1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Royal Caribbean International
  4. Royal Caribbean International Cruise Reviews

517 Royal Caribbean Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

This will be a long review because I want to include as much as I can for those of you traveling with tweens and/or teens - that was the info. I had the hardest time finding reviews for when I searched and planned our cruise. My husband ... Read More
This will be a long review because I want to include as much as I can for those of you traveling with tweens and/or teens - that was the info. I had the hardest time finding reviews for when I searched and planned our cruise. My husband and I went on NCL for our honeymoon an eternity ago and loved it for the romance and food. In 2005 we went on a RCI cruise with our whole family minus children and had a blast so we ultimately felt that Royal Caribbean would be the smart choice to take our kids on their first cruise. We also were looking to cruise out of LA to save air fare over Christmas. ACCOMODATIONS NITE BEFORE BOARDING: We drove from Vegas on the 18th and stayed the nite at Fort McArthur. If you are military I HIGHLY suggest doing this - very very nice accomodations right near the port AND we were able to park our car on base for free while we were cruising. The cab to the port was $15 each way and the hotel for the night was $50. That was a huge savings on parking! DAY OF BOARDING: Everything went really smoothly - we arrived around noon/1230 and there was minimal wait time. We pre-registered online and printed the luggage info (too late for tags in the mail) WARNING!!! when registering online OR trying to buy on board ship credit for someone as a gift - it has to be done a certain amount of time before boarding AND they do not include weekend days in this time frame so be aware of this - some family members tried to give ship credit for our kids as a gift and almost weren't able to do so because of time limit - it did get done thanks to some great management at Royal Caribbean though and the kids loved that they had their own money to spend on board for gifts or Johnny Rockets or ice cream. Boarding was incredibly fast and smooth. We got on board and were notified that rooms would be ready by 1:00 and they were. The ship was decorated for Christmas - a beautiful huge tree on the Promenade and other decorations. They did acknowledge Hannukah as well. ROOMS: We got a GREAT deal thru Costco travel - will definitely book thru them again - decided to go for two connecting Promenade view rooms on the 8th floor and this was absolutely perfect for us. The rooms were in great condition and very clean - our cabin attendant was amazing and friendly - yes some people will say the ship looks a bit aged BUT wouldn't you if you had upwards of 3,000 people roaming around each week? Every part of the ship was clean and we never came across anything that was broken or needed repair. FOOD: Yes there was a ton of food! We have noticed that quality has gone down slightly over the years. There is still a lot of it and most of it was amazing - some of it was only ok - and some of it was not worth the extra calories but we ate it anyway! I think the quality issue is due to the free time dining. It must be incredibly hard to have food ready constantly and keep up quality over a four hour period especially when you don't know how many people will be coming to dinner. We went traditional and had the late seating - this was perfect for our busy port days but I do feel we missed a lot by sitting at dinner from 830 to 10. I think the 6:00 seating would have been too early tho. We still loved getting to know our servers rather than having random ones each nite with the my time dining. It's a tough choice to make - decide on that based on your port of call plans and your preference of service. A couple of the nites our kids perfered to go and eat at Johnny Rockets or the Cafe with friends - fine with us we had date nites! All of the appetizers were worth the calories - the kids even loved the escargot! Every beef dish we had was melt in your mouth incredible - the seafood was hit or miss - not as good as on the east coast I think. ALL of the deserts were so-so. For some reason they were not worth the extra calories. The BEST dessert was the brownie at the cafe that is open 24hrs!!! In the past we ate at Jade and it was fabulous but we didn't ever make it this time so can't comment. The kids used Johnny Rockets and loved the freedom of going themselves and hanging out with friends. It was a $5 cover when you enter then as much food as you want. The 24 hr cafe was awesome for sandwiches,pizza, cookies, brownies, water, and other treats. Room service was a must do for early ports of call - woke us up on time and all you have to do is tip! We ate lunch at Windjammer unless we were in port. Food is buffet food with some shining stars = to die for french fries and good burgers - great salad bar - had a really good salmon burger - good but basic buffet fare. Never used the extra restaurants. KIDS/TEENS CLUBS: the big question I couldn't find the answer to is how they divide the kids. On this trip our son had to stay in the younger group at age 10 but some kids that were close to 12 were allowed to go to the next group up if they had bros/sisters or cousins in the higher group- parents just asked and it was allowed. For the 12-14 they had a hang out called the Living Room and weren't allowed into the older group in Fuel. Our daughter was 14(a month from 15) and she was allowed to hang with the older kids in Fuel and participate in their activities. As far as the whole age restriction thing - I think it depends on the group of kids on board - how many there are in each group and who is running the activities. Our son was ten-almost eleven at the time of cruise and he liked some of the kids club activities but felt most were too young for him (coloring and craft activities and such were too young for him but some of the sports games or group games were fun). Due to his age we let him sign himself in and out of the club so he could come and go and not feel like he was in school or daycare. He liked some games and activities and loved the staff but felt most activities were too juvenile for him. That is the only complaint for his age group - I wish they had more cross-over tween activities for his age. He mostly roamed the ship with friends he made or hung out in the arcade using his gift money. He loved feeling grown up going into Johnny Rockets by himself and ordering his food. He did the rock wall with dad and loved that. Our daughter was 14 almost 15 and LOVED the teen hang outs and activities. They had scavenger hunts, dances, games, WII tournaments, closed down the nite club one nite and had it open just for the teens - they had sports activities (she's way into sports and loved all of that) She made friends immediately and is still in touch with them on FB. They went to the movies, ice skating, went to see the ice shows (which were a must-do) they even made snow for them one nite out on deck so they had a snowball fight. They met for snacks in the 24hr cafe or lunch in windjammer and hung out in Johnny Rockets. They all had fun sneaking around after curfew (1am) and hangin out in each other's rooms (in groups) Basically, she didn't want to leave!!! We did get the soda pass for both kids and that is definitely a smart way to go - makes it easy for them to get drinks if you're not around and saves you money. If you sign up the first day - you get a free coke tumbler and save 15% on each soda package. If I think of anything extra I will try to modify post but basically the Mariner was an awesome ship for tweens/teens! SHIP ACTIVITIES/SHOWS: Well- we tried to do everything and still didn't do or see all that we wanted to on board! Caught the end of an ice show and wish I'd seen them all because it was the most impressive thing I've seen on a ship. The comedian was way funny - Charo did a show but I missed that one. Basically, there is something every minute of every day. For awesome strong drinks - the bartender at the Champagne bar was the best - they have hor'deurvs in the evening and you can get any drink there not just champagne. We thought the most beautiful part of the ship was Ellingtons - you could sit there and have a drink day or nite and enjoy the views of the ship and sea. Right next door is the sports bar - had fun watching all the LA fans come in and get mad cause they couldn't watch the game on the 25th (apparently RCI doens't have the rights to show ABC or something like that) So, if ur an LA fan or your team is playin on Christmas day - be ready - you might not be able to see the game! We had a fun family tournament playing shuffleboard - that was actually one of the fun highlights of the trip! WEATHER: Okay this was December 19-26 and it was cold! It was cold and raining the day we left port and stayed rainy all that day. Next day at sea was warmer with no rain but still cold at nite. I was completing a paper that day so was mostly inside (if the stranger who helped me turn it in online reads this - thank you thank you thank you - I got an A on the paper and as a final class grade - you saved my day!!!) the internet onboard is another story!!! Weather in all ports was sunny - chilly in the morning warming up in the afternoon - pretty warm - then chilly to cold when the sun went down. The warmest day was in Puerto Vallarta. Definitely bring jackets/hoodies and pants for nite time and mornings. Those of you from Michigan might have thought it was warm but I was cold most of the time unless we were in port. The hot tubs were always in use and crowded (nite was the best time to use them cause they were virtually empty) It was warm enough to swim in the pools during the day at port and sometimes at sea - again it depends on your cold tolerance - some kids were swimming when it was freezing out and raining. Course - run to any bar onboard for a shot of tequila and u'll warm up fast! INTERNET: I'm not a techie but is there really no way to get better internet at sea? way too expensive and computers were dinosaur slow. Tried hooking my laptop up to the internet to turn in my final paper for class and couldn't connect. An incredibly sweet gentleman next to me had the same trouble for four hours and finally connected - he let me use his connection to turn in my paper. Really - DON'T plan on using the net a lot unless it's necessary cause it was a painful and expensive process! this was the only true negative on the trip SPA: well - just don't do it. the staff was very nice and informative but disorganized and there was a communication barrier with my massage therapist - did a good enough job but I think I didn't get the basic swedish massage I asked for because I was charged more and the spa waiting room was the only OLD looking part of the ship. For how much I paid the service and facility should have been much nicer. I wouldn't waste money here for a massage - save it for when you get home or right before you leave. PORTS OF CALL: After taking the trip we loved the itinerary - with two days at sea at the end for relaxing. WARNING- ALWAYS CHECK THE TIME DIFFERENCE IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO AN EXCURSION! SOME PORTS ARE AN HOUR DIFFERENCE AND SOME ARE TWO HOUR DIFFERENCE - we almost missed our PV tour because of the two hour difference! Also please remember you are not in America - yes other places are less developed and bargaining, begging, pressure sales and tipping are seen as natural- it is a way of life in a tourist area so be prepared to politely say no if approached by merchants - they will politely go away if you give a firm yet polite no. Also, if you are taking a taxi or doing another transaction make sure you agree on a price BEFORE you get in the taxi or buy the item - avoid confusion and make sure you don't pay more than you want to. CABO: We love Cabo! We stayed there at Fiesta Americana for a week and loved it so were excited to come back on the cruise. Since we had shopped and done beaches already - we decided to do ATV's on Migrino Beach and had a blast!!! Would for sure do it again if we are there again. First time riders for me, daughter and son. He was able to drive his own (with semishift) The trip to the beach was filled with big hills but once you got to the beach it was free roam and you could go full out - awesome is all I can say - fun fun fun. Booked it online on my own (you will pay double doing it thru the cruise) thru Cabo San Lucas Tours. They pick you up just off the dock and bring you back at the end. Once there you will have the option of giving your credit card for insurance or paying an extra $10 per person for insurance. It feels a bit like a scam but we paid the extra $40 and in the end felt it was worth it - people ran into us (small bumps not big crashes) and one guy went all Evel Knievel and broke his handle bar- they charged his dad $450.00 for the damage - so the extra $40 was smart in our eyes. We were back early enough to have a late lunch in Cabo and do a little shopping before returning to ship - we felt sorry for people on another ship - they had to leave way too early - we felt there was ample time in Cabo and were happy with the itenerary. MAZATLAN: Well - if we had stayed near the port I would have not liked Mazatlan at all. The area near the port is a bit ugly - but other areas are redeeming. We chose to ride horses because my daughter and I luv riding. We booked with Randi's Happy Horses directly online. She is very prompt responding to e mail. Cash only - so account for that before you go. Also custumary to tip the guides so have cash for that and food/shopping. We had a great time on very well behaved horses with great guides. It was just the 4 of us and 2 guides riding on the beach. We could gallop if we wanted. Took some great pics then headed back to Victor's for amazing food and drinks and some beach time (tooks suits and towels with us in backpacks). The beach was warm but the water was too cold for me although some people were swimming. All of this is on Stone Island. If horses are your thing - for sure look up Randi's Happy Horses. If horses aren't your thing I would still recommend taking a taxi to the water taxi for Stone Island - get a ticket for the water taxi- once across hop another ride to the beach - there are restaurants all up and down right on the beach but I would highly recommend Victor's. Oh - a bit of a warning about bathrooms for the women - a lot of them aren't able to flush paper so you have to put the paper in a provided waste basket - uh just be ready for that - it was the same in remote areas of PV also. It wasn't that bad - just awkward. If you don't find an excursion in Mazatlan that suits you - it might be good to plan to stay on board and enjoy the pools in the warm weather. PUERTO VALLARTA: Talk about a pretty place! Very Americanized close to the docks. The shopping area is amazing - on the beach with huge sand sculptures, tons of art and statues and beautiful shops. Also had those flying performer guys that drop off the big pole and spin around it on long ropes and this guy who balanced huge rocks on top of each other - total festival type atmosphere. We chose to go do the zip lines thru Los Veranos. WOW!!! would for sure do this again in PV and will try it in other places. Warning again about the time difference - here it was 2 hours difference from ship - so be aware of that no matter what you do! We took a taxi for $15 to the Disco (closest to the dock) and waited there for our ride to Los Veranos. Ours was an open truck up to the top of the mountain and it was a cold ride - definitely pack a jacket for that ride. Absolutely beautiful drive tho! All of the guys at Los Veranos are funny and made the whole excursion more than worth it! I am not in the best of shape and had to pause a few times climbing some of the stairs to a couple of the zip lines but all in all a pretty easy to do - and well worth it to see everyone flying thru the air. The guys are crazy and would hop on with you with the camera and film you and encourage you to go upside down - it was crazy fun! Bought the DVD after for $40 bucks- well worth it. After we had amazing food and drinks at their restaurant next to the river. You can swim so bring a suit if you want - they have a water slide and everything! The kids also had fun feeding yogurt to the monkeys they have. Definitely well worth it - book thru them not the ship - again you'll pay more thru the ship. After we were done the driver was nice enough to drop us in the shopping district (saved us some taxi money) There is the flea market a couple of blocks off the beach where you can find great cheaper souviniers or you can go straight to the shopping at the beach. Taxi back to the dock from the shopping was $15 - went back and got cleaned up and went to dinner! We loved our time in PV! DISEMBARKATION: We chose to take our own luggage off instead of leaving it out the nite before. It was simple and really quick - left our rooms at 8:15 am and just walked right off the ship and grabbed a taxi back to the AF base and got in our car for the ride home! We're already planning our next cruise with RCI!!! I hope this review helps you plan your trip - Happy Cruising!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
First cruise, pretty disappointed. The ship itself was great, very impressive. For a first time cruising, it was more than expected from a size, features, and looks perspective. The top deck was really cool as well. I think now ... Read More
