My wife and I will be enjoying our tenth anniversary in October. We wanted to do something special, enjoyable and not break the bank. We had one short cruise in 1995 on the " Big Red Boat" for four days. Nassau was nasty!
We are both 50 years old and in good shape though I would not say we are Athletically inclined or involved in sports at all. We not into disco or bar hoping. Really looking to have calm, relaxing time with sightseeing, strolls, observations , etc.
Anyway, We pondered and researched all last weekend for the cruise that would be the best for our time element. We narrowed our choice down to three Western Caribbean cruises ( seven days ) each. Each cruise has plus and minus ,
First , We really thought about going to Key West but Century was sailing from Lauderdale and we would be driving from Georgia.
Then we focused on the Holland Zaandam. I liked this ship for it apparent grace and style though the agenda ( ports ) were cramped and rushed.
Finally, the third choice was the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas. New ship, BIG SHIP , new ports and agenda time. The rooms were about gone so we made the decision to go for it and we choose this ship.
She decided on the Mariner, mainly due to the times arriviing and leaving ports
I selected a D2 class cabin with a balcony so we may view the ocean( hope we do not to get sea sick , smile)
I gave the Travel agent the large down payment but alas the wife is having a major case of second thoughts.
Is this ship too big?
Will their be too many families?
Too many children?
Are the activities all surrounding some type of sport activity, i.e. golf, rock climbing, etc.
Will we be crushed by the sheer numbers on this boat ?
Will we be able to have peaceful moments outside of our cabins?
Are the activities more for the go getters and party animals, sports people or families with children?
Now , she is thinking about calling to agent for a refund or changing over to the Holland Zaandam.
I am just being supportive but am totally lost.
Did we rush to book a ship before it filled because it was the "new shiny BIG boat" or did we did well in our selection.
We haven't been on Mariner, but have been on both Voyager and Explorer, which are sister ships to Mariner.
We didn't feel the ship was too big. At first, it's overwhelming, especially when you walk into the Grand Promenade, with all the shops lining the "street".
There will certainly be families on board, but since you are going in October, you shouldn't have problems. We were on a cruise at Thanksgiving last November, and there were 800 children on board. On our Brilliance cruise in January, there were fewer than 100.
No, all activities are not centered around one or two specific things. You can go to the horse races, daily trivia contests, a wine tasting, art auctions, or if you prefer, you can go to the library and just relax with a good book - yours or theirs.
Since it is a large ship, and accomodates around 3,000 people, there are things for everyone. We have never felt crowded on either ship.
We haven't sailed on HAL, so I can't compare the two.
We have taken 14 cruises, and can honestly say we have only had one we didn't enjoy. I won't name the cruise line, but it starts with "C", and it's not Carnival.
Grandeur of the Seas 1-11-14
Grandeur of the Seas 1-21-14
Grandeur of the Seas 1-31-14
Navigator of the Seas 10-12-14
Navigator of the Seas 10-19-14
Serenade of the Seas 1-10-15
Serenade of the Seas 1-17-15
Serenade of the Seas 1-24-15
I was on the Mariner in April. It really is a wonderful ship and I do not think you will be disappointed. I don't know what the crowd is like in October, but during Easter week, there were 1,100 kids on the ship(1 was mine). The only time it was a problem was in the general pool area. However, the adult pool area was extremely peaceful even on a full ship. If you choose to stay on the ship on one of the port days, you will feel like you are by yourself. There are so many gathering places on the ship that you will have plenty of chances to have some alone time. You never really feel crowded. At times you will have the backup at the buffet, but nothing to complain about. You may think that you will not use any of the "sports" areas, but don't be surprised if you do. I am as far from athetic as you get, but even I went rollerblading(first time on wheels in 25years!). I always wondered what it was like and thought it's free, there is a smooth surface, and a railing to hold on to so why not. It wasn't that bad and I didn't fall!
I am in my early 50's and went on the mariner at thanksgiving -- 1000 kids under 18 on board, but i really didnt notice it . I actually was shocked when they announced how many kids were on board.
We enjoyed the promenade for coffee -- and snacks , it was our favorite place ot hang out.
