Debbie owns a scrapbook business and loves to take cruise vacations. Photography is her #1 passion when she travels.
We (my husband and I), enjoy cruise vacations because you get the most bang for your buck. You get your lodging, entertainment, food, and the opportunity to visit several places, all in one vacation and for a minimal price compared to regular vacations.
We chose to cruise on Mariner of the Seas because we had heard that it was just dry-docked, and had a lot of new things added. This ship is the sister ship to Navigator of the Seas. However, Mariner had a lot of changes and additions during her 2018 drydock. The ship now has a Sky Pad, Flow Rider, and the Perfect Storm Waterslides, along with some new restaurants and bars, such as Jamie's Italian, and the Bamboo Room.
This review will cover the first day of our cruise on Mariner of the Seas, including embarkation, our stateroom, and our first day at the buffet. It will also include a few additional notes about the first day of our vacation on board this beautiful ship.
Embarkation and Stateroom
Embarkation (getting on the ship), has changed a lot in the last 10 years. The process is so much easier than it was several years ago. Everything is done online, and we got from entering the door of the terminal to the inside of the ship in less than 20 minutes.
Our stateroom wasn't quite ready when we arrived at noon, but it became available around 1:30 pm. We received an upgrade with a fee ($65 for 2 people, to move from an oceanview to a balcony). When it was offered, we jumped on it immediately.
Our room key was at our stateroom door. You don't get them in the terminal like you used to. You also need your key to be in a slot on the wall in order to keep your lights on in your room.
Our stateroom was on the hump. This is the section of the ship that extends outward from the side. We got the corner room on the hump, but it was really nice. Much better than the ocean-view room that we had initially booked. We had a clear view of the forward portion of the ship. We definitely recommend rooms on the hump. Below, you will find a slideshow of our balcony room.
Buffet Lunch on First Cruise Day
This is the first time of many cruises that we've been on where we were unable to find a place to sit at the buffet on the first day on board. We know that the first day is a madhouse when it comes to eating at the buffet, and we thought we had prepared ourselves for it, but the amount of people on this ship (and obviously the amount of people that eat at the buffet on the first day), outweighs the number of tables that are located in the buffet area.
After walking the around the area twice, and not finding a table to sit at, we decided to walk out to the pool area, sit awhile, and just wait it out. Around 1:15 pm, we walked back into Windjammers (the buffet restaurant) and found a table. Shortly after that, they announced that the rooms were now available for guests, and then the buffet really cleared out quickly.
Up to this point, we were lugging around our carry-on suitcase, along with many others who decided to bring their carry-ons along, as well. They do offer a place for you to store your carry-on luggage in the theater, but we saw many people carrying them along as we chose to do.
After we ate lunch, we headed to our room to drop off our carry-on luggage before heading out to explore some of what the ship had to offer. Below, you will find a slideshow of Windjammers buffet.
Pros and Cons of Our First Day Onboard the Mariner of the Seas
I do want to point out that at 7:30 pm on our first day onboard the Mariner of the Seas, we still had not received our luggage. Our stateroom attendant told us that we needed to check with the front desk as to where our luggage was.
I called the front desk and found out that our luggage was sitting down on Deck 1 in security due to an item having to be confiscated. We hopped on the elevator and went down to Deck 1 and had to have our extension cord removed from our luggage. Then we had to sign a paper so we could pick it up again at the end of our cruise.
We thought it would be okay because we had just gotten off a cruise where extension cords were allowed as long as they didn't have a surge protector on them. Well, we learned quickly that Royal Caribbean doesn't allow extension cords of any kind. We'll know better next time.
I just found it odd that we were never contacted at all, and no message was left on our phone in our room to let us know to go to security. I know now if your luggage doesn't arrive by 5:30 pm, then something is wrong and you have to call the front desk.
With no extension cord, I had to plug my small fan into an outlet above the desk area, and then put a chair near the bed to sit the fan on. We just had to remember to step over the cord to get to and from the bathroom from the bed.
Also, if you want ice, you have to ask for it. At least we did. Our stateroom attendant was nice, and she cleaned our room several times a day and turned our bed down at night.
I was surprised that we got no towel animals, no more mints on the pillows, and even though we were past guests, we got nothing. Not even a thank you for being their guest. The cruise line did not make us feel as welcomed as some of the other cruises lines have.
This was not our first time on Royal Caribbean. We've been on many of their other ships, such as Jewel, Majesty, and Navigator, just to name a few. Maybe the crew was still getting adjusted from moving from Asia over here to Miami.
© 2018 Debbie
Liz Westwood from UK on November 12, 2018:
I really enjoyed reading this detailed and well-illustrated article. I look forward to reading more.