November 2013 - Mariner of the Seas to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)
My cousing and I sailed on the "Spice of Asia" cruise in November. It was our first cruise and we were a little apprehensive because my cousin suffers from travel sickness. However, this cruise was perfect in every way. It sailed so smoothly that we sometimes had to look outside to see whether we were, in fact moving. Our cabin was spacious enough for the two of us and my fear that it might be noisy was unfounded. We were on Deck Two, in an outside cabin with a porthole, and we couldn't have been happier. The bathroom was small, yet big enough for us. However, I'm not sure how large people would fare.
The staff on the cruise is professional, charming and helpful. On returning to the ship after shore excursions, we felt as though we were returning "home", such was our feeling of comfort and safety.
The ship offers so many activities that it was impossible to try everything. We loved the variety shows and were impressed by their professionalism. In fact, we enjoyed our time on the ship more than we did the shore excursions, and if we ever had the opportunity, we'd take this cruise again and not participate in the shore excursions at all.
Every day we indulged in cocktails in one of the bars and were pleasantly surprised to find the cost of drinks to be so much cheaper than we'd been paying in Singapore. It is not necessary to buy water in advance, as I mistakenly did, on the advice of others. There is no problem having water or ice while on board the ship, although this is not the case when embarking on shore excursions into Malaysia or Thailand. However, the tour operators supplied water on he coaches and it's possible to buy water everywhere.
We took $US on the cruise. This is not necessary, either, as all charges are made to the Sea Pass card - a card that keeps accounts of all expenses on board.
Most of the passengers on our cruise were Australian and we were seated at a table with fellow Australians. This added to our sense of comfort and we felt a real sense of camaraderie within a very short time.
All in all, we just loved our time on Mariner of the Seas, and really would have loved to continue for a few more days. I would thoroughly recommend this cruise as a first-timer.