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Age: 48

Occupation:Civil Service

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Sailing Date: November 5th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Our cruise started out on the wrong foot, thanks to Delta Airlines. After sitting on the plane for an hour and a half in Atlanta, they decided the plane wasn’t safe because a baggage handler hit the underbelly and dented it. Understandable, but the decision could have been made about an hour earlier. We were going to be late for the ship's 5:00 PM departure, and many of us were getting different stories when we called RCCL, and also the travel agency that booked us. Thankfully, RCCL, with input from Captain Johnny (Mariner of the Seas) delayed the departure, and the 22 of us that were late were able to board, along with our luggage. We departed about 45 minutes late, and I can’t thank RCCL enough for going above and beyond…..

As soon as my girlfriend and I boarded, we were greeted with smiling faces and cheers. The luggage made it to the stateroom fairly quickly, and we started touring the ship to see what it had to offer. This was a first for both of us. I have to admit, we were both truly amazed with the ship and it’s amenities.

Labadee, Haiti. A very quaint, relaxing stop with great beaches and plenty to do (water activities). We were part of the Hogs on the High Seas group, so we also had activities through them while in Labadee. Our excursion at this stop was parasailing, which was awesome. Great views and a friendly crew. The ship catered lunch ashore, which was set up very well.

Ocho Rios . Our excursions here were the dolphin encounter where we were able to swim with dolphins and be part of the show. Then we went to Dunns River Falls and did the waterfall hike. This was totally awesome, and I would definitely recommend it for anyone that handle moderate physical activity. We hiked 600 feet, winding our way up the falls as a group. The tour guides were very friendly, even carried the camera for some awesome shots. We also stopped at Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville, a great party place which was rocking with fellow HOG members.

Grand Cayman. For our excursion here, I did two dives and my girlfriend snorkeled. I booked through Eden Rock Dive Center, and the guide Chris was very friendly and great to dive with. The water was an incredible 86 degrees, not even cool at 50 feet!! For a quick lunch we stopped at the Jail House Café, an outdoor café which had sandwiches, etc., on the menu. It filled the stomach and next stop was Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. Again the HOG crowd was rocking and we had a blast. There was a Harley shop there as well, which we had to walk through too.

Cozumel. We booked the island tour, which was interesting. The guides (Veronica & Barb) were extremely friendly, spoke great English and told us about their country, island and brief history. After viewing the eastern side of the island which was wiped out by the last hurricane, we stopped at the small town of Cedral. We were able to view an old Mayan building, a Catholic church dating back to 1590, and of course….local vendors. The next stop was Playa Mia Beach, where we spent 1.5 hours. The water was gorgeous and we enjoyed a burrito and Chimichanga for lunch. The HOG rally was going on at Carlos & Charlie's, so we stopped in for a drink.

I can’t say enough about the ship, Mariner of the Seas. Prior to departing, I read some of the reviews and had mixed feelings. I don’t get wrapped around the axle about little things. I understand that with 3200 people on board, there may be some delays experienced. Someone commented about room service trays being in the hallway when they left for breakfast. Big deal, walk around them….no harm done.

The restaurants on board were incredible. We mainly had room service for our morning coffee, and then went to the Windjammer Cafe for breakfast. A great buffet which offered everything you could possibly ask for. We did go to the dining room one morning for a sit down, order at your table menu. Along with the Windjammer is Jade, and we had lunch there one day as well which was delicious. We tried Johnny Rockets one time for lunch, both of us having burgers. The outside seating was closed, and it took a while to gain someone’s attention to acknowledge us inside. However, they were responsive afterwards. They started by serving us fries and onion rings which were delicious. Halfway through our meal, the waiters started dancing to YMCA which was on the system…. an added bonus!!

We had dinner in the main dining room, sitting on deck three in Rhapsody on the Blue. The food was always delicious and served nicely. The waiter/assistant waiter were the best! The bar tender that took care of our table was also very outgoing, and made great drinks. I was surprised when the head waiter came around and would cut the shrimp/lobster from the shell for you. All the wait staff performed songs and dances, and the chefs came out for everyone to meet.

We enjoyed performances in the Savoy Theater, and really enjoyed the ice show. Very talented people, it’s hard to believe you’re watching an ice show while in the middle of the ocean. We found the stores along the Promenade deck to be well priced, and offered great deals on gold and jewelry. There was also a parade on the final night which was fun to watch. We tried a few of the lounges and found them all very comfortable. Whether you wanted to rock and roll, or just chill out and listen to guitar or piano, it was offered.

To sum it all up, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. The ship was spectacular, immaculately clean and everyone we encountered was quite friendly. The stateroom was cleaned twice a day; she dropped off the daily schedule of activities, and made little animals from the beach towels. The beds were comfortable, and we were told that RCCL is changing out all new bedding at the beginning of 2007. There was a safe, small refrigerator, plenty of storage, decent sized bathroom (with soap & shampoo), a couch, and a TV in out stateroom. We were on the 8th deck with a balcony, which afforded great views. Another cruise will definitely be in the future.

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