First cruise, pretty disappointed. The ship itself was great, very impressive. For a first time cruising, it was more than expected from a size, features, and looks perspective. The top deck was really cool as well. I think now that the first cruise novelty has worn though, I'd be uniterested if I cruised on it again, but for a newbie it was different, like going to a new resort or country. Food was truly disappointing, no better than a meal at some senior citizen buffet. I was completely suprised by the lack of seafood on a cruise ship, went against everything I had heard. The navigator has buffets open for breakfast and lunch, or a sitdown option, but around these two timeframes only, otherwise you have to go to a small cafe for something to eat. The cruise was 4 nights, so 4 formal sitdown dinners. The first two nights, dinner was pretty good. so/so Prime Rib and really good Filet on the dress night. The 3rd was leg of lamb that was ok, and the 4th was a fried fatty strip steak, very similar to a steak that you get with a Steak and Eggs breakfast at a coney. All the appetizers, sides, and dessert were buffet quality at best. Desserts in general sucked to be honest. We asked for a table for 2, didn't get it, had to request it, so we got stuck in the corner. Didn't help the experience, but dinner with 6 strangers 4 nights in a row, not sure I would've enjoyed it more. You could pay a $20 or $30 upcharge to get better dinning which was garbage that they even offered that IMO. Not only pay pass on free dinner, but then pay more on top? Seriously? The dinner service was great, very friendly, other areas were too. I did get kinda sick of hearing about filling out surveys for everything though, but they did do a good job I thought, very pleasent people. A tip, check out the dinner buffet, than go check out the sitdown menu, might like the buffet better. They had some sushi one night, wish we would've just ate that. The entertainment was dumb. We're mid 30's and would not have paid to see one of the shows or entertainment the ship had, lots of bad lip synch and dancing. The comedy show was really bad, literally it was an hour of 1 line jokes my grandpa would tell, no stories, no routine, just awful. One positive was the ice show, that was pretty good, they had a guest performer, she was really good, wouldn't have gone otherwise, but that I enjoyed. Drinks were reasonable I guess. Some bartenders made them strong, others weak. I heard there would be daily specials, I never heard, saw, or were offered any. We had a cabin at the front of the ship, so ours was a bit bigger than most, great cabin to have. On the way home, there was some motion in the room, but no a deterent to having the extra room and view in my opinion. They had lots of bathrooms throughout the ship, but by the end, 30% were out of order, sometimes I had to walk up or down a few floors to get to one. The fitness center was great, lots of machines, no wait, top of ship, great view. The only other gripe, there were lots of American workers, and we were scooped from an American Port, why not have an American talk on the mics? It was hard to understand half of what was being said on the ship. Another tip, have room to buy duty free alcohol on the ship and bring it home with you. Incredible deal, but I had no room to bring it on the plane with me. My only regret! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Well since the snow is now melting here in Seattle I am coming out of my shock and figure I will out a review together. Marie and I had the joy of sailing to the Mexican Riviera on the Mariner last week. We signed up for this cruise about ... Read More
Well since the snow is now melting here in Seattle I am coming out of my shock and figure I will out a review together. Marie and I had the joy of sailing to the Mexican Riviera on the Mariner last week. We signed up for this cruise about 5 weeks prior which for me is the same as last minute. I am the type of person that like to spend months planning out a vacation so of course I was in utter panic when I realized I only had about 40 days to set up everything. Powering through the first weekend I managed to get arranged airfare (even used a companion coupon for Marie), ground transportation back and forth to the ship, tours in two ports and Chops reservations. Blood pressure dropped considerably by Monday. We decided to fly to LA same day of the cruise, I didn't think it was too much of a gamble since it was a 2½ hour direct flight, landing about 10:30 am. We actually arrived about 20 minutes early and after collecting bags headed to the ship via Super Shuttle. The driver was nice enough to point out to us where to go to get our return ride when we arrived back to LA. We handed our bags off to a porter who actually seemed surprise when I handed him a tip. Guess I could have kept that one in my pocket. Boarding took all of 10 minutes; the longest part was waiting in line to get our pictures taken for the sea pass. We did a stroll down the promenade then headed up to Windjammer for some lunch. Now I have seen people on CC rave about the honey stung chicken that is available of sail away day. Well I am now 0 for 2 when it comes to the chicken. Our first cruise it was dry and tasteless, this cruise it was not even offered. So I am giving up on that. Food in the Windjammer was what I remembered in our first cruise, it has its highlights and lowlights (is lowlight a word?). So one thing Marie and I were looking forward to this time was the sail away. One our first cruise the ship left Barcelona at 7pm and we had the 6:30 seating for dinner. So our view was from the dining room window. We were forewarned to wear a jacket because it may be southern California but it was November. We grabbed a couple of drinks, something they called a Miami Vice, I think it was a combination pina colada and daiquiri with a whole lot of rum added. In fact the waiter came by twice with the rum bottle and topped off the glasses twice. That got the party started. It was sunset when the ship departed which made for a beautiful view. We had a great time, Marie got in a little dancing before it was time to run down to the dining room for dinner and our first meet with our tablemates. For dining we were on deck 4 which is called Top Hat and Tails. We had a table for 6 next to the port side window. The two couple we shared the table with were John and Diana from Pennsylvania plus Jack and Margarite (sp) from Newfoundland. The cruise was a joy spending our evening meal with them, talking about our parts of the world and reliving what we did in the ports or on the ship. I have heard stories of miserable tablemates making dinner a challenge but we have batted a thousand so far. That evening the show was a comedian name Carl Banks that a number of funny jokes about shipboard life, in particular about the shower and toilet. I would add that they should hang a sign in the cabin bathroom that says "caution, you may experience minor hearing loss after flushing". Ours was a little on the loud side this time. The first day was spent at sea and my plan was lounging and reading. Marie had other ideas we compromised, I lounged and she explored and found ways to have fun. A little shopping hiking and line dancing for her, lounging for me. That worked. We did ht the Meet and Mingle which was a joy to put face to the names of the people we had been chatting with online. We had arrange a grab bag swap, Marie and I gave smoked salmon and Starbucks (we are from Seattle can you tell?). The M&M was fun; they had a drawing for a few prizes (I won a RCCL 64mg memory stick). That evening was the first formal night. I decided instead of renting an ill fitting tux from the ship I would bring a sports coat and a couple ties. It was much more comfortable and fit in when those around us. I was able to enjoy some snails as a starter to the meal (two orders). Guess the main course was not too remarkable as I had to look it up (filet of beef).The evening's show was a comedy act again so I was hesitant. But it was well worth it, a Vegas act that was a couple of brothers from Argentina (I think) Mario & Daniel. They were better than the guy the previous night. The next day was Cabo San Lucas. Other than a couple hours in Tijuana we have never been to Mexico. We decided to just spend the day walking around the town, taking in the sights, shop, eat, drink, all the required things for a fun day. We were warned that once you get off the tender boat there would be a wave of people wanting to sell souvenirs, tours, etc. There was, but to be honest we have seen much worse. The people hawking their wares never got in our way and were rather polite in their approach. Nothing high pressure at all. It was a beautiful day in Cabo, low 80s calm winds, just what you want in mid November. First thing Marie bought was a hat to keep the sun out of her eyes (I brought mine). We wandered a few hours, comparing prices and just making it a leisure day. Marie found Hard Rock Cafe where she could buy her jacket. I think her goal is to get one in every country they are located. Good luck. There was a row of little restaurants along the water so we stopped in the one that had the most customers, not the best reason but what the heck we were on vacation so no need for major decisions. It was shrimp ceviche and fish tacos that were delicious. Margaritas for Marie and dollar Coronas for me made for a tasty relaxing lunch. A quiet ride back to the ship and a great port visit was over for us. The show this evening was the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. We saw similar shows on the last cruise. To be honest, these are shows are entertaining but not memorable. Still a fun way to spend part of the evening. I forgot to mention that Marie has been hitting the casino slot machines each night. On a $20 a night budget she has been doing well on the penny and two penny slots. The twenty bucks has been lasting her about an hour even with me stopping by a pilfering a few of her coins now and then. So this evening about 11:30 there was going to be dancing under the stars and a buffet (like I need more food). Sounded like a great way to end a fabulous day. Well after the show we made the mistake of stopping by the room to "rest" for a half hour. Yeah, we were pretty much snoozing by 11:30, good intentions. The next day was a visit to Mazatlan and a tour with the famous Mazatlan Frank. We read about him on CC and there was nothing but good reviews so we figured we would give him a shot. We were not disappointed as he took us to all parts of Mazatlan in our 5 hours with him. Cliff divers, a walking tour in Old Mazatlan, a drive through the golden zone, shopping opportunities and a shrimp & lobster lunch at a beachside restaurant. Great fun for 40 bucks. That evening we had reservations at Chops Grille. We tried Portofino on our last cruise and really liked it so we decided to give Chops a try. No disappointment here, just steaks that melt in your mouth, shrimp and crab for starters and really decadent desserts we could not finish. It was also nice to have one dinner for two with a little extra personalized service. This evening we also decided to go to the Love & Marriage show, one of many things we missed last cruise. We wanted to get a good seat so we showed up early. Bingo was about to start (guess we were really early) so we decided to play, no winners here. The L&M show was fun, had a couple married 57 years, one married 5 days and another in between. Was like watching the old Newlywed game on TV, plenty of embarrassing responses to the questions, good fun. Last port visit was Puerto Vallarta and here we decided to use the ship's 4 hour city and shopping tour. What a waste. There was 20 minute stop downtown where the guide showed a few statues and a quick walk through a cathedral. Then there was a 30 shopping stop at some RCCL sponsored jewelry stores (we snuck across the street and bought painted tiles). After that it was a drive 16 miles south for a 3 minute stop to take a picture of the beach where John Houston filmed Night of the Iguana. Then it was back on the bus to drive all the way back into town to stop at a beachside restaurant for a 30 minutes drink/food break (the margaritas and shrimp were awesome). I quick stop at some more ship sponsored store and then it was back to the ship. I guess I should not have expected much for $26 each. The last stop Marie was feeling the margaritas and did some serious bargaining so it was not a total loss. We heard a lot about the town form the guide as we drove around, it just seemed like we did not see a lot of the town. Don't remember what dinner; I think it was the catch of the day (cod). That evening the headliner show was the Coasters. Great fun hearing all those old rock n roll songs, Charlie Brown, Yakety Yak, Poison Ivy. The 70s dancing in the street on the Royal Promenade later that evening was fun as well. Some passengers from I think Utah dressed up in the Village People outfits and did a rousing version of YMCA that got everybody moving. When the dancing started we were already in our usual spot at the Cafe Promenade so we were front and center for the dancing. Every evening after the evening show we headed to the cafe for the tasty sandwiches and cookies. Eating again at 10 in the evening was a habit we broke quick after getting back home. The next day was at sea and heading north. First thing that morning there was a medical emergency so we actually pulled in to the harbor at Cabo to let someone off. I was tantalizing to see the beaches so close but it was a quick turnaround and we were soon back at sea. Late morning there was a walk for the Make a Wish Foundation. So Marie bought one of the tee shirts for the fundraiser and participated in the 5 laps with other passengers and many of the crew. I found a lounge chair to park my rear in and cheer her on as she walked by. In the afternoon there was the international belly flop competition by the pool. I found a vantage point the next deck up to take pictures while Marie edged her way poolside. Lots of fun as we all got to participate in the scoring. It really was an international competition as the guy that won was from Scotland. We had met him earlier in the cruise, we shared a breakfast table with him and his parents, his name was Michael I think. The rest of the day was relaxing in the sun since we were pretty sure it would be too chilly tomorrow. That night was the second formal night and lobster for dinner. The wait staff appears to be responsible for more tables this time and was scrambling around a lot throughout the week. But our waiter Ramil still made sure to come around to all of us that ordered lobster and de-shelled them for us. I figure I will take a few minutes at this point to talk about our wait staff. We had Ramil from the Philippines for our waiter and Luis from Brazil for assistant waiter. They did well but don't expect them to vary too far from the menu. Early on evening I asked Ramil about getting a cheese plate. I know it was not on the menu but come on, it's not that difficult to put some cheese on a plate. He gave me updates two or three times through the meal about the progress (the idea was to have it as a starter but I kept silent) but by meal's end it never did arrive. I figured he may try to make up for it the next night but nope, not a word or slice. One of our tablemates had ice tea every night and had to ask for it every night, and for refills on occasion. Last cruise I had asked for ice tea the first night and every night after that a glass arrived shortly after I sat down. I think Luis was kind of new at his job so I will cut him some slack when we had to ask for bread a couple times. But Ramil was an 11 year veteran. One thing he was good at was reminding us on two different night to be sure and fill out the survey and please check the 'excellent' boxes on the survey as 'good' is frown on by management. Well I give high marks if I see service worthy of high marks, and I don't think I saw that this cruise. So that night was the Quest game, something we had also missed last cruise. I will not go into details for those who have not yet experience it, but I will say it met all expectations. Funny, naughty and plenty of good clean fun. Next day we were also at sea and as expected it was too cold to hang out on deck. So I got in some serious reading, Marie did some window shopping on the promenade and we started packing for the return home. We signed up for the valet baggage service. This was well worth the extra $20 a bag (we each only had one bag to check). They delivered special luggage tags to the room and our boarding passes for our flight the next day. All we had to do was get the bags in the hall that night and the next time we saw them was on the luggage carousel in the Seattle airport. It was so sweet not having to hump those bags from the terminal to our ground transportation and then from there into the airport. I figure you spend as much as you do for a cruise and airfare, any extra $40 for that convenience was worth it. The last night there was another parade on the promenade, an island theme this time. It amazes me how much enthusiasm the staff puts into these activities. The do those same parades week in and week out, probably could do them in their sleep. But they still come across as enjoying the time, maybe many of them still are. All I know is it was fun for us, well done. Disembarking the ship was delayed about an hour, some issue with the express customers. That was ok as it left us with only a 30 minute wait in the airport once we got to the gate. Flight was uneventful but as we landed in Seattle we saw snowflakes falling. Sad ending to what was a really great cruise. So far we are two for two cruising with Royal Caribbean. It will be another 18 months before head out again, this time to the eastern Mediterranean. Looking forward to doing it again. Thanks for hanging with me on this review. Bill Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
So we had just finished a couple of frenetic weeks in the States, seeing and doing lots of different things. We had a choice between some time in Hawaii or a short cruise. I convinced my husband that a short cruise would be an excellent ... Read More
So we had just finished a couple of frenetic weeks in the States, seeing and doing lots of different things. We had a choice between some time in Hawaii or a short cruise. I convinced my husband that a short cruise would be an excellent way to relax before we went back to work. We booked the cruise through our local travel agents, we thought by booking a promenade room we would have a slightly larger room with a lovely window and we would be able to catch up on sleep and recharge. Upon arrival we were disturbed by the noise outside our window - on the promenade outside. We couldn't sleep because of the thudding of the bass speakers directly outside our window... I went down to the promenade and was told it should be finished soon... It really got loud when they held the parade in the promenade... The noise stopped just after midnight and started again at 8am! We asked if we could up/down grade our room to escape the noise and we were told that there were no vacancies, and that there was nothing they could do. We were also told that our travel agent should have known and told us it would be noisy - which is ridiculous - how would a travel agent in Australia know how noisy specific cabins are on a ship in the USA? There should be a warning when you go to book a promenade room, even a clause that you need to signoff on stating that the room will be noisy. We spoke with staff on several occasions and were totally fobbed off. The constant bad music/parades/announcements from the promenade made our cabin horrible to stay in. It was really disapointing. The icing on the cake was the final night, the parade went until 1am - even though we had to be up at 6am to clear immigration/customs (because we weren't from the USA). Apart from the lack of sleep, it took forever to clear the government red tape and when we finally got off the ship, the tour of LA that we had booked had left without us, even though we were told by the Explorations! people that the tour would not leave without us. When we asked the guy looking after buses for help he gave us a phone number to call. After calling the number and being put on hold for 20 mins we were told that we need to contact our travel agent in Australia for reimbursement. We told them that we had booked the tour on board the Mariner - they did not care. So, in summary, we got no sleep and lost $100 on a tour that left without us because we had to go through immigration and customs... I would not recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to get some rest and relaxation - unless they are deaf... Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
