Having not gone for a cruise since 2011 (3 years already!), Kate and I decided to indulge in a long cruise with Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas from Singapore to Laem Chabang (Thailand) and Phu My (Ho Chi Minh Vietnam)!
We chose the 8D7N cruise from Singapore to Laem Chabang, Thailand and Phu My, Vietnam mainly because it gave us an opportunity to visit Vietnam and Thailand without having to spend on airfares. Of course, we were really impressed by Royal Caribbean’s programmes, food and service the last time we sailed aboard the Legend of the Seas to Semarang, Lombok and Bali so we decided to go again with RCC to check out the Mariner of the Seas.
Speaking of the Mariner of the Seas, it is RCC’s biggest vessel yet in Southeast Asia. Previously, the Legend of the Seas (from the Vision Class of ship) was 70,000 tonnes, 264 metres long and 32 metres wide. But with the Mariner of the Seas (from the Voyager Class of ship), the specifications “increases” to 138,000 tonnes, 310 metres long and 48 metres wide, making it a larger class of ship which equates to better facilities. In the next section, we’ll show you deck by deck what is inside the Mariner of the Seas!
Deck Layout of Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
There are 15 decks onboard the Mariner of the Seas (well, 15 that are accessible to passengers) and we’ll start our coverage from deck 15! Do note that for each deck, we’ll be introducing from the aft to the forward part of the ship in the section headings in bold.
Deck 15 : Skylight Chapel
The Skylight Chapel is a venue where solemnisation of weddings can be done at deck 15 (highest deck of the ship) with a seating capacity of 40. Wonder if anyone has really done their solemnisation aboard yet?
Deck 14 : Viking Crown Lounge , Ellington’s Jazz Club, Cloud Nine, Seven Hearts, Diamond Club
As you can see from the picture, the Viking Crown Lounge offers a great view overlooking the pool deck and jogging track. Next to it is Ellington’s Jazz Club where you can chill and listen to some light soothing tunes. The Seven Hearts and Cloud Nine are essentially gaming rooms for mahjong, poker etc. Last but not least, the Diamond Club is an exclusive lounge for Crown and Anchor Society members who have attained Diamond status and above.
Deck 13 : Mini Golf, In-line Skating, Basketball Court and Rock Climbing Wall
Technically, the Rock Climbing Wall is one deck higher than the rest of the facilities shown above. But they’re all located at the aft part of the ship, so you can easily move from the mini golf to basketball and to the rock climbing wall. At the Rock Climbing Wall, Tom managed to reach the top (Yes! Because he failed miserably during the climb aboard Legend of the Seas) by following 2 simple tips from the instructor. Firstly, think of it like climbing a ladder, most of the weight will be on the legs and not on the arms. Secondly, following the pink path – yes, it’s the easiest path! Ringing the bell at the top of the wall was indeed an awesome feeling! Kate and I also played basketball almost daily. Because we were on a “retirement cruise” (most passengers were above 50 years of age), the basketball court was almost always available. There were 3 balls (1 had more air than the other 2) left on the courts all the time and you can just enter to play. Likewise for Mini Golf, the clubs and balls were left near the start of the course so you can just pick them up and play. Table tennis was also available on the same deck (3 tables in all) with plastic bats and ping pong balls readily available beside the tables. As for the in-line skating, we did not try it this time round due to the bad sea state (surprisingly bad this time as compared to our previous cruise on the smaller Legend of the Seas) but you can just get the skates from the instructors and skate away. There’s also a golf simulator (available at a cost) on the same deck beside the mini golf. If you have tried it, tell us how much it was and whether it was any good in the comments section below.
Deck 12 : Fuel Teen Disco, Adventure Ocean, Johnny Rockets, Video Arcade, the Living Room, Nursery, Jogging Track, Vitality Spa (Ship Shape) and Fitness Centre
On deck 12, the aft part of the ship belongs to young cruisers from age 0 to 17. Fuel Teen Disco and the Living Room are areas where the teens can hang out (with soft drinks ONLY) and play gaming consoles. The Adventure Ocean is also a play area designed for kids from 3 to 17 to play games and have some fun activities. For the much younger cruisers, there’s the Aquanauts and Royal Babies and Tots where parents can “deposit” their kids in the good hands of the trained professionals aboard. Like what cruise director Gordon says “When kids have fun, you have fun!”. The video arcade is one of our hang out areas , mainly because of 1 game (Guitar Hero) and 1 song (Yellow , yeah, we don’t know all the other songs in that game). This time, Tom managed to complete the “hard” level! An achievement from the usual “easy” level that we’d play. In addition, we also ventured into “Deal or No Deal” which we played quite miserably with only 30 tickets won out of 2 games (a possible of 400 tickets!)
