OVERALL -- We are a couple in our 50s, celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary by taking our 5th-ever cruise but first ever Mediterranean cruise. We definitely picked the right ship, the right itinerary and the right time to cruise. The Navigator of the Seas is beautifully maintained, both in public areas and the cabins (our cabin certainly was). The ports of call were great and the weather even better, not too cool and not too warm. In fact, the last day of the cruise the waters were so calm they looked almost as smooth as glass.
SHORE EXCURSIONS -- Thanks to Cruisecritic's Roll Call thread, we were able to pre-arrange private shore excursions for Kusadasi, Turkey, (to see the Roman ruins at Ephesus) and for Athens with fellow cruisers. We used Ephesus Tours for our Ephesus excursion and Private Greece Tours for our Athens excursion. Both turned out to be excellent choices in terms of price (significantly cheaper than tours through the cruise line) and quality. We hade enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides who got us to where we wanted to go, in most cases before the crowds got too large.
GETTING ON & OFF THE SHIP was a breeze. Showed up, almost no line at all, and went on board immediately. At lunch at the Windjammer. Our cabin was ready when we checked at 1 pm. Our large suitcase arrived within an hour or so. We carried our own luggage off the ship so we could leave by 7:30 a.m. No trouble getting an elevator and walked right off the ship to our waiting cab that took us on a less-than-one-hour drive to the airport (Fiumicino). We split the cab fare 5 ways, making the fare 30 Euros per person plus a little tip for the driver. Very reasonable.
FOOD -- In the dining room was generally, very very good. Only complaint: We ate too much. LOL. Ate at Chop's Grille one night. That was a real treat. Windjammer food was, well, what do you expect of a buffet? The food was convenient and kept us alive without making us sick.
SERVICE -- Dining room staff were great. Our cabin attendant, Antonio, kept the room up and made nice towel animals. We didn't see him often but we're not complaining about that. Staff at Guest Services were generally okay, not spectacular. At one point I wanted to use the ATM to get extra cash (for going ashore because Rome burned through a lot of my cash). The ATM was down and the Guest Relations rep had no clue when the ATM would be working again.
ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES ON BOARD -- There was plenty to do no matter your taste. And, of course, we had ample down time for ourselves to just nap or relax with a good book or to soak in a hot tub. The shows were all good. We especially enjoyed the Bee Gees tribute group. Karaoke was fun and popular with the cruisers. Had some good singers and a few who weren't. I just wish it had started earlier and went longer. An hour or so just didn't seem long enough.
WHERE COULD RCI IMPROVE? -- In our opinion, the "regular" coffee was awfully regular. It was as if they used whatever brand they used just to try to drive us to buy the Starbucks stuff. They could also stand to have a lounge with music that suits our generation. After all, I think our age group was probably the largest on board. Contemporary pop plus music from 50s, 60s & 70s would have been great. If they could put that together in a lounge with an adequate dance floor I think the cruise line would sell more liquor by keeping us 50-somethings awake and partying longer than we did. Earlier, when the lounge's theme was "romance," I requested a song of the D.J. It wasn't a slow song so he made it a point to tell me that the theme was "romance." I replied that couples dancing together was romantic, especially compared to an empty dance floor.
Other than this little annoyance with the music selection this cruise was great. We'd do it again in a heartbeat and we'll always have a lot of great memories from it.