My family went on our first cruise the week of November 21, 2010 on Mariner of the Seas, visiting Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerta Vallarta. I was in a balcony stateroom with my husband and three year old daughter. My teenaged daughter ... Read More
My family went on our first cruise the week of November 21, 2010 on Mariner of the Seas, visiting Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerta Vallarta. I was in a balcony stateroom with my husband and three year old daughter. My teenaged daughter was in an inside stateroom (with a window overlooking the promenade) with my mother in law. MONDAY: (first full day at sea) My teenaged daughter got sick the first day and was diagnosed with a kidney infection. I was very impressed with the medical facility on the ship (I had occasion to make a lot of use of it - more on that, later) and my daughter was able to go swimming with dolphins in Cabo the next day. When we took our three year old daughter to the kids program, the woman in charge of her age group - her name was Paula - was distinctly unfriendly. She did not greet her in any way, just pointed her to sit down, and this unfriendly vibe was so strong our daughter began to cry. Paula said to my husband, "Take her over there until she calms down." She was rude, cold, and completely unsuited to be taking care of small children. In fact, I was dismayed to see that there were no toys out, nothing to invite a toddler to play. My daughter in in Montessori daycare five days a week and is very accustomed to being in a group and playing with other kids. I'm accustomed to friendly teachers who like kids. This woman did not seem to like her job. We immediately complained to Michelle, who was wonderful and tried to remedy the problem but the damage was done. Our daughter refused to go back to the kids program for the entire trip. If we even mentioned it, she was traumatized and began to cry. TUESDAY: Cabo San Lucas and swimming with dolphins. Wonderful! I can't say enough about how great it was. Also, the view outside our stateroom was gorgeous. It was like looking at a postcard. WEDNESDAY: Stone Island Beach, Mazatlan. We live 20 minutes from Malibu so beaches are no big thing for us. This was a nice excursion but I felt sorry for all the vendors who kept trying to sell us things. Our teenager started feeling sick again, so we made our second visit to the medical facility, where she was diagnosed with the flu. THURSDAY: (Puerta Vallarta, Thanksiving Day). We didn't want to go too far from the ship, since our teenager was sick in bed. That afternoon, our toddler got sick and we went back to the medical facility. She had a 104 degree fever and they immediately gave her an IV, took blood, took xrays, did a nebulizer. We spent over three hours there, from 7-10:30 at night. I was again impressed with the medical facility and staff, although the Romanian nurse kept telling her, "Don't cry, you look ugly when you cry!" The rest of the trip was all about taking care of sick kids. Somewhere in there we saw the ice show, which was fun, and had dinner at Chops, which was good but not spectacular. I can see the appeal of a cruise, but due to non-cruise related illnesses, we did not get to partake of the amenities. My teenager never got to do any of the teen program things, which she had really been looking forward to. We got home to find that our yard had flooded. It was the worst vacation, ever! So bad, we have to laugh (otherwise we will cry). Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was our second adventure on the Mariner and our 8th on this class of ship. You can tell the ship is getting a bit worn, but nevertheless, the RC experience was worth it. Everyone had a great time! Lots to do for everyone. We had a ... Read More
This was our second adventure on the Mariner and our 8th on this class of ship. You can tell the ship is getting a bit worn, but nevertheless, the RC experience was worth it. Everyone had a great time! Lots to do for everyone. We had a group of kids spanning a variety of ages. The groups all had different experiences - 3-6 years old - loved it! 7-9 had a bit of trouble with the activities; girls mostly bored and didn't want to go back; 10-12 had a great time if you loved sports. Not so much for the middle of the road kids; 13-17 didn't even know they were on board most of the time! The biggest complaint from the kids programs was that the 13-17 year olds were always let out past curfew of 1:00. They got "written up" 4 times, although no one ever said a word to us. Finally got wise to it all and met them at 1:30 to take to promenade to get a snack before the in-room movie. I experienced them talking with the staff -- only following orders I presume -- but they were refused service. The server even questioned me as to why I would get food for ALL of the kids (8 of them). After a night of activities, I don't think a trip to get pizza and sandwiches and a drink is all that questionable. If they really were bad enough to get "written up" I would have expected to know about it. If not, I think RCCL would be better served giving the kids some snacks before retiring. Overall, the dining room was not set up to accommodate our group as well as the Windjammer was. We also enjoyed the speciality restaurants. The staff there was very accommodating to our needs and well worth the extra costs. Much funner to tip them than the "i just expect your tip no matter what I do" dining room staff. At the end of the week, the reviews were good -- good ship, good service, good people,good fun. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was my 10th cruise and I think the third time to the Mexican Riviera. We drove from the San Jose Area down to the port in LA. Took about 6 hours.. The parking at the pier was great and I love it when time to leave as it ... Read More
This was my 10th cruise and I think the third time to the Mexican Riviera. We drove from the San Jose Area down to the port in LA. Took about 6 hours.. The parking at the pier was great and I love it when time to leave as it is a pretty quick way to depart. This trip I took Two Sets of Friends on their First Royal Cruise. They were impressed by the ship. The embarkation process was smooth and we got on quickly, took the obligatory Photos. First stop was to the dining room to check the table we were at. Top level in the corner.. This I had to get changed. They took care of it and the next night we were sitting at the table behind the Captain. My friends were impressed. So glad I have some Idea of what to do to get problems fixed quickly. Wish I could have stayed up late the first evening for the Comedy Show as my Friends said it was great, but I went to the room for a cat nap and didn't wake up.... First Port of Call we deiced to just walk the town. While the locals are working to make a living if you said no they would leave you alone. This was great.. This port is beautiful as the ship can be seen in the bay and the water was a beautiful clear Blue. We actually took one of the local glass bottom boats to see the Cabo Point. Actually a decent tour for the price. But I would not want to have been one of the snorkeling people in the water as the mass of boats with motors around seemed dangerous for the swimmers... Went to town and saw the Cabo Wabo Bar and then went to the Shrimp Factory for Lunch. I had a great time. Went back to the ship after purchasing the Gifts for friends back home... Went to Mazatlan the next day and took the Tequila and Leather Crafting Tour. This small town where they made belts, shoes, and other Leather crafts was so clean. I think San Francisco needs some lessons. First stop was at the belt maker and when the bus heads back you have a custom belt ready to go. This is a little Gem of a Tour Stop if you like seeing local things verses tourist Traps. The Tequila stop was also good as we were able to see them cooking the agave plant and had a taste of it fresh out of the cooker. Sweet like softened Sugar Cane.. This factory Los Osuna was beautiful. They pour as much as you want. The price of the same Tequila is the same at the factory as at the port side Cart set up at the Port Exit. You can't buy this brand in my area wish I had purchased more. PS My Friends bought Machettes and brought them back to the ship. This was fun for Security on the return to the ship. I have seen the Ice Show on another ship and tried to see it on this ship. You must get there EARLY to see the ice show and get a seat. I do think Royal should do something to fix this problem. If you do not get there early you will not get a seat and I cannot stand for an Hour show...Good show but get a seat. Next Day was Puerto Vallarta. We just stayed and enjoyed the small shopping just off the ship and then drank beers and Margaritas at the set up on the way to the ship... They also made a lime Peanuts which were good. Got our sun on the ship on the first day back at sea on the return. Made a quick stop in the Cabo bay for an emergency passenger and then proceeded to LA. Do not wait for the last day as it has been cold on the return trip every time I have made the Trip. Last comedian had a great start and then went for all the sex Jokes. I laughed but even I think he went beyond reasonable. But the videos that start his act are also great.. Food was good and the service was great. I think it is sad that Royal will not be in this area come January as they remove this ship to Europe and have no replacement planned as I write this. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
What a magnificent ship! The Mariner was all that and more. I would give this cruise a 4/5. Of course there were a few downsides. The food is never good enough. The weather (like it's RCCL's fault could have been better, yada ... Read More
What a magnificent ship! The Mariner was all that and more. I would give this cruise a 4/5. Of course there were a few downsides. The food is never good enough. The weather (like it's RCCL's fault could have been better, yada yada yada. Overall, excellent. The Top Hat dining room is a grandeur look into those old classic dining rooms. large 2 story crystal chandelier in the middle of the 3 story dining room. Violins and piano playing soft background music on level 3. Impeccable service. While the food selections probably could have been better, overall it was fine. Between 3 adults, not one plate was sent back. The Promenade is where it's at. We felt like we were in Las Vegas sitting at the Vintages wine bar just enjoying people watching. Ben and Jerry's, a sandwich shop, the boutique stores, musical entertainment all made for enjoying our relaxing cruise. Our 3 y/o grand daughter loved the kid's adventure. We had no worries when she was there. We had a pager for emergency notifications but of course it never went off. A MUST SEE: The Ice Show. Comparable to a scaled down Cirque du Solier ice show. Very nice. The other shows were what you would expect on a cruise line. Don't think for a moment you're going to get a Broadway show. But you will get a Broadway STYLE show. Entertaining nonetheless. Our balcony cabin was fine. No problems or worries. But the real 5/5 materpiece was the ship. Sure it was built in 2003 and had a few wear lines on it. Wouldn't you? 3000 passengers per week since then? Of course you would. But it was clean, quiet, big, smooth. Nice job RCCI. Been on several different lines with Carnival being the most. Our 3rd RCCI ship. If this was just a 3/5 rating, it would still be better than Carnival's best. Mariner is moving to Italy in March. Thinking of booking that trip. bon Voyage. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We enjoyed the Mariner Thanksgiving Week cruise from San Pedro (Port of LA), 21-28 Nov 10. I will post a longer review on the Royal Caribbean thread but, in brief, our observations: A. Just as beautiful as Voyager (we were on ... Read More
We enjoyed the Mariner Thanksgiving Week cruise from San Pedro (Port of LA), 21-28 Nov 10. I will post a longer review on the Royal Caribbean thread but, in brief, our observations: A. Just as beautiful as Voyager (we were on Voyager last January), perhaps in a little better condition because it's newer. B. I'll skip details of the Pacific (Mexican Riviera) itinerary unless someone specifically asks. After all, this ship will (eventually, next Nov 2011)sail out of Galveston. Kept telling folks (jocularly), when they asked why we flew from Texas to LA, that we were "test driving her" to see if she'd work out in Galveston. She does, believe me, she does. We can see why our West Coast friends are as disheartened as we were when Rhapsody pulled out Texas in 2007. C. Obviously, the ship's entertainment and ambience was keyed to "West Coasters" because the vast majority came from Southern California and up and down the West Coast. But I spoke with the HD and other officers and I suspect that the focus will change, initially to accommodate the cruises to South America and from Brazil, then the Mediterranean (Mariner will be home ported in Citavechhia [Rome] and do mostly Holy Land and eastern Mediterranean cruises), and finally Texas. D. We were in 1320 (OS) and I'd previously booked it for this cruise in Mar 2012 (w/o mentioning to DW). So I was glad that she decided on Day 4 that she really liked the Mariner and suggested we book it for Spring Break 2012. Without engendering the age old dispute over whether to get a suite or not, our preference is fewer cruises, larger suite. It's larger than early Voyager ships (= Navigator), very ample space and accommodation. We loved the balcony and whirlpool Jacuzzi and used each a lot. E. Can't comment much on the ports. Our "destination" was, in fact, the ship. I enjoyed the Premier Yacht cruise at Cabo. Otherwise, when folks disembarked at Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, we enjoyed all of the ship venues in relative peace! The older children's pgm for our dau (12) was essentially nonexistent: most of the pre-teens/teens went to other venues. BTW: 967 children on board, not a single problem from our observations. All very well behaved. F. Food in MDR was actually very good but our expectations are not to dine on gourmet offerings but rather food that's properly cooked and relatively tasty. So we were not disappointed. Unfortunately, we had one bad experience and as much as we loved this ship, I hate to report it but will with an understanding that each person's experience differs. We'd been to Portofino on Voyager and were interested in trying something else especially since DW insisted that the quality didn't seem as high on the second visit. So we went to Chops on Day 4. First, don't eat at Johnny Rockets in the afternoon and then Chops at night unless you have cast iron digestive system. And don't attend receptions earlier either unless you have a lot more fortitude than us. But most of all, do not spend $25pp plus an (extra) tip for Chops if you are expecting a top quality steak. My New York strip was suitable for hiking: it was tough, chewy, and tasteless even though it had been cooked to medium well. My DW's 16 oz. rib eye was not much better. Now, we know from the boards that many others have enjoyed great dining in Chops, and, no, $25 pp does not even begin to compare to the cost of dining at Ruth's Chris, Morton's and other fine steakhouses. But we actually found our steak in the MDR to be better tasting and of no better quality than the Chops steak (which, BTW, you can "buy" for $14.95 in the MDR). Maybe they had a bad night; maybe they didn't get a good shipment. The appetizers were fantastic and perhaps worth the cover charge alone as were the desserts. But for the money, we'll stick with the MDR or Windjammer on our 2012 cruise. G. Sadly, Mariner will lose a lot of the people from which we received stellar service, especially some of the bartenders and waiters. Brazil apparently requires a certain percentage of the staff either be from Brazil or fluent in Portuguese and so they will have to replace the current staff with additional Portuguese speaking personnel. Many are going to depart before Mariner leaves for the TA to Italy. So we don't know how many will return to Texas but many of the folks from Caribbean nations told me that they hope to be assigned to Mariner in November 2011. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
The Oasis is massive but being a big ship has its pros and cons. The best things about the Oasis are the shows, activities and facilities. The rooms were bright, new and clean. The open areas were expansive, wonderfully decorated and ... Read More
