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Overall, this was an excellent experience. Never in a million years did we expect to be cruising again so soon after our recent (January 2004) cruise to Tahiti. It seems impossible to believe that the experience on RSSC Paul Gauguin was surpassed by this one on the RSSC Mariner. We were very fortunate to have made life long friends aboard the Paul Gauguin last year and planned this cruise to the Panama Canal with those new friends. When they called us only months after returning from Tahiti to tell us about the "2 for 1" deal to Panama, we just couldn't say no. Given this most recent experience, we're dedicated cruisers (specifically, on RSSC) for life! In fact, we already began the process of booking our next cruise while on board the Mariner (more on that below). While the differences from our Tahiti cruise were many (location, length of time, size of ship, traveling companions, etc.), the similarities fell in the most important areas: Service, Service, Service!! We had an ongoing "contest" while on board the Mariner to see if there was anything the staff and/or crew would say "no" to. We found it, but only on the very last night (more below). The cabins were perfect in size and location (center/rear of the 7th deck on the Port side). Housekeeping missed a few steps, but were easily forgiven as they routinely took the time to "design" my PJ's into fun shapes every evening during turn down. The spacious bathroom, walk-in closet, balcony and "living area" were the perfect home away from home. More than once, we had all 6 of us in each of the cabins for drinks (brought our own blender and mixers!) and it was cozy, but comfortable. The most anticipated part of many cruises is probably the food. In this regard, we were not disappointed. In fact we found a Bread & Butter Pudding dessert to die for and figured out a way to make a standing order for it every night. The dining staff were among the warmest and most accommodating of any on the ship. They made it a point to get to know us and treated us with affection throughout our voyage. I'd skip the "fancy" restaurant (Signatures) next time only because it seemed a bit pretentious and wasn't the best food on board. However, we made it a point to visit each of the other restaurants regularly (including the Pool Bar & Grill). One of the few areas that fell clearly below the quality of that on the Paul Gauguin (IMHO) was the entertainment. There were a variety of entertainers, but none that held a candle to Sally on the PG. Fortunately, we spent most of our later evenings eating, drinking, gambling and sleeping! And, while the "formal" entertainment wasn't my favorite part of the cruise, we did enjoy several rounds of "Tea Time Trivia" in the Horizon Lounge. We were fortunate to have outstanding weather throughout our trip and enjoyed several exciting adventures while visiting various ports. Part of our group braved the "zip line" experience in Costa Rica and couldn't say enough good things about it. We all got dusty and dirty (in the most fun possible way) while riding ATV's in Huatulco, Mexico (lovely little town). The group discovered a new low in personal hygiene while riding the "Shot Over" boat in Acapulco. Even with the nasty smell, it was an experience not to be missed. And, best of all, was the ultimate experience of transiting through the Panama Canal. I'm not a "techie" or a history buff (my husband is both); however, this was an amazing experience. We were up at 4AM (not a common practice for us!) to begin the process of entering the Canal and stayed up far past dark to experience the passage through the Pacific locks. By far, this was the best part of the cruise experience. We became very fond of the sea days as they allowed us to take advantage of many "miscellaneous" amenities. For example, the ship has a wonderful little library containing a wide variety of books, video tapes, games and several computers with access to the internet (very slow and very expensive - but, it was nice to have access). There were also several guest speakers throughout the trip. One, in particular, (a cultural anthropologist) spoke at length on the history and current workings of the Canal. It was the perfect accompaniment to the transit experience. There were also (somewhat current) movies available in the cabins every day as well as a Bridge Tour and Galley Tour. While we are eager to sail again with RSSC, there was one small challenge in making this happen. When sailing on the Paul Gauguin, we were offered a "Pre-booking Discount Offer" whereby, for a small fixed amount per person ($200, I believe), we were able to lock in a 5% discount on a future RSSC cruise (to be used within 18 months). Unfortunately, this same offer was no longer available to us during our cruise on the Mariner. Apparently, it's necessary to "fake" book a cruise and later transfer the deposit onto the cruise you really want to take once you figure out what that is. As a business person, I see this as a ridiculous waste of time and resources. As a traveler, it is no less frustrating. The Cruise Consultant encouraged us to voice our concerns to the CEO (mconroy@rssc.com) and, of course, we will. One last tidbit covering an item mentioned above in regards to finding the "breaking point" of the staff/crew: On our last night in San Diego, the group decided to stay up late (we weren't scheduled to sail until 11PM) and hang out in the hot tub. As we hadn't used this facility until then, it came as a surprise to us that it "closed" at 10:00PM. While we were (very politely) asked to wrap it up, the gentlemen responsible for staying up to perform clean up duties was kind enough to grant us a 15 minute reprieve. The follow-on experience to this one was dragging our wet and robed (RSSC robes!) bodies up to the Observation Lounge where we attempted to order drinks (technically, only my husband was gutsy/foolish enough to enter in this state!). He was (again, very politely) escorted back out on to the deck where the bartender did, indeed, take our drink orders and deliver them back to us where we enjoyed them while sailing out of the San Diego harbor. I think that any one would agree we thoroughly stretched the reasonable bounds of excellent service!

