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Notaworryintheworld

Mariner B2B Review—12/6-12/13

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We just got off Mariner today after a wonderful 7 days.  It was my husband and I who are both in our 30s.  As background, we’ve been on a variety of cruises together, most recently on Brilliance last December.  We were really excited to try Mariner and to go to Perfect Day and it did not disappoint!

 

We had the drink package and the unlimited dining package.  We did not get the internet package as we like to disconnect when we are on a cruise! 

 

We were in a balcony room forward on deck 6.  The room is definitely dated and I wish it had been updated in the dry dock but it was just fine.  We were in a connecting stateroom—somewhat by mistake when trying to figure out a room to stay in for the B2B.  We were lucky with our neighbors on that side but the walls are definitely thin.  The bed was hard, but it didn’t bother me.  If you’re used to soft, pillowy mattresses you will not like this bed at all. There was more storage than I expected in the room.  We watched tons of packing videos this time and if anyone’s interested in tips I found to be useful and others that weren’t so necessary, let me know.  The location of our room was awesome.  We were so close to the promenade and an easy elevator ride up to the solarium.  

 

I was somewhat surprised how easy elevators were to come by.  They seemed to be programmed well and aside for one or two times, we never had any issues getting a pretty much empty elevator.  The ship in general didn’t feel too crowded to me except for one of the breakfasts in the windjammer and the promenade when an event was going on.  

 

We LOVED the bamboo room.  We spent most of our time there and the bartenders were amazing there.  We loved trying all the fun drinks there and it’s just a fun place.  We were super surprised that it was often completely empty.  Not sure why more people didn’t hang out in there—there are nice tables and the bar but even in the evenings, it was hardly ever busy.  

 

Having the dining package was definitely a nice addition.  We paid $75 for the 3 night and $99 for the 4 night.  The whole process was much smoother on this cruise than it was last year on Brilliance.  I imagine they’ve worked out more of the details since then.  We ate at Chops (more on that below), Izumi (awesome), Playmakers (ehhh not bad but not great), Johnny Rockets (same as always), and Jamies.  

 

We went to Izumi twice and enjoyed it both days—the second time was better but honestly we loved both times.  It was included in the package and they let us get the two meats option included—and we could mix and match.  

 

Jamies was wonderful!  We had only been on ships with Giovannis before so Jamies was new for us.  We LOVED it.  Ask for Lenin, if you can.  He was amazing and our meals there with him were some of the best parts of our trip. We heard multiple other people comment on how great he was too.  

 

Perfect Day at Coco Cay was everything I had hoped it would be.  The food at Snack Shack was just as delicious as everyone had said (mmm that chicken sandwich).  There were way more bars than the map showed so it was always easy to get a drink.  The floating bar was kind of hard to find and it was super busy on the first day we were there in the afternoon (when we finally found it).  The bamboo room bartenders man the floating bar so we went and had a good time with our favorite bartender.  I can’t wait to see everything once the construction walls are down.  

 

It was really windy when we were there so they wouldn’t let us put umbrellas up where we were on chill island.  That was somewhat disappointing because I like sun but my husband likes shade—it was difficult to find a spot that worked for us both without umbrellas. We had some gift certificates and OBC for our second cruise so we decided to book a beach bed for that day.  We were able to pick which one we wanted (from the ones we had left).  The “south beach” ones were in a MUCH better location and only two rows deep. On board they were $199 when booking on board which is the same as they had been in the cruise planner for the last couple months.  Before that, they were $150 but I wasn’t sure we’d want one and I wanted to use the birthday gift certificates I got for it and couldn’t do that ahead of time.  I have a hard time saying whether or not to get a bed because if we had booked and been stuck in the other location, it would not have been the same experience.  BUT as it was, we LOVED it.  We were close to everything, it was nice space without other people, it was great shade and it was just nice and peaceful and wonderful.  

 

Some slight negatives: 

 

The room didn’t cool down enough—I’d read about this ahead of time so it wasn’t surprising and while occasionally we would feel cool, there were multiple times where we felt like it was uncomfortably warm. 

 

Chops—we’ve been to Chops multiple times on other ships and have always loved it.  It was a big disappointment on this ship.  We had it for lunch on boarding day and just discounted it as being busy on embarkation day.  Then we went back for lunch on our second embarkation day and it was MUCH better.  Unfortunately we then went back for dinner and it was just bad.  The steak was not good, the bacon was not good, pretty sure the fries were the same ones from the windjammer, my baked potato was cold and the toppings came like 5 minutes after the food.  Both of us felt like had we paid full price for it, we would have been very upset.  If this had been my first time at Chops, I would have never gone back.  Generally just disappointing.  

 

Smoke from the casino was incredibly annoying.  We normally like to hang out at the schooner bar on past cruises but we didn’t get more than 1 drink there this time because the smoke was overwhelming.  Same with Boleros.  The smoke also came up onto the promenade because they have the opening up to it.  It was much worse than I had read about and we were pretty disappointed that both bars that have a lot of live music were unusable for us because of the smoke.   

