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Mike Peskosky

Age: 48

Occupation:Executive Recruiter

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

My families previous cruise experience was Carnival Sensation, Paradise, Victory, and Glory

We arrived at the beautiful Port of Canaveral at about 11:00 am on Sunday. We were told to come at that time because of our elderly parents and my mother's use of a wheel chair. This was our 2nd cruise out of this Port (previous Glory) and we love it. They seem to really have their act together there compared to Miami. We were immediately directed to drive up and unload our luggage before parking in the clean parking deck. All went well and the porters were professional and helpful. After parking two cars ($70 per car) we immediate were ushered into the building for document processing and embarkation. The process went very smooth and and if anyone else has a family member with wheelchairs don't hesitate to sail out of Canaveral, the elevator and staff that work with the port make the process fairly easy. Papers were processed and after a small wait we walked onboard at 11:30 am.

Wow what a ship. Needless to say, no matter how hard we tried, we immediately began our comparisons with Carnival. The ship was beautiful, spotless, and you could immediately see Royal Caribbean attention to detail when constructing and designing the ship. The ship was ours to explore but we were told that our rooms would not be ready until 1:00PM We proceeded to the Windjammer for the Buffet Lunch. Basic welcome lunch with many serving stations and beautiful views in many directions. After completing our lunch we began our first day explorations. Upon peaking out over a balcony to view the Promenade for the first time, awesome! It looked like they had transported a street from Paris and placed it in the middle of the ship. We than made it back to our room. We had 3 interior rooms in a row on deck 7. (I would have preferred a balcony but I was paying the whole lot) Typically cruise rooms. Clean, a lot of storage space and compared to Carnival, no shower curtains. The ship has circular shower doors that form a tube when closed. Great idea. No more wet bathroom floor. Our room steward was Arnold from Romania and he did a great job!

The Ship- Hands down more beautiful than any of our Carnival ships. (We loved all of our Carnival cruises as well) The tile, colors, furniture, etc. all a step up. The solarium was gorgeous and the general pool areas were well laid out and for a ship this big never seemed overcrowded. The spa was a spa. Work out equipment and whirlpool with a view. The Savoy theatre was great with good sight lines and we enjoyed the movie theatre style seats. The sports deck was great. Full basketball court and the miniature golf was a great family past time (I though it would be hokie) The rock wall was a blast and this geezer actually made it to the top. Surprising to me was that we played golf, climbed the wall, ice skated, etc. with out much wait. RCL does a good job handling people flow by either ticketing (free for the ice show) or just signing up people. Less waiting in line. The Centrum ice skating ring was really cool. No pun intended. Our luggage arrived during the afternoon. No problems and the muster drill went great. We waited in the air conditioned theatre instead of out in the heat. The Mariner pulled out of port a few minutes late but the ship always sailed very smooth. We had calm water but you rarely felt like you were on water. Our dining was first seating and the dining room is just beautiful. Our party of 7 was given our own table (not requested) Again even with this more crowded ship, there seemed to be more room around our table and less of a cramped feeling that we had on a couple of our Carnival cruises. Our waiters were from Indonesia and the Philippines. Both were good spirited and did a good job.

The Food- Uh, oh. All good until here. We found the food to be spotty at best. Some things like the daily fresh bread were great. However many of the entrees and deserts were ok if not bad. I can eat fast food, chain restaurant, or gourmet food and if it is done right I have no complaints. The Mariner has some work to do with the food. Carnival overall was much better. All 7 people in my party said that. The first night we had a great Cod dish. Later we had a terrible jerk chicken. One night they didn't have any Red Snapper. Weird because that was the Chefs recommendation on the menu. We had a dessert one night that all 7 people pushed away. (We are a big dessert family) The food in many ways reminded me of hotel convention food. Many times it looked better than it tasted. I would have a tough time ordering many of the entrees again and that is the best judgment of good food. Needless to say, they weren't selling many cook books. The slice of Baked Alaska was about as thick as paper towel. I thought it might blow away. I asked for grapefruit juice and I was told they were out. We also had two cartons of spoiled milk given to us for breakfast. Curdles on the cereal. We had a lot of apologies on that day. To be fair the ship always had awesome cookies at the Cafe Promenade and a variety of good pastries and sandwiches. The pizza was ok. Again Carnival wins that comparison. Crazy but the Cafe Promenade only offers cold water or hot coffee or tea 24/7. If you are thirsty you better sprint to the Windjammer to get some ice tea or Lemonade before it closes. Maybe they are trying to sell more soda cards! The Windjammer and Jade were spotty as well. Cold pancakes and some non inspired Fusion food were a little disappointing. The outside buffet was cut short because of a storm and the gala was good but you had to be careful your weren't run over by rude people! Speaking of people, no difference between Carnival or Royal regarding attire. No effort to stop shorts, jeans, tea shirts, etc. in the beautiful dining room. We saw one girl come to dinner in ragged jeans with holes. I thought she was going to the auto body shop. Overall some food good and some bad.

Shows and Entertainment- Stage shows had something for everyone. The Mariner did have great singers. DO NOT MISS the ice show. One of the best shows I ever saw even compared to Broadway or Vegas. It is amazing what they do on that little piece of ice. Some great Russian skaters. The show is more of a "show" versus and ice demonstration like many of the Ice Capade and post Olympic shows. No boring moments even for Macho guys. The casino was not to impressive. Mostly slots and a few poker games. The tables were kind of pushed to the side and put in a cramped area. Great ventilation and not too much smoke. The smaller venues seemed to have some good pianist and guitarist.

Port of Calls- Labadee, Cozumel, Cayman. Jamaica. No problem getting off the ship. After 4 other Caribbean cruises I would have been happy staying on the Mariner but they do close down many of the activities when in port. Bummer. I would have liked to do more rock climbing and ice skating. Labadee was beautiful. All others will always vary according to your shore excursions.

Debarkation- Went smooth. They clear according to color on luggage tags. My area was cleared earlier than expected. We finished breakfast and walked right off. A little delay at customs but that can be expected.

Overall- Great cruise (hard to have a bad one) Like most frequent cruisers, I would like to combine several of my cruises to get the "Perfect Cruise" Maybe the Mariner plus the Carnival Glory's foodservice might be the right combinations. You will enjoy the Mariner just don't expect fine dining. (Off to Princess and Celebrity I guess)

Mike

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