Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Mariner of the Seas
Sailing Date: June 12th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Sailing Date: June 12th, 2005
This was a family cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We chose a cruise as we knew that there would be something for everyone from ages 74 to 51/2 and that at least we would all be together at dinner each day. The ship is huge, but there is no feeling of being overcrowded. Follow the instructions given and fill out all forms in advance, and boarding is a snap. You will not receive your luggage for 3-4 hours or more, so take some casual clothes and medications in your carry-on. The Junior Suites and Balcony Staterooms are large enough that there is no problem with luggage stowage, and there is enough space for unpacking all hanging clothes and shelves and drawers for other items. Bathrooms are a little cramped, and a small deodorant spray would be indicated. The Staff is very solicitous and the rooms are kept spotless. Ice is provided both morning and evening in vacuum type containers.
Room Service is provided free of charge, other than a gratuity, and usually a little earlier than requested.
The Dining Room food is good, but not gourmet. Our waiter was excellent and knew all 11 of our names after the first night. We ate breakfast, and usually lunch in the Windjammer, which is buffet style, and ranges from sandwiches, hamburgers, fries, to salads, and full meals. The only thing to stay away from is the hot dog, which is a bit like cardboard and tasteless.
Coffee is excellent and readily available throughout the ship. A "Sea Pass" card is issued on boarding, and all items on board are charged to this, which is convenient. Shore excursions were only fair. Time in Nassau is markedly limited. The beaches are fine, and be sure to take a zipper pack to carry a change of clothes if utilizing the beaches. We were lucky with calm seas, the waves being only 1-3 ft., so that there was really no problem with motion sickness.
A Bonine each day is recommended. Frequent hand washing is a must. A tux is
not required unless desired, but a suit and evening type dress are in order for the formal nights. Entertainment in the Savoy Theatre was only mediocre, with little talent. Bingo will cost $35/card.
Make arrangements to charge your gratuities to your Sea Pass card to eliminate having to go to Guest Relations to settle any charges. We used Ocean Shuttle for all 11 of us with luggage to take us from our hotel in Orlando to Port Canaveral, and then from the ship to the Orlando airport on departing. The cost was approximately $350, which is less expensive than a taxi for 11 people. I have perused the reviews of many previous passengers, and feel that several things are not needed. First of all, using 21/2 gal. Ziploc bags to pack items in is a waste of space, when plastic cleaning bags between pants and coats are equally effective. Lanyards to hang the Sea Pass on are useless, unless you are planning to spend all your time in the swimming pools (which are excellent). All pools have seawater so that well fitting goggles are of value. Advance arrangements for birthdays (we had two in our group) were marred by having the staterooms decorated prior to our boarding the ship rather than on the days we had requested. There was a great deal of confusion about having cakes available (which are a part of the package, and not to be ordered separately) on the appropriate date. Our waiter was able to handle this, however, quite well. All in all, this is an excellent cruise ship, staffed by well trained personnel. I do recommend it.