Seven Seas Mariner - Pacific Coastal

Seven Seas Mariner Cruise Review by Nap2

Trip Details
Overall, this was an excellent experience. Never in a million years did we expect to be cruising again so soon after our recent (January 2004) cruise to Tahiti. It seems impossible to believe that the experience on RSSC Paul Gauguin was surpassed by this one on the RSSC Mariner.
We were very fortunate to have made life long friends aboard the Paul Gauguin last year and planned this cruise to the Panama Canal with those new friends. When they called us only months after returning from Tahiti to tell us about the "2 for 1" deal to Panama, we just couldn't say no.
Given this most recent experience, we're dedicated cruisers (specifically, on RSSC) for life! In fact, we already began the process of booking our next cruise while on board the Mariner (more on that below).
While the differences from our Tahiti cruise were many (location, length of time, size of ship, traveling companions, etc.), the similarities fell in the most important areas: Service, Service, Service!! We had an ongoing "contest" while on board the Mariner to see if there was anything the staff and/or crew would say "no" to. We found it, but only on the very last night (more below).
The cabins were perfect in size and location (center/rear of the 7th deck on the Port side). Housekeeping missed a few steps, but were easily forgiven as they routinely took the time to "design" my PJ's into fun shapes every evening during turn down. The spacious bathroom, walk-in closet, balcony and "living area" were the perfect home away from home. More than once, we had all 6 of us in each of the cabins for drinks (brought our own blender and mixers!) and it was cozy, but comfortable.
The most anticipated part of many cruises is probably the food. In this regard, we were not disappointed. In fact we found a Bread & Butter Pudding dessert to die for and figured out a way to make a standing order for it every night. The dining staff were among the warmest and most accommodating of any on the ship. They made it a point to get to know us and treated us with affection throughout our voyage. I'd skip the "fancy" restaurant (Signatures) next time only because it seemed a bit pretentious and wasn't the best food on board. However, we made it a point to visit each of the other restaurants regularly (including the Pool Bar & Grill).
One of the few areas that fell clearly below the quality of that on the Paul Gauguin (IMHO) was the entertainment. There were a variety of entertainers, but none that held a candle to Sally on the PG. Fortunately, we spent most of our later evenings eating, drinking, gambling and sleeping! And, while the "formal" entertainment wasn't my favorite part of the cruise, we did enjoy several rounds of "Tea Time Trivia" in the Horizon Lounge.
We were fortunate to have outstanding weather throughout our trip and enjoyed several exciting adventures while visiting various ports. Part of our group braved the "zip line" experience in Costa Rica and couldn't say enough good things about it. We all got dusty and dirty (in the most fun possible way) while riding ATV's in Huatulco, Mexico (lovely little town). The group discovered a new low in personal hygiene while riding the "Shot Over" boat in Acapulco. Even with the nasty smell, it was an experience not to be missed. And, best of all, was the ultimate experience of transiting through the Panama Canal. I'm not a "techie" or a history buff (my husband is both); however, this was an amazing experience. We were up at 4AM (not a common practice for us!) to begin the process of entering the Canal and stayed up far past dark to experience the passage through the Pacific locks. By far, this was the best part of the cruise experience.
We became very fond of the sea days as they allowed us to take advantage of many "miscellaneous" amenities. For example, the ship has a wonderful little library containing a wide variety of books, video tapes, games and several computers with access to the internet (very slow and very expensive - but, it was nice to have access). There were also several guest speakers throughout the trip. One, in particular, (a cultural anthropologist) spoke at length on the history and current workings of the Canal. It was the perfect accompaniment to the transit experience. There were also (somewhat current) movies available in the cabins every day as well as a Bridge Tour and Galley Tour.
While we are eager to sail again with RSSC, there was one small challenge in making this happen. When sailing on the Paul Gauguin, we were offered a "Pre-booking Discount Offer" whereby, for a small fixed amount per person ($200, I believe), we were able to lock in a 5% discount on a future RSSC cruise (to be used within 18 months). Unfortunately, this same offer was no longer available to us during our cruise on the Mariner. Apparently, it's necessary to "fake" book a cruise and later transfer the deposit onto the cruise you really want to take once you figure out what that is. As a business person, I see this as a ridiculous waste of time and resources. As a traveler, it is no less frustrating. The Cruise Consultant encouraged us to voice our concerns to the CEO (mconroy@rssc.com) and, of course, we will.
One last tidbit covering an item mentioned above in regards to finding the "breaking point" of the staff/crew: On our last night in San Diego, the group decided to stay up late (we weren't scheduled to sail until 11PM) and hang out in the hot tub. As we hadn't used this facility until then, it came as a surprise to us that it "closed" at 10:00PM. While we were (very politely) asked to wrap it up, the gentlemen responsible for staying up to perform clean up duties was kind enough to grant us a 15 minute reprieve. The follow-on experience to this one was dragging our wet and robed (RSSC robes!) bodies up to the Observation Lounge where we attempted to order drinks (technically, only my husband was gutsy/foolish enough to enter in this state!). He was (again, very politely) escorted back out on to the deck where the bartender did, indeed, take our drink orders and deliver them back to us where we enjoyed them while sailing out of the San Diego harbor. I think that any one would agree we thoroughly stretched the reasonable bounds of excellent service!
Nap2’s Full Rating Summary
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