Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Our Royal Caribbean Cruise on Mariner of the Seas October 2017
This was our first cruise vacation and we were eagerly looking forward to it. It was definitely an experience in itself....One of the best vacations we've had.
We booked a 5 days 4 Nights cruise to Penang and Langkawi from Singapore on Royal Caribbean 's "Mariner of the Seas" ...Monday the 23rd of October to Friday 27th October 2017.
This was the itinerary:
Day 1 : Depart Singapore at 4.30 PM
Day 2: Penang 3 PM to 10 PM
Day 3 : Langkawi 8 AM to 6 PM
Day 4 : Cruising
Day 5 : Arrive Singapore 8 AM
We reached Marina Bay Cruise Centre, Singapore around 11 AM.
We had completed our online check in two days prior to the cruise , printed the luggage tags as well as the set sail pass which was exchanged for the Seas pass card at the check in counter. The Sea Pass Card is our room key , our credit card for on board purchases and also acts as our passport at ports of call.
There is a designated check in time for each deck so that the process is quick and smooth.
We were assigned colour codes at the check in counter and had to wait for immigration till our colour (ours was white) was called out... However in less than an hour we were on board the ship..
We preferred to carry the luggage ourselves as I had read reviews that the check in baggage would take time to reach us. But we found that all baggages were dropped at the respective staterooms by early evening.
Once on board we were ushered for a welcome photo which could be purchased during disembarkation.
We were then led to the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11 which is the buffet section on board .... the only restaurant open on boarding day....
There’s a mix of Western, Chinese, Indian and Japanese food.
The "Jade" inside the "Windjammer" has a wide range of Indian options . I was really surprised and relieved on seeing the variety of Jain food .... Perhaps because there were around 1700 Indians for this voyage due to Diwali holidays.
Hand sanitizers are made available at the entrance to the buffet area.
As you enter the Windjammer, to your left is Giovanni's Table an Italian restaurant and to your right is Chops Grill a popular steak house....Both speciality restaurants .... which means it's at an additional charge.
Outside the Windjammer is the Boardwalk Dog House for complimentary hotdogs and sausages......
And Frozen yoghurt at the Arctic Zone
During lunch there was the announcement that the staterooms were ready to be occupied.
Post lunch it was time to check into our cabin. Ours was hump balcony stateroom 8318 on Deck 8 star board side (ie right side of the ship when facing the engine), mid ship.
The cabin was comfortably spacious and neat. There's enough and more storage space in the room.
The balcony was good enough for us to enjoy the sea breeze and the scenery at ports of call.
The bathroom though small was comfortable enough.
All cruise ships are required to do a safety drill before departure. Accordingly, upon announcement we proceeded to deck 4 for the mandatory drill. We then returned to our cabin, freshened up and then.....this being our first cruise decided to venture around the ship.
The elevator carpets showed the day of the week.
The first thing we did was visit the shopping street (yes a shopping street inside the ship).....The Royal Promenade on Deck 5 ....With high end shops selling souvenirs, perfume, jewellery, watches, handbags, liquor, cruise wear etc etc .....There are cafes and bars on either side.
The Cafe Promenade is available for complimentary coffee, soft drinks, snacks and pastries all day round...We had our evening tea here and some snacks....Also took part in a free raffle draw at the Promenade.
Next to the Cafe Promenade is Ben and Jerry's where you can enjoy ice creams of your choice at an additional cost.
And then there is the Shore excursion desks where we booked our shore excursions to Penang and Langkawi.
There's also the Next Cruise desk where you can book a future cruise...
The Guest Services Desk for any queries, reporting lost goods (like I retrieved my bag that I had forgotten in a restroom in a public area....They are so prompt and professional ), money exchange etc...
The Promenade staterooms have windows opening into the Royal Promenade...
We then watched a 3D children's movie in the Savoy Theatre on Deck 4 and then proceeded to the main dining hall for dinner .
The main dining hall spans across 3 decks......Rhapsody in Blue on Deck 3, Top Hat and Tails on Deck 4 and The Sound of Music on Deck 5.
We were assigned a table for 2 at The Sound of Music on Deck 5 for 8.00 PM, My Time Dining. There's an earlier seating at 5.30 PM as well.
Dinner consists of a starter, main course and dessert. Portions are large. We opted for the Indian set menu.
Mr. Danielle and Mr Ferdi the waiters assigned to our table made our fine dining experience so much enjoyable.
Most of our meals were at Windjammer the complimentary buffet area on Deck 11.
