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Overall Rating
Food
Service
Cabins
Entertainment
Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions
Value
Shannon

Age: 28

Occupation:Teacher

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2009-08-16

Itinerary: Mexico

We really enjoyed our cruise. Our highlights would be the friendliness of the staff and the excursions. The forgettables would be the food and some shows.

Boarding-

Boarding/exiting the ship was always quick and painless. It makes me want to think twice about hassling with airports ever again. Royal Caribbean should be commended for this streamlined process.

Food-

I would not take this cruise for the food- it filled us up, but wasn't "WOW". The best meals are in the main dining room, so try to go there whenever possible. At dinnertime however, I would stick with appetizers and desserts most of the time (Yes-you can order multiple dishes). The entrees were just OK. Room service is nice if you have a balcony, but stick to cereal and the fruit plate. The Windjammer and Cafe Promenade were our least favorite spots; there were a few decent sandwiches, but everything else was forgettable. We didn't dine in any of the pay restaurants, but our friends told us Chops is the best.

Stateroom-

This was the first time we booked a balcony and we loved it! It was much bigger than staterooms we had stayed in previously, and breakfast on the balcony was nice. There was also a cool lightening storm we watched from our balcony around midnight in Mexico.

The attendants are awesome.

In Puerto Vallarta, the ship was leaning a little bit causing an inch or two of water in our bathroom (worse in some other staterooms but we had to change rooms). Don't leave stuff on the floor to be safe.

Entertainment-

The entertainment had its high and low points for us. The ice show was clever and well-costumed; it's worth seeing. The evening game shows were fun for us. All of the other shows seemed outdated or corny. The art auction was a great spot for free champagne. Bingo-- we played twice- way too expensive (not worth your time). The live musicians were talented but played the same songs way too often (pool deck and Wig & Gavel pub). The art classes were something to do but kind of boring. The dancing on the pool deck is also repetitive. How many times do people really want to do the electric slide???

Excursions-

Book excursions if you plan to get off ship in Mexico and have no idea what you'll do. It can be overwhelming with so many vendors.


We did ATVs in Cabo and the Zipline Canopy Tour in Puerto Vallarta. We booked both online ahead of time to save money. ATVs were through Cabo San Lucas Tours/ Amigos. They were relatively inexpensive and really fun. I wouldn't recommend young children- they got tired, and if you're a first-timer stick to the shorter tour.

In Mazatlan we had no plans and regretted it as soon as we got there. Our friends did a bird-watching tour (saw no birds) which they actually loved. We ended up taking a taxi to the Golden Zone and a nearby beach- disappointing. We bargained with a catamaran driver to take us to a private beach (Deer Island) across the water. It took an hour to get there, but we ended up having some fun snorkeling. It only took us 8 min. to get back once the wind picked up.

In Cabo the canopy tours were Los Veranos. This was a fun, family-friendly excursion. The staff was pleasant and they have animals you can interact with at the end. We booked online through BestonPuertoVallarta and the company had no record of our reservation. They honored it anyway when I showed them our paperwork. Book this directly through the company to be sure you actually have a reservation.

Overall, we would definitely cruise again, especially with children.

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