On the forward part of the ship is the Vitality Spa also known as Ship Shape Spa. Here, you’ll be able to do your usual massages, facials, wraps and even hot stones. A salon is also available to really keep you in “ship-shape”.
Johnny Rockets is an American burger joint, famous for its awesome burgers and milk shakes. We were hosted by Royal Caribbean Cruise (thanks Michelle!) for a meal here and we totally enjoyed the food there. We’ll cover what we ate in the sections to follow.
Deck 11 : Windjammer Cafe, Jade, Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table, Pool Deck, Pool Bar, Solarium, Fitness Center, Peek-A-Boo-Bridge overlook
Starting from the aft, you’ll have the restaurants on deck 11. Windjammer and Jade are complimentary dining areas where buffet-styled meals are served. During the evenings, Jade serves sushi which Tom looks forward to when cravings come a knocking. Giovanni’s Table ($20 USD per person) and Chops Grille ($30 USD per person) are not complimentary and you will have to pay a small sum to enjoy the italian fare at Giovanni’s and premium steaks from Chops Grille. Again, we did not have an opportunity to try them. If you happen to have tried at these restaurants, do let us know how it was in the comments section below!
The Pool Deck is where we usually hang out on sea days. The weather would be nice (ship usually steers away from dark clouds and rainy patches) and sunny, particular suited for a nice dip in the sea-water pools. You can also grab a drink from the pool bar while relaxing at the pools. Remember to sign up with the Crown and Anchor Society! **We are not paid to do this advertisement, but it is free to join the C&A Society and even at Gold (usually after 1 cruise) you’ll get some perks. This time, because we had already attained Gold status, we were able to enjoy 1 for 1 drinks – which means you really do not need any drink packages, that is unless you’re a really “fierce” drinker.
The Solarium aboard Mariner of the Seas is slightly different from the Legend of the seas. It is outdoors. There are 2 huge whirlpools and the one of the port (left) side is usually nice and warm. The starboard (right) side one is HOT.
Moving further forward on deck 11, you’ll arrive at the Peek-A-Boo Bridge Overlook where you can see the crew of Mariner of the Seas at work at the Bridge. Out at sea, it is usually on auto-pilot so you will unlikely see someone on the helms. But there will always be a lookout and an officer of the watch always keeping vigilant watch to ensure the smooth and safe sailing of the ship.
Deck 8 : RC Online
Noticed that we skipped to Deck 8 after Deck 11. This is because there are only staterooms on deck 10 and a concierge club (available only to Grand Suite cruisers and Diamond Plus/Pinnacle members). RC online (located at Mid/Aft of the ship) is actually like a business center where you can use the internet, do some printing and get some light administrative work done. Remember not to overdo it since you’re on vacation!
Deck 7 : Library
There’s a really small library located on the mid/aft part of Deck 7. Not much selection to choose from but if you have brought your own, this is a nice quiet spot to do some light (emphasis on the word “light”) reading.
Deck 6 : Next Cruise
Next Cruise is the venue where you can make bookings for your next cruise. Sometimes, depending on dates and availability, the prices may be better onboard. We did ask for a couple of prices and we realised that for departures to and from Singapore, it is usually cheaper for Singaporeans. We tried to ask for cruises from Sydney and New Zealand it was more than 250 per person per night for N staterooms (cheapest available) but for Singapore departures, it can go as low as 140 per person per night. While you’re here and if you’ve enjoyed your cruise, you may also wish to put a deposit of $150 for your next cruise which can be used for any future bookings and if you do so, you’ll receive $25 for 3-5 nights cruises, $100 for 6 to 9 nights, $150 for 10 to 14 nights and $200 for 15+ nights. DONT BE MISTAKEN that it will automatically be $200 onboard credit for your next cruise! It will be awarded according to the number of nights you book!