Lovely Jain food....Puri bhaji, Pav bhaji, idli, dosa, sambar, chutney, chole batura, rava kichdi, varieties of rice preparations, dals, noodles, potato subji, cauliflower fry, pakoras, chick pea curry ( both black and white), drumstick rasam, dal shorba, spicy buttermilk, bread and cheese, fruit halwa, eggless cakes, variety of juices were some of the many items at "Jade" the Indian Veg section of the Windjammer Cafe.....
We met Mr Einstein Mohan Kumar the exec chef and Mr. Sushil Abraham the Head of Dining who narrated to us the various aspects of catering arrangements made in the ship.
There's food everywhere in the ship...
Come on i told myself...This is a cruise vacation ..
I allowed myself to forget dieting and enjoy food....
And ....then there's the "Vitality at Sea fitness Centre"...A well equipped gym on Deck 11 to burn out all those extra calories gained... :)
Deck 13, is the Sports Deck with rock climbing wall, inline skating track, volley ball, basketball court, mini golf course, tennis and much more.
There's also a Jogging path, on Deck 12 ....
.....and Vitality at Sea Spa for beauty salon and spa treatments at additional charge, Royal Babies and Tots Nursery where parents can leave their little ones in the care of trained professionals while they go around and have time for themselves.. Adventure Ocean .. a play area for children between 3 and 17 , Johnny Rockets where you can enjoy burgers, fries etc at additional charge.
Again on Deck 11 is the Pool Area...
Watch movies on the Outdoor movie screen including children's cartoons on the poolside screen under the stars...
There's a lot to do in this ship....the pools including the Solarium and the steam room, jacuzzi, whirlpools, casino, bar, theatre, shows and movies, a gym, video game arcade, ice skating rink in Studio B, etc.....
The screening room where we watched a movie
Studio B on Deck 3.....A studio complex with various activities....The show "Ice Under the Big Top" was the best show on board ....There were 4 shows to ensure that all guests get a chance to watch the performance.
Art and Photo Gallery....
Art auction on the last day
Peek a boo Bridge...Area where you can look through a window at the activity on the Ships Bridge (the engine room and captain)
Wifi is really expensive and we opted to remain disconnected from the outside world and enjoy 5 days to ourselves. RC Online is located on Deck 8 and for an additional fee it's possible to access the internet here.
The internet cafe with computer work stations near our stateroom....
Deck 7 has a library..... It's complimentary. Did not find it that great. If you have books which you want to donate after reading you may do so.
This is a Mega Ship with different Nationalities, extended families traveling together, multitude of cultures.....We were flabbergasted. The ship was full to its capacity with around 3200 passengers of which around 1700 were Indians we were told.
Each time we leave our room, the room attendant comes in and tidies up the place.... Each evening we come back to the room we find a towel animal... folded by the room attendant ... waiting for us on our bed :)
The cruise compass for the next day would also be made available in the cabin every evening.
The cruise compass is our daily planner on board to help us plan our activities at sea. .....
Our day 4 cruise schedule...
There is also the kids daily planner....
The Chapel on Deck 15 which can be accessed by stairs only.....
And Cloud Nine just below the chapel.....For private receptions or a game of cards, bridge tournament etc......Ellington's Lounge.......Concierge club on Deck 9
Seven Hearts on Deck 14 for guests who wish to play a quiet game of cards.....
Deck 10 has no public areas. Suite rooms are accommodated here and on Deck 9.
Then there is the Schooner Bar...For drinks...There was a team quiz competition held here on the last day....
Conference Centre on Deck 2
The Lotus Lounge ... Enjoy live music and dance...
We had 2 Port days. The ship docked at Penang and Langkawi. We opted to get off the ship at the ports. We had purchased the shore excursions arranged by the ship but they are very expensive.
View of Penang from our stateroom balcony
View of Lankawi pier from the Windjammer
There are a lot of taxis available at the port and you can hire them and go out on your own. That works out to be much much more cheaper.
Look out for my post on Penang and Lankawi.
Yes...This is the last night on board....
View sunset from our balcony
The night is still young....Join a dance party with DJ Savio...Dance under the stars at the pool deck.
A farewell song by the staff in the main dining hall...
The disembarkation time allocated to us was 8:15am, therefore we went to have breakfast at 7am at Windjammer.
As the ship returns to Singapore...View of Marina Bay Cruise Centre from our stateroom balcony...
We enjoyed each and every moment of those 5 days....All good things must come to an end....Disembarkation was actually fast and efficient ........
To sum it up...Mariner of the Seas is a perfect place for a perfect vacation....
Come to think of it, .... It was a Royal Life that we had on Royal Caribbean....