Mariner of the Seas has just undergone a multi-million dollar refurbishment as part of Royal Caribbean International’s amplified program. So, the Princess was able to convince me to take a cruise on this newly updated vessel which is now offering 3 and 4-day cruises from Miami, FL. Even though we only had a few days, we spent every moment exploring and testing out all the new features. What did we think of all the changes? Our signature Mariner of the Seas ship scorecard provides honest feedback of the ship in all the important areas like food, entertainment, service, and more.

Mariner of the Seas Ship Scorecard Review

Pool Deck

Met Expectations

On a 3-day cruise, it is all about the sun, relaxation, and enjoying a long weekend. The Pool Deck layout is a bit tight, but the two pools, large whirlpools, and plenty of loungers directly above and on the pool deck are on par with other ships of this size. Compared to other vessels offering similar weekend getaways, this ship’s pool deck was able to handle the passenger demand.

Mariner of the Seas Ship Scorecard Pool Deck

Daily Activities

Met Expectations

On a short cruise, you are usually visiting an island or purposely stay on the ship to avoid the crowds, so the cruise lines don’t plan too many daytime events. The planned events included plenty of trivia and a few other cruise staples like the Belly Flop Contest. During the stop at CocoCay, there were several daytime events and on-island fun that were complimentary. For us, a lounger, some frozen drinks, and background music were all the activities we needed to enjoy our stay.

Sports Deck

Exceeded Expectations

We had some high hopes for the updates to the Sports Deck. Luckily, they lived up to our expectations, and we were very impressed with the new and improved offerings. Compared to other ships in this class, like Adventure of the Seas, the redesigned sports deck is now the main attraction. The two Perfect Storm waterslides and the FlowRider are great alternatives to the pool. The new Sky Pad was also a fun and interactive activity that was well worth the wait, not to mention complimentary. Other add-ons like the new mini-golf course made for plenty of outdoor activities on Mariner of the Seas.

Skypad on Mariner of the Seas

Service

Met Expectations

The staff on this mega-ship provided adequate service. Our stateroom attendant, Sumei, was very friendly and talkative, and definitely a standout when it comes to service. The restaurants and bars seemed a bit understaffed though, with moderate wait times during peak hours. Given that these weekend getaway cruises tend to be a bit more of a party crowd, we would have liked to see more staff. More often than not, we ended up going to the bar ourselves as there was no waitstaff in the lounges.

Sky Lounge on Mariner of the Seas Ship Scorecard

Main Dining Room

Not Applicable

Given the duration of the cruise and the new specialty dining venues, the Princess and I decided to dine in all specialty restaurants on this cruise.

Casual Eats

Met Expectations

The casual dining on Mariner of the Seas was a mixed bag. We liked the quick service snacks at Cafe Promenade, which included morning pastries, pre-made sandwiches, and pizza, along with a few other new additions. The Dog House is a great addition to the ship as well. With that said, the Windjammer buffet on Mariner of the Seas was a bit lackluster. The food selections were redundant, and the food lacked flavor. We were surprised by the less than expected quality and diversity. The venue itself has been modernized and has a nice flow and design aesthetic however.

Dog House on Mariner of the Seas Ship Scorecard Review

Specialty Dining

Met Expectations

With the addition of new specialty dining venues on the ship, we skipped the main dining room on this trip. Our Chops Grille experience was as expected, with professional service and well-prepared food. Jamie’s Italian was a little hit and miss with our menu selections but overall a pleasant experience. Izumi Hibachi Experience is also new to Mariner of the Seas. Having dined at similar venues on competitor cruise lines, the restaurant met our expectations. We also sampled some appetizers at Playmakers, which has an a la carte menu, and we thought the food was worth the additional cost.

Nighttime Activities

Met Expectations

Mariner of the Seas offers your typical nighttime activities including live music, game shows, and parties. There were regular performances by musicians including acoustic pub music, piano music, and Latin-inspired dance music. There were also game shows like the Battle of the Sexes and the Royal Caribbean fan favorite, the Quest. Each night there was also a themed party, including a 70’s and 80’s party and a Red Party. Squeezing everything into 3 nights is difficult, so the Princess and I were forced to stay up past our bedtime!

Mariner of the Seas Ship Scorecard

Entertainment

Did Not Meet Expectations

The one area that did surprisingly disappoint was the main theater entertainment. It just wasn’t very diverse or entertaining. The first show consisted of two comedians, which we had actually already seen on other RCI cruises. The second night was a Police tribute band, and the third show was a second performance by one of the comedians along with a mini production from the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. None of these shows were well attended at all. Even the packed ice show felt like it could have used some technical upgrades, though it was the best show of the cruise by far.

