Mariner of the Seas Reviews

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37 User Reviews of Mariner of the Seas Cruise Ship

Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: July 11, 2004

I have enjoyed reading the many reviews of the Mariner of the Seas and I have learned a lot of great things from those reviews. We just got back from our 7 night Eastern Caribbean Vacation (our first cruise ever) and I wanted to share my experience with the hope that it might help some other first time cruisers. I know that this is a long review, but this review is for those who have a fear of the unknown. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me privately.

Getting to Port Canaveral:

We drove our own vehicle to Port Canaveral. We took the Beeline Expressway as directed and once we were getting close to the port there were numerous marquees with specific directions for Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas. I will confess, once we first spotted her from the expressway, the butterflies in my stomach became intense. She was sitting in port with two other ships, Disney Magic and the Carnival Fantasy. There was no questions which was ours, she was by far the biggest and most beautiful. We were directed to Cruise Terminal A. This

is indicated on the marquees as well as the cruise documents you should receive before your trip. Once we got closer to the terminal, there was an abundance of signs telling us exactly where to go. Once we made it to the Royal Caribbean area, a very polite security guard who wanted to see our cruise documents only to make sure we were in the proper spot met us.

Unloading and Parking:

We actually arrived at the Port around 11:00 a.m. I had read numerous reviews and it was suggested that we arrive early even though our documents stated that loading wouldn't begin until early afternoon. We were directed down a long street and told to drive in front of the terminal to unload all our CHECKED baggage. As we were doing this, I will warn you, that there were a lot of people. Some going to the ship and some just leaving the terminal. It was slight chaos. We waited in a line of cars and as we crept closer to the terminal we were directed to a parking lot where porters were waiting to take our bags and put them on luggage carts. These men were taking our luggage and putting them on carts that were going to go straight to the ship. Please people, to speed things along .have your luggage tags already on your luggage BEFORE you get to the terminal. I think at this point we could have let others in our party out with our carryon luggage at the terminal and have them wait for us, but we decided to all go and park together. There were actually 13 of us and we had 3 vanloads of people and luggage. After unloading our checked bags, we were directed to the parking area. It is here that we paid our parking fee. Information I had stated that parking was $10 per day and we would be there for 8 days, however, prepaid parking only cost us $70. I was very pleased to find out that we would actually be parking in a parking garage. I worried about our vehicle being parked in the open Florida sun/weather for that long of a time. And because we were early, we got to park on the ground floor.

Check-in, Security and Embarkation:

When we entered the terminal we immediately had to have our carryon luggage x-rayed and pass through a metal detector ourselves. They are very strict about this. The lady in front of me had an infant in a stroller. They made her pick up the baby and hold it out at arms length in front of her as they both passed through. After clearance, we were asked by personnel if we had all of our documents, including the Bahamas Immigration Form. Which we did! However, I don't understand how some people said they didn't even have their tickets, let alone their Bahamas form. This form comes with your cruise documents. Take the time to have this filled out along with your charge account information. We were sent on to check in - a real time saver. We proceeded up an escalator where you see a clerk that corresponds to the deck your cabin is on. It is here that all your forms are taken from you and you receive your Sea Pass card. Once you are through this, it is on to the ship.

When you actually cross the gangway and enter the ship, you have to insert your Sea Pass into a machine and have your picture taken. This was probably the worst photo ever taken of me. I had no idea what was going on and didn't know exactly where I was looking or why I was doing this. However, each time you get on or off at ports, this picture pops up. After that, you will be met with the first photographer of your cruise for your welcome aboard photo. I redeemed myself on that pic!

Our Official Day 1:

Once we entered the ship, we were met by some Adventure Ocean (Children's Program) staff. Any children under the age of 12 are required to wear a wrist bracelet for the duration of the cruise. The purpose of this is if you become separated from your child during an evacuation, the bracelet lets the staff now where to find the parents. In theory, this is a wonderful idea, however, my 8-year-old daughter came to hate this bracelet. It was tight and often scratched her. Honestly, by Friday of our cruise. We cut it off. She did not participate in any of the Adventure Ocean activities and never left our side anyway.

Our Stateroom was not available until 1 p.m. that afternoon, so we were told we could go to the Windjammer Café on Deck 11 for lunch. This was great, however, you have to keep your carryon luggage with you and it became it was a pain to have to carry our entire carryon luggage with us.

The rooms were okay. We had an inside stateroom with 2 pull down beds, (Kids loved em). We put the two twin beds together, however, I think they may have been full size beds, because it felt like a king size bed instead of a queen. There was a safe in the room and a small refrigerator. We did bring our own pop on board in our suitcases and asked our wonderful stateroom attendant "Catur" to empty out the minibar. This was no problem. The storage spaces in the inside staterooms are minimal. There is a closet with some shelves, but no dresser drawers like in a hotel room. There is minimal cabinet space and a few drawers in the desk. There is a small couch in the room. We stored our suitcases under the bed along with our lifejackets.

We were to leave for Nassau at 5 p.m., but we didn't leave until after 6 p.m. apparently there was a security problem following disembarking that morning and it took several hours to regain security clearance. There was also a storm that moved through and the captain decided to wait to leave so we could be on deck to watch.

Nassau:

We had booked the excursion, Blackbeard's Cay Beach Break. It was okay. The beach we went to was a private island. However, it was very rocky in the water. We could not be in the water without beach shoes. It wasn't overly crowded and we had a good time. Those who book the Stingray Snorkel go to this same island. We didn't do this, but could see that the area where you snorkel is enclosed within a fence and it seemed to be very crowded.

We didn't get to explore Nassau other than the walk we had to take to get to the exploration boat. It happened to be Bahamas Independence Day and a lot of the shops were closed anyway.

Tuesday at Sea:

This was our first chance to really enjoy the ship. This is also the day we could really feel the ship moving. Yes, people even a ship of this size rocks in the water. We encountered 45 mph head winds this day and it was quite a challenge to even walk the top deck. I would not let my 8 year old on the top deck because of the high winds. It was nice to sunbathe on this day, because the intense sun/heat was less noticeable with the winds.

St. Thomas:

What can I say!! LOVED IT!! (The shopping anyway). We had an afternoon excursion so the morning was free to shop. We got off the ship and was met me eager taxi drivers. It cost us $3 per person each way to hitch a ride to town to shop. We drove to downtown, but there is a shopping mall within walking distance of the ship. Much of the same shops as downtown, but not as many sidewalk vendors. The sidewalk vendors are what I really liked though. A wide variety of t-shirts, island wear, and best of all, designer purses. A word to the wise.if you see something you like, BUY IT. I didn't buy a purse I really liked thinking I would find the same things on St. Maarten. Didn't happen. People, don't waste your time shopping on St. Maarten. Buy it on St. Thomas. After leaving the island, I joked about asking the captain to stop back by St. Thomas and let me get the purse.

