some tips about the Mariner that I learned on the ship
I just got back from a 7 night cruise on the Mariner (June 1-8). Room 7383 and table 501 in the Sound of Music dining room - late seating. It was fantastic! There were a few things that I learned and thought I would share them up front.
1. Hair dryer is located in one of the drawers. It looks like a fake drawer but pull it out and there it is. I didn't find it until one of my dinner table mates (a stranger) asked my why I always came to dinner with wet hair.
2. The safe in the room is free. The food and drinks in the mini bar are not.
3. The jacuzzis in the solarium (the adult pool area) are different temps. One is very hot and the other is warm. So if one isn't to your liking, try the other. There are also 2-3 jacuzzis in the all-passenger pool area.
4. The promanade cafe (looks like a french bistro) is open 24/7 and has free food (pizza, coffee, hot tea, desserts, ham and cheese croissants etc.)
5. The soft serve ice cream is only open from noon - 9 pm on most days. (chocolate, vanilla or swirl) It is in the pool area next to one set of doors. You can find it by the sometimes long line.
6. The art work on the stairs is most amazing. I ended up walking DOWN 12- 14 flights for each set of four stairwells to see them all. Don't forget to also walk into the hallways heading to the cabins. They have pics all the way down but right as you turn in, they have very neat art work. Also on one floor(I think 10), they have pics of all of the RC ships. Very cool.
7. Windjammer cafe has lunch and breakfast buffets that are just mind blowing. I think they also had dinner ones but we always ate in the dinning room. If you want coffee or sodas, ask. I didn't realize that you could get free sodas in the buffets and ended up drining ice tea for most of the cruise. One thing that was unexpected but really neat is that while heading into the buffet, there will be girls there giving you wet ones to clean your hands with. Plus there are signs everywhere to wash your hands. They are taking the offense to combating germs/sickness.
8. When going to the cruise, if at all possible, park and then take your bags with you. It wasn't that far but we were being lazy. We got caught in the line to drop off the bags and it took almost an hour. If we would have just parked and carried our bags, we would have been on the boat over an hour earlier. We pulled up about noon (which I thought was early) but everyone else must have thought that also.
9. On formal nights, they were taking photos until 11 pm- ish. The lines were so long before dinner but after dinner the lines were much shorter. The photographers are set up all over the place to get more backgrounds. So if one line is long, just move on to another one. A hint to the ladies, bring powder so your nose is not shiny. I don't really wear makeup and totally forgot about that. We had some great pics that we would have bought except I was all shiny. Also if you have friends, go around and take pics of each other with your own cameras. Or just ask a total stranger. Everyone was happy to take pics for you. It will save you money. They do have package deals for the professional pics but I think we paid $20 for each 8x10.
10. Check out the bathrooms on deck 11 right outside of the windjammer cafe. The view is very nice.
11. In Haiti - there is not any security getting on the island. Getting back on the ship, you have to go thru a metal detector and an x-ray machine for your bags. Also in Haiti, make sure you walk around. We just parked at the end of one of the beaches and stayed there. While we were waiting in line for the tender, we walked around some and saw really cool places that would have been fun to explore. There were also tons of beach chairs so no need to park it right away in order to get a chair.
12. Go check out all of the clubs/bars even if you don't want to drink or stay there. Each place has really cool art work/decor. I almost missed the lotus lounge but it was the coolest.
13. Don't miss the ice show. Those skaters were amazing. The tickets are free and I believe that they were given out the 2nd day between 9-10am. Just ask at the guest services. Try to go to the other night shows as well. The jugglers, comedians, singers etc were all very good. My favorite thing was love and marriage show. They also have trivia games on different days. Superhero, harry potter, sports etc. I'm proud to say that my 40 year old husband won the superhero trivia game. So for the rest of the cruise, everyone knew what a nerd he was.
14. There is a lost and found at the guest services desk. We lost two hats and two pair of sunglasses. We got a hat back which was totally cool.
15. Room service if free - just give a tip. You can get breakfast, lunch and dinner I believe. We got coffee and yogart delivered every morning (except the last morning) as a wake up call. They called you on the phone about ten minutes before they showed up with the order. It was brillant. One day we even had a voice mail from room service asking if the food and service was sastifactory and asking us to call them if it was not. All week long, the crew asked for feedback and made it clear that if you didn't like something, to please let them know so that they could correct it.
