You will love the Mariner, we cruised on her in May, we took my in-laws on their first cruise. we have sailed with RCCL 6 times, we have booked 3 cabins for the SOS in April, heard lots of horror stories, hope they get everything finished before that, I do not want to fight to get our money back.
I was told that iced tea aand lemonade are available all the time, but soda would cost. Then when I talked to my travel agent, she told me that soda was free unless you asked for something out of the ordinary, like caf-free diet. Would like to know as I have 3 other people traveling with me.
I am pretty sure that soda is going to cost you no matter what you order. The mariner has fruit punch, iced tea, coffee and lemonade available all day for free (as well as ice cream) and fresh juices in the morning available.
I have never purchased one, but I have heard the soda cards are a mArginal buy simply because they only allow so many sodas per card and it is not that great of savings. I am sure someone has the numbers and will share them.
Tom is correct - sodas will cost you $1.50 per can (including with your meal).
The soda card is offered to both children and adults (can't remember the exact price right now) and is good for unlimited soda fountain drinks for the duration of the cruise. It is a little different then their drink card for alcoholic beverages (that offering is marginal at best), but if you are heavy soda drinkers this package is a savings. (I will try to find the price and report back),