Our afternoon excursion was the St. John Beach Tour. Highly recommend it! We went to Trunk Bay and it was absolutely beautiful. We were able to snorkel and no additional charge and it was amazing. I tried to snorkel in Hawaii and hated it. But the waters here were so calm it was wonderful. I only wished I had spent the whole time snorkeling.

St. Maarten:

Like I mentioned before. Don't waste time shopping here. We were constantly hounded for hair braiding and to shop in their shops. The T-shirts here were of very low quality at least at the sidewalk vendors. There were a few stores that had quality products, and they were willing to give you a decent buy if you purchased several things.

We booked the Afternoon Beach Break at Orient Beach. Over 250 people on our ship also booked this tour. However, this strip of sand is quite large and it didn't seem overly crowded here. The water here was very rough though. My nephews were finally able to do some body surfing here. The waves were strong enough to knock you down without being to far out. We were warned about possible nudity on this beach, but I only saw one lady topless (and you had to really look to tell if it were a man or woman). The provided lounge chairs were very comfortable and the punch was okay.

Last Sea Days:

The last two days were at sea. We enjoyed the pool, rock wall, ice-skating, inline skating, etc. I personally didn't get to do too much on Saturday as I spent most of the afternoon packing. All checked luggage has to be outside of your stateroom between 7 p.m. and midnight.

Other Ship Activities:

Rock Wall - I didn't do it. But my daughters did. There are 3 different levels you can climb. You have to sign up and parents have to sign waivers for their children and for yourself. There was usually a line, but it goes fast because they can send 3 at one time.

Ice Skating - The show was wonderful. However, I didn't like the way they did tickets. You have to have tickets to go to the show, and tickets were made available while we were at an excursion in Nassau. We did manage to get them once we got back on the ship, but I think they should do this differently. Actual ice-skating was okay. It's a small rink and it can get crowded. They usually let you skate for about 15 minutes before they ask you to get off and let others skate. Again waiver must be signed.

Inline Skating - Small track, but not usually too busy. Tried it. Feel on my butt. I was done. Parents again must sign waivers.

Miniature Golf - I personally didn't do the golf, but the rest of my family did. Can't offer an opinion here.

Promenade Parades - Stay up late the first day and go to the Welcome Aboard Parade. It was wonderful and a great way to kick off your vacation. It starts at 10:45 p.m., but worth it! The farewell parade left a little to be desired and didn't at all compare to the welcome parade.

Windjammer / Dining Room - We ate all breakfast & lunch meals in the Windjammer Café. It is a buffet style - pancakes, waffles, bacon, for breakfast and hotdogs, hamburgers and wonderful French fries for lunch. There were a lot of other types of food too. The food was average. Nothing exceptional, but certainly a wide variety. I will say to try the Pan de Sal Asian bread in the Jade area. Wonderful!! That I truly miss. The Dining Room was beautiful. We ate there every night but the first. We had the best waiter, Tong. He was from China and he was the best. I wish we could have brought him home. We had two tables for our family. The kids sat at their own table and Tong referred to them as "his little friends." It was really fun talking to him about American customs. The boys enjoyed trying to teach him about baseball. As far as our Assistant Waiter and the Maitre D. We personally couldn't understand anything they said. Our AW was from Indonesia and the MD was very French and arrogant.

Be for-warned.the majority of the RC staff are from other countries. I only saw a couple that were from the states. Most can speak English, but it is difficult to carry on conversations with them.

Shows - Shows were great. Our first show was The Platters. They were wonderful. The comics on board were hilarious. Take the time to go to these shows. Worth it!

Disembarking the Final Time:

On the last night, you will receive in your room disembarking instructions along with new color-coded luggage tags. These tags will determine how soon you get off the ship. You must leave your stateroom by 8 a.m. and go to one of the theaters or open decks to wait. We were in the Savoy Theatre by 7:30, but didn't leave the ship until 10:15 a.m. Our color was in the middle of the pack. I have a hint - but don't know if it will work. The night before in front of guest relations are the color-coded tags in case you need extra and you will know the color order from your cruise compass. In hind site, I'm wondering if I would have gotten a color closer to the beginning we would have been on the road much sooner. Keep in mind, others may have been doing this and it may create a mob getting off the ship. We didn't have much problem once I color was called. And your luggage doesn't go to the terminal until your color is called.

Once our color was called, we left the ship and had to go through U.S. Customs. It was chaotic with everyone trying to go down the escalator, but after that we were through customs quickly. Its then off to get your luggage. The different colors are at different carousels. We found ours quite quickly and grabbed a porter and we were soon on our way home!

Overview - I had a wonderful time. I thought I would be ready to get off the ship after 8 days, but I wasn't. I could have easily gone out for another 7 nights. I've read many reviews about people complaining about all the kids. This cruise was in the middle of the summer. We were at full capacity. 5000 people and crew. Yes, there were kids and teens, but I never encountered any rude children. And the only crying child I remember hearing was in the theatre waiting to get off the ship. If you take a cruise looking to find things wrong, than you will find them. I went on this cruise for the vacation of a lifetime and that is exactly what I experienced.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: June 6, 2004

We gathered all my Brothers & Sisters together and their separate families and some friends on a Family Reunion Cruise. The Hype was Intense, and was, single handedly, The Best pre-planning vacation I've ever had!! We talked almost daily, emailed eachother about different options we could get on our Ship, had periodic Cruis Parties, and finally all of us met at Cocoa Beach for a Gigantic Cruise-Eve Party!! Anyway, when we finally did get on our Ship the Real Party started and was just terrific in almost every way!! Now, being that the Mariner is a Voyager-Class type ship, there were definate times, due to the volume of people onboard, that the service was a little slow. But it, by no means, really effected our time on board! The people representing the Cruise line were Excellent, and, at times, went out of their way to make our time here so memerable, that I'll always look back on this vacation as being the most enjoyable ever!!!

The Dragon's Lair was a must to see for all the new Dance moves to join in or to just watch and enjoy the time there!

The Schooner longe, and Ellington's on the 14th floor, gave us such a wide venue for entertainment, that we always had terrific options for everyone's peticular tastes. The shows, including the Singin Group "The Happenings", were just Great! All the Special activities by the Pool, such as the "Belly Flop" contest, were also alot of fun tom see!! The Midnight Buffet, by the pool, was a super foodfest, with melon & Ice carvings which was a Feast, not only for your appetite, but just to see!! All in all, our Group had The Best time of their lives on this ship, and I strongly recommend everyone that the "Mariner of the Seas" is a can't miss Time Of Yor Life experience!!!
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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: May 23, 2004

Where do I start? Boarding was very fast. Our room 1534 was supper, plenty of room for all three of us. Dinning was great and also the food. The servers were the best we have had. This was our 6th cruise. Only smelled smoke twice. Took horse ride in ocean in Jamaica and it was the best. Our room attendent was very nice and he did a great job.Johnny Rockets was the best hamburger I have ever had. All of the ship was very clean and very enjoyable to walk around.

