Dining on Mariner of the Seas
Seeing a sharp increase in the readership for my posts on Mariner of the Seas, I reckon many are planning their cruise trip now. So to help those foodies going on-board, I will do a quick overview of dining on Mariner of the Seas. Just be assured, you wouldn’t get the chance to be hungry! So much so, I felt like one of the gluttony pigs eating non-stop in the show “Spirited Away”.
Dining Included in Your Cruise Fare (“Free!”)
Windjammer Cafe (Deck 11)
This is where you have your buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner, and supper! Mediocre offerings – a place where you go for quantity and not quality. Look out for the egg station during breakfast and buffet’s grill during lunch. For the latter, you can see them grilling near the swimming pool.
Hours: 6:30am – 10:30am; 11:30am – 4:30pm; 6:30pm – 9:00pm; 10:30pm – 5:30pm
Rhapsody: Main Dining Hall (Deck 3)
Although it’s opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we only had our dinner there for all nights and a quick breakfast on our last day. Note that Rhapsody has a dress code. Although we did see people wearing the usual Singaporean slacks allowed entry.
Seating: It’s open seating during breakfast and lunch. However for dinner, you’ll be assigned a table and a time slot. Otherwise, you can pay to go in anytime between 6:00pm to 8:30pm with reservations.
Breakfast & Lunch: Other than having menu and dishes served, there’s also a salad bar with ingredients fresher and in a greater variety than Windjammer’s. I later found out that the lunch here is one of the better “free” meals on-board. You may also notice a Brasserie 30 in your cruise compass: It’s a lunch menu designed to let you finish your meal in 30 minutes, good for people who want to rush for their next activity.
Dinner: Go to your assigned table and check out the menu that changes every day. Enjoy bread and water served and then order as many dishes and as many times as you like at no extra charge. The same server and assistant will attend to you for all nights. Your formal night will also be held here. IMO, the dishes are generally more exciting and delicious than at Windjammer Cafe, with choices of Malaysia and Thai dishes when we were near their port of calls. Standard dishes such as pasta and chicken breast are available as well. Each menu includes healthy and vegetarian options.
Hours: 7:15am – 9:15am; 11:15am – 12:45pm; 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Everything inside the fridge will be charge to your room when consumed. So if you want a hot or cold drink, call the room service! Room Service is available 24 hours. It’s free except between midnight to 5:00am, when you’ll be charged US$3.95. The room service menu offers the basic and continental fare and certain restaurant dishes during meal times. Suite guests might get the full dining room menu.
We ordered hot chocolate and water. Order water because it’s hard to come by on the cruise. Read on to find out where are the limited water points. Anyway, the room service and presentation of the drinks were commendable!
- Cafe Promenade (Deck 5): Have coffee, tea, light snacks, pizza, cake and sandwich while people watching. Some items are payable (read on). | Open 24 hours
- Dog House (Deck 11, pool deck): Order from a selection of hot dogs. THIS IS SO AWESOME! | 11:30am – 6:30pm
- Artic Zone (Deck 11, pool deck): Free flow of frozen soft serve yogurt. | 11:30am – 6:30pm
Payable Dining on Mariner of the Seas ($$)
Several beverage packages (alcoholic, soda or water) are available for purchase at outrageous prices. For example, Evian water package is at US$47 for twelve 1-litre bottles. Yes, the price might be expected of Evian, but still…
Do note that there’s no complimentary drinking water in your room. The mini fridge is stocked with Evian bottles and soda drinks — all with a price tag.
But if you don’t want to pay, you can get free drinking water by these means:
- Boil water with the electric kettle in the room
- Refill your empty water bottles at Windjammer, Rhapsody, Cafe Promenade, or beside Artic Zone (Leave a comment if you know of any other!). Mid-sized bottles are best. Remember to bring them along! Some of us were stopped by the staff from refilling our water bottles. We were supposed to fill the cups with water and transfer it into the bottles.
- Order room service. But they come in cups, so the quantity is not great, unless you order many cups at one go.
- Bring from home. We brought along two 1L bottles of mineral water from home and that became our emergency pack when we forgot to re-fill or simply didn’t want to get into the long queues.
Cafe Promenade (Deck 5)
Most food items at Cafe Promenade are “free”, including basic coffee brew, tea or hot chocolate from a self-service station. But for drinks like espresso, cappuccino and iced coffee drinks sold at the bar, they come with an extra fee. Charges also apply to its Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor.
Johnny Rockets (Deck 12)
Johnny Rockets is a burger joint highly recommended by online reviewers, but we didn’t want to spend extra. It has a US$6.95 cover charge per person. However, this charge is regardless of how much you order except for certain items like draft beer.
- Steamboat at Windjammer Cafe (Deck 11): US$25 dining fee per person. | 6:30pm – 9:00pm
- Chops Grille (Deck 11): A steakhouse with US$35 dining fee per person. | 6:00pm – 9:30pm
- Giovanni’s Table (Deck 11, inside Windjammer Cafe): An Italian trattoria-themed restaurant offering salad, pasta, braised meat dishes and other Italian dishes. US$25 dining fee per person. | 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Some things to note:
- Reservations are preferred on-board or online pre-cruise. However, first night of a cruise tends to be slow, so walk-ins are accepted. If reservations are hard to make, you can try to go earlier or later.
- Dress smart casual with no short pants.
- Guests below 13 years old are allowed only before 7:30 pm.
- Cancellations less than 24 hours notice will be charged at 50% per person.
Smoke and Drink
- Cafe Promenade Bar: Opens 6:00am
- Plaza Bar: Opens 6:30am
- Pool Bar and Casino Bar: Opens 9:00am
- Dragon’s Lair: Closes later than other bars.
- Cigar Lounge, Connoisseur Club (Deck 5): Pipe and cigar smoking are only permitted here.