SHIP REVIEW: Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas
It’s hard for me to describe how much fun John and I had aboard the Mariner of the Seas this past cruise. The ship was one of the larger ships that John and I had ever been on, and yet, the two of us often felt like we were in a world of our own. The specialty restaurants, shows, games and our adventures at port helped to have a fantastic trip that we won’t soon forget.
ABOUT THE SHIP
According to the Royal Caribbean website, the Mariner of the Seas is a member of Royal Caribbean's Voyager class of ships, and is a sister ship of four other vessels including Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, and Navigator of the Seas. All of the ships in this class were built between 1999 and 2003, with most of them undergoing a complete refurbishment between 2016- 2018. These ships boast 15 decks, can hold 3,000 or more passengers and weigh around 138,000 GT.
The Mariner of the Seas holds roughly 3,114 passengers (not including crew) and underwent a complete $120 million makeover in early 2018. Because of the renovation, the ship is now home to some of the most amazing activities and beautifully redesigned amenities at sea including, three pools, six whirlpools, seven bars, an ice skating rink, an Escape Room, the new Sky Pad and the famous FlowRider. Though not the largest ship in the company’s fleet, it still packs a punch when it comes to entertainment. Theatre quality shows begin on the night of embarkation and continue on throughout the trip. Music bands perform each night, offering numerous opportunities for couples to dance the night away or karaoke themselves into ship stardome.
John and I enjoyed a 4-Night Bahama Cruise from November 26-30, 2018 and stayed in the oceanview stateroom 3558. Our itinerary was scheduled for us to be in CoCoCay, Bahamas on the second day of our trip and Nassau, Bahamas on day three. However, due to unruly winds, our Captain decided that it would be unsafe for us to visit CoCoCay, and instead decided to take us to Nassau a day early and dock us there overnight. This unplanned detour, was quite a pleasant experience for John and I as we really enjoyed staying in The Bahamas overnight.
The boat docked in downtown Nassau, Bahamas, which, unfortunately, is not the most beautiful place on the island. Once we left the port, John and I were routinely bombarded by pushy sales people trying to sell their wares, excursions and services. Such a greeting was very unbecoming of the island and serves as the primary reason of why many people opt to purchase expensive shore excursions either through Royal Caribbean or third party excursions (to avoid the pushy sales people), or to simply remain on the boat. On the first day of our visit, I quickly grew annoyed with the aggressiveness of the sales people that, after a quick lunch, I opted to return to the ship early and enjoy the rest of my afternoon at the spa. Day two was much better, however. On this day, John and I managed to walk several blocks outside of downtown Nassau where we hailed a cab to take us to Baha Mar. This luxurious resort is comprised of three, five-star hotels including Grand Hyatt, SLS, and Rosewood, all of which are perched alongside Nassau’s Cable Beach. The white sands, blue waters and hotel architecture set the backdrop for some of the most beautiful pictures. Inside the resort are shops, fine dining areas and a modern casino. The resort is most definitely a playground for couples.
OUR SHIP ACTIVITIES
John and I are true foodies. And as such, we enjoyed dinner at the IZUMI Hibachi and Sushi restaurant on our first night. The experience was delightful, full of jokes, tricks and laughter. The food was just as delicious. I ordered the steak and lobster while John ordered the steak and chicken. Because we make the point to reserve our table on the first night, we were able to secure the restaurant at the discounted rate of buy one get one free. Throughout the trip, the two of us spent several hours walking and dining along the Royal Promenade which resembled a typical promenade with shops, musical guests and delicious eateries. Daily, we ordered a coffee and a sandwich at Cafe Promenade before we began our day, and returned to the same cafe for a snack and a beverage at night. This cafe was open 24 hours and always had a wonderful supply of food. We also took a moment to order a drink in The Bamboo Room, a trendy, tropical bar that was located in the Royal Promenade. For entertainment, John and I attended the shows and seminars in the Royal Theatre and Studio B. These shows included a magic show, comedians, and of course, the shopping seminar. We find that the shows were usually scheduled in the middle of our dining hour. So, we often times forgot to go to dinner and ended up falling back on the My Time Dining schedule. Needless to say, on our next cruise of this size, we will schedule My Time Dining from the beginning.
The Mariner of the Seas is jam-packed with activities for couples who are adventurous and like to spend long hours outside of their stateroom. The boat is packed to the brim with things to do so do not feel worried about being bored. If you are a couple who is searching for a more quiet, romantic trip, this may not exactly be the boat for you. However, due to the ships size, you may be able to find quiet spots with relative ease.
Here are a few tips from me to you If you’re planning on taking a trip aboard the Mariner of the Seas.
Pack warm clothes (pants and socks) - while the ship will be sailing into the Caribbean, you will need pants and socks to participate in the ice skating and the SkyPad. Also, if you like to play basketball on their court, you may want to bring a pair of shorts for that as well.
Sign up for My Time Dining - There’s just so much to do on this ship and you won’t want to miss out on anything. So, schedule My Time Dining. This way, you can eat whenever you want without the worry of missing that great show or scheduled event.
Try to get the same wait staff- This really goes for any cruise. But the wait staff on Mariner of the Seas was just top notch. Once they know your name, they will treat you like royalty every time you come to dinner. This is an experience you won’t want to miss.
Be sure to have all your necessary items with you before you board the ship- On Embarkation day, your staterooms will not open until 1:00pm and your luggage may not be delivered until after the Muster drill. So, keep everything that you absolutely need with you at all times! Don’t check your necessary items with the baggage handlers (like medications, money, toiletries, etc.) because you may not receive it back until well into your trip.
If you’re looking for a private, couples area, you are more likely to find it outside on the deck, in the solarium (after dark), and in the library.