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Linda Strawn

Age: 42

Occupation:Computer support

Number of Cruises: 16

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: September 4th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

I will skip all the details of my trip that are only interesting to me and try to write a review that will be helpful and to the point. First let me say that, yes, I have traveled RCCL before and YES, I would travel with them again. Each cruise line offers different things that I like and each has some things that I wish I could change. This was my 16th cruise and my husbands 4th. We were celebrating our 6th anniversary and we went with a couple that was celebrating their 25th (we are all in our 40's). It was their first cruise and I wanted it to be a memorable one. So, I chose this particular cruise for several reasons:

1) Voyager Class - Even though I have cruised RCCL before I have always wanted to try a Voyager class ship because of the size and all the activities on board. 2) Departing port - it leaves from Port Canaveral which is about 4 or 5 hours closer to my house then Miami so it was easier to drive there. 3) Itinerary - We had 3 sea days so, I felt like it would be a little more relaxing then the ones I usually take that have only 2 sea days.

HIGHLIGHTS:

STAFF


Very friendly staff! Our waiter Warren from India and assistant waiter "Z" were awesome! Even though all 4 of us are vegetarians Warren was wonderful! The service was superb! Our room steward was excellent and we enjoyed the towel art every night. We found all the staff on board to be very friendly and enthusiastic! The Captain - Captain Gerry from Norway - was the best I have every had! He was very interactive and told jokes. I saw and heard him more than any other captain I have ever sailed with. The Cruise Director James Andrews from Australia was awesome as well. He rates right up there with the best (tied with one I had on NCL in 2002). He was very very enthusiastic and funny too. (But not too "cheesy:)

SHIP

The Mariner of the Seas is beautiful! She is decorated tastefully and her dining room is the loveliest one I have seen. It spans three floors. The decor reminds me of being on the Titanic. It is very lovely and romantic. There is live music being played while you eat which was a refreshing change from the typical "canned" music on some ships. Check out the art around the ship. It is very unique. The promenade was awesome too with all the shops, cafes and bars. There is an ice-skating rink on board. It is small but plenty adequate. There is a rock climbing wall, putt-putt golf, in-line skating area and basketball court where they play basket ball along with soccer and volleyball as well. The library is nice with plenty of comfortable chairs. I never got to see the theater or the chapel. The Viking lounge was nice. We had an inside stateroom which was small. There was not as much storage space as we have seen on other ships but it was adequate. The bathroom was typical and small but modern and clean with a nice shower head that could be adjusted. There is a pretty powerful blow-dryer in the top drawer of the vanity which was nice. There is a safe and refrigerator (I brought my own cans of soda and put them in there.) You can also check out your on board credit list at anytime. The menu for the dinning room is also available on the TV but we found that is was not a complete list. You can also order pay-per-view movies for more than 11 dollars which is more than if you went to a movie theater.

One of the ships best features was the adults-only pool area. It was decorated beautifully and was far enough away from the main pools that you could only slightly hear the music and activities going on over there. There were two outdoor showers to rinse off in before going back to your room or getting in the hot tub. Two huge adults-only hot tubs were next to the pool. The pool was very well designed to where you could sit on the side and still be partially in the water. One different feature that I have never seen before was in the elevators - in the carpet on the floor it had the day of the week on it. Everyday it changed so you never lost track of what day it was. The ship overall is exceptionally beautiful and very well laid out.

FOOD

I mentioned before that I am a vegetarian so I won't be much help to any carnivores. But, before you skip right to the next section let me share this with you: I did overhear someone at the next table (I won't mention her name but she is a soap opera star) that they had the "best escargot on the planet!" Johnny Rockets is someplace you must visit whether you are a vegetarian or not. There is a cover charge of about $3.95 but it is well worth it. They start by bringing you a plate of fries and onion rings. The food is good and they did have vegeburgers available (Boca Burgers) which are really good. The singing and dancing of the waiters is a show in itself (maybe this should be listed under entertainment). The food in the dining room was good. We really enjoyed the soups (cold and hot) and the bread. There is always a vegetarian entree and pasta with marinara as well. I ordered so many of the appetizers because I could not decide and they were all good. They usually serve about the same thing in the Windjammer café in the event that you do not want to eat in the dining room. We always ate lunch in the Windjammer café where you could always get pizza (Carnival still rules in the pizza category), hamburgers (they will grill up a vegeburger if you ask and you may have to ask more than one person because the first person I asked did not know anything about what I was asking. It is not a garden burger and it is really good), and fries, usually a pasta of some type, salad, different types of potatoes (they had the best mashed potatoes I have ever eaten!) And a meat carving station. There is also the Jade section of the café where they serve Asian food. The soups in the café were usually awesome! To name a few there was the Rasam (Jade section) , and a white onion soup with croutons, and a broccoli cheese soup. I still think Celebrity's food was better but Celebrity is owned by RCCL now. The food over all was good.

ENTERTAINMENT

The entertainment was excellent on this ship! We loved the comedian the first night and the Russian couple that did the balancing acts. The dancers were typical. We also really enjoyed the impersonator: he was very good and funny as well! The Motown music singers featuring Spectrum was really fantastic! The ice-skating show was extremely good and the last comedian was really good. We went to one of the piano bars where there was a man who played the piano and sang and he was really good. The belly flop contest by the pool was funny. The karaoke final program on the last night was exceptionally good. There is always some kind of entertainment going on. Overall the entertainment was excellent.

We really enjoyed this ship and would definitely try another Voyager class ship and sail with RCCL again.

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