Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review by daninwi
- Sail Date: October 2018
- Destination: Bahamas
- Cabin Type: Spacious Ocean View Balcony
We flew in and out of Fort Lauderdale opting to come in the night before. We stayed at the Embassy Suites on 17th Street. A good location, plenty of restaurants within walking distance, along with a full scale grocery about 2 blocks away to pick up anything you forgot.
On embarkation day, we opted to Uber to the Port of Miami. It was about a $42 ride and really was the only hiccup of our trip. With Terminal A so new it wasn't an option for a destination in the app and the driver had to cycle around to get us to the drop off. With that corrected, we got to the terminal about 11:30 and it was time for luggage drop off. Still a bit of organized chaos, the porters were fine and friendly - just has the sense of a free for all.
Navigating the new terminal was easy. Completing the online check-in process really helped expedite things. Scanned and confirmed passports, asked the usual health questions and off to screening. 10 minutes later we were on the ship.
We quickly navigated the upsell / cross sell gauntlet, gathered my son's muster station wristband and set about to explore the ship. We found our way to Windjammer, experienced the new hand washing stations, and still don't understand why some people walk right through. I would say Windjammer was the only less than excellent portion of the cruise - the food is so-so and really lacked variety. From there it was off to the Sky-Pad with no waiting - so we got in two quick rounds there and really enjoyed that activity.
Our room, a balcony stateroom on deck 8 (8548), was ready at 1:00 p.m. We found it a be a good location as we could easily walk the three decks to either get to the pool deck or head to the promenade. The cruise cards were waiting for us outside the door - in a secure envelope. The room was spacious enough. We stowed all of our clothes and such easily in the closet. A quick change and then off for some swimming. Brrr - the pools were cold, no two ways about it. Dinner was to be at Windjammer, but my son was a bit 'off' as we hit open waters, we went back to the room, put on his seabands, and after a bit of rest it was back to the races. We opted to try the pizza from the Cafe Promenade and we weren't disappointed - and it quickly became our go to for a quick bite to eat. We'd get a slice or two and then move over to Playmakers and watch a game or play some pool.
The rest of Day One went well. We found out that the arcade games were free for an hour that evening - so it was literally game on! From there, we wandered about and ended up in Studio B for the ice skating show. We were pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed our selves.
Day Two was a stop in Nassau. Windjammers for breakfast and a stop at Starbucks for me - the coffee in WJ is not much better than warm water. We headed off the ship for some shopping and to find lunch. We had a good lunch Senor Frogs, got a souvenir and found a way back. The port was busy that day - there were 4 ships docked that morning. Surprise - after we got back it was time for more swimming. We got cleaned up, dressed a bit better and headed to Chops for the one special dinner of the cruise. Chops did not disappoint - yes there is an up charge, but the food was good and the service fine. We both had the filet, shared some asparagus, and a baked potato. Of course there was some dessert - ice cream and cheese cake. Next up was a couple of rounds of laser tag - which my son really enjoyed. We ended the night at Playmakers for some pool. Another pleasant surprise, a fellow cruiser with much better pool skills than I, took some time to for a little bit of instruction.
Day Three was Halloween and a stop at Coco Cay. We got on the tender mid-morning for quick ride to island. We took a quick walk around parts of the island, found a lounger with a fair degree of shade and headed for the water. We broke for lunch - a fair spread, not much different than WJ. Another hour or so in the water, then we headed back to the ship. We opted to catch the movie in the main theater that afternoon. Jurassic World in 3D. As an added bonus, every so the ship would shudder a bit and a few times was perfectly timed to a dinosaur chase scene. A pizza snack at the Cafe and some soccer watching at Playmakers. After a bit of rest, WJ for dinner, followed by another round of VR at the Sky Pad. With it being Halloween, the crew setup a 'haunted house' in Studio B - it was well done. A quick round of shopping through the Promenade to grab a couple of t-shirts. A last stop at Playmakers and it was time to call and getting ourselves packed.
Day Four and time for disembarkation. A quick breakfast in WJ, followed by the final packing and room check. We opted to take our own luggage off the ship. We headed down to deck four, no wait for the elevator and no wait to get off the ship. As we walked through the luggage hall, I was impressed on how organized it appeared to be. Customs was easy - the facial recognition system was a breeze. I think it was a total of 15 minutes and we were outside waiting for our Uber ride to airport. Very impressed with the efficiency of Terminal A.
Overall we really enjoyed the cruise. My son gave it a thumbs up and is looking forward to his next trip already.
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