Fun Things To Do

15 Free Things to Do on Mariner of the Seas

In:
28Oct2019

Following more than $100 million in upgrades to Mariner of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has packed a ton of activities for families to enjoy onboard this revamped cruise ship.  From dining, things to do, experiences and more, Mariner of the Seas offers plenty across fifteen decks.

Here is a look at some great things to try onboard Mariner of the Seas that are fun and totally free to enjoy.  That means a great vacation that saves you money! Hopefully, you can enjoy all 15 of these activities on your Mariner of the Seas cruise.

1. Go ice skating

Mariner of the Seas has an ice skating rink in Studio B where one of the ship's best shows is performed during your cruise (more on that later), but guests can also don a pair of ice skates and hit the ice rink too!

Check the Cruise Compass for open skate sessions during your sailing.  Royal Caribbean will provide you with complimentary ice skate and safety equipment rentals.  Just be sure to pack long pants and socks.

2. Bounce on the Sky Pad

Guests can hit up the Sky pad, which is a virtual bungee trampoline experience.  After being hooked up to bungee chords, you put on a virtual reality visor and explore a virtual world while bouncing up and down on a giant trampoline!

There are three different games to try, including being transported to another time and planet to bounce over moon craters or compete in intergalactic games. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages, and also can be enjoyed without virtual reality headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky.

3. Plunge down the water slides

The Perfect Storm is a duo of racing water slides called Cyclone and Typhoon that are a very popular option for many to enjoy high-speed thrills. 

4. Watch the Crazy Quest

For the adults only, make plans to watch the Crazy Quest on your cruise.  Assuming you have a good sense of humor, the Crazy Quest is an adult scavenger hunt that involves guests going to great lengths to complete a number of physical challenges.

Having seen the Quest many times, it is safe to say no two Crazy Quest shows are the same and there is no telling exactly what you will witness.  It is wild, intense and provides some great late-night entertainment.

5. Go surfing

If you ever wanted to learn to surf, Mariner of the Seas has a Flowrider surf simulator on the back of the ship you can try. The FlowRider is a simulator that sends water a very high speed across a small area that mimics what it is like to surf on the ocean.

Guests can surf until they fall off the board, but the staff is pretty good at challenging the talented guests in an effort to improve their skills and increase the likelihood of falling off.

6. Challenge your friends to laser tag

A recent addition to Mariner of the Seas is a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience in Studio B, where friends and family can team up to play “Battle for Planet Z.”

7. Climb to the top of the wall

A signature Royal Caribbean activity is the rock climbing wall. Located at the back of the ship, you can try climbing to the top of the wall and ringing a bell before rappelling down.

This is a great personal challenge that also has the added benefit of providing some fantastic views of the ocean from 200 feet above the ocean. Don't worry about safety, because you are harnessed in at all times.

8. Hit the mini-golf course

Families will love the updated mini-golf course at the front of the ship. Mariner Dunes on Deck 13 allows for as many rounds of complimentary golf as you like.

It is a creative course, with plenty of obstacles and even faux water hazards!

9. Eat ice cream!

Did you know there is a self-serve ice cream station at the pool deck with unlimited soft serve ice cream? Grab a cone at your leisure, because very likely you will be having quite a few of these on your cruise.

10. Check out the ice skating show

Studio B is home to one of the production shows on Mariner of the Seas, "Ice Under The Big Top" and is a must-see show.

This ice skating performance combines acrobatics, skill and finesse to bring guests an engaging show. Ice skating shows on Royal Caribbean are well-worth seeing, so be sure to arrive to Studio B at least 15-20 minutes early to grab a seat.

11. Catch a game at Playmakers

While Playmakers Sports Bar costs money to order food or drink, watching a game on one of their many television screens is totally complimentary.

Sports fans will love catching their favorite team playing on game day from the comfort of a table at Playmakers. Heck, you can play a round or two of Jenga or Connect Four in-between innings!

