Bear with me as I write this blog. Internet on the Mariner has been spotty and slow. I hear that they will be getting better internet soon.
Days Inn, Titusville, Florida
We stayed at the Days Inn in Titusville the day before our cruise. We decided to book our hotel and our parking separately this time. We’ve stayed at this Days Inn before. This was not the best stay at this Days Inn for us. The room was clean enough, but the neighbors weren’t the greatest. I walked past one young man and got a whiff of the unmistakable scent of weed. Then in the room, the smell kept wafting in through the AC unit. Not my favorite smell to fall asleep to. We won’t stay here again, although the price was good.
We did, however, manage to catch the launch of the SpaceX spaceship, which was pretty cool. If you want to see more of my cruising and travel shorts, please subscribe to The Quiet Cruiser on YouTube.
We chose to book Port Canaveral Parking at 3050 N. Courtenay Parkway on Merritt Island. I’ll be doing a separate review on them later after we see how easy it is to get back to our car. They did a pretty good job of getting us to the port as the scheduled time. They did not give us directions on how to find them after the cruise. Here is my review from after we picked up our car.
I stayed up till midnight on check in day so that we could get early embarkation. We ended up with the first check in time, 10:30 am. We got to the Terminal at just about the right time, and headed in. There was quite a long line for security, we waited in line maybe ten minutes or so. Once we got to the security area, it didn’t take long at all. We had to put everything on the conveyor to be X-rayed, and walk through the normal metal detector. After that we went straight to the check in area, showed them our passport and our SetSail pass on the RC app on my phone. We were told to have a seat and they’d call us when boarding started. We sat down and watched our Muster Drill video on the app to get that out of the way.
Boarding started just after 11:00 AM with the upper tiers. Diamond, Suites, Pinnacle, and the Key groups went first. That didn’t take more than a few minutes, then they started calling boarding groups by their check in times. Since we were 10:30 check in, we went first after the upper tiers. Then we walked straight onto the ship. Very easy embarkation.
The RC App
The app is helpful, but not always reliable on ship internet. I was not able to load the entertainment on my app, while my husband was able to load his. And the internet is spotty around the ship.
Onto the ship
We walked onto the ship and decided to go to the Windjammer Buffet first for some lunch. Since we were early, it was easy to find a seat. We had bought the soft drink package ahead of our cruise, so we went to the bar in the Windjammer to get our drinks. All we needed was our SetSail pass on our app, since we didn’t have our room card yet. There are FreeForm Coke Machines in the buffet and on the Promenade, deck 5. The machines work, but not great. The touch screen doesn’t always respond. You can refill them at the bars too.
There was a good amount of variety of food in the Windjammer for lunch. I decided to start out with a healthy meal, so I got a salad. The healthy didn’t last long. But the food was very good.
Our Promenade Overlook room
We had been trying for a Royal Up upgrade from Royal Caribbean, but we didn’t get it. A Royal Up upgrade is where you bid on different types of cabins. They have a minimum bid, but you can bid more to up your chances. But our Promenade Overlook cabin is nice.
It’s smaller than an oceanview or balcony cabin, but larger than an interior. It has a window seat and a picture window that overlooks the Royal Promenade. Our Steward is Gus, and he’s been very helpful so far. But I do miss my balcony.
The promenade rooms on deck 8 are pretty quiet, although our neighbors have been noisy late at night. Some light does come in from the promenade, which is lit all night. Bring a sleep mask. There are a few channels on the in room TV.
We’ve sailed on Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas before. Both have huge promenade decks. Mariner has a similar Royal Promenade, but smaller. Our cabin looks down on the Cafe Promenade. This is a small complimentary restaurant where you can get regular coffee, and assorted teas. You can also get small sandwiches, fruits, and desserts, as well as pizza. There is also an upcharge coffee restaurant attached. You can stroll down the Promenade, it’s quite long. Along the way you’ll find different shops and bars. You’ll also find items on sale. The Promenade is on deck five in the center of the ship.
Since we were trying to stay away from Hurricane Fiona on this cruise, the Captain sailed away early. We left Port Canaveral at about 3:35 pm, instead of 4 pm. We didn’t go to the sail away party on the pool deck, but instead watched from the Helipad. You can access this from deck 4, then up the stairway at the front of the ship. It’s a good place to watch sail away, and has benches. You could see that it was storming on the Florida coast, but we were dry.
Our first night at dinner was very pleasant. We chose the 5:30 PM dining time, because we love to sit with others and get to know them. We were at table 422, with Randy and Cezar as our waiters. It always amazes me how the waiters can remember your names and your likes and dislikes. We had two other couples and a solo cruiser as our table mates, and we had some pleasant conversation.
I chose a crab cake and French Onion soup as my appetizers, and both were very good. I had Prime Rib with mashed potatoes and broccoli, and it was delicious, as was the Key Lime pie for dessert. This key lime was much better than last time on Carnival Pride.
The Ice Show…
Mariner of the Seas has an Ice Skating rink on deck 3 in Studio B. We were going to go to the 7 pm show of Ice Under the BigTop, in the skating rink. Dinner ended up taking longer than we expected, so we went to the 9:15 show. I have to say that this show was wonderful, and a do not miss show. I highly recommend it. I may go and see it again, it was that good.
I found out during dinner that everyone has a little bit of money attached to their Sea Pass card that they can use in the Casino. We had been toying with the idea of gambling a bit to try and get good cruise deals. We went to the casino and I tried it. Honestly, I’m not a winner. I got $4 gambling money, and it was gone in two minutes. Well, I have 30 cents left. I think that our idea of gambling is going to be put on hold.
My views so far…
It’s still kind of early to make a judgement on this cruise since we’ve only been on the ship for a day. I have to say that there are a lot of kids on the ship, more than I thought that there’d be for a mid- September cruise. And, the ship is very full. I’d say that they are at full capacity now. The large majority of people are not wearing masks and there is no social distancing. If that makes you uncomfortable, now is not the time to cruise.
All in all, it was a very nice first day on the Mariner of the Seas. She sails very smoothly so far, even with a hurricane in the Atlantic. There seems to be lots to do and plenty to see. I’ll be posting more tomorrow, so be sure to stay tuned.