Holiday Sailing with Royal Caribbean

This Thanksgiving my family and I had the pleasure to sail Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas.

We boarded in Port Canaveral on Thanksgiving day and spent 5 days enjoying everything this fun ship has to offer. Before boarding we had to provide proof of vaccination, as well as a negative COVID test. The process was very simple. Your vaccination card can be uploaded to the Royal Caribbean app prior to sailing day.

Current guidelines require all guests to test no more than 2 days prior to boarding. Be sure to contact your travel professional for the current requirements and accepted tests. We were visiting Universal Orlando prior to our cruise and took advantage of the Home test kit offered by Royal Caribbean. The process was quick and easy. You perform the test under the guidance of a virtual assistant and receive your printable results within minutes.

With 5 Negative tests in hand, we were ready to board! We arrived at the port at our scheduled time, answered a health questionnaire, received our vaccination bracelets and boarded quickly and easily.

Mariner of the Seas is a smaller ship in the Royal Fleet, but there is no shortage of fun activities! We spent our first few hours exploring the ships, grabbing snacks and visiting our stateroom.

I loved this ship and the size. It made getting around so easy and we also got to know the crew so quickly. They were all so friendly and so happy to be back to cruising!

Mariner of the Seas had an overhaul in 2018. Some of the additions include:

  • Sky Pad bungee trampoline experience
  • The Perfect Storm waterslides
  • Laser Tag: Battle for Planet Z
  • Escape Room: The Observatorium

In addition to the new activities, the ship also offers Flowrider Surf Simulator, mini golf, Rock Climbing, and a sports court.

Of course, when people think of cruising, they think of FOOD! Mariner of the Seas did not disappoint! As a musical theatre geek, I was OBSESSED with the Main Dining Room as soon as I realized that it was themed for “The Sound of Music.” It was just beautiful!

We enjoyed the dining room each night, as well as for breakfast on a few mornings. Some of our favorites included the Traditional Turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, Prime Rib, Shrimp Cocktail and Royal Cheesecake.

Other dining options include Windjammers – a buffet open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, The Dog House – with a delicious variety of hot dogs, and the Cafe Promenade for pizza, gourmet coffees, salads and light snacks. Specialty dining is offered at Johnny Rockets, Izumi (Hibachi and Sushi), Jamie Oliver’s Italian and Chops Grille.

I can’t talk about this cruise without talking about Royal Caribbean’s unbelievable Private Island, CoCo Cay! It truly is the Perfect Day that Royal promises!

Coco Cay is an island like no other! There are multiple beach areas, private cabanas, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean – complete with a swim up bar, and Thrill Island Waterpark – home to water slides, a wave pool, Up, Up and Away Hot Air Balloon, ziplining and more! There are splash areas for the little ones and options for delicious food! I literally never wanted to leave!

I have to give a shout out to the Mariner’s great Kids’ Clubs. My boys had so much fun during our sailing. They actually spent quite a bit of time hanging out in the clubs. The team had great activities planned that really kept them engaged. There were card games, trivia, dances and scavenger hunts. The rooms also have gaming systems.

Royal offers Kid’s Clubs for a variety of ages and there is no additional fee.

While the kids kept themselves entertained at Fuel, the adults enjoyed the adults only Solarium by day and the Casino, shows and lounges by night. It seemed that there was always a trivia game happening somewhere. Mariner also offers an Ice Skating show, as well as Broadway style entertainment throughout the sailing. There was never a dull moment.

Overall, I would be happy to sail the Mariner of the Seas again. I loved seeing the holiday transformation that took place overnight. The ship looked even more beautiful than it did when we first stopped on and we had a great experience from start to finish.

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