The ship was beautiful and so big. If you want a ship with many places to go and things to do, this is it. You will get plenty of exercise getting around, when you see how big it really is you'll know what we mean. After a day or so you do get used to the ship. Easy to find your way around.
Cabin personnel were awesome as were dining room staff. Windjammer/Jade had very good food. Portifino was excellent. We hate to part with the kids,(boy 7 and little woman of 4) but they tried to kids club and loved it. They do very good job with the children. The Promenade was freaky. It actually looks like a street in a village. Big enough for a parade. Always something going on there. Amazing all by itself. Elevators were pretty quick. Decor is neutral but pretty. They did a great job with holiday themes and Santa. Midnight mass was beautiful and the Christmas singing was very nice. (except for the drunk father and his two sons who were screaming and changing the songs into vulgar things). Our tablemates were all wonderful. Our waiter and his assitant were great. Dining room food was average and nicely presented.
A big drawback was the amount of drunk teenagers onboard. They were very annoying. Obviously as kids will do, they found ways to get alcohol. Not a difficult task. A few fights broke out and I am sure a few family's vacations were ruined. It seems like the parents just let them run rampant. Foul language and stupidity was abundant. I felt sorry for the older folks and people like ourselves with little ones.
Johnny Rockets was pretty cool, the kids loved it. The hot tubs were great. We were in heavy seas and the water in the pools was emptying itself out because of waves in the pool. the ship rides hard for it's size, real hard. The arcade as any parent and obviously RCI knows is a big draw. Most games were over $1.00, that was a bit much. The mini golf and skating was nice. Ice show tickets are limited, so get them early. The shows and parades were very good. We had a balcony, 6th cruise and first balcony. I'd save the money unless you spend allot of time in the room. If you are an early riser and do the coffee at sunrise thing, you'll like it. With two kids it was more of an up and out kind of deal. We got the balcony out of our system though. The king size bed was confortable and so was the couch/bed for the kids. Rooms had enough space, storage was great. A/C was very good. No more shower curtains, replaced with a Star Trek tube with two doors that meet in the middle. The casino was very nice, we actually broke even. Someone walked away with $17000 from a dollar slot.
The ports were nice. St. Thomas was beautiful. St. Martin was closed for Christmas day. that was a bit of a dissapointment. Since folks paid a premium for a holiday cruise, an open port would have been nice. St.Thomas was open on Christmas, so switching around ahead of time would have been great. I know easier said than done with all the ships in and out.
Nassau was well, Nassau. Been there and done that. Straw pocket books and hair braiding.
Leaving from Port Canaveral with the iffy December weather would probably make us leave from Puerto Rico next time,it was pretty cold and nasty a few days.
The coffee was the worst I have ever had. They call it Seattle's Best? More like paint.
The Mariner was a cool ship and knowing we sailed on the biggest was neat. It just seemed like something was missing, maybe the intimacy of the smaller ships? Can't quite put our finger on it.
Getting off the ship was the strangest, most whacked out thing I have ever seen. Took forever and appeared to be the first day of such an event. Surprised us. Took over two hours to get off. The return to the airport bus driver was clueless and confused. Dropped us off at the wrong spot twice.
Our last cruise was Disney. I have to admit, as far as fit and finish goes, Mickey has a handle on it. Even the older kids and adults said Disney was amazing compared to anything else. Some of them were able to do whatever they wanted price wise and said the Wonder and Magic were pretty incredible.
I guess if you are just a couple it may be different. Go and enjoy the Mariner, you will not be bored trust us.
Any questions feel free to ask.