Nickel-and-dime cruise to nowhere: coronavirus invited

Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 39

Overall rating:

2.9 out of 5
Verified Review
Mariner of the Seas

4 Night Bahamas & Perfect Day (Port Canaveral Roundtrip)

Sail date: March 02, 2020

Ship: Mariner of the Seas

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 8548

Traveled as: Large Group

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

It's an expensive cruise to nowhere on a suboptimum ship. Avoid. I've taken two other Royal Caribbean cruises that I enjoyed, but it's been awhile. RC has become too enamored of the constant upsell, and considers the money you pay for the cruise just a starting point for providing you a good experience. That's too bad. We've been much happier paying for all-inclusives in Mexico and elsewhere, which provide similar experiences but without the constant grab for your wallet.


3 out of 5
Embarcation was speedy. I was surprised given the coronavirus threat that Royal Caribbean's only check of my prior travel was my verbal assurance. My passport was in front of them; is it so hard to inspect the details of my 25 prior trips to China? I called Royal Caribbean regarding my ~month of travel in China in December and January, spending an age and an epoch on hold and escalating through a few managers to make sure I was welcome on the ship and asking if it wouldn't be wiser to delay my trip. I was repeatedly advised that any change to my itinerary would result in the loss of all of the money we had paid for the cruise. I feel like this policy was unnecessarily risky given what we don't know about Coronavirus.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Food in the Windjammer Cafe was mediocre-to-bad: avoid. You can get better out of the average Hyatt Regency Club lounge. Food in the main dining room was good-to-excellent, as was the service.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Pools appeared to be dirty, but to their credit were well covered by lifeguards. As a runner, I was disappointed to see that the running track sucked: it was so interspersed with deck chairs that it was impossible most of the time to get a decent workout.


4 out of 5
The dance numbers and songs were a lot of fun, quality performers.

Children's Programs

4 out of 5
Our sons seemed to enjoy the free care quite a bit: my older son kept requesting to go back to kid's club.

Service and Staff

1 out of 5
Appears like there is a calculated and premeditated effort to rip off customers, and avoid correcting errors. Abysmal customer service concerning an error that was 100% verifiably the fault of a server. We were offered a galley tour for 35 dollars a person, with a 20%/off discount. Our server sold us this, and wrote a receipt describing this exactly. I photographed the receipt. Reviewing our charges later, I noticed someone forgot to give us the 20% discount that was promised to us. I sat in line at customer service to correct the issue on the "Perfect Day" at Coco Cay, trying to fix this. I described the error to a nice woman from Malaysia, and showed her the receipt that the server had written for us. There was no ambiguity concerning the error. She made a series of phone calls over the next five or ten minutes, trying to find the server or a supervisor. Finally, she started to say, "well, what you can do is go back to the restaurant" and at that point I cut her off, saying that the next call would be to my credit card to challenge the entire charge. I told her politely the only question for her was whether the receipt was authentic or not, and she assured me she thought it was. It is inexcusable in the case of what's a math error or oversight by the server to do anything except provide a profuse apology and fix the error as quickly as possible. Not the job of paying customers to track down the source of the screw-up. We're generally laid back about these things, but this was really unbelievably bad customer service.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Extremely crowded in all areas. We're not prone to fear about illness and Coronavirus, but ships that are as packed as this one make it obvious what the problem with cruising is as far as illnesses are concerned. This ship needs more open space and more elevators.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
It was fine. We liked the balcony. We wanted to stow our large suitcases but were told this was impossible, bummer.

Ship tip

Choose a different and/or bigger ship. The decor was dated and the layout was not appealing.

Ports of call

Port Canaveral, Florida

4 out of 5
Fast and efficient embarkation.

Nassau, Bahamas

1 out of 5
I visited more than 20 years ago on a Royal Caribbean and was bored. It's just as tacky and boring today. Go on the Alaska cruise instead. Super boring tourist-trap. We walked a lot but didn't find it appealing.

Perfect Day At Coco Cay, Bahamas

3 out of 5
We didn't do any for-pay activities. It was OK: like a water park in the middle of the ocean. Lunch was decent, better than the Windjammer Cafe on the ship. Too many up sells. Credit and mad props to the bartenders, who replaced our beer when the automated for-pay beer machine failed to dispense a complete beer to us.


5 out of 5
Loved the availability of a self-serve disembarkation option. We were off the boat in five minutes.
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