The Promenade area was wonderful. Free icecream, sandwitches, donuts, coffee, mike and fruit. We have resurvations for next May 22, 2005 because we missed so much that was available of this large ship. Casino, very big and exciting to be at the 5 cent machines. Sports deck, no ship could ever compare with it. But, I do have one area that I though was not up to par. The Chops Grille was not a five star dinning area, mayve a one star. Thankyou and have fun if you go on this SHIP.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: May 2, 2004

We just returned from the May 2nd sailing of RCL's Mariner of the Seas. It was a wonderful cruise. Instead of going over each and every one of the rooms, features, and statistics in depth as many other reviewers have already done, we will just cover the basic areas.

EMBARKATION

We read some real horror stories about Port Canaveral, in terms of long lines and delays getting onto the ship. After experiencing this for ourselves, we can honestly say it was a breeze. We did end up sitting in the hotel shuttle van for about 20 minutes, but once we were dropped off, it was a matter of about 15 minutes before we were getting our SeaPass cards and having our welcome aboard picture taken! We believe the key is to get there early! We arrived there about noon.

 

THE SHIP

We sailed on one of the sister ships last year (The Navigator). The Mariner of the Seas is equally as impressive, with it's own distinct décor. The Royal Promenade is awesome, as are all of the bars and lounges on the ship. Public areas are very open and spacious, but you can still

find a cozy corner if you want to. Our sailing was a complete sell out, but the ship never felt crowded.

One area we had read negative things about, was that the Mariner was a much more rough riding ship than the Navigator. Well, this is true to an extent, but it has nothing to do with the ship itself. The Navigator sails from Miami, and the Mariner goes out of Port Canaveral. The ride out from the port, all the way past Nassau, was a bit on the rough side. Not much worse than the Navigator, but it just lasted longer. Upon inquiring about this, we discovered that it had to do with the outbound route the Mariner has to take, just out of Florida past Nassau. That particular area is rougher than the return route, which bypasses those rough seas. As a result, the ride home (2 straight days at sea) was much more pleasant, with only the occasional rough patch.

THE STATEROOM

We had a Deluxe Oceanview w/balcony, towards the front of the ship on Deck 9. The room was great. It had the standard bathroom (shower, no tub), plenty of closet space, a sofa-bed, and vanity. The balcony proved to be a good spot to catch the sun going down, and the moon reflecting off the ocean. The only complaint we had, was the location of the room, which was on the opposite end from the dining room. So, if you can get a cabin mid-ship, go for it.

DINING

This is another area we have heard frequent criticism from many reviewers, who review these Voyager-class ships. We look at it this way...you are one of about 3500 people on these mega-ships, and given that fact, put it in perspective. Of course, the attention to detail may be a little better on a ship that holds half as many passengers, but that's basic math. Given this crew has to feed 3500 passengers in 2 seatings, the food was amazing. We recall having a couple of questionable meals on the Navigator last year, but we honestly can say that's not the case with the Mariner. Every meal, from the appetizers, through dessert, was amazing. We never felt the need to spend the extra $$$ on "Chops" or "Portofino". Every evening, the menu had some featured items, which our waiter gave her recommendations on. There is also an alternative menu every night, in case you have a real picky eater in your group. The service was impeccable. Our waiter, Oana, and her assistant waiter, Ildiko, did an amazing job each and every night. By the 2nd night, they knew all of our names, and our drink and bread selections were basically waiting for us. They were very attentive, and even with our picky eater, they went out of their way to accommodate him.

And if you need something else to munch on, in between meals, the Café Promenade offers a nice selection of sandwiches, pastries, and pizza. We ate at Johnny Rocket's one day ($3.95 a person cover, unless you have a Crown and Anchor coupon as we did). The food was great (especially the onion rings!). And let's not forget the self-serve frozen yogurt machine in the Royal Promenade. :o)

ENTERTAINMENT

We would say, on average, it was equal to last year's Navigator trip. The comedians were pretty good (Carl Strong and Tony Daro), and the stage shows were decent. If piano-man Matt Yee is on your sailing, DO NOT MISS HIM! His nightly, adult sing-alongs were a hoot. Especially, if you were one of the lucky ones (like us) who were called to the front to put on feather boas, and lead the crowd in a sing along. We were really looking forward to the one stage show, that was all about 80's music. However, we were a little disappointed, because many of the singers over-sang the songs. Instead of the 80's edge on the numbers, they put more of a broadway/opera sound to them, which didn't translate too well. Other than that, the shows were good. The ice show was pretty good as well, especially considering it was the first night for this particular group of skaters. Overall, Cruise Director Kirk Detweiler, did an outstanding job coordinating all of the entertainment on board.

PORTS

We really can't say anything about Nassau, because we didn't get off the ship there. As for St. Thomas, that was our shopping stop. Jewelry, perfumes, liquor, watches, etc, were found in many places with good deals. We spent our time on St. Maarten, on the French side of the island, on Orient Beach. If you're looking for a beautiful beach, this is the one. It was wonderful. It was peaceful, if you just wanted to grab a chair and relax on the white sandy beach. There was also jet ski's and parasailing available, as well as a few bars and a restaurant (kind of pricey). Overall, this was our favorite port from both this year and last year's cruise. But please note one end of this beach is clothing-optional, and you will occasionally see some of these people walking the length of the beach. DISEMBARKATION

Again, we had heard horror stories. Between the time our color was called on the Mariner, it was a matter of just 15 minutes, before we were through customs, and off to our hotel shuttle. No problems at all in this area. The longest wait we had was on the actual ship, waiting for our color to be called, but that's normal for any RCL cruise. They have certain areas still open on this day, so you can get that last meal in, or enjoy some time on the deck before having to leave the ship.

Overall, this cruise was nearly perfect. We cannot come up with a single thing that is worth complaining about. Given that is was a complete sellout, with probably close to 3500 passengers to satisfy, RCL did a wonderful job. The Mariner is a gorgeous ship, and we can't wait to see what their next generation ships look like. We will definitely be cruising with RCL again.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: April 11, 2004

This was a family cruise for my husband and I and out two boys, aged 4 and 5. The cruise left on Easter Sunday and there were more than 1,200 kids onboard.

Embarkation went smoothly. We arrived at the port around 12:30 pm, there were plenty of porters to assist with baggage. We found our line, which we made it through in about 10 minutes. the Krooze Komics were there entertaining the children, which made the time go by very quickly.

Once onboard we dropped our bags in our room, a D category balcony stateroom on Deck 8. We headed to the buffet lunch in the Windjammer. It was very crowded. I thought the Windjammer and Jade dining rooms were a little small for the amount of passengers on Mariner, but we usually found a table without too much hassle, even during peak times. Throughout the week we often ate breakfast and lunch in Windjammer/Jade and there was always good variety and in general the food was fresh and good. The wait staff there was friendly and they would bring soft drinks (tea, lemonaide) and coffee by. It's a good dining choice

when you're with the kids because it's fast, and little ones do not like the length of time it takes to eat in the dining room.

