Hello fellow cruisers! We just returned from our vacation on the Mariner of the Seas. I wanted to do a review, and hopefully answer any questions you guys have about the cruise. I will include information regarding restrictions for age/height for the on-board activities, since I did not find many answers to these questions before our cruise.
About us: Me (the mom, and planner of all family vacations!) My husband, (the dad, and the one that does not want to know a thing about the vacation until it's time to pack!) We have two sons - our oldest, who I will call RS, is 9 years old, and our youngest, who I will call DS, is 4.
We got the refreshment package during one of the sales, and I thought it was totally worth it.
We had an inside cabin, #6223, which we loved. It was quiet, and was just a staircase away from the Royal Promenade. We loved having the pizza and specialty coffee just a floor away. FYI for parents sharing the room with their kids, they must be 6 years old to use the Pullman bed (and yes, there's a sticker on it that tells you that!) RS slept on the Pullman, and DS slept on the king bed with my husband and I.
We live in Miami, so my mom dropped us off at the port on Monday. We arrived at the port at 11:15, and were on the ship around 11:35. Super easy check in and boarding process. Once on board, we headed straight to the Windjammer for lunch. It was not crowded at all, and we had no problem finding a table.
Sky Pad - RS was really excited to try this, so we headed straight there after lunch. Age restriction: must be at least 5 years old to use the Sky Pad (needless to say we had a very disappointed 4 year old)! We waited around 40 minutes since only two of the trampolines were in use. RS used the VR glasses and really enjoyed it.
Laser Tag - Must be at least 5 years old and 40 inches in height. RS and my husband said it was really fun to do.
Slides - Must be 48 inches to use the slides. They would close the slides at 7 PM. RS went on the slides on the day we were in Nassau, from about 5:45 to 7:00. This was a great time to do it. The most he had in line in front of him was 2 people. He literally would exit the slide, go back up the stairs, and ride it again! He also rode them again on sea day around 6:15, and again there was hardly a line to use them.
Ice skating - This was the one activity DS was really looking forward to, since it was one of the few things he could do. No age/height restriction. He lasted about five minutes on the ice, then told me he was too tired to continue. Gotta love four year olds!! We did not get to see the ice skating show, as they only did it the first and second day of the cruise. The ice skating and laser tag share the same venue, so in order to have one set up, they cannot do the other.
Pools - We tended to use the pools in the late afternoon, after 5 PM, when they weren't so crowded. They are small, and pretty deep (5'3"). RS is pretty tall and he couldn't reach the bottom. They provide life vests, which DS loved to use because he could swim around the pool without having to hold on to me.
Kids club - Both of the kids used the kids club for about an hour a day. They both really enjoyed it. For those of you wondering, yes, you can step down in age group if that's what your child would like. RS just turned 9 on the 4th of July, and he was a little worried about being in the 9-11 age group. They allowed him to be in the 6-8 group, with no problems. They leave a kids club cruise compass every day in the room, with the hours and activities scheduled.
Cocoa Cay - It was a lazy beach day. We got to the island around 11:30, and stayed until about 3:30.
Nassau - We did not have any excursions planned, so we got off the ship around 3:00. We walked to Junkanoo Beach. It's about a 15 minute walk, and is very safe because you are walking down streets crowded with tourists. The water was absolutely beautiful, crystal clear and warm. The sand, not so much! There were a lot of rocks, but they were spaced out. So, it's not as if you were constantly stepping on rocks when you were in the water. The water was so clear, that it was easy to see if you were going to step on one.
Food - We ate at the buffet for all meals. Food was pretty good, although a bit repetitive. They did have themes (Mexican, Caribbean, etc.), but that was just one small section of the buffet. Breakfast did get very crowded on Nassau day and sea day. On Nassau day, we could not get a table and they ended up opening Jamie's Restaurant for people to sit. Otherwise, we never had a problem finding a table to sit at. We ate A LOT of pizza!!! Since it was literally just a staircase away, it was an easy mid-day/late night snack. I thought it was pretty good, and it was always fresh and hot out of the oven.
I hope anyone going on Mariner finds the review helpful. She is a beautiful ship, and they did a great job with the refurbishment. I'm happy to answer any questions my fellow cruisers may have!