 

Overall, we would definitely go back on Mariner. These short cruises on a nice ship out of Port Canaveral are great and we LOVED Perfect Day.  That was much longer than I expected to write, but if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer any that I can.  

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Thanks for your review!!   We are cruising on NAV in April and I can’t wait....the smoke was a problem on our 2015 NAV cruise and it sounds like it’s still going to be a problem for this one!   Total bummer - which it was more controlled - it really messes us up! 

 

For your UDP - did you make reservations on boarding day for the entire cruise?   

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10 minutes ago, Cel_cruise said:

Thanks for your review!!   We are cruising on NAV in April and I can’t wait....the smoke was a problem on our 2015 NAV cruise and it sounds like it’s still going to be a problem for this one!   Total bummer - which it was more controlled - it really messes us up! 

 

For your UDP - did you make reservations on boarding day for the entire cruise?   

Yes—for the first one we went pretty much first thing (after getting our first drink) to chops to make reservations. But on the second one we realized that if you’re connected to the ships WiFi (even without the internet packages), it lets you make the reservations through the app which was even more convenient. And we didn’t have any issues modifying them later in the cruise either. Chops and Jamie’s were not full any of the times we were there so I’m pretty sure Izumi is the main one you have to worry about. 

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We sailed Mariner in August and DD loved the laser tag. We're sailing next week again--do they still have the laser tag (a compass I saw from this fall made it seem like they may not)?

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I enjoyed reading your review. Thanks for taking the time to post it. We did a B2B2B December 13, 16th, and 20th. We had a great time. We had been on the mariner a few times during the summer and also back in 2004 and 2008 and had  been to Coco Cay several  times since the renovations.  
 

We ate most of our meals in the dining room and enjoyed it. We had one meal in chops which luckily was a better experience than yours, and we had one meal at playmakers  for something different.   We had been to the other restaurants on other ships and actually enjoy the dining room food on mariner.  I ordered a couple of appetizers or entrées off of the vegan menu and I thought they were exceptional.

 

Contrary  to your experience, we could not get our state room warm enough. We had three different cabins for each of the three cruises Balcony, promenade, JS and couldn’t get any of them warm enough.  

 

I thought the entertainment was average, and  I am not a fan of a cover band used as a headliner act.  

 

m

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Thanks for the review.  We're doing Unlimited Dining on a three day Mariner next month so I really appreciate your review.  Can you confirm you were able to just show up for lunch at Chops on Embarkation Day? I assume on our three day we could do Johnny Rockets and/or Playmakers as a 'second' late night dinner after an early meal at Chops/Jamie's/Izumi?

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Thanks for the review and info on the dining plan. We’re sailing in April, and I’m happy to hear Chops was an option on embarkation day. Last time we sailed we were told I was reserved for Key passengers only.

  Did you try any of the bar food in the Bamboo Room? I’m looking forward to seeing this venue when we sail.

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23 hours ago, flhokie said:

We sailed Mariner in August and DD loved the laser tag. We're sailing next week again--do they still have the laser tag (a compass I saw from this fall made it seem like they may not)?

They did have it—we didn’t do it but I met other people who did and enjoyed it. 

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17 hours ago, sharktums said:

Thanks for the review.  We're doing Unlimited Dining on a three day Mariner next month so I really appreciate your review.  Can you confirm you were able to just show up for lunch at Chops on Embarkation Day? I assume on our three day we could do Johnny Rockets and/or Playmakers as a 'second' late night dinner after an early meal at Chops/Jamie's/Izumi?


yes, we just showed up at chops on both embarkation days. They opened at 12. It was busier than expected. The first day they asked us to come back in 20 minutes and we did and got a seat no problem. 
 And yes, you can go to as many different places as you want in one night! 

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2 hours ago, Kteacher said:

Thanks for the review and info on the dining plan. We’re sailing in April, and I’m happy to hear Chops was an option on embarkation day. Last time we sailed we were told I was reserved for Key passengers only.

  Did you try any of the bar food in the Bamboo Room? I’m looking forward to seeing this venue when we sail.

They are doing the key chops meal in the mdr now so it’s open for lunch again on embarkation day! We didn’t end up trying any of the food at bamboo—we wanted to just never did for whatever reason. I think we were pretty much always full from something else. We only saw people ordering food from there once the whole time. 

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Happy to hear you liked the Mariner...she was our very first ship we sailed on RCI (when she was brand new and doing 7 night cruises out of PC).  She is actually the ONLY ship that RCI has positioned at our local port as brand

new.  

 

Just curious about one thing...what was the reason to pick B2B (total 7 nights) on Mariner versus 7 night on Harmony?  

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Did you have lunch at any specialty restaurants on port days?  Someone had reported that with the UDP on the Mariner they were able to have lunch every day at a specialty restaurant and not just embarkation day

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11 minutes ago, island lady said:

Happy to hear you liked the Mariner...she was our very first ship we sailed on RCI (when she was brand new and doing 7 night cruises out of PC).  She is actually the ONLY ship that RCI has positioned at our local port as brand

new.  

 

Just curious about one thing...what was the reason to pick B2B (total 7 nights) on Mariner versus 7 night on Harmony?  

