I am cruising on the Mariner next June 2006 (Western Carr) with my WHOLE family for my parents 50th anniversary and has a few questions. Can you bring booze back on the ship from the ports? Can you bring a travel iron on board? How is the weather in the carribean in June? How are the kid programs? (we will have 2 year olds - 17 year olds). Thanks for any input.
You'll have a nice time. We went in December. I'll try and answer your questions and if you want more info., feel free to email me.
Yes, you can bring booze from the ports. As you bring it on, they'll be someone sitting there at a table. They'll ask if you have any. You turn it in, and they'll tag it for you. Then they'll give it back to you the last night of your cruise.
I don't think travel irons are acceptable on any cruise. Fire hazard. THey have service to send out items that need pressing for a fee.
Kids programs are good.....Weather will be hot and humid. That's why we normally go at the end of the year.
The ice show is a must. Get your tickets as soon as they go on sale...I mean as soon...Not two hours later..within the hr. We got stuck with a showing that conflicted with our dinner time. We had to skip the diningroom and eat at the windjammer...that was fine though..
What ports are you going to? I can recommend some things we did. We book our own excursions as going through the ship, it's much more costly.
Check out desserts at the Promenade Cafe....yummy and FREE.. We liked theres better than the diningroom. We didn't know they were free until the end of our cruise.
By the main pool, they have free ice cream cones...self serve soft ice cream...did that everyday in the afternoon.
YOu'll enjoy the adult only pool...Huge jacuzzi's and very quiet over there..loved it.
I'd bring some water bottles for each one and you can refill on the ship. WAter is expensive on the ship. Everyone has their own backpacks and each one has two in there along with their towels and whatever. (for excursions)
They have certain times to sign up for rock climbing each day..don't forget the golfing..that was fun..
Loved the gym! Worked out everyday...had to work off all that food. ha ha
Well, tried to cover what I could think of...any questions, email me if you'd like. Probably more info. than you wanted to know..
We sailed Mariner over this past New Years. As for bringing booze back on board: if youre lucky, some places will deliver it to the ship so you dont have to lug it around. Either way though, you cant keep it in your cabin (you might be able to pay a fee) because of duty reasons. Usually your cabin steward will deliver it to your cabin either the last night or the morning of departure.
Instead of a travel iron (my son burned his hand on one a few years ago-pulled it off the shelf in an instant) try Downy's Wrinkle Release. Comes in a cream pearlized spray bottle found the laundry aisle at most stores, including Walmart (dont get the jug that pours as that is meant for your washer). You spray it on your clothes, tug and smooth out the wrinkles and youre ready to go. I just toss the bottle in a ziploc bag and into my luggage. Some people buy smaller spray bottles and pour some in them. Either way, the stuff works great. It does have a bit of fragrance when you first spray it on (it goes away once it dries), it might tickle your nose enough to sneeze, and it will make a tile floor slippery, but its so much better than an iron. I dont even use an iron anymore unless I really need to. There are several post on other message boards about it.
Kids club-havent been able to use them yet. Minimum age is 3 and they have to be potty trained. No diapers whatsoever. Also no diapers, even swimmies in the pools (there are signs posted and sometimes the crew will tell you to get your kid out). RCI did start a new program for the under 6 mos-3 yrs called Aquatots (tied into Fisher Price). Again, check the boards as there are posts about it. You cant leave your child, and they only run it one time a day for about 30 minutes.
Ice show-they have plenty of tickets so that everyone can see it (dont miss it), but if you want a certain time and day, go early to pick up what you want. We chose a sea day since we werent wiped out from a day at the beach.
Weather-its hot and humid at the end of Dec. so I can only imagine what it would be like in June! ICK! You might get afternoon rain/storms, but they usually blow in and leave right away.
Plenty of activities for the older kids: rock wall, ice skating (bring long pants and socks for these two-shorts are ok for rock wall), swimming, roller blading, golf simulator (will cost you), arcade (again costs $$), mini golf, basketball, ping pong, exploring, kids club, organized activities daily, bingo, shopping, eating, second run movies, etc. If your kids drink a lot of soda, you might want to invest in soda cards. The only drinks that are free are juice (breakfast), milk, water, ice tea, tea, coffee, lemonade. Everything else will cost you.
Its a cashless society on board meaning everything gets charged to your cabin. Your room key is your charge card, boarding/disembarking id (they will take a picture the first time you board and it will pop up on their computer every time you get on/off the ship). No need to lug around your passport (check the new reqs as you will need them to travel nowadays) when you leave. Best place for it is locked up in your room safe. When they tell you to be back on board by x time, be on board. You dont want to miss the ship! If on an excursion through the ship, they will be sure you get back on board somehow so not to worry. Go off on your own, and its your own problem.
I can also answer any other questions you might have-just email me. I have a now 3 yr old who has cruised at 11 mos, 23 mos, and 35 mos so if you need any help with packing let me know. We bring some beach toys for him to use at the beach, his lifejacket for the ocean (cant use the ones on the ship), some of his favorite snacks, cups, lots of diaper supplies, children's medicines (Tylenol, Motrin, etc) since they can be $$$ or hard to find in port (wont find them on the ship), and some new toys/book to occupy him at dinner just to name a few of the critical things. We did the Eastern on Mariner, but have done Western on Enchantment and Navigator the last two times.
