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Old August 3rd, 2006, 11:18 AM
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Default Just Returned Mariner of the Seas - July 23rd sailing

Trip Report - Mariner of the Seas July 23rd Sailing

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Just returned from the July 23rd sailing of the Mariner of the Seas. While my trip was not a good one with the Norovirus being rampant, I will try to review other areas. I won't get into much detail on the Norovirus unless someone has specific concerns - suffice to say that it was WORSE than Royal has lead anyone to believe - the numbers were more like 600+ not 328.

The ship is beautiful - we have sailed Royal Caribbean in the past but the last 4 cruises have been on Carnival. What a difference in decor - so much softer and classier! I really love the soft touches.

We thought the food was pretty lousy on Royal - really seems to have gone down since the last time we were on Explorer a few years ago. I think Carnival is much better in this department. The Windjammer is more like a cafeteria style buffet. The food is just sitting there. At Carnival you can order freshly made sandwiches and pizza. Royal had a few sandwiches made and trayed. The pizza was chewy, cold and mushy. The burgers and hot dogs are sitting in trays gathering bacteria. Carnival lets you order burgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches at the grill and wait while they make it for you. It just seems that the food was very bland. The breakfasts were okay - I like the system of ordering your eggs and omlets and getting a number so you can walk around and fill your plate. They call you when your order is ready. Dinner in the dining room was hit or miss while we usually could find something we liked a few nights the menu was not that great. We had dinner at Chops one night and it was WONDERFUL!! Steaks and service were tops. Had we not gotten sick we would definitely had booked another night here. The only negative was the lighting was very bright - it would be nice to be able to have dimmers to set the mood. The buffet at Cococay is really disgusting! It sits out for hours and the flys were everywhere! They really need to do something about this - perhaps close in a dining area. The salads were mushy. Cococay was beautiful and relaxing and although it wasn't the best day weather wise - lots of clouds and rain showers - we really enjoyed relaxing here. The "kids" - 18-21 brought hour passes for the aqua park and had a ball with the jumping floats. It was $15 for an hour - not sure what the cost was for the day.

We enjoyed the pool and activities. The pools were very crowded with tons of small children - I would have thought they would have been more involved in the kids program - not sure if there is a kids pool but if so, they sure didn't use it. The adult pool in the solarium is nice but too quite - wish they had music there as well. It is nice to be adults only though.

Met some wonderful bartenders and servers - very friendly. The drinks on this cruise were great - if they weren't strong enough most bartenders were more than happy to "add".

We did not do any excursions or see any of the shows. We had late dinner (8:30) and didn't feel like getting ready eary to see a show at 7.
Did notice that other than formal nights people were dressed VERY casual - lots of jeans, shorts, etc in the dining room. This is not a problem for us at all as we prefer the more casual atmosphere.

We didn't have a problem with pool chairs at all but I attribute this to the norovirus - too many confined passengers. The frozen yogurt at the pool was nice but it was closed after a few days because of norovirus.

As for the norovirus - my husband got it bad - We were both confined to our cabin for 48 hours - he was still sick after that. Our friends who we travelled with also got it and this was their first (and last) cruise. I won't go on about the way it was handled by Royal but suffice to say we were (are) not happy at all.

One thing I did not like was the nickle and diming by Royal - I would much prefer to pay an additional $100 upfront then have to pay extra for Ben and Jerrys, Johnny Rockets, Starbucks, Cococay water junk, espresso, etc. It seems like everywhere you turn there was an additional fee.

Also this was the last sailing for the 18 -20 underage drinking waiver. It was common knowledge all over the ship (waiters, headwaiters, bartendars) - they have had too many problems and as of Sunday the 30th it would not longer be offered.

If you have any questions let me know.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 03:08 PM
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Wondering how you got your numbers of 600+ coming down with the norovirus?? According to the CDC there were 248 pax who became ill and 6 crewmembers.

I would agree.. the bartenders on board the Mariner are probably the best of any cruise I have been on... entertaining and generous pourers. Chops is also a great place and anyone cruising should check out the alternative dining. Was interesting to see your description of the Windjammer as a cafeteria... which is exactly what it is on RCL. Every cruise line has a similar setup with a help yourself type restaurant area.

Anyways... despite the norovirus breakout.. sounds like you still had a great time on your cruise
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Old August 4th, 2006, 12:15 AM
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We were also on Mariner, 23rd sailing. I strongly disagree with the opinion. This was our 4th cruise and the 2nd time on Mariner. We had a fabulous time. The food in the Windjammer was ok. I ate alot salads from there. The pizza was better from the cafe. The cafe seemed to be a hot spot for the teens since it was unlimited pizza. Our dining room staff was wonderful. The food was really good and due to food allergies, the chef was able to prepare my boyfriend's food any way he needed. The shows were great. The Quest and the Love and Marriage show is a favorite for us. They had a comedian duo that was so funny. As far as the kids being at the pool, they can only spend so much time in the kids clubs before boredom sets in or because they want time to swim too. We love RCCL. While on board we booked our next cruise and are being rewarded with onboard credit which will help with our costs. What I do agree with is that I too would easily pay an extra $100 just to have Ben and Jerrys, lattes, etc added to thinks we do not need to pay for. Now, has anyone really had a bad cruise??????
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Old August 4th, 2006, 07:51 AM
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Default Just returned...

