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Stephanie Barnett

Age: n/a

Occupation:n/a

Number of Cruises: One

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: June 16th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

To all of you who are wondering whether or not to take a cruise... We had an absolutely fabulous time!!! My husband and I were celebrating our 22nd anniversary. We are ready to take another cruise ASAP. It was fantastic!! My husband and I chose to make the drive down to Cape Canaveral and we stayed the night at the Radisson at the Port. The service was excellent and the breakfast was great. They allowed us to park our car the entire length of the cruise. When we arrived at the Mariner everyone on the staff was very nice and professional. We arrived at the ship at around 12:00. We were told our cabin would be ready at 1:00 and were directed to Windjammer Cafe (buffet style). The main courses were not piping hot (but you try serving 2000 people coming and going at different times..:) but they were still very good. The fruit was wonderful as were the deserts and the selection was huge. As far as the ship goes, we cruised for 7 nights and still didn't get to do it all. We climbed the rock wall (you should try it if you get the chance - what have you got to lose - it's included!! and fun.) The staff is there to help you. We played putt-putt (That's always a hoot when a small breeze is stirring, try playing in a big breeze. We laughed and laughed!! We even went to an art auction. When I got home I went on-line and looked up the artist, sent him an e-mail, and he even e-mailed me back (awesome!!).

As far as the ports of call... In Labadee, we road wave runners. I thought we were going to die!!! Once the ride was over though, looking back, I would not trade the experience for anything. It was well worth the 89.00 excursion fee (included both me and my husband). We walked the island which was very beautiful and drank a virgin Labaduzee (we aren't drinkers - it doesn't take drink to get us high on life - plus we want to remember everything. :)). In Ochos Rios we started out doing the shopping thing but since we are more or less "poor Americans", we asked one of the shops to help us locate a taxi (remember to use red-tag government issued types) and we headed in our taxi up to Fern Gully. It was very pretty. Along the way our taxi driver let us in on the local scenery which was great. He also stopped about mid way and showed us the local plant life, illegal plant life included, - we graciously told him "no thanks" and he finished the "Fern Gully" tour and then took us to Dunn's River Falls. (FANTASTIC). The entrance fee is $15.00 to the park. We hired a guide who put us with a group and we climbed the falls, holding hands the entire way. The guide was great. He put all our cameras around his neck (he probably had all total about 10-15 cameras around his neck and took our pictures along the way. (hopefully these will come out. Haven't had the chance to pick them up yet.) It ended up another beautiful day. All in all total, in Jamaica we spent (on our own - $40.00 for the taxi, $30.00 for the Dunn's River park, and $5.00 for the tour guide's tip. Not to mention the souvenirs we picked up along the way. Our next stop was Grand Cayman. We did quite a lot of shopping as soon as we got off the ship. From there we again, hired a taxi to take us to "Hell, Grand Cayman". Not a whole lot to see there. Took a few pictures of the rock formations behind the store, mailed a couple of post-cards (which have not arrived yet) and then got back into the taxi which took us to 7-mile beach. This taxi ride cost us about $10.00. While we were walking along the beach we decided to go parasailing. This was awesome!!!! They charged 50.00/person and there were about 10 people in the boat. We were out in the middle of the ocean and took off directly off the boat. Our next port of call was Cozumel, where it rained!!! We decided just to shop because we were so exhausted. My husband bought a marble chess set for 20.00. We went to a side street. On the main strip they were being sold for $50.00 and above.

I can honestly say we had the absolutely best time we have had in a long time. The Mariner of the Seas was great. The ice show was out of this world. As far as the people go.... We stayed in cabin 7530, our steward was the best. Very, very conscience, polite, caring, etc... Our wait staff were also very gracious. Becky, the cruise director. She kept everything going. She was like a 6-year old at Christmas, high on Koolaid. The games were hilarious (try not to get picked though). As far as shopping... "Flash Gordon" - the dude got on my nerves. It was like playing part in an infomercial. Enough already. (my only negative comment.)

Almost forgot the most important... The food!! It was very very good. The main dining hall didn't serve up anything I didn't enjoy. The steaks were mouth-watering as well as the deserts. If you can, make reservations for CHOPS. The extra 20.00/person is well worth it. And Johnny Rockets. YUM!!

All in all, a fantastic time!!! My suggestions for you who are interested in this cruise....
1. If you chose to take teenagers keep an eye on them. They seemed to be running a little loose.
2. If you chose to take smaller children - they were great!! The staff who is in charge of them have great patience and a good feel on what the younger ones will enjoy.
3. Excursions - do them, whether on your own or through the ship. (plan ahead though and know what you are wanting to see/do before you leave home.
4. Enjoy yourself. Leave you high-profile life, expectations, problems, etc... at home. Be happy and be ready to experience a once in a lifetime experience and go with the flow!!!
5. GET OUT THERE!!! Experience things you might not at home. Don't worry so much about looking foolish, whether in what you wear or in how you act (within reason). NO ONE KNOWS YOU!!! and I promise, no one will care what you look like in your swimsuit.

Have fun and enjoy your cruise!! Also, to anyone who needs a cruise specialist my suggestion is Majestic Cruises - Sherry Jones, 256-355-4588.



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