Our stateroom was beautiful, with much more room than we are used to. Lots of places to put toiletries in the bathroom and in the vanity. The closet is roomy and even has built in wire shelves which were highly useful, and it had a fold down second bar to hang shorter items like skirts and trousers. The kids slept on a fold out couch and there was still enough room to maneuver around it when it was extended. The balcony was small, but oh what a slice of heaven it was. The kids and I watched as Mariner pulled out of port and we spotted 3 dolphins swimming along the ship. We also saw the other ships pulling out of port ahead and behind us. During the week, I had a quiet place to read and sunbathe away from the maddening crowds at the pools (whilst the kids were in Adventure Ocean). The kids and I went out there in the early morning to watch the ship pull into our ports. And, it was just a great way to enjoy the scenery.

The ship's decor was just beautiful. So much beautiful, classic sculpture everywhere. Tastefully decorated lounges. The three floors of the dining room were all elegant. Also a lot of pop art, the pool area is so bright and colorful as is the promenade, with it's flying ace planes (best viewed via the glass elevator at that end of the promenade) and whimisical balloon man. The exercise facility is large, with a lot of treadmills, several elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and stair steppers. It also had adequate weight machines. I didn't get to use the spa, but it looked nice. Solarium pool area was very popular, but quiet with no children in the area.

Our cabin steward (Sam) was so nice, we saw him often as we were in and out of the cabin a lot. He did a great job and was very helpful and friendly.

Food in the dining room was consistently very good. Our asst. waiter was a sweetheart, very attentive. Our waiter seemed a bit cold at first, but he was actually quite nice and warmed up as the week went on. The kids only had to eat in the dining room twice, they ate with the Adv. Ocean twice and we took them to Johnny Rockets once. My husband and I ate at Chops one evening, it was excellent, what a nice dining experience it was, I recommend it.

Adventure Ocean kids program was excellent. There were over 300 kids in the 3-5 age group with only 3 counselors. The counselors were great with the kids and they only paged me twice, my younger son had a little accident and the older one got seasick one night. My children loved all the activities, the talent show was very cute. My older son was almost 6 but I kept him in the 3-5's he had the advantage with the computers as the younger children tired of them easily. The kids do a little pirate parade on the promenade which was also precious.

I took the kids to the pool a couple of times and they really enjoyed that, with all the bright colors. They tried ice skating but were frustrated because it was hard. It took me longer to get their skates and gear on than they spent skating! We missed getting tickets to the ice show, but I was able to sneak in one night. It was really good and the kids would've enjoyed it. What I didn't understand is that they give out all of the tickets to ice shows on one day, if you don't get them then, you're out of luck. I mistakenly thought they would offer them each day an ice show was scheduled. So, when you see it in the Cruise Compass, go and go early to get the tickets.

Lots of things, like bingo, are scheduled when Aventure Ocean is closed, so we missed some things we would've liked to do. Still, we had a great cruise and you can't do everything.

We had gorgeous weather, St. Thomas and St. Marten were so beautiful, I wanted to stay there. We shopped for jewlery and watches, french cosmetics and cologne and knock-off bags, which was great fun. We did not take any excursions, hubby and I like to shop, which you can do on your own, and we have seen the sites in Nassau and St. Thomas before.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: April 4, 2004

My family & I (2 adults, 3 teens - 17, 15 &12) just returned from a week cruising on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas - Western Caribbean. We had port stops at CocoCay, Ocho Rios Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. This was our first cruise. Overall, we all had a great time. The ship is absolutely magnificent - only 5 months old. It was packed full - 3,500 passengers of which 1,000 were under the age of 18.

We were quite surprised to find that our dining location was a private table near the windows. The food was quite good - I had expected it not to be, based on various comments I had read online. We live in the NY metropolitan area and go to many fine restaurants. Although the buffet was cafeteria style, the food there was not your typical cafeteria food. The dining room food was quite good and presented well. All the service people were extremely pleasant and very accomodating - couldn't ask for better service.

We did not book any Explorations through the cruiseline. We used Peat Taylor in Jamaica. Peat gave us a tour of

Fern Gully and the local countryside before taking us to Dunns River Falls. Once there, his son escorted us in and turned us over to a guide. We all hiked up the falls - there were people who took your camera and took pictures of our group. Also, there were people filming a video of us - we purchased the DVD at the end - bargained down to $35 from $40. We avoided the marketplace there as I had read that the vendors were quite pushy. Peat then took us back to the ship for lunch and then met us one hour later to take us downtown for some shopping. We bought some T-shirts, a reggae CD, a fake cuban cigar and a bottle of Sangster's Cream Rum. Upon returning to the dock I purchased more cream rum and Appleton's at the pier - prices were cheaper there than downtown. Peat only charges $30 per peson and that included the $10 admission to the Falls. I highly recommend Peat Taylor.

The next day we went to Grand Cayman. We booked the Stingray City tour through Native Way Watersports. The tour was great and also included snorkeling at Coral Gardens. Very nice people to deal with - my middle son and daughter sort of freaked out and decided they did not want to go into the water with the stingrays. We were charged only half price for them since they did not participate - they just took the boat ride. The cost is $30 per person - again, I highly recommed them. Spent some time shopping for watches in Grand Cayman - didn't buy the real expensive stuff but got some great deals. Also found a legitimate store for Cuban cigars - I purchased a few to smoke aboard. There was a Cigar lounge that was open from 9pm - 1am each night.

Our next port was Cozumel. We decided that we were trying to pack too much into the days, so we decided on just doing shopping. We bought lots of silver jewlery, t-shirts more watches and more liquor. Next time I would definately like to check out the beaches there.

We attended the shows in the evening. One night they had Kenny James perform - a 13 time Star Search champion. He was very talented. Another night Bowser, from the group Sha-Na-Na performed the Bowser Rock 'n Roll show. Boswer was very entertaining and the next night he was available to sign autographs on his photo. The comic on the last night wasn't too funny. The Mariner of the Seas orchestra was great, as were the singers and dancers. I didn't bother with the casino, as the craps tables only offer single odds and I figured that this was a family vacation - I didn't need to go off by myself to gamble - I can do that in Vegas or Atlantic City. There are so many things to do aboard ship, we had trouble finding the time to participate. In the end, we decided to just relax by the pool on the days at sea.

My wife and daughter both got sea sick during our first full day at sea. Our family is quite used to boats, as we own our own boat and spend a considerable amount of time on the ocean. The water was quite calm but, something came over them and they both got sick. You never know. I purchased 2 sets of wrist bands and administered meclizine daily to them for the rest of the trip. Unfortunately, my wife was very leary to drink any alcohol or eat much food for the rest of the trip. My boys and I had no problems.

