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Andrea Mendes

Age: 46

Occupation:Interactive Media Manager

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: August 20th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

The Mariner of the Seas was truly a beautiful ship.. We got on fairly quickly the first day and our rooms were ready by 1pm.. We ate in the Dining room for dinner the first night and we sort of figured out we were not going to be happy with the food selections. Many other reviewers said the same, the food was just OK. I was telling my husband before the cruise that there were 2 alternative restaurants that we could go to, but he said why pay more, the food in the dining room is always good? He ended up being the one to make more reservations at Chops and Portafinos. We have been on 2 other RC cruises, the last one was 5 years ago. The food quality has gone way down. So after the first night, we booked our dinners in Chops twice and Portafinos twice. They were both unbelievable - 5 star all the way. The portions were bigger, the filet mignon was great.. Portafinos was slightly better (filet ) the salads were very good. I highly recommend you book at least one night at each. We didn't have much trouble getting a reservation to either.

I must say the whole ship was keep so clean! What surprised me the most was how they could keep the pool deck clean on a sea day with lots of people eating and drinking. The waiters always picked up when they saw an empty glass or plate. We had a full ship and it never felt crowded.

The Cafe promenade was one of our favorite places to visit in late afternoon, they had different gourmet sandwiches and pizza 24 hours.. The entertainment was just okay, except for the ice show which was fabulous.. We didn't get tickets, but stood in a stand by line and ending up getting front row seats. Don't miss this.

We went to the Quest. I was really looking forward to it after reading all the reviews, but we didn't think it was so funny. We were able to buy drinks in a fun margarita glass to keep, so it was nice to have some souvenirs to take home. We took a taxi to Coki Beach in St. Thomas.This was the most beautiful beach I have been to - man! \The islands, and beaches in the Caribbean, this was by far my favorite. The water was crystal clear, and you can rent chairs and umbrellas, the wait staff comes right to your chair and you can order beers or lunch, very reasonable too. You could buy merchandise, rent snorkels, wave runners, etc.. they give you dog bones to use to attract the fish and they ate right out of your hands. In fact they swarm around you if you have a bone. Be careful of the current on the left side of the beach , my son and I were snorkeling and we didn't realize the current brought us way beyond where we should have been and it was a bit scary to know you are so far from land and no one can see or hear you if you needed help. The waiter told us there was an octopus that lived in the rocks there, so off we went to see if we could spot it.. just stay within 50 Ft. of the shore, the current was further out.

On St. Martin, we went to Orient Beach and did the parasailing. That was a blast. $40.00 per person and the kids got to ride a 2nd time for free. There are restaurants right on the beach, very good food and reasonable. Be careful for jellyfish. My son got stung and it was painful. You cannot snorkel at this beach, the water is too rough. Nice beach for water sports and swimming. Coco Cay was OK, it was cloudy all day. The water was not as nice as I thought it would be, it was kind of dirty. The kids had fun on this huge water slide they had there. There are so many lounge chairs, you are sure to find one wherever you want to hang out. The BBQ lunch was very good. We really enjoyed this cruise, the ship and the service was excellent. I guess just the food was the disappointment..

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