Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Mariner of the Seas
Ship: 390 out of 500
Accommodation: 141 out of 200
Food: 223 out of 400
Service: 267 out of 400
Entertainment: 74 out of 100
Cruise: 264 out of 400
Overall Score: 1359 out of 2000
Mariner of the Seas Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9227510
Builder: Kvaerner Masa-Yards (Finland)
Original Cost: $500 million
Entered Service: Nov 2004
Registry: The Bahamas
Length (ft/m): 1,020.6/311.1
Beam (ft/m): 155.5/47.4
Draft (ft/m): 28.8/8.8
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (75,600kW)/3 pods (2 azimuthing, 1 fixed)
Passenger Decks: 14
Total Crew: 1,185
Passengers (lower beds): 3,114
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 44.0
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.6
Cabins (total): 1,557
Size Range (sq ft/m): 151.0-1,358.0/14.0-126.1
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 765
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 26
Wheelchair accessibility: Best
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 3
Hot Tubs (on deck): 6
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
This large resort ship is for family-friendly casual cruising
Overview. This ship dwarfs most other cruise ships in size, but not in terms of personal service unless you happen to reside in a top suite. Royal Caribbean International (RCI) tries to provide a good standard of programmed service from its hotel service staff.
The Ship. Mariner of the Seas is a stunning, large, floating leisure resort. It has a healthy passenger/space ratio and extensive facilities such as a regulation-size ice-skating rink.
A four-deck-high Royal Promenade, 394ft (120m) long and the main interior focal point, is a good place to hang out or to arrange to meet someone. It has two internal lobbies that rise through 11 decks. Casual eateries, shops, and entertainment locations front this winding street and interior ‘with-view’ cabins look into it from above. The guest reception and shore excursion counters are located at the aft end of the promenade, as is an ATM machine.
Arched across the promenade is a captain’s balcony. A stairway in the center of the promenade connects you to the deck below, where you’ll find Schooner Bar and the colorful Casino Royale. Several shops line the Royal Promenade, including a jewelry store, gift shop, and liquor store.
There is a regulation-size ice-skating rink (Studio B), with real ice, and stadium-style seating for up to 900, plus high-tech broadcast facilities. Ice Follies shows are also presented here. Slim pillars obstruct clear-view arena stage sightlines, however. You can also read in the two-deck library, open 24 hours a day.
Drinking places include an intimate Champagne Bar, Wig & Gavel Pub, a Sidewalk Café, Sprinkles, a sports bar, and a Connoisseur Club. Jazz fans might like the intimate Jazz Club. Golfers might also enjoy the 19th Hole, a golf bar, as they play the Explorer Links.
A TV studio is adjacent to rooms useable for trade show exhibit space, with a 400-seat conference center and a multimedia screening room seating 60. You can tie the knot in the Skylight Chapel, which has wheelchair access via an electric stairlift.
Passenger niggles: cabin bath towels and noisy (vacuum) toilets; few quiet places to sit and read - almost everywhere there is intrusive background music. If you have a cabin with an interconnecting door to another cabin, you’ll be able to hear everything they do.
Families. Facilities for children and teenagers are quite extensive. Aquanauts is for 3-5-year-olds; Explorers (6-8); Voyagers (9-12). Optix is a dedicated area for teenagers, including a daytime club with computers, soda bar, disco with disc jockey and dance floor. Challenger’s Arcade has the latest video games. Paint and Clay is an arts and crafts center for younger children. Adjacent to these indoor areas is Adventure Beach.
Accommodation. There is a wide range of cabin price grades, in four major groupings. Premium ocean-view suites and cabins, interior (atrium-view) cabins, ocean-view cabins, and interior cabins. Many cabins are of a similar size and 300 have interconnecting doors.
Some 138 interior cabins have bay windows that look into an interior horizontal atrium. Regardless of what cabin grade you choose, all except for the Royal Suite and Owner’s Suite have twin beds that convert to a queen-size unit, TV set, radio and telephone, personal safe, vanity unit, hairdryer, and private bathroom. However, you’ll need to keep the curtains closed in the bay windows, because you can be seen easily from adjacent bay windows.
Royal Suite (Deck 10). At around 1,146 sq ft (107 sq m), the Royal Suite is the largest private living space, located almost at the top of the Centrum lobby on the port side. It has a king-size circular bed in a separate large bedroom that can be closed off; a living room with an additional queen-size sofa bed, baby grand piano, refrigerator/wet bar, dining table and four chairs, expansive entertainment center, and a reasonably large bathroom.
