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We booked a cruise in the UK to visit China, South Korea and Japan on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, sailing 6th September. The itinerary was changed just a couple of weeks before we set off and South Korea was taken out and an additional stop in Japan added (Fukuoka). No explanation was given initially as to the reason for the change in the itinerary however when queried directly with Royal Caribbean in the UK they couldn't tell me which I thought was unacceptable, this was explained by RC as being as a result of a MIRS virus in the country. A second change was made to our itinerary shortly before setting off on the cruise that of a change to our preferred dining arrangements. We chose My Time Dining for the cruise as we prefer to dine at night as and when we chose and not to be subjectd to s fixed time with seating at the same table each night. We like to mix with other guests on the cruise, this to us is very much part of the cruise, getting to meet other people from different countries and experiences. We were told that My Time Dining was no longer available on this cruise by Royal Caribbean again no reason given, and that we would be given the option of a 6.00 pm or an 8.00 pm sitting. As a prerequisite to chosing the My Time Dining option it was conditional that gratuities had to be paid in advance prior to the cruise date which we did in full. The cruise included a three night stay in the Swissotel in Beijing prior to the sail date and also included a free day tour of the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. We were booked into a standard room but upgraded to an executive room which gave us a complimentary continental breakfast and access to the executive lounge for snacks, soft drinks, house wine, beers etc. which we thought was a good choice. On the day of the tour the weather was a really wet with thousands of tourists visiting the Forbidden City. We had to walk a considerable distance through the streets, in street flooded conditions from the bus drop off point to the entrance to the Forbidden City at Tiananmen Square where we were left standing in pouring rain for half an hour while the tour guide went and bought our entry tickets to the Forbidden City. After treading through the various areas of the Fobidden City, we decided that we had enough and took a taxi back to the hotel rather than go on the rest of the tour to the Great Wall. The transfer the next day by taxi from the Swissotel in Beijing to the Tianjin Cruise Port took two hours. We arrived at 11.00 am on the morning of the first day at the Cruise Port to check in to be told that the cruise ship had not yet docked and was delayed. We were told that boarding would not take place until 4.30 pm that day. We were also told at this point by a Royal Caribbean official that the guests on the ship would consist of 2200 Chinese and 800 'Foreigners'. We did not know that this was the case prior to booking the cruise and was later found to be an indication of what was still to come. No offer of refreshments of any kind were offered at the cruise port and we were told that if we wanted something to eat, to visit the staff canteen on the third level at the cruise port where we could get and purchase some Chinese dish. Chop sticks were provided, no such thing as a fork and knife was in evidence to eat the food and nothing to drink. After a considerable wait in the lounge at the Cruise Port where we were subjected to pushing and shuving in queues to board the ship with no public announcements in English to tell us where to stand etc we eventfully boarded the ship at 5.50 pm. Dinner that evening on the ship was a 'free for all' affair. The menu for this and subsequent evening meals was not like the traditional menu offered by Royal Caribbean on previous cruises where a set menu on one side and a varied menu on the other side would be offered. This was nothing short of a 'fast food' type menu, designed to suit the Asian clientele. Dining on a cruise is one of the highlights of any cruise in our book and this fell well short of our expectations. The food when presented was short in quantity and poor in quality. Some waiter staff lacked the knowledge and training and this was obvious however improved throughout the cruise. Our set waiter staff at the evening times were excellent in particular Lial and Erick. Entertainment 'variety' on the cruise was of poor quality in evening at the theatre and elsewhere on the ship. The acts at the evening performances were repeatedly performed by the same crew members unlike previous cruises where star acts would be brought onto the ship at various ports to perform. Wi-Fi on board was an extortionate $20 a day and Internet connection poor. The excursions ashore were typical of Royal Caribbean, expensive, however free shuttle buses were offered in some instances to nearby towns. We didn't think it necessary to see the doctor since my wife had medication with her on board. Communication on board as well as ship decor was geared to suit the Chinese community. No shocks there as we later found out that Royal Caribbean had leased the ship to the Chinese for, as we later heard for a period of 6 months although this was denied by staff at the guest information desk. If we had known this prior to booking the cruise, I very much doubt that we would have went on the cruise. Cruises of this itinerary may suit the Chinese community but certainly not our chosing. The one good thing, and this was through luck more than anything else was that we were grouped with some lovely people at the evening 'set dining time' of 8.00 p.m. Thanks to Chris, Glenda, Alex and Wendy for their very good company on the cruise. I think Royal Caribbean kept guests who chose this cruise very much uninformed and should have made them aware that this was not the normal Royal Caribbean standard to be expected and as a result has seriously damaged its reputation amongst Foreign guests on the cruise. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean in the past and are members of their Crown and Anchor Society and found past experiences to be excellent however this experience has certainly destroyed that view and we very much doubt that we would be cruising again with the Royal Caribbean cruise company or recommending them to friends or family.

Royal Caribbean need to rethink!