12. Join the party!

You will find deck parties galore on Mariner of the Seas.  From the 70's Dancing in the Street Party, to the Hush! Silent Party, to the sail away parties, there are many opportunities to dance the night away.

13. Catch a movie by the pool

What is better than seeing a recent blockbuster film? How about while swimming in a pool!

A 220-square foot movie screen is located at the pool deck, and there are movies each night to enjoy either from in a pool or hot tub, or just from one of the lounge chairs nearby.

14. Play in a game show

If you are the competitive type, or just enjoy watching others try their best, then catch one of the many games shows onboard.

  • Finish That Lyric game show: Guests listen to a bit of a popular song and then must fill in the lyrics that come next once the music stops.
  • X versus Y game show: It is the battle of the sexes type game show, which pits men versus women in an adult-oriented contest.
  • Love and Marriage game show: See which married couple knows their spouse best in a test of memory and compatibility.

15. Belly Flop Competition

Humans naturally drawn to see who is the best at anything, including who can make the biggest splash in the pool.  This popular contest is something you have to see to believe.

What is your favorite thing to do on Mariner of the Seas? Have you sailed and tried one of these? Share with us your top picks in the comments below!

8 things I MUST do on every Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
Category: 
16Sep2019

After a few Royal Caribbean cruises, everyone seems to have their own "traditions" that we do on each and every sailing. These cruise habits are part of what keep us coming back again and again.

Here are a few must-do things that you just have to try on your next cruise too!

8. Eat at the Windjammer on embarkation day

It's not a cruise unless we get to the port a little before noon and get onboard so I can have my first meal in the legendary Windjammer buffet.

Every since my first cruise, I have always had the first meal onboard the ship at the Windjammer, and I think having my first meal here that cements that feeling inside of "I'm really on a Royal Caribbean cruise again".  For me, it is that moment when I sit down with my plate full of food and a big smile comes across my face.

And oh yea, there is lots of good food to be enjoyed here as well!

7. Go for a night swim

Anyone can swim during the day but on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but I love to put on my bathing suit late after the sun goes down and hop in the pool.  

Night swims are a great experience and with the new giant movie screens near the pools on most Royal Caribbean ships, it's fun to take in a classic film while being in the water.  It is a great family activity and the perfect way to end a fun day.

6. Watch the shore excursion channel loop through a few times

This may be just something silly I do but I really love to watch the shore excursion channel in my stateroom when we're laying around.  There's something about the super market jazz music playing in the background or the monotone voice over descriptions that I just like watching it. 

This guilty pleasure is centered around the idea of watching this channel to get an idea of what to expect in the ports of call we are going to visit but I find the channel strangely memorizing and I'm not afraid to admit it!

5. Catch a performance in the Pub

Of all the live entertainment on a Royal Caribbean ship, my favorite evening activity is to sing along to my favorite bar hits in the Pub onboard.

Pubs are available on most ships (Radiance Class and larger), and I love the type of music played.  The tunes in the pub will range from oldies, to '90s, and to decades inbetween. Basically, these are songs you likely know all the words to and likely have heard in many bars before.

While many cruisers equally enjoy the live music in the Schooner Bar at night, the acoustic guitar melodies of the pub are my personal favorite.

4. Sit by the pool while the live band plays

Picture this: a sunny day with maybe just a few clouds passing by, sitting in a lounge chair at the pool deck with an optional drink of the day in your hand and the band playing "Red Red Wine" as you take a sip and close your eyes.  That is the perfect moment on a Royal Caribbean cruise for me.

The live music on a Royal Caribbean cruise is among the best hidden secrets.  Royal Caribbean's dedication to live music has become something I always look forward to and enjoying the live band at the pool is just the icing on an incredible cake.

3. Read the Cruise Compass from cover to cover

When we get back to the stateroom after a great dinner, the first thing I look for is the next day's Cruise Compass newsletter waiting for me on the bed.

