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Blue Collar Diamond does Mariner - (4 day)


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I'm not going to do a full review - But I thought I'd post a paragraph of our experience, answer any questions and maybe post a few pictures from the trip.


This was our 4th annual 2nd cruise of the year, road trip to Port Canaveral.   These road trip cruises, during hurricane season are an addition to our annual cruise around our anniversary in late April/early May.     Two on Majesty, one on Enchanment, and now have done Mariner.


The cruise also timed with "The Pirates reunion cruise"  A bunch of people who sailed Mariner together this time of year when she was in Port Canaveral years ago.   We met several of them online before and during the cruise.   A lot of them were people we had cruised with before and other people.   Having this many friends/acquaintances on board. Made for a fun time.


Cruise this time of year means being on hurricane watch from June till sailing.  This year Dorian was our big news story and of course bigger for the people of Freeport and Grand Bahama island and other nearby islands.    About a week before our trip, we got an email saying we were giving up a sea day and we were going to Freeport, dropping off aid/supplies and ferrying people from Freeport to Nassau.   Mariner did exactly this the cruise(s) before ours, but found it not needed for our trip, so on boarding we got the word, the itinerary was back to its original schedule.


Our Road trip down from Ohio to PC was a little more adventurous than I hoped for, but nothing bad, but I thought I'd share for someone's benefit.  We planned on driving from Columbus, Ohio to Valdosta, GA on day one (Saturday), about 800 miles. 30 miles into our trip, we had to divert about 40 miles because of an overturned semi under the overpass of the highway.  No problem, that is what we left Saturday for a Monday cruise!.     The next problem was my own doing.  My 2016 Explorer is in great shape and I put some extra PM into the vehicle for this road trip. I knew the car was going to need a new battery this fall to get through another winter, but didn't think it would be a problem for this trip.  Well, I was wrong.  We stopped at a gas station near Perry, GA (about 150 miles from our intended stop) and the car wouldn't start.  Thanks to help from a Perry Police Officer and a nearby Auto Zone, we were back on our way and at our Valdosta  hotel about 90 minutes later than expected.


Sunday's drive to Port Canaveral was easy and we arrived at the Radison in the port area. Love that place, love that pool!    A bunch of us met for dinner at Fishlips and had a great time.  Boarding Mariner at Terminal 1 is super easy, they are using the express check-in, get your seapass cards in your room.  This didn't work so sell on Symphony, but no problems with Mariner.   Boarding, I love the new Amp'd Mariner., love the beds in the solarium, and the extra deck chairs and cooling rinse on deck 14, I think it is near the Mariner Dunes.


We stuck with traditional dining, late, and had a great team of waiters and the food was very good each night including the best ever pork chop served in the MDR. (Those are hit and miss, but great on this location!     The seas were just a lttle rough on the first day, but not too bad.  We arrived in Nassau on time, and I did dives with Stuart Cove's while my wife and another couple went to the Beach experience at Blue Lagoon.


This was our first visit to the PERFECT DAY at Coco Cay.   In previous years, we booked the Beach Beds for $150 on South Beach.  They weren't available until late July or Early August and the price was now $299, double!   We booked it anyway for the 4 of us in our group.  At the time we booked that, the Cabanas in the waterpark were $799 for up to 6 people.    I didn't think I would want to use any of the water slides because of my back condition, so we ruled this out. 


About a week before the trip, we heard from the people who went to Coco Cay for the first time after Dorian and heard that the conditions on South Beach were less than ideal.  At the same time a fellow solo cruiser (Thanks MikeW of Tampa) that the Cabanas in the water park were selling for the same $299 we booked the beach beds for.  We changed and boy are we glad we did!   While on the island we walked over to South Beach and they have now crammed all the beach beds into half the space it use to have in previous years.  Much of the attraction of this area is now gone for us.    For this week, the shoreline was covered with a white smelly foam and  we wouldn't have enjoyed the day there even without the crowding.   A walk over to some new cabanas near the Jet ski area showed lots of piles of very smelly sea weed that they were still trying to clean up. I assume these conditions caused the price drops, but we are happy we switched.


I turned 60 since my last cruise and I've had spinal fusion surgery years ago.   I did find at least 4 water slides I could do and actually enjoy,  while the others in our group enjoyed the more daring slides. I also enjoyed the wave pool and the Oasis pool area.    For $299 and 6 people, this wasn't a bad value. We had great cabana service and access to plenty to eat and drink.  It was close to a perfect day for us.  Crowds weren't a problem for having one Voyager class ship in port. I wouldn't want to see what it looks like with an Oasis class or possibly two smaller ships in port. There were signs on some of the water slides that said, "45 minute wait from this point"  We never had to wait more than 5 minutes for any slide, after the long walk up the stairs that is!


Gemma was on her second cruise as acting CD filling in for the regular guy who had vacation.     I thought Gemma was great!  We were her first ever Love and Marriage show winners! They don't do L&M on this ship with this itinerary normally, but they had to cancel another show and she decided to add this to this cruise. I'm glad She did. It was fun! She did a good job, I would cruise with her again as CD!


We skipped Quest, but I heard it was good!   Disembarkation was smooth and we were on our way home by 8:am despite not arriving back into port until nearly 7am because of rough seas. (Managable by most experienced  cruisers!)   


Any questions, feel free, I may post a few pics from home. 

Edited by BillOh
Because I can, and you can't stop me!
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Oh, on the first night the Diamond Lounge was packed, but the rest of the Viking Crown lounge served as overflow.  That wasn't the case most of night 2 as a wedding reception was being held  Nights 3 and 4 were less crowded. Nobody went thirsty, we had a great time, though I do have to question why they put Cheese sticks on the spread  Coco Cay day as we could have all we wanted on the island. Maybe these were leftovers?   Just posted with a humorous intent.   Had a great time. 

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cubbies.thumb.jpg.03e2760eb7d806a1bc7a864d6215933b.jpgOh, saw a picture on my phone, Mariner has an area (cubbies) for putting your belongings in the solarium so you can use the pool or hot tubs without taking up a chair!  I've (am I'm sure others) have been suggesting this for years.

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  • 8 months later...
  • 1 year later...
On 6/23/2020 at 9:34 AM, BillOh said:

I didn't know this would be my last cruise for awhile!

13 months later, i am still hoping to be on another cruise!

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All cruises before my next one on Brilliance has been canceled. I think I will find out if we are go or no go in the next 10 days.  If it is canceled, I may try to switch to a back to back on Mariner.

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