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review by J2WOF

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2015
  • Destination: Asia
We booked a cruise in the UK to visit China, South Korea and Japan on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, sailing 6th September. The itinerary was changed just a couple of weeks before we set off and South Korea was taken out and an additional stop in Japan added (Fukuoka). No explanation was given initially as to the reason for the change in the itinerary however when queried directly with Royal Caribbean in the UK they couldn't tell me which I thought was unacceptable, this was explained by RC as being as a result of a MIRS virus in the country.

A second change was made to our itinerary shortly before setting off on the cruise that of a change to our preferred dining arrangements. We chose My Time Dining for the cruise as we prefer to dine at night as and when we chose and not to be subjectd to s fixed time with seating at the same table each night. We like to mix with other guests on the cruise, this to us is very much part of the cruise, getting to meet other people from different countries and experiences. We were told that My Time Dining was no longer available on this cruise by Royal Caribbean again no reason given, and that we would be given the option of a 6.00 pm or an 8.00 pm sitting. As a prerequisite to chosing the My Time Dining option it was conditional that gratuities had to be paid in advance prior to the cruise date which we did in full.

The cruise included a three night stay in the Swissotel in Beijing prior to the sail date and also included a free day tour of the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. We were booked into a standard room but upgraded to an executive room which gave us a complimentary continental breakfast and access to the executive lounge for snacks, soft drinks, house wine, beers etc. which we thought was a good choice.

On the day of the tour the weather was a really wet with thousands of tourists visiting the Forbidden City. We had to walk a considerable distance through the streets, in street flooded conditions from the bus drop off point to the entrance to the Forbidden City at Tiananmen Square where we were left standing in pouring rain for half an hour while the tour guide went and bought our entry tickets to the Forbidden City. After treading through the various areas of the Fobidden City, we decided that we had enough and took a taxi back to the hotel rather than go on the rest of the tour to the Great Wall.

The transfer the next day by taxi from the Swissotel in Beijing to the Tianjin Cruise Port took two hours. We arrived at 11.00 am on the morning of the first day at the Cruise Port to check in to be told that the cruise ship had not yet docked and was delayed. We were told that boarding would not take place until 4.30 pm that day. We were also told at this point by a Royal Caribbean official that the guests on the ship would consist of 2200 Chinese and 800 'Foreigners'.

We did not know that this was the case prior to booking the cruise and was later found to be an indication of what was still to come. No offer of refreshments of any kind were offered at the cruise port and we were told that if we wanted something to eat, to visit the staff canteen on the third level at the cruise port where we could get and purchase some Chinese dish. Chop sticks were provided, no such thing as a fork and knife was in evidence to eat the food and nothing to drink. After a considerable wait in the lounge at the Cruise Port where we were subjected to pushing and shuving in queues to board the ship with no public announcements in English to tell us where to stand etc we eventfully boarded the ship at 5.50 pm.

Dinner that evening on the ship was a 'free for all' affair. The menu for this and subsequent evening meals was not like the traditional menu offered by Royal Caribbean on previous cruises where a set menu on one side and a varied menu on the other side would be offered. This was nothing short of a 'fast food' type menu, designed to suit the Asian clientele.

Dining on a cruise is one of the highlights of any cruise in our book and this fell well short of our expectations. The food when presented was short in quantity and poor in quality. Some waiter staff lacked the knowledge and training and this was obvious however improved throughout the cruise. Our set waiter staff at the evening times were excellent in particular Lial and Erick.

Entertainment 'variety' on the cruise was of poor quality in evening at the theatre and elsewhere on the ship. The acts at the evening performances were repeatedly performed by the same crew members unlike previous cruises where star acts would be brought onto the ship at various ports to perform. Wi-Fi on board was an extortionate $20 a day and Internet connection poor.

The excursions ashore were typical of Royal Caribbean, expensive, however free shuttle buses were offered in some instances to nearby towns. We didn't think it necessary to see the doctor since my wife had medication with her on board. Communication on board as well as ship decor was geared to suit the Chinese community. No shocks there as we later found out that Royal Caribbean had leased the ship to the Chinese for, as we later heard for a period of 6 months although this was denied by staff at the guest information desk.

If we had known this prior to booking the cruise, I very much doubt that we would have went on the cruise. Cruises of this itinerary may suit the Chinese community but certainly not our chosing.

The one good thing, and this was through luck more than anything else was that we were grouped with some lovely people at the evening 'set dining time' of 8.00 p.m. Thanks to Chris, Glenda, Alex and Wendy for their very good company on the cruise.

I think Royal Caribbean kept guests who chose this cruise very much uninformed and should have made them aware that this was not the normal Royal Caribbean standard to be expected and as a result has seriously damaged its reputation amongst Foreign guests on the cruise.

We have cruised with Royal Caribbean in the past and are members of their Crown and Anchor Society and found past experiences to be excellent however this experience has certainly destroyed that view and we very much doubt that we would be cruising again with the Royal Caribbean cruise company or recommending them to friends or family.
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Cabin 7572
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