This was our fourth cruise with RSS but our first on Mariner. We got a chance to explore Lima before we embarked, which went very smoothly, once we had lobbied the local DMC company to stick to the stated embarkation times guaranteed by RSS, according to suite status! Disembarking in Buenos Aires was less smooth as a shuttle bus had to be used to transport guests to the terminal from the ship. This city needs a dedicated cruise terminal badly, given the number of ships coming here.
Mariner's refit has been put back from early 2017, and it showed. Things generally look tired, carpets, curtains, public areas etc.
Dining is something championed by RSS but the menus remain the same in Prime 7, year on year. Signatures only had four main courses, which is a bit limiting over a longer cruise. Guests can dine in both restaurants a limited number of times, according to suite status, but even so, if fortunate to have more opportunities, selection of dishes is poor.
Compass Rose is a star performer, lots of choice, very good quality and excellent service. Good atmosphere. Settle Mare also suffers from a 'samey' menu. Starter buffet much the same every night we went there. Main courses don't automatically come with vegetables, so ask! Wines very good.
We don't use the entertainment offers but friends spoke highly of it. The Star Duo in the Horizon Lounge were our favourites! Very talented indeed.
Lectures by Terry Breen were much appreciated.
Lounges and bars cater very well for guests with great staff who remember your cocktail favourites!
Excursions were diverse and informative. Local guides and drivers, without exception, were first class. A longer journey to an activity soon passed in professional hands. Very well chosen and executed excursions. Some of the ports were more interesting than others but the sights and wildlife viewing opportunities were faultless. Our only grave disappointment being the captain's decision not to dock in the Falkland Islands due to inclement weather. Whilst this decision was respected, and alternative port and excursions efficiently organised, we feel that RSS should state very clearly indeed in their given itinerary that the chances of visiting this port are far less than 50%. This destination was the sole reason we chose this cruise. So for this reason alone would not repeat cruise, especially at six star prices!
This was our fourth cruise with RSS but our first on Mariner. Our suite was spacious and light with a huge balcony accommodating a double lounger with canopy and side table and another large circular table with three comfortable cushioned chairs.
There were two tv's, a comfortable sofa, coffee table with interesting books and a dining table and chairs. Good desk space too. The vanity desk was well lit with large magnifying mirror. The closet had loads of hanging space, plenty of hangers, and drawers. The safe, as always in these cases, would have benefitted from an internal light. Plenty of space for shoes and bags including some wall hooks, which were extremely useful. More light in the closet itself would have been good. The hairdryer was disappointing, basic model and not very powerful with very twisted flex. Voyager had better. Bed was very comfortable with excellent linen. The stewardesses kept everything spotless. Bathroom had good rainforest shower and handset. Useful marble bench in shower cubicle. Mariner's refit is more than 12 months overdue, having been pushed back from early 2017, and it shows - carpets and curtains need replacing badly.
All the staff were excellent, polite, hard working and a credit to RSS. The captain is not a natural communicator but a brilliant sailor! The cruise director was very good indeed and was well able to deliver good and bad news. His, often more than daily, updates on ship matters were very informative. The ship was unable to dock in the Falkland Islands, a grave disappointment to UK guests, and this was handled well with alternative course and land excursions being deployed efficiently. We did feel that the more than 50% chance of not landing in the Falklands, should have been more clearly stated in the given itinerary by RSS.
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