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We loved almost every single aspect of this cruise. We started as skeptics, we had strong feelings we would not cruising and were hopeful that we could find some peace and quiet. Frankly I expected to work during most of the cruise. Boarding: Embarkation - painless, quiet and easy. Traveling with my mother-in-law who required the assistance of a wheelchair to get around (she can walk, but very slowly and no steps or inclines, she is elderly). As our Uber pulled up to the terminal at 10:30am, our bags were whisked away with quiet efficiency and a gentlemen with a wheelchair made a beeline for us offering assistance. The gentlemen assisting my mother-in-law sorted through our paperwork in short order and has going through security in a few minutes then it was on to the ship. From the moment I stepped out of the uber it was maybe 15 minutes later I was on board. And security was so very good they caught something the TSA missed. Unlike the TSA, these people were professional and kind and took care of everything. I was very happy to see active, attentive security staff. It gave me confidence in the leadership. Day 1: The ship was spotless, everything was bright, clean, freshly painted or polished. She gleamed from end to the other, every line coiled and stowed, she was squared away and her crew took obvious pride in her, stepping aboard within an instant you got the message that her captain led his crew with confidence and pride. She didn't look a day out of dry dock. Guest services rented us a wheelchair for the duration of the cruise ($145) and the three of us were off to explore the ship. We got registered for the escape room (NOTE: at 11:30am when we registered, there was only 1 other open slot during our one sea day (Thursday) - everything else was booked up. We made our way down to Jamie's Italian around 12:00pm (Chops was not open for lunch) and sat down to a decent lunch. ***Warning*** Skip the next paragraph if you are not a food nut - Normal people will like Jamie's Italian just fine. Ok fellow foodie - here's the deal, some of the food is good and some is downright terrible. For us and I'm not sure why everyone from the host to the waiter spoke about their "San Marzano" tomatoes and then showed up with a can of cherry tomatoes. Not joking. The antipasto board wasn't bad, but it was a San Danielle ham that was quite close to a parma ham and they added Spanish caperberries and left off most of Italy's best olives, and swapped in cows milk mozzarella for the promised buffalo. To make things worse, the fried squid was cooked at around 325 degrees - so it had no color at all, very pale flour/yellow coating and cooked so very long at that low temp that you needed a chainsaw to get through the calamari. However, the house aioli was great, we loved it. The ragù alla bolognese was the best I have every had in my life. The cheesecake to die for, the eggplant parm was great and the lasagna was weird but good. Their pasta is excellent and well made (machine extruded, but not bad). The burger read well on the menu, but was average - I'd have it again but it certainly wasn't great food. After dinner we caught the comedy show, it was cute. Day 2: Nassau - We fell in love with Junkanoo Beach, hung out there for a few hours and bought a jerk chicken and pork combo plate from Junkanoo Jerk on the beach - the absolute best Jerk I've ever had; the chicken was great; and the pork deserves it's own Michelin star. Yeah, it's that good. The beach? It was touristy and real at the same time. We loved it. When we got tired of the crowds, we went over to the Hilton and checked in for the day which gave us access to their private beach; we had the place to ourselves. It was wonderful. We also did our own walking tour of Nassau and enjoyed it. Back on the ship around 6pm, we had dinner at chops and well if you read my prior review of Jamie's you have an idea of where I am going. First of all no dry aged steaks, second they sold us a couple of beaten choice steaks as prime. The mushroom soup was stunning, I loved it - the crab cake was good (but note: they used special crab not jumbo lump), the shrimp were off (old - mushy - ammonia; now they weren't bad like they would make you sick and frankly most people likely wouldn't notice, but we know food and shrimp in particular). Desserts weren't bad, but they really phoned it in. We ended our day sitting on the bow watching the passing ships and when the wind picked up we moved back our balcony which we loved. The magic show was a nice retelling of a few tried and true tricks. But it was on the simplistic side although very well executed. Day 3: CocoaCay - we took the glass bottom boat tour (my wife doesn't dive - so this was a great way for us to both share some reef time). We loved it, the tour operator was fantastic and made it all worthwhile. After the tour we had lunch (terrible jerk bbq) and laid out on the beach. It was nice, we enjoyed it. Back on the ship, we hit up Jamie's for dinner and loved the Lamb Chops, the shrimp pasta was terrible (and we knew better so shame on us). We also ordered 4 apps from the main dining room and 2 of their entrees in addition to the apps and entrees we ordered at Jamie's I'll stay positive and say the duck mousse was excellent. Day 4: Sea Day - spent some time on our balcony and wandering outside around decks 3 and 4 (also up to 11 and went forward to watch the bridge). Peaceful and relaxing (we stayed away from the crowds) Here's what I haven't articulated - the service from everyone, everywhere (except the main dining room) was amazing, fantastic and over the top. The crew was so wonderful we are 100% sold on another cruise in a few months. Great value for money - really great value. Internet (voom) worked ok, we had 4 devices connected concurrently and I was able to get some work one. Disembarkation: Just as smooth and getting on - took us maybe 20 minutes total to walk off the ship (we did carry our own bags, were off the ship at 7am). Do not under any circumstances go on the Hop On Hop Off bus tour. We did. One of the worst experiences we have ever had, so bad I have to call it bait and switch. I'll be curious to see if Royal Caribbean will cover me on it. It was horrible. So we are batting 50/50 right now on excursions (glass bottom boat on CocoaCay A+, Hop On Hop Off Bus F-}. Getting around with my mother-in-law (who walks real slow or needs her chair) - this went great. She used room service for a couple of lunches and the ship really took care of her. She was very happy, therefore my wife was happy and thus I was happy. Questions about this cruise? - Please feel free to ask, I'll answer anything I can - I'll argue you'll love it. Just understand the food at best isn't that good. The ingredients are mediocre and the kitchen leadership is lacking. Other than that - this cruise was a pretty perfect moment for us.

