This is our (Mom and Dad) second cruise to the Mediterranean, but the first time for the kids (34 and 24). This was a family trip -- probably our last as a family as the kids are moving on with their lives. It was everything we hoped it would be.
After three nights in Rome on our own we boarded the Navigator at Civitavecchia. We were a little early but were allowed to board anyway. The process was quick and painless. Our cabins were to be ready at 1 pm so we headed to the Windjammer for lunch. Standard buffet fare, and as time went on it got very crowded. However it was nice to just relax and wait. We would our cabins and our luggage was waiting for. Our cabin steward, Lilliana, greeted us by name, and assisted in getting our kids' beds separated. After unpacking, we left our suitcases by the bed as we couldn't find a place to put them. Lilliana put them under the beds for us, a nice touch.
The ship was a little dated and worn, but nothing to complain about. Beds were comfy and the bathrooms clean. Even though we were in an inside cabin, there was plenty of room, and the couch was a nice touch. TV service over the course of the cruise was a bit repetitive, but who watches that much TV anyway! The ship was very hygiene conscious--I saw them cleaning all the time and liberal use of hand sanitizer was encouraged.
Meals in the dining rooms were generally very tasty, and a few were outstanding. There was good variety, and the service was outstanding. I liked that we could select whatever we wanted (my daughter ate two appetizers almost every night). My husband even ordered one meal off the menu and got it without a hitch. Breakfasts and lunch in the dining rooms were nice also. We tended to stay away from the Windjammer as we are not big fans of buffet (but my son and I did have an afternoon "snack" of BBQ ribs one day). We also enjoyed Johnny Rockets, and didn't mind spending the extra money for the ice cream and "cover charge."
The entertainment (what we saw of it) was entertaining but not particularly "Wow." We liked the Ice Show a lot, and it was amazing what they could do with such a small rink.
Activities on sea days were generally fun, but again, we sort of limited ourselves to the casino and the art auctions as we are not much in the way of partiers. But we were generally able to find a deck chair somewhere (didn't run into a chair hog once), and just enjoyed watching the sea go by.
Our first port was Messina where we used the Ship's "On your own" transportation to go to Taormina, a wonderful little town with cool shops and great vistas. Next we visited Kusadasi, where we had booked a wonderful private tour with one other couple we met on Cruise Critic. Athens was next on the agenda, and again we used the ship's "on your own" transport. Athens was a bit of a disappointment for all of us, but mostly because the city is not well maintained. The kids hoofed it to the Parthenon, which of course should not be missed. We stayed in town and took leisurely strolls. Last stop was Chania, and we did not even get off the ship. I think the cruise would be better if a different stop was fit in (Malta, Santorini, or Mykonos would have been better).
Disembarkation was pretty efficient. We had picked up our passports the night before, and used the luggage pick up option rather than carrying our own. Our disembarkation time fit in well with our plans (although it would have been nice to have known in advance when we were slated to leave because we had to wait for our car--thank goodness they were early). The luggage was well organized and by the time we left things were not overcrowded.
All in all, we had a great time. Our kids could go do things on their own while we relaxed and just enjoyed the sea. The ship offered a good balance, and certainly was everything we hoped it would be.