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ValleyCruiser

Mariner LIVE! - 09/30 to 10/04/2019 - Back to the Suite Life!

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7 hours ago, ValleyCruiser said:

The embarkation process was a breeze (more on that in a bit), but I am not certain how the disembarkation process will be yet. I am expecting to have breakfast in the dedicated suite venue, and we will likely not walk our luggage off since we're not in a hurry to get off the ship and won't have a plane to catch. So I don't know if my circumstances will be fit your question, but I will do my best to detail our disembarkation process in detail.

Hello that is fine just need to know what time you got off and how long it took, that give me an idea.

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3 hours ago, ValleyCruiser said:

It's our favorite as well, although we've not sailed Oasis class yet, but this certainly is grand to our standards. I believe at one time during our earlier sailings the three floors actually had names, which DW and I really enjoyed: like "Sound of Music" and "Rhapsody in Blue" if I'm not mistaken (going off of memory here). I don't see those names referenced at all now and kind of miss that!

 

BTW, it was in this dining room in 2007 that I first slipped our DD her first taste of ice cream, much to the chagrin of DW! She loved it, and we relayed that story to her last night during dinner!

I looked back on a Cruise Compass from 2007 when we were on the Mariner --- yes, one of my vices is that I have every page of every compass for every cruise I have taken (all 36) --- and the dining rooms were :

 

Rhapsody in Blue - Deck 3

Top Hat & Tails - Deck 4

The Sound of Music -- Deck 5

 

BTW, Chops & Portofino were $20 pr person, Johnny Rockets had a $3.95 cover per person

 

mac_tlc

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2 hours ago, mac_tlc said:

I looked back on a Cruise Compass from 2007 when we were on the Mariner --- yes, one of my vices is that I have every page of every compass for every cruise I have taken (all 36) --- and the dining rooms were :

 

Rhapsody in Blue - Deck 3

Top Hat & Tails - Deck 4

The Sound of Music -- Deck 5

 

BTW, Chops & Portofino were $20 pr person, Johnny Rockets had a $3.95 cover per person

 

mac_tlc

Yes, that's it! I remember all that! I also share the same vice as you in saving the cruise dailies, although I've only got a third as many cruises under my belt so far.

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After our special invitation lunch in the MDR, we headed up to Deck 10 to find our suite on the starboard side of the ship towards the front elevators, Suite #1256. An envelope with our names was on the room number placard, and we had our SeaPass cards and were able to access our suite.

 

Awhile back there was some discussion as to whether the Gold SeaPass cards were going away, but at least for this sailing, the cards are still Gold. There is a lot of storage space in this suite, and we have been happy with it so far.

 

Prior to the cruise we had put in a Royal Up bid on an Owner's Suite for this cruise, but our bid was not accepted and we were notified this past Sunday, a day before sailing.

 

Thankfully, the Grand Suites on Mariner have two sinks in the bathroom, and a very nice balcony with room for a table and two chairs as well as two loungers. When I have time, I will upload a link to video I took of the suite, but for right now a few pictures will have to do.

 

Also, I noticed that the letter inside our suite from the Concierge detailing our suite benefits was mostly similar to the  email we had received a few days prior to the cruise, without the information regarding the Welcome Lunch on embarkation.

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16 hours ago, ValleyCruiser said:

Yes, they do, at least, as of yesterday, 09/30. I just mentioned that in the previous post.

 

Thank you!  It's a nice place to unwind after boarding and having a nice luncheon.  By the way.. good for you with the use of the NO word!!  You might need to bring it out a few more times!!

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The Carnival Liberty, the first of 5 ships leaving Port Canaveral, passing by Mariner just after our Safety Drill (Muster).

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We like to be as close to the front of the ship as possible for sailaway and the helipad on the Mariner, on Deck 5 forward but accssible from Deck 4, is our favorite sailaway location on this ship. The Captain pushed the ship away from the pier a bit, and then did the ship's equivalent of a 3-point U-turn backwards, before heading out to sea.

