Awesome, Amazing, Fabulous! Those are a few words I would choose to describe the beautiful Mariner of the Seas. This was the second cruise for my husband and I (our first was eleven years ago for our honeymoon) and we were blown away by this wonderful ship. When we arrived at the pier everyone on the bus was in awe of Mariner's size. We couldn't wait to get on and start exploring the ship. Below is a day by day account of our cruise.
Day One (Sea Day) - Arrived in Orlando at 11:15am and we were on the bus by 11:45am. We left the airport at 12:15pm and we were at the pier a little after 1:00pm. The lines to check in were pretty long when we arrived but we were on board by 2:00pm. We went to our cabin and unloaded our carryon luggage. The room was small but big enough to move around in. We had an inside stateroom (next time we will go for a balcony) and were pleasantly surprised with all the storage space. The bathroom was small but the shower had great water pressure. The showerhead was removable and you could also adjust it to go higher or lower (important for tall people like my husband)! We met Jeff's brother,Rod and his wife,Karyn at their cabin, which was just around the corner from us. We all went to the Windjammer for a late lunch.
There was plenty of food to choose from and it was good. At 4:15pm we had the mandatory Muster Drill. It lasted about 20 minutes and then we headed up to the top of the ship for the sail away. We left port about 5:45pm and there was much cheering going on. We headed up to dinner (we had main dining - which we would highly recommend) at 6pm and met our waiter, Cristian who was awesome. He is from Romania so we had a hard time understanding him the first few days but we eventually picked up on his accent. We also met our tablemates, Elena and Norma from Chicago. We all enjoyed dinner and had great conversation. We were told there are over 67 countries represented on the Mariner. We thought that was pretty cool. We left for the Welcome Aboard show at 8:00pm. The Cruise Director, Ken Rush, hosted the show and Jeff Jana was a very funny comedian who kept us laughing till our sides hurt! We went back to our room and found that our luggage had arrived and we also met our stateroom attendant, Elfina. We unpacked and hung out in our cabin till 10:45pm and then we went down to the Royal Promenade to see the Parade. It was fantastic - the costumes were amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We headed back to our room and crashed into bed at 11:30pm.
Day Two (Nassau, Bahamas) - We ordered room service this morning to save time. We got a ham and cheese omelet, bacon and some juice. The food was ok, but not great. We had some things sent to be ironed (very good prices and they did a great job - it takes about a day or two to get your clothes back so send things a head of time). We went on shore around 9am and walked around the island and shopped. We went to lunch at Senor Frog and then out to Long Warf beach. We hung out on the beach for about an hour or two and then headed back on board around 3:00pm. Today was the day to get tickets for the Ice show so Karyn and I headed up to Studio B to wait in line for ours. It was a good thing we went early because about an hour later almost all the tickets were gone. At 4:00pm we went to the Lotus Lounge to play Bingo. by this time the ship was really beginning to rock because of high winds. It didn't bother us (though Karyn had to take Dramamine so she wouldn't get seasick). Went to Dinner at 6:00pm and once again the service was great and the dinner was very delicious. We headed up to the Photo Gallery to see our welcome aboard pictures and of course I had to buy ours (Pictures range in price from $6.95 to $19.95). We were then off to the Savoy Theater to see the comedian Rondell Sheridan. He was hilarious and we enjoyed the show. After that it was the Ice Show in Studio B - the show was called "Ice under the Big Top" and was absolutely amazing! It is definitely a must see. At 11:45pm we headed to the Royal Promenade for the "Dancing in the Street" party and had a great time. We got to bed about 1:00am.
Day Three (Sea Day) - The boat was still rocking when we woke up and it was funny watching everyone try to walk straight as we headed to the Windjammer for a late breakfast. We went and played Bingo again - still didn't win, but was only one number away from winning the free cruise they give away - what a bummer that we we so close, but yet so far!! That afternoon Jeff and Rod entered the Mr. Sexy legs contest. They didn't win but Karyn and I had a great time watching them try! They had horse racing out by the pool after the contest and Jeff and I won the second race (only $6.00 but that's better than nothing, right?) We then went up to the Peek A Boo bridge to see where the captain controls the ship. It was very interesting but at the same time so windy that we were almost blown over so we didn't stay very long. Tonight was the first Formal night and it was great to see everyone in their fancy dudes! We had our picture taken and then we headed into dinner. Once again we really enjoyed the food and our time at dinner with our tablemates. Afterwards we went to the Theater to watch "Front Row". It was a Broadway type musical and was ok. We didn't enjoy it as much because we didn't know any of the songs and Karyn and I love to sing along. We turned in early today because tomorrow we dock early in San Juan.
