Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review by jstackhouse
- Sail Date: November 2018
- Destination: Bahamas
- Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
We flew into Miami the night before and stayed at Doral Inn & Suites (do not recommend, we'll leave it at that). Took an Uber to the port. The port was way more hectic than Tampa, and the Uber driver didn't know where to go. Luckily, I recognized that big beautiful baby Mariner and told the driver to go towards it.
The wife accidentally brought her expired passport. After her parents emailed a copy of her birth certificate, we were allowed to board. A picture of the up-to-date passport would not suffice. If you don't have your passport, they need to see a birth certificate.
Once we had our documents in orders, it was pretty quick and easy to board. We arrived at port around noon and were on the ship before 2pm (with an hour passport delay).
I was very excited to explore the ship since I knew it was recently refurbished. The Mariner was stunning. While we were ported in Nassau next to a Disney ship, a Carnival ship, and an older Royal ship, our ship was the star. She was the biggest and most beautiful. I could definitely feel the difference being on this ship compared to the Rhapsody of the Seas, but the ship still never felt crowded.
We had a balcony room. We don't expect sprawling room in a cruise ship room. The size was as expected. The balcony was great to have, and it was big enough to have a couple friends over and enjoy drinks as we left port. Everything in the cabin worked fine. Water pressure was good, water was hot, etc.
As always, Chops was amazing. We had a package for 3 nights of specialty dining, and 2/3 were spent at Chops. Fresh, great quality, and great service. We had Italian the other night, which was worth trying. We ate in the main dining room the last night, which we were actually a little disappointed about - the service was slow. Maybe it was a busy night, or maybe we were at an awkward, forgotten about table since we were by the kitchen door. For breakfast and lunch we ate at the Windjammer. The Windjammer is always good to me for lunch - good variety and quality. It seems like Royal Caribbean has the same breakfast on every cruise at the Windjammer - need some breakfast variety.
Entertainment & Activities
The Mariner has plenty to do on it. The Flow rider, slides, pools. We were usually able to find room in a pool or jacuzzi somewhere on the ship. There's a scavenger hunt type game on one night that's geared towards adults - you definitely don't wanna miss that. It gets wild during and after. There was a magic show that opened up with this brilliant musical performance with people dancing and singing popular Queen songs - very entertaining and well done.
This was only my second cruise, but I am wondering if the service gets less enthusiastic as you get on bigger ships. Perhaps crews on smaller ships need to make up for their lack of shiny things by providing more outstanding service. The smaller ship I have in mind is the Rhapsody of the Seas. Regardless, the service was still top notch on the Mariner.
Ports and Excursions
This cruise, being only 4 nights, with one day of cruising at sea, probably isn't a good cruise for people seeking to do a lot of on shore excursions. It's better for getting some sun, relaxing, and having a drink.
After our first night, we woke up in Nassau, where we had a long, fun day (weren't due back to the ship until about 11pm). We met some fellow cruisers to hang out with, rode jet skis, chatted with the locals. Paid around $140 for an hour on the jet skis I believe (probably too much). An hour is way too long. You're tired after 20 minutes. Pay for 30 minutes.
COCO CAY: I loved this place. For me, it's what I want from the places like Nassau (clear water, nice beaches) but with alcohol and food covered by Royal Caribbean (assuming you have the drink package). There was still some construction visible on the island as we approached, but it's mostly out of view while you're on the island. The place was beautiful. Clean, pretty well organized, and the wild chickens and iguanas were a nice touch (yeah, chickens and giant lizards running around). All of the cabanas were booked up when we got there, but we were able to claim some beach chairs and rent umbrellas for $15 a piece. Wish we had more time to hang out here (had to be back on ship around 4 or 5pm).
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
NassauWe rented jet skis from a random vendor we met. There are plenty of people trying to sell you things as you get away from the ship. Probably would not rent the jet skis again - just bar hop and enjoy the beaches. Next time, I will consider going to Atlantis.View All 5,834 Nassau Cruise Port Reviews
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Perfect Day at CocoCayWe did not pay for any extra activities here, but loved it anyways. There are bars all over, and your drinks package covers your alcohol on the island. There is also food for you free of charge. Very excited for CocoCay to be finished the next time I go back.View All 1,103 Perfect Day at CocoCay Cruise Port Reviews
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