Fresh off of the boat and I wanted to write this before I forgot some details. I have cruised several times on different ship but prefer RCL so here goes.
I live in Merritt Island where I am about 10 miles from the port so I didn’t stay in any hotels. The cruise I just got off was the Mariner of the Sea departing on the 6 May and returning 10 May. My room was a balcony deck 6 room 6588.
This went very smooth and RCL did a great job despite of all of the Love Bugs that we had. These bugs were so thick that they got into everything and more. We went to Cruise Terminal 6 (CT6) after entering the building the line moved in a steady pace and we were out and on the ship within 15-20 minutes.
Now this was an experience, the cabin was a little smaller than I expected. When you walk into the cabin on your right was a walk-in closet directly across was the bathroom. The room had a pull-out couch which we didn’t use and a pullman bed from the top which we didn’t use also. And it had a desk and TV. Although it was small, we put our bags under the bed and in the closet. This is where it gets fun, the shower is very small and has a wand for the shower. If you need to lean over to wash the sand off your legs open the sliding door then lean over, this is how small it was. Women good luck with shaving.
I am going to break this down into four section. Main dining, Windjammer, throughout the ship and Specialty dining.
1. Main dining. This is subjected to each person how they liked the dining and their experience and the food. I thought the dining experience in the main dining was fine. We were seated in a table of 8 against the window as I requested. The company was fine. The food was very well prepared served hot. You had a very good selection each night. My only complaint was the Slow Roasted Prime Rib. This was very tough and over cooked. Overall, I can’t complain about the food.
2. Windjammer: I have been on the Mariner of the sea several years ago and I have to say that the changes were great. The new layout provided everyone access to any type of food that you want without standing in line. There were more than enough seats that you didn’t have to walk around looking for a seat. As far as taste goes you had a great variety to choose from and like any buffet you will pick and choose what you like. I used the buffet for breakfast, and lunch and found it very good for what I ate
3. Throughout the Ship: There are many different venues on the ship that serves food, from hot dogs to sandwich to hamburger and everyone favorite, unlimited soft serve ice-cream. I did not go into Johnny Rockets so I can’t speak about the food. One place we use a lot in the evening was the Boleros. Pizza and sandwich for late night way to go.
4. Specialty Dining: Ok I am going to use red typing here. We selected Chops Grill for my dining on Wednesday the 8th at 6:30 pm. This is the only thing that I can say is good is the correct time we were given and they were expecting us. DO NOT and say again DO NOT book your specialty dining at Chops. Chops is located on the 11 deck right next to Windjammer. The first thing you notice is that the tables have no tablecloths on them. Our table in the main dining room had very nice table cloth, the napkin was folded in thirds and stood up on our places to eat. The napkin in chops is if folded in a square and laid on your place mat which was a brunch mat, (woven bamboo strips) The service was nothing to shout about. They came to the table and ask about drinks and handed you the menu. Now this is where I got a little upset. The steaks that were listed were also on the main dining menu. If you looked at the bottom of the main dining room menu, you will see steaks listed there for a cost. This really got me upset. Why did I pay that price for a “Dining Experience” only to get the same steaks for $11.00-$13.00 off the main dining room menu? We selected the filet mignon and we selected the mash potato, cream spinach. This was a shared condiment and what was offered was bland and not worth eating, also I checked just to be sure I used my tablespoons to check the portions and sure enough one tablespoon per person. Both steaks were medium as requested and good. While we waited for the steaks, we were offered no bread or anything else other then our drinks. Despite the whole issue we did eat the steaks. By the way no tip.
5. Entertainment: This was ok. We went to three shows; ice rink and two headliner shows. The ice rink show was very good and nice to see previous world class ice skaters. The other shows were a juggler and magician. There something about cruise line’s booking juggler and magicians they all do it. Both were ok, I thought that they were both better stand up comic then juggler or magician.
6. Disembarkation: This was the easiest disembarkation that I have ever done on a cruise ship. We selected to take our own baggage off and we were off of the boat in 10-15 minutes. The only problem was that the ship was docked in CT1 and we had to take a bus to CT6 to get our car. RCL provided a bus and short of being crowded it was fine.
7. Coco Cay: What can I say but WOW!!!!! This private island is so worth it. When you get off of the boat your ready to relax by the pool or ocean. There motto is “Have a perfect day” and you can’t help but have one. Food was good and plenty to go around and a variety of food is offered. By the way all of the soft serve ice cream again you can eat. What you see in the advertisement is exactly what you will get. If anything, book this cruise for the island and prepare to have fun and a relaxing day.
In summary, overall the cruise is very good. RCL has an app that all cruiser should download. It is called “Royal” This app has everything you need for your cruise. It has a list of activity and what and where all activity is going on. The great part about the APP is it track your spending on your sail away card, so you can follow every day how much your spending. The only thing I wish it did was locater to show you where you are on the boat. This APP is a must. Don’t be confused this is NOT WIFI service this is only internal WIFI. I was happy that the boat has an “Adult” only section called the solarium and it is located at the very front of the ship. The flow rider was a hit with the kids, I on the other had watched. The round bouncy court still closed pending investigation on an accident that injured a person. I enjoyed that cruise that I am booking another one. I know that I go to the same island but there is something to be said about a boat that has a personality, this one did.
Absolutely Great will book another cruise just for this island