The Oasis is massive but being a big ship has its pros and cons. The best things about the Oasis are the shows, activities and facilities. The rooms were bright, new and clean. The open areas were expansive, wonderfully decorated and unique. Even though there were 6000 passengers on the boat, the only time that we ever saw crowds were at the shows. The shows were hands down the best part of our cruise. There was a different show every night and they were all professionally done. I felt like I was on Broadway in NYC. To make your trip smoother, make sure you reserve all of your showings online before the cruise. Also, there is no need to get there 30 minutes early to find a seat - usually 10 minutes is more than enough. We had a oceanview balcony room and highly recommend it! Given how big the ship was, if you did not seek out the ocean, you can easily forget that you were sailing in it. Waking up to the ocean views was priceless especially when having room service breakfast on the balcony. Our favorite part of the ship was the Central Park because it was a serene escape from the noise and madness of the parties held throughout the boat. Now onto the bad. Having to service 6000 passengers means that the service is subpar. During dinner, we had to ask our waiter repeatedly for items. We never saw our headwaiter (and wished we didnt tip her) and our assistant waiter always looked exhaustive and checked out. The food was much worse than on the 4 other Royal Caribbean cruises that we have been on - most of the hot food was served cold and the meats were overcooked. Avoid the Windjammer during breakfast - the crowds are crazy and it was like a bazaar. By 9:30am I had to scratch the side of the pot for any remaining oatmeal. Eat breakfast at Opus Dining Room when it is open (make sure you go to the a la carte and not buffet side side), Park Cafe or anywhere else. The speciality restaurants were okay. Giovanni's is worth trying but the food at Izumi was not good. Everyone got their entrees at different times and the service was slow. Have lunch at the Dining Room when it is open as well - the salad bar is amazing. Be careful of the Flowrider! I took a private lesson at night and when I did the surfing, I "wiped out", hit my head on the back of the board and almost had a concussion. When I went to the medical center they said that they have 5 accidents a day on the flowrider - some guy got foam embedded his nail and another broke his finger. If you must go on, make sure you learn how to fall correctly. Ports Try to get the sailing that does not go to Mexico. Cozumel and Costa Maya are very run done. There is nothing to do except for a shore excursion that involves snorkeling or scuba diving. We have been to Mexico a lot and definitely do not feel that these 2 ports give a good you a good taste of Mexico Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This is our 3rd cruise this year, and thankfully our last till 2011 (Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean International). Is there such a thing as taking too much time off? This review is going to be a bit of a nitpicker I'm afraid. ... Read More
This is our 3rd cruise this year, and thankfully our last till 2011 (Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean International). Is there such a thing as taking too much time off? This review is going to be a bit of a nitpicker I'm afraid. I've been on too many different lines this year not to notice the differences between them. RCI, here's a biggie for us. Have you become a budget cruise line? This is not the first time I've been on a RCI cruise but the first time I've gone in my stateroom bathroom and not found any toiletries. No lotion, no shampoo, no conditioner, and just a plainly wrapped flat brick of hand soap. Did our stateroom attendant forget to put them out? I'm afraid not, I checked with the other folks in our group and they didn't have any toiletries in their bathrooms either. What the hell? I pulled the curtain back on the shower to see if they were there, nope. The only thing in there was a communal liquid soap dispenser. Oh boy! Are we staying in a gym now? My prior experiences with RCI were a couple of cruises on Sovereign of the Seas. Built in 1988, the bathroom was so small you could literally do EVERYTHING from one place. The bathroom in the Radiance (built in 2002) was slightly larger, though you still can't move in the shower without your body moving the curtain open and dousing the floor in the bathroom with water. With just about a 1" lip between the shower pan and the bathroom floor it's a good thing there's a floor drain in that part too or the bathroom would flood. Don't forget not to put anything you want to stay dry on the floor. Our balcony room was the smallest of the 3 balcony rooms we've stayed in this year, a big disappointment considering the ship was built in 2002. (Disney had the largest balcony room of the 3, built in 1998) The "sofa" in our room was wide enough for only 1 person to sit on so somebody always has to sit on the bed to watch tv or sit at the makeup table. The layout of the room is poor as well because they put the bed on the balcony side of the room instead of the bathroom side. Meaning the dividing curtain separates you from the bathroom instead of the balcony which kind of defeats having a balcony room, you can't go outside to enjoy it in the morning if someone is still in bed without blasting them with sunlight. Strange too was the overall exterior design of the ship. Our room was small because there was 15' between the edge of our balcony and the ocean. They made the rooms smaller to accommodate the exterior architectural design look. Nothing functional mind you, just a 'look' Our room was 7th floor, starboard aft about 3/4 back. Plus you look to the right of our balcony and the last 10 or so rooms had balconies that were twice as deep as ours (but were still 8' from the edge of the ship) though the room was still the same size. What the hell were they thinking when they designed this? Give me a bigger room! Other design flaws that hampered our enjoyment was the fact that there are no aft elevators on the ship. There are 7 elevators in the Centrum, midship and 3 more elevators in the forward section of ship. ???? We were told this ship was built for Alaska cruises. I'd have gone insane if I had to spend a week in that room. The Centrum was very nice as it is open from the 4th to the 12th floor. The shops were the shops, nothing special and what you see on any cruise line. Hawking gold platted chains outside the Windjammer (Foodjammer) cafe everyday along with the spa table hawking their services. And don't forget the "fresh OJ machine" $2-4 for a glass if you don't want the not from concentrate fresh squeezed that comes out of the carton around the corner. Has anyone else dumped the "soda package" fee beside Disney? I just can't shake the feeling that RCI has become the Nickle and Dime Cruise Line. Of course they have their 'you can't BYOB' rules and they're quite adept at locating any beverage you may have wanted to sneak by for consumption in your room. Clearly they go through additional screening checks/x-raying your bags for anything that looks like it may be a bottle or something that may have a beverage in it. Your bag WILL be held aside and you will be called to come to the security office to open your bag for inspection. Any bevs will be confiscated though you will be able to retrieve your bevs on the morning of departure. They, Celebrity and P&O are the only cruise lines that do this that I'm aware of (and all 3 are owned by RCI I do believe). Has anyone else had an experience like this with any other cruise line? The house chardonnay was $7+grat which struck us as being a bit steep. Absolut was $5.75+grat. Alcohlic bevs used to be quite reasonable on the high seas. Other than straight liquor drinks, apparently not so much anymore. The food was inconsistent. There was nothing in the Windjammer that was out of the ordinary or special. Other than the "blood sausage" there appeared to be nothing served at breakfast that you couldn't get at a Denny's. I remember the food on the Sovereign's Windjammer was so awesome with varied international dishes. The main dining room food was good and the service was too. We ate at Chops one night and the service was absolutely impeccable. We had 2 servers at our table and the Maitre d' was hovering over them and us pampering us at every moment. (the Maitre d' swooped in and replaced your napkin when you got up to go to the bathroom or smoke). The food was ample in size and of good quality (not "prime" rated beef) though my rib-eye was not as good as I had expected. They made a fuss when they asked how my steak was but I declined to have them make me another one. At $25pp it's the highest I would be willing to pay for an 'other than main dining room' experiences. That price includes the grat but we added an additional $10 and bought a bottle of wine. $108 for our steak dinner for two. Disney's upscale/upcharge restaurant (Palo)is only $15 and it's fantastic. Oh and by the way, by far, RCI has the most disgusting pizza in the industry. Princess had the best pizza (hand tossed and baked in pizza ovens in front of you and burgers (ground fresh onboard, you could even sign a waiver if you wanted a rare or medium cooked burger!). Premade crusts? Come on RCI, you should do better! With all that said, would we do an RCI cruise again? It's likely, but for the older ships, a 3-4 or 5 nighter would be my limit. I'll try the Oasis or Allure eventually. I just don't like getting nickle and dimed for everything. Price the cruise appropriately and include it! You're captive already, I don't want merchandising and selling being hammered upon me every minute of the trip. I can fly to anywhere I want to visit, to go by boat is the point of cruising isn't it? It's about the cruise, not the destinations. Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
After a friend's recommendation we decided to tryTHE MARINER POSITIVE: Check-in went smoothly, although we were delayed 45 minutes for Coast Guard inspection. Easy to maneuver ship with my walker or scooter. Nice sized disabled ... Read More
After a friend's recommendation we decided to tryTHE MARINER POSITIVE: Check-in went smoothly, although we were delayed 45 minutes for Coast Guard inspection. Easy to maneuver ship with my walker or scooter. Nice sized disabled cabin. Great staff, fun Halloween & 70's parties & parades; great lamb, duck & white chocolate/orange flan (although the rack of lamb was hard to cut). Lobster was wonderful! We had a Great MDR staff for Anytime Dining. Trivia was fun, and run by a great, fun staff, but prizes were cheap (how many key-chains & highlighters do we need?) There should have been a prize exchange for people who would prefer a pen for a key chain! Room attendant was sweet & we had cute animals (elephant, turtle & monkey). Loved the brownies in the Cafe' Promenade! Disembarkation was also easy, after a small breakfast in the MDR. NEGITIVE: Amenities cut back (no robes, bad shampoo, warm refrigerator). Due to the Coast Guard inspection, elevators were shut down after disabled were allowed up to Windjammer, & I saw several passengers close to collapse when they climbed 7 floors! Windjammer was poorly organized and arranged, with not enough inside seating & no way to take food or drink outside without being accosted (no signs said no food around pool). No water service either. Food was OK but not great- some things were barley edible, egg-beaters were greasy & watery (especially on Windjammer). I never knew there were so many ways to serve chocolate mousse! Ship itself was very boxy & enclosed (we could have been at the Paris Las Vegas). There were Very few places to curl up & read while watching the view without going to pool area, which had very small Pools (On Carnival, I could always find a window seat to read). Staff was Fun, but CD Kiernan was barely around. I didn't find out until the last night that there was an elevator to take the disabled down to the front rows of the theater (you have to make a appointment with the stage Director to use it; otherwise, all disabled are in the last row on the 3rd deck), which is unfair if you want to participate. The Casino was also very cheap- not only the machines have poor pay-outs, but all I got for my points were more key chains; no cash-back! I think we'll try the Disney Magic, then stick to Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was my third time on the Mariner OTS and I will probably not go back. We stayed the night before at the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro. We chose that because of the proximity to the ship. Beautiful hotel room, but the area had a ... Read More
This was my third time on the Mariner OTS and I will probably not go back. We stayed the night before at the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro. We chose that because of the proximity to the ship. Beautiful hotel room, but the area had a little to be desired. They have a shuttle to the pier and we got to sleep in expecting to arrive on board around 1pm so we could go right to the cabin, but that did not happen. Upon arrival at the pier we were greeted to a very long line that wrapped around in a lot of different directions. There were no ropes or lines to tell you where to go and not a lot of RCCL people to make sure the line was being directed correctly. We saw a lot of people just cutting in line. It took us around 45 minutes to get through security and to the desk. Check-in was flawless and smooth. We proceeded to the gangway and another line. There were some problems with the security check in on board and it created another line. We finally were through and on board around 1:15 and wanted to go straight to the cabin. Onward to deck 8 and the doors are shut. No information. Its after 1pm and the sign on the doors say cabins will be available at 1pm. HMMMMM. We go up to the Windjammer and its an absolute zoo. No seating, lots of people. This is what happens when the cabins aren't ready at 1. We ask the staff if Johnny Rockets is open and they say no so we go in. Finally get a plate and start the search for a place to sit with no luck, so we try for the open bench just outside the door and are stopped and told that no food is supposed to leave the Windjammer. Surprising since every other RCCL ship I have been on, including the previous times on the Mariner, allowed food to leave. When my wife explained that there were no seats, the person said "not my problem you can't take the food out." We left the food on the table with the ice sculpture and walked out. We went to the upper deck and Johnny Rockets was open. If they would have told us that in the first place, we wouldn't have even walked into the windjammer. Johnny Rockets is always worth the trip. We finally got to the cabin and it was very nice as always. Our cabin steward was right there when we arrived and promptly filled our request for extra pillows. She was always very attentive to us, even on the days where we didn't leave the cabin until after lunch. Our luggage arrived before dinner and we were able to change and we went to the dining room for our early seating. Our dining room waiter was tops. He was funny and always on top of things that needed to be done. Our assistant waiter left some to be desired and we made sure our comment card reflected that. The food during the week was good. Lots of fish choices, more than I can remember. As for the ports of call, we chose this itinerary because it was something different for us. Im glad we did it but, I am also glad RCCL is discontinuing this itinerary. Cabo San Lucas was nice to sail into. The harbor is beautiful. Lots of great scenery. We tendered to the dock with no problems, a nice smooth ride with little wait for the tenders. When you get to the pier be ready for the constant calls for taxis, tours, souvenirs, and anything else under the sun. It was like running a gauntlet. We walked around town a little and went to the Cabo Wabo cantina and some shops. Very nice people in the shops, but when we were done we had to run the gauntlet again. Tender service back was smooth as well. Mazatlan was a pit. We docked at a cargo terminal and had to take a tram to the entrance once off the ship. Through a mini gauntlet we got in one of the recommended taxis for a ride to the "golden zone", about 3 miles from the ship and the only place the ship recommends you go for "safety reasons" as per the port shopping guide. Halfway through the ride I asked the driver how much longer it was and he said "oh you want the golden zone", a few minutes later we were there. Ship stated the price was $10 one way but he said it was $20, because he took us to 2 spots. I gave him $10 and said no way. There was little to nothing golden about the "golden zone" I think we stayed there about an hour walking and back to the ship. Puerto Viarta. No too much to say about this port. We didn't really explore. Again a gauntlet of vendors to get anywhere. We just went just outside the port to get some postcards and small trinkets. As for other on board experiences, the activities seemed to be cut back. There seemed to be a little less. I loved to play bingo on board but they changed the game. If you just wanted the cards it was around $42 or for over $50 you got a machine that told you you would win. You didn't have to even pay attention to the numbers. The problem was that most, if not all of the winners had purchased the machine. The most fun was the activity called "The Quest" I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. It was a total blast. This is an adult only activity that I have been to many times, but this was by far the best one. The guest entertainers were good, and the late night comedy was great. The production shows are typical cruise line shows. The promenade parades were great. For some reason I thought there were 3, but there were 2 on this one. Only one other issue during portrait night. We were waiting in line for the portraits to be done and when we finally arrive at the front of the line the photographer put up a sign and said she was going on break. Someone who seemed to be a supervisor said something to her in a non-English language and she just looked at him and walked away. Again something we noted on the comment card. Overall it was a nice cruise. Nice and relaxing. I just seemed to me that they are cutting back on the activities and perks for the Crown and Anchor members. Our on board booklet was a lot different, less coupons. No art auction, we always enjoyed that. I love RCCL, but I think they are concentrating on the larger ships. My last cruise was on the Independence and they activities and perks were more plentiful. It could have been my imagination, but some of the crew were just going through the motions, maybe it was the same itinerary every week for them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
1) Flight and Pre-Cruise Hotel We flew into LAX the day before our cruise via our favorite airline, Southwest. Thanks to advice from Cruise Critic, we had made reservations for the Super Shuttle and the van picked us up at the ... Read More
