This was a family cruise for my husband and I and out two boys, aged 4 and 5. The cruise left on Easter Sunday and there were more than 1,200 kids onboard.
Embarkation went smoothly. We arrived at the port around 12:30 pm, there were plenty of porters to assist with baggage. We found our line, which we made it through in about 10 minutes. the Krooze Komics were there entertaining the children, which made the time go by very quickly.
Once onboard we dropped our bags in our room, a D category balcony stateroom on Deck 8. We headed to the buffet lunch in the Windjammer. It was very crowded. I thought the Windjammer and Jade dining rooms were a little small for the amount of passengers on Mariner, but we usually found a table without too much hassle, even during peak times. Throughout the week we often ate breakfast and lunch in Windjammer/Jade and there was always good variety and in general the food was fresh and good. The wait staff there was friendly and they would bring soft drinks (tea, lemonaide) and coffee by. It's a good dining choice when you're with the kids because it's fast, and little ones do not like the length of time it takes to eat in the dining room.
Our stateroom was beautiful, with much more room than we are used to. Lots of places to put toiletries in the bathroom and in the vanity. The closet is roomy and even has built in wire shelves which were highly useful, and it had a fold down second bar to hang shorter items like skirts and trousers. The kids slept on a fold out couch and there was still enough room to maneuver around it when it was extended. The balcony was small, but oh what a slice of heaven it was. The kids and I watched as Mariner pulled out of port and we spotted 3 dolphins swimming along the ship. We also saw the other ships pulling out of port ahead and behind us. During the week, I had a quiet place to read and sunbathe away from the maddening crowds at the pools (whilst the kids were in Adventure Ocean). The kids and I went out there in the early morning to watch the ship pull into our ports. And, it was just a great way to enjoy the scenery.
The ship's decor was just beautiful. So much beautiful, classic sculpture everywhere. Tastefully decorated lounges. The three floors of the dining room were all elegant. Also a lot of pop art, the pool area is so bright and colorful as is the promenade, with it's flying ace planes (best viewed via the glass elevator at that end of the promenade) and whimisical balloon man. The exercise facility is large, with a lot of treadmills, several elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and stair steppers. It also had adequate weight machines. I didn't get to use the spa, but it looked nice. Solarium pool area was very popular, but quiet with no children in the area.
Our cabin steward (Sam) was so nice, we saw him often as we were in and out of the cabin a lot. He did a great job and was very helpful and friendly.
Food in the dining room was consistently very good. Our asst. waiter was a sweetheart, very attentive. Our waiter seemed a bit cold at first, but he was actually quite nice and warmed up as the week went on. The kids only had to eat in the dining room twice, they ate with the Adv. Ocean twice and we took them to Johnny Rockets once. My husband and I ate at Chops one evening, it was excellent, what a nice dining experience it was, I recommend it.
Adventure Ocean kids program was excellent. There were over 300 kids in the 3-5 age group with only 3 counselors. The counselors were great with the kids and they only paged me twice, my younger son had a little accident and the older one got seasick one night. My children loved all the activities, the talent show was very cute. My older son was almost 6 but I kept him in the 3-5's he had the advantage with the computers as the younger children tired of them easily. The kids do a little pirate parade on the promenade which was also precious.
I took the kids to the pool a couple of times and they really enjoyed that, with all the bright colors. They tried ice skating but were frustrated because it was hard. It took me longer to get their skates and gear on than they spent skating! We missed getting tickets to the ice show, but I was able to sneak in one night. It was really good and the kids would've enjoyed it. What I didn't understand is that they give out all of the tickets to ice shows on one day, if you don't get them then, you're out of luck. I mistakenly thought they would offer them each day an ice show was scheduled. So, when you see it in the Cruise Compass, go and go early to get the tickets.
Lots of things, like bingo, are scheduled when Aventure Ocean is closed, so we missed some things we would've liked to do. Still, we had a great cruise and you can't do everything.
We had gorgeous weather, St. Thomas and St. Marten were so beautiful, I wanted to stay there. We shopped for jewlery and watches, french cosmetics and cologne and knock-off bags, which was great fun. We did not take any excursions, hubby and I like to shop, which you can do on your own, and we have seen the sites in Nassau and St. Thomas before.