16. You can also program in wake up calls on your phone. This was good also but why not let someone wake you up with breakfast/coffee.
17. Formal nights. Dress up. Don't be the only guy wearing a short sleeve shirt. People really dressed to the 9's. Everyone looked amazing. Treat dinner like Vegas (you can never be over-dressed)!
That is all the tips for now. I have more things but don't have my list on me.
If anyone from RC is reading......you guys rock. Everything was so clean. The paint , molding, carpet, and wallpaper were always perfect all over the ship. (Yes I am sort of anal about noticing these things). The service from every single person I met was spectacular. There was always hot water. This ship and crew was 1st class all the way.
We are in the Orlando tourist industry so we notice all the little things. For the whole seven nights, we noticed ONLY two things. Since we do notice all the little things, this was amazing. 1 - We had one knife in the windjammer cafe that wasn't completely clean. That is like 99.9% cleanliness considering all the buffets we went to. lol. 2. On one of the elevators, the up button cover had fallen off the button. The button still worked and it had just fallen that day. I believe when we went back the next day to that elevator, it had already been fixed.
We are backpackers normally so we are used to being totally cheap and putting up with dirt, bad service, chicken busses, ramen noodles and do-it- yourself everything. But when you spend a few thousand $'s for a week, it has to be spectacular to have it be worth it. (We spent 2 1/2 months backpacking budget for a one week cruise.) I'm totally thrilled to say.....Royal Carribean and the Mariner of the Seas were more than worth it.
Glad you enjoyed the Mariner. One of our favorite ships. DH loved the large jacuzzis too. I, too, have told so many people about the art work in the stair, it was amazing and we made sure we saw all too. The men's bathroom on deck 11 had more women checking it out than men. We enjoyed the back corner in the disco because you could hear the music and still have a conversation. Can't wait for her to come to California next year. We were seriously thinking about taking the family and now you made me "homesick" for her. Time to check out availability!
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean
Thank you, sooooooo much, for the great review. We are taking the Mariner on her repositioning cruise from FLA to Calif. around the Cape next Jan. 2009
(first two legs, only) and are really getting excited. We have never cruised
RCL before and have read both pros and cons about the ship/food/service
and entertainment. (Celebrity has totally spoiled me !). So you really
made my day.
Great post and comments, Beeker. So, I guess you'll be cruising again?
Ray McDonald / Snoozeman
My Personal Cruise Blog: My Cruise Blog
Future Cruises: Carnival Triumph-Caribbean-7/28/2014, Carnival Legend-South Pacific-8/30/2014, MSC Preziosa-Mediterranean-10/25/2014, MSC Fantasia-Mediterranean-11/2/2014, Navigator of the Seas-12/14/2013, Norwegian Jewel-1/3/2015, Emerald Princess-1/11/2015, Carnival Freedom-2/2/2015, Carnival Freedom-2/15/2015.
Great review, except one thing I had a question on.
I've sailed on 25 cruises with the line and this is the first time I've heard of "FREE SODA" in the Windjammer? Are you sure about that, I always understood that RCCL pulled the free SODA back in the late 90's.
The term "Soda" may mean different things to different people from different parts of North America. My wife considers ice tea a "soda" because she can buy a can of it from a soda pop machine.
The OP was probably refering to the free Lemonade and Ice Tea provided in the Windjammer.
Majesty of the Seas - 10/03 & 02/07 & 11/08
Enchantment of the Seas - 10/04 & 10/11
Mariner of the Seas - 10/05
Vision of the Seas - 10/06 & 09/07
Carnival Liberty - 10/07
Adventure of the Seas - 9/08
Ruby Princess - 12/09
Voyager of the Seas - 9/10
Carnival Spirit - 11/10
Oasis of the Seas - 9/13
Soda (coke etc) was not sitting there for you to pick it up. There was tea, water and juice (for breakfast). But I asked for a coke from the waiter and they brought it. They didn't ask for my card or anything. I only did that on the last two days so maybe they were just being nice?
I had no problem bringing on a two liter of diet coke. It was in my bag as I walked back on the ship. There is an x-ray when coming back on so they had to have seen it. Now if it was a bottle of liquor.......they would have probably said something.
Thank you so much for all your ideas. We are so excited about our cruise on the Mariner in March! I do have one question... do you know if its coke or pepsi products? My husband lives on MT.Dew and on carnival we didnt take any on board. Thanks so much.
Mariner Of the Seas March 09
Elation March 08