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Ship Report – 4 night Cruise Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas

​  When I heard Royal Caribbean was offering a 4 night cruise with 2 stops at Perfect Day CocoCay I thought this is a great opportunity for me to get to check all the new stuff on CocoCay.   It had been awhile since I had been on Royal Caribbean and since it was leaving from right in my backyard I couldn’t pass it up.  
Being so close to the port we drove over after lunch to board our cruise.   Parking at the terminal is easy and so close to the ship.   You do have to pay when you enter the parking garage instead of when you leave so that does help keep things moving when everyone is leaving at once.   We found a parking place and since it was a bit later the check in area was pretty empty. I have the app on my phone and had already done most of the check in anyway.   I had noticed that I had something called expedited arrival on my SeaPass and wasn’t too sure what that meant but figured since we arrived later it didn’t matter much.  To my surprise I was told our room keys would be waiting for us outside our stateroom door.  I thought this was pretty odd but went ahead and boarded.   It was easy but also disappointing at the same time.   We walked off the gangway onto an outside deck but there was no door there to get into the ship and no one there to direct us.   I guess since we arrived later we missed the welcome onboard or who knows maybe there really isn’t one.   We wandered down the deck to find a door that would allow us to get into the ship and from there found our way to the elevators to get to the deck our room was on.   Since we are seasoned cruisers we know how to handle boarding but it seemed odd to me that there wasn’t any crew around to direct guests or even bombard guests with upsells.  I guess I am used to walking on the ship and finding many crew just waiting to help and even just to say welcome onboard.   I will admit I am a bit spoiled by the fanfare you get on Disney cruise when you board and they announce your family name as you enter into a grand atrium.   There was none of that here.  
   I was a bit worried about our room keys so I wanted to make a bee line to our room.   We found it easily but had we been first timers it would not have been so easy.   Our room keys were sitting there on the number placard in a sealed envelope.   This all just seems really strange to me since it seemed someone could walk down the hall and grab someone else’s room keys but I guess they must have some type of security that wouldn’t allow someone to use another person’s key to buy anything.  We grabbed our keys went into the room to drop our bags.  Since it was a short cruise we opted for just carry ons which really makes things easier for us but not sure I would recommend that to everyone.  If you got on the ship earlier the rooms might not have been open yet so you would be stuck lugging your stuff all around.   
We realized the lunch buffet would be shutting down soon for the emergency drill so we went to grab a quick bite since we have the 8 pm dining time.  Next up was the drill and then we explored the ship a little.  Mariner of the Seas has a lot of fun extras and is nicer than most ships that do short cruises.   When I first heard Mariner was coming to Port Canaveral I thought this would be a nice alternative for those that a Disney Cruise wasn’t quite in their budget but want to add a cruise to their theme park vacation.   The ship has an ice skating rink, Flowrider, rock wall, and the SkyPad as main attractions along with a few pools and sports options onboard like mini golf and basketball.   There is definitely plenty to do for kids.   Adults will find plenty of bars, shops, lounges, a casino, and even a Starbucks onboard.  
Our first stop was Perfect Day CocoCay.  There is no missing the waterpark features from the ship.   I heard many kids come into the buffet for breakfast and get so excited when they saw what was waiting outside.  There is an extra fee to enter the water park portion so I am sure there might have also been a few groans from parents after their kids saw it.  Even if you didn’t go to the waterpark there are plenty of free activities to do on the island.   There was another ship in port with us that day so it was a bit more crowded than I had hoped for.   I was hoping that maybe our second stop would be just us in port.   Even with 2 ships there were plenty of beach chairs and shade to be found.   There are a few beaches you can go to and grab a chair and enjoy or you can head to the largest freshwater pool on a private island and relax.   There are some beach sports set up to enjoy along with a few options for lunch.  Most of the food options are free but there were a few things that had an extra charge.  There are a few bars around the island.   Captain Jacks is right in the center and had live music anytime we went by.  I have to say the bathrooms were the nicest I have seen on any of the private islands I have been to.   I am going to do a whole page on our website about Cruise Line Private islands so look for that coming soon.  While it is very bright and new looking I have to admit that one of my favorite things about other cruise line private islands is the rustic feel you get like you almost just came across this perfect little island by accident.   There is none of that feeling on CocoCay.  
After a nice beach day our next stop was Nassau.   We have been here many times and don’t usually get off.  The weather was not that nice so a lot of guests opted to stay onboard.   We were supposed to be back at CocoCay the next day but the bad weather we had in Nassau also hit there and blew the gangways into the docking spot so we were not able to go back and instead had a day at sea.
 While on this cruise we checked out everything and caught an ice show and a show in the main theater.     For dining I had picked the traditional dining and requested a table for 2.   The first night we went to the dining room they took us to our table and it was a table for 8 and I said no thanks I requested a table for just 2.   The host was able to find us a table for 2 down in the Anytime dining room which was fine.   He made it so we didn’t have to make reservations since we thought we had traditional dining.  It is the same dining room just a different floor and for 3 out of 4 nights we had the same server which was nice.   The food was OK for a short cruise but I feel like you get better food on longer cruises.  
The ship has some things that were added recently like the Bamboo Lounge but then other parts of the ship show their age like the stateroom decor.   I knew it was an older ship so it wasn’t a surprise and I did like that being an older ship our room was bigger than then on the newer ships.  All in all it was a nice quick getaway at a nice price.