Each evening your stateroom attendant will leave the Cruise Compass on your bed (with perhaps a towel animal surprise too) for you to read and I love reading everything inside.  To me, this is the New York Times of cruising and it's just one of those cruising traditions that I love to do.  Sure, I get a sense of what activities are coming up the next day (Michael Jackson line dancing classes anyone?) but it's also fun to just immerse myself in everything going on around the ship.

2. Try the escape room

If I am on a Royal Caribbean ship with an escape room that I have not tried yet, then it becomes a must-do activity.

Escape rooms challenge your brain and teamwork skills by attempting to solve the clues and escape before time on the clock runs out.

Whether you are already a fan of the escape room trend or just eager to try this challenge for the first time, I think you will enjoy the thrill of trying to beat the escape room on select Royal Caribbean ships.

1. Share a photo of the fun with family back home

There is nothing wrong with a little humble brag, and I try to take time on every cruise to take a family selfie and share it with my family who could not join us on the sailing.

Showing folks at home all the fun we are having is a two-pronged strategy. First, it shows off all the fun we are having and offers a chance to gloat just a little.  More importantly, my hope is those same people seeing the photo will be inclined to join us on our next cruise!

Your favorites

Did any of my favorite must-do's make your list?  Share with us your favorite Royal Caribbean traditions in the comments below!

Video: Coolest Things to do on Symphony of the Seas

In:
06Apr2018

The largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas is the bucket-list-worthy vacation for all ages. Packed with thrilling adventures, delicious dining and jaw-dropping entertainment, it’s the ultimate experience you won’t want to miss.

Fun things to do on Royal Caribbean: Rock climbing wall

In:
Category: 
03Sep2015

One of the signature onboard activities that Royal Caribbean has become well-known for is the rock climbing wall.  Since the first rock climbing wall debuted on a Royal Caribbean ship, the experience has spread to every other ship in the fleet making it a favorite among guests.

Rock climbing walls were added to all of Royal Caribbean's ships following great guest feedback.

The 30-foot rock wall offers different tracks for various experience levels and is open for most of the day.  

It's open to kids and adults and Royal Caribbean provides all the safety equipment that you will need, including helmets, harnesses and shoes.  You just need to bring a pair of socks.

Climbers need to be at least 6 years old and sign a waiver.  Climbing the rock wall is free and no reservations are required.

For advanced climbers, Royal Caribbean will offer advanced climbing sessions, speed-climbing competitions and for teens, teen tournaments.

Photo by Dale Morton

On the Oasis class cruise ships, you will find two rock climbing walls, which offer double the capacity of climbers compared to other ships in the fleet.

What makes the rock climbing wall so much fun is that it is an exhilarting challenge to try and climb up all the way to the top and ring that bell to let everyone around know you conquered it.

There are different paths on the rock wall to allow beginner climbers and advanced climbers alike have a go at it.  Once you conquer one side, try the next side!

Royal Caribbean's rock climbing walls are a great way to stay active, challenge yourself and have fun all at the same time!

Have you tried the rock climbing wall yet? Tell us how you did in the comments!

Doing EVERYTHING on a Royal Caribbean cruise: What would it cost?

In:
Category: 
19Dec2013

I was inspired by a friend, who wrote a blog post about what it would cost to do everything in Walt Disney World, to figure out how much would it cost to indulge and do everything on a Royal Caribbean cruise.  After all, Royal Caribbean is always looking for ways for its guests to spend money and there's a lot available to do on Royal Caribbean ships.

In order to figure this out, I need to set up this hypothetical experiment.  First, we have to define the parameters of our research.  We will assume this would be attempted on a single Royal Caribbean ship (sorry, trying to do everything across the entire fleet just isn't practical).  

Next, I have to come up with what constitutes "doing something".  If there's an excursion that offers cave tubing and a beach break and then there's another excursion with just a beach break, does that mean I need to do both or just one?  The all encompassing excursion sounds good to me.  

All the prices and assumptions you will see are assumed for one person.  It's easier to calculate for just one person and if by some miracle I could ever win the lottery, then I suppose I could bring someone else along.  Until then, this is a solo experiment (sorry wife and daughter).

