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Age: 35

Occupation:VP, Finance

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: October 15th, 2006

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

We arrived in Orlando at approximately 10:00 and were fairly seamlessly put on our transfer bus to the ship. However, when we got to the Ship at approximately 11:00 we sat in the parking lot for almost 45 minutes waiting for the ship to clear due to "luggage difficulties". We were not told this the first 30 minutes we were on the bus, so not the best of starts but we were anxious so we let that slide.

Once we were in the check-in we were in and out and through that process in under 30 minutes and we were free to roam the ship. Our room opened at 1:00 and we went to our room to relax a bit since we had been up since 5:00 am!

The ship itself is very nice and similar to any of the Voyager Class RCC ships. Rock Wall, putt putt golf, large family pool area and the normally nice adult pool area (More on that later). We had a deluxe ocean view balcony room on deck 7 mid ship. More than enough to serve your sleeping needs, which is all you should do in the room anyway.

The ship itself was magnificent, the crew was astounding, the dining room service and food was incredible and our table for dining was excellent as well.

First Area I will review is the FOOD and there is a lot of it.

The first thing you must know is that you should dine in the dining room each and every night as the food is incredible, the service is awesome and you can order ALL THAT YOU WANT. A lot of people do not realize that you can order multiple appetizers, multiple entrees, even multiple desserts so don't feel you can't have "all you can eat". The servers will not even bat an eye if you order as much food as you want.

Another tidbit is that you can order breakfast to your room each morning at NO COST and have breakfast in bed. This is a great service to take advantage of.

The food in the other dining areas is what you would find on most buffets and is o.k. but nothing to write about. The Windjammer is a gigantic buffet with traditional burgers, fries, tacos, pasta, etc. The Promenade Cafe is open 24 hours on the fifth floor and has small sandwiches, pizza and some desserts and fruit.

The specialty dining is also excellent and I would personally recommend Portofino or Johnny Rockets for the 2nd of your two formal nights if you don't want to dress up for dinner twice. Portofino is great Italian Cuisine, while Johnny Rockets is a fun "burger joint". I have heard that Chops is great as well, but have not personally dined there.

The Ship

The ship is awesome to look at however you slice it, its HUGE. You can play basketball, putt putt, climb a rock wall, go to the pool etc. It is great. I can't possibly describe it as good as the RCC website, but all I will say is get involved in the poolside games, the sports court games etc. as that will enhance your vacation.

The Shows

Our comedian was o.k. and the RCC dancers and singers were o.k. too. Not as good as we had on the Voyager, but still above average entertainment.

The real entertainment for adults is the battle of the sexes, the Love and Marriage game show (Get on it if you can) and the QUEST. These are all can't miss shows and are very entertaining way to spend 45 min-1hour. Just a warning, all these shows can get racy so they are not recommended for small children. The quest maybe even questionable for anyone under 17 and we have seen nudity. Briefly and usually not pretty but we have seen it.

The highlight show on the cruise is the Ice Show which explains why they give out tickets. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW. It's amazing to see people skate on a moving ship on a very small sheet of ice.

The Ports

I will be brief on the ports as those really belong on port reviews.

Coco Cay

A RCC Island that you can simply sit on the beach at, go snorkeling, parasailing or rent a wave runner. The snorkeling is actually quite good and the wave runner experience is pretty good too.

St. Thomas has good shopping, but is more expensive than your next stop in St. Marteen. So shop around in St. Thomas, but buy in St. Marteen. The Sky Ride to the Bushwacker Bar is a must as is trying the Bushwacker Drink. Taking a tender to St John is also a great way to spend that day from what I have heard, but we staying in St. Thomas. We did the BOB excursion with Captain Jim and I must say the BOB itself was not worth $100, but the whole experience with Capt. Jim and his crew made it worth it. The snorkeling was great and from what I was told, we snorkeled for over an hour and a 1/2 which is longer than some of the snorkeling excursions!! If you can get Capt Jim and his crew I would definitely recommend the excursion.

We had the Dolphin Discover set for St. Marteen but it raining all day and all of our excursions were cancelled. :(( We waited until the rain slowed and headed into town around 1:00. All I can say is WOW on the shopping, especially the liquor. $6 for Absolut, $8 for Kaluha, $9 for Baileys, holy cow this stuff was cheap. As was the cigs, at $10 a carton from what I heard, but we don't smoke so didn't care. The beer in the bars is also unbelievably cheap at about 1.50-2.00 and even McD's has beer for 1.60! A good "excursion" off the ship is to go drink in the local bars. Beware the drug dealers outside these bars as the cops don't seem to care about this.

All in all it was a great vacation, other than having to put up with an unruly group of 600 folks that to me was unacceptable that RCC let them "take over" the adult pool the whole cruise.

I will definitely check with RCC to see what group are on board to make sure we have access to the "whole" ship and not just the family pool.

Hopefully this was helpful and feel free to email me any questions.

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