The only complaints that I could have is that the ship is so large, you realy don't feel as though you're on the water. That could be a good thing for some. My other complaint is how regimented everything is, especially on the days that we were in port. Not enough time in port. The day we were in Grand Caymen, we had to be back on the ship by 3:30pm. Since we did the stingray city tour - we couldn't shop unitl 1:30pm. We shopped until 3:15 and headed back to the pier. We were rushing to pack in as much as we could. Once at the pier I tried to purchase some liquor and they said it was too late and they wouldn't let me purchase a bottle and carry it to the ship. When we got onboard we realized we hadn't eaten since breakfast so we thought it would be a good time to go to Johnny Rocket's. Only problem was that was the night I had made a reservation at Chops - the steakhouse. So, when we sat down at 7pm, nobody was hungry for dinner. My wife and middle son had some shrimp cocktail, my daughter only took 3 bites of her prime rib. So, I kind of wasted $100 on a dinner that nobody wanted. We booked the dinner the first day, not knowing how the timing would work out for us.

I thought that Jamaica was the prettiest of the islands, but the level of poverty made it kind of depressing. Cozumel was typical Mexico to me. Grand Cayman is much more wealthy - they wouldn't bargain at all. I would go back to Grand Cayman - but since my wife is not anxious to take another cruise for a while (understandably so) I would fly there.

Overall, we had a great trip - I like the fact that our family enjoys spending time together. Too many parents shipped their kids off to the kids program or just ignored them. More than once we noticed children asking parents to join them in the pool and all the parent wanted to do was sit and read their book. In my mind, my kids are growing up too fast and I treasure each and every minute we can spend together. We made some fabulous memories together this trip - ones that I know my kids will cherish for the rest of their lives.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: March 20, 2004

A group of 15 of us recently returned from the March 21st sailing of the Mariner of the Seas. This was my 4th cruise. First one Carnival Festivale in 1986 then Grand Princess 2002, Carnival Victory 2003 and then the Mariner.

Overview; The mariner itself is huge. I believe 2nd only to Queen Mary 2. The ship is very new and clean and you can tell. Absolutely beautiful.

Embarkation: Quickest thus far. We were one of the first people to board. We got to Port Canaveral via Avis car rental. We spent Saturday at Universal Studios and drove our rent a car to Avis rent a car at the port. They then drove us to the port. We were checked in and onboard by 11:30 am. Very smooth. I think the earlier you can get there the better. It has been my experience that if you can arrive the day prior always better and actually more time on the boat.

We got a junior suite on deck 9. Very large with a large balcony. Spacious enough for the 4 in our family and I have never seen so much closet space. Very

nice. Our cabin steward was awesome.

The shows on the mariner of the seas were excellent. Ice show is a must. Must have a ticket but no extra charge. The dancers and singers were great as well. We went to every show that was offered and Im glad we didn't miss any of them. Some of the best I have seen on a ship. The ships cruise director was Kurt from our home state of Ohio. He was very good. Does his job well. The mariner has 2 large pools at the main pool area. The ship never really seemed crowded even though there were 3500 passengers. The food was great. Don't miss the midnight buffett. If you want your moneys worth always eat dinner in the main dining area. That is where the best food is. The dining area is beautiful and the waiters and assistant waiters were great.

The things for the kids to do were endless. Putt-putt, inline skating, volleyball rock climbing wall, basketball court, teen disco, arcade. The royal promenade had many shops, cafes, parades at night.

Get your kids a coke card if they drink coke. Definately worth the money. Self serve yogurt. The best thing is to know what you have to pay extra for. There is a Ben and Jerrys but you don't really need it since there is free yogurt. There are 2 separate restaurants you can go to but i never understood why when you can get great food in the dining room, although people do pay the cover charge and do go and Ive heard great things about them.

Try to get your shore excursions by yourself. This saves money and the best way to go. I went through AZ Jamaica planners in Ocho Rios 50.00 per person. Oscar took us to Dunns Rivers and River tubing and through Fern Gully. It was a tour with just the 15 of us. Well worth the money and much better than if you would book through the boat. In Cozumel there is a great beach just opened 5 months ago called Paradise Beach. I found this on the internet. Tom is one of the owners. We took a taxi there. Everything on the beach was free. Beautiful beach with kayaks, mats, snorkel equipment, water trampoline and iceberg the kids climb on in the water. You can't find a place where the things are free like this so take advantage of it. It was awesome. The tour with AZ Jamaica Planners was one of the best tours that we have ever been on.

If you like to gamble casino is a must. Great fun and my friend won 900 on slots. One of the biggest afloat. Great bingo games the jackpot hit 8000.00 dollars that week. Only played bingo one time but it was fun.

Disembarkation; Also very smooth. We were early getting off the boat because of our flight.I did notice many people just laying on the deck as we passed them close to where you disembark. My advice is to go up to the pool and relax get your last sun in. No hurry getting off. You just go when they call your color. Once they call your color the process was very smooth. They have personnel everywhere telling you where to go and to have your ID out. Smoothest disembarkation I have seen.

The whole cruise was great and Royal Carribean should be commended for such a great ship and great staff. Will definately return.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: February 29, 2004

Getting to the ship: My wife and I flew into Orlando the day prior, rented a budget rent a car (they have a drop off in Port Canaveral), stayed the night at a local hotel and made the 35 minute drive to Port Canaveral on Sunday. We dropped the car off at Budget and they shuttled us to the ship. This is the way to go !! total cost for the car including taxes $24.00.

Cruise:Got to the pier about 11:15, on the boat by 12:00, not bad. The ship is beautiful, as are all the other Voyager class ships I have been on. A noticeable difference is the balconies on this ship. They are open balconies instead of the balconies you look out the oval hole in the steel. This was great, I much prefer this.

The cruise was wonderful as always. The service was excellent, food was good to very good depending on where you ate. Bar service was excellent, kudos to Jorge and Prasad who were at Boleros Bar this cruise. Entertainment and shows were very good.

One passenger tried to take a dip from the 5th floor,

but rethought it as he was dangling from the rail. Three people were able to hoist him back up, he was hidden the rest of the cruise in a lower level room with security at his door 24hrs a day.

The last night of the cruise a passenger became critically ill. We were forced to devert to Nassau which took about 4 hours. This made us late getting back into Port Canaveral (11:00am). Needless to say many flights were missed, and much frustration as you waited out of your room to get off the boat. However, the staff did a very good job of making it as painless as possible, stores on the promenade were opened, restaurants served until we got off the boat and entertainers were around trying to lighten the mood. A very good job done by all.

Overall another great cruise. I will be back on board soon.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: February 22, 2004

This cruise completed our wish to cruise on all five of Royal Caribbean International's (RCI) Voyager Class ships. Once labeled the "Eagle" class, Mariner of the Seas Captain Tor Isak Olsen informed us that they are now referred to as the Voyager ships. These innovative ships, include the Voyager, Explorer, Adventure, Navigator and the newest, the Mariner of the Seas, launched in November 2003. They are both the ultimate in technology and interior design: These two features combine to give cruisers "a vacation like no other on earth!" Where else at sea can a cruiser rock climb, ice skate, golf, in line skate, play basket ball or volley ball, swim, go to a Las Vegas style show, and then stroll down a Euro style promenade, enjoying a coffee or a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe --- all in one day, without leaving the ship? All of this is possible on the Voyager class ships.