Day Four (San Juan, Puerto Rico) - We ordered room service again but were disappointed when they called and said we couldn't have the French Toast we had written (the choices they had listed on the room service form were very limited and I was told you could write in anything you can get in the other eating places) so Jeff went and got French Toast from the Windjammer (it was very yummy) and we ate it in our room. We had to go through customs and that only took 15 minutes. We then had to wait in Studio B with everyone else who was going on an excursion. We waited about 30 minutes and then we were all let off at the same time (kind of felt like herded cattle - moo!) We went on the El Yunque Rain Forest tour and enjoyed it. It took an hour to get to the rain forest but it was worth the ride. On our way back we had our tour guide drop us off at San Cristobol Fort were we had an amazing view of San Juan. We went shopping at a few stores and then headed back on board. Dinner was fabulous and afterwards we went to listen to Big Band music in the Lotus Lounge. We saw the Captain (Johnny Faevelen) and had our picture taken with him and then it was off to the Savoy to see the Love & Marriage show. They picked 3 couples from the audience and had a "Newlywed" type show. It was hilarious and we laughed and at the same time amazed that the couple who had been married 66 years got almost every answer right! At 11:45pm we went to the Royal Promenade for the "Enchanted Knights" Parade. The costumes were excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed it. When we got back to our cabin, Elfina had made our first of many towel animals - a rabbit. We finally went to bed at 12:30am.
Day Five (Phillipsburg, St. Maarten) - We went to the Windjammer for breakfast and then headed ashore for our 4 X 4 Jeep Safari of the island. We were really looking forward to this excursion and it was everything we thought it would be and more. It lasted the whole day and we were able to go to two different beaches (including the Orient beach which was breathtakingly beautiful), shopping in Marigot and a trip up to the top of Fort St. Louis to catch an awesome view of the city of Marigot and it's harbor. This excursion was definitely the highlight of our trip. We got back on board about 5:30pm and got ready for dinner. Tonight all the waiters sang for us and that was a fun sight to see. After dinner we went to the theater to see "Pure Energy" another Broadway type production. We enjoyed this show much more because all the songs were familiar to us and we had a great time singing along. At 10:00pm we went to the Schooner Bar for a sing along with Matt Yee. It was a ton of fun and we finally fell into bed exhausted from the long day at 12:30am
Day Six (Sea Day) - We slept in late and once we got up we went for a walk on deck. The ship wasn't rocking as much today. We skipped breakfast and had an early lunch in Johnny Rockets. It was great - the waiters saing two or three different songs while we were eating and the food was delicious, especially the apple pie and shakes. There is always a line at lunch time so if you want to get a booth you need to get there early! Afterwards we laid out by the pool and watched horse racing and the Belly Flop contest. Then Jeff and Rod went rock climbing for an hour or so. Amazing that they have a rock climbing wall on a ship! That afternoon we went to the very front of the ship and had fun pretending we were "King or Queen of the World"! Dinner was formal again tonight so we got all dressed up and had a great time. We then headed to the karaoke Idol finals and were pleasantly surprised by some of the talent we heard. Later it was back to the Savoy to see The Drifters. They were awesome and received many standing ovations from the crowd. At Midnight the Gala Buffet was open for everyone to see all the amazing food carvings the chef's had spent over 300 hours working on. It was too cool. Afterwards we got to eat all the amazing creations and they were too delicious - especially the white chocolate covered strawberries. We got to bed at 1:30am
Day Seven (Sea Day) This was our last full day and we couldn't believe how fast the week had gone by! We went and played Bingo again - no luck! We ate lunch at Johnny Rockets and went back to the room to pack. At 1:30pm we went to "Behind the Name Tags" which featured the captain, the cruise director, head chef, and a few other people who answered the cruisers questions. It was very informative. Then it was back for the final Bingo of the cruise. The jackpot was $7800 and we sure would have liked to have won it, but it went to another very happy woman! Around 5pm we went up on deck to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. Headed to dinner where the staff sang again and then it was off to the Savoy for the Farewell variety show. Afterwards we made sure all our luggage was ready to go and we put it outside our room. We went to the casino for an hour where we made a $30 donation and then we went to the late night comedy show featuring comedian Tim Jones. He was very funny and we enjoyed the show. We hit the sack about 12:30am.
Day Eight (Back in Port Canaveral) - We had to be out of our room by 8am so we met Rod and Karyn up in the Windjammer for breakfast and then waited in the Champagne lounge until our tag color was called. We waited about an hour and a half and then when we were called we headed off the ship where we easily found our luggage (the yellow bows we tied on them worked very well) and headed to the bus to take us back to Orlando. We were so sad to be going - what an awesome time we had!
A little more on the ship - It was beautiful and full of wonderful artwork. The ship was very easy to get around and there were plenty of signs posted for those of us who are directionally challenged. The elevators were very slow so 9 out of 10 times we took the stairs, which was a great way to see all the artwork and we got some exercise at the same time. We are still in awe of the size of the Mariner. Even though there were 3,000 cruisers and over 1,000 crew members it rarely felt crowed as we made our way around the ship. Since this is a brand new ship it was definitely sparkling clean and you could smell the "newness" everywhere. It was so awesome to be on the maiden voyage of Mariner and we would definitely recommend this ship to anyone who likes to cruise and have lots to do - your choices are almost unlimited!Can't wait to book our next cruise - we are hooked!