CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Mariner of the Seas
Western Caribbean
December 4, 2005

About us:
We are married and nearly 40 traveling on RCI for the first time.  On this cruise we did not bring our kids.  We like to dance to beach music and big band.  We are active and we need to be because we share a love for good food. 

Port Canaveral. 
This port is within driving distance so we came down on Saturday and stayed at the Cocoa Beach Hilton.  It was a decent hotel with good food and it is right on the beach.  The hotel let us leave our car there and we took a shuttle to the port Sunday morning.  The Radisson was much closer to the port and we will probably try it next time we sail from Port Canaveral.

The shuttle dropped us off and the porters were eager to help with the bags—just make sure you have attached you luggage tags before you get there.  The port was well organized and getting onboard took only 20 minutes or so.  At the end of the cruise customs was quick and easy.  Port Canaveral is a great place to catch a ship.

Cabin 8390. 
Once onboard we went directly to our cabin, #8390 starboard side aft facing.  This cabin is great if you want to sunbathe in a semi-private area.  We always get a cabin with a balcony but never have we had one with so much sun.  The shape of the ship, the cabin location, and the western Caribbean course seem to have combined to make for a sun-drenched balcony.   The nights were even better with a terrific view of the starry skies.  The downside of course was the fact that our neighbors could have easily looked over into our deck area so we kept our clothes on most of the time. 

The cabin itself was small but big enough for dressing and sleeping.  There was plenty of storage and the bed sits high enough to stow the luggage underneath. RCI did not provide any amenities like we are used to.  No robes, no assortment of sample sized toiletries.  Just some soap and a wall mounted shampoo dispenser. 

The stewards did a good enough job tidying up the place other than the balcony; but on one occasion I caught the steward(s) taking a rather disgusting shortcut.  There are glasses and an ice bucket on the vanity and the glasses are covered with those little paper covers.  Having dropped one of those covers on the floor I tossed it in the trash bin in the bathroom.  As I tossed it in the trash I noticed that it had a small tear on the edge.  The next day the dirty glass cover complete with the torn edge was back on the “clean” glass next to the ice bucket.  It was kind of gross.  This was the first time I have not tipped my cabin staff. 

The food.
We eat in the dining room because on most ships that is where the best food, service, and dinner conversation can be found.  The dining room was absolutely beautiful and the live dinner music was a nice touch.  The food was good, the service was great, and our tablemates were a hoot.  On a couple of occasions the dining room was closed for lunch and we had to eat at the buffet.  Avoid the buffet if possible.  The food was lukewarm and not very good.   On the other hand, room service was prompt and it really hit the spot for a late night snack.    We did not try the specialty restaurants.  The Café Promenade pizza and snacks were good in a pinch. 

The ice show was fantastic, as was the Temptations tribute group. 

Do not waste you time going to the production shows, the singers were talented but the dancing was boring at best and at times was repulsive.  Only on a cruise ship can professional dancers be so overweight. 

Each night there were many opportunities to dance to live music and we would go from one venue to another.  There was jazz, swing, rumba, rock, and disco most nights often at the same time.  The downside here was the small size of the dance floors.  With the exception of the Lotus lounge the dance floors were so small that no more that three couples would fit. 

The cruise director and staff were about what you would expect.  Most of the crowd seemed to enjoy their antics so you probably will too. 

The Promenade.
I looked forward to seeing the interior promenade area and it was beautiful.  There were some interesting bars and shops in which to spend time.  Unfortunately, this area was poorly utilized.  The staff attempted to have a few street party type events there that fell sort of flat.  They had a few dance parties there but it just seemed to generate conflict between those who showed up to dance and listen to the music and those who wanted to shop or to simply pass through.  

Ports of Call.
There are so many options for shore activities that you will surely find something you like.  I enjoyed relaxing on the beaches at Labadee and the canopy tour at Jamaica was great.  We shopped till we dropped in Georgetown and we were astonished at the devastated Cozumel. 

I loved it, but they need an additional craps table.  Be careful walking across the plexiglass floor -- many people tripped on the raised frame.   

Cigar Bar.
One of the few private feeling public areas on the ship.

There are great hot tubs in the solarium.

Soda Card.
Bring your own drinks.  The fountain drinks were nasty.

Mango smoothie—best drink on board.

Overall impressions.

We cruise about once a year and we will probably sail RCI again sometime.  This cruise may not be indicative of other RCI offerings but it seemed very sedate.  In other words there wasn’t much of a line waiting to climb the rock wall.  The whole ship seemed to go to bed around 11pm.  And do not look for hotties by the pool unless you bring your own.  Even the professional dancers on this ship were fat. 

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