My first cruise ever was in high school, when I invited myself to my best friend’s annual family reunion. They had plans to sail to Nassau, Bahamas and, because I was more or less family, they let me come with. It was a great time, but high school was years and years ago so when Royal Caribbean reached out to me about sailing on their newly-renovated Mariner of the Seas
Travis came with, and on the way to the airport we chatted about our previous sailing experiences. He had been twice before on a ship he claimed was the Mariner of the Seas (the very one we were about to board), and I argued that there was no way he had been on three cruises in his life and they all coincidentally happened to be the same one. He hadn’t planned any of them so WHAT ARE THE CHANCES. Turns out he was right. Not only did he know the ship like the back of his hand, but his mom also confirmed the story with a classic ‘family-on-the-staircase’ shot.
Mariner of the Seas is a massive 4000+-person ship that’s recently undergone a $100 million renovation and let me tell you, it shows. The first night we were invited by our group to have cocktails at The Bamboo Room, which is a tiki inspired room serving everything from craft beer and sushi appetizers to the best mojito I’ve ever had. We chatted for a while and then headed to the nightly on-board ice-skating show, which was one of the things I was hoping to catch. Everything from the lights, to the music, to the outfits were on point.
Our destination was the Bahamas – makes sense given that Marines of the Seas aims to be the perfect weekend getaway. Trips usually set sail on Friday afternoon and return by early Monday morning so you can leave the country without the office ever finding out. We headed to Coco Cay first, which is Royal Caribbean’s private island getaway, where we lounged on sea-side cabanas all day. They even had a floating bar!
Coco Cay is under construction at the moment, preparing for its big 2019 reveal. Not only will it have a full-on water park, it’ll also incorporate a zip-line course, a swim-up bar, and OF COURSE a ton of beach lounging opportunities. You can only reach it via Royal Caribbean cruises, so you guys KNOW it’s on my list for next year.
Next, we headed to Nassau, which is very, very different from when I last visited. The port of Nassau is incredibly touristy given all the, you know, tourists. So, we got on a boat and headed to Pearl Island. Here we swam in turquoise waters and snorkeled the day away. A couple from our group even announced their engagement here so it was an incredibly memorable day.
Our last night onboard we dined at Jamie’s Italian (by famous chef Jamie Oliver) and then headed to two of the MOST FUN activities Mariner of the Seas has to offer: laser-tag and the Sky Pad. Sky Pad is a virtual reality trampoline experience that’s also quite the workout… and because of the ships’ swaying you can jump SUPER high. Travis and I are pretty competitive so we mainly spent our time trying to jump higher than each other rather than bothering to defeat the monsters on screen. I won. ;)
The weekend came to an end far too soon, but our experiences aboard the Mariner of the Seas made for one of my best press trips to date. The group we were a part of became super close-knit, and the ship itself exceeded my expectations. Cruising had never been something I considered when planning a getaway, but given this experience, I’m sure it won’t be another ten years before I do it again. I did lose more money than I would’ve liked to at the casino, but hey, my beginner’s luck had to end at some point.