Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Mariner of the Seas
Sailing Date: June 12th, 2005
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This was my first cruise along with my sister, brother, and brother's friend. It was the second for my parents. Coming in, I didn't know what to expect, other than a few things my parents had told us about their first cruise 2 years ago. As I left, I knew I would definitely be back.
We flew in from the Indianapolis Airport and had a connecting flight in Atlanta, on our way to Orlando. We were able to get a bus to Port Canaveral rather quickly after picking up our luggage. The lines weren't too terribly long to get in, as it was probably 2 in the afternoon.
For the rest of the review I will use a point system and rate the different areas of the ship.
The Stateroom: My sister and I shared a inside stateroom, it was small but always clean. The beds were comfortable also. I loved the way the towels were folded to look like different animals each night. Overall i give the room a 4 out of 5.
The Dining Room: The food in the dining room was for the most part very good. There was a couple of things i thought could have been better. I did try some things that normally I wouldn't try, and I was glad I did, because most of it was very good. Our waitress Diana, was very nice, as was the assistant waiter, Rene and the Head waiter (I forget his name). After dinner Diana and the head waiter would go around the table and have us solve a riddle or play these little puzzle game that were formed from toothpicks. I would give the Dining room a 4 out of 5.
Windjammer: On the days we got off the boat we would eat breakfast here, and we ate lunch here everyday. The majority of the food was pretty good, I thought the breakfast food could have been a little better. I would give the windjammer a 3 out of 5.
Entertainment: Most of the entertainment was enjoyable. Each night featured a headlining show. A couple of nights they had comedians, the comedian on the final night was very funny. The ice show was featured for two nights, it depended on what time your group ate in the dining room as to which night you would attend. The show started off a little slow. I didn't like it much when all of the skaters were on the ice at once, it seemed too crowded. Once they started performing individually or in pairs the show got much better. The costumes were amazing. The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers were featured on two nights. Their first performance was called Front Row. It was alright, I thought they sang and danced well, and I enjoyed the small part of the show where they sang Billy Joel songs. Their second show was called Pure Energy, and featured 80's music. It was alot better than the first show. Costumes were sometimes a little strange looking, but I guess a lot of the clothes in the 80's were. The I.T.S. band, which was the ships houseband, could've been better. I think the female singer of the band should've stuck to playing her keyboard and singing backup. The male singers of the group i thought sounded fine. They also had a game show called the Love and Marriage game (Royal Caribbean's version of the Newlywed Game) I give the entertainment a 3 out of 5.
Activities: I enjoyed most of the activities, either by participating in them or watching them. I played bingo 4 out of the 5 or 6 times they had it. I got a t-shirt for playing four times. I also got to be bingo commissioner one time as did my sister another time. For being commissioner we each were given two RC key chains (ooo, ahhh) lol. It cost 35 dollars each time, which I thought was a little steep at first, but when I heard how much money they would be giving away, it didn't bother me as much. Both my mother and sister one some money at bingo, my mom had to split $400 and my sister had to split $900. Jackpot for the final game was $13,000! I also participated in Karaoke Idol. They had two nights where they would pick 4 people from each night, and those eight who be in the championship. The judges could've been picked better. From what i picked up on not too many were country music fans, so even if you sang really good, you didn't get a good score if you sang country. That was what my problem happened to be. I got good compliments from the other people watching, and my mom told me that the member of the Cruise director staff that was in charge of the Karaoke almost berated one of the judges for the score she gave me. I had fun anyway. One night they had a Dancing Through the Decades, where the ITS band would play music from the 60's, 70's, and 80's. Everyone joined the Cruise Director and his staff on the dance floor. The highlight was the men of the staff dressing up and dancing like the Village People. I didn't dance but i enjoyed watching the many other people dance. The had a game called "The Quest" it was a racier version of a scavenger hunt. They had about 15 teams consisting of one man and one woman. When something was called out for them to find, they had to either find it on themselves or their teammate or go into the audience to look for it. Some interesting things were asked for and in the end all the men in the group had to line up in a row wearing a woman's bra, women's shoes, wearing lipstick, and holding a purse. The pool deck always had activities going on there, from line dance and salsa lessons, to horse races (toy horses), a sexy legs competition, and a belly flop contest. I would rate the activities a 4 out of 5.
Shore Excursions: In Nassau we took a tour of Nassau and ended up at the Atlantis Resort. We stopped at some old Fort's that were built many, many years ago. It was alright, and the rest of the time before the Atlantis we were driven around Nassau in a taxi. The houses are very colorful, but definitely not a place I would want to live. The Atlantis was a beautiful resort, we didn't get much time there, but if i were too ever come to Nassau again it would be to only stay at the Atlantis. The Nassau excursion overall wasn't all that great, it would have been better to stay on the boat. In St. Thomas we first took a Catamaran boat out to a small uninhabited island and went snorkeling. I didn't snorkel, but I did get in the water. It felt wonderful. The rest of my group, except my mom, did snorkel though. We have been to Hawaii, where there was awesome snorkeling, so they were disappointed in the snorkeling here. The catamaran ride was fun though. The other excursion on St. Thomas was the Screaming Eagle Jet Boat. It was a lot of fun, good thing to do if you want to get really wet. I do recommend for those who don't want their eyes to burn from the salt water, either take out contacts if you have them, or wear goggle. On St. Maarten we went on a Jeep Safari trip around the island. This was a 6 hour long excursion (which was way too long). The views of the island from some of the places we drove too were very pretty, but the way the trip was conducted, i did not like. Our first stop was for only 20 minutes at Mullet Bay Beach which was way too short considering this was the nicest, most beautiful beach with the clearest water, I have ever seen. We also got to stop in Marigot to do some shopping which only lasted about 45 minutes. Our last stop was the Orient Bay beach for two hours, one hour was spent eating lunch, food was good but not worth the $94 it cost for 6 hamburgers and fries. We spent the rest of the time on the beach, the water felt good, but the beach wasn't near as nice as Mullet Bay. For anyone planning on shore excursions, do lots of research on them, and pick something short, otherwise there is not much time for anything else. I give the excursions a 2 1/2 out of 5.
Casino: The casino was very nice although it took way too much of my money. My fav game is the Wheel of Fortune Slot machine. I was disappointed there wasn't any 25 cent slots of this game, only $1. So that game didn't get played to much by me. My sister again won more money. For a person who came with less than $100 (poor college student), she did very well for herself. 3 out of 5
I save the best for last, The Staff: The captain was very enjoyable, and very funny. I loved his Norwegian accent too. The room attendants were very nice, they did a good job of keeping the room clean, and they were quick also. As I mentioned before, the dining room staff was very nice, and funny as well. The Cruise director, James Andrews, was awesome. Loved his Aussie accent. He was everywhere on the ship, very pleasant and very funny. He was funnier than a couple of the comedians they had there. Loved his top ten list during the farewell show. The Cruise director staff was also very awesome. Skippy (Karaoke guy), Gavin (Bingo guy), Luc( mr. beautiful eyes), Belinda, Luciana, Jerry, and Jerrod, all did a wonderful job in making my cruise an absolutely enjoyable one. The Staff gets a 5 out of 5.
Aside from some of the shore excursions, and some of the food and entertainment, I had a great time. Kudos to the Staff of the Mariner, I hope the next RCI cruise I go on have the same crew as this one. I can't wait to go back!!!