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Doug Scott

Age: 50

Occupation:Sales

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: March 12th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Finding a vacation that will satisfy each individual in a family of six, including three boys and one girl….16, 14, 12, and 10---- is very difficult. This cruise had something wonderful for each of us, and exceeded everyone’s expectations. Great ship, great staff, great activities. The food was only ok.

Choosing a cruise was a challenge. I wanted to leave from the port closest to home...Port Canaveral, Tampa, or Houston. My wife wanted a shorter cruise….3 to 4 days. One child wanted to go to Disney, one wanted a cruise, and two wanted to go skiing.

Out of frustration, we choose a cruise based primarily on the ship. For our family, this turned out to be the best decision. We chose the newest boat with the most activities. The result was an amazing vacation for every member of the family.

The ship- Mariner of the Seas is beautiful. It’s a mega ship…and to us this is an asset. We never felt like we were cooped up on a small boat, and there was always something for each person to do. The appointments are first class and beautiful. Very impressive boat.

The room- Like all cruise ships, the rooms were small. However, they are laid-out well with plenty of storage and a nice sitting area. Spend the extra money for a balcony room. My wife and I spent quality time on the balcony each night watching the sunset. The only negative is there is not an iron in the room or a community laundry facility. We ended up using the shower to steam the wrinkles out of our clothes. The staff was exceptional….ensuring everything was perfect…yet never interfering with our ever-changing schedule.

Dining- The main dining room is a work of art. It is huge room with elegant appointments and gorgeous crystal chandeliers throughout. The food is good. Not great…but good. The service is outstanding…as good as you’ll find in the finest restaurants and hotels around the world.
Portofino- Great food, great service, great atmosphere. Strongly recommend.
Windjammer- It’s a decent buffet…and all that that implies.
Johnny Rocket- Kids enjoyed it.
Promenade Café- Kids liked the pizza and the croissants.

Activities- Amazing selection! Our kids were never board. They went ice-skating, rock climbing, roller-skating, miniature golfing, and swimming. They went days without going into the pool because they were busy doing other things. They spent hours in the arcade. It’s huge and has a large variety of games that kept them going for hours. My wife and I enjoyed the first-rate casino, various bars and restaurants, and relaxing on the balcony.

Excursions- We thought the first stop at Royal Caribbean’s private island in Haiti would be a throwaway day. Wrong. My wife and I sat on the beach while the kids played on the water slide and all the other water toys. It was a very fun day.

Jamaica- Two of the kids are huge Bob Marley fans, so we booked a private tour from a third party vendor. Waste of time. It’s a long trip through the mountains on very narrow and dangerous roads. If you are a fan, it is probably not worth the trouble. If Marley is your messiah, it might be worth your while. Next cruise, we will stay on the ship when it stops in Jamaica.

Grand Cayman- We did the snuba diving with the stingrays. This was incredible!!! Go snorkeling in the pool first to get acclimated, and make sure you take an underwater camera. This was the best excursion we had. My wife went shopping…clean shops…great prices…lots of nice merchandise.

Cozumel- We went to Tulum because we thought it was important for the kids to see this ancient Mayan city. It was not a “fun” excursion, but it was a valuable trip that the kids will remember. Very nice bus and great guides.

You’ll pay more if you book through Royal Caribbean. It is well worth the money to have the peace of mind knowing you’ll have a safe, fun excursion.

Minor complaints- I almost feel guilty about complaining about anything. However, Royal Caribbean is obviously a well-run company, and I am sure they would want to hear about things they can do better.

The food in the main dining room should be exceptional and it was not. We enjoyed most of the meals…most were quite good. But in a room that exceeds all expectations in atmosphere and service, the food should not be the weakest link.

The deserts were boring and unimaginative.

WiFi should be Mac compatible.

Value- All in all, I would say the cruise was a great value! I really feel we got our money’s worth. It appears RCI pays close attention to pricing on the ship and ensures most goods and services are priced with value in mind. $3.50 for a beer…including a 15% gratuity is a good value. But there were a few areas in which I felt like I was being nickel and dimed

-Either put irons in the rooms or have a central laundry area. Dinging the guests for a
few bucks every time they need a shirt pressed is simply ridiculous. If everyone used
the shower to steam their clothes like we did,….the money RCI made on laundry
services was lost on wasted hot water.
-$42 bucks for the unlimited drink cards is a bit much.
- I think the arcade games for the kids should be free….just like the pool, ice skating,
and rock wall.

The staff- Amazing. The company obviously trains its people very, very well. When you have a problem…they want to own it. Everyone is so upbeat and friendly….and this attitude sets the tone for the entire ship.

We had the vacation of a lifetime and would highly recommend Mariner of the Seas to anyone.

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