FINALLY! After reading that highly negative post, I was hoping someone who reply positively from that sailing.
We too love RCCL and sail in 2 days on the Mariner.
Windjammer is intended to provide maximum flexibility with a variety of foods. It is nearly always open and yes, it is definately a buffet which is what it is supposed to be. I will say the staff roaming the room are extremely attentive to anyone's needs and constantly clean tables, assist guests, etc.

I'm really sorry the original poster watched no shows. We really believe that the shows on RCCL are first-class. We don't dare miss a single show. We really look forward to the comedian show each sailing.

I'm on the fence with regards to specialty drinks in the coffee bar. Coffee made in large quantity is free and is also cheap for the cruiseline. However, as a past Starbucks employee, items like espresso and specialty drinks are much more expensive and to me, are more expensive than a Coke or Pepsi (which you pay for). They're also custom made every time. The actual cost to the cruise line is lower for the soda.

Mariner is BIG as is all the Voyager ships and now the Freedom ship. EXPECT lots of people and lots of kids. Knowing when to go topside to the pool and where to go is learned. There is so much to do too like the ice shows, rock wall and the specialty shows like Love and Marriage, wine tasting, etc. Lots of art shows, too!

Anyway, RCCL is doing it's best as a leader in this industry and when it comes to outbreaks, I don't know what else they could do. Watch onboard, they are cleaning around the clock everywhere you go...especially in the high traffic areas.

Bon Voyage!
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Old August 4th, 2006, 08:15 AM
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The CDC numbers are now at 328 but the 600+ number comes from the hundreds of passengers who did not go to the doctors because they did not want to be confined to their cabins. I met quite a few people who avoided the doctor just because the shot hurt so much.

Anyway I was just giving my opinion of our sailing - I didn't realize it was all that negative.

Food is MY opinion and sorry from my standpoint it was not all that great - maybe others like it but we didn't. I definitely think Carnival and Princess are much better and that Royal has gone downhill over the past years.

I didn't complain about not seeing shows - we didn't want to. After 13 years of cruising I have seen them all and have no desire to rush out before dinner to see a show.

As for kids - we brought 5 18-21 yr olds with us so I do know that picking a cruise in the summer is for family (that is why we went) - I was simply wondering if they had a kids pool on Mariner as there were sooo many little ones in the pools - just an observation. I have learned when to go topside and where to go.

As far as knowing what more Royal could do about the outbreaks - PLENTY. Like first of all letting passengers know on Tues or Wed that there was a norovirus onboard rather than waiting until FRIDAY. People thought they ate something or had the early affects of sea sickness until all the rumors started to spread by Thursday. Very bad communication by Management.

Anyway to those who are sailing on Mariner I am sure you will have a wonderful time -
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Old August 4th, 2006, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lemarier
The CDC numbers are now at 328 but the 600+ number comes from the hundreds of passengers who did not go to the doctors because they did not want to be confined to their cabins. I met quite a few people who avoided the doctor just because the shot hurt so much.

Anyway I was just giving my opinion of our sailing - I didn't realize it was all that negative.

Food is MY opinion and sorry from my standpoint it was not all that great - maybe others like it but we didn't. I definitely think Carnival and Princess are much better and that Royal has gone downhill over the past years.

-
<warning slightly gross dry humor... well not dry>
I can believe that there were many people who would hide their illness to not be confined to their cabins... how would RCCL actually check that... I can see it now... to flush the toilet you have to have a key... you have butlers in each shower stall with the key... so when you deficated you walked out of the loo and he checks the toilet... Yeah YEah REAL classy... < end gross humor>

However food is a very personal thing... i know this because i am exceedingly picky... i have been to many dinners and me and my brother ordered the same exact thing... he loved it... I hated it... soups for example... if I actually eat the whole bowl of soup you know I adored it... but I order a soup at every meal on cruise s... and 9 times out of 10 i don't eat it... but 9 times out of 10 everyone else will have ordered the same soup and loved it... the same food i think is delicious... like kit-kats drenched in soda pop... many people would Hurl to even try to eat it... You can't down food on a cruise ship just because you didn't like it... you can't compare what someone else loves to be something you will love as well... that's why there are always multiple options... it's your own fault if you don't send it back to find that right meal...
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Old August 5th, 2006, 06:57 PM
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Its a shame that 300+ pax who were on board were so thoughtless about the health of everyone else on board to go to the infirmary and get a simple shot... yes it sometimes hurt... but when you start risking the health of others simply because it hurts.. or you don't want to be confined to your cabin says alot about your fellow cruisers. It is no wonder why you say that there were so many sick if nearly half never reported themselves to ships doctors. No matter what any cruise line would do to prevent the spread of norovirus... if those who are sick are not treated it will continue to spread. If they are that careless to not report their illness... then they no doubt are not cleaning and sanitizing themselves and preventing the spread of disease. IMHO... those people who do not report or hide norovirus symptoms should be banned for life from cruising. Unfortunately... as in most things... they few bad apples spoil it for the rest of us
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Old August 8th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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Well done Wiscguy2.....!!!!!! [/quote]
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