Dining on Mariner of the Seas is one of the ship's top highlights. It seemed that everywhere we turned, there was something tasty to eat or drink. Windjammer Marketplace, the ship's buffet option, wasn't just steam-table fare; we were surprised by the freshness, flavor and variety offered at each meal. As you might expect from a cruise sailing from Miami, with an emphasis on the Miami market, the Latin food offerings at breakfast, lunch and dinner were tasty and plentiful. Will they stack up to what you can get at a true Latin restaurant? Not necessarily, but they won't disappoint. Another thing that did not disappoint were the snacks. Windjammer was open late (10 p.m. to midnight), and the Royal Promenade's Cafe Promenade had snacks available at all hours of the day.
The primo dining experiences onboard occur in Mariner of the Seas' three extra-fee alternative restaurants: Chops Grille; Jamie's Italian; and Izumi Hibachi & Sushi. Reservations are recommended for the specialty restaurants (with the exception of Johnny Rockets), especially on the short, three-night sailings. The most popular restaurants tend to book up quickly.
Royal Caribbean offers all-you-can-drink soda cards (prices determined by length of cruise with an average daily cost of $8 per day, plus gratuity), and each package comes with a souvenir cup. There are Coca-Cola Freestyle machines (self-serve drink stations with dozens of drinks and variations to choose from), but they require the souvenir cup to operate, so if you thought you'd skip the soda package and just get a drink or two on the sly, you can't.