1) Flight and Pre-Cruise Hotel We flew into LAX the day before our cruise via our favorite airline, Southwest. Thanks to advice from Cruise Critic, we had made reservations for the Super Shuttle and the van picked us up at the assigned location and took us to our hotel in short order. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro which is a short distance from the cruise port. Again, thanks to Cruise Critic, we had made reservations via Priceline and got a terrific room for $75 plus tax. We had dinner at the San Pedro Brewery (recommended by Cruise Critic posters) which was a block and a half up the street in what appeared to be a safe area. The next morning I walked up to the Numero Uno Market (about a ten minute walk from the hotel) and purchased a 12 pack of Diet Pepsi to take on the ship (no problems getting it aboard inside my carry on) and some terrific Mexican pastries for breakfast. We settled for coffee which we made ourselves in the room. The hotel provided a free shuttle to the port (first come, first served). We only had to wait a short amount of time for what was a very short ride. 2) Embarkation We arrived at the port shortly after 10:30 and were checked in very quickly with no lines, but ended up waiting for over an hour in the terminal as the Mariner was undergoing its annual Coast Guard inspection. Shortly before noon, we were allowed to board and since our cabin was not ready, we headed up to the Windjammer for lunch. It was starting to get crowded, but we did find a table and our cruise had begun. An announcement was made that cabins would not be ready until 2 p.m. due to the earlier inspection, so after lunch we took photos and enjoyed the sun on top deck. 3) Cabin/Steward/and Smoking At 2 p.m. we ventured to our cabin, #7626. It was a "hump" cabin just a few steps from the elevator on the port side in the center-rear of the ship. The cabin was clean and spacious with plenty of storage space. We never met our steward until he delivered our luggage at about the time of sail-away. ON past cruises, the steward usually makes it a point to stop by in the afternoon to introduce himself, but this one did not. We don't expect much from our steward other than making the bed each day, changing the towels, and keeping the ice bucket filled. Ours did just that, but not much more. No big deal, but attention to detail was lacking (e.g. the vanity lights had a burned out bulb all week, one of the reading lamps was dangling, and the televsion screen could have been cleaned. Smoking is always a controversial issue on these boards, and we are now 2 for 4 on RCCL ships. There was often a smell of smoke. Not overwhelming like the chain smokers next to us on the Jewel of the Seas, but annoying nonetheless. When will RCCL smarten up and not allow smoking on the balconies? 4) Dining *My Time Dining: We were introduced to My Time Dining on Independence of the Seas and it made us converts. We dined the the MDR on six of the seven nights. We never had to wait more than a couple of minutes for a table for two and after the first night requested he same wait staff of Richard and Scott who were fantastic. With My Time Dining, the tips are prepaid, but we had such great service, we left each of them additional on the final night. *Quality of Food: This is certainly an objective issue and I have felt that posters have been hypercritical on Cruise Critic in the past. Overall, we enjoyed our meals, but they were not spectacular. I am a big guy and usually never complain, but one night I only ate half of my steak because of the poor quality. In fairness, I did not say anything to the waitstaff, but just let it go. It was my own fault. *Windjammer: We had breakfast our first day in the MDR and were irritated that they would not seat us at a table for two. We found service to be horribly slow and thus ate in the Windjammer for breakfast for the rest of the cruise. The selections were great although at times we had to look around for a table. We found that if we arrived before 9 a.m., it was easier to get a table. We had lunch in the Windjammer on the first day and two of the sea days. It was okay, but none of the meals were memorable. *Chops: We always go to a specialty restaurant on the first of the so-called formal nights. It makes for a nice romantic meal that it much quieter than the main dining room. Although they no longer bring out a cart before you order to show you what is available (unfortunate, the food and service were outstanding. We had the Mississippi Mud Pie for dessert. Awesome! Although some debate doing so, we left the wait staff an additional $20 tip for the excellent service. *Johnny Rockets: The first time we went to Johnny Rockets was on the Independence of the Seas and it was a great diversion on a sea day for lunch. The dancing waiters are a hoot. There is a $4.95 pp cover charge. RCCL used to have a BOGO Free coupon, but no longer although you can get a BOGO milkshake. Buy the time you are done, you have paid close to $20 with tip. I am not so sure that it is worth it, but there was quite a line, so RCCL is making some bucks. *Dress Code: How folks dress is a major issue on these boards although I am not sure why. Quite frankly "The Clothes Police" only exist on Cruise Critic. Do not let anyone intimidate you or try to relegate you to dine in another venue because you do not meet their standards, especially on the so-called formal nights. I do not own a tux nor a suit that fits well, thus I wore a long sleeved dress shirt with tie, dark pants, and a blue blazer. No one said a word, nor did I discern any dirty looks. I normally don't pay attention to what others wear, but I did look around on both of the so-called formal nights and estimate the following. Approximately... ...10% wore a tux ...40% wore a suit ...25% wore a sport coat with or without a tie ...10-15% wore a long sleeved shirt with or without a tie ...10-15% wore something else *Room Service: We used to always order chicken drumettes through room service in the late afternoon and enjoy them with a cheese plate and a drink on the balcony to watch the sunset. The drumettes are no longer available and thus we did not use room service. Another cutback from RCCL. 5) Meet and Mingle and Cabin Crawl Cruise Critic had a number of us participating on the forum board and many of us were looking forward to the Meet and Mingle on the first sea day. Quite frankly, RCCL was overwhelmed with the number who showed up. They assigned only one junior member of the Cruise Director's staff. By the time everyone had signed in and he made his speech and awarded raffle prizes, the time was up. That's right, at the conclusion of his remarks he told us to feel free to stay and meet one another, but that we needed to vacate the room in about ten minutes or so as another function was going to take place. Way to go, RCCL, "Here is your hat and coat. What is your hurry?"!! We did have a cabin crawl on the second sea day and it was terrific. We had made it a point to meet up and a group of us had the chance to visit cabins of Cruise Critic forum posters. Now my wife and I have been on 19 cruises and have only had a balcony on the last four. You should have seen the look on her face when she saw the size of an aft balcony. The Royal Family Suite left her speechless (and that does not happen often)! 6) Activities and Entertainment We have been on many cruises and quite frankly find the production shows to be old hat, thus we skipped them. You know you are getting old when you are in bed at 10 p.m. on a cruise! We do enjoy string music and looked forward to relaxing in the Ellington Lounge, but left after 15 minutes because it was so bad. We enjoyed the ice show on the Independence of the Seas and looked forward to it on the Mariner and were disappointed that it was only held earlier in the week. We expected it to be repeated later in the week. It wasn't! We enjoy trivia on sea days and participated in several. We love to read and were greatly disappointed with the limited selection and hours in the library. Although it was right around the corner from our room, books were locked up and could only be checked out for a couple of hours a day. I did speak to the staff on the last day and they said that previous to that week, it was open 24/7 and sign out was on the honor system. Evidently many, many books had sprouted legs and had walked off the ship. We did enjoy some historical lectures by a professor from Oregon State University on Mexcio which were held on all three sea days. What a refreshing change from those silly Port Shopping talks! 7) Port Reviews: See separate section below. 8) Disembarkation: The last day is a great deal of hurry up and wait, so we cleared our cabin by 8 a.m. and went topside for breakfast in the Windjammer. Since we were extending our stay in the LA area and did not need to make a flight, we played by the rules,reported to our assigned location and waited until our luggage tag color was called. Unfortunately, many others did not. By the time our color was called some 30 minutes later than the tentative time listed, the line to get off of the ship was huge. To make matters worse, once you found your luggage in the terminal, Customs and Immigration officials were overwhelmed and the line moved ever so slowly. 9) Post Cruise: Once we left the terminal with out luggage, we caught the van for Enterprise Car Rental which took us to their office where picking up our car for the day was a snap (again thanks to Cruise Critic posters for the advice). We spent three days in the LA area. Some highlights: *A visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. He is not one of my favorite presidents, but one can not overlook the historic value of the visit. *We stayed for three nights at the Comfort Inn in Santa Monica. Clean, safe, and convenient with a great breakfast. *We visited the Santa Monica Pier and found dinner at a place called Carrows to be excellent. *We took an all day tour of LA, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills through Star line Tours. They will pick you up and return you to your hotel. *Driving is surprisingly easy in the LA area even with the freeways, remember we are from New England where the streets of Boston are configured from old cow paths! My wife is a fan of the "Combat" television series from the sixties and we took some time exploring Franklin Canyon which is north of Hollywood. *We went to the Warner Brothers Studios to see a taping of the "Big Bang Theory" television series. What an experience! Warning--you must reserve tickets a month in advance on line and they go fast. *Our hotel was a ten minute drive from LAX and returning our rental car was a snap. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and had a terrific cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was my parents Christmas gift to my brother's & my families. 12 of us--6 adults plus 6 kids from 9-15. Oct. 24-31. We have cruised Princess & Disney; Mom & Dad have done Celebrity, RCCL, Princess & NCL; Brother ... Read More
This was my parents Christmas gift to my brother's & my families. 12 of us--6 adults plus 6 kids from 9-15. Oct. 24-31. We have cruised Princess & Disney; Mom & Dad have done Celebrity, RCCL, Princess & NCL; Brother had only done Carnival. We flew into LAX the day before & had a limo waiting for the kids--they were tickled with the surprise! We stayed at the San Pedro Doubletree & was pleasantly surprised that it was more resort-like than I expected. We headed over to the port at 10:00 Sunday and there were about 50 in line in front of us. We were let in about 10:30. First led to one set of chairs, then called to check in, led to another set of chairs. Unfortunately they did not open for embarkation until 12:15, and then there was standing room only in our section, and hearing them call for numbers was an issue. We did embark with little issue, and were actually on board by 12:40--tho your room isn't "ready" until 1:00 (not much fun to haul carry ons..) Walked around a bit, dropped luggage, headed to Windjammer for lunch--BIG mistake. NOWHERE to sit. We chose to head back to Promenade for a calmer bite to eat. We had adjoining Oceanview cabins. Much nicer for the 5 of us than our Family Suite was on Disney. Always room for everything. I prefer Princess' set up with the large open closet that faces the bathroom, which gives privacy to dressing but does chop the room up a bit. We were on the second floor--loved the easy access to Promenade, casino. Ryan was a lovely lovely steward--he chatted often with us & the kids. It was too cool to hit the pool so we just toured the ship. We made the kids go to kids club & teen club the first night & they made fast friends and were there every evening--in fact, our 10 year old son spent 2 port days at kids club, his choice! Dinner with Henri was always wonderful--he knew what we wanted before we even asked. I was very pleased with RCCL food after hearing so many bad reports--I was particularly impressed with dessert & I'm not a dessert person (basically if it had coconut, I was in heaven; DD12 is a chocoholic & almost overdosed)! Also several pastas were great--and I don't consider myself a good pasta person! Escargots--YUM. Windjammer was remarkably good(not a huge buffet fan), but seating could be a real issue. Breakfast & lunch in MDR was fast & yummy. Promenade was good but I was sick of ham & cheese croissants by the end of the week. I really missed pizza & burgers by the pool on Princess. Just wished there were more free food choices. The ports were fine. Cabo the beach was FANTASTIC but the vendors are relentless. Mazatlan we never left the port shopping area; had fun at the bar/shopping there. Peurta Vallarta was a big hit w/ the kids--felt like FLorida. They insisted we hit the mall across the street first! Then headed to "downtown" for their first experience at Senor Frogs--thankfully it was not busy, but we had a very fun waiter. Sea days coming back were quite brisk (hit the pool on the first sea day!)--not exactly the warm pool days in the Caribbean. We did like the large whirlpools. We do feel that Princess had a wider range of activities available at any given time...there was some dead time for us this cruise (unheard of!)But by the end of the week we were in our groove. Bingo is busier on Princess, but trivia was busier (and Fun!) on RCCL. Love & marriage show, entertaining as always. Casino much bigger than Princess, but we like their hosts better--more visible. We did play in Poker tourneys--DH, DB & I all made the final 9 on Saturday; then we were top 3!! The guys got cash for 2/3 & I won a cruise on the Allure for first!!! Funny, as I had mentioned to DH that the Oasis or the Allure was my ship of choice for his 50th in 2 years...guess next Dec. it is! Disembarkation was smooth & fast; there was a bit of a delay getting our van, but it didn't take too long to get worked out. Overall, we felt that RCCL was comparable to Princess and would not hesitate to sail them again. The kids said RCCL was WAY better than DCL. I doubt we will sail MX Riviera again, prefer the heat & relaxed nature of the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
My husband, two teenage daughters and me took our 8th cruise - third time down the Mexican Riviera. We're from Arizona so it's convenient! Embarkation We arrived around 1pm to discover a long line outside the ... Read More
My husband, two teenage daughters and me took our 8th cruise - third time down the Mexican Riviera. We're from Arizona so it's convenient! Embarkation We arrived around 1pm to discover a long line outside the terminal building. You would think we were at Disneyland. It was hot and the line was not moving - really. I walked up to the front of the line to see porters emerging from the building. At the same time, cars were pulling up dropping off passengers and their luggage & flagging down the porters that just came out. I spoke to the head guy and said what about the people that have been standing in line for over 45 minutes - what kind of system is this? The head guy agreed but the porters just went with the passengers who "grabbed" them. So I joined the "Joneses" and flagged a porter and asked(okay begged) to walk with me to where my family was waiting. The rest of the embarkation went smoothly but this porter system needs to be fixed! Ship The ship is beautiful and the Royal Promenade in the middle of the ship is a great idea. The decor of the Promenade is contemporary & modern but what happened with the design of the cabin areas/carpet? The interior designer(s) must have stepped back a decade to the 1990's with the light finishes. The Savoy Theater is stunning and the stage curtain is extraordinary with its embellishments. Entertainment The highlights of the cruise were the comedian hypnotist - never did catch his name and Revolution - Beatles Tribute. Although beautifully staged and choreographed, the production shows seemed to cater to the 65 plus crowd. The first night featured obscure jazzy/show tunes and put us all to sleep!! Their other show was no better although they included some Elton John! They need to take their cue from Carnival if Royal wants to attract a younger crowd. At least their shows feature music from the each decade and popular tunes! And speaking of age group, I head read from previous posts that HAL seemed to cater most to an older crowd with Carnival the youngest. I expected Royal to be in the "middle". My teenage girls were greatly disappointed as they felt their were hardly any kids their age on this cruise. In fact, both my husband(in his 50's and myself - 40s) felt overwhelmed by the majority of people 65 plus on this cruise. Nothing wrong with that but created a different vibe for a family. Food The service was impeccable. We ate our meals in the main dining room - Sound of Music floor - overlooking the 3-story restaurant. Gorgeous restaurant and the best overall ambiance from any ship we've sailed so far. The food was good - but we're not picky eaters. The desserts were the best part of the meal - typically ordering at least two of their selections. What's another 1200 calories from the second dessert after you've already consumed 12,300 calories in the last 6 hours. The head waiter/manager for the Sound of Music floor was very attentive and personable! Although I've read complaints about the Windjammer(buffet food) and lack of seating - we never found that a problem. In fact, they had staff making sure tables were cleared and to assist diners to find tables. The food was okay and yes - the desserts were delicious. The coffee was rather bitter. Cabin The layout was very efficient but tight fit for four of us. Liked the small love seat but coffee table could go giving you more leg room. Great closet space and beds were very comfortable. The cabin steward was very friendly and did a great job taking care of our "messy" habits. Ports Since this is our third visit, we mainly did some shopping/beach at the ports. We opted for horseback riding with Randy's Happy Horses in Mazatlan and had a wonderful experience. Other *Cushioned chaise lounge chairs in the Solarium/adult area a big plus! *Jacuzzi temp could be hotter. Seemed lukewarm at best. *Huge line for soft ice cream. One machine was down for the entire cruise. *Nice casino - Lady who ran special events there was great fun - hosting various themed events each night. *Ice Show - Fantastic addition to the rather lackluster main entertainment at the Savoy theater. *Cruise Director - Keiron - the funniest and best cruise director we've experienced do far. *Fitness Center - nicely equipped and laid out. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We arrived at the Port of LA in our own personal vehicle, last year we had chosen a local hotel to stay, stay and park deal, but, it took us nearly an hour to get back to the hotel and our car after the cruise, way to long for the price. ... Read More
