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Don Mitrf

Age: 49

Occupation:REAL ESTATE APPRAISER

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: May 30th, 2004

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Don Mitroff

This was to be a very special 25th anniversary gift to myself and my wife and we chose to sail on Royal Carribbeans’ Mariner of the Seas on May 30th-June 6th, 2004.

I made the reservations via phone and reserved a forward cabin on the 8th deck with a balcony . We had never sailed before and we selected the Mariner due to its newness, size, and amenities. I made phone reservations for a one night stay-over at Walt Disney World’s Hilton, with a shuttle to pick us up on the morning of the sailing ( May 30th). The hotel is beautiful and centrally located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Hotel complex and in close proximity to Pleasure Island etc…. The hotel was large , elegant, comfortable, in room fridge, safe, and loaded with amenities and several restaurants, and very clean. We checked in on May 29th at 10;30 pm, and asked the guest relations manager for the pickup time of the shuttle in the morning. He said he did not know exactly, and that the Concierge was off-duty until the next morning at 8 am. We asked if the shuttle could come as early as 8 am…and he said …” yes, I do believe that the shuttle arrives somewhere around 8;00 or 8;30. This uncertainty now meant that my wife and I would not be able to stay up late or visit any local spots …since we would likely have to be up very early so as to avoid the possibility of missing the shuttle to Port Canaveral. We were a bit disappointed that the selected RCCL hotel did not have specific information relating to shuttle pick up. We woke up at 6:30 am and called the shuttle line agency advertised in our reservation book from RCCL. They said that the bus would arrive at 10:30 am….. We were too excited to get upset , and decided to eat a leisurely breakfast and wait .

The bus trip over to Port Canaveral was on a very sleek and modern bus with overhead television monitors and very comfortable seating. The bus arrived on time and bags were packed by the driver and all went very smoothly. We departed around 11;00 am and made one quick stop at the Caribe Royal suites hotel and resort to pick up some more RCCL passengers, then we were on our way to vacation!!!!!!!! The bus ride was very comfortable but……… there is an onboard restroom at the rear of the bus , and an elderly woman used the facilities 15 minutes into the ride and the ventilation carried an intensely foul odor fully halfway up the bus, and made the entire rear of the bus to react and groan and eventually have nervous laughter. This was a peculiarly bad start we thought.

We arrived some 20 minutes later at the entrance to Port Canaveral, and found extremely long lines of cars and buses which crept along for at least 30 minutes before we got into the unloading area. The first person on the bus from RCCL gave us some peppy little greeting and made sure to tell us to kindly tip the porters.

Our bags were pre marked and were to be delivered to the rooms while we were boarding. The lines were smooth and efficient, and very well organized. A photographer met us at the end of the process and took a photo as we boarded. We were blown away by the size and majestic beauty of the ship. I had never seen anything like it, rich mahogany, marble, glass, steel, chandeliers, paintings, and deluxe elevators that lead to a total of 15 levels.

We walked to our stateroom and found it to be pretty much what we expected ….clean, neat, compact and yet efficient for our needs. The bathroom was small but the shower was ample and had a removable hand shower set up that was really quite nice. The balcony was small but delightful, with an opaque dividing wall between cabins for privacy.

We were told that our bags would arrive over the next few hours and that we should check the ship out. We went to the Windjammer restaurant to get some lunch since we overheard that most people were heading there. Upon arrival were were blown away by the opulence of the 11th deck and the strolling musicians and pina colada carrying waiters. We were ready to party . We went in to eat lunch after we purchased “ soft drink “ cards…for $42 per adult per week. This was a mistake ..and we never should have done this , as we never drank anywhere near enough pop to make this worthwhile.

The Windjammer buffet room was enormous and had 3 large seating areas and numerous buffet stations which were load with food. We checked out the JADE section and were a bit disappointed that the food there was at best “ average “ looking, and looked like something you might expect at Panda express. We were not disappointed with the traditional buffet lines…. They had an incredible variety of hot and cold meats, salads, soups, chesses, desserts, and carving stations. We smiled and thought what weight we were going to gain. Getting a place to sit was a problem on opening day…but eventually we found a small table for 2 and ate looking out over Port Canaveral. The food was good And we
were not disappointed at all.

We then checked out the Chops Dining room and made a reservation for that very evening….and were told that smart people do that, since opening night is usually a slower night in the Chops Grille. We made a reservation for 7;30 and decided to check out the ship until then.

I can only say this about the ship……. WOW …WOW …WOW…. This is a floating city …a real masterpiece……a showplace , and wew knew we were going to have a very nice 25th anniversary trip. The promenade was spectacular and left me speechless ……….the pool decks were wonderful and I could tell that there were going to be many happy sunbathers on those decks…. The crew was very friendly and they made special efforts to be very warm and gracious.

We found the Main dining area to be elegant and the food wonderful each evening…. An occasional menu item was “ average” but most were top notch, and better than we had anticipated. The wait staff was friendly and very accommodating, and our tablemates made the trip ( 4 women ) and they all liked to have fun……….as we did…it was a perfect match.

Over the next 7 days we saw a top flight ship and a top flight crew meet our every need, and they all were obviously trained to pamper the guests. We felt pampered and special and it made the experience so wonderful.

The cruise director was a bundle of energy and was very vocal and energetic ( understatement ). I did find the QUEST adventure which was designated as an “ adult scavenger hunt” to be overdone with a unwelcome amount of sexual innuendoes and even the encouragement of teams of men to remove their pants and wear women's bras , skip around holding other mens hands etc etc…to have been cheap , degrading, tasteless and offensive ….and an unnecessary and excessive display of group dynamics and mind control via peer pressure that I wouldn’t have expected from such a top flight 600 million diollar ship or its’ female cruise director. This display left my wife and I wondering just who gave the OK to this vulgar display. We are not prudes , and we were not the only ones who complained and astonished at the low-brow humor this game conveyed. RCCL should scrap this filthy event, or get a responsible cruise director or both.

The rst of the week we ate , and ate, and made about 100 trips on the deluxe elevators, and loved every nook and cranny of this multi-facted behemoth. My wife especially loved Johnny Rockets for its laid back, happy dancing crew and burgers and shakes motif…. What a blast.

The sailing weather was smooth, though we did feel the boat move at times and yes , there were several passengers who appeared to be affected , though they were the minority. I and my wife both made it throught the entire trip without a bout of sickness.

The ports of call were “ as advertised” and were loads of fun and very well organized. Top marks to RCCL for the shore excursions.

Shopping onboard was great, as was onboard parades, games, décor, the Café Promenade, and jewelry sales . My wife went nuts and I didn’t care……It was a blast………

The end of the trip was just as organized as the start, and I was so impressed by the orderliness of the disembarking and the beautiful bus ride to Orlando Airport…. RCCL did a great job…..and all I can say for my first cruise experience is YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don’t miss this ship…….. Captain Johnny and the crew are outstanding.

Hope this helps.

Sincerely,

DON AND PAT

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