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Don Mitroff

Age: 51

Occupation:Real Estate

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: March 26th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was my wife's and mine 2nd cruise and it was a Western Caribbean cruise on March 26th on the Mariner of The Seas as was our very first Eastern Caribbean cruise in May of 2004, which I also reviewed for Cruise Reviews .

This will not be as lengthy as my first review, since I absolutely loved the Mariner of The Seas ship the first time and knew we would love it just as much with our youngest 19 year old son and his good friend with us for this time around.

We reserved 2 Balcony staterooms toward the back of the Port side and we had rooms right next to each other.

The trip started off weird due to the Bus company that was scheduled to arrive at our Walt Disney Hilton hotel at 10:20 am…did not arrive until well after 11;20 am…and that was after making several calls in advance to the bus line to confirm the pick up times. They did finally come, and we were whisked right to the pier at Port Canaveral, with no wait, and everything went as smooth as silk from then on.

Make sure to call the bus company in advance, and on the day of the departure from the hotel, using your RCCL booklet which has the Bus information and contact numbers and don’t be shy to absolutely make sure you are going to get picked up just as RCCL promises.

Since my wife and I love the ship, we were happy to bring our 19 year old son and his 18 year old friend to cruise with us on this trip. They were astonished at the immensity of the ship as we drove up to Port Canaveral, and as we boarded this floating city.

The first thing I want to say is…. Who are you people who say the food on the Mariner is anything but great ? We were so pleased with absolutely everything….. We knew what to expect from the casual Windjammer , and we knew the Main Dining Room would be a step above, and the specialty restaurants would be superb. They all were wonderful, and all of us never complained even once. In fact, we were thrilled to enjoy all that the Mariner offered.

We ate at Portofino’s for the very 1st time on the very 1st night of the cruise…it was superb !!!!! Don’t miss it !!! The food and service are unmatched. What a way to start our experience !

We also ate at Chops and the waiters and waitresses were very attentive, and the food was as good as I have ever eaten at a steak house anywhere. My son had the jumbo shrimp cocktail, and the waitress saw that he was enjoying it so much, she insisted on bringing him a 2nd one…which he was almost too shy to accept, but did….the waiters were happy to bring it to him, and appreciated his modesty so much, they snuck him a 3rd one near the end of the meal and all had a great laugh as my son was not used to this kind of friendly and gracious service anywhere. Another great experience.

It rained in Labadie , Haiti, but we were able to get out to do wave running during a break from the rain, and my wife and son had the time of their lives, riding 14 foot waves doing 50 and 60 mph with a group of wave runners. The beach was nice, as was the casual lunch and bar area the ship had arranged for us. The band that played reggae music was very appropriate for the island mood we were all in, but did get quite aggressive trying to sell their home-made CD’s after they played 2 or 3 songs in a row. Anyone sitting near the band while eating lunch, who appeared to be enjoying the music was given the ..” hey Mon…want to buy our CD ? It was a bit overdone.

The second stop at Jamaica was a Reggae party boat to Dunns River Falls,,,, Beware the boat as the boat captain will take you through very rocky waves with no qualms,….. And they almost seem to enjoy that the passengers were looking quite a bit queasy from the rockin and rollin seas. They were also quite aggressive in trying to sell CD’s, braided hair stylings, T-shirts, and other trinkets. But not unbearable.

The falls are not for everyone, and older , less mobile, or overweight people might find the climb dangerous. Guides at the falls are very aggressive and love to sell DVDs of their group trips up the falls for 40 bucks a pop.

Grand Cayman was wonderful, as we went to Stingray City to swim with Stingrays and feed and/or kiss one. It was a nice boat ride there and back, no problems. They also try and sell a DVD for 30 bucks with your pics with the stingrays. This trip was definitely worth it, though we were only in the water with the stingrays perhaps 40 minutes total on a 4 hour excursion.

Cozumel Mexico was a disappointment, as we went shopping and were hounded by the locals every 10 feet along the main drag to come in and check out their store. I felt like this was the Wisconsin Dells south. Loads of trinkets and stuff that we as Americans would sell at a garage sale, and now being sold back to us in Mexico.

The entertainment on the Mariner was quite good, with a couple of good comedians and a superb ice show that is NOT to be missed. The bingo was as usual, never won until the very last day, and of course, most every passenger got hyped and sucked into buying more and more bingo cards as the week went on, looking to make that BIG , BIG score ….. RCCL did score…… that much is certain….as hundreds lined up to spend between 35 and 50 bucks a crack to get “ cards “ …..each day. Nice racket.

My wife and I loved this trip…we did as we pleased, and did not let the ships schedule DRIVE US….. We went to the first formal night, but skipped the 2nd and didn’t give a hoot.

Captain Johhny was a hoot, and has a keen sense of humour. On April 1st ( April fools day ) he announced that there were “ whales” on the starboard side , about 200 yards off the bow. 1 minute later, he announced that the whales had “ migrated “ underneath the ship and were now on the PORT side as well. After a brief wait,…he got back on the horn and said he had fooled us all, as it was April 1st ….and that he had enjoyed watching all the heads pop out on the balconies , first on Starboard, then on the Port side . All good and clean fun.

The cruise director was “ ok “ …but seemed pretentious and quite insincere.

Finally, wear lots of sunblock, or you will get fried in the tropical sun… I did.

Three cheers for Mariner of The Seas …. It is one of the biggest and best ships afloat…period.

A beautiful and majestic diamond on the ocean.

Don Mitroff

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