Mariner of the Seas

Cruise Critic names Royal Caribbean best cruise line for entertainment & suite life

In:
05Dec2018

Royal Caribbean came away with a few awards from the 11th annual Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards.

Royal Caribbean was the winner in the following categories:

Best Entertainment: Royal Caribbean International

"Royal Caribbean continues to entertain with original Broadway-style productions, parades and now, laser tag. State-of-the-art technology, including drones, has enhanced new shows in the skating rink as well as with amusements like Sky Pad, a bungee-trampoline experience that also employs virtual reality. And as always, you can still surf, slide and fly (by zipline or skydive simulator) onboard many of Royal Caribbean's ships."

Best Ship Refurbishment: Mariner of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International

"Royal Caribbean invested $120 million into the refurbishment of Mariner of the Seas and the results are astounding. From the bright yellow globe at the top of the ship that houses the virtual reality trampoline experience Sky Pad to the addition of two restaurants, two bars, FlowRider surf simulators, the Perfect Storm water park and an escape room, Mariner's got plenty to keep you entertained."

Best Suites: Royal Caribbean International

"The lavishness of Royal Caribbean's top cabins as well as their inclusiveness and variety -- some ships offer up to a dozen suite categories -- can't be beat by any other mainstream cruise line. Just imagine, suites as deluxe as luxury penthouses. Royal Caribbean's got them. And this year, the line even introduced the Ultimate Family Suite, a visual marvel complete with a bedroom-to-living room slide."

Spotted: Sky Pad pre-cruise reservations

In:
05Nov2018

If your next Royal Caribbean offers the Sky Pad virtual reality jump experience, then you might be able to pre-book it before the cruise via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.

We have spotted the option to pre-book Sky Pad sessions on the Cruise Planner site for upcoming Mariner of the Seas and Independence of the Seas sailings. The Sky Pad option is under the Entertainment & Activities menu.

There is no cost to reserve a time, and you can select times from 30 minute blocks.

Thanks to Royal Caribbean Blog reader Jason Cook for alerting us to this change.

Mariner of the Seas to return to new PortMiami cruise terminal

In:
20Oct2018

Royal Caribbean has begun notifying guests sailing on upcoming Mariner of the Seas sailings that their cruise will make use of the brand new cruise terminal the cruise has built in PortMiami.

Terminal A is a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise terminal and the October 26, 2018 Mariner of the Seas sailing will make use of the port when she returns to Miami. The cruise will begin from Terminal G, but return to Terminal A.

Thanks to Nancy Ritter for sharing this screenshot.

The terminal will feature stunning architecture, a new boarding experience, and an impressive gold propellor that is 15,000 lbs. and 56 ft. tall. Terminal A was designed to accommodate the passengers of two of the world’s largest ships, the new Symphony of the Seas and her sister, Allure of the Seas. 

Guests sailing on other Mariner of the Seas sailings received emails informing them that they too will be cruising to and from the new terminal.

Thanks to Frank for providing this email

A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for November 2nd, 2018 that will formally open the the new terminal to the public.

5 Mariner of the Seas must-do tips

In:
17Oct2018

Mariner of the Seas has quickly become one of Royal Caribbean's most popular cruise ships, thanks to a $120 million refurbishment in 2018 that amped the ship up with new thrills, restaurants, staterooms and entertainment. 

There is a lot to love about this ship, and we are sharing out top must-do tips for going on a Mariner of the Seas cruise.

Don't miss the signature activities

A big component of the ship's refurbishment was to add new thrills and activities onboard the ship, and you have to make time to check them all out on your sailing.

We begin with the Sky Pad, a gravity-defying bungee trampoline experience amped up with virtual reality.  Royal Caribbean took the idea of a bungee trampoline, and infused it with a few different augmented reality options to offer guests a really fun experience.

The FlowRider surf simulator has become a staple of fun on many Royal Caribbean ships. and Mariner of the Seas now offers one as well. The 40-foot-long surf simulator allows guests to try their hand at surfing or boogie boarding.  Or you can take a seat in the bleachers and watch other guests give it a shot.

Families are sure to love the new Perfect Storm water slides on Mariner of the Seas. A thrilling pair of three-story-high racer water slides called Cyclone and Typhoon beckon to be ridden again and again and again.

Get a drink in the Bamboo Room

Lounges are not new to Royal Caribbean, but the cruise line hit a homerun with the Bamboo Room lounge.  It is the first in Royal Caribbean's fleet and offers a laidback Polynesian throwback vibe, featuring kitschy-cool craft cocktails like the Island Old Fashioned and Tiki Tea.

What makes the Bamboo Room so darn cool is the combination of decor, great menu, and fun times.  When you are looking for a spot to grab a few drinks, the Bamboo Room is a must-visit place.

Book a panoramic stateroom

If you are eyeing going on Mariner of the Seas, be sure to price out one of the newly added Panoramic staterooms. 

The Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom gives much more of a view than a traditional oceanview room, with a floor to ceiling wrap around panoramic window that is 76 inches high by 103-321 inches wide.  That is a big window.

