Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Mariner of the Seas
Sailing Date: July 30th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Upon meeting the Royal Caribbean staff at the airport, we were asked if we had heard about “the virus”. I said that and hadn’t and the Royal Caribbean representative told me that our ship, Mariner of the Seas, came back to Port Canaveral with a virus. He then said that we would not be taken to the ship, but to a hotel. I thought to myself that this was probably the beginning of a bad vacation. I was also ticked off that the Royal Caribbean representative walked leisurely with us while the three of us, including my wife, struggled through the airport with the luggage. We were then taken to a hotel where lunch was provided. During lunch, we were told that two tankers full of chemicals were being brought in to disinfect the ship. Overall, I think Royal Caribbean handled this extremely well. They made every effort to make us comfortable, they fed us lunch, and we ended up boarding the cleanest ship on the water, only a half hour later than planned.
Check in went smoothly and a lot quicker than I had expected. The staff was accommodating and courteous. The ship was everything I expected and more. Everything was clean and in its place. We had a great week on the Mariner of the Seas and I’ll definitely return to Royal Caribbean again.
The Ship was absolutely awesome. There was something for everyone.
The State Room: we had a room with a balcony on the seventh floor. The balcony was well worth the extra money. It was nice having coffee there in the morning and a cocktail at night.
The Food: the food was good, not great, but certainly not bad. Dinners in the dining room were good; lunch at the Windjammer reminded me of college cafeteria food. Not bad, but institutional tasting. 24 hour Room Service was limited but a great feature.
The Entertainment: the ice show was incredible, and most of the other entertainment was good. Some of it reminded me of theme park entertainment but was enjoyable. There was plenty to do for my 13 year old son. He was able to meet other kids his age and enjoy activities without Mom and Dad being there 24/7.
The Pools: three pools, all clean and well taken care of.
The Casino: a fun place and well run, but don’t expect to win any money!
The Art Action: fun and enjoyable but prices are slightly higher than on land. You won’t get ripped off but don’t fool yourself into thinking you are getting a deal.
Complaints: only two complaints. First is the soft drink package. Charge me an extra $40 for the cruise and include soft drinks rather than make me feel like I’ve been ripped off, plus have the nuisance of having to pull my card out every time I want a soft drink. On this class of ship, it’s definitely not classy for Royal Caribbean to be charging for soft drinks. The other is the ship’s endorsement of diamonds in Cozumel. The ship’s shopping guide gives here sales pitch both in person and on the on-ship TV channel about how you can save 20-70% off diamonds in Cozumel. Take it from someone who knows jewelry, there are very few deals there. I went to at least 20 stores before I found someone who even came close to prices in New York’s diamond district for the same quality. I didn’t appreciate Royal Caribbean sending me on a wild goose chase.