Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review by robricc
- Sail Date: September 2018
- Destination: Bahamas
- Cabin Type: Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
We traveled in cabin 1260 which is a Grand Suite. The cabin itself is very nice, but we would really be just as happy in a window or even inside cabin. We don't make use of the balcony, and while the large bathroom and bathtub is nice, we mostly booked the suite to get the perks. One of the perks, priority boarding, was obliterated by a computer malfunction which required the use of hand-written boarding passes causing a major backup in the terminal. The boat didn't set sail until around 11:30PM due to the glitch. Nevertheless, we were still able to make use of all onboard amenities and the itinerary was only minimally affected.
Although it's not our aim to avoid the MDR, we usually rely heavily on specialty dining. On this cruise, we ended up in specialty dining each night. Our first meal was at Jamie's Italian which we decided to try only because they were offering 35% off as a promotion. Despite this, the restaurant was nearly empty. At no point during our meal were more than 4 tables occupied. A sandwich board outside the restaurant says something to the effect of "We're all about beautifully-sourced ingredients." While my wife's lamb chops were fantastic and my crab pasta was also very fresh tasting and delicious, the side of "Seasonal Greens" was unmistakably frozen broccoli. This is a menu item and was not a special request. The boat was docked in Miami for over 12 hours. In all that time, they couldn't procure one single fresh vegetable for this restaurant?
We had a quick lunch in the Windjammer twice and it's nothing to write home about. The buffet is pretty basic with hamburgers, hotdogs, and tacos taking up a large amount of space. There was a carving station for lunch as well as an area for comfort foods and some indian and asian choices.
Our first port of call was Nassau Bahamas. We arrived late due to the computer problems in Miami the previous day. This was actually great because it meant we could sleep in. A large reason we booked this ship/itinerary was this stop. My wife loves the lazy river that connects to the water slides at the Atlantis Aquaventure park. We've been to Atlantis before and know how it's supposed to work. Upon arriving at Atlantis and getting on the lazy river, the access to the Power Tower (water slides) from the lazy river was blocked off. This attraction alone was the sole reason for booking this $149/pp excursion. We were at Atlantis for only 45 minutes before deciding to take a taxi back to the ship.
Later that evening in the Suite Lounge, I thought to mention the Aquaventure mishap to the concierge as it's not a cheap excursion and our only reason for booking it was not fully operational. I wasn't necessarily looking for a refund, but he's the one that suggested a partial refund may be possible. Our concierge took notes on the matter and said he would pass it to the shore excursions manager who was still ashore at that particular time.
Eventually, I got on the phone with the Shore Excursions Manager about the situation. She said that she spoke to the tour operator and they said all attractions were working on that day. Whoever the tour operator is, they're full of crap because not only was the entire Power Tower closed, but at least one of the waterslides on the Mayan Temple was also closed while we were there. I suggested to the Shorex Manager that either I'm lying to her or the tour operator is lying to her. She twice refused to say that I was a liar, but at the same time would not acknowledge my complaint or grant any sort of refund. This interaction right here is the #1 reason I probably wouldn't sail RCL again. I wasn't seeking a refund to begin with, but the incredulousness of this crew member really soured my impression of this already lacklustre cruise. I realize that this being my first RCL cruise, they don't know me from a hole in the wall. However, as an RCL stockholder and suite guest, the least they could do is acknowledge my complaint. If they offered something as simple as a complimentary meal in Chops, a gesture that costs them next to nothing, it would really have gone a long way. Instead, one incredibly poor customer service incident ends up costing the line countless dollars in repeat business and lots of eyeballs reading this review.
That night we ate in Izumi which we pre-booked online. Compared to the other hibachi restaurants on cruise ships we've been to, Izumi is easily several notches above. The chefs are loud and very entertaining. You can customize your meal to your wishes and the quality of the meats and seafood is outstanding. Izumi was so good that, upon seeing the MDR menu for the following night, we decided to dine at Izumi a second time.
I feel that I should also mention the Bamboo Room. I am a big fan of tiki drinks and this new venue is fantastic. The bar staff is wonderful and the vibe inside the Bamboo Room is great. One thing I noticed and appreciated about RCL is that many of the bars on board were distinct in not only their appearance, but also the drinks offered on each menu. I feel that the Bamboo Room took this a step further by not even stocking ingredients for some drinks found elsewhere on the ship, but also not relying on pre-made mixes from cartons that have become common across all lines. The Bamboo Room gets a huge thumbs-up from me, and I wish more lines would offer something like this.
For our 2nd port stop at CocoCay, we booked an all-day beach bed rental. My wife is more into going the beach than I am. The beach beds are totally worth the $150 cost which covers up to 4 people. It's in a relatively quiet area, they bring food to you, the bed can provide lots of shade from the sun, you get 4 large bottles of water, and the use of two float mats. If I have to endure a beach day, this is the only way to do it in my opinion.
On the last day of our cruise, a sea day, we had dinner at Chops. It's your basic cruise ship steakhouse. One note is that they were apparently out of ribeyes during the entire cruise. This is what my wife prefers to order, so that's a disappointment. I don't understand how a ship can dock in Miami, a metropolitan city in the United States, and somehow not be able to get a common cut of steak on board. Even in the port of Nassau this could have been accomplished if somebody cared enough.
I chose the 9 oz filet ordered rare which was delicious and cooked to perfection. My wife had to opt for the lamb chops since ribeye was unavailable. She ordered medium rare, but they came out more rare than my steak. The situation was handled quickly and the chops came out cooked properly after a trip back to the kitchen. Our dinner took about 2 hours from start to finish, but the timing seemed appropriate. However, the table right next to us finished their meal within 15 minutes of us sitting down. Their table was left unclean the entire time we were there. We have experienced this in specialty restaurants on other lines, but I don't understand how this has become acceptable. Even in a Chili's on land I would expect a table to be bussed and reset within five minutes of a party leaving.
Overall, this trip was mostly what is expected of an inexpensive 3-4 day Bahamas cruise. One standout was the Bamboo Room because it's a unique concept not yet seen on other lines. Almost everything else is cookie-cutter among the other mainstream lines and it really comes down to where your loyalty lies. If you're looking for a this type of cruise as a first-timer, I would say Mariner of the Seas is probably the nicest ship with this itinerary of the main cruise lines. The price is in line with the other majors and the recent refurbishment puts Mariner over the top.
- Read more Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas Reviews
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