 

It appeared to me as we were leaving that they are constructing another cruise terminal in Port Canaveral, but I am not sure.

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As we were exploring the ship's Royal Promenade we noticed the famous soda machines next to the Cafe Promenade, for those who have purchased a drinks package, which we did not. We just decided to partake of any beverages that normally are additional charge during the Happy Hour in the Suite Lounge, and if we wanted anything outside of those hours (4:30 to 8:00 p.m.) we'd pay the A la Carte price (which wasn't often at all).

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Here are a few shots of the sunset on the first day from our balcony. The view from our stateroom balcony is one of my favorite things about cruising!

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We went to the early showing of "Ice Under the Big Top", the ice skating show in Studio B, before our late seating dinner. We did sit in one of the reserved sections for suite guests, and I was a little surprised that instead of being front and center of the rink, they were more at an angle on both sides of the rink. However, they were decent seats and it was nice that they were available even though we got there only 10 minutes before the show.

 

We really enjoyed the show, and the skating by the performers is pretty spectacular, especially considering the ship is moving. They are certainly more daring than I! For one of the female skaters to allow her partner to sling her around from her legs with her face mere inches from the ice is something I would be afraid to try, especially if the ship hit a big swell and threw their timing off! But they did awesome!

 

Here are a couple of photos from the performance.

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Edited by ValleyCruiser

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After the ice show we went to dinner in the MDR, table number 529 in the balcony on Deck 5. Our waiter, actually waitress, has been Jing, a lovely 24-year-old young woman from China, who is on her fourth contract and should around for at least two more, she says. She has been very attentive to us this cruise and has picked up our eating preferences seamlessly, even mentioning last night that she thought I didn't like a dish because I wasn't attacking it with gusto like the two previous evenings! The truth of the matter was that I was so relaxed from my massage earlier in the afternoon that I wasn't able to move any muscles in my body quickly for the remainder of the day. But more on that later.

 

Our assistant waiter is a 27-year-old from India, and his name is Lum, for short (I can't spell or pronounce his full name). He's a real character, and has been keeping us stocked with water, bread, and any additional drinks for which we've asked, whether the complimenary lemonade or apple juice, or the virgin strawberry daiquiri DW ordered on night 2 from the bar. When DW offered a sip to our DD he teased DD that the drink would make her tipsy, much to her chagrin! He's been great at keeping the kids entertained and even suggested a couple of brain teasers for them last night.

 

The first evening, for our appetizers there were Shrimp Cocktails all around (DW and DS had multiples), DD had the Escargot, and I had the Crab Cakes (very good) and French Onion Soup (it was good but I've had better). For our main courses DW had the spaghetti, DD had the Fish, Seafood & Mash, DS didn't see anything that appealed to him from the adult menu so got some Fish and Chips customized by our waitress, and I had the Prime Rib (which was good), and the Scallops and Fried Shrimp from the Fish, Seafood & Mash entree, sans the fish.

 

For dessert, DS had ice cream (vanilla is his favorite), and I had the Key Lime Pie (not sweet or tart enough for me but was good), and DD and I both had the No Sugar Added Blueberry Pear Cobbler (much better than the pie to my surprise!). However, the highlight to me was the Apple Pie a la Mode DW had, which had a nice crust and very soft, ripe and sweet apples. Reminder to self to order that the remainder of the cruise along with the other desserts that catch my eye!

 

Here is the MDR menu from night 1, along with a few pics of my favorite dishes.

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We went to the Welcome Aboard show in the Royal Theater after dinner, again sitting in the section reserved for suite and loyalty guests, and that was the first time we saw our cruise director, Dan. He had a few corny jokes interspersed with a few announcements, then gave way to the comedian for the evening. The comedian was a giant African-American man, his name escapes me, and his routine was funny enough, much of which I could relate to, but he had DW in stitches. She laughed nearly the whole show, although I don't think everyone was getting his humor. Anyway, after the show it took us quite a few minutes to get an elevator to our room so we had to resort to the old trick of taking the elevator down and then back up to our suite on Deck 10. I've been on smaller ships that have 3 banks of elevators so it's a bit surprising that a ship this size only has 2.

