I speak for both couples who enjoyed the Mariner immensely. Cruise Critic was an immense help in planning our cruise, and thanks go to all the contributors for their insight. Embarking and debarking was a breeze in LA. We were aboard in less than 20 minutes and enjoyed a fine lunch in the Windjammer while waiting for our room. We ate nightly in the main dining room and had a great waiter from the Philippines, Christian, on deck 3. The head waiter, Suleman, from Turkey, visited our table nightly and even had staff check up on my wife the one night she didn't feel well enough to join us for dinner. All four of us found the food of high quality, especially the escargot (served minus the shell in a wonderful broth) and the Friday night lobster (I ate 3 plates, including the garlic shrimp they were served with!). We had each planned on the Gold wine package, but upgraded to the Platinum on board as there was a far better selection at only $15 more. Cost was $243.26 total, including the 15% gratuity and $19.01 tax (base cost was $195). I found the wines priced similarly to restaurants here in the Northwest and...as a former retail wine shop owner...all were very drinkable. The one night my wife wasn't there, I was allowed to take the opened bottle back to the cabin. After having breakfast in the main dining room the first two morning, we switched to the Windjammer in order to enjoy the ocean view and select the amount of food (there were tons of choices) from the buffet lines. We also lunched in Windjammer as well each day we were at sea. For the calorie conscious, there were low sugar and sugar free desserts that satisfied the sweet tooth...especially the sugar free key lime pie. Wine in Vintages on the Royal Promenade was extremely varied and priced from $6.00 plus gratuity for a 5 ounce glass. All liquor pours were generous as well. I enjoyed the adults only Solarium for reading in comfy recliners when the wind came up on the open decks, and the Fitness Center was outstanding. The steam room was a special treat. Cruise director Kieron, from Dover, England, was everywhere. And, Captain Per kept us abreast of things over the speakers and in Q&A sessions that were televised into the cabins. The ice show was everything others have said about it, a must see! Star Search winner Kenny James put on a fine show, featuring songs by many of Motown's most famous artists. Aerialist and adage duo Jimmy & Anna performed two nights, and were great. And, the biggest surprise was the Karaoke finals. We're no fans of karaoke, but the six finalists from the guests aboard were all outstanding. Even though we opted for an interior cabin, it was more than adequate. Our attendant, Althea, did a great job, and we looked forward to her towel decor on the bed each evening. She was very creative in tying in my wife's dark glasses with different animal figures each evening. The highlight of Cabo San Lucas was sailing into port with the varied rock formations offering a striking view. The four of us opted to stay near the dock where we enjoyed a reasonable lunch, margaritas and beer at one of the many restaurants along the water. I hadn't been to Mazatlan in more than 40 years, and we hired Rafael to take us on a two-hour tour of town for $l0 each. He did a great job and dropped us off at the boat dock for Stone Island. As I recall, it was 5 pesos each for the short ride across the harbor and then 20 pesos each for a ride on the back of a pickup across the hill to the beach. A huge shrimp lunch at Victor's was about $6.50 each, and I enjoyed a swim in the warm waters there. Having been to Puerto Vallarta on five previous occasions, we took the bus from the harbor to El Centro (about 50 cents) and showed the wonderful Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church off to our cruisemates who hadn't been to Vallarta before. We then walked the Malecon over the Rio Cuale to what is known as the Romantic Zone on Playa de los Muertos (Dead Man's Beach) where we usually stay. From there, we took the bus down to Mismaloya (about 10 miles south of town) and still only about 50 cents a person for the ride. We enjoyed lunch there for the afternoon. And the ride down, past all the resort hotels and through the many flowered walls and jungle-like setting is probably the best buy in town. We made the mandatory stop at Wal-Mart across from the harbor before re-boarding the Mariner. A bottle of tequila, 100% agave, was just over $9 U.S. and the usually reliable Osa Negra vodka was less than $7. I was surprised to fine that I was allowed to take the bottles directly to our cabin. It had been reported that RCI confiscated purchased alcohol and tagged it for you cabin and returned it to you prior to departure. Upon returning to the ship, we learned there had been a bomb threat about 9 a.m. that morning and that all guests on decks 1, 2 and 3 that hadn't departed by then had to stay in their cabins until around noon. Fortunately, it was a false alarm, and Captain Per invited everyone aboard to enjoy complimentary champagne or screwdrivers on the Royal Promenade that afternoon. Aside from the bomb scare, the only other negative was just one waiter at breakfast in the Windjammer who was less than attentive and enthusiastic and the fact that the Maitre'd in the Rhapsody in Blue main dining room never bothered to visit our table...despite stopping by every other table in our area. But the rest of the crew always had smiles on their faces, a friendly greeting and couldn't have been nicer to deal with. We're already looking forward to another cruise with RCI next year and can't say enough about this beautiful ship and great crew.
We were on deck 6 in an interior cabin to the aft of the ship. This deck is great for access to the Royal Promenada one deck above and also to our main dining room seating on deck 3. We walked the stairs most of the time, using the elevators primarily to get to decks 11 and 12 for pool and walking activities.