The casino wasnt thought out very well -- there was hardly any space between the table games, and only one craps table which was usually 3 deep in people. the slots were taking up most of the space, and since the payouts were seen as low, they were mostly empty.
The size of the ship just means more places to explore -- we were still finding new spots at the end of our 7 days-- this means if the weather for being on the pool deck was poor -- we had that much more to do inside. The pool decks are so large , that its not hard to find a chair even duirng peak sea days.
The rock wall and golf are just advertising gimmicks -- this is not what the ship is about -- tho its there if you want to try it out.
ONe of the best exercise facilities i've seen on any ship.
The casual buffet dining has so many options -- and if you like sushi there is a sushi bar in the evening.
I would cruise this ship again, and again -- go for it
I also agree that you've made a great choice! I've sailed on both the Explorer and Adventure. The advantage to a big ship is that there is lots of room to spread out, so you don't realize that it is crowded. Also, there are lots of choices...not overwhelming, just something for everyone. And October is a "downtime" for families/children, so you're less likely to encounter as many as you would during school holidays. And you can't go wrong with a balcony cabin...it's very cozy and quiet...a private spot of your very own. (Be sure to check the website to see if the price goes down, b/c if it does (and it probably will at this less-traveled time of year), have your TA call and secure you an upgrade or ship credit. When the price went down for us, we got the difference refunded, plus when we boarded, we were surprised with an upgrade from D2 to GS.)
Does the Mariner have the ice rink, because if it does, be sure not to miss the ice show...it is spectacular!
Home Lines Atlantic 7/88; Cunard Countess 6/89; Costa Riviera 5/90; Explorer of the Seas 8/02; Adventure of the Seas 8/03; Carnival Miracle 6/04
I think if you go in Oct for you anniversary, you won't see as many young kids and families that you would if it was a school break. I'd go for it, I'm sure your wife will love it. Yes, the ship is huge, but very easy to navigate around, unlike some smaller ships that have a flow problem.
We've been on both Voyager and Explorer, both sister ships and love cruising on these, lots to do to keep busy and you never have that crowded feeling while onboard, like I though it would be, so don't worry, go and enjoy!
We made the huge mistake of booking Brilliance for next March during what turns out to be Easter week--I will not be pleased if there are a thousand children on the ship--the odds of getting unsupervised ones will be greatly increased. But our plans are set so I guess we will hope for the best & for well supevised childlren.--who knew Easter would be coming so early. I like a diverse group as to age etc but 1000 children is a really high number!
First, you've booked in October when most families don't cruise because the kids are in school. Families with kids under 3 should be minimal since Royal Carrib. program doesn't take them until they are 3 and potty trained. And for those few families onboard, the youth staff does an EXCELLENT JOB. You will see families, just not tons of them.
Second, Mariner is beautifully laid out to handle crowds. My husband and I and our two young sons sailed on Mariner during Spring Break this past April. The ship was booked to capacity, with more than 1,500 children/teens onboard (because it was a school holiday week). It did not feel crowded, certainly there were always people about, and we saw a lot of bored teens, but the little ones in the Adventure Ocean program were having a blast. I was surprised at the lack of "crush". We even found tables in the buffet room at peak times and once during a cloud burst when everyone rushed in from the pool area. Even then, the kids were all well behaved, and we didn't run in to any of what I hate worse, rowdy adults.
We had a balcony suite and loved it, very spacious. The food was very good, entertainment was fun, you'll love the Kruz Komics. We are not big into sports, just like to relax, shop in the ports, work out in the gym etc. We had a great cruise and I think you'll enjoy it too.
Also, the ship's art work is beautiful, it has both classically inspired sculpture and whimsical pop art. The promenade is fun and festive, and the ice show is not to be missed.
We went on the Navigator (sister ship) first week of May. The ship was FULL. Not once did we feel over crowded, not even on sea days. It was THE MOST relaxing vacation my husband and I ever had, even though we went to port and did stuff on the ship, it was just soooo relaxing. You will definately enjoy the Mariner. Like everyone else has said, not many kids in October and the ones that are there are kept busy. We had the best time we've ever had and so will you. Enjoy!
Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
Explorer of the Seas
Explorer of the Seas
Adventure of the Seas
Serenade of the Seas
Navigator of the Seas