This year we spent our Christmas break on the Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Sea Cruise. You might recall that we had been on a similar Boxing Day cruise 2 years ago when I was pregnant with Bella so I can guess you can consider this our 2nd cruise as a family? See Post Here
We were especially excited or at least Jah was especially excited because his favourite Madagasar characters were going to be on the cruise. 🙂 There is truly a huge difference cruising with a 1 year old as opposed to a 3 year old.
We arrived at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre at about 11am (check-in process and boarding would start from 1130am). We dropped off our check-in bags at the kerbside, settled our long term parking package at the Info Counter and proceeded through the security check-point. Our check-in process at the counter was fairly seamless and fast as we were allowed to use the Priority Check-in line for Crown and Anchor Members. Note that you are eligible to join the Royal Caribbean loyalty programme as long as you have been on at least 1 cruise. Joel was given a little coloured card and we were told to proceed to the boarding gate once our colour was called which happened less than 5 minutes later. Yay!!!
The cabins were not ready for us yet as most of the pax from the previous cruise would have just disembark between 8am to 11am. We were ushered to the Windjammer café where a buffet spread awaited us. To be honest, I was dreading the Windjammer café after our experience on Legends of the Seas, 2 years ago. However the Windjammer Café on the Mariner of the Seas was a very different experience. I found the café very organized, well air-conditioned and there seemed to be a lot of seating and space available. We found ourselves a window seat and the kids were more than happy to enjoy the view and the food. Joel and I took this time to purchase our drinks package. We chose the middle range package which gave us unlimited soft drinks as well as wine and beer (below US$9) from the menu during meal times and at all the bars. It cost us about US89 per person for the entire 4D3N cruise. Another tip for families would be to pre-purchased their Evian Water package so that you will have bottles of Evian water waiting for you at your cabin. We needed the water to make milk for our kids and to fill their water bottles. (12 bottles of 1L Evian Water for about US$45?) Definitely cheaper than buying ad-hoc but make sure that you really need that many bottles.
We entered our cabin at 1pm and I honestly don’t know how the housekeeping staff do it but they are able to turn around all the cabins in just a few hours. For this trip, we got ourselves two balcony class inter-connecting cabins. The cabins were a lot more spacious than what I remembered from our previous trips. Its almost like everything is upsized in this trip.
We quickly got the kids to take their naps because we were expecting a compulsory Fire Drill at 430pm. Yes I know, seems like a waste to head onboard and then head straight for bed but as the Chinese sayings goes rest is needed if you want to go the distance. :p
The kids woke up happy and refreshed in fact Jah was so happy that he was extra sweet to his cranky sister and kept wanting to hug her!
We headed to our assigned fire drill station and I don’t know if it was because of the rain or if the protocol has changed but we were ushered to a lounge area for our fire drill. Definitely a lot more pleasant than our last experience on the deck and one of the reasons I was very apprehensive about attending a fire drill with two young ones.
We still had some time before our 545pm dinner reservation so we decided to take the kids on a short tour of the ship which was essentially a quick photo on the rainy deck and then a quick introduction to the world of old school arcades. We would be spending a lot of time here in the coming days, thanks to Jah. :p
A quick tip for those who want to bring home decent family photos at the end of your cruise. There are many photo opportunities with professional photographers during the entire cruise and you can purchase each photo for S$25 each (yeah pretty pricey I know). However if you purchase the unlimited photo package on the first night, you will receive $50 off the package price which means you only pay $200 for unlimited photos and soft copies. We bought the package on the first night and went crazy taking pictures after that (we took home 56 photos in total!!).
Here are some of the professional photos from the first night..