Should have done this a while ago, but better late than never. Please forgive me, I am typing on an Italian keyboard and I am sure there will be errors. If this offends you, feel free to move on. I will not be going back over it with a fine tooth comb :| That being said, here it goes.
Boarded the ship at the port in Rome. We live in Genova Italy, so we just drove down the morning of. We parked directly in front of the ship, boarded a free shuttle and were in line in no time. We were on the ship in less than half an hour easy. We have sailed Navigator twice before over the last few years and she still looks great. Sure, her carpets are a little stained in some of the halls, but the ship is clean and beautiful in most ways.
We headed with about a zillion others to the WJ. To my delighted surprise, we easily found a table for 8. Food was fresh and the selection was great. I never understand the people who can't find something good to eat on RC, but that is just me.
After lunch, we went straight to the dining room to find our table. It was on the 6th deck and I was not initially thrilled, but I didn't change it. We had cabins on deck 6 and I decided it was easier that way. Dining room service was fantastic. I don't have my notes, but our dining staff was very kind and as usual, pampered us. We were very happy to see our waiter from a previous cruise to Egypt. This cruise was over 2 years ago. He remembered our names, stories etc and it was great to catch up with him. While I'm on the subject of dining room, I will say the food was good to great. Never went hungry :)
Kids club - Great. Our kids, ages 10 and 12 LOVE RC kids club. The staff keeps them going and they stay there every minute possible. Our children have been to all of these ports before and never even got off this ship this time around.
Entertainment...... You know, they work their booties off. There was some good and some not so good, but overall they were fun and I went to most of the shows and danced away at the pool. The piano bar was ALWAYS a hit. We went almost every night and had quite good fun. We heard a few repeats during the week, but how many songs can one poor man know. He was fun and quite a showman.
Our room, a prom room. I would book again. I was worried about noise, but it was a non-issue. We could hear the parades, but who cares!? We were looking out the window anyway, so the music was appreciated. Our cabin was an adjoining room with the kids and it worked out well. Our room attendant was a happy, sweet guy. The kids loved him.
The pool was easy going this time. I am not one to need a spot right next to the water, so I was always able to find seats. I prefer to sit up top where I can watch the action below. Italian and Europeans in general, like to dance. There was always a fun show when the passengers got up for the dance lessons.
Not a drinker, but the ones I had were good. At times, cruise drinks can seem watered down. On this trip, they were quite nice.
The gym was the gym. Nice as usual and something I don't look forward to, but do take advantage of. I didn't use the spa, so can not comment.
Rome is always Beautiful! If you have never been there, you should take a tour. I prefer private, but do what you wish, just don't miss it.
Messina, we hopped a cab to Taormina. We paid 150 euro for the 5 of us for a day. We speak Italian and my husband noted that the taxi drivers were all forming what was basically a team. They weren't going to come down any lower than 150. Oh well, it really was a fair price for the day. Our driver was nice, but quiet. He drove us rapidly to Taormina and dropped us off for 3 hours. We walked around, shopped a little, ate a lot..... My husband has family in Sicily and we spend most every August in the south of Sicily. we had a list of foods we needed. We came, we saw, we conquered. When we made it to the end of the main street, the typical musicians were playing their beautiful music. We sat for half an hour, sipped wine and had lemon granita. A little pricey if you sit in the square, but worth it for the show. I love Sicily, so this was a great day for me.
Next stop, Kusadasi. We have been here many times before, so we opted to skip Ephesus and hang out in town. The last time we were here, we did the traditional hammam. My mom and aunt weren't up to the excitement, so we skipped it and opted to have a fish pedicure. My father and husband had typical Turkish shaves and a haircut. If you haven't done either of these things, you should. The shave includes fire, but just stay still and enjoy. The fish pedicure is a hoot. I liked it so much, I did it again in Crete. For 3 pedicures, 2 shaves, a haircut and blow-dry, we paid 45 euro. After the pampering, we had a traditional lunch, shopped till we dropped and returned to the ship.
Athens, oh, wait, that was the stop before Kusadasi. Sorry! Been here many times, and my aunt has a hard times with stairs, so we skipped the ruins and tour. We instead, got off the ship and bargained with many taxi drivers. We didn't like their price, so walked on, prepared to do the hop on hop off. On our way out, we ran into the funniest driver ever! He was wearing red suede shoes, fought with me while laughing and we were sold. I think the man knows EVERYONE in Athens, including the police. For 150 euro *we gave him 190 in the end because he was soooo good* he agreed to haul 5 of us around for the day. He took us a direction we had never been and it was beautiful. We went first to the Acropolis. Took a few pics from the base and then went across the street to a coffee house with fab views! Took a few more pics, had an iced coffee and hit the road. Our driver took us to the changing of the guards. we have done this 3 other times, but Crazy John made it a stand out. He placed us where we should be every sec of the way to get the best pics. We did a quick driving tour and then on to the Plaka we went. Ate a little, shopped a lot, got back in the car. John then asked if we would like to eat on the water. He took us to a well priced little place on the water with beautiful view, fresh fish and veg as well as cold beer. Had a snack and then back to the ship for the day. John made the day special with his funny political views and was an excellent guide. He loves his city and that makes it fun. He was political, but never in a way that would offend. If you get off, just ask any of the other driver who Crazy John is and they will point you in his direction.
Last, but not least, Chania, Crete. Got off the ship, bought our 3 euro RT bus ticket and off we went. Chania doesn't look like much from the port, but it is a beautiful little Jewell box once you get down in the old town near the sea. We started the morning off with iced coffee and treats at a local bar. from there, we took off to get lost in the tiny streets. We did just that. I think I took 300 pics of pretty doors, windows and cats . It is very charming in the morning before everyone arrives. We shopped, ate some more, had another fish pedicure and then headed back to the ship for the pool side BBQ. The smell was great, the music was good and the sun was out. Heaven for me.
At last, we had a sea day and then back to sadly climb off our beautiful ship. Not everything was perfect, but it was close enough. I love RC and I love cruising, so can't wait to return. Next Sunday we leave from Venice on Costa Favolosa, so stay tuned....