This cruise converted us from cruise skeptics into true believers - Loved It!

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review by Bart Basi

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
We loved almost every single aspect of this cruise. We started as skeptics, we had strong feelings we would not cruising and were hopeful that we could find some peace and quiet. Frankly I expected to work during most of the cruise.

Boarding: Embarkation - painless, quiet and easy. Traveling with my mother-in-law who required the assistance of a wheelchair to get around (she can walk, but very slowly and no steps or inclines, she is elderly). As our Uber pulled up to the terminal at 10:30am, our bags were whisked away with quiet efficiency and a gentlemen with a wheelchair made a beeline for us offering assistance.

The gentlemen assisting my mother-in-law sorted through our paperwork in short order and has going through security in a few minutes then it was on to the ship. From the moment I stepped out of the uber it was maybe 15 minutes later I was on board.

And security was so very good they caught something the TSA missed. Unlike the TSA, these people were professional and kind and took care of everything. I was very happy to see active, attentive security staff. It gave me confidence in the leadership.

Day 1: The ship was spotless, everything was bright, clean, freshly painted or polished. She gleamed from end to the other, every line coiled and stowed, she was squared away and her crew took obvious pride in her, stepping aboard within an instant you got the message that her captain led his crew with confidence and pride. She didn't look a day out of dry dock.

Guest services rented us a wheelchair for the duration of the cruise ($145) and the three of us were off to explore the ship. We got registered for the escape room (NOTE: at 11:30am when we registered, there was only 1 other open slot during our one sea day (Thursday) - everything else was booked up.

We made our way down to Jamie's Italian around 12:00pm (Chops was not open for lunch) and sat down to a decent lunch.

***Warning*** Skip the next paragraph if you are not a food nut - Normal people will like Jamie's Italian just fine.

Ok fellow foodie - here's the deal, some of the food is good and some is downright terrible. For us and I'm not sure why everyone from the host to the waiter spoke about their "San Marzano" tomatoes and then showed up with a can of cherry tomatoes. Not joking. The antipasto board wasn't bad, but it was a San Danielle ham that was quite close to a parma ham and they added Spanish caperberries and left off most of Italy's best olives, and swapped in cows milk mozzarella for the promised buffalo. To make things worse, the fried squid was cooked at around 325 degrees - so it had no color at all, very pale flour/yellow coating and cooked so very long at that low temp that you needed a chainsaw to get through the calamari. However, the house aioli was great, we loved it. The ragù alla bolognese was the best I have every had in my life. The cheesecake to die for, the eggplant parm was great and the lasagna was weird but good. Their pasta is excellent and well made (machine extruded, but not bad). The burger read well on the menu, but was average - I'd have it again but it certainly wasn't great food.

