to us when we tried to tell him. PORTS: We did not get off the ship at Nassau, this was our third time there. At the new Coco Cay, we rented a bungalow on south beach. We were told the shuttle will bring you right to the bungalow area, no, got dropped off about a half mile down the beach through deep, soft sand. There were plenty of servers around to take drink orders, they just didn’t walk around much at all, not one server walked near our bungalow all day. The island is beautiful though. OVERALL SHIP CLEANLINESS: the refurbishments on this ship are beautiful, but was still probably the dirtiest ship we have been on. Banisters were dirty, carpets were dirty. We never saw anybody cleaning, which is uncommon for a cruise. We saw staff riding the elevator, just not wiping anything down. This was our fourth cruise in the last three years, and this was the first time we did not enjoy ourselves at all. My girlfriend actually felt scared going around this ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because many of our cruising friends wanting to be on her first "return" sailing out of Port Canaveral after being gone for over 10 years. We also decided to have a first "Back to Back" experience, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because many of our cruising friends wanting to be on her first "return" sailing out of Port Canaveral after being gone for over 10 years. We also decided to have a first "Back to Back" experience, and so, also sailed on the May 10th sailing. Pre Cruise Stay We stayed, as usual, at Radisson Resort at the Port. For this first time, we elected to take their shuttle to the port; not sure why we never did this before, as, it was efficiently run and not overly crowded. We took the 9:30 shuttle, and were at the port and going through security well before 10. Check In Very efficient, at least for us (others in our group ended up waiting in long lines to get through security). We were approached by employees who scanned our Set Sail passess, checked us in, took our pictures, and sent us through the line for suites (we were in a junior suite). That was it! We then went to the departure lounge and waited roughly 15 minutes before they becan boarding (first Pinnacle and Suites, then, I believe The Key, then Diamond Plus, etc.) In any case, we were on the ship by 10:30. The only bad part, and this was not Royal Caribbean's fault at all, was the ship was being swarmed by love bugs. We had to walk all the way down Deck 4 to get scanned onto the ship, fighting the bugs the entire way. Gross. Later, we sat in The Schooner Bar were we had a good view of all the folks getting on the ship, shooing the bugs as they did so. This was the first time (other than when we were on Anthem) where they did not give us our Sea Pass cards before we boarded, rather, they were in an envelop outside our staterooms. Although the Set Sail Passes work to order drinks, etc., some in our group were told they could go to their rooms prior to 1:00 to get the cards. We were not told this, and, I was somewhat surprised this was allowed, as they typically do not want PAX wandering around the hallways while they are trying to get the rooms finished up. Ship The ship has been totally "amped" up. She is pretty, with a lot of interesting art work. The dining room was just lovely. Of course, this is the way of most Royal Caribbean ships. Other than the decor in the staterooms being a bit dated (still the "old" pink/green drapes, carpets, etc.), the ship was fresh looking. The Promenade is a bit shorter/smaller than Freedom Class, so, was missing a few things (e.g., Sorrento's). They'd swapped out Vintages for The Tiki Room. We were sorry to see Vintages go, however, our one foray to The Tiki Room was nice enough; interesting drinks and decor; although most of the time, it seemed there was a sign there saying "Closed for Private Function". The pool area was always packed, including The Solarium. There did seem to be more lounge chairs/seating available than what I recalled being on Explorer (sister ship). Everytthing was BRIGHT!!!!! There is a Dog House now on the pool deck, too. Other places we found ourselves frequenting were the pub (on Deck 5), Schooner Bark (Deck 4; good place to meet up with our group), and Ellington's (Deck 14), due mostly to The Diamond Lounge (also on Deck 14) being so crowded, they overflowed us to Ellington's. The only minor issue we had with the ship in general was the elevators. Many, many times, they elevators would go flying by our deck without stopping (even if there was no one in them). It was really weird. Food We ate dinner each night in the main dining room. There was a group of 7 of us, and we had the same table for both parts of our cruise (different wait staff team, though). Generally speaking, the food was just ok. I do think the quality and variety is slipping, though. For example, one night a bunch ordered the grilled tiger