My family just returned from a cruise to the Bahamas. We set sail out of Port Canaveral on The Mariner of the Seas. They offer 3 and 4 day cruises, which take you to Nassau and Coco Cay (Royal Caribbean’s Private Island) The newest port renovations now allow for larger ships and Mariner is currently the largest ship sailing from Port Canaveral. Mariner of the Seas also went through a major renovation in 2018 and added a wonderful area for kids, new restaurants, updated staterooms, a state of the art computer system and more. This is most definitely a family-friendly cruise unlike some of the other ships sailing from Tampa and Port Canaveral.
I highly recommend booking and traveling with a passport. You can still board (via cruise ship only) with an original birth certificate, but the lines are longer. **If traveling to the Bahamas by air, a passport is required** RC suggests using their app to get your set sail pass, register each guest, check in, book excursions, schedule your daily activities and print luggage tags. The app is essential for boarding. You will not receive your room key/card until your room is ready. So, the set sail pass on the app is what you will need until then.
For the kids, the ship has 2 large slides, a sky pad/virtual reality trampoline, ice skating rink, rock climbing wall, arcade, escape room, laser tag, teen club, kids club, movie on the pool deck, mini golf, basketball court, ping pong, ice skating rink and flow rider surf simulator. My kids, age 14 & 9 stayed busy and happy the entire time. They will not run out of things to do! The casino, sports bar, poolside bar, adult only pool area, spa, art gallery, comedy show, bingo and more will keep adults entertained as well.
Nassau is nothing fancy. Visiting the Atlantis was nice if you haven’t been, but my kids wanted to spend more time on the ship, so we spent a few hours at the Atlantis, had lunch at Margaritaville, then back on board to enjoy the ship’s amenities.
CocoCay was absolutely amazing. You have to pay for entry to the water park, excursions and alcohol, but food and beverage are included. The water park was well worth the $45 entry fee per person. We also booked a ‘Swimming with the Pigs’ (refer to the app) excursion that ended up being so much fun and a highlight of the vacation.
Royal Caribbean provided excellent service throughout the cruise. From the cleanliness of our stateroom to the service at dinner, everyone was great. As mentioned before, the app is a huge help and we used it daily.
Here are a few tips/recommendations:
- We are a family of 4 and even the ‘Spacious Ocean View Balcony Stateroom” was small for all 4 of us. One suitcase fit under a bed and 3 fit in the closet. Pack only necessities! (swimsuit/cover up during the day/something to wear to dinner at night and one night is formal)
- Buy lanyards for your room key/sail and sign card! These are especially helpful for the kids. We have these lanyards, but they are hard to use at the arcade. Waterproof, but hard to keep having to open/close when scanning the card at the arcade. Almost everything else can be scanned through the plastic.
- We also have these luggage tag holders and they were super helpful since you have to print them at home. They fit perfectly in these holders.
- Bring a thermos. You can carry this around with you and keep refilling with water. We chose not to buy the soda package (I don’t allow my kiddos to drink a lot of soda), so this was perfect! Tea and lemonade is free. Here’s information about RC’s Drink Packages
- Save room in your luggage and don’t bring a beach towel. The ship provides unlimited towels on the ship near the pool and one each in Coco Cay as well.
- If you want to purchase professional photos, BE SURE TO BUY THEM WHILE AT SEA. They will not allow you to purchase them while at port when you return. I tried and was sad to find out there was nothing they could do. You have until 11:30pm the evening before you disembark at Port Canaveral.
- Bring a small blanket to use in your stateroom, on the balcony and on the pool deck during the movie nights. It gets a little cool on balcony, and deck at night.
Always happy to book this cruise…..or any cruise for you! 863-581-1965