This was my first time cruising, so had nothing to compare it to, but have since been on the Adventure of the Seas. I booked this reservation through MGM as a comp.
I prepaid the gratuities, which I much prefer. Unsure if I have an option to do that, or if it's just added on the bill now.
Ship: I thought it was gorgeous, well kept, nothing negative to say. It could have been the timing (late Oct, end of hurricane season, which I wanted), but the ship did not feel cramped or packed, except maybe once on the promenade, otherwise, it was really nice (esp now that I just went on a cruise in Feb that felt the opposite). I guess I'll have to figure out the best times to go with less people, as I much preferred this Oct sailing on the Mariner to the Feb sailing on the Adventure (but they are the same sized ship. I figured the Mariner must be bigger because of the space I felt i had)
Cabin: I got an ocean view room, I don't recall the location, but it was on level two, as I was afraid of sea sickness. I felt next to nothing in this room (especially compared to the 5th floor, and 4th and above on Adventure), and it was nice to have something to look at. I like lower floors midship, so I'm not feeling the ship as much.
Dining: 5* all the way. We did My Time dining on level 3. The food, and especially the service. We tipped every night, and the waiters came out with additional food they thought we'd like, which we very much appreciated! Like, we can technically get more food, but who wants to do that? Having them just bring the extra food was a delightful surprise.
Entertainment and Activities: We did not participate in one thing on-board this ship, even though we got the key. I also feel like the key benefits are not explained clarified very well, outside of the welcome letter. I did not understand debarkation at all, and feel like we were one of the last to leave the ship, as I thought the letter stating we could "leave anytime you please" meant it, but I now think it means, leave within certain times.
Service: Was great, minimal lines, room attendant and dining attendants were great.
Ports and Shore Excursions: Nassau -- we booked outside of Royal, to get an activity that wasn't offered (and to get it cheaper). It was a bit more difficult finding the meeting location (since it wasn't at port), but nothing terrible, and I'm sure we paid way less than the people who booked through other ships.
Coco Cay -- it's a big theme park, which is to be expected I suppose. It was nice to have free food on the island, and to be able to use my beverage cup (bought soda package). My friend loved it, I thought it was just ok. We snorkeled and parasailed. I could not get my mask on correctly, and a guy tried to help, and i even switched masks, but I eventually gave up because my eyes hurt from the salt water. When I could see, it was great, and the guy was clearly trying to help me/keep me entertained. Parasailing was excellent, my first time. Nothing to note, it was fun.
Just traveled with my friend, I would go on that ship again, maybe different ports, as I said, I'm not a huge fan of the private islands.