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We did have a bit of an issue with our luggage that first day, as when we got to our room after the suite lunch four of our five bags were already there, and we figured the last one, my carry-on, would be arriving within the normal time frame. However, it was not there by the time we were leaving for the ice show, and our suite attendant thought he had found it, but it was actually a bag designated for the suite opposite ours on the port side of the ship.

 

The bag was still not there when we got back from the Welcome Aboard show, and I was beginning to wonder if it had been lost, or worse, had never made it out of our driver's vehicle when unloading at the terminal. I went to Guest Services on deck 5 to see if they had any idea of where it might be, and after describing the bag it turned out they had it right there waiting to be claimed. Turns out the luggage tag had fallen off. Moral of the story for me was that when I print the luggage tags in the future, I will not only fold and staple them and put take on the ends, but will fully wrap the entire thing in shipping tape to semi-laminate the tags, so the paper will have a much harder time tearing off. Still, I was happy to have my luggage. Crisis averted!

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The next day was our first stop at Perfect Day at Coco Cay, and according to our Concierge, Sukriti, this was the first sailing for the ship stopping at the private island twice in one sailing. We had originally planned this as our sea day before Royal made the itinerary change, so we opted to stay on board and relax, first in the Suite Lounge, and then in the ship arcade and at the waterslides. DD had a bit of time in the ship's main pools open to everyone, but didn't like it as she prefers freshwater pools to saltwater.

 

We discovered a bit of an issue later that day in our stateroom. DD has very long African-American hair, which she inherited from her mother, but also very thick, curly, and easily tangled African-American hair, which she inherited from me. The result is long, beautiful, think African-American hair that is NOT strait and is a handful to tame! Unfortunately, the weak hair dryer in the suite was unable to do much for DD's hair, and DW took over 2 hours trying to get it back to a manageable state, and spent the next few hours lamenting that we weren't able to bring our own, much more powerful, hair dryer onboard! Royal, y'all need to change this policy or at least make an exception for those of us who need it! LOL!

 

Anyway, we didn't go to the private island, but had a nice relaxing day aboard. I did get a shot of the island from the ship, though.

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Edited by ValleyCruiser

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Loving your review. Two quick things. You definitely can bring your own hair dryer. I do it on every cruise. To avoid the lost luggage tag problem amazon sells plastic luggage tag holders. They have different sizes depending on what cruise line you are sailing on.

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Name clog you beat me to it. 

 

Yes you can bring your dryer on board, just no irons. Lol

The plastic luggage tags actually have a screw type steel cable. They will only come off if the handle comes off your luggage. Available at amazon. 

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Great review !!

 

The DW and I will be on the Mariner 10/28/19.

 

They don't give out sea pass card when you check in?

Edited by 04mach1

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8 minutes ago, 04mach1 said:

Great review !!

 

The DW and I will be on the Mariner 10/28/19.

 

They don't give out sea pass card when you check in?

 

Ships are changing to putting SeaPass cards at or in the stateroom.   You use your SetSail pass to board the ship and purchase things until staterooms are available and you can get your SeaPass cards.

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4 hours ago, Namelocg said:

Loving your review. Two quick things. You definitely can bring your own hair dryer. I do it on every cruise. To avoid the lost luggage tag problem amazon sells plastic luggage tag holders. They have different sizes depending on what cruise line you are sailing on.

 

3 hours ago, suesnake2002 said:

Name clog you beat me to it. 

 

Yes you can bring your dryer on board, just no irons. Lol

The plastic luggage tags actually have a screw type steel cable. They will only come off if the handle comes off your luggage. Available at amazon. 

Thanks, both of you! That is great info regarding the hair dryer. DW was under the impression she couldn't bring it and I didn't check. As to the luggage tags, I now know better. The Amazon tags sound like a good solution so will have to look into that.

