I just returned from my second cruise... things that stand out as being exceptional on this second cruise are the crew were exceptionally attentive, pleasant, and genuine. Particularly our room attendant Tangan (?) and our dinner servers Igede and Sanjay... that said, each staff person we encountered was wonderful. One of the drink attendents even remembered what we had chosen the day before, even though I'm certain he had served 100's of others in the 24 hour span between our meetings. The food in the dining room was excellent; perfectly cooked to order, plentiful, and beautifully presented. The windjammer cafe had good selections, although I was a bit surprised that the only cut fresh fruit available was pineapple, canteloupe, and watermelon. The Dog House brats were tasty. And, of course the ice cream was always a delight. I did order room service for one meal and it was unfortunately not appealing... it was the philly cheesesteak sandwich; the bun was tough enough that I couldn't bite through it and the fries were soggy... glad I tried it though so I knew to stay with the windjammer, doghouse, and the dining room.
This ship really had something for everyone with regards to activities.
A couple of areas that stood out as being something that will keep me from booking on the Mariner again, is a.) lack of shadey spots outside. Many cruises offer canopies covering lounge chairs on the deck above the pool... unfortunately the Mariner does not. THe only shady areas on deck 12 were tucked away from any kind of "activity" and were very minimal (maybe 20 total). b.) lack of interior comfortable seating areas for inclement weather days... we had a few cloudy/windy/rainy days for our at sea days, which made spending more than an hour or so outside difficult. There were very limited interior places for comfortable seating, and those that were available were exceptionally crowded. c.) no self serv drink stations (except for those who paid for the package with soda). To get water, lemonade, or juice, you had to go to the windjammer and ask a drink attendent to fill your bottle/glass, or go to a bar and request it from a bartender.