Deck 5 : The Sound of Music Dining Room, Guests Services, Shore Excursions, Royal Promenade, Cafe Promenade, Connoisseur Club, Lotus Lounge
Deck 5 is most probably the “most happening” deck. This is because starting from the aft, you have the Sound of Music which is your complimentary main dining area for lunch and dinners. Guest Services and Shore Excursions are also usually crowded, especially just before calling at a port. You can arrange to get your passports, do some currency exchange or even get sea sick pills at Guest Services. At Shore Excursions, you can make bookings for trips when you call at the next port. We recommend to make the bookings online so that you can avoid all the hassle of queuing up. Sometimes, the queues may be quite long especially when you first embark and when you’re close to the next port of call.
The Royal Promenade is where all the shops are at. You’ll see shops selling sunglasses, watches, jewelry and even a Coach store. Bazaars will usually take place during sea days with discounts right in the middle of the promenade. Walking past the promenade, you’ll arrive at Cafe Promenade where there’s complimentary snacks around the clock such as pastries, pizza, coffee and water. Next to it there’s a cafe where you’ll have to pay for gourmet coffee and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
There’s a Connoisseur Club before you arrive at the Lotus Lounge. Frankly speaking, eventhough we walked inside, we still do not know who and what it is for (anyone knows?). We just saw that there were cigars and hard liquors scattered inside but no one else was inside when we entered.
The Lotus Lounge is where events are held. Bingo and our favourite – Champagne Art Auction are held at this venue. We’ll talk a little more about the Champagne Art Auction by Art on Royal later in this post.
Deck 4 : Top Hat and Tails Dining Room, Boleros Lounge, Casino Royale, Schooner Bar, Savoy Theatre
Tip : If you have not already noticed by now, all the food places such as Windjammer and complimentary main dining areas are at the aft of the ship. The main dining areas of the Sound of Music (deck 5), Top Hat and Tails (deck 4) and Rhapsody in Blue (deck 3) are actually all part of a HUGE dining area at the aft of the ship. The other tip to orientate yourself is that the Theatre / Screens are at the forward part of the ship and the “space ship” (aka Viking Crown Lounge at Deck 14) also faces the forward part of the ship.
Deck 4 is where Casino Royale is located, right smack in the middle of the deck. Forward and Aft of the casino are bars and lounges where music and trivias are played at Boleros and Schooner respectively. There’s also a retail outlet where you can buy memorabilia from Royal Caribbean. Alternatively, you can, like us, buy “Cocktails of the Day” and receive the glass for free
At the forward part of the deck is the Savoy Theatre. This is where all the nightly shows takes place. Also, one of the more interesting aspect of the Savoy Theatre is that it can screen 3D movies with Dolby surround sounds as well! We caught part of “Turbo” here and thoroughly enjoyed the 3D experience!
Deck 3 : Rhapsody in Blue, RCTV, Art Gallery, Photo Gallery, Studio B, Dragon’s Lair, Main Entrance of Savoy Theatre
Rhapsody in Blue is the lowest level of the 3 tier main dining room of the Mariner of the Seas. At the Art and Photo Gallery, you can purchase photos and pictures taken by the professional photographers throughout the cruise. Do note that prices are usually cheaper at the start of the cruise. So decide early if you want to be featured in the “cruise in review” DVD and buy early to get a better price. As for the Art Gallery, we bought a piece of art called “Lovely”, a really cute dog, done by Romero Britto – the same dude who did colourful artworks in Sentosa.
Studio B is another venue for shows. The welcome back party (for second time and above cruisers) as well as the ice show “Ice Under the Big Top” were shown at Studio B. At deck 3, is the lower level or the main entrance to the Savoy Theatre.
Deck 2 : Conference Center, Screening Room
At deck 2, there’s only a conference room where you can hold seminars or meetings. We also collected our passports at the conference room when they missed out our request for passport collection at Guest Services (for our overnight stay at Pattaya). Screening Room is the alternative movie screening venue onboard the Mariner of the Seas.
In the next section, we’ll be showing all the fun programmes that you can look forward to when cruising with Royal Caribbean Cruise!