Next is the ship.  Royal Caribbean has a lot of ships and what they offer on one ship may not be available on another.  I decided to pick Oasis of the Seas with the idea being it's their flagship class and thus, offers the latest and greatest and in my experience, has the most to offer its guests.

What about the stateroom? There are many different stateroom types on Oasis of the Seas. It would be all but impossible to stay in every one of them. To simplify things, I decided to price out the cost for my arbitrary cruise for what would allow me to credibly say that I had stayed at that hotel. Usually this meant I chose the cheapest balcony cabin. It's not as cheap as inside but not as crazy expensive as a suite.

For the specialty restaurants, the cover charge restaurants are the easiest since it's a flat fee.  For the a la carte restaurants, I decided to pay whatever cover charge there was plus one entree.  There isn't any more logic here than "sounded good at the time".

For everything else, I had to use my judgement for what to include and exclude.  

  • In the case of ordering cakes, I decided one cake was all I needed.  
  • In the case of spa treatments, if there were spa treatments with different times, I chose the longer one.  
  • For shore excursions, I picked one shore excursion per port since you really can't do more than one per day, per cruise.
  • I included no discounts or coupons in the prices.
  • I haven’t factored transportation fees into my plan at all. I’d need a flight and certainly a rental car. Or possibly I’d drive down and then have gas expenses throughout.

The experiment

As I said, I picked Oasis of the Seas as my guinea pig.  I wanted to pick an "average cruise" so Christmas or other holiday cruises are way too expensive, as are hurricane season cruises.  I went with May since it's after spring break and before the real summer rush. 

Here is a link to the spreadsheet I used for figuring everything out.

The largest chunk of cost comes from the spa, which when you add gratuity to all the service costs comes out most expensive.  This is followed up by the basic cruise costs plus a few basic add ons.  Gifts are next up in terms of cost followed by excursions, restaurants and other miscellaneous items.

Relatively speaking, the specialty restaurants don't really add up and to me, that was a surprise.  The spa cost being the most expensive is eye opening but then again, I think most people realize the spa services are somewhat expensive to begin with.  

Adding it all up, the total for everything on this cruise is $11,840.75.  Our price does not include transportation, which would probably add a few hundred dollars or so for either a flight and a car rental, or auto wear and tear and gas.

Fun things to do on Royal Caribbean: Carousel

In:
22Aug2013

Royal Caribbean has made a name for itself by offering fun things to do onboard its ships, especially things that are unique and new to the cruise industry.  When Oasis of the Seas was built, among the many innovations that WOW'ed guests, was something elegant and simple: a carousel.

Located in the Boardwalk neighborhood on Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, is the first ever carousel-at-sea. Hand-crafted and especially designed by Carousel Works for Royal Caribbean International, this full-sized, traditional carousel is truly one-of-a-kind.

Given that the Boardwalk area is inspired by the nostalgic seaside boardwalks of the past, it's a modern tribute to a time gone by. The carousel uses turn-of-the-century carousel designs as its basis down to the very last detail.  Even the original artwork scenery panels located on the carousel’s eight Rounding Boards feature custom painted scenes to highlight the wistfulness of life on the historic boardwalks.

In addition to the great history, the carousel is just plain fun for kids and adults. Eighteen figures are suspended from stainless steel poles along with one ADA accessible chariot that were created from poplar wood populate the carousel.  There are eleven carousel horses that follow a tradition carousel design, including one intricately designed Royal Caribbean lead armored horse, that even features the crown and anchor logo.  Designers also included other animals such as a zebra, giraffe, jaguar elephant, lion and even a crowned frog prince. The stationary chariot on Oasis of the Seas is an elegant peacock, while the stationary chariot on Allure of the Seas is an elegantly adorned traditional carriage.

Be sure to also check out the carousel at night because like the fairs of the past, nighttime is when these rides really shine when they are all lit up.

No cruise on an Oasis-class ship is complete without at least one ride on the carousel, with perhaps an ice cream cone to compliment it.  Handlebar moustache and flapper skirt optional.