The many balconied staterooms on board provide views of the seas and the skies that are incredible. This trip we saw a delicate crescent moon accompanied by the brightest object in the dark sky: Jupiter. Sunrise

on Day 3 was a spectacular combination of pink stratus clouds interspersed with an intense baby blue sky. The rising red sun changed into a golden ball and then into a blinding white sun all in a matter of minutes. Just an ordinary beginning to another day at sea!

Leading up to this trip we were a bit apprehensive since the first port of call was in Haiti and rebels had been rampaging in the north of this island and were heading toward Port au Prince. The first notice we received on board was that Labadee, Haiti had ben replaced with Nassau Bahamas. RCI, true to its reputation, places the health and safety of its passengers above all. Another instance of this attitude was when high seas prompted Captain Olsen to skip Georgetown, Grand Caymans since tendering was unsafe.

EMBARKATION Port Canaveral, FL has grown over the past three years and now includes a covered parking garage (not like the open field parking we used in 2000, with a warning at that time to remove all food from the vehicle in order to avoid sugar or fire ant infestation). Baggage drop off was slow, since the luggage was separated by deck with the expectation that this speeds delivery to staterooms. With over 4,000 people on board the logistics are tremendous. We arrived on the pier at noon and boarded by 12:30 pm. There was assistance with the wheelchair, and we saw friendly faces all around. After leaving our carry on luggage in our stateroom, we proceeded to the Windjammer Cafe` for the buffet lunch. There was a gigantic fresh fruit display that was so beautifully arranged that no one would disturb it, but a crew member repeatedly asked the passengers to help themselves, which we did.

SHIP Captain Olsen states that, "When we build several ships that look alike, the decor contributes to the vessel's identity. All the ships are beautiful; they each have their own theme and personality (p. 106 Vision of Art, 2000). This is instantly apparent to passengers: the colors, art work and names of the various theaters, lounges and Casinos lend atmosphere which expresses the "soul" of each individual ship. And, so it is with the Mariner of the Seas. Sigurd Skaugen was the owner of the Norwegian shipping company that joined with the Anders Wilhelmsen Company, along with the US based Larsen Shipping Company to form RCI in 1968. Mr. Skaugen believed that the soul of new ships is created through the use of "innovative fantasy" (p. 19). RCI built its first ship, the Song of Norway, specifically for cruising and she was an instant success.

Now having cruised on all of the Voyager class ships, for us it was easy to find our way around the Mariner, but it was not as complete a de ja vu as could be expected. These sister ships, even though they all look the same on the outside and have been constructed with the same deck plans, they are so interestingly different in interior decoration and art work that the fun comes with discerning the various differences among them.

The ship's vital statistics are a gross tonnage of 138,000; her length is 1,020 ft.; beam of 157.5 ft.; draft of only 29 ft., and a top speed of 22 knots. Passenger capacity is 3,114 and a crew of 1,180. This cruise the Mariner sailed fully booked.

Deck 2 forward has the Screening Room and the Conference Center and Category I outside staterooms.

Deck 3 forward has the Savoy Theatre, a classically simple decor of teal blue, maroon, black and gold with a striking curtain displaying a line of eight dancing couples in formal attire. Very dramatic. With only six columns, virtually all seats have an excellent view of the stage.

Toward midship is the entrance to the Dragon's Lair Disco guarded by two stone dragons and fiery wall sconces. Leaded stain glass windows depicting maidens defeating dragons, gothic arches and a vaulted ceiling held up by gargoyles and the many accouterments of knighthood like shields, crossed swords and halberds all contribute to a chivalric atmosphere and days of yore. Two Larger than life size paintings by Simon and Sally Dray (England) depict "The Amorous Maid" and "The Lovelorn Knight."

Midship is Studio B Entertainment Complex where fantastic live ice shows take place. Next is the Photo Gallery with great pictures of Hollywood icons: Douglas Kirkland's photos include Jack Nicholson with a lighted match (1975); Ann Margret on a Harley motorcycle (1969); and Orson Welles (1983). Some other intriguing photos were Drew Barrymore in boxing gloves and wearing Everlast shorts, by Seliger (1993) and Julia Roberts by Sante D'Orazio (1997).

Aft is the main floor of the "Rhapsody in Blue" Dining Room. The entrance way dramatically faces the triple tier staircase: There is a bronze statue of a dancing couple from "The Sound of Music" Maria (Julie Andrews) and Von Trapp. The three deck dining room is opulent (more later).

Deck 4 forward is the balcony of the Savoy Theatre. Next is the Schooner Bar with its by now familiar pungent odor of creosote on the ropes. Here are also found the familiar Ebbings's collages (textiles, ceramics and ropes), shaped like huge portholes. There is a model of the schooner Boston and seven naval paintings portraying the Schooner Era by Harald E. Nissen (Norway, 1950). We particularly enjoyed the large haunting portrait of what seemed like a prow figurehead of a beautiful blond lady in a sea blue billowing gown.

There is also much wonderful art to be seen in the stair wells. This stairwell had some whimsical work like Hanne Tyrmi's (Norway) aluminum kitchen objects, and Studio Sem, Silvina Spravkin's (Italy) "A Hard Night's Sleep" pillows of marble, and "Almost Clean" marble sheets and washboard.

Midship is the Casino Royale with a State Fair theme mural by (Zsiba & Smolver) and flanking the entrance are posters featuring a Carnival Strongman, a Prize Bull, a Dancing Girl, and a Cowboy and a Cawgirl. This is a large casino with many venues and games of chance. Walk aft and you will find the bottom of the Centrum and Boleros Bar with its many fantastic, enormous blown glass flowers. The staircase here leads to decks 4 and 5. It is all glass and birch wood balustrades (light and airy). The chairs and sofas are colorful prints recalling Picasso and the 1960s.

All the way aft is the middle tier of the dining room, "Top Hat & Tails." The entrance to this lovely room has two displays of formal wear reminiscent of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astare: a white waltz gown and a black formal tails. The chairs are extremely comfortable with arms. There is a central crystal chandelier of monumental proportions, and it is complemented by many semicircular ones on every level. The mahogany wood on the balconies adds beauty to this area.

Deck 5 forward has the low ceiling, intimate "Lotus Lounge" decorated with statues of Chinese Ladies with folded arms and red lacquered columns with gilded ginkgo leaves. This room was used for the Crown & Anchor Society and the Captain's Receptions. Next to the exit is the Connoisseur Club (fine cigars and liquors). It is filled with beautiful dark leather couches and chairs and the scent of fine cigars. Here we met with Environmental Officer Peter Roy, who spoke about RCI's Ocean Fund and Compliance & Audit Programs. This is right up Vincent's alley as retired Professor, Director of Environmental Safety & Health at Florida Atlantic University. Mr. Roy spoke of their weekly environmental meetings and he impressed us with his knowledge and enthusiasm.