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1 hour ago, 04mach1 said:

Great review !!

 

The DW and I will be on the Mariner 10/28/19.

 

They don't give out sea pass card when you check in?

Thanks for the kind words! You should definitely love this ship, she's still quite beautiful.

1 hour ago, Host Clarea said:

 

Ships are changing to putting SeaPass cards at or in the stateroom.   You use your SetSail pass to board the ship and purchase things until staterooms are available and you can get your SeaPass cards.

Yes, and really it works quite well, especially if you have the Royal app, since the SetSail passes are on them. I had everyone who is mobile in my family (all of us except DS) on the app and their SetSail passes loaded, although we really didn't need them. I also had the paper copies in the bag I carried on with me.

 

I hate to say it, but I can conceive a day in the somewhat near future where they may not even produce SeaPass cards for everyone. I mean aren't they already experimenting with the Room Unlock feature on a couple of the newer ships or something like that?

 

It could eventually be similar to the airlines where a great number of passengers, possibly even the majority, just use their mobile devices to show the barcode and scan. The technology is definitely available to do that to get on and off the ship already.

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4 hours ago, kelbell said:

Have you tried the MDR for breakfast or lunch?

Yes, we did try the MDR for breakfast yesterday, so I will get to that in a bit.

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For breakfast our first full day aboard we went to Chops Grille for breakfast. The thing I liked best about the experience was that I felt the service was a bit faster than in the MDR. However, DW felt that her Eggs Benedict was a little too crisp ("like it was done in a steakhouse," said she) and DS didn't like the syrup they used for his pancakes; I don't know where he got to be such a food critic suddenly!

 

Anyway, we made the decision that we'd try the MDR for breakfast the next day.

 

For lunch, DS and I went back to the Suite Lounge, which by the way was a great venue to catch up on email and sit in a quiet place. DS liked the snacks and things there, and always came with me went I decided to go there. Later in the day, I had a Coney Dog (#1) from the Boardwalk Dog House with grilled onions, mayo, mustard, and relish, along with a side of potato salad. That worked for me as hungry as I was. This food venue was aft of the main pools on the port side of the ship.

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As previously mentioned, the extra time taken to get DD's hair ready for "Wear Your Best" night--which replaces formal night supposedly, but there were still a majority of cruisers in very nice attire in the MDR, including us--caused us to be late for picture-taking and just rush to the MDR by our seating time.

 

I miss the old days of cruising when lobster often would be included at no upcharge, at least on some lines we've sailed, but the menu still had some really good options so I was definitely looking forward to the meal!

 

The Asian Style Pork Tacos were outstanding both DW and I agreed, and I had just that appetizer as I decided I would create my own "Surf and Turf" dining experience. I ordered the full Garlic Tiger Shrimp meal but enhanced it with the New York Stip Steak with only the steak and vegetables. Both were outstanding; the shrimp was full of great flavor and the steak was juicy and melt-in-your-mouth good with the accompanying sauce. Mmmmm!

 

I was getting close to full by this time but went ahead and ordered the Mini Donuts for dessert, along with the Apple Pie a la Mode I had promised myself the day before. I really shouldn't have ordered the donuts; the menu stated they'd be "mini beignets", which sold me as I love a good beignet, but they were more like your average bar donut from the grocery store bakery, not even as good as your average donut shop. To complicate matters, I don't know how the wait staff were aware, but they brought out a cake and sang "Happy Birthday" to me without me or anyone in my family telling them my birthday was approaching. I guess they have a list or something somewhere. Anyway, after my complete and utter embarrassment at being the center of attention for even 1 minute, I got over it and consumed the pie and took the cake to go. It was chocolate and I figured it would be delicious as a late night snack!

 

Jing was outstanding during this meal, even going so far as to remove the shell from the shrimp for DS and DD, and even assisted me when she saw I was not doing a great job, either.

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