Trip Report - Mariner of the Seas July 23rd Sailing
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.