We arrived at the Port of LA in our own personal vehicle, last year we had chosen a local hotel to stay, stay and park deal, but, it took us nearly an hour to get back to the hotel and our car after the cruise, way to long for the price. We arrived at the port, check in, the baggage ordeal was all easy as usual! Very quick, as last year, was on the ship very quickly! Picture and all! We were actually on the ship about 11:30, went around took the usual pictures and sat down, poolside, and ordered the first of many throughout the cruise! Very nice, hot in LA, but cool in the shade. Relaxed there til about 1, Captain Per announced at 1, that the staterooms were ready! Our room, 6318, center hump, awesome location, access to the stairs, right outside our room, or elevators if needed. We had stayed in the same room 1 year ago, same experience, the room was great! Standard room, very clean, love the balcony, views, etc. After the 'sail off', which was great as always, had a couple of tropical drinks, and off to change to dinner. This time we chose, 'My Time Dining", great option, had to make reservations everynight, but it was worth it. A couple three nights, we didn't have to make reservations, we just showed up at the time we usually do and were seated, no big deal. We had made reservations to the formal nights, it seemed that everyone had mostly gone to the dinners and didn't want to end up in a line. We had gone to Chops two evenings. Great filet mignon, great to wonderful waiters, awesome food, sides, wines, everything! We went to the Ice Show, which was incredible, never had known a cruise ship to have a ice arena. Went to one of the shows in the Savoy Theatre, nice, great entertainment. Went to the Casino, too smokey for us, disgusting. The trivia games were fun in the Schooner Lounge, enjoyed that! The Sports Bar was fun, the Crown Lounge was great as always! What can I say, had a great time on this ship! The ports were great! Walked alot in Cabo and Puerta Vallarta, tooks taxi's, etc, when needed to get to the shopping areas in PV. Went to the Hotel Riu in Mazatlan, fun, away from the city, very relaxing, very clean, not alot of people! Back in LA, no problems getting off the ship, for us anyway, Immigration is there, and I'm sure for some isn't a pleasant experience, but no problems, I'd do this cruise next week if I could! Great cruise, wouldn't change a thing! Captain Per was very personable Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We sailed the Mariner of the Seas on 10-10-10. I'd have to say our cruise was about as close to a perfect 10 as we could hope for with our family. Great fun, good weather, lots to do on and off the ship. Embarking went fairly ... Read More
We sailed the Mariner of the Seas on 10-10-10. I'd have to say our cruise was about as close to a perfect 10 as we could hope for with our family. Great fun, good weather, lots to do on and off the ship. Embarking went fairly swiftly. We arrived about 1, found a porter, and checked in after waiting in a line for less than 10 minutes. After the obligatory SeaPass and boarding photos, they turned us loose on the ship. We explored our rooms and the upper decks with the sports and Adventure Ocean until dinnertime. ROOMS: We had a D1 balcony on Deck 7 and our 4 kids (14, 11, 8, and 5) were across the hall in an inside cabin. We liked this arrangement and always felt safe with it. Four kids in an inside wasn't too crowded to sleep in but storage was an issue. We saw our steward frequently and while she wasn't gushing/friendly, she was efficient and kept them clean without disturbing us. FOOD: The Windjammer was busy, especially the first lunch and the last morning. We ended up using a table in Portofino both of those crazy times -- it was impossible to find a table for 6. Other than that we never had much trouble finding a table. Service at dinner the first evening was a little slower than we preferred and took close to two hours, too long with younger children. We spoke with our waiter and every night after that we were done in about an hour and 15 minutes, which was perfect. DD11 ordered from both the kids and adult menu depending on what she liked. I loved some of the food and thought some was just OK, but it was still hard to eat everything when you aren't used to a four-course dinner regularly! After hearing some glowing reviews, I visited the Promenade Cafe but never really saw much I wanted there. KIDS PROGRAM: Our kids loved the Adventure Ocean Program. They were each in a different age group, which I think was a good idea. DS14 made quite a few friends at the teen program. They had us sign all of the activity waivers at once so they could go ice skating, rock climbing, etc. together. He picked and chose what activities he wanted to do but I don't think many got canceled. There were more families than usual for this time of year on this cruise because it was a school break for AZ -- half the kids my kids met live within an hour of us! DD8 and DD11's groups had some activities in common but rarely did them at the same time. DS5 did coloring, games, crafts, videos, etc. The two youngest groups dressed up as pirates one night and "took over" the ship with chants and a treasure hunt. They also made occasional "field trips" to the frozen yogurt machine by the pool, another favorite of my kids. I felt the leaders in AO did a great job entertaining the kids. I also saw a lot of safety -- checking our SeaPasses, taking the sign-in book around the ship, doing regular headcounts when they were outside of the AO room. ACTIVITIES/SPORTS: We did it all! My kids learned to ice skate and inline skate, neither of which the younger ones had tried. The Learn to Ice Skate lesson on day 6 was very helpful -- sign up on day 2. They climbed the rock wall, played miniature golf, basketball, etc. The inline skating times seemed the most limited of the sports deck activities. The pool area was warmest on port days and on days 2 and 6. I was glad I brought the kids' goggles for the saltwater pools -- my kids are fish! SHOWS: We like music and enjoyed both of the standard production shows, including the new Center Stage (more singing and musicians, less dancing). The ice show was incredible. We sat on the port side and they used DD8 and DS5 in the circus train. We chose to carry our own luggage off at the end and it was almost no time from the when we got an elevator off our floor until we emerged on the sidewalk. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We are an Australian family and this cruise was our third and last leg of our American Californian holiday and it was the best way to finish it off. Through cruise critic we were able to get some great ideas. We had a precruise stay at ... Read More
We are an Australian family and this cruise was our third and last leg of our American Californian holiday and it was the best way to finish it off. Through cruise critic we were able to get some great ideas. We had a precruise stay at the Doubletree San Pedro and were extremely happy. We booked a harbour view room as I thought we could see the cruise ship, this was not the case but the room and service were great and it was so convenient with the complimentary shuttle. The embarkation was sooo easy. We arrived at about 11.30 and there was no waiting at all. We had our seapass already to go. We should have taken a small carry on bag with us on board with fragile items in it as the loading up of the bags is pretty full on but we had no breakages and no problems. We went straight to the Windjammer and secured a table (just) and enjoyed a beautiful lunch. It was my husbands first cruise on Royal and he has heard me rave about them for the last two years so I was really pleased to see that the ship was spotless and the cruise staff were all fantastic. Our room was a balcony (how cool) and it was great. We had our 24yr old son with us and our 17yr old daughter so the cabin was way small for the four of us but that was our budgetary choice. Our steward was five stars. She was so quiet, unobtrusive and super efficient. We had My time dining which I would definitely do again. Even though we seemed to always get there at 6.10, we didn't feel the pressure of having to be there at a certain time. Our staff at the table were excellent. The only hiccup we had was the bar service.....it was almost non existent and because the food waiters were so efficient, our predinner drink normally became a desert drink! It was only one particular drink staff that was the problem and when my husband made a little noise, the head waiter was so efficient in rectifiying the problem it was a bit embarrasing, but in an excellent way. Our 24yr old had the cruise of his life and loved it. Our 17yr old became sick on board and we had to use the medical facilities on board. The Doctor we saw was fantastic, lovely and kind. It cost us $500!!!!!!!but that's what Insurance is for. She found the teen club was really great for meeting new people and she met some great friends. She has cruised before with Royal and others and found the staff for the teenagers sat back a lot more and let the kids organise themselves. This was a bit disappointing for her as normally they get involved, dance and play games with them. The entertainment was very mixed. Needless to say, the Ice Show was excellent and the Beatles tribute was great. We did not really enjoy the Royal Carribean dancers and singers....Individually they were very good, costumes were excellent but the material they had to work with was very poor. The dancers were shoved to the back too much and there was too much singing of songs no one has ever heard before and gospel type of music is not my scene. This was a pity as our last Royal cruise the dancers and singers had great material. The Cruise Director was very funny but it was a hard act for the other comedians on board as they came nowhere close. I would rather have had a show with the cruise director!! We took three tours. The first was a ship tour in Cabo San Lucas. Do not bother buying any souvenirs in this port as they are soo expensive. They are more expensive than Disneyland souvenirs!! Very pretty place but the ship tour we went on (City highlights) was very mundane. The second tour we took was a private tour with Frank Mazatlan at Mazatlan and this was fantastic. He is the best tour guide and we loved Mazatlan because of Frank. Our third tour was in Puerto Vallarta and we did ziplining and rappelling. It was a great experience but considering the mexican wages, the prices for photography was nothing short of extortion. This was our first attempt at doing a tour outside the ship and we were very impressed and will do more next time. The disembarkation progress with customs was a nightmare. Too few custom officers for too many travellers from outside USA. Standing in line for over an hour at 7am in the morning is not acceptable. We took the option of taking our own luggage off the ship and it worked really well. All in all, this cruise was fantastic. Royal Carribean are definitely up there with the best and we will be cruising again soon with them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Mariner of the Seas 10/24/10 About us We traveled as a group of 6. Three adults (ages 55, 33, and 32) and three kids (10, 6, and 4.) This was my second cruise and the first cruise for everyone else. We did a 7-day Mexican ... Read More
Mariner of the Seas 10/24/10 About us We traveled as a group of 6. Three adults (ages 55, 33, and 32) and three kids (10, 6, and 4.) This was my second cruise and the first cruise for everyone else. We did a 7-day Mexican Riveria cruise in October 2010. Embarkation Embarkation was the worst part of this vacation. In fact, 4 hours into the cruise I wondered if we made a mistake even coming! We arrived at the Port of LA (San Pedro) at 11am. It was mass confusion and the port workers were just standing around. No one was helpful. We had to push through crowds and follow porters around asking for help until one would actually take our luggage. Then we just wandered around until we found lines to stand in. We waited for a long time to get checked in though security, etc. We did see the staff confiscating alcohol that people had in their carry-ons. They had a big bin they were throwing it in. When we finally got through the lines there was no place to sit. They were not letting anyone on the ship so everyone was waiting and there were not enough seats. We all ended up sitting on the dirty disgusting floor to wait. It was very uncomfortable and chilly. Finally (after two hours!) at 1:00pm they started letting groups on per number but they didn't have any microphone or loudspeaker. Just one staff member and three thousand or so tired passengers trying to hear him shout. The people in the front of the line/crowd would hold up fingers to show the boarding group and it was like the children's game of telephone with people passing down the info on the boarding group. Awful. When we got on ship we were really tired and ticked off. The kids were hungry so we went to the Promenade Cafe just to get away from the lines. That was nice and peaceful and we grabbed a quick snack (cookies, etc) and went to check out our rooms since they were ready (it was 1:30 or so.) Then we were still hungry so we went to the windjammer buffet to eat lunch. AWFUL! Crowded! No tables. Total mess. That was when I began to worry that this cruise was a bad idea. Luckily things got much better from there. Ship Mariner OTS is gorgeous! Loved, loved, loved the ship and would happily sail on her again! Beautifully decorated and classy without being stuffy. The promenade was our favorite place. We liked to hang out there snacking, grabbing a glass of wine, people-watching, and just enjoying ourselves. We went often to Cafe Promenade for coffee and little snacks. The Pool deck was fun though loud. Never had a problem finding a sunny chair near the pool and didn't notice any chair hogs. The fitness center (ship shape center?) was beautiful. Gorgeous hot tub in it that I didn't discover until day 6! Jogging track was fun because you could see all the action on the pool deck as you exercised. We tried ice-skating at Studio B. We did mini golf a few times. Great sports facilities like a basketball court and rock-climbing wall. Our 10 year old niece was able to rock climb several times. Solarium and adults only pool was beautiful and quiet. Kids loved the free ice scream (soft serve) by the pool but I found it inedible. We didn't use the screening room, library, spa, or internet center. The schooner bar was tons of fun and they often had trivia there, which was a blast. Lots of music around the ship. There was always so much to do. We were never bored. We didn't have time to do all we wanted and agreed we would have liked 2 weeks on the ship. And the best part of the ship: the AWESOME CASINO! Whoooohoooo! Ok, we don't usually gamble or go to casinos. But on the last morning we were playing the quarter slots in the casino and I won $750. Can I say Whoooohoooo again??? This paid for the expenses we had accrued on our sea pass account (3 pets at sea, photos, lots of liquor, Chops, etc!) as well as the tips at the end of the cruise (which was really expensive.) I spent $25 to win that $750 but still, great way to end a cruise! Room We had a junior suite on deck nine (Room 9298) and the interior room across the hall (9297). Beautiful rooms. We were very happy with them. The JS was spacious enough for 4 people (2 adults and 2 kids). The kids slept on the fold out couch and my husband and I had the king size bed. The room attendant made up the bed each evening and then put it away each morning so we could have plenty of room. Lots of storage (more than we needed for a family of 4!) and the walk in closet was perfect for us. Dining We enjoyed the dining experience in the Main Dining Room. Our waitress was lovely. After the first day she always had fruit cups ready for the kids before we came, and some flavored water from the windjammer buffet for my husband. All of our MDR dinners were ok except one. We went to the MDR for lunch and breakfast as much as possible. MRD for lunch had a great salad bar. Loved the little touches at the salad bar like the fresh breads and brie. We didn't enjoy the Windjammer experience much but the food was ok and had a very impressive variety. We loved the afternoon snack at the Windjammer where they had bread pudding and vanilla sauce every day. The staff in the windjammer was wonderful and would come around to make animal balloons for my kids. Best part of dining on Mariner OTS - Chops and Portofinos. At Chops I had one of the best meals of my life. It was incredible. The cheesecake . . . oh, that cheesecake! Delicious! We did the Mystery Dinner at Portofinos. Great meal and great fun. The wine was included in the package and kept flowing. They just kept refilling my glass and I finally had to ask them to stop! I also ordered a Chops steak one night in the MDR. It cost $15 but I was very happy and enjoyed being able to eat such a nice dinner in the MDR with the kids. Oh, then there was Johnny Rockets. Ok food but the service was terrible. Would not go there again. Shows Don't miss the Ice Skating Show! It is a must-do! We also saw the headliner performance and that was a fun Las Vegas type of show. Kids Program I have mixed feelings about the kids club (Adventure Ocean.) The three kids were each in