Monday, July 30, 2012

Caribbean Cruise Week - The Ship & Departure Day

I had never been on a cruise before so on that Sunday in March, departure day, I was excited, anxious, and even scared. My biggest fear was not being able to see land. How would I ever cope at sea? I would soon find out as I embarked on a seven day cruise to the Western Caribbean aboard the Mariner of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship.

The itinerary was as follows:

Sunday, 4:45 pm. - Depart Galveston, Texas
Monday - At Sea Day
Tuesday - Cozumel, Mexico
Wednesday - George Town, Grand Cayman
Thursday - Falmouth, Jamaica
Friday & Saturday - At Sea Days
Sunday, 7 a.m. - Arrive back in Galveston

The Mariner of the Seas is one of their Voyager class ships. While it is not one of the largest ships in their fleet, it is not the smallest either.

Mariner of the Seas (from the Royal Caribbean website)

Some basic facts about the Mariner of the Seas:
Length: 1,020 ft (310.9 m)
Max Beam : 157.5 ft (48 m)
Draft: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Cruising Speed: 22 knots
Max Passengers: 3,11
Captain: Captain Flemming Nielsen (from Denmark)
Cruise Director: Mitch Merucci (from Canada)

15 Decks, 10 Pools and Whirlpools, 17 Bars, Clubs & Lounges, Spa, Rock Climbing Wall, Ice Skating Rink, Mini Golf Course, Basketball Court, Broadway-style Theater, Casino, Shopping, the list goes on and on.

The kitchen staff prepares over 105,000 meals every week to feed both crew and staff. As part of this, 300,680 desserts, 234,000 appetizers, and 69,000 steaks are consumed per week. (per Wikipedia) Now that's a lot of food!

We arrived at the port around 11:30 a.m. Talk about coordinated chaos! But the crew at the pier were very efficient and before long our luggage was dropped off for loading onto the ship and we were inside the main terminal checking in and getting our SeaPass cards. Passengers were allowed onto the ship in large groups and the time seemed to go very quickly before Group Six was called. Like cattle being herded, we made our way onto to the gangway and on board the Mariner of the Seas.

Our First Glimpse of the Ship from the Gangway

Once on board, all passengers are encouraged to head to the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11 to enjoy lunch before the cabins are ready for passengers. Many people did just this as the cafe was very crowded and you had to wait for an open table. Others strolled around the Promenade (Deck 5) or went up to the Pool Deck (also on Deck 11).

Pool Area

After lunch, we headed down to the Guest Relations Desk. When the reservations for the cruise were made, we had requested to be seated in the main dining room with friends from Alaska. We found out that not only were we at separate tables, but separate dining times, too. Yikes! Not sure if it was our travel agent at fault or the cruise line. At any rate, we were instructed to talk to the head waiter to see about getting this corrected.

All I can say is WOW! I was totally impressed by the main dining room. Three levels of opulence with gold and crystal everywhere.

Main Dining Room (first and second levels)

Replicating the Sound of Music with a bronze statue of Maria and Captain Von Trapp

Our dinner seating arrangements fixed, we located our cabins (we were on Deck 7 and our friends on Deck 9) and then participated in the mandatory muster drill. After the disastrous wreck of the Costa Concordia in Italy two months earlier, the cruise lines made sure this was done before the ship even left the pier. Definitely a relief to this passenger! Then it was time to head up to the pool area for the Sail Away party.

Bye-bye, Galveston!

Passing the Ferry Terminal on the way out of Port

The Carnival cruise ship you see above left about thirty minutes before we sailed. It was turning around and then sat off to the side of the main channel as we passed by. We later learned from a crew member that they had a medical emergency and needed to evacuate a passenger. What a bummer. Hope the passenger was okay.

And off we sailed into the sunset!

Tomorrow - Day 2, At Sea


  1. Wow! I've never been on a cruise (but plant to). This ship is amazing! Huge and beautiful.

  2. I can't remember which ship I sailed on in the Carribean in 2004 - but it was an RCCL ship and looked similar to yours. Such beauty! Great photos. I look forward to reading all your other posts about the cruise too.

  3. Wow -- this is fun -- off to read the rest of your posts on this fabulous cruise...sometimes it's fun to be behind on my reading -- I get to read all the Chapters at once. That dining room is outrageously ornate and beautiful!!


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