thanks for the reply. Have been reading lots about the Mariner - is there anything I should know? Particularly interested in the cost of excursions as never been with RSSC before,
Excursions are very fairly prices as they are not really a profit center. They also only half fill transportation (buses etc) so that there is room to move around. You can get an idea of shore excursions on rssc website. At 60 days out, they list actual excursions and prices. If you want, although ports aren't all the same, you can look at Voyager 12/27 sailing as an example of excursions and prices.
I sailed through the canal on their Inaugural cruise in March 2001. It is a great experience. There is a local guide that comes on and gives commentary the entire way through the canal; it is very informative. Not to miss, getting off at the Gatun Yacht Club. There is a free trip to the canal zone and they have local dancers at the Yacht Club to entertain you as well as some handmade souvenirs made by the Indians. The Mariner is a great ship. Hope you enjoy.
We are a retired couple from AZ. This will be our first trip on RSSC. We're really looking forward to it. There are two more couples on the Cruise critic Message board signed up for this trip. We don't have our cabin number yet. We've been through the Canal three times but never on RSSC.