Review SummaryThe cruise to me was a once in a lifetime experience. I had been to Dubai many times and it is a shiny but artificial gem. The days at sea were exciting, from picking up armed guards to assist in the protection of the ship from Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. We had several medical emergencies including a requirement to transfer a patient to shore by helicopter, and a man overboard on our approach to Port Suez. The stop at Aqaba to visit Petra was the most important for me as it had always been on my bucket list. Jerusalem and Bethlehem were not on my bucket list but I was glad to put important Biblical and religious sites into physical context to add to my perceptions growing up as a Christian
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Mariner was repositioning to Spain to undergo RCCL’s biggest refit to date. Demolition was underway the entire cruise, but rarely was it noticeable. Some things, like elevators, that were out of service were not being repaired. The staff also were on their last contract and many on this repositioning had just come on board to make the crossing as some crew from Asia (notably Chinese) could not make the trip due to visa restrictions. Therefore service was a bit spotty, especially in the specialty restaurant, Chops. Also the repositioning had over 2200 cruisers with Diamond elite status and above, with nearly 150 in the fop tier (Pinnacle). That stressed the ships ability to provide its normal Diamond and above amenities. Especially for those who had spent the money for a Grand Suite and above.