We recently returned from our...
Sail Date: April 05, 2011
Reviewed: 6 years ago
Traveled As: Large Group
Room Type: Inside
We recently returned from our 14 day cruise on the Mariner through the Holy Land itinerary. We were very pleased with our experience and have already recommended it to friends. Since it was only our second time as passengers on a cruise, we don#39;t have much to compare it to, however!
Definite plusses go to the amount and variety of activities onboard. There were days when we were looking at the Cruise Compass and asking ourselves, How are we going to get to everything we want to see?!?. I swear, we were wishing for one of those time-turner things that Hermione had in Harry Potterimg alt=laugh height=20 src=http://meetoncruise.com/ckeditorlugins/smiley/images/teeth_smile.gif title=laugh width=20 /We especially had fun at the Name That Tune type of quiz activities, the nightly participation game-shows like Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Weakest Link, and thought the production shows were very well done, (albeit perhaps somewhat outdated). The ice show is something special to see, being that it is on a cruise ship, but here is a word of warning: get there VERY, VERY early! We arrived 25 minutes before the start of the show and there were already people LITERALLY fighting for seats. Rediculous! Get there early and have everyone together because saving a row of seats when people are crying and pushing each other is not cool or fun. That is not a complaint about the ship, that is a complaint about the way people act when they are on vacation.
The weather was always a bit too cool for us to get in the pool or hottubs, but the pool deck was nice, especially the adults only area. If I had to complain about one aspect of the pool deck, I would have to say that at times the music in the main area was SO loud that it was almost painful, (and I am under 40... no offense). One day, it was impossible to sit there and read or have a conversation, but the (quiet) adult pool area was full, so we gave up and went to one of the lounges.
I had heard others complaining about the quality of the food, but it was pretty much what we expected. We do a lot of cooking at home and are kind of spoiled that way, so we found the food on the ship to be just average. There was nothing we thought was BAD, but there was a lot of nothing special. There certainly is a ton of variety, however, and only the pickiest of picky eaters would go hungry on the ship! We enjoyed our afternoon visits to the Promenade Cafe for coffee and cake/cookies. The midnight buffet was also awesome. We tried Portofino#39;s, which we also really enjoyed. The upcharge is $20, and what you get is a very nice, secluded, romantic atmosphere in a small restaurant type setting, great food, and AMAZING deserts. Soft drinks and wine are extra. We ordered 3 different desserts after dinner and literally ate until we were uncomfortable. Can definitely recommend it for a special occasion or a romantic encounter. Here#39;s a tip: pick a dinner time before sunset in order to get that extra romantic atmosphere as the sun is setting over the oceanimg alt=yes height=20 src=http://meetoncruise.com/ckeditorlugins/smiley/images/thumbs_up.gif title=yes width=20 /
We also tried Johnny Rockets (on my Birthday) and enjoyed it. The upcharge is $4.95 and you get all you can eat fries, onion rings, burgers, and desserts. Soft drinks and milk shakes are extra. The food was like a normal Johnny Rockets, and it is a fun atmosphere with sing-a-longs, dancing waiters, and audience participation. I would recommend it as a fun way to break up the monotony of getting dressed up for the main dining room every night or pigging out at the buffet, especially with kids and especially if one of them has a birthday!
Our cabin was adequate and we were happy there was an actual shower door and not an annoying curtain like we had on RCI#39;s Mariner. We found the decor to be a little outdated, but that is really just being picky. I am curious as to when the rooms will be updated with flat-screen tv#39;s and more modern looking furniture?
i won#39;t go into the ports and excursions now, but can only recommend doing as much research as you can about the historic ports of call, and if you are going to Israel for the first time: BOOK A TOUR AND DO NOT TRY TO DO IT ON YOUR OWN! We ended up saving a lot of money and seeing a lot more than people on the RCI excursions by booking with a private tour company and splitting the cost 7 ways. We used http://www.beinharim.co.il/ and can recommend them! Really, there is so much important and impressive stuff to see in Israel that it is really worth paying for some kind of tour or guide.
Recommends Mariner of the Seas? Yes!
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|Cabin / Stateroom||Adequate, but could be updated with newer looking decor and a flat-screen tv.|
|Food and Dining||A ton of variety and nothing was "bad", but a lot was "average".|
|Service and Staff|
|Destinations and Excursions||Visiting Israel was alone worth the price of the cruise!|