Next to the elevators is located the sculpture titled "The Mariner Story" this gift from the workers at Kvaerner Masa Shipyard in Finland depicts the "TeamWork" necessary to construct the Mariner of the Seas. Look up at the forward Centrum and see a World War I dog fight between five planes including Snoopy's Sopwith Camel and The Red Baron. Take the elevators to Deck 10 and view them up close. Back on Deck 5 walk toward aft through the entire Royal Promenade which is four decks high and the most innovative feature afloat. Imagine a city street with boutiques, cafes and refreshment areas and parades daily; this week was Mardi Gras, so it was especially busy! This concept allows for strolling and inside cabins which now have windows overlooking the Promenade: This is unique to the Voyager class ships and not to be seen on any other line. The Aft Centrum areas of these ships have original suspended mobiles of huge proportions, which are visually awesome, many of which designed by Larry Kirkland.

Toward aft is the Guest Relations Desk, Shore Excursions and the Champagne Bar with its shoe art (a clever reference to drinking champagne from a lady's slipper). All the way aft is the top balcony of the Dining Room "The Sound of Music."

Decks 6, 7, 8 & 9 are mainly staterooms. Adjacent to the aft elevators on Deck 6 is located the Business services and on Deck 7 is the Library (well stocked, open stacks, honor system), which is user friendly. Every day pick up a trivia sheet, but alas trivia games have been discontinued. Deck 8 has the Computer Room "RC On Line." Deck 9 has the Concierge Club for Crown & Anchor Diamond members and Suite occupants. This was wonderfully managed by German Inostroza (Chile). He was extremely competent and helpful in many ways.

Deck 10 has the navigation bridge, staterooms and suites.

Deck 11 forward has the Peek-A-Boo Bridge, from which passengers can see the inside of the navigation bridge, and the Solarium with its two huge hot tubs and a lap pool. Here are terra cotta urns filled with laurel, boxwood, podocarpus and ivy trimmed neatly into topiaries. Very nice! On top of the colonnade are a lion and a lioness. There is modern art by Romero Britto, and murals of mosaic by Barsanti of Petrasanta, Italy. The centerpiece is a larger than life bronze statue by Luigi Galligani (Italy) "Portatrice d'Acqua" (a full figured female water carrier), she is flanked by two huge bowls of fruit by Sinclair (Britain). Galligani also sculpted the two terra cotta busts of "Circe" and "Calypso."

Midship toward aft are the two specialty restaurants, the Chops Grille and the Portofino. The Chops Grille serves superb meats (beef, veal) and fish (Filet of Dover sole, salmon). We suggest skipping lunch if you plan to dine here, the portions are huge: Boston clam chowder served in a tureen size bowl, sautéed mushrooms, a family size tomato salad and, above all, a very big veal chop. Don't forget dessert, the Mississippi Mud Pie is the best. Hotel Director Richard Nentwich invited us to the Portofino Restaurant, a lovely dining room with dark Mahogany paneled walls, decorated with Magnolia flowers. We had a long leisurely dinner and Richard pointed out many interesting facts about the Mariner and its operation. Try the Carpaccio for appetizer; Mary had the excellent shrimp. The grand finale to a superb meal can be the Tiramisu. These two restaurants have a nominal fee of $20 per person. Aft is the Jade (Asian Cuisine) and the Windjammer Cafe`, buffet style dining with many stations including the following: Salad, Pizza, Pasta, Meat Carving, Desserts, and Fresh Fruit displays (peaches, strawberries, pears, oranges, grapes, melons, etc.), all excellent.

Deck 12 forward has the Ship Shape Fitness Center and the Mariner Day Spa, with a beautiful view of the ocean for those using the treadmills and cycles. Aft is the Adventure Ocean youth facilities with the "Teen Only" area. Located near here is Johnny Rockets a 50's style burger joint with red naugahyde and chrome everywhere. They serve great chili, French fries, onion rings, sodas and floats. The mood is set by the juke boxes playing Rock and Roll. It's lots of fun and a nice trip down memory lane for those of us who came of age at that time!

Deck 13 aft has the sports court, full basket ball court, golf simulator, 9 hole mini golf and even an in line skating track and the Rock Climbing Wall.

Deck 14 has the 19th Hole Sports Bar with barstools with handles, so fans won't fall off. There are three monitors with games simulcast from around the world. Go out on the deck and stand next to Daddona's (USA) fiber glass and steel sculpture titled "For the love of the game." It is an amply endowed female spectator wearing yellow flowered, bulging shorts. Ellington's night club, also on 14, is a nice place for relaxing with a great surround view. There are also two game and card rooms located near the elevators.

Deck 15 has the Skylight Chapel, perfect for on board weddings.

This ship has many fascinating things to see and do. This simple outline cannot do justice to the beauty and artwork which abound in its many public areas and lounges.

CABIN Stateroom # 7604 is a wheelchair accessible room, when entering on the right is the large bathroom with a 4'x4' shower, a corner medicine cabinet with several shelves, and tile accents and safety rails well positioned. There is a hide-a-bed sofa and a comfortable upholstered chair and a large glass top coffee table. There is also a console holding the TV, refrigerator and personal safe. Next there is a mirrored vanity desk and chair.

When entering on the left, there is a triple armoire, a king size bed with two night stands, and the far wall to the balcony is all glassed. There are both sheers and blackout drapes, good for the hot Caribbean sun. Hung on the walls are two signed prints by P. Birchall. The colors are teal and blue and the wood is light birch. The overall impression is one of freshness and comfort. The balcony has two chairs, a little table and sufficient space for a chaise lounge that our steward Stephen set up for Vincent's convenience. Thanks, Stephen for a week of excellent service!

FOOD & SERVICE The food and service is always a product of the top personnel's vision. Hotel Director Richard Nentwich's Austrian background in restaurant and hotel management makes him set the bar high. Undoubtedly, his cordiality and gentlemanly attitude reflect well on the performance of the personnel. He is also very observant and shares his ideas.

Executive Chef Bartol Cabrera has served in famous positions such as New York's Waldorf Astoria and on the Q.E. II. His training with Master Chef Rudi Sodamin is evident; he oversees the preparation of over 12,000 meals served per day, not including snacks; yet everything is fresh and beautifully plated.

Maitre D' Dominique Claudel (France) is both elegant and very accommodating. At table #449A, we were served ably and pleasantly by Osman Olmez (Turkey) and the lovely Neringa Laurinaviciute (Lithuania). The food temperature was just right and the pace of each meal was perfect!

