We have kids going from age 9 to 21 (8 of them) Will they like the dining room on the Mariner? Is the food really fancy? One of our kids doesn't like to eat much more than chicken fingers and pop tarts. ha!
My kids never miss a chance to eat in the dining room. They always get into a bit of a relationship with the servers. They also like the atmosphere and the chance to dress up a bit and be special. They have been on 5 cruises and don't plan on stopping! (oh yeah, we have ordered enough chicken fingers at sea to fill a lifeboat)
our kids have always enjoyed their dining room experience. The servers seem to go out of their way to make sure to find something the kids will be happy with, plus they entertain them. On our last cruise on the Liberty of the Seas my son really had a great time getting to know our waiter. He is not too picky but tended to just order the same thing every night, the waiter would bring him a special soup or other item he felt our son would enjoy and surprise he did! Every night he would also bring him a tall glass of cold milk and a plate of chocolate chip cookies, our son felt so very special.
There are many many choices on the menu, no doubt you kids will find something wonderful to eat. Otherwise there is always room service for a very good burger or pizza...
My children 7 and 9. Did not want to eat in the dining room. We let them go to the kids dinner. They hated it. The food was cold. They decided to eat in the dining room every night. That way they could eat steak every night. they would order chicken nuggets and fries and split it as a appetizer.
You also want to consider the length of time, and how patient your kids are. There are several courses every night (soup/salad, appetizer, main course, dessert) and if you want to enjoy yourself you need at least 1 1/2 hours.