Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas Virtual Tour & Review

If you’ve read my long review on Mariner of the Seas, you’d know that we truly enjoyed our 8D7N cruise vacation to Thailand and Vietnam. As promised, I’d bring you on a virtual tour on this gigantic cruise liner today.

Now, first-time cruisers often have many preconceptions about sailing. They may fear that the food on the ship is terrible, that days spent onboard are a claustrophobic’s worst nightmare, that cruise is simply boring, or that they might suffer from seasickness.

Truth be told, I’m prone to seasickness too. Even an hour ferry journey to Bintan makes me feel nausea. However, on a large modern ship like Mariner of the Seas, you won’t feel much movement. I felt very, very minimal movement of the ship and hence, no seasickness at all.

To me, these preconceptions are completely untrue for Mariner of the Seas. It’s VERY family-friendly with impeccable service, great food and awesome fun times. The moment we boarded the cruise, we thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

Mariner of the Seas at Laem ChaBangMariner of the Seas at Laem ChaBang, Thailand

Mariner of the Seas is 311m long with a breadth of 38m at waterline level (49m at the bridge wings). The liner has a passenger capacity of 3,807 passengers, accommodated in 1,557 staterooms, of which almost 50% have balconies. Lastly, the crew capacity is 1,185.

Now, I shall bring you on a deck by deck virtual tour on Mariner of the Seas. Take a deep breath, let’s go! =)

Edison on Mariner of the Seas

Deck 2 – 4

Deck 0 and Deck 1 are the dry/cold storage areas and the ship’s utilities, hotel stores and laundry. There’s also a medical facility on Deck 1.

Deck 2 includes the conference centre, board room, and multimedia screening room/cinema. The large conference centre has dedicated facilities that caters up to 400 guests.

Mariner of the Seas Screening Room on Deck 2Multimedia screening room/cinema
Board Room on Deck 2The Board Room

Forward on Deck 3 is the mid-level of the Savoy Theatre with a capacity of 1,320 guests. It’s the main venue for musical extravaganzas with ultra-modern light and sound systems. There’s also Studio B, a 900-seat arena for ice shows and ice skating using a sliding floor underneath. It also houses an art and photo gallery, as well as a broadcasting room.

The Savoy TheatreThe Savoy Theatre
Mariner of the Seas Ice-skating ringIce-skating ring

From Deck 3 to 5, there’s the glorious three-tier Main Dining Room, themed to reflect the classic musical favourites, Rhapsody in Blue (Deck 3), Top Hat & Tails (Deck 4), and Sound of Music (Deck 5). It accommodates 1,900 people! This is, of course, my #1 top favourite place on the cruise.

Main Dining Room Mariner of the SeasEntrance to the Main Dining Room

Main Dining Room Mariner of the Seas

Main Dining Room Mariner of the SeasThe most elegant Main Dining Room

Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas Review

This marks our first Royal Caribbean cruise vacation, and we were SO excited about it. We’ve been on SuperStar Virgo twice in 2010 and 2012, and the cruise duration was only 4D3N. This time, we’ve decided to indulge in a long cruise with Mariner of the Seas from Singapore to Laem Chabang (Thailand) and Phu My (Ho Chi Minh Vietnam). Here goes my long post on Mariner of the Seas review.

Mariner of the Seas used to be Royal Caribbean’s biggest vessel in Southeast Asia until Ovation of the Seas came along recently. I always wonder how much bigger Mariner of the Seas is as compared to SuperStar Virgo. So, I did some background check.

Mariner of the Seas

Mariner of the Seas vs. SuperStar Virgo
- Mariner of the Seas SuperStar Virgo
Length 311m 268m
Width 49m 32m
Number decks 14 13
Capacity (no. of passenger) 3807 2800
Crew 1185 1300
Number of cabins 1557 935

 

Mariner of the Seas Review

I will divide the Mariner of the Seas review into several sections, so you can easily navigate to the one that interests you.

1. Check-in and Boarding

Check-in Mariner of the Seas
Prior to our trip, I’ve read horrible reviews about the long waiting time to check-in and board the cruise. So, we were mentally prepared it. However, our check-in and boarding process was done so swiftly and efficiently. Overall, we took just about an hour to board the cruise. So, the bad reviews turned out to be untrue (or perhaps they have improved it since then).

We did the online check-in with our travel agency and had all our boarding passes and luggage tags printed before we checked-in. There is a designated check-in time for every deck, so this helps to regulate the crowd and reduce the waiting time. Basically, the whole process looks like this:

Deposit check-in luggage before you enter the building -> queue at the counters for carry-on baggage scan -> queue at the check-in counter to get your SeaPass (photos will be taken here) -> queue at the immigration counter to stamp your passports -> voila! you can board the majestic cruise now!

At the check-in counter, you can link your SeaPass card to your credit card to pay for on-board expenses. Alternatively, you can also pay by cash. SeaPass card acts like your identity card while you’re on-board. You’ll use it for your room access, charge card and disembarkation at the destinations.

Overall, our check-in and boarding process was smooth and fast. Our rating: 5/5

2. The Cabin

Mariner of the Seas Review

We stayed in a Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom on Deck 6 with the size of 184 sq. ft. with a balcony of 50 sq. ft. The room comes with a king-size bed, a Pullman bed, sitting area with sofa, vanity area, wardrobe, and bathroom with shower. The cabin looked older than we’ve expected (even though the cruise was refurbished in 2012). The insides of the cabinets were rather dusty, so we had to clean the table and shelves before we unpacked our luggage.