We dined well at both Chops Grille and Portofino. However, the best dining aboard is always at the Captain's table, and this time the Master of the ship, Captain Tor Olsen out did himself. He takes personal interest in the menu: an entree of shrimp and lobster served over spaghetti (al dente), in the shape of a lobster, was from a recipe that the Captain had forwarded to the Mariner's Chef from another RCI Chef. Vincent was very impressed, and he is a tough critic. Of course the high point of dinner is always dessert, and once again it came specially for us from the Portofino: Frutti di Bosco in zabione (wild berries in a foamy custard). All that could enhance this feast would be lively conversation and that was amply provided by Captain Olsen and his interesting guests.

There is something memorable about sitting in the middle of a huge gorgeous room with balconies of polished mahogany wood under a crystal chandelier weighing tons and being serenaded by the crew singing "O Sole Mio." It was a perfect formal evening; we will never forget!

Whenever you need something on board, look for Chief Purser Francois Chevalier (what a marvelous name!). This pleasant and helpful gentleman assisted us with information for this review, while making us feel welcome. He along with Concierge German went the extra effort to answer all our questions.

RCI's Crown & Anchor Society makes sure that repeaters know that they are special --- this is the best reason to return to RCI. Loyalty Ambassador Dean Hay knows all repeaters by name and even our dream destinations: the Galapagos for us. Suffice it to say service and food are excellent on board the Mariner of the Seas.

ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Kirk Detweiler is both young and energetic. There are so many activities on board the RCI Voyager class ships that are not available on any other line. The Ice Skating Rink is the setting for a spectacular show (Olympic quality skating) "Under the Big Top" with stunning costumes. The opening number was all silver and white, then the "Cossack Song" was performed in bright red and gold with flying skirts and Russian hats. We saw many triples and graceful spins performed by the international cast including the following: Matt Kessinger, Ice Captain, Sean Rice, Danny Clausen, Jeff LaBrake, Carl Des-Rosiers; and the Russian girls: Marina and Tatiana and three North American girls: Jodeyne, Molly and Azumi. They were superb and got a standing ovation.

Athletes will love this ship: rock climbing, in line skating, golfing, gym exercising, swimming, dancing lessons, dance parties and don't forget the upper arm workout at the Casino. The Savoy is the setting of several very good shows. Of course, the Piano Melodies in the Schooner Bar and the Classical Guitar music by Pedro Espedido were especially wonderful. If all this makes you want to rest, for that there are plenty of quiet peaceful areas too.

PORTS OF CALL There were two changes in the itinerary, first Labadee, Haiti was deleted due to political unrest and replaced by Nassau, Bahamas; then Georgetown, Grand Caymans was dropped due to unsafe tendering conditions.

Day 1. Port Canaveral, Florida Departure: 5:00 pm.

Day 2. Nassau, Bahamas Arrival: 9:00 am Departure: 5:00 pm Some interesting shore excursions offered here are as follows: The Historic Harbor Cruise and Discover Atlantis (2.5 hrs., $42), which includes a narrated history of the harbor and a visit to the famous resort; The Pirates and Dungeons City Tour (2 hrs., $29), includes a visit to the Pirates Museum and Castle.

Day 3. At sea.

Day 4. Ochos Rios, Jamaica Arrival: 8:00 am Departure: 5:00 pm These are two of the interesting excursions: The Enchanted Gardens and Dunn's River Falls (4 hrs., $43), visit lush gardens and then climb the famous falls; The Beach Horseback Riding (4 hrs., $86), a horseback ride through bamboo trails and on the beach with a stop for swimming.

Day 5. At sea, we skipped Grand Cayman due to high seas and dangerous tendering.

Day 6. Cozumel, Mexico Arrival: 9:00 am Departure: 7:00 pm Some interesting excursions: The Tulum Mayan Ruins (6.5 hrs., $75), this is the official guided tour of the archeological site; The Cozumel Reef Snorkeling (3 Hrs., $44) takes you to one of the best reef areas in the world, and includes complimentary Rum Punch and Margaritas after snorkeling.

Day 7. At Sea.

Day 8. Port Canaveral. Arrival: 6:30 am Debarkation: 8:00 am

CONCLUSIONS This was our 17th cruise on a RCI ship and at the party for repeaters (frequent floaters, as we have been called by some RCI captains), we were honored by Captain Olsen as the couple with the most RCI cruises aboard this ship and given a bottle champagne. This and other courtesies, including the invitation to the Captain's dinner, make us feel very welcome on this and other RCI ships. The repeaters' program that RCI has instituted with the Crown & Anchor Society is among the best in the cruising industry, offering, at various level of membership, benefits including special services, cruise discounts, value coupon booklets, embarkation and debarkation preferences, etc.... This is a major incentive for us to cruise frequently on RCI ships. We have already booked three other cruises: the Transatlantic Eastbound Crossing on the Brilliance of the Seas, April 30th, the Mediterranean Cruise on the same ship, May 14th, and finally the Transatlantic Westbound Crossing on the new Jewel of the Seas, Sept. 1st.

We do cruise on ships of other lines (this was our 43rd cruise), and we intend to continue our cruising activity very intensely in the foreseeable future. We are addicted to cruising! We have had good and great cruises, but not yet a bad one (we hope it never comes). However, we are looking for a perfect cruise (we keep moving the bar higher and higher) and we'll be cruising until we'll find it. Happy Cruising!

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: January 25, 2004

We sailed on Mariner of the Seas with Royal Carribean Cruise Lines in January of 2004. We had been on 6 other cruises prior to this one. We were excited as always as we entered the beauitful ship. We were impressed with everything until we retired to sleep for the night. Our cabin was on the tenth floor, mid-ship, we plan ahead so that we can have our pick of the nicest cabins available on our cruise vacations. We were awakened around 12:30 a.m. with what sounded like an unlatched door banging somewhere near our cabin. I looked out and found no sign of anything outside our cabin but could still hear the noise inside the walls. We called the steward's desk three times before anyone responded somewhere around 3:30 a.m.. The noise was incessant and grew louder as the ship moved through the water. We got no information from the guest relation's desk and called again around 5:00 a.m. to see in anything was being done.

We were told to come down to the fifth floor to the guest relations. First, we were told that there were no other rooms available,

then we were given a cabin key and told we could sleep there only for the night. We went to this other room and opened the door to find other guests sleeping that room. We returned to the desk and was finally given a key (again only for the rest of the night to sleep) on the lowest guest level, in the very front of the ship. It was now 6:00 a.m. To make a very long story short, we spent three more night replicating the first night. Finally, we were given the first night's room but were told that Royal Carribean now felt under no obligation to compensate us for lost time or fun we had missed on our vacation. Furthermore, a porter was sent to help us move our things from one room to the next. In the course of a conversation with him, we learned that this was NOT the first time that someone had complained about the exact thing in that room. The guest relation's desk acted throughout this entire ordeal like we were a problem and that they did not know anything about this prior to this sailing. After spending much money and planning a vacation for so long, we were sorely disappointed and very tired after spending so many sleepless nights in a row. We contacted Royal Carribean after disembarking from the dhip and were given another slap in the face, they gave us $100.00 off the purchases of another cruise with them. We will be sailing again, but not with this ship or this cruise line, I am sorry to say.
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