Staterooms

Met Expectations

While Royal Caribbean spent over $120 million to spruce up the ship, they did not do much to the staterooms. The rooms have the same look and feel as other ships in this class and time period. Still, our Spacious Balcony stateroom was clean and had plenty of storage with a typical layout that was easy to navigate. In fact, compared to some balcony rooms on other line’s newer ships, this stateroom was actually more open and spacious.

Bars and Lounges

Met Expectations

Mariner of the Seas features Royal Caribbean favorites including the Schooner Bar, Boleros, and an English Pub. As part of the ship’s refurbishment, two new themed bars were added. The Bamboo Room on the Royal Promenade served up some of our favorite drinks on the ship. Some of the specialty cocktails here do cost an additional $2 over the drink package allotment. Also on the Royal Promenade is the Playmakers Sports Bar. This venue offers a wide beer selection and a handful of signature drinks. While we enjoyed these new venues and drink options, they were somewhat understaffed.

Crowd Control

Met Expectations

Having sailed on Mariner’s sister ship, Adventure of the Seas, we felt Mariner of the Seas did a better job of handling the crowds. Whether it was that the ship was not completely sold-out or that the new venues and activities helped to disperse the crowds more evenly, we never felt that anything was too busy. Of course, there were still waits at peak times but that is to be expected on any ship.

Mariner of the Seas Ship Scorecard Overall Rating

Exceeded Expectations

Overall, the ship met our expectations for a Voyager-class ship. With diverse bars, new dining venues, and amplified onboard activities, Mariner of the Seas delivers a great cruise experience. The fact you can have this mega-ship experience while sailing three and four day Bahamas routes makes the ship a game changer.

Mariner of the Seas in Nassau Bahamas

Compared to other ships across brands that sail these itineraries, Mariner of the Seas exceeded our expectations of what a short cruise can entail. We would certainly recommend this cruise to those looking for a quick getaway. Mariner of the Seas embodies what we have come to expect from the line’s larger ships.

We would certainly take another cruise on this ship given the price point and onboard options. We are already talking about another trip in 2019 once the new Perfect Day CocoCay is finished being built.

Comments

Do you have plans to sail on the newly amplified Mariner of the Seas? What do you think about all the new additions? Drop us an anchor below to share your thoughts on this recently updated ship!

Mariner of the Seas Ship Scorecard 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...

  • Who’s cruising into the weekend on a cruise? We are missing @royalcaribbean #SymphonyoftheSeas and the warm #Miami weather right about now! #WeekendVibes #WeekendGoals #Saturday #SailAway
  • Thanks to @norwegiancruiseline for inviting us to the #NorwegianEncore keel laying ceremony today! It was a privilege to be part of history in the making. We can’t wait for the ship to set sail in November 2019. Among the many innovative features, Norwegian Encore will be home to the Tony Award winning hit Kinky Boots, the largest race track at sea with turns that hang over the edge of the ship, a virtual reality enhanced laser tag arena, the  galaxy pavilion full of virtual reality and immersive experiences, and favorites from Norwegian Bliss including Happy Hour Prohibition and the Ocean Loop waterslide. #CruiseNorwegian
  • The keel laying ceremony for @norwegiancruiseline #NorwegianEncore included a surprise performance by Kinky Boots! This Tony Award winning act will debut as a headliner act on the ship! #CruiseNorwegian
  • I’ve got my hard hat and ready for the keel laying of @norwegiancruiseline #NorwegianEncore! 🎉 #CruiseNorwegian
  • We are thrilled to announce that DB will be at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany tomorrow for the keel laying of @norwegiancruiseline #NorwegianEncore!!! Be sure to follow along with our Instagram stories and stay tuned for the latest reveals on this new ship hitting the seas in Fall 2019. #CruiseNorwegian
  • Another beautiful #sunset at sea! It’s always so hard to go back to reality... 😫 How do you cure post cruise depression...with #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday deals of course! 🤣
  • I’m the “Princess” of the world! #FriYAY #FridayFeeling 👸🏻👑
  • Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue... @royalcaribbean #SymphonyoftheSeas is docked in Nassau, #Bahamas today 🌈 #FridayFeeling #FabulousFriday
  • Sea days are the best days! Don’t you agree? #seastheday #wakeview

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