Pull-out BedA Pullman bed for Edison to sleep on (stuff toys are our own lol)

Mariner of the Seas Review

The bathroom has limited toiletries – only soap and shampoo (in dispenser) are provided. It would be good if they can provide hair conditioner and moisturiser too. During our stay, we noticed that our room was cleaned twice a day – which truly impressed us. The room attendant will clean our room in the morning and evening.

Every night when we returned to our room, we were greeted by a small gesture – towel animal of different design every night! One night, we couldn’t see any towel animal on our bed. We began to wonder and then caught by surprise when we saw a towel monkey hanging from the Pullman bed. Haha! He will prepare the Cruise Compass (daily program sheet) and Kids Daily Planner for us every night. He also responded to our requests promptly.

Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas Review

Even though the cabin was slightly old, we were VERY happy with the room service. Thus, we gave it a 4/5 rating!

3. Food Quality

One of the most important parts of a cruise is their FOOD, of course!

There’s a wide range of dining options on board. Complimentary meals include: 1) multi-course meals for breakfast/lunch/dinner at the Main Dining Room, 2) buffet-style meals for breakfast/lunch/dinner at Windjammer Café, 3) 24-hours snacks at Café Promenade, and 4) snacks/ice-cream at Dog House and Arctic Zone at certain timings.

There is also various specialty dining where you need to top-up a fee ranging from US$25 – $85 per person, for instance, Chef’s Table at Chops Grille and Giovanni’s Table, Italian Dining. There’s also a paid fast-food outlet, Johnny Rockets on Deck 12, where you can enjoy burgers and fries overlooking the beautiful sea view.

Mariner of the Seas ReviewMain Dining Room on Decks 3, 4 and 5

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, Pattaya

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden is a 500-acre (over 2 square kilometres) botanical garden and tourist attraction in Pattaya that is famed for its themed gardens such as the 17th century French Garden and the European Renaissance garden.

When I added it into our Pattaya itinerary, V was so puzzled and he asked me repeatedly if I’m 100% sure that I want to go. To him, I’m not that kind of person who would enjoy walking around the garden – especially if it’s outdoor and under the hot sun.

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden is ranked #2 on Trip Advisor Things to do in Pattaya. From the various travel guides that I’ve read, I’m convinced that the garden is breath-taking and worth checking out. So, I thought we should not miss it too. And I’ll prep myself with lots of sun-block, cap and even umbrella, if need to.

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden

We hired a private car to fetch us from Laem ChaBang port (where our cruise docked) for a one-day tour in Pattaya. Our first destination was Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden. We wanted to reach there early before the weather turned unbearably hot. The journey took an hour as the traffic was quite slow.

Walk-in admission fees (excluding elephant show + ride) are priced at 500 Baht (~S$20) for adult and 300 Baht (~S$12) for child. There are various package prices available with add-ons such as Thai Cultural Show, Elephant Show, Elephant Riding and Buffet Lunch. As we didn’t intend to stay for long, we just got ourselves the basic admission tickets.

The first thing that captured my attention was the massive amount of sculptures of animals and insects in the garden. At first, I thought it was a bit weird but apparently Edison was fascinated with them that he went around taking pictures using his camera phone.

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden

Not far from the entrance, there’s also a food court that serves delicious local food. It’s amazingly cheap too. We had yummy glass noodles beef soup at just 50 Baht (S$2 only!).

As we ventured deeper into the botanical garden, we were greeted by an incredible sight of garden landscape. This is the Butterfly Hill where you can see a huge amount of colourful flowers that resemble the colour pattern of a butterfly wing.

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical GardenThe Butterfly Hill

Swiss Sheep Farm Pattaya Thailand

During our cruise vacation on Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas last week, we had two days stay at Laem ChaBang, Thailand. So, we visited Pattaya which is about 45 mins drive away. Among the few places in our itinerary, Swiss Sheep Farm Pattaya is the one that we enjoyed most.

Personally, I find that Swiss Sheep Farm Pattaya is a combination of pseudo-European sightseeing attraction and animal farm. Everything is done SO beautifully and the tickets are inexpensive. Only 180 Baht for adult (~S$7.20) and 150 Baht for child (~S$6.00).

Swiss Sheep Farm

The entrance ticket also includes sheep feeding activities. Basically, every visitor will be given a handful of grasses to feed the sheep. Additional animal food, i.e. milk for the baby sheep, carrots for the horses and alpaca, etc. can be purchased at a small token of 20 Baht.

Swiss Sheep Farm Ticket

Swiss Sheep Farm Pattaya

For a city boy like Edison, animal feeding is always a thrill. This time, he gets to bottle-feed the baby sheep (his first time!) and he was extremely excited. Additionally, he also get to see alpacas that are as tall as a human adult and farm animals roaming around freely in the farm.

Swiss Sheep Farm

I’ve recorded two short videos of him feeding the animals. =)

Overall, Swiss Sheep Farm Pattaya is a great place to visit. It’s beautiful, clean and well-maintained. The farm is not very big, we spent slightly more than an hour here. Most of the areas are outdoor, but there are sufficient sheltered areas for visitors to take a shield from the blazing sun. Yup, the weather was SO hot and it reminded me of summer in Kaohsiung.

Here are some pictures taken at the farm. If you’re visiting Pattaya with kids, I’d recommend Swiss Sheep Farm to you. I’m sure your kids will enjoy the animal farm too!

Swiss Sheep Farm

Swiss Sheep Farm