different groups. The 4 year old was in the Aquanauts (age 3-5), the 6 year old was in the Explorers (age 6-8) and the 10 year old was in the 9-11 age room. The space was cute. They had some cute themes like pirates, circus, etc. They did some special events like one night they dressed up as pirates and took over the Royal Promenade. They did a circus performance in the Royal Promenade one night. And on the last night of the cruise (October 30, day before Halloween) they took the kids on a trick or treating parade around the ship. My kids wanted to go to Adventure Ocean every chance they could. On the negative side, I wasn't all that impressed with the counselors. They smiled a lot and were energetic but didn't seem like they liked kids all that much. They were not very warm and loving and I didn't feel like my son was treated very well there. I opted not to send them the last day because I just wasn't comfortable with the quality of the staff even though my kids wanted to go and I wanted the time to relax! We all played together as a family instead. Ports We stopped at three ports on this cruise. Cabo San Lucas was our least favorite. We didn't plan any excursions and decided to explore and eat lunch. We went to Solomon's because it was recommended by tripadvisor and cruise critic. My family didn't enjoy the meal and it was very expensive. The day was very hot and humid and we were bothered by all the aggressive vendors so we returned to the ship. Mazatlan was great! My favorite day of the cruise. We booked the Stone Island Getaway through RCI. One of the nice things about the excursion was that the tour guides met us on the ship in the Lotus Lounge so we were very comfortable as we waited for everyone and learned about our day. The guides were excellent. They took us on a short boat ride to Stone Island. Then we boarded a large wagon pulled by a tractor for a tour of the small village. We arrived at the beach and restaurant area for a very fun and relaxing day. The water was warm and the waves gentle so it was perfect for the kids. We rented boogie boards (2 boards for 30 minutes was $10 though they didn't check the time.) My mother in law had a massage on the beach that was $20 for 30 minutes. She thought it was great. We lounged in hammocks and enjoyed the open bar. It was a great vacation day. Puerto Vallarta was our third port and we booked an excursion through RCI for a day at Las Caletas. For most of our group this was their favorite port day. My husband and kids loved the monkey encounter and we got great pictures. My 10-year-old niece had a blast on the zip line and went 5 times. The kids caught crabs on the beach and played with them. My mother-in-law and niece did the kayaking. There was a ton to do there. I had a massage ($25 for 30 minutes). The lunch was very tasty. Disembarkation We had a 9:40 disembarkation time. It was better than embarkation. My daughter woke up sick that morning (vomiting) and my son was having melt down tantrums so disembarkation was awful for us but not the ship's fault on that one. Overall a great cruise. We would happily sail on Mariner OTS again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Just returned from 7 wonderful days aboard Mariner of the Seas, what a fantastic ship!!!!!!! As the title explains I am terrified of water, but, felt that I was holding other family members back from the enjoyment of a cruise so we ... Read More
Just returned from 7 wonderful days aboard Mariner of the Seas, what a fantastic ship!!!!!!! As the title explains I am terrified of water, but, felt that I was holding other family members back from the enjoyment of a cruise so we booked and headed off on a holiday of a life, we were in America for 10 days prior to the cruise, then the day itself arrived After tears and wanting to head home and not get aboard I was persuaded to go and enjoyed every second, did not want to get off. From the moment we stepped aboard the crew made me feel at ease, explained what and where we had to go, things we had to do and this continued for 7 days, happy faces everywhere you looked. The ship was immaculate throughout never a sticky finger anywhere did we see. The dining was first class from beginning to end, we ate breakfast and lunch at the windjammer and dinner in the Sound of Music dining room, with excellent service by our waiter Nemo and Assistant waiter Ian, we had booked my tme dining but chose to sit at the same table every evening because of the first class service we recieved. The food on offer was beautifully presented every day and choice was incredible, not one complaint except from the waistline We did not book any trips as we were really not wanting to do alot as we had had a busy 10 days prior to the cruise, but, we did get off in Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. The entertainment onboard was brilliant, well done to all the entertainment crew you did an excellent job! Our stateroom attendant Althea looked after us very well indeed,and saw to our sons needs every day. We can not praise this ship enough and have already booked another cruise. As i said at the top if you are terrified of the water try it i did and loved it, and yes i should have done it earlier, what i have missed out of for so long, going to make up for it now. I read alot of reviews before going and had mixed feelings about the ship and the food but i need not have worried, if you listen to some people they will always find something to complain about, take it from me and book this ship and enjoy where ever she may sail!!!! THANK YOU TO CAPTAIN PIER AND ALL YOUR CREW FOR A FANTASTIC 7 DAYS!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Our trip began from Northern Virginia with a 5 ½ hour flight to LAX. Once we touched down we found a shuttle to the San Pedro Crown Plaza Hotel via a red shuttle which I recommend avoiding and using the Super Shuttle (blue). The ... Read More
Our trip began from Northern Virginia with a 5 ½ hour flight to LAX. Once we touched down we found a shuttle to the San Pedro Crown Plaza Hotel via a red shuttle which I recommend avoiding and using the Super Shuttle (blue). The red shuttle had very darkened windows and it appeared to be nighttime and you could not see outside at all and their 7 minute wait was actually 20 minutes circling around and around the airport for more passengers. The Crown Plaza was lovely. We requested a room on a higher floor facing the water and we were not disappointed. At 5:00AM the next morning we could see the Mariner of the Seas arriving. We had dinner at the Green Onion and it was wonderful which had been a recommendation by other Cruise Critics. We had breakfast at the Crown Plaza after failing to find other places open and it was fine. I understand that normally the ship starts embarking about 11:00 but for some reason it was delayed until about 11:30 so there was a bit of a wait. We were booked into a Grand Suite so we did have priority embarking. We were on the ship in about 30 minutes. The ship was beautiful, clean and sparkling. Our Grand Suite was just as beautiful. The highlight was the bathroom, all marble, spacious, great lighting and storage and more like a luxury hotel. The closets and drawer space was more than ample. We had been in a Junior Suite in the past and this far exceeded. Our attendant was Carl and he was just great. Some great perks with the Grand Suite is the concierge lounge with Alan who could not be more helpful. You are also able to take your food from the Windjammer into the restaurant Chops. This is really nice as the seating in the Windjammer was always very full whenever we were there. Chops personnel that served us were wonderful. You can also order anything off of the Main dining room menu to be served in your cabin if you have a grand suite. The food. We last cruised with RCCI last October on the Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore and the food was terrible, bland and tasteless. I have come to think that the food is geared toward the main age group and that cruise was a mainly elderly based group. The food on this cruise was much much better. We mainly ate room service breakfast on our balcony or from the Windjammer (and took into Chopps); the food was good with the exception that we tried to order Eggs Benedict twice and could not get it with a slice of Canadian bacon on it. One day we had lunch in the dining room and ordered the salads that they prepare for you with your choice of ingredients. The person who prepared my salad was impatient and almost a little rude. We did not go back. The lunch food from the Windjammer was ok. Dinners in the dining room were actually good most nights. The meat was always good and cooked to perfection with the exception of the New York strip that did not seem like a very good cut. I would say that the dinners were good 5 out of 7 nights. On the final night nothing really seemed very appealing and we tried many things and nothing really tasted very good. Excursions. In September, Mexico is very hot. Be prepared. We booked an excursion with Mazatlan Frank who was very helpful and professional. We were booked at the RUI hotel for 5 hours and it was all inclusive. I have to add that the buffet food was not great. It was extremely hot and the pool water was really only warm and not much relief. I think I would use Mazatlan Frank again but skip the RUI Hotel and opt for one of his other (non-inclusive) options. Cabo San Lucas (just as hot) was our favorite stop. We had nothing planned and ended up going around the water front in water taxis and small glass bottom boats around all the beautiful rocks formations and doing some bar hopping. Puerto Vallarta. Be careful with taxis. They tell you they will take you to a tequila factory and I do not know what it actually was, maybe they should have called it a tequila tasting station. We were then taken "shopping" and driven to a street side area with vendors which I do think I got some great deals on jewelry but spent more than I planned. Then next it was to Chico's Paradise for lunch where we asked the driver if we could pay by credit card and were told we could. The food was great but we really did not know how much it was costing us and it turned out to be over $100.00 for the 2 of us. The food was not really priced and we should have asked before hand. When we were brought the tab we found out we could not charge it to our credit card. After spending money on the jewelry and this costly lunch we were down to about $70.00 cash and we owed the taxi $100.00 ($25.00 per hr). The remaining time with the taxi driver was very uncomfortable trying to get additional money from ATM's and Wall mart. We also noticed that our driver got "cash kickbacks' from the shopping stop and from the tequila tasting place as well as bragging about the free lunch from Chico's. This is my 4th cruise in 3 years and I have not really mastered the excursions yet. In closing I would say that the cruise was Great and I loved every minute of it with the exception of a few port stop misadventures which is only my own fault. I would definitely do this cruise again and highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Food Dining rating (1-10) overall an 8+ - lots of selection, steaks were well prepared and cooked to order! Very good service and attention to detail - our wait staff danced and sang for us - very talented!!! The buffets were quick and ... Read More
Food Dining rating (1-10) overall an 8+ - lots of selection, steaks were well prepared and cooked to order! Very good service and attention to detail - our wait staff danced and sang for us - very talented!!! The buffets were quick and well set-up - my only complaints: No really HOT salsa, and the Mongolian used VERY sub-standard chicken pieces (you know the kind....... was that really gristly chicken or something else?) California Rolls 10+++ everything we had there was great and good quality fish, and rolls and wasabi. Bar Service rating (1-10) overall 3- These guys/gals could not make a decent margarita.......... we are on a cruise to Mexico for crying out LOUD! Had a couple and had to move onto shots....... not sure what (if any) kind of tequila they used in their "rocks" margis. Two words... weak and tasteless! We finally found one lady that actually made a margi with some tequila in it - just couldn't find her often enough! My girl had the bloody marys and they were good (tobasco and Worstershire) but never got a large enough piece of celery to stir it - the garnish and flavor are the biggest part of a good bloody mary........ in my humble opinion. We would have spent at least 200% more (each) if the bar was better. Room Service rating (1-10) overall 10+++ Excellent / fast / food quality was great General housekeeping rating (1-10) 9+ Very good - They cleaned and manicured our room 3 times daily - and we tipped extra...........these guys are amazing!!! Shows, entertainment rating (1-10) 8 Good - we saw 4 comedians.... 2 of them were good, 1 great, 1 not too good. The larger production shows were good with laser effects, lots of good popular music (that's BIG coming from a DJ!) The live music on THE LIDO deck was good - the pre-recorded stuff they could have improved on..........many popular songs during the week were repeated - I just think you should have remixed stuff, and special versions of the popular stuff - maybe more dance stuff in the late afternoon / evening time slots - I know - DJs can be critical! I have nothing else to compare this to since it was our first cruise.... i am surprised at the quality of the water on board the ship (I took some home to test) Straight out of the tap in our bathroom the water measured 50 PPM TDS (50 parts per million total dissolved solids) The national limit is 500 PPM - our tap water at home measures 250 - 275 PPM - VERY IMPRESSED!!! I read a few reviews where they thought the water on the ship had made them sick - while I can't comment on bacterial content, I can say with confidence that the TDS content is better than most bottled water that I have tested over the years! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was our first time on Royal Caribbean and I have to say I was impressed with many aspects of the ship. Of all of our 26 cruises this was the cleanest stateroom we have ever had. I also couldn't believe what good shape the ... Read More
This was our first time on Royal Caribbean and I have to say I was impressed with many aspects of the ship. Of all of our 26 cruises this was the cleanest stateroom we have ever had. I also couldn't believe what good shape the ship's public areas were in for its age. Things that impressed us were that in Cabo they used hired tenders rather than lowering the lifeboats like the other lines do. We also appreciated their tipping policy - they let us decide if we wanted it added to our folio or to pay in person (our preference). We've done the 3 Mexican ports many times so did not have high expectations for the enjoyment of this quick 7 day getaway - but it was a really nice cruise overall. I should point out some negatives (just to keep it real!). One was how unfriendly the staff were in general (waiters, room stewards, front desk staff, etc.). I really got the impression that they were not very happy in their jobs. On Princess everyone smiles and says 'hello' when they pass you anywhere on the ship. On this ship when I asked for some information at the front desk, the person I was speaking to started typing (and looking down) while I was there in front of him - as though he was too busy to stop working to answer my questions! The other shocker was having our waiter tell us on Day 5 that he gets no salary whatsoever - his only income is our tips. I couldn't believe that this could be true so I asked at the front desk (this time got the unfriendly manager). She at first said that it was private information, and then added that they are given 'perks' for getting good reviews, but do rely on tips for income. Quite frankly our waiter was not very good at all! I thought if his sole income was tips he should really figure out how to give better service. We also found the food hit and miss, but not as terrible as others have written in their reviews. And finally, it seemed to be a far more party crowd than on any Carnival ship we've been on. All the poolside games were dominated by the under 30 beautiful people (often drunk) who would vote for their friends, and kept the contest one-sided in the judging - not much fun for anyone else to join the activities. Don't get me wrong - overall it was a really great cruise despite these things. I could tell that RCL was a step-above some of the other lines we've been on in the quality of cabins, and the shows were really first-rate. The Cruise Director & his sidekick (can't remember his title) were a riot - the best we have ever had on any cruise! We put down a future cruise deposit so we'll definitely be back on RCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
After our crazy adventure in Miami, Florida a few years ago when Hurricane Wilma hit, my friend and I got brave and decided to give cruising another try. (I posted a review about that cruise a few years back. We sailed the Carnival ... Read More