shrimp, and no one could get the shells peeled off. I order chicken cordon bleu and it was partially raw. Someone else ordered the extra cost filet from Chops and it was tough as shoe leather. And, everything comes with mashed potatoes! I like mashed potatoes as much as the next person, but not with every single entree I order. By far the best category of food in the MDR are the appetizers, soups, and salads. I think from now on, I'm just going to load up on these, and not even order an entree some nights. The desserts are ok too, they had special 50th anniversary cakes on the last night of the cruise that were pretty tasty. We also ate in the MDR for lunch one day and breakfast another. For whatever reason, the meals these times were much better, especially the lunch. We only ordered room service for coffee and continental breakfast (anything else has a charge); the coffee is HORRIBLE, but, we use this as a sort of wake up call. Better coffee is to be had in either The Diamond Lounge or The Promenade Cafe (there is also a Starbucks, but of course, there is a charge for this). We had a few breakfasts in The Windjammer (The People Jammer); it was ok. Buffets are not my thing. Bevos We had the alcoholic beverage package; got a good deal on it during last year's Black Friday sale. It was MUCH more expensive on board, but, they were having a BOGO 1/2 off sale (no surprise given the make up of the majority of the PAX on this cruise and the one following, party animals!) Anyway, between the drinks, bottled water, specialty coffees, etc., it is worth it for us. Crew and Service We hardly ever run into any issues with any of the crew or the service. This time, all of the folks that took care of us (stateroom attendant, dining room team, bar tenders, etc., were just great. Even the headwaiter on this cruise was personable and came around several times (and found us our own pepper mill to keep at our table each night!) Entertainment Cruise Director Ricky and team were good. I like the silly shows they do on the Promenade (70s, 80s, etc.) We also watched a magician/comedian (can't remember his name) who was good with the magic but that was about it. The performer in the pub was good (even if he sang the same songs every night) as was the guy in Schooner. As of now, we're just not huge show people, and, we've already "been there done that" so many times with The Quest, Majority Rules, etc. Casino We don't gamble and it was always WAY TOO smoky in there. Stateroom See cabin review section Ports See port review section Fellow PAX I think a lot of first time cruisers this go around, and, a lot of huge groups traveling together for weddings (I think we saw at least three weddings) and family reunions. A good amount of children, too, which somewhat surprised me being it was a Monday-Friday cruise in early May. Most seemed friendly and having a good time (if a bit clueless). Some of the upper tier PAX (Diamond, Diamond Plus, Pinnacle) were downright snotty. Disembarkation As we were on a B2B, we did not do the usual disembarkation process. Also, since we did not change staterooms, we did not have to pack up. Rather, we met in lounge (maybe 20 of us total) and they checked us out/in there. After all the other PAX were off, they walked us off, took us through customs, had us sit in the departure lounge for a few minutes, and then walked us back on. Final note. This and the following cruise were pretty expensive for four nights/three nights, meaning, each leg was close to what we've paid for 7 night cruises in the past. I think some of this is Royal's strategy to entice younger professionals and/or families who can only get away for shorter periods of time, but, are willing to pay to do so. My guess is we won't run into this on longer cruises and/or shorter cruises on some of the older, smaller, less "amped" ships. As much as we like Royal (and are now Diamond Plus), we'll probably move toward the more sedate sister company Celebrity. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I'll start off with the disclaimer that I am comparing this to all of our previous family cruises in non-suite staterooms. We were fortunate, however, to get into the family suite for a reasonable price by booking early. With that ... Read More