As you might imagine, the reason to book a stateroom like this is for the amazing views without the balcony view price.  

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Royal Caribbean moved Mariner of the Seas back to the United States in 2018 to offer short 3- and 4-night sailings, and that means every cruise visits the cruise line's private destination of CocoCay.

Beginning May 2019, Mariner will sail to the new Perfect Day at CocoCay, the first destination in Royal Caribbean’s recently announced collection of private island experiences around the world. This means CocoCay will offer a new water park, pool, zipline, private enclaves, new dining opportunities and more.  Perfect Day at CocoCay is sure to be a hit with families, and Mariner of the Seas can take you there on every sailing.

Try a specialty restaurant (or two)

In addition to the new thrills added to Mariner of the Seas, the ship offers some terrific specialty dining venues that should not be missed.

One of our favorite specialty dining options on any ship is Izumi Hibachi and Sushi, which is Asian-inspired dining featuring hibachi, sushi and sashimi and more.  A hibachi meal is fun for the whole family, and offers authentic flavors, the freshest ingredients and impeccable presentation.

Jamie's Italian serves fresh, handmade and rustic Italian fare by Chef Jamie Oliver, one of Britain’s most famous chefs. Jamie's Italian was created by Jamie Oliver because of all the types of food to choose from, he loves Italian the most. In terms of this restaurant's theory, Jamie designed the menu to strip food down to its essence, working with simple, quality ingredients with no pretense or ego.

Chops Grille has become a staple of Royal Caribbean dining and it is a restaurant guests come back to time and time again because they really enjoy everything about the experience. Steak cooked to order, along with an array of complimentary side dishes and excellent appetizers make for a truly compelling choice for dinner any night of the cruise.

Your thoughts

What is your favorite thing about Mariner of the Seas?  Is it on our list or do you have something you think is worth the cruise fare alone? Tell us about in this blog post's comments!

Spotted: Carry-on luggage storage available on Mariner of the Seas

In:
17Sep2018

Guests sailing on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas may be able to take advantage of a complimentary carry-on luggage storage service for use until staterooms are ready for guests later in the day.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Twangster spotted this service being offered on a recent Mariner of the Seas sailing.

Photo by Twangster

When the guests hear the staterooms are ready announcement over the public address system, guests are reminded to pickup your carry on stored in the theater.

We have heard of carry-on luggage storage options being offered on other ships, such as Empress of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas.

Video: Inside The Bamboo Room: Royal Caribbean Serves Up The Royal Zombie

In:
29Aug2018

Watch how The Royal Zombie, a signature cocktail at The Bamboo Room, is created in the new Polynesian-themed bar on the amped-up Mariner of the Seas.

Want to make this drink at home? Here is the The Royal Zombie drink recipe.

1oz lime juice 
3/4oz cinnamon syrup 
1/2oz passion fruit juice
1/2oz velvet falernum liqueur 
1oz white rum 
1/2oz dark rum 
1/2oz orange liqueur 
2 shakes of angostura bitters and anise liqueur 

Serve in a tall tiki glass, topped with crushed ice, fresh mint and a cherry.

Check out the signature cocktails at the Bamboo Room on Mariner of the Seas

In:
06Aug2018

Ever since Royal Caribbean spent $120 million reimagining Mariner of the Seas, it has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention for some incredible new changes and improvements.  Chief among them is the new Bamboo Room lounge.

Royal Caribbean calls the Bamboo Room a "laid back Polynesian watering hole with a throwback vibe and kitschy-cool craft cocktails".  We love Royal Caribbean's custom cocktails, such as the wonderful margaritas at Sabor Modern Mexican, so we wanted to share what to look for at the Bamboo Room.

Currently, the specialty cocktails are priced at $14 each.

The Royal Zombie

The signature tiki mug is "Cliff The Parrot", and it is available for purchase for $10. Just let your bartender know that you would like to purchase one.

The Bamboo Swizzle

Buffalo Trace bourbon, Lemon juice, Cinnamon Syrup, Soda, Mint and Angostura Bitters.

The Navy Grog

Saturn Landing

Bobby's Gin, Ginger Syrup, Velvet Falernum Liqueur, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Mango and Lime Juice.

Mariner of the Seas is now sailing short 4-night Weekday and 3-night weekend getaways to The Bahamas, from PortMiami.

Royal Caribbean talks Symphony of the Seas, new app progress, big demand in Caribbean and more

In:
02Aug2018

During Royal Caribbean's second quarter 2018 financial call with investors, the company shared some interesting anecdotes, facts, and insight into the ever changing cruising environment.  While most of the information discussed in these earnings calls deal primarily with financial indicators, cruise guests can glean some insight into how Royal Caribbean runs its business.

Symphony of the Seas debut has been spectacular 

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) Chairman and CEO Richard Fain started off the call with investors beaming about the positive response Symphony of the Seas has received in her inaugural season in Europe.  Fain indicated that not only is the ship booked well, but guests are raving about the experience and the high level of service they are experiencing.

