Mariner of the Seas
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As a cruise industry powerhouse, Royal Caribbean International has a lengthy, stellar history of innovation stemming from its 1969 founding by three Norwegian shipping companies. Song of Norway, Royal Caribbean’s first ship, made waves in 1970 as the first passenger vessel purpose-built for warm weather cruising. Song of Norway also boasted the first cocktail lounge cantilevered from its smokestack, launching the Viking Crown Lounge as an architectural signature for every Royal Caribbean vessel. A 1988 merger with Admiral Cruises spurred growth, made all the more notable by debut of the 2,350-passenger Sovereign of the Seas – the first with a dazzling atrium. After becoming a publicly traded company in 1993 while bringing more glittering ships into service, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 1997 changed its name to Royal Caribbean International to reflect widening global interests. In 1999, RCI made headlines with introduction of the then-largest cruise ship ever, Voyager of the Seas, boasting the first rock climbing wall at sea with an ice skating rink below. RCI's “get out there” campaign touts “way more than a cruise” with ever-expanding options in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and Europe. With Cunard's Queen Mary 2 from Carnival Corporation presently holding the record of world’s largest cruise ship, RCI will reclaim the title with delivery of its first Ultra Voyager ship, set for May, 2006. Past guests of Royal Caribbean ships are eligible for future benefits as members of the Crown & Anchor Society, with special onboard events and other perks.
Entering service in 2003 as the fifth of RCI's Voyager class, Mariner of the Seas boasts expanded dining and entertainment options, a signature rock-climbing wall, an inline skating track, a full-size basketball court, and the Royal Promenade – an interior shopping, dining, and entertaining boulevard. Mariner of the Seas also has an ice skating rink with spectacular ice shows, a 1,350-seat Broadway-style theater, a miniature golf course, and one of the largest fitness and spa complexes at sea. Mariner’s older sisters are Voyager of the Seas (debuting in 1999), Explorer of the Seas (2000), Adventure of the Seas (2001) and Navigator of the Seas (2002). Mariner of the Seas, the largest ship sailing from Florida’s Port Canaveral, sails 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean round-trip alternating itineraries. Eastern sailings include calls in Nassau, St. Thomas and Philipsburg. Western sailings include calls in Ocho Rios, George Town and Cozumel.
Year entering service: 2003
Voyager-class vessels such as Mariner of the Seas will forever go down in history as the first cruise ships with rock-climbing walls and skating rinks, triple-tier dining rooms, nine-hole miniature golf courses, and regulation-sized basketball courts. Mariner of the Seas also has three swimming pools, and more than a dozen bars, many along the Royal Promenade. Despite being a megaship, the allows 3,000 or so passengers to roam the ship with ease.
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