Great balcony, good cruise, some disappointments: Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review by marinercruiser1

Mariner of the Seas 4
Member Since 2013
4 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Great balcony, good cruise, some disappointments

Sail Date: February 2013
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Galveston
We took this identical cruise last year and liked it so much we wanted to do it again. The ship is showing some of its age. The most noticeable thing in our room was the handle on the safe door was cracked/broken, slightly more difficult to operate. we mentioned this to guest services before the ship left the dock, but it was not fixed ever during the trip. Also, dining room signs are confusing. Last year, deck 3 dining room was "Sound of Music". This year, that was on deck 5, while deck 3 is "Rhapsody in Blue", but elevator placards still show the old name/deck arrangement.

We'd ordered a romance package that was supposed to include a bottle of champagne delivered before sail-away. When we were well away from the dock, a call to guest services revealed that Texas laws meant that the champagne could not be delivered until we were in international waters. Now that RC allows wine to be brought on board, if you are inclined to order a romance package I recommend More ordering one without champagne, bring your own and have the cabin steward bring the ice bucket as soon as you get to the room.

Cabin steward was very attentive. After we first met, he made a point to call us by name whenever we passed in the hallway. But while the care of the room was very good, there were a couple of irritations. First, it seemed like there were almost always cleaning supplies in the hallway. It was rare for us to be in the hallway and not see laundry bags, vacuum cleaners, and carts (multiple of each). Also, several times the steward asked us "How is my service? Is it excellent?" This happened often enough to become annoying.Food was hit-or-miss. The breakfast that we got as part of our romance package was excellent, most of the other breakfasts we had were pretty good, but we had one room service breakfast with scrambled eggs and hash browns that was blander than bland -- my wife said that she'd had better hospital food. The lunches in the windjammer were OK, in fact pretty good for mass-produced food. There was only one really silly thing -- in the desserts on a couple of days were things labeled as creme brulee, but there was never any hint of brulee -- it was just custard with a fancy name. The evening meals got better as the week went on, but the first couple of nights the food was not very good. We had the late seating, and our recollection was that the food we had at the first seating on last year's cruise was much better.

We'd signed up for the mystery dinner theatre, which includes dinner in Giovanni's Table. That food was outstanding -- so much so that we booked another meal in that restaurant for later in the week, and on the second meal the food was even better. The mystery theatre itself -- it's amusing, but don't expect Broadway quality theatre -- the actors forgot their lines on several occasions but given the overall levity of the characters, it didn't matter a great deal.

Service in the MDR was not as good as we'd gotten last year. Last year, by the 2nd night, our waiter and assistant waiter knew (on an 8-top) everyone's name, favorite bread choice and favorite drink. This year, we were at a 6-top, and we were half way into the cruise before the drink orders were anticipated.We tried Johnny Rockets this year. Service was very good, but the food had its good and bad points. The burger was quite good. Fries and onion rings not so much. We were there in mid-afternoon, with maybe 2 other tables occupied. Fries and rings were served very quickly but they were not hot. With so few people in the restaurant it could have been SO much better if they'd been cooked fresh - especially the onion rings. The sourdough breading had flavor that we knew was good but would have been better fresh out of the fryer. I would have ordered a milkshake, but just as I was about to, the workers turned the music volume up louder than I could stand and began to dance. When they saw that I was unhappy they turned the volume down but explained that there's some corporate rule that in Johnny Rockets they all have to dance every 30 minutes. The lesson there I guess is that if you don't like loud music, time your visit so that you'll get out before they crank it up.

We also tried the Boardwalk Dog House. This was VERY good, especially considering it's a no-fee thing. I expected a nondescript bun and meat, but was surprised by the depth of flavor in both.

One really big improvement in the public spaces -- last year, smoke from the casino was so heavy that even on the first night the smell of smoke was heavy on deck 5 (one deck up). This year, it was not noticeable on deck 5, and even within the casino itself was not very strong. And it's not that there were fewer smokers -- ashtrays were in use throughout the casino.

We also tried bingo. The host for that made it more enjoyable with jokes every now and then.

When it came time to leave the ship, only one thing that could be improved. The handout they give you the last night tells you that important information will be on a particular TV channel. They don't tell you that the important information won't start until well into the morning you are leaving. My recollection was that last year there were packing tips being provided on TV that last night -- they were very helpful for first time cruisers. Less

Published 02/11/13

Cabin review: D11390 Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony

We strongly recommend the aft balconies on deck 10 of the Mariner and similar ships. The balconies are huge, (the aft corners are not quite as large) as long as you are willing to make the walk from elevators to room. Most of the balcony is shaded by the Windjammer above, so no noise of deck chairs being moved that you might hear in more central cabins on 10. We think they are a better value for the money (category D1) than the Junior Suites on the same deck.

Read All Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony (D1) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Beach Break

We had the "Deluxe" beach break which includes an "open bar" with good but limited selections, and a buffet with OK but not great food. We saw others purchase food that looked much better. An attendant helped us get two umbrellas planted near the beach chairs we staked out. This was at Playa Mia, which also has pool areas for kids of different ages. Last year we did the mexican cusine excursion which is also at Playa Mia. The one big negative of this excursion was the lack of organization in getting on the buses from the pier. We were led around through thick crowds and the group got separated, then they did not count the people as they were getting on the bus, which meant that several people had to get off and get on another bus.

We took the Dolphin Experience and Dunn's River Falls. The Dolphin Experience team needs better organization. Some of us got boarded on a bus quickly, but others of us had to wait about 10 minutes for another bus to be brought up. Other tour operators didn't seem to have this problem. Also once at Dolphin Cove it's like a maze, especially at the end of that segment, they lead you to one building to look at photos they've taken, another building to pick up photos, and another for DVDs. Dunns River was much better handled and the guides for the climb really make it very enjoyable. We had no problem with the idea of a very generous tip for the climb guide; the bus driver and tour guide also expect tips but even though we were with them longer didn't feel like they'd done as much for us.
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