My boyfriend and I have been on 1 cruise together a few years back on the Carnival Cruise line. We absolutely love it as a first cruise, but want to try out something different for our second. We want to go on a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise, and have narrowed are search down to 2 choices which seem very similar: (1) Pricess Cruises-ship Sapphire Princess, and (2) Royal Cribbean-ship Mariner of the Seas. I have been browsing this site and found this might be a great tool to get feedback from experienced Cruisers on the options. The two ships seem very comparable in price and go to exactly the same 3 ports. A little bit about us, we are looking to book a room with a balcony, in our mid/late twenties, and really enjoy a wide range of activities--from shows to nightlife, gambling for him, sight-seeing, and fine-dining, and poolside fun. I should also mention that he is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, so as far things like rock-climbing walls and really active activities, neither one of us really would be taking advantage of those.
Just wondering if anyone can offer opinions and advise as to the choices and which might be a best fit for us.
There is no bad choice here. Royal Caribbean is perhaps a bit more lively than Princess, but that is subjective. Both ships have extra-fee dining options, which frankly is where you will find the "fine dining". The basic food is really banquet grade for both lines and subject to the tastes of the individual. The Mariner is a fun ship. It is quite accessible for someone in a wheel chair with lots of open area. However, Princess does a great job for physically challenged people too. Princess is also more "kind and gentle" when it comes to the muster drill and also in the embarkation and debarkation process.
Frankly I'd just go with the best price. You will not be disappointed in either case.
I would look at the Itinerary and see if the ports are docked or tendered. Although it can be done, it is uncomfotable to be transferred on and of the tender.
Docked ports will give him more opportunity to get out and explore.
Normally, I suggest Princess because I am a long-time fan; but in this case, because Mariner of the Seas does the itinerary in the opposite order from Princess, it gives you more time in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. You actually get a half-hour less in Mazatlan, but the times are really better (8-5:30 on RCI, 7-5 on Princess). The other times are: Cabo: 9:30-6 on RCI, 7-2 on Princess; P.V.: 8-7 on RCI, 8-6 on Princess (although when I went last October Princess changed P.V. to 10-8 so they could cruise slower from San Pedro.
Both ships tender in Cabo and both dock in Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.
I'd consider the Mariner of the Sea because is has some good prices. Besides, you get to see an ice show, and experience the Quest. A "Voyager" class ship had never sailed from the west coast before. It's one of the largest ships in the world. However, there are some that say: bigger isn't always better.
Another thing I like on the Mariner is the Vintages Wine Bar. I am by no means an oenophile but I learned a lot from the bar staff and they had some good selections, featuring wines from Francis Ford Coppola's vineyard. You could also get a "flight" of wine with four or five 2 ounce servings of different wines to do your own tasting.