I'll start off with the disclaimer that I am comparing this to all of our previous family cruises in non-suite staterooms. We were fortunate, however, to get into the family suite for a reasonable price by booking early. With that said, our 4 night adventure on Mariner of the Seas was outstanding. This was my first time on Mariner of the Seas, but I have been on other Voyager class ships before. I think these ships are the perfect size to offer a variety of things to do without feeling crowded or rushed. Fortunately, the folks at RCI coupled that with a nice mix of entertainment and activities that were aptly timed to blend with the itinerary. We had a couple opportunities for laser tag and it was a blast. We had time for the Flowrider and water slides without lines that were discouraging. We had time for shows, movies in the theater, movies on the pool deck, sun time, and more without feeling rushed! We got to experience a lot of what the ship and ports of call had to offer without compromising much needed relaxation time in between. If you have read any of my previous reviews, you know that I have somewhat high expectations when it comes to service. This cruise defined what great service is. Yes, the room was kept clean and drinks were served promptly and courteously. There was never really a long wait for anything. I could go on and on, but I would rather recognize two specific individuals that went above and beyond to ensure everyone in our party knew that they were valued guests on board Mariner of the Seas. Sam, our waiter in the Suite Lounge, got to know our names and drinks on the first day. After that, Sam had drinks in our hand within minutes of walking in. This includes the eight year olds' Shirley Temples with extra cherries! In addition to making sure that we had everything before we knew we wanted it, Sam was a great conversationalist. In the main dining room, we were greeted every night by head waiter Jean Paul. He made sure that the kids enjoyed themselves by offering special treats for whoever finished dinner. This was nice in itself, but he really stood out when we encountered him in the Windjammer while having breakfast. Jean Paul took the time to show a first time cruiser how to get a cooked-to-order omelette. I mean, he literally walked her through the process. Could it have been figured out? Sure, but he insisted on helping. Mariner of the Seas packed a medley of entertainment and activities into this four night cruise, delivered with exemplary service in an impeccably clean and easy to navigate ship. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We went to celebrate my daughter's graduation from college., we were very disappointed with Royal Caribbean we probably will not sail again, we were promised an upgrade that never happened, stuck in a little tiny room, a late meal ... Read More
We went to celebrate my daughter's graduation from college., we were very disappointed with Royal Caribbean we probably will not sail again, we were promised an upgrade that never happened, stuck in a little tiny room, a late meal time that we didn't choose, entertainment was non-existen, the Promenade deck was like a flea market with Carnival barkers, everything seem to have an extra charge to it, our cabin Stewart Harold was fantastic and Johnny on the spot with everything we needed, but the rest of the staff acted like we were an intrusion, Coco Cay was a complete disappointment make sure you bring your wallet if you want to do anything other than sit in the sand, the drinks were way over priced, and the staff was rude, the food on board was mediocre and that's being kind however our wait staff was great,this was our first and last time sailing with Royal Caribbean we Cruise quite a bit then I suggest you spend your money elsewhere. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
the worst company to deal with.They don't deliver what was promised when the reservation was made, you step on the ship, look at your cabin, and feel very disappointed. so, you walk to the customer service to find a loooooooong line ... Read More
the worst company to deal with.They don't deliver what was promised when the reservation was made, you step on the ship, look at your cabin, and feel very disappointed. so, you walk to the customer service to find a loooooooong line of disappointed customers, stand there for a couple of hours and never get anything resolved. Then you on board for few days continue with measurable experience. I would not recommend Royal for travelers, why would you want to pay your money and spend your vacation time with this company if there are others that offer better experience? They promise staff for kids, for instance the virtual reality trampoline. My kids were so excited to experience it, guess what: it was NOT OPEN the all time we were there. Kids were disappointed. There were no shows for kids, NONE. They have 2 ice cream machines, one of them was broken, and always line to get ice cream, that was served melty. They had one slide for kids, and line always was long to get on it. The all trip was a complete disappointment to all of us. They advertise the new renovations they've done to the ship, I wonder what was it before? OH, ONE MORE THING THE FITNESS CENTER DIDN'T OPEN TILL 9 OCLOCK!!!!!!! SO STUPID, REALLY. MY ADVISE GO WITH NORWEGIAN, DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY HERE. Read Less
Mariner of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 4.5 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates N/A 4.3

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