September 1, 2017
Just the Facts:
Ship: Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas
Captain: Claus Anderson
Cruise Director: Ken
Ports: Shanghai China - Okinawa Japan - Hong Kong, China - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - Singapore, Malaysia
This is my 23rd Royal Caribbean cruise, the third time to sail the Mariner of the Seas, and 130th cruise overall. I am cruising as a solo. I have never cruised in Asian waters so this a unique cruise for me and I am looking forward to the experience.
Tuesday-Wednesday / Travel / August 29-30, 2017
|Pudong area of Shanghai - largest city in the world
Thursday / Shanghai China / August 31st / Day 0
|My friend at Confucius Temple
Friday / Shanghai China / Embarkation / September 1st / Day 1
|Communist Party Monument in Peoples Square
Saturday / Day at Sea / September 2nd / Day 2
Very calm seas as we sailed down the Yangtze River last night, but it was rocking once we reached the East China Sea in the morning hours. Captain says some influence of a typhoon out to sea. I went to the MDR for a very enjoyable breakfast early then spent the rest of the day updating this review and spending time on the balcony. Nice chairs and large table on balcony so I can work on the computer or have a drink or meal out there enjoying the sea air and view. Note photo that there always a combination of sea and shade so perfect. I did eat lunch in the Windjammer but brought dessert back to eat. I got some Chinese Coca-Cola Light and watched the sun set from the balcony too. Very nice. It was now time for cocktails in the Concierges Lounge and thy have been very nice. The feature show in the theater tonight was Gallery of Dreams as well as other entertainment throughout the ship including the Captain's champagne toast just before dinner. Same four guests at dinner tonight and the servers did a much better job serving tonight including bread and tea readily available. For dinner I ordered the Bay Scallop Gratin, Royal Shrimp Cocktail, and the Carved Filet of Beef Tenderloin. All were very good. After dinner I retired to rest before an early meet time for a private excursion tomorrow. It was a nice first sea day on the Mariner of the Seas.
Sunday / Okinawa, Japan / September 3rd / Day 3
|Shuri Castle Throne Room
Monday / Day at Sea / September 4th / Day 4
Smoother seas overnight and I slept very well although still waking early. I did some internet work and went out on the balcony as we sailed so very close to the northern tip of Taiwan about 7:30 am. Then it was to the MDR for a nice proper breakfast, this morning I had Eggs Benedict. I attended the Cruise Critic meet & greet at 10:00 and won a water bottle and highlighter in the raffle. I enjoyed two very nice hot teas as I have a bit of a sore throat this morning. I’m going for an alcohol free day today and I did bring my Mexican antibiotics. So the plan is just rest today. A bit warm and humid on the balcony today so...I went up to the Windjammer for some lunch and once I returned I watched a show on Netflix then closed my eyes for a nap about 3:30 pm. I didn’t wake until 3:30 am so a very looooooong restful nap. It was a successful rest & recovery day on the Mariner of the Seas.
Tuesday / Hong Kong / September 5th / Day 5
|Fantastic views of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak
Wednesday / Day at Sea / September 6th / Day 6
|Ice Under the Big Top
Thursday / Day at Sea / September 7th / Day 7
|View from deck 10 elevator lobby
Friday / Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam / September 8th / Day 8
|City Hall & Ho Chi Minh statue
Saturday / Day at Sea / September 9th / Day 9
Sunday / Singapore / Debarkation / September 10th
|MerLion in Singapore
Monday / Travel / September 11th
I was up at 5:00 am and met my driver at 6:00 am for the trip to Singapore airport. I like the early flights as customs and immigration was very easy with fewer people. I was boarding my 4 hour Hong Kong flight by 7:40 am without a problem. My first time to fly on Cathy Pacific a very nice airline. Hong Kong airport was a smooth transit as well and I boarded my 14 hour American Airlines flight to DFW about 2:00 pm. After several movies, three meals, and a very sore bottom we arrived in Dallas/Fort Worth about 4:30 pm still on Monday with the 12 time zone change. My Waco flight is at 5:35 so it will be very tight. I had to retrieve our bags, go through customs, recheck bags, go through security again, then terminal change to catch the flight. I made it…everyone was boarded and I was last on the airplane but I made it and arrived in Waco by 6:30 pm. Unfortunately one bag did not make it to Waco from DFW. Nineteen air hours and about 24+ hours in travel time, but overall very pleased with the long travel day.
Cabins - Crew
I had cabin 8690 an aft facing balcony cabin located on deck 8 on port side corner. No aft elevators on Voyager class ships so a hike to the mid elevators, but the great aft view from the balcony makes this cabin worthwhile. Typical Royal Caribbean room plan. It’s fine for two people, spacious for one with small couch, button type safe, two electrical outlets on counter/dresser, Telephone on side table, Chair at Dresser, Hair dryer in drawer, and a small flat screen TV. There is an empty refrigerator and as a D+ guest I had Cookies and four Heineken beers on embarkation. The bed and bedding were great. Good shower pressure and water temperature too. The ships crew I encountered were very friendly. My cabin steward was great, the cabin was always clean. The cabin came with a kettle that I’m sure the British and apparently Chinese appreciate. I actually asked to have it removed for more space.
Dining / Food / Bars
I thought the Windjammer on Lido deck was only average and not as good as I have experienced in the past. The MDR food and service became better as the cruise progressed. LOVED the Concierges Lounge and Diamond lounge. Room service charges ($7.95) now for anything beyond a continental breakfast…too much for a solo traveler.
IMHO I don’t think the overall quality standards on this ship are up to usual Royal Caribbean standards. Perhaps because it was based in China? I know they were transitioning to International guests with menus, signage, and more. Hopefully a dry dock scheduled for her soon. That said I really enjoyed this cruise very much...primarily due to the ports and something NEW and different for this old cruiser.
HiGHLIGHTS OF THE CRUISE
Ho Chi Minh City private tour
Experience of Shanghai (hotel, the City, tour, food)
Mariner of the Seas Concierges Lounge
Hong Kong and private tour
Fullerton Hotel in Singapore
~~~ click photos to enlarge / click links for more information ~~~