Navigating our First Trip to Europe: Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by griffy116
Overall Member Rating
Navigating our First Trip to Europe
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
The embarkation process at Civitavecchia was the fastest, most efficient we've ever experienced. The driver dropped us off at the tented area, we walked straight to the clerks, got our seapass card and were listening to the first ping of the seapass card before we had time to catch our breath. The ship was clean, and the only place we saw any signs of age or disrepair was the paint was chipping overhead on the balcony ceiling in a few places. Before we could finish our lunch, the announcement was made that the cabins were ready. The muster drill was quick and painless and then we were off to the upper deck to enjoy the first frozen drink and watch the sail-away.
We chose first dining in the MDR because we knew that some of us would be tired at the end of a day of excursions and some of us would want to be interested in other things after dinner each night. Our waiter, Sean, was one of the best we've ever had. In fact, after hearing that escargot was a favorite of my Grandson, the last night of the cruise, 4 servings of escargot suddenly appeared on our table, in spite of the fact that it wasn't on the menu. What a nice surprise! We didn't use the Specialty Restaurants on this cruise and we had wonderful meals every night.
We had been on the sister ships of Navigator so there were not surprises with our balcony cabin. Our cabin steward was great. He always made sure we had ice, kept the cabin immaculately clean and was extremely nice. I used the Wash and Fold special. After having spent 3 days in Rome, we were in need of some clean clothes. Because we are Diamond C&A, we had 2 coupons and were able to get a bag of laundry done for $15 each. Everything came back neatly folded with very few wrinkles and we were very grateful. I was able to fit an unbelievable amount of laundry into the bag. I was able to send underwear, t-shirts and capris and they all came back in good enough shape to wear on the tours without any pressing...just a sprint or two with the trusty Downey Wrinkle Release and I was back in business.
We used private cars at all the ports except Crete, and it was the best decision ever. At each port, we had a driver who made sure we got out ahead of the lines of buses. It was more economical than the RCI excursions, we saw more in less time and there was no time wasted waiting on everyone to go to the bathroom, shop, or return to the bus..and we had the ability to change the itinerary if we were enjoying ourselves at any particular spot. In Turkey we used Ephesus Deluxe and they were great. I can't say a negative thing about them. In Sicily we used New Travel Services. The driver went above and beyond to make our trip to Taormina easy, fun and made special stops along the way, making sure we were able to stop at any spot we pointed out. In Athens we used Dennis Private Tours and not only did the driver greet us, but Dennis was there as well. It was the first trip to Europe for all of us but one and the first time we've used the private car route, but we were absolutely blown away with the cost, the professional manner and had absolutely the best of each port. In Crete, we only wanted to do a little shopping. We didn't have any plans so we just used the free shuttle provided by RCI. The only complaint would be that they waited not only until the shuttles were full, but packed with people standing and hanging on for dear life from the overhead straps before they would budge from the lot.
I would without doubt use these companies again and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone. You get a nice air-conditioned car or mini-van, a driver who is familiar with the country and takes good care of you in a way you can't get with a crowd. I listened to others complaining about the waiting time, the places they didn't enjoy and felt a little guilty because we had been having the time of our lives. Each company, in fact, had ice-cold water and juice for us which truly helped with the heat.
We didn't see all of the shows, but we did see the ice show and it was great, as usual. The only negative on the entertainment was that the parades were at odd times and we missed them both times. One of our group had never seen the parade and we were a little disappointed that we missed them. This itinerary is very port intensive when compared with a caribbean cruise so I guess we should have paid more attention to the Compass.
We loved every port. This was truly a wonderful trip. I wouldn't hesitate to repeat this trip on the Navigator again. Less
Cabin review: D27324 Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony
Great balcony. Has a bump-out which was great. Mid-ship so it was easy to get around without the LONG walk in the hall. We were right across from the library so we had a very quiet spot, close to the elevator and very convenient.Read All Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony (D2) Reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Navigator of the Seas Review >>
Comparison between QM2 and Que...
An overall relaxing vacation i...
Excellent family cruise
Overall Poor experience - Food...
Tried a different Cruise Line.