After dinner we caught the comedy show, it was cute.

Day 2: Nassau - We fell in love with Junkanoo Beach, hung out there for a few hours and bought a jerk chicken and pork combo plate from Junkanoo Jerk on the beach - the absolute best Jerk I've ever had; the chicken was great; and the pork deserves it's own Michelin star. Yeah, it's that good. The beach? It was touristy and real at the same time. We loved it. When we got tired of the crowds, we went over to the Hilton and checked in for the day which gave us access to their private beach; we had the place to ourselves. It was wonderful. We also did our own walking tour of Nassau and enjoyed it. Back on the ship around 6pm, we had dinner at chops and well if you read my prior review of Jamie's you have an idea of where I am going. First of all no dry aged steaks, second they sold us a couple of beaten choice steaks as prime. The mushroom soup was stunning, I loved it - the crab cake was good (but note: they used special crab not jumbo lump), the shrimp were off (old - mushy - ammonia; now they weren't bad like they would make you sick and frankly most people likely wouldn't notice, but we know food and shrimp in particular). Desserts weren't bad, but they really phoned it in. We ended our day sitting on the bow watching the passing ships and when the wind picked up we moved back our balcony which we loved.

The magic show was a nice retelling of a few tried and true tricks. But it was on the simplistic side although very well executed.

Day 3: CocoaCay - we took the glass bottom boat tour (my wife doesn't dive - so this was a great way for us to both share some reef time). We loved it, the tour operator was fantastic and made it all worthwhile. After the tour we had lunch (terrible jerk bbq) and laid out on the beach. It was nice, we enjoyed it. Back on the ship, we hit up Jamie's for dinner and loved the Lamb Chops, the shrimp pasta was terrible (and we knew better so shame on us). We also ordered 4 apps from the main dining room and 2 of their entrees in addition to the apps and entrees we ordered at Jamie's I'll stay positive and say the duck mousse was excellent.

Day 4: Sea Day - spent some time on our balcony and wandering outside around decks 3 and 4 (also up to 11 and went forward to watch the bridge). Peaceful and relaxing (we stayed away from the crowds)

Here's what I haven't articulated - the service from everyone, everywhere (except the main dining room) was amazing, fantastic and over the top. The crew was so wonderful we are 100% sold on another cruise in a few months.

Great value for money - really great value.

Internet (voom) worked ok, we had 4 devices connected concurrently and I was able to get some work one.

Disembarkation: Just as smooth and getting on - took us maybe 20 minutes total to walk off the ship (we did carry our own bags, were off the ship at 7am).

Do not under any circumstances go on the Hop On Hop Off bus tour. We did. One of the worst experiences we have ever had, so bad I have to call it bait and switch. I'll be curious to see if Royal Caribbean will cover me on it. It was horrible. So we are batting 50/50 right now on excursions (glass bottom boat on CocoaCay A+, Hop On Hop Off Bus F-}.

Getting around with my mother-in-law (who walks real slow or needs her chair) - this went great. She used room service for a couple of lunches and the ship really took care of her. She was very happy, therefore my wife was happy and thus I was happy.

Questions about this cruise? - Please feel free to ask, I'll answer anything I can - I'll argue you'll love it. Just understand the food at best isn't that good. The ingredients are mediocre and the kitchen leadership is lacking. Other than that - this cruise was a pretty perfect moment for us.
Bart Basi’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
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Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 4D 9362
Clean, neat and spacious.

I'm big - and by big I mean fat. The shower was great, even I had room to move around. We found the room spacious and the balcony well sized to relax.

Comfortably appointed, with more than enough room for my wife and move around and find the room

Our room attendant was Albertus, a very nice guy who did everything possible to make our trip special.
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins