Mariner of the Seas Bahamas Cruise Review

07/27/2018 – 07/30/2018

Summary:

The Ship

Mariner of the Seas, a member of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager-class of ships, first set sail in 2003. At the time, the ship was one of the largest in the world at over 138K gross tons. Similar to other ships in this class, Mariner of the Seas features a large indoor Royal Promenade lined with bars and shops as well as several outdoor pools and a sports deck. However, the ship just underwent a $120 million refurbishment as part of the company’s Royal Amplified program. Part of the reason that we decided to sneak away for a few days was to check out the recent changes and additions that were made during the dry dock.

Mariner of the Seas is Best Short Cruise

The ship shines with many brand new venues and more modern decor. We particularly loved the enhancements to the outdoor facilities, as well as the new bars and dining establishments. While the public areas have been modernized receiving touches of other classes of ships, like the Quantum-class and Oasis-class, the one big area that was not renovated are the staterooms.

Itinerary

This 3-day Bahamas cruise was a pretty typical itinerary for Royal Caribbean. The weekend getaway included stops at the line’s private island of CocoCay, Bahamas and Nassau, Bahamas. CocoCay is also undergoing a massive renovation with a brand new pier opening later this year and a whole new island retreat including a water park, dining and entertainment venues, and over-water bungalows that is set to open in May 2019. During our visit, we scored some beautiful weather and snagged an ideal beach lounger right next to the new Beach Party area near Coconut Willies. Given all that there was to do on the ship, we decided to stay onboard during our stop in Nassau to enjoy the new amenities including the waterslides, the Sky Pad, and Playmakers Lounge.

Mariner of the Seas 3 Day Bahamas Cruise itinerary

Highlight

With the new additions to the ship, this is one vessel you might not want to leave. While short cruises often occur on older, not so well-appointed ships, Mariner of the Seas breaks the mold. We were able to test out almost everything during our trip and loved all the additions. The Sky Pad is a fun, interactive VR experience that is unlike anything else you will find on a cruise ship. The addition of the Perfect Storm waterslides and a FlowRider are also great for those looking for some water-related fun while aboard. The new restaurants and bars were also hits, especially the Bamboo Room and the Izumi Hibachi experience. If you are comparing ships for a short cruise, Mariner has to be at the top of the list.

What’s Missing

As Royal Caribbean Diamond cruisers, we have a certain expectation when it comes to main theater entertainment. Surprisingly, we were disappointed in Mariner of the Seas’ lineup. If there was one lacking area on a ship of this caliber, it was definitely the evening shows in the Royal Theater. The shows consisted of two comedians and a Police cover band. The last night’s show included a short portion with the ship’s singers and dancers and a repeat of one comedian. This production portion felt extremely dated with some pretty ridiculous costumes and redundant 70’s music.

Ice Under the Big Top Mariner of the Seas

Even the ship’s ice show, which was the best choice by far, felt like it could use some sprucing up. Granted, the shows were poorly attended, so it is unclear whether the main focus for these cruises is the other venues and onboard nightlife. Still, we expected more from the entertainment on this ship, even when compared to sailings on other ships doing three-day Bahamas cruises.

Main Takeaway

For cruisers considering a short Bahamas cruise, Mariner of the Seas should top your list. We would certainly recommend this cruise to anyone looking for a short getaway. The ship itself offers plenty to do and various options for dining and nightlife. The onboard activities are great for families and couples alike. While many cruise lines offer short cruises, none have a ship with the variety of amenities departing from southern Florida that will match the options found on Mariner of the Seas.

Perfect Storm on Mariner of the Seas

While we were sailing in July, which is rare for us, it did feel like this ship had more families than the other short cruises we have sailed on in the past. Although, the crowds were minimal, and we felt that the ship handled the passenger flow well. It would have been great if some venues had more staff though, especially during peak times.

With plenty of casual options, as well as both traditional and “My Time” dining, Mariner of the Seas will appeal to cruise traditionalists as well as cruisers looking for a less structured trip. With a solid itinerary, plenty of onboard activities, and Royal Caribbean favorites like the Quest, this cruise might just be what you need as a short getaway to fill the void between your longer cruises.

Read our detailed, day by day Mariner of the Seas Bahamas Cruise Review…

Mariner of the Seas Bahamas Cruise Review 2018

Day 1

Weekend Like You Mean It

Squeezing in this three-day cruise was not my idea at all. I chalk this one up entirely to the Princess who couldn’t go three whole months between cruises. Being able to maneuver this long weekend cruise between our work schedules and other obligations was not the easiest, but we somehow managed.

Taking the last flight out of Providence, RI on Thursday, we stayed in Miami, FL the night before at the Double Tree which is a couple of miles from the port. Up early to do some work and attend a virtual meeting on Friday morning, we were out of the hotel a bit after 10 am. Our requested Uber ride was at the hotel within 2 minutes, and we were off on the less than 10-minute ride to Terminal G, the current home of Mariner of the Seas.

Getting dropped off at the pier, we left our bags with a porter and headed towards the main terminal building. The crowds seemed light, and the security and check-in process took all of 10 minutes. We were then seated in a section reserved for Diamond (and above) and suite guests.

After about 20-ish minutes, an RCI representative came over to say we would be boarding in 5 minutes. This gave us ample time to rearrange our carry-ons, grab our camera, and get ready to be amplified. By 11 am, we were called to embark and were among some of the first cruisers onboard the Mariner of the Seas.

Time to Take a Ship Tour

Boarding on deck 4, we started our usual embarkation day ritual, heading up to the top of the ship to take pictures. This meant grabbing the aft elevators and going to Deck 12. Here, we were able to snap photos of the pool area, outdoor bars, and other venues before the rest of the cruisers began to infiltrate the ship.

Mariner of the Seas Pool Deck

We then climbed an additional flight of stairs to the new and improved sports deck on deck 13. Here, there are new hammocks, swings, the Sky Pad, the Perfect Storm waterslides, and the FlowRider. These would certainly be popular attractions during the trip, so we wanted to make sure that we were able to get photos of all these new facilities sans people.

We continued to work our way down visiting other locations, including the adult’s only Solarium, the Spa, and Fitness Center. As we began to head inside towards the main decks, more and more cruisers were beginning to fill the public areas.

Solarium on Mariner of the Seas

We toured the whole ship, grabbing photos when we could, until 12:45 pm. This included a stop in Studio B to preview the laser tag course. Unfortunately, laser tag was one of the only new activities that we were not able to accomplish during our three days. Oh well, we will just have to book another cruise.

Finishing up near the Royal Promenade, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat at Cafe Promenade. There is no way that we ever venture into the Windjammer Buffet on embarkation day!

Cafe Promenade Lunch Selections on Mariner of the Seas

After our quick snack of a few sandwiches and some pizza, the announcement was made right around 1 pm that the rooms were ready. It was time to see how “spacious” our balcony room truly was on this ship!

Getting The Cruise Officially Started

For this cruise, we redeemed our Cruise Reward points for a “free cruise”. With the credit and availability, we opted for a guaranteed balcony room. A few days after our booking, we learned that we were assigned to cabin 1362, a Spacious Balcony room towards the aft of the ship.

We were impressed with the cabin’s size and dimensions. There was plenty of storage and room to maneuver during our trip. Compared to some balcony rooms on newer ships across brands, we felt this room was larger and better appointed.

Cabin on Mariner of the Seas

One thing that was a tad bit disappointing is that the rooms were obviously not updated during the dry dock. They still had the dated Royal Caribbean color palette and decor. While the room was in surprisingly good condition still, some modern additions like USB outlets near the bed would have been nice during the refurbishment.

Settling into the room, we didn’t see our bags outside just yet, but upon a second look, our suitcases magically arrived. So, we were able to unpack and check some work emails before we officially started this cruise. Around 2:15 pm, it was time for some sun and drinks!

Back up to the outdoor decks, they were definitely busier now. The band was playing some Caribbean-themed music, and lines were starting to form at the bars. Sending the Princess to secure one of the outdoor loveseats near the Sky Lounge, I ordered our first official drinks of the cruise, an Ultimate Mai Tai and a Sexy Ocean.

Making a few calls and doing some people watching, we enjoyed the outdoors for about 45 minutes. With muster approaching at 4 pm, we needed a break from the sun and some more beverages. Almost on cue, we both suggested the new Bamboo Room. Located on Deck 5 in the Promenade, this venue offers some great Polynesian-inspired cocktails.

To our surprise, this bar was not very busy. Ordering specialty cocktails off the menu (that were $2 over the Ultimate Drink Package allotment), we enjoyed these signature beverages in this newly themed and well air-conditioned venue until 3:45 pm when the bar closed for muster.

Inside Bamboo Room

Sailing Away for the Weekend

Mariner of the Seas is an older vessel which meant the muster drill was outdoors on Deck 5. Given our room location, we were the last muster station (25) on the starboard side of the ship. Compared to other musters, this one felt very unorganized and only lasted about 5 minutes.

We then headed inside to get a round of iced lattes. These short cruises pack a lot into each day and night, so we were going to need to stay awake. Reviewing the Compass, we knew there were events this evening that would keep us up beyond midnight, which is quite past our normal bedtime!

Port of Miami Sailway

Getting our coffees and stopping back by the room, we were outside at 4:45 pm to see we were already halfway out of the port. Wow, we didn’t even feel the ship moving and couldn’t even get many shots of sail away.

Dinner and Some Shows

Dinner tonight was at Chops Grille for 6:30 pm. Showering and changing up, we were ready around 6:15 pm. Chops Grille is located in front of the Windjammer, which was only a one deck walk up from our room.

Pre-cruise, we made the decision to eat at all 3 specialty restaurants. It was difficult getting reservations for Chops on the other two nights, so we made this our first restaurant. Honestly, we have only dined at the line’s signature steakhouse once before on Oasis of the Seas.

Our server was attentive and friendly, and the food was delicious. My filet was cooked as ordered, and the side dishes were well executed. Of course, the Princess went with the only chicken dish on the menu. The warm chocolate cake with ice cream was just the perfect ending to my meal. This dessert also caught the attention of the cruisers seated next to us.

If you know me, then it shouldn’t surprise you that I started a conversation with these obviously seasoned cruisers. We would find out that one of them was a Pinnacle cruiser and the other one a Diamond-Plus cruiser, working on hitting the Pinnacle status. It turns out, we would run into them several times throughout the cruise, especially at the specialty dining restaurants.

Wrapping up dinner by 8 pm, we had just enough time to get down to the Royal Theater for the 8:15 pm show. This was cutting it close for us, so we were hoping we could find a seat. Well, we were shocked to find the theater rather empty. This was perhaps the weakest attendance for a first night show that we have ever seen!

The show featured two comedians, which we thought was odd. There was no Welcome Aboard number from the singers and dancers which is almost always the case. For us, it was doubly disappointing, as we had already seen both comedians on previous RCI trips.

We were out of the theater by 9 pm with the rest of the evening ahead of us.

Continuing Our Bar Crawl

It is customary for the two of us to make the rounds on every cruise to grab at least one signature cocktail from all of the themed bars and lounges on the ship. During the day, we checked off two on our list, so with about two hours before the evening’s themed party in the Promenade, we had plenty more venues to visit.

First off, mostly due to location, was the Schooner Bar. The Schooner Bar also has some of our favorite cocktails found in the fleet. Scoring some seats in the corner of the venue, a waiter came over to take our order just as I was heading towards the bar. I went with a properly made Sidecar, and the Princess ordered her favorite Lavender Daiquiri.

Drinks at Schooner Bar on Mariner of the Seas

Around 9:30 pm, the piano player began his set. He started strong with some modern songs, as well as Elton John and Billy Joel. Singing along for about 30 minutes, our drinks were done and it was time for some Karaoke. No, not to sing!

This took us up to the Viking Crown area of the ship, Ellington’s. A decent crowd was already at the venue, so our seats did not offer the greatest vantage point for viewing the brave souls willing to sing.

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review

This bar serves the standard RCI menu, so I went with a Pirate Iced Tea and the Princess a Purple Dream. The singers who dared to take the mic during the 30 minutes we watched the show were average with song choices ranging from ABBA to Bon Jovi and Bell Biv Devoe. Yup, quite the eclectic mix.

Ditching the singers, and my drink which was not well made, we left in search of a good viewing point on the Promenade. Luck was on our side again as we got seats outside the English pub, the Barnacle and Barrel. This gave me the opportunity to grab an IPA while waiting for the 70’s party.

Barcnacle and Barrel on Mariner of the Seas

Two Royal Caribbean singers took to the catwalk stage across the Promenade around 10:45 pm to sing some of the tried and true 70’s songs you hear every cruise. At 11 pm, the Cruise Director and his staff put on the typical dance routine to hits of the era dressed in over the top 70’s outfits. The show lasted about 30 minutes complete with a performance by the Village People. While it is a bit repetitive for frequent cruisers, we are those people that try to attend everything we can while on a trip.

70s Disco Party on Mariner of the Seas

New to our experiences on Royal Caribbean was the planned midnight balloon drop. Wanting to stay up for this countdown, we gave up our seats to shop around a bit. The newly updated shops looked pretty, but they were light on souvenirs and t-shirts. We were able to get a ship ornament for our holiday tree, but that was about it.

Back on the promenade, it was getting close to the balloon drop. Then, there was a New Year’s Eve style countdown to the big reveal….balloons dropping.

It was a bit anti-climatic, but it did signal we were ready to “weekend like we mean it.” Before retiring for the evening, we grabbed some bottled waters for our room before officially getting to bed around 12:30 am.

Balloon Drop

Sadly, we did not get to meet our stateroom attendant earlier in the day, so we arrived back in the room with no towel animal to greet us. Tomorrow’s call into CocoCay, Bahamas had us arriving at 7 am, with tenders expected to start at 8 am.

Wanting to be among the first off the ship, the alarm was set for 6 am per Princess protocol, which is earlier than I wake up most mornings for work!

Continue Reading Day 2

Mariner of the Seas Bahamas Cruise Review 2018

Day 2

Among the First Off the Ship

As our trips go, there is not much time to sleep. For this morning, it meant our alarm was set for 6 am. Hitting the snooze a few times, we wrestled ourselves out of bed for 6:30 am. I went to grab us some lattes and to take pictures of the Promenade as the Princess went through her morning routine.

The good thing about being up early is that you can snap pictures of the normally busy inside venues with no one around. There were a few other cruisers getting their morning coffees and breakfast pastries, so I was not completely alone.

Royal Promenade Mariner of the Seas

I grabbed us a few danishes and breakfast sandwiches from Cafe Promenade as well to go along with our lattes. The bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches were something we haven’t seen offered before but were a great addition to the usual donuts and pastries.

Back at the room, we noticed a few clouds and light rain showers near the island. While this rain gave us some concern that the day would be a washout, the showers resulted in the formation of some vibrant rainbows.

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review

An announcement was made that tenders would start running around 8 am. All packed up and ready to go, I headed upstairs to get towels, a few bottles of water, and some ice for our Yeti. In hindsight, we could have grabbed towels at the gangway as they had a station right near the exit.

Back in the room to collect the Princess, we were on our way downstairs before 8:15 am. Following the signs all the way down to Deck 1, we were checked out and on the tender with very few other passengers. Odds are that this was probably the second tender to the island. Still, we were among the few passengers making their way to the island at this early hour.

The tender waited about 15 minutes before departing for the less than 10-minute voyage. Along the way, we could see ample progress on the pier since our last stop in September of last year.

CocoCay Pier

However, we could not see much construction for the new waterpark and other areas that are slated to open in May 2019. Either way, we are planning a trip to check out all the additions to Perfect Day CocoCay once complete.

The Perfect Beach Day on CocoCay

Landing on CocoCay before 9 am, we snapped a few pics of the ship from the island and proceeded on our normal trek to the South Beach area to stake out some loungers.

Walking along the beach, we noticed a few enhancements and new signage. By now, the weather outside had improved. It was bright and sunny with a light breeze. That is a first for us, as the island has been very hot with little wind on previous visits.

Finding loungers that were in partial shade, we ended up a short walk from Coconut Willies Bar and the central location for the CocoCay Beach Party that starts around noon. With some light music in the background and the gentle breeze, it really was the perfect beach day. Even the Princess was able to tolerate the weather.

During our three hours, we ordered a few Coco Locos from the bar of course. We also tested out some of the new snack options in the nearby vendor area. These included funnel cake, snow cones, and freshly sliced watermelon. These were a new addition and were a nice touch for those not wanting to walk down to the buffet area.

By 12:30 pm, we decided to pack up our gear and start the trek back to the tender station. Along the way, we took a quick pass through the buffet to see if anything had changed. For the most part, it looked the same.

We also took a quick peek at the Straw Market. With nothing grabbing our attention, it was a quick in and out then through security to the waiting tender by 1:15 pm.

An Afternoon Back on the Ship

Back on the ship by 1:30 pm, we made a pit stop at our room to drop off our beach bag. Wanting to grab something to eat, we first tried Playmakers, which was stated to open at 11 am. While the bar was open, the venue did not start serving food until 3 pm on port days.

Up to the Windjammer, we were both disappointed in the selections. The food lacked variety and did not look all that appealing. Instead, I went to grab a smokehouse dog from the Dog House, while the Princess snacked on a few fries.

Now, it was time to test out the improved mini-golf course in the front of the ship. This 9-hole course had some nice elements and was fun to play. While we did keep score, we don’t need to say who won. I think it’s safe to say that this activity does not get much traction due to its location in the front of the ship on Deck 13.

Mini-Gold Mariner of the Seas

Needing some air conditioning and energy at this point, we agreed to get some iced lattes from Cafe Promenade. While I waited in line to get our much-needed caffeine, the Princess grabbed a few slices of pizza. To me, the pizza here is not edible, but if she likes it that is all that matters given the options for lunch.

Taking our coffees back to our room, we finally ran into our room attendant, Sumei. She was a young Chinese woman who was extremely nice and chatty. Settled back into our room, we did some social media and blogging while we slowly got ready for our 6 pm dinner at Jamie’s Italian.

Entrance to Jamies Italian on Mariner of the Seas

Dinner and an Ice Show

Tonight was the cruise line’s new ‘Wear Your Best’ night, which replaces the Formal Night that is typically on Night 2. About half the ship did appear to be wearing slightly dressier attire, with plenty of khakis and dress shirts and women in dresses. There were a few sports coats and the occasional suit, but those were few and far between.

Even though we were to Jamie’s Italian right on time for our reservation, I took a few minutes to survey the buffet and get some pictures of tonight’s Mexican theme. The selections looked almost identical to the night before with one area having a make your own tacos and a giant plate of nachos.

Windjammer_Nachos

Jamie’s was rather quiet when we arrived, but the crowd did pick up a bit later. Our Pinnacle friends from the night before showed up about 30 minutes after us, as did some other couples we recognized from Chops the night before.

Dinner included a variety of starters and two pasta dishes. The food here was a little hit or miss. The Plank did not really wow us this time. My lasagna was also just a step above the main dining room. The Princess’ Penne Carbonara was definitely the better of the two pasta dishes. The dessert did save my meal, as my cheesecake was the best dessert I had all cruise. And, the shots of limoncello were a nice way to finish off the meal.

Completing dinner by 7:45 pm, we had plans to go to the 8:30 pm ice show. With doors opening right around 8 o’clock, there was already a sizable line waiting when we arrived.

With our seats secured, I grabbed us some standard drinks from the bar. The ice show on Mariner of the Seas is called Ice Under the Big Top. It is a circus themed production, which we thought would be fun but was rather underwhelming. All of the skaters were talented, but the show’s concept, staging, and visual effects could have used an upgrade.

More Evening Entertainment

The 45-minute show ended in just enough time for us to get up to the Star Lounge for the Rock-a-rokie show where cruisers sing along with a live band. As we were entering, we caught the last challenge in the Battle of the Sexes show, which was very well attended.

We watched a few singers, most of whom were able to sing along with the band quite well, for the next 30 minutes before deciding to head up to the main theater for the headliner show, a Police tribute band. To our surprise, the theater was even emptier than it was the night before!

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review

Neither one of us are huge Police fans, but we wanted to check out the show anyway. Overall, the musicians were good and the lead singer had a voice that sounded a lot like Sting, but they really didn’t have much stage presence.

With two shows over, and the night’s Red Party starting at midnight, we decided to check another bar off our drink around the ship in the meantime.

This stop was the Latin-inspired Boleros. Located on Deck 4, this area is a little congested as the new Starbucks now takes up some of the seating space. A rather busy bar and no waitstaff meant that I had to wait at the bar to get our drinks. The venue was also out of a few key ingredients for drinks on the menu, so I ended up getting a Caipirinha and the Princess a Mango and Melon Margarita.

Boleros on Mariner of the Seas

During our time at the bar, we caught a glimpse of the stowaway piano player in one of the atrium elevators. We were tempted to stand by the waiting area to grab a photo the next time the elevator opened but agreed it would be awkward, so we didn’t.

By midnight, we were ready to check out the Red Party. This party is held in Studio B and is an 18+ event. With security scanning cards at the door, it had a club feel to it. The dance floor was already rather crowded with other cruisers enjoying the party by the time we arrived.

Compared to our experience on Harmony of the Seas, this party lacked some theming. Besides the red lights, this was no different than the late night disco held in Ellington’s.

Neither one of us dance, so don’t ask me why we went to a dance party, but we stayed until 12:45 am to enjoy the music then called it a night. Back up to our room, Sumei had come through this evening with a towel animal.

Continue Reading Day 3

Mariner of the Seas Bahamas Cruise Review 2018

Day 3

Somehow the Cruise Compass is Wrong

On a short cruise, the last day of the trip comes rather quickly. Today was our stop in Nassau, Bahamas. This is one port where we rarely leave the ship now. We made the decision to stay onboard today to check off a few of our remaining to-dos. At least that was the plan.

The ship was due to dock at 8 am, so we slept in until 7:15 am. The Princess wanted to do breakfast in the main dining room this morning. According to the Compass, this was open until 10 am.

Main Dining Room on Mariner of the Seas

Getting iced lattes and water for the day, along with a few pictures of course, we were showered and ready to go by 9:15 am. Down to Deck 3, there was no line at the MDR, and we were escorted to a tight table of 2 right next to a service station.

Our wait staff was prompt and came over with some coffee and breakfast pastries. The waiter himself was busy with the surrounding tables, so he had the assistant waitress take our order. Even though the dining room was busy, our food came out rather quickly. My express breakfast was the norm, but the Princess raved about her Banana Pancakes. She ate them so quickly that I wasn’t even able to sample them! The entire breakfast took only slightly over 30 minutes.

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review

As we left, we did note the long line of passengers trying to get into the dining room before the doors shut at 10 am. At least we were ahead of them.

The Compass also indicated there would be Laser Tag in the morning, but this did not seem right given that there was also a planned ice show in the afternoon. We walked over to Studio B to check it out and indeed, we were correct- the laser tag course was not set up. Oh well, we will have to book another cruise on Mariner of the Seas to test out the laser tag.

Laser Tag Course on Mariner of the Seas

Since the waterslides were not set to open until 12 pm according to the Compass, we decided to get off the ship to take some pictures. Back in our room, we had an issue with the safe so were not able to access our photo ids. After a few phone calls and notifying our stateroom attendant of the issue, it took about 20 minutes to have someone reset the safe so we could retrieve our belongings.

We were off the ship by 11 am. Next to us was the Norwegian Sky, which also departed Miami, FL on Friday for a three-day cruise. Harmony of the Seas was also there, having left on Saturday for a 7-night cruise.

Harmony of the Seas in Nassaua Bahamas

With these other ships in port, we spent about 30 minutes walking around the pier taking pictures the headed back on the ship. The plan was to do the waterslides at noon when they opened. With some time to kill, the Princess challenged me to a rematch at the mini-golf course. Somehow, I got better and she got worse over the span of 24 hours.

Perfect Storm on Mariner of the Seas

Approaching noon, I went to change into my bathing suit for the waterslides. Arriving around 12:10 pm, it was apparent that the slides were closed. When I asked a nearby staff member, she curtly said they are closed every day from noon to 2 pm. This was now the second time today that the Compass was inaccurate. We essentially wasted time and accomplished little as a result.

An Afternoon Filled with Food and Drinks

Now, we had to wait until 2:30 pm for the Sky Pad to open. We found some shaded seats and ordered our first drinks of the day. Given the heat, it was certainly appropriate for some frozen cocktails. I went with a Pina Colada and the Princess a Miami Vice. Going over our social media updates, along with some people watching and a frozen yogurt, we killed about 90 minutes.

Frozen Drinks on Mariner of the Seas

As it was approaching 2 pm, we both had the smart idea to head towards the Sky Pad and waterslides to assess the situation. Our inclinations were correct, as a few other cruisers were also hovering around the area. Once the cruise staff began setting up the check-in station for the Sky Pad, I made sure to be the first one in line.

Of course, the Princess was enjoying her swing while I stood in line. A queue quickly formed behind me. By 2:30 pm, there was easily a 45 minute wait.

At check in, you are weighed in and given a wristband with a set of numbers that allows the staff to appropriately calibrate the bungee experience for you.

It felt a little disorganized as we did not receive any instructions or information from anyone on what to expect. Getting strapped in first, the staff member asked if I wanted to play a game, which meant the VR experience apparently. I picked the space-themed game, but again, I had no idea what to do or how the game worked. The Princess went after me and played the Candy Crush inspired version but also felt like she was jumping around without any real clue about the object of the game.

The Sky Pad ended up being a very fun and vigorous experience. You can get some serious air with these trampolines. It does take a minute to get accustomed to the VR headset, but once you do, it is an out of this world experience. The entire session lasts about 3-4 minutes. If you have any vestibular issues, the VR headsets might induce some not so pleasant feelings.

All of this working out had made us hungry. With the Playmakers Sports Bar starting to serve food at 3 pm, it was the perfect time for another round of drinks and some food.

Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade on Mariner of the Seas

There were already a few groups of people in the pub by the time we got down to Deck 5 in the Royal Promenade. After waiting a few minutes with no waitstaff to be found, I ended up going to the bar in an attempt to place our order. A bar server said he would bring our drinks over and take our food order at that time. Closing in on dinner time, we decided to order only a few apps. We went with the nachos and a dozen of the buffalo chicken wings.

The wait for the food was not bad, and the chicken wings were definitely straight out of the oven. Our nachos on the other hand were just lukewarm.

Overall, the food was worth it, and we plan to give the restaurant another try on our Symphony of the Seas cruise later this year. By now, it was approaching 4 pm, so we grabbed a few iced lattes and went back to the room for our usual pre-dinner routines.

Dinner and Our Final Evening Onboard

Tonight’s dinner was at Izumi Hibachi at 6 pm. This experience is similar to other Japanese steakhouses. Having dined at these restaurants before both on land and at sea, we had a reasonable expectation.

The server was attentive, explaining the concept and checking in during the dinner and show. Our chef was also friendly, making some of the same jokes and songs we are accustomed to from previous dining experiences. Our tablemates were not very talkative or engaging however.

Chef at Hibachi Experience on Mariner of the Seas

Overall, the food and show were worth the additional costs. I especially liked that they served lobster (unlike NCL). The entire dining experience lasted about an hour and 45 minutes.

Finishing up, we made a quick pit stop in the casino so the Princess could lose some of my money. It only took about 15 minutes for her to lose all the money, so then we headed over to the 8:15 pm show.

The final show featured one of the same comedians from the first night, along with select singing and dancing numbers from the ship’s production cast. For a final evening show, it was very disjointed and felt dated. Entertainment remains, in our opinion, one of the big misses of this ship.

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Over by 9 pm, we wanted to hit a few remaining bars. First on the list was Bamboo Room where we ordered a few more of the specialty drinks. Enjoying these drinks for about an hour, we then grabbed a promenade table at the English pub. Another round of drinks, and we also had an ideal vantage point for the 80’s party which started at 11 pm.

This show lasted about 35 minutes and featured plenty of classic 80’s songs from rap, to pop, to rock, along with the cruise director staff and some “special guests”. Being children of this decade, we definitely prefer this party and music over the outdated 70’s party.

Awesome 80s Party on Mariner of the Seas

With the show over at 11:35 pm, we debated going to the late-night comedy but decided to walk the outside decks to see the ship light up at night instead. Taking a tour of the area, we were back to our room around midnight. Here was our second and final towel animal of the cruise with a sad face reminding us that tomorrow was disembarkation.

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review

Luckily, everything went smoothly during disembarkation the following morning with the entire process taking about 30 minutes. I wish we could say the same for our flight that ended up being delayed over 2.5 hours after we had already boarded! Eventually, we made our way home, and we were back to reality and preparing for a day back to work on Tuesday.

Good thing we have another cruise in less than a month to keep us on track.

Comments

Have you taken a short Bahamas getaway on Mariner of the Seas yet? What do you think about all of the new additions to the ship? Drop us an anchor below to share your Royal Caribbean cruise review.

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review

About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard! We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind EatSleepCruise.com. We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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