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Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas just finished a dry dock. Here's what they worked on and changed

15 Apr 2023
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas finished a multiweek dry dock earlier this month, but what exactly has changed?

Mariner of the Seas docked in CocoCay

Every five years or so, cruise ships are temporarily taken out of service so that they can go in for maintenance work.

Unlike a Royal Amplification, Royal Caribbean doesn't discuss the details of a dry dock, which leaves many cruisers wondering what's new or different about the ship once it returns to service.

I boarded Mariner of the Seas today and walked around the ship to see what noticeable changes are present for anyone else sailing on her.

Dry dock vs Amplification

Mariner of the Seas pool deck

Depending on the cruise line's plan, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship could get a number of enhancements and changes. Or, it could simply go in for maintenance without real changes the average guest would notice.

There are two terms for these kind of services: refurbishment and amplification.

A refurbishment is when a ship is taken to dry dock for a shorter period of time to do primarily cosmetic changes and maintenance work.

Mariner of the Seas in dry dock for her 2018 amplification

During an amplification, the same cosmetic and maintenance work is done, but there are also enhancements made to the ship, such as adding new restaurants, activities, bars and more.

When Mariner of the Seas went in for dry dock in 2018, she had a $120 million Amplification, but this time around in 2023, it was a dry dock.

Mariner of the Seas updates and changes

Mariner of the Seas as seen from gangway

I walked around Mariner of the Seas to see what's new, different, or generally noticeable.

First and foremost, the outside of the ship has a new paint job.

Side of Mariner of the Seas

During a dry dock, the ship is taken out of the water so that not only can its engines, propellors, and other systems be attended to, but the hull can be repainted.  All that sea water and humid air from the ocean takes a toll on the aesthetics of the ship.

Speaking of the hull, Royal Caribbean also took the opportunity to fix a hole in the aft of the ship that occurred when a cargo vessel drifted into Mariner while in Freeport, Bahamas.

In April 2022, a cargo vessel made contact with the ship while Mariner of the Seas was docked in Freeport.

Mariner of the Seas with a hole

A small, superficial gash was left near the jogging track on the back of the ship and it was temporarily covered up with some steel. 

During the dry dock, this is now completely fixed.

Another change Royal Caribbean made to Mariner of the Seas (and every other ship that has a SkyPad) was to remove the trampolines and supporting equipment for the SkyPad.

SkyPad on Mariner of the Seas

Last month, Royal Caribbean announced it was getting rid of the SkyPad on all of its ships.

The SkyPad structure is still there, but the area is now being used for various complimentary activities such as bean bag toss and dance classes.

Skypad updated description

The SkyPad was also re-painted.

Both pool decks on 11 and 12 were re-surfaced.

Jogging track
Jogging track

Not directly related to the refurbishment, but the pool chairs have signs on them about not reserving them all day.

Chair hog sign

We've seen this on other cruise ships in the fleet as an attempt to prevent the chair hog problem, which has been an issue for many years.

Chair hog sign

The door on deck 13 to the sports deck was replaced. It used to be a heavy door with a handle and is now a sliding automatic door.

Sliding door

The water slides were re-painted.

Water slides on Mariner of the Seas

The ending area where you splash in when the ride is also remodeled.

Water slides on Mariner of the Seas

Speaking of aquatic fun, the FlowRider received a new pump.


Underneath the ship is where most of the maintenance occurred, with the ship's azipods, engines and other critical systems serviced.

One incredibly small change was the aft stairwell had their wallpaper replaced.

Wallpaper replaced

There were no changes to the cabins, and also no carpeting was replaced on the ship.

Since dry dock, Mariner of the Seas has been experimenting with a complimentary lunch open to all guests in the main dining room on deck 3.

Mariner of the Seas lunch
Mariner of the Seas dining room
Lunch embarkation day lunch menu

The goal is to alleviate pressure on the Windjammer buffet, but from what I've heard from crew members, it's still a test and not a fleetwide policy.