"Her performance for a first time ship in a new market. For her to perform so amazingly well when she is the fourth in a series, is a testament to the innovations the team has incorporated and the power of the Royal Caribbean International brand.

This ship has remarkable new wow's, new shows, and new activities, but what truly sets her apart is the careful execution and high level of service which have been pivotal in achieving these record-breaking ratings."

Smart phone update

Of particular interest to Royal Caribbean cruisers is an update was given on the progress being made with the cruise line's new smart phone app and technology innovation, known as Project Excalibur.

Fain offered an update on where the project stands, and seemed bullish on the prospects of rolling the app out to most ships in the fleet by the end of 2019, as well as the progress being made.  There were no specific updates in terms of when certain functionality will be completed, but it did sound like they wanted to get it right the first time, instead of just pushing out an app that may or may not work well.

"The program is on track and the progress is impressive. We have taken a methodical, hands-on approach to this implementation, rolling out new upgrades on a monthly basis or even more frequently. We're finding that this 'softly softly' approach allows us to move more quickly, but also to correct the errors early before they impact a lot of vacations.

We continually add features to the app, and we remain on our trajectory of having half the fleet connected by the end of this year and most of the rest by the end of next year.

The most complete version of the app today is on Symphony of the Seas, and in December, that distinction will be taken over by Celebrity Edge.

One interesting milestone is the introduction of frictionless arrival.  We have been rolling this out on a limited basis and expect that it will be operational on a large scale basis on Symphony of the Seas and on Celebrity Edge later this fall.

By the way, we recently trademarked the term 'frictionless', so don't expect to see that being used by any other cruise line."

Higher onboard revenue is up (again)

If you spend time listening to these earnings calls, one trend that continued again this quarter was higher spending by guests, namely in the form of drink packages and other packages that can be purchased online or onboard.

In short, a lot of Royal Caribbean's revenue can be traced back to guests not only booking cruises in droves, but also because they are spending more than ever once onboard.

RCL Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty spoke about onboard spending during his summary of the quarter, "The beat was driven by stronger than anticipated close-in demand, and better than expected onboard revenue spend.

Onboard areas, such as beverage, specialty dining and internet, helped deliver a 5.5% year-over-year increase in onboard revenue."

Mariner of the Seas singlehandidly helped drive up Caribbean demand

If there is one ship not named Symphony of the Seas that has hit a home run for Royal Caribbean, it is definitely Mariner of the Seas.  Mariner of the Seas has the distinction of being a very popular choice with consumers that are looking for short cruises, and has been a boon for the cruise line in terms of being booked well and driving up revenue.

In providing an overview of the Caribbean cruise market, Jason Liberty spoke about the impact Mariner of the Seas has had, "Demand for the Caribbean sailings has been strong, with bookings trending ahead of last year's very storng numbers. Our Caribbean capacity is up in the back half of the year, due mainly due to the addition of the reimagined Mariner of the Seas for the short Caribbean market.

Our strategy behind modernizing the Mariner of the Seas was to offer the best alternative for a short Caribbean getaway as a response to consumer trends. The younger generations are opting for shorter, more frequent vacations and the Mariner of the Seas is very well positioned for this segment with onboard activities, dining options, and entertainment similar to those on Oasis class ships.

Mariner of the Seas is booked very well and we are particularly excited about 2019. While we generally don't expect to recieve many bookings for short Caribbean sailings that are more than six months away, Mariner of the Seas' load factors in the first half of 2019 are closer to those of seven-night products than they are to shorter products."

Lessons learned from 2017 hurricane season

Towards the end of the call, an analyst asked Royal Caribbean's leaders about any lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane season that they can apply to the 2018 hurricane season.  This was an opportunity for Royal Caribbean to talk about the impact the cruise line had on the people affected by the storms, and the positive public relations and humanitarian response that Royal Caribbean saw.

Richard Fain spoke about the lessons learned, "We felt our response last year was really ended up being quite good. Probably built up a fair amount of good will from the way we handled it, and I'm not sure that from a pure financial point of view we learned much that would significantly change the outcome if you had, again, a hurricane that exactly tracked as our ships itinerary and exactly hit the ports of call on the days that they would be most impactful. So we constantly try and learn, and obviously there are always some lessons to be learned, but overall, I think we felt that last year we did pretty well.

I do think though that people should be impressed by how well the destinations responded afterwards. These were horrific events for them, but now people are reporting back and travel agents, which are always an important source of information as well as internet chatter, shows how well they've recovered and I think that may help us a little bit in terms of assuaging the concern that people had that if they went to some of these destinations afterwards they would encounter a bad experience. And that simply hasn't been the case."

Video: Take a Tour of the Mariner of the Seas Sports Deck

In:
10Jul2018

From rock climbing to waterslides and even a virtual reality bungee trampoline, Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas has an activity for every member of the family. Take a tour of the ship's newly amped up sports deck and all it has to offer.

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