After our crazy adventure in Miami, Florida a few years ago when Hurricane Wilma hit, my friend and I got brave and decided to give cruising another try. (I posted a review about that cruise a few years back. We sailed the Carnival Fascination. It was supposed to go to Key West and Cozumel, but because of Hurricane Wilma, ended up going to the Bahamas instead. That review is on here somewhere. Good for a few laughs I supposed.) We decided this time to do the Mexican Riviera Cruise, on board The Mariner Of The Seas, from September 5th through the 12th, 2010. PRE-CRUISE: We were checking various websites for the best deals. We were trying to decide between Carnival and Royal Caribbean. (I had sailed to the Mexican Riviera a few years ago with singlescruise.com on board the Carnival Pride.) It was a toss-up between booking through vacationstogo or through the cruise line directly. We found what looked like a great deal on the Mariner of the Seas, but I needed to check with my boss first before booking. Unfortunately the two days it took to get approval, the price went up by about $200. Word to the wise: If you see a good deal on a cruise, JUMP ON IT, DON'T WAIT! If you wait, the price will probably go up. Anyway, Royal Caribbean had a better deal at the time. We opted for an ocean view suite with a balcony. On Yahoo Answers, and other message forums, there has been a lot of comments suggesting that people go to cruisecritic.com and participate in the message boards. My friend and I decided to do that, but were disappointed in how the messages easily got lost among all the other postings. We couldn't see a way where you could reply directly to a particular message, without our replies simply showing up at the very end of ALL those umpteen messages, becoming lost in the shuffle. We also didn't see a way to send private messages to any of the users in the message boards. We feel the message boards on cruisecritic are somewhat lacking and disappointing because of that. We finally gave up on participating in there because the threads were just too busy, and the messages kept getting lost in the crowd. We DID sign up for the meet and mingle though. More on that later... Royal Caribbean does their ticketing electronically. Unlike Carnival, who would send "ticket coupon booklets" in the mail, everything with Royal Caribbean was done on-line. It was quick and easy. We just went on-line, filled out our information and printed out our sea passes and we were good to go. Royal Caribbean did send us some luggage tags. Looks like they are a step ahead of Carnival, in that the tags already had our names and room numbers printed on them, along with computer bar codes. Very nice. We booked our airfare separately. We're from Salt Lake City, and because Delta has a hub here and flies non-stop to LAX, that's who we flew with. We shopped around a little bit for the best deals on airport transfers from LAX to the port and ended up booking the transfers through the Cruise line. It was about $50 round trip per person. When we got to LAX, we retrieved our bags and quickly located the Royal Caribbean reps. We waited maybe 30 minutes, and a large, air-conditioned bus came along to give us a ride to the port. Our luggage was taken to a separate truck, and delivered right to the ship and to our cabins. We never had to worry about it. The reps on the bus were EXTREMELY nice!!! I really felt that they had our best interests at heart. They took VERY good care of us. The bus ride to the port was about 45 minutes. There were quite a few people on that bus who were from Scotland. We had a friendly chat with several of them. THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES: What a Ghetto! It's really mehhhh. Nothing at all to really write home about. Miami and Long Beach are much prettier than this dump. At least we didn't have paranoid security personnel demanding that we shut off our phones and put away our cameras when we were inside the terminal. (Carnival is PARANOID about this!) Maybe because there was really nothing to see? We arrived at the terminal about 11:30. It was crowded, but the line moved quickly. The gangway is long and huge, and it seems that's where the real bottleneck was. Oddly enough, we were NOT stopped and asked to have our photos taken for a souvenir. I expected them to do this, but they didn't. Didn't hurt my feelings much. Once we got up to the security checkpoint and put our cards into the "Machine that goes 'BING!' " we walked right onto the ship. THE SHIP: Wow! It's a beauty! Until this cruise, the Carnival Pride was the largest ship I had ever sailed on. The pride is very elegant and classy, but is a little bit smaller than the Mariner. The Mariner isn't quite as elegant (I didn't think) in most places. It's more FLASHY than it is elegant, but it's not over-bearing. It's beautiful, and very modern. Now the DINING ROOM, however, truly IS ELEGANT! It has 3 floors, and an absolutely beautiful grand staircase, with a grand piano on the landing. Absolutely gorgeous. We were able to walk in there the first day and take pictures. There are 14 decks on this ship. WOW! (Plus a chapel at the very top. The chapel I thought was somewhat lacking. It looked rather plain.) Like all the other ships I've sailed on, it was "Here a bar, there a bar, every where a bar!" That hasn't changed. The bars and lounges on this ship are really nice. The dance club, called the Dragon's Lair is really cool-looking, although most of the time it was either closed, or nearly empty. Not a lot going on there, unfortunately. The Promenade Deck was impressive! It is designed to look like a quaint town's main street. I like how it is about 3 or 4 decks high. The interior cabins have bay windows that overlook the Promenade deck, and so if you're on the Promenade, they look like apartment buildings above all of the shops. Very cool! The main auditorium on the ship, called the Savoy is big, but somewhat plain looking. The Taj Mahal on the Carnival Pride looks much more elegant. Seating in the Savoy is nice, very comfortable, and there aren't a lot of obstructions in the way, so you'll get a good view of the stage from pretty much anywhere you choose to sit. There's a smaller auditorium (more like a lounge) above the main one. We listened to some Karaoke one night. The ice skating rink is impressive, but a little on the small side. This is called Studio B. This is also where they hold the game show "Quest" . We were disappointed when we went to see Quest because seating is very limited in there, and unless you get there early, it's likely to be standing room only, where you're just standing around watching the show on the overhead monitors. Quest was a RIOT though, and is definitely worth attending. THE CABIN: We were on Deck 7, in room 7668. On day one, the beds were made up as on queen bed. Since we're a couple of guys, we looked at the bad, then at each other, and laughed, and said, "Uh... NO!!!! Who gets the bed, and who gets to sleep on the couch?" We found our room steward and asked him if he could separate the beds into two twins. He came back that evening and did that. The room had a small balcony. It was great to sit out there and enjoy the ocean breeze. At night, it sometimes got annoying when the neighbors would forget to turn off their balcony lights. Not a huge deal, but it would have been nice. The room was VERY quiet. Sure, we could hear the occasional thump of a door closing or someone bumping into a wall, but we couldn't hear anyone talking in the rooms next to us. It was nice and quiet. Except for one thing.... SNORING!!! Most people snore a little bit. Those who claim they don't are either lying through their teeth, or have been very blessed. My friend fell asleep before I did. My feet were really hurting from all the walking around that day, so I was having some difficulty getting comfortable. I'd no sooner get comfortable and almost drift off to sleep, when my friend would let out these horrendous SNORTS!!! It was all I could do to keep from laughing! They were inconsistent. There'd be the typical, soft ZZZZZzzzzzz or coo, and then, without warning, "S N O R T ! ! ! !" At one point it sounded like the poor guy was being attacked by Freddy Kruger, or that someone had let a Sabre Toothed Tiger in the room! It was hilarious! My friend mentioned to me the next morning that I would snore and would occasionally laugh or giggle in my sleep. What he maybe didn't know was that I was giggling at HIM!!! "Good LORD!!!!!! Did ya have to cut down EVERY SINGLE TREE in that Forrest?!!!?" "Look who's talking! YOU'VE got room to talk!" too funny. The next nights, I wore ear plugs. Problem solved. Good times! The cabin had a small, 19-inch TV that was bare-bones. It had no way to hook up a camcorder or DVD player to it. No biggie. The selection of channels was mehhhh. What my friend and I both found amusing was "The CLOCK channel". All this was, was a picture of a giant clock, showing the time. I think it had classical music playing as well. My friend was constantly tuning the TV to that channel. I think he was doing that just to annoy me. (at least I HOPE that was the only reason!) We both laughed about the possibility of maybe an older, retired couple spending all that money to take a cruise, only to spend the entire time in their cabin, eyes GLUED to the clock channel! Whatever rocks their boat I guess... The bathroom in the cabin is a little bit smaller than what I've seen on the Carnival ships, but they're adequate. The toilet is the typical "SLURRRRRRP!!!!" vacuum sound, and the counter space is so-so. There's a small medicine cabinet on either side of the main mirror. There is a 110 volt ac outlet on the light fixture, covered by a plate. This fixture will not accept polarized plugs (where one prong is wider than the other). This outlet is really only good for certain electric razors or air fresheners. Most hair dryers, flat irons, and some night lights have polarized plugs and won't fit in that outlet. The shower is round-shaped, with curved, glass doors. I really liked that, compared to the shower curtains that would always get a little too friendly with me, on those Carnival ships. Shower doors are definitely the way to go. There's a vanity desk and mirror in the cabin, and it also has storage space on either side. It also has two standard, grounded, 110 volt outlets. I brought along a plug strip so we could plug our electronics in. I have what some would call Naturally HOPELESS hair, and so I brought my flat iron with me. It worked fine. (You're really not supposed to bring any kind of heating appliances if you bring a straightener, DON'T set it on the table. When you're done with it, unplug it and set it on the bathroom counter and let it cool down before you pack it away.) My friend kept teasing me. "Emo kid!!!" to which I'd just shoot back, "Lumberjack!!!!" "EMO KID!" "Hey, YOU'RE the one who enjoys sitting in the cabin, all alone in the dark, playing your hand-held video game when I'm out on the pool deck catching some rays!" "Ouch!" Good times... (some hand-held video games are hard to see in direct sunlight apparently.) THE POOL DECK: There are three pools. Two of which are pretty much side-by-side, with a few hot tubs surrounding them. They have blue-colored outdoor carpeting, which is a nice touch, and feels great on the feet, compared to trying to walk across really hot, wooden decks. Lounge Chairs and towels were always plentiful. There was a reggae/caribbean band playing out there, and they were quite good. I was really hoping to hear a bigger variety of music, such as pop or rock, but I guess that just wasn't going to happen. There is a third pool, in another section a little ways from the main pools, which is adults only. It's about the same size as the other pools, maybe slightly smaller. All three pools were often crowded, making it difficult to really swim in them, but they're GREAT as far as just being able to jump in and cool off! And... when the ship gets really moving or rocking, I loved the "teeter-totter" effect, where the water in the pools would make some pretty nice waves! The water in the pools is salt water, so it's not very forgiving on the eyes or the taste buds. The shower water is fresh water though. The hot tubs feel GREAT! By the adults-only pool, there are two larger hot tubs that will accommodate several people. THE ELEVATORS: Let me put it this way; I think there should be a sign posted next to them that says, "Are you feeling lonely or isolated? Would you like some company? LOTS of company? Simply press this button, to attract an instant crowd, magically, from out of nowhere!" The elevators were typically very crowded, and very slow, especially during peak times, like at dinner, before and after the shows, or on days in port, in the mornings and evenings. My advice is use the stairs if you are going down, use the elevators only when going up. If you only need to go up one floor, use the stairs, it's a LOT quicker. THE FOOD AND DINING EXPERIENCE: On the first day of the cruise, shortly after boarding, we made our way up to the pool deck (Deck 11) and headed for the Windjammer cafe. OH.MY.GOODNESS! That place was CHAOS! People everywhere, and available tables were few and far between. We finally found a table, while one sat at the table guarding it, the other fought the mob at the buffet tables and got some food. While we were eating, people would stalk us, asking us if we were almost done, or if anyone was sitting there. It was ridiculous. Reminded me of the parking lot at Walmart, where people just drive around and around, waiting for a parking space to open up. On the other days, the buffet was much more tolerable, as the other eating establishments were also open. We didn't try any of the specialty restaurants, as we didn't feel the need to. I found it kind of silly that they placed the main specialty restaurants (Which have a cover charge) right next to the buffet which is free. "Hmmm.... free food, or pay money to eat? Gosh, which one do you think people will choose? I give up!" The food was plentiful. And while it was good overall, I wouldn't say that it was always great. Some days the food was better than others. SNOBS IN THE DINING ROOM: As I mentioned earlier, the dining room was BEAUTIFUL!!! And the live piano music was a nice touch. We went with the "My Time" dining, but I think if we had to do it over again, we'd go with the set time instead. The first night, we sat with a lively couple. I forget their names but they were from Denver. They mentioned "We always have a great time at dinner, and our table mates always tell us they definitely want to come and sit with us again, but the next nights we usually find them sitting a table or two away from us, hiding behind the menu, trying to avoid eye contact! Now why is that??!!" My friend and I assured them we wouldn't do that, and would be delighted to sit with them the next evening. Well.. next evening rolls around, we went to dinner, but we couldn't find that couple, so we sat somewhere else. As luck would have it, we ended up on the pool deck later that evening to get some ice cream, and guess who we ran into! You guessed it! They teased us about snubbing them. Honestly we didn't! We never saw them again the rest of the cruise. The other nights that we ate in the dining room, we sat next to an equally delightful group; Mindy and Rich, and another couple, Bernadette and Byron. Rich had us in stitches, telling us about his grand kids. While eating prime rib (which was served on two nights), Mindy mentioned to me, "You look like you're really enjoying that. You should order another helping!" Next thing I knew, she told the waiter, "That young man would like some more Prime Rib Please!" I'm thinking to myself, "But, but... I don't remember SAYING THAT!" Sure enough, out comes some more Prime Rib. Too funny. (Yeah, I ate it, I stuffed myself silly, but boy was it good! I don't know when I've eaten so much food!) They had two formal nights on this cruise. The difference in the class of people on Royal Caribbean compared to Carnival was definitely made obvious on these nights. The majority of the guests on this cruise took formal night rather seriously. LOTS of men were wearing tuxedos, and the ladies were in evening gowns or cocktail dresses. My friend and I both felt very under-dressed, as we wore dress slacks and button down shirts. (Forgot to bring ties.) On Carnival, formal night seemed much more casual. ACTIVITIES AND SHOWS: We went to the cruisecritic meet and mingle, which was held on the second day of the cruise. This was a bit disappointing really. Most of the people there were quite a bit older than we were. There really WASN'T much mingling or interacting. It would have been nice if they had a few games that involved mingling and interaction. As it was, for the most part, everyone just sat there. They did hold a raffle and gave away a few prizes, but other than that, it really wasn't any big deal. Rather disappointing. SINGLES PARTY: There was supposedly a singles party held in the Schooner bar one evening. We decided to check it out. Big disappointment. It was a very small group, and again an older crowd. We took one look and just kept on walking. Singlescruise.com it wasn't. MAN OF A THOUSAND VOICES: This was a family show. It really wasn't our cup of tea. It was OK I guess, but I didn't really think all of the impressions were that good. I'd rate it a C plus. COMEDIANS: There were two nights were they featured a late-night, adult show with a comedian. They were both funny to a point, but not nearly as funny as the comedians I had seen on other cruises. I'd give them a B minus. THE STAFF: Outstanding! Our room steward was top-notch. Even the stewards who weren't assigned to our room were extremely friendly and courteous. There was a really cute blond girl from Brazil, I didn't get her name, but we chatted for a little bit, and she was telling me how much she loved what she did. One thing that really stood out on this cruise compared to Carnival, was the wait staff in the buffet of all places. On Carnival, it seemed the waiters were non-existed. On the Mariner Of The Seas, they have cards on the tables, displaying the name of the waiter assigned to that table. Sometimes it seemed they were a little TOO ambitious! I'd get up to get another helping, return to my table, and my napkin and flatware would be gone! "THEIVES!!!!!!" They kept that ship squeaky clean. The crew looked SHARP, too! The staff in the jewelry shop all looked like fashion models. THE WEATHER: From Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, the weather was HOT and humid! Once we arrived in Mazatlan, the weather became cloudy and rainy. On the way to Puerto Vallarta that evening, we were right smack in the middle of a thunder storm at sea! That was quite the experience. We were eating dinner in the Windjammer when there were these bright flashes of lightning, followed immediately by a horrendous BOOM!!!!!!!! The entire ship shook! It got pretty intense for a while. We enjoyed our balcony immensely, and it was awesome to sit out there and watch mother nature put on quite the show for us. While in Mazatlan, it was raining torrents. We all looked and felt like someone had opened a fire hose on us. We got DRENCHED! I found out my camera doesn't like water. It began to malfunction while in Mazatlan, and didn't start working again until 3 days after I got home from the cruise. Fortunately my friend had brought along a spare camera, so all was not lost. THE ITINERARY: We really liked having the two days at sea at the END of the cruise instead of at the beginning. This gave us a couple of days to just relax and recouperate from all that walking around. It was great to be able to sleep in, and go sit out on the deck, enjoying the ocean breeze, while listening to my Ipod, and just let my troubles melt away even if only for a couple of days. It was time and money well-spent. All in all, we had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click