I just returned from the Mariner this Sunday (06/05).
Regarding booze - here is what I saw with my own eyes while boarding at the different ports. People who admitted to retuning to the ship with alcohol had it taken from them and stored until the last night of the cruise when it is returned to you. The people who had the booze hidden in their carry on beach bags, etc. went right through the x-ray scan and trotted up to their rooms with their happy juice in tow. So, I guess this is one of those gray areas where people agree to just "keep quiet". This is completely up to you because you're the one with the red face if you are stopped while trying to hide some alcohol.
Temperatures - They're going to be HOT, HOT, HOT in June. We sailed the Eastern route and they were already in the 90's. Add the humidity and it was sweltering!
Children ages 2 through 17? The younger kids always have it better because they are afforded the structure and organization of group activities. It's tougher when you get to the teenagers though. Make sure your teens have brought along some fun stuff from home because while they have many activites for teens - very FEW ever show up to participate. We have teens and so we chatted up many of them on the ship at different times and found that most of them were very disappointed in the shipboard activities. They were so hyped prior to the cruise thinking that all of these things would be fun (i.e. the Prom) and they all turned out to be duds. The most popular events were for males - pick-up b-ball games, dodgeball sessions and such. Rock climbing is fun but challenging based on how rough the seas are and the time is very limited on that - and you know how teens change their minds at the drop of a hat, when they want to play they want to play. They don't want to "schedule" their play hours or days in advance. Which is exactly what you have to do with some of the activities.
Rollerblading is a bit of a joke. Our kids are big rollerbladers though and this track is so small that you can't get up enough speed and you run into the walls alot. It's very tiny. But for someone who has no experience with Rb it would be great.
The miniature golf was interesting as well but very difficult to do with all that wind! So it turned out to be a big disappointment. Overall the teens we spoke with on this trip all seemed to think that Royal Caribbean had pulled a fast one on the "older generation" by offering these ammentites so that we would think the kids would be having the times of their lives.
We had a negative arcade experience also. One of our teen daughters had her sail pass card stolen from her in the arcade by a group of three teen males who she says all seemed to "bump" into her together. Within seconds she realized that she didn't have her card and ran to customer relations and had her card cancelled and reissued. Yet, about an hour later there were 3 - $20.00 charges through the arcade for a total of $60.00 which we believed was the boys having some fun. This happened so quickly that everyone in our group decided that these kids were regular cruisers and knew how to work the system. So parents beware - RC will do nothing about incidences such as these!
All teens should have a limit placed on their cards, we didn't do that because our kids have always been trustworthy. We've lost cards plenty of times on other cruise lines and never had this happen Also on this trip none of us were able to SIGN our sail pass cards because no pen on the ship would work on that little strip on the back - so never at any time were signatures even verified by staff. Next time I will write "Picture ID required" in that space. We'll consider ourselves lucky this time since they could have charged a whole lot more than what they did.
Regarding ice skating - you must have long pants to do this , they will not let you do it if you do not. There are specific sign up times to do this activity so once again this requires teens to preplan their day and they're just not really good at that.
Overall the teens we had and came in contact with felt that the activities were more unavailable than available. Most kids don't do any of this stuff. With nearly 4,000 people on board this ship you would think that these activities would be open around the clock.
I'm headed out next month on the Mariner with two teens. They aren't big on sports, but want to do golf, arcade, etc. After reading your post, I'm concerned. We have 4 shore excursions planned, so I hope that will be enough activity.
I chose the 6 hour Mayan ruins, but now I'm worried about the heat. However, I believe we are on an air-conditioned bus for quite a bit because the ruins are so far away.
This is our first cruise, so we don't have anything to compare it to. Maybe that's good! : )
We never had to sign up to ice skate-they listed times in the compass and we went when we felt like it. You have to sign a waiver (so you cant just send your kids on their own. They do provide knee, elbow pads and helmets if you want them too. Maybe during the kids time or through the kids club you had to sign up.
As for the other activites-yes theyre pretty chinsy, but what do you expect on a cruise ship. The deck only has so much room for stuff, and yes since its on the top aft deck it does get pretty windy up there.
Sorry to hear about the bad arcade experience. Sounds like your daughter did a great job in reporting it right away. Too bad RCI didnt do anything. Not only can you set a limit on your kids cards, you can also refuse to let them charge anything on it. They will punch a hole in it for you when you check in.
We did the Chichen Itza ruins while staying in Cacun (was a mandatory company trip activity). Talk about a long bus ride! The tour operator talked the entire time which got old real fast. Thank goodness for ac and ipods! They made a stop at some roadside market where we were hound by salespeople to buy stuff (I really hate that), and on the way home we stopped for lunch at a neat little spot (next to a sink hole and some locals would jump from the cliffs, then come begging for money). The ruins were great, but I dont know if the long bus ride was really worth the hassle. We spent more time on the bus than at the ruins, and it was hot and humid there. Be sure to bring plenty of water from the ship! You might want to tell your kids to bring along something to do for the long ride (books, video games, ipod, snacks, etc).