Mariner of the Seas
November 26, 2006
Three of our party of four had enjoyed our cruise on the Mariner in May, 2004 so much that we opted to return to this ship and same itinerary, rather than choosing another. We were not disappointed in the Mariner itself, as it has been beautifully maintained. The cruise director, Becky, was a one-woman show at any given time and every crew member with whom we had contact was friendly and helpful.
We particularly enjoyed spending time in the Royal Promenade in the late evening (love Cafe Promenade!)and Matt Yee in the Schooner Bar.
Our only real disappointment was the food on this cruise. My husband and I had eaten most of our meals in the Windjammer buffet previously, but on this trip we only missed one dinner in the dining room. The food in the Windjammer compared to the poor quality found at most all-inclusive resorts. Even the dining room was below standards for bith food and service. Our wait staff was very personable, but all seemed to be stretched too thin to give any illusion of what we'd come to expect on a cruise ship dining room. We'd usually wait 10 minutes or more with dessert in front of us before we'd even see a waiter for tea or coffee. One night, there was a chef's sampler plate of desserts. Some tables were also offered the dessert menu at the same time, others never saw the menu. I wonder if this is a trend being brought on by the "extra charge" dining options. It seems if you want the former excellent service and cuisine, you have to pay extra.
The appetizers were the best parts of most meals. The "Healthy Alternative" entrees seldom changed. Desserts were for the most part very bland and disappointing, even at the Gala Midnight Buffet, where they looked fabulous and all tasted like they were made from the same mix. I sent back a totally inedible plate of Eggs Benedict for breakfast one morning, the only flavour came from the meat which I had to discretely (I hope) spit out as it tasted just plain rotten.
On the whole, we enjoyed our cruise, the ship, the ports, and the people but found the food and food service has deteriorated in 2 years.