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Old October 12th, 2006, 10:36 PM
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Just returned from a cruise on the Mariner last Sunday. Overall, not a bad trip, but still a Carnival fan over RCI. Food, entertainment and service better on Carnival. I was surprised to see that the entertainment was so very amatuerish, in my opinion. I will definitely give it to RCI for the beauty of the ship and the cleanliness. I did not particularly care for Coco Cay - somewhat dumpy, in my opinion. Finally, waiting to drop off your luggage at the port, prior to embarkation, took over 1 hour. They claimed that immigration cleared the ship, prior to our trip, very late. However, there were probably 10 porters assisting at the baggage drop-off which is the most likely cause for this huge delay. I would sail on this ship again and overall enjoyed it, but I do have to say Carnival provides a better experience. If you have any specific questions, I'll be glad to answer them.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 09:00 AM
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Hi Chris:

Strange you noted the delay in dropping off the luggage at Port Canaveral. We sailed the Mariner 24-Sept and it was exactly the same way. They told us they had a "drug bust" on their return to port, and that delayed the debarkation. On the other hand, we sailed the Glory on 5-Aug, and had no delay at all dropping off luggage. Exactly the same port, exactly the same pier!
I felt pretty much the same about the Mariner as you did. Beautiful ship, great crew, excellent service, average shows, horribly crowded, way too many uncontrolled kids aboard, and not enough activities to keep all those people apart! I'd sail her again only if the price was "right".

See you aboard,

Ken
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Old October 13th, 2006, 09:37 AM
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Wow! I guess I sailed on a good week then. We left on Mariner on the Sept 17th sailing and it was the first time I'd ever left from Port Canaveral. We didn't experience any of the delays mentioned in the luggage drop off. We thought the whole process went very smoothly. Perhaps what you experienced really was an exception and not the norm. I will echo your thoughts that the Mariner is a beautiful and clean ship. We enjoyed every inch of it. A definate do again
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Old October 14th, 2006, 11:14 AM
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we have been on mariner and going again oct 22- we have been on carnival- conquest, destiny, victory- we like rci better overall- just goes to show there are different boats for different folks....
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Old October 16th, 2006, 01:21 AM
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ChrisM: Sorry your experience had a few glitches. We were on Mariner last February and had none of the same glitches you mentioned. Cococay had improved quite a bit since the last time we were there (several years ago). More beach areas, harder surfaced walkways to get around, more activities. As for the embarkation: we have cruised 13 times from various ports. We have never had more than a 5 minute delay in dropping off our bags. You didn't mention what time you arrived at the port. We like to get there early, usually 2-3 hours prior to when the cruise line says to get there. Perhaps we've just lucked out

Do give RCI another try. Try the Freedom class or the Radiance class for a change. Try an itinerary that includes Labadee. I promise: you won't find Labadee dumpy. It is one of the best private cruise line beaches, and we've been to Princess Cay, and HAL's Half Moon Cay.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 11:38 PM
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Thanks RC. I would definitely sail on the Mariner again. I have also sailed from many ports - this was my 26th cruise overall. I have rarely experienced this extended wait to drop off luggage, although I had a similar experience in Ft. Lauderdale sailing on the Legend 2 years ago- not dropping off luggage, but waiting for 90 minutes to check in. The captain did apologize once we began sailing. I have heard from co-workers that this delay has been going on for the past couple months. It was only a "blip" in the trip. In terms of Coco Cay, I like the idea of the scattered bars throughout the island, but most of them had very limited "beverage" choices. In addition, I found they were selling a frozen drink at 2 of the bars and the concoction was spooned out from an igloo cooler - tacky. Although some of the bars did have frozen drink machines. I also found the ocean, for the most part, with many jelly fish and seaweed - I know they can't help this...I keep comparing this to the out island which Premier used to have on their itinerary - it was called Salt Cay - a lot of people probably don't remember this island. It was absolutely beautiful, with great sandy beaches and a very pristine feel to it. I just didn't find this with Coco Cay. My family pretty much felt the same. Don't get me wrong, I will sail RCI for certain in the future. Overall, I had a great time! Perhaps you're right, a different itinerary might work!
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Old October 24th, 2006, 01:04 AM
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Thanks for the reply ChrisM. I can't explain the delay you experienced, but with the volume of cruises you've done, I guess odds are you'll hit a few bumps now and then. Like I said, book a Radiance class, Voyager class, or Freedom OTS out of Miami or Port Lauderdale. Be sure Labadee is one of the stops, and I think you'll find a new favorite spot, especially for the beaches.

Good luck, Steve
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Old October 24th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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Just returned on Oct. 22 from Mariner Cruise with a party of 10 to celebrate an anniversary. Had a great time. Loved the food, the ship, and the entertainment. Would definately do it again. Excellent service and wonderful personel on board. A little slow getting on the ship, but what do you expect with 3000+ people. We did offer some suggestions at the end of the cruise for smoother processing. Disembarkation was easy.

Sailed Carnival 5 years ago and had a great time, but the Imagination is definately a "party ship" for college kids. Drunk, loud and partying all the time... at least in March of 2001.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 11:07 AM
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Funny how people can view the same trip so differently. I was very disappointed with my one Carnival cruise and probably won't go back. I have not had a bad trip on RCI though.

I have waited in line before and have also breezed through with no wait. I was once the FIRST person onboard the Enchantment in Ft Lauderdale after waitin 15 minutes in the Platinum and Diamond line. Arrived at the port before 11 Am and was having a beer at the pool bar by 11:20. I was also once the LAST person onboard. It was our honeymoon and after a wild wedding night, drove from ST Pete to Miami in my VW BUS. Had to stop a few times to put oil in it. Arrived after 4:30 to the Song of America and the people said, "You must be the Bamford's" I said, "Yes, how did you know?" They said, "because you are the only ones not onboard yet."

Overall a much nicer environment, service, food and most importantly POOL AREA on RCI.
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