Royal Family Suites. The four Royal Family Suites (two aft on Deck 9, two aft on Deck 8, each measuring around 574 sq ft/53 sq m) have two separate bedrooms. The main bedroom has a large vanity desk; the second, smaller bedroom also includes two beds and third/fourth upper Pullman berths. There’s a lounge with dining table and four chairs, wet bar, walk-in closet; and large bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, washbasin, and separate shower enclosure. The suites, at the stern, have large balconies with views out over the ship’s wash.
Owner’s Suites. Ten slightly smaller but desirable Owner’s Suites (around 468 sq ft/43 sq m) are in the center of the ship, on both port and starboard sides, adjacent to the Centrum lobby on Deck 10. Each has a bedroom with queen-size bed or twin beds; lounge with large sofa; wet bar; bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, washbasin and separate shower enclosure. There’s also a private balcony, although it’s not very large.
Standard outside-view and interior cabins. All cabins have a private bathroom, as well as interactive TV and pay-per-view movies, including an X-rated channel. Cabin bathrooms really are compact, but at least they have a proper shower enclosure instead of a shower curtain.
Some accommodation grades have a refrigerator/minibar, although there is no space left because it is crammed with ‘take-and-pay’ items. If you take anything from the minibar/refrigerator on the day of embarkation in Miami, Florida, sales tax will be added to your bill.
Cabins with ‘private balconies’ aren’t so private. The balcony decking is made of Bolidt - a sort of rubberized sand - and not wood, though the balcony rail is of wood. Cabin bath towels are small and skimpy. Room service food menus are very basic.
Dining. The main dining room, with a seating capacity of 1,919, is set on three levels: Rhapsody in Blue, Top Hat and Tails, and Sound of Music, all offering exactly the same menus and food. A dramatic staircase connects all three levels, and huge, fat support pillars obstruct the sight lines from many seats. When you book, choose one of two seatings, or ‘My Time Dining’. Tables are for four, six, eight, 10, or 12. The place settings, porcelain, and cutlery are of good quality.
Other dining options. Alternative dining options for casual and informal meals at all hours (according to company releases) include: Promenade Café: for Continental breakfast, all-day pizzas, and speciality coffees - which are only available in paper cups. Windjammer Café: this is a really large, sprawling venue for casual buffet-style, self-help breakfast (this tends to be the busiest time of the day), lunch, and light dinners (but not on the last night of the cruise); it’s often difficult to find a table and by the time you do your food could be cold. Island Grill: (actually this is a section within the Windjammer Café), for casual grilled meat and seafood items (no reservations necessary) featuring a grill and open kitchen. Portofino: the ship’s upscale Italian restaurant, open for dinner only. Reservations are required, and there’s a gratuity per person. The food and its presentation are better than the food in the dining room. The menu does not change throughout the cruise. Johnny Rockets, a retro 1950s eatery, has hamburgers, malt shakes (at extra cost), and jukebox hits, with both indoor and outdoor seating. Sprinkles, located on the Royal Promenade, is for round-the-clock ice cream and yogurt, pastries, and coffee.
Entertainment. The 1,350-seat Savoy Showlounge is a stunning room that could well be the equal of many showrooms on land. It has a hydraulic orchestra pit and a huge stage area, and superb lighting equipment. Mariner of the Seas also has an array of cabaret acts. The best shows of all are the Ice Spectaculars. Note that RCI’s entertainment is always upbeat. There is even background music in all corridors and elevators, and constant music outdoors on the pool deck.
Spa/Fitness. The Vitality at Sea Spa is reasonably large, and measures 15,000 sq ft (1,400 sq m). It includes an aerobics room, fitness center, treatment rooms, and sauna/steam rooms. Another 10,000 sq ft (930 sq m) of space is devoted to a Solarium (with sliding glass-dome roof) to relax in.
On the back of the funnel is a 32.8ft (10m) rock-climbing wall, with five climbing tracks. It gives you a great buzz being 200ft (60m) above the ocean while the ship is moving. Other facilities include a roller-blading track, a full-size basketball court, and a nine-hole, par 26 golf course. A dive-and-snorkel shop provides equipment for rental, and diving classes.