We did it because my husbands office was going on the 3 night and we decided to add on the 4 night just for us. If prices were cheap enough like they were for this trip, I’d do it again. We loved having two days at coco cay too. 

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3 minutes ago, molly361 said:

Did you have lunch at any specialty restaurants on port days?  Someone had reported that with the UDP on the Mariner they were able to have lunch every day at a specialty restaurant and not just embarkation day

Yes, on Nassau day we did both times. Chops was open and playmakers. I don’t think Jamie’s was open. And Izumi definitely wasn’t. We ate at coco cay on those days so I’m not sure what was open. One day we came back early and had Johnny rockets too which was at like 2 or 3 and included in the udp. 

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9 minutes ago, Notaworryintheworld said:

We did it because my husbands office was going on the 3 night and we decided to add on the 4 night just for us. If prices were cheap enough like they were for this trip, I’d do it again. We loved having two days at coco cay too. 

I think given the choice I would do a b2b on the Mariner rather than 7 days on Harmony as well.  Been on both ships and LOVE the Mariner

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17 hours ago, Notaworryintheworld said:

We did it because my husbands office was going on the 3 night and we decided to add on the 4 night just for us. If prices were cheap enough like they were for this trip, I’d do it again. We loved having two days at coco cay too. 

 

ahh...that makes perfect sense!  Smart move!!    Enjoy your B2B!  We leave a week from tomorrow.  🙂 

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Anxiously hoping its not to late for a last minute question about Coco Cay, how was it with 2 reimagined Voyager class ships ships visiting the same day.  On your first visit I think you were there with the Navagator (same size), your second visit you might have had the much smaller Empress- how crowded did it feel.  We are looking to book the Navigator and notice on all the dates we have to pick from its always in Coco Cay with the Mariner, how was it for Perfect Day in your mind?  I had read some people were wondering if lines would be long when an Oasis class visited but they carry far fewer passengers than 2 Voyager class with the extra cabins now.  Did anyone mention visiting the water park portion and finding it packed  I know that wasn't your focus but maybe in passing or friends onboard.  Appreciate any  feedback at all.  We also hope to do a B2B, one visit for the island and one for the water park- we have a 10 yr old who would love it.

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15 minutes ago, T-2 said:

Anxiously hoping its not to late for a last minute question about Coco Cay, how was it with 2 reimagined Voyager class ships ships visiting the same day.  On your first visit I think you were there with the Navagator (same size), your second visit you might have had the much smaller Empress- how crowded did it feel.  We are looking to book the Navigator and notice on all the dates we have to pick from its always in Coco Cay with the Mariner, how was it for Perfect Day in your mind?  I had read some people were wondering if lines would be long when an Oasis class visited but they carry far fewer passengers than 2 Voyager class with the extra cabins now.  Did anyone mention visiting the water park portion and finding it packed  I know that wasn't your focus but maybe in passing or friends onboard.  Appreciate any  feedback at all.  We also hope to do a B2B, one visit for the island and one for the water park- we have a 10 yr old who would love it.

So the pool was definitely more crowded with navigator and Mariner than it was with empress. The beaches and food areas seemed the same. Not sure if it was also the 3 night sailing vs the 4 night but the passengers at coco cay on the first one were way crazier—think mtv spring break from the early 2000s. But again, that was mainly at the pool. A bartender mentioned that the navigator sailings are just a bit crazier in general. Who knows if that’s true or not! 
 

I found it easy to find loungers and short lines for food and drinks both days. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again with two voyager ships! 
 

Nobody we talked to had done the water park so I can’t speak to that. BUT I also didn’t hear people complaining about it when people watching or anything and if there’s one thing that’s true, people will find anything to complain about. Not sure if that’s helpful or not but I feel like I would have heard people complaining if it was a big problem! 
 

Edited by Notaworryintheworld

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That was Hugely Helpful, I think if there had been issues there would have been some vocal fussing, and I have not seen anything on the boards criticizing there being 2 ships in port most of the time.  At first I wasn't sure why they wanted the 2 ships to be there together most of the time well into 2021, and then other days zero ships, but in thinking about it I believe its smart to let the area be natural inbetween rather than a constant flow of ships every day of the year.  And perhaps by doubling the crowd they can keep prices down rather than a smaller turnout but everyone paying a higher price per person as it still takes just as many workers to run the place.  We have not yet seen it and are so excited to visit, our main reason for booking the Navigator next.

My first choice was of course closer to the home of the mouse and all things Orlando so I looked at the Mariner initially.  We are recently off the Independence of the Seas and the 2 ships have a lot in common- same waterslides and the i-pad, that led me to look into the Navigator.  Which means driving up to Orlando from Miami afterwards but worth it for those differences onboard.  And the new dry bar :0)  Our 10 year old has done the Allure and Symphony so its fun finding new things on the different ships.  I know he will love Perfect Day just as much as Labadee albeit for different reasons.  Super appreciate hearing from you since you were actually there in port with the Navigator.  Our B2B will be with the Mariner both time in Nassau and CocoCay but in case of weather issues, we'll have 2 shots at it.  Thank You again for a perfect summarization of your experiences on your cruise, super appreciated every word!

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