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Bill Cravey

Age: 52

Occupation:Computer Technician Lead

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2010-02-28

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

My wife and I were celebrating our 2nd anniversary on this cruise. This was my 3rd and her 1st cruise. We both had a blast and have not felt so refreshed and happy in quite some time during and after our cruise. I have absolutely nothing to complain about except for the caricature artist and we will not even go into that, too long of a story! We had such a great time that a little over a month after our return we booked our next cruise on the same itenerary and ship. That sailing departs on Nov 7th, 2010 which is just a little over 3 weeks away now. We could not be more excited about it. We are taking a little different approach this time as we will drive to LA, from Reno, NV., instead of flying. We plan on leaving around 4AM in order to arrive at the pier by 1PM. It's a long drive but it will save us some $ and all the hassles related to airports and changing planes etc. I would have to say that the flying was my least favorite part of the previous trip.

Our 1st experience with the food was in the Wind Jammer on the 1st day while we waited for our cabin to be ready. We were a bit surprised by the number of people in that area and it was not a real good 1st experience on this cruise. We eventually were able to get a plate of food and find a table, very hard to do, while we packed our carry ons around. After that first experience we knew what to expect at the WJ and we just went with it, didn't let the crowds bother us. Went there 5 out of the 7 days for breakfast and enjoyed it just fine. Our favorite things were the small danishes and the create your own omelet. They were quite good, fresh and hot since they are made to order. We ate breakfast in the main dining room one morning and had room service on another. Wasn't nuts about either but it was certainly adequate.
We dined in the main dining room every night except for one, opted for Johnny Rockets on Wednesday so we could make the ice show that night. Our waiter and assistant were very attentive and friendly. We enjoyed them immensely over the course of the week. The food was good and some of it was VERY good. I tried a few things that I ordinarily would not order. The highlight had to have been the lamb shank, absolutely incredible! We enjoyed the evening meals very much for the comradery with table mates and wait staff. Just plain fun! The last time I cruised was around 15 years ago and I did find that the food quality was not the same as it was then. I understand economics though and was still able to enjoy the food. Certainly missed the Baked Alaska that they used to do.
We went up for the midnight buffet on the pool deck but did not eat. Just looked around and took some pictures.

We had an outside stateroom on Deck 2. Our room steward was very friendly and kept our room in tip top shape. I don't remember his name now, it has just been too long. We saw him numerous times a day. We are staying on Deck 2 in 3 weeks as well, closer to the elevators and stairways this time!, so if we see him we will be sure to say hello!! I loved the giant portal and we both slept very well on the comfortable bed. We didn't spend a lot of time in our stateroom so I can not complain that it was too small or anything. Storage was better than I expected and we enjoyed watching the cruise directors morning show on the TV while we were getting ready for the day. Quite comical.

We went to the nightly show every night and made the ice show on Wednesday evening. Enjoyed them all, some obviously better than others but still fun to go sit and relax in the beautiful showroom with a cold drink after dinner. We usually went a little early and always managed seats in the first few rows. The ice show was very good considering they are on a relatively small rink and on a moving ship. Definitely a must see.
We utilized the pool and hot tubs as much as possible but I think we will find more time for both on our next trip. Very nice and relaxing up there but certainly prefer when it is warmer. On the way home it was a bit cool and breezy up there.
Many many more things to see and do. The 70's disco party on the Promenade was a blast and the night 1 parade on the Promenade was fun too. The sound system is VERY good there for those 2 events.
We made frequent stops in the casino but usually only for short periods of time while we were waiting for the next show, dinner or activity to start. We actually had trouble losing money, not that we wanted to, we'd take $20 or $40 a piece and leave with it or even win a little. On one evening I actually hit a $650 jackpot too! So that made our shopping trips on shore much more liberal.
Highly recommend the Love & Marriage Show for some laughs. My wife and I almost made it on the show but the couple that beat us in a 2nd chance clap off barely edged us out. We think we'll try to be contestants again this trip.

We did not participate in any excursions so we just winged it in each port. Cabo we walked around a bit, shopped and stopped in at Senior Frogs for lunch. That was a bit spendy but we got over it. We returned to the ship pretty early and enjoyed the empty pool deck for the afternoon.
Mazatlan we took a cab over to the Golden Zone to snorkel. A young boy took us over to Deer Island in a small boat so we could snorkel for a bit. He returned to pick us back up as promised. I have to say that this was our favorite shore day. The boat ride over and back, the open air taxi ride back along the coast, beautiful!, and the shopping back at the pier with live entertainment was really fun.
Peurto Vallarta we didn't venture far from the ship at all. We shopped at the many shops close by and sat for awhile at an outdoor pub and chatted with 2 of our dinner table mates. It was a very nice relaxing day. I loved the close proximity to the ship as I needed to run back to the room to get something, it took only a matter of minutes to do that.

All in all this was a wonderful vacation. As evidenced by our return in only 8 months. I never dreamed I would be so fortunate to go on 2 cruises in the same year. I'm already wondering when we will be able to go again!
Advice that I would give a first time cruiser is to just have fun and make the most of your trip. Don't let the little things bug you the 1st day or two because they won't shortly thereafter. If you have any tendencies towards sea sickness or aren't sure, take some dramamine and take one every day. You'll be fine, the ship just doesn't move around that much.

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