By Colleen McDaniel
Cruise Critic Senior Executive Editor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Seven Seas Mariner Entertainment & Activities

When you're talking about entertainment on Seven Seas Mariner, a primary area of focus is shore excursions, which are included in the initial cruise fares. Regent has done a solid job of developing a wide variety of excursions designed for passengers with different interests and physical abilities. Most take you to the heart of cities or historic centers. Options might include a walking tour or a wine tasting with minimal activity. These included excursions last anywhere from four to eight hours and are led by locals who speak English well. Passengers looking for a little something more can book for-fee excursions. These differ in that they're generally longer in duration, more private and include meals. Mariner passengers with mobility issues can easily determine which excursions work best for them, as the descriptions printed online and also in the paper version available in your cabin are accurate regarding the required level of activity.

Beyond excursions, activity onboard during the day includes options like needlepoint, ballroom dancing lessons, bocce tournaments and Mah Jongg. Mariner offers an afternoon tea at 4 p.m. each day in the Horizon Lounge on Deck 6, no matter the port schedule. It's a traditional option, where servers wearing white gloves bring you tea and wheel around a cart full of dessert options. Those who partake also can eat finger sandwiches, scones (with clotted cream) and fruit. Staff run teatime trivia at 4:30 p.m. each day.

At night, Constellation Theater, located on decks 5 and 6, offers production shows from cruise ship show specialist Jean Ann Ryan Productions. The shows feature talented singers and dancers, but are fairly conventional, with titles like "Film Flashback" (music from movies like "Dirty Dancing" and "Footloose") and "Cirque Rock 'N Roll" (a flashy acrobatic/dance show set to pop music). In addition to the production shows, entertainers might include ventriloquists, impersonators and tribute bands. (We saw an homage to the Fab Four.) Most shows take place at 9:30 p.m. and last 45 minutes, so passengers can go to bed early ahead of early-morning excursions or hit the lounges for drinking and dancing.

Most of the action takes place in either the Mariner Lounge on Deck 5, where you can get a quiet drink; the Stars Lounge or Horizon Lounge, both on Deck 6; or the Observation Lounge on Deck 12. The Horizon Lounge has a small dance floor and room for a full band; it was the most popular spot at night on our sailing. The Observation Lounge has a pianist and hosts games like "Name that Tune." Stars Lounge is the ship's lightly used dance club, and it hosts a late-night Jukester Jukebox disco, where passengers can pick their favorite music from 7,000 songs using a digital wall display.

Seven Seas Mariner also has a small casino, with about 50 slot machines and table games including black jack, poker, roulette and craps.

Seven Seas Mariner Public Rooms

Most of the public spaces and services on Mariner are located around the atrium on decks 5 and 6. This is where you'll find the future cruise sales space, destination services, reception and the concierge.

Passengers can read in the ample library on Deck 6 or play cards in the card room, also on Deck 6. Crew on the ship arrange games of bridge and Mah Jongg among passengers via an old-fashioned paper signup. A variety of board games (think Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble) is available for use during the cruise. A lightly used computer room, called, is available for passengers who want to surf the Internet or check email. It's relatively unnecessary, though, as the ship is wired for Wi-Fi, which is slow but reliable. Passengers who stay in Concierge Suites and above get free Wi-Fi, from 200 to 500 minutes, depending on the length of the cruise. Otherwise, passengers can purchase Wi-Fi at an a la carte rate of 99 cents a minute, a block of 200 minutes for $160 or unlimited use for $29.99 a day. (The unlimited rate must be purchased for the entire cruise.) Shopping is available on Deck 7, where cruisers can buy high-end jewelry and handbags, as well as souvenirs.

Small self-service launderettes are located on decks 8, 9 and 10. They are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and include free do-it-yourself laundry via energy-efficient washers and dryers. Detergent is included, but if you want dryer sheets, you'll have to bring them from home. The launderettes also feature clothes irons and ironing boards attached to timers, which shut them off automatically to reduce fire risk.

Seven Seas Mariner Spa & Fitness

The Canyon Ranch Spa, on Deck 7, is small, but with only 700 passengers onboard, it doesn't get crowded. Decorated with cream-colored marble and brown tiles, the spa is modern yet comfortable. A reception area serves as the spot for check in, and seating is provided there for those awaiting treatments, which include massages, facials, seaweed wraps and scrubs. A basic 50-minute Swedish-style massage starts at about $165, and prices go up from there.  

Treatments take place in one of six small treatment rooms, which are immediately adjacent to one another just off the waiting area. Despite the shared walls and proximity to a busy area, treatment areas are quiet and relaxing. Massages are excellent; therapists ask great questions to find out what each passenger wants, and there's no heavy product sell at the end.

Men's and women's locker rooms each include lockers, a changing area, showers, a steam room and sauna, and a bathroom. There is no common steam or relaxation room.

The spa includes a beauty salon, which provides manicures and pedicures, hairstyling, coloring and cutting, and beard and mustache trimming.

Next door to the spa is the ship's fitness center, which comprises a weight and cardio machine area and an aerobics studio. The weight and cardio machine area has treadmills, exercise bikes and ellipticals, as well as weight machines and an assortment of dumbbells (up to 50 pounds). The aerobics studio has plenty of equipment for stretching and ab work -- exercise balls, mats and foam rollers. It also is the spot where many of the workout classes take place. Class options include spinning, stretching, yoga, Pilates and weight training classes. All are included in the price of the cruise fare, though personnel encourage passengers to sign up for spinning, the most popular class onboard. Other general fitness classes, also included, take place on the pool deck and include one dubbed "Deck Challenge," which is no joke even for those who work out frequently. Other classes are aimed at all levels. The jogging track is located on Deck 12, though it's mostly used for walking. The space is wide, so joggers and walkers can comfortably coexist. Roughly eight laps make up a mile.

Other sports options on Deck 12 include a paddle tennis court, a putting green, two driving cages, a shuffleboard court and a bocce/croquet court.

The only pool on the ship is located on Deck 11, and it's flanked by two showers and three small hot tubs, each with a maximum bathing load of three (though five people easily fit). The pool itself is rarely crowded; most passengers seem content to sit in the padded loungers or sunbeds. Loungers in the shade can be difficult to come by midday, but otherwise, ample seating is available. There's a small smoking area on the starboard side of the pool deck.

Seven Seas Mariner For Kids

Like many luxury cruise ships, Seven Seas Mariner appeals mainly to sophisticated older adults.

However, RSSC has not been slow to notice growing demand for multigenerational travel as, increasingly, those adults -- many of them well-heeled retirees -- choose to spend their holidays enjoying quality time with grandchildren and their parents.

As such, children are now welcome on any sailing, though there are age restrictions.

The ship cannot accommodate infants younger than 1 year old and won't accept reservations from women who will be more than six months pregnant by the end of their cruise. Nor does the ship offer any in-cabin baby-sitting.

Older children can travel anytime at the relevant child fare, but realistically there's not much for them to do onboard outside of the summer months.

The main school holidays, however, are another matter; at that time, extra childcare staff are employed to run Club Mariner, a youth program designed to cater to three distinct age groups: 5 to 8, 9 to 12 and 13 to 17.

Activities -- which include dance parties, movie parties, scavenger hunts and challenges, scrapbooking, sports tournaments and arts and crafts lessons -- generally extend from June until late August and are carefully designed to appeal to each age group while keeping youngsters entertained and captivated. (That's generally good news for the adults onboard, whether or not they have youngsters in tow.)

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