Background Info: We are a family of 4 - we are 40ish and our 2 girls are 9 & 10 years old. This was the 10th cruise (7th with RCI)for my husband and I and 4th & 5th for the kids. We are from Alberta, Canada and usually take a vacation every winter to escape.
Travel to Port: We flew on US Air on January 31, 2013. Our luggage did not make it until the next afternoon which cut into our time we had allotted for sight seeing on Friday, February 1st. Since it was Superbowl weekend we did not get to see much of New Orleans due to our shorten time and crowds. We stayed in Baton Rouge due to the hotel room shortage in New Orleans hosting Superbowl. We dropped off our rental car at New Orleans airport Saturday morning and took a taxi to the pier. Cab ride was just under $60 for 4 people and took about 40 minutes to get there.
Hotel: We stayed at Homewood Suites in Baton Rouge. It was just ok but had a wonderful hot breakfast.
Embarkation: It was a bit confusing when we first arrived as it was still early, about 10:30am. RCI had recommended getting to the pier early due to the Superbowl traffic. There were still people disembarking and we were in a line to embark right next to the disembark line and both running in the same direction. But it moved quickly and we were checked in within 10 minutes of arriving and on the ship by 11:30am.
Stateroom: We had an aft corner balcony cabin (#1388). The cabin is much larger than regular D1 categories due to the odd shape and the balcony is very large as well. There is some structure obstructing the view but you don't notice it really. This balcony also has areas that are in the shade and sun and very little wind. The cabin has a sofa bed but no pull-mans. The balcony has 2 lounge chaise, to chairs and a small side table and still lots of room to walk around.
Ship: The ship is very nice but is starting to show some wear - nothing major, just some cosmetic things like some tiles missing around the pool area, scratches and dings on the corridor walls, our balcony flooring was pretty dinged up, etc. She is still a beautiful ship and she is scheduled for dry dock in February 2014 so she will be sparkling new again. There is also a casino and various lounges.
Dining: The ship has 3 places to eat that's included in your cruise fare - the main dining room, the windjammer buffet and the Cafe Promenade. The food in the main dining room was very good with lots of selections for special diets such as vegetarian and gluten-free. The service in the main dining room was fabulous. The Windjammer food was average - you could get pizza, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches/wraps and salad every lunchtime and the rest of the buffet was a mixture that changed daily. The windjammer also has a Jade restaurant that offers Asia/Indian food that changes daily and sushi for supper. The Cafe Promenade offer sandwiches, pizza, cookies, deserts (the brownies are delicious here)and coffee & tea and is open 24 hours a day. Room service is also available 24 hours but there is a service charge of $3.93 from midnight to 5 am. The only pay pay restaurant we ate at was Johnny Rockets which was a $4.95 fee per person. It was good.
Activities: The ship has an ice rink, rock wall, in-line skating track, mini-golf, full size basketball court, table tennis, outside running/walking track, a fitness center, 3 pools (1 adult only) and, I think, 6 Jacuzzis. There is a Royal Promenade on deck 5 that runs through the middle of the ship (looks like walking through a mall) and it contains cafes, bars and shops. There is also a fairly large casino and many lounges and bars.
Entertainment: There are shows every night from Production shows to comedians. The promenade is the venue for various things such as 70s, Welcome aboard party and a Circus parade one night. You will also find live music here during the evenings. There is also an ice skating show that is not to be missed!
Children's club: RCI has Adventure Ocean that is a free service. On sea days there are open from 9am to noon and again from 2pm to 10pm. On port days it is open a 1/2 hour before the start of the first shore excursion and closes a 1/2 hour after the end of the last shore excursion. The kids can stay at AO when you leave the ship for a tour and the AO staff will even take them for lunch. There is also an after hours service from 10pm to 1am that cost $6 per hour per child. The AO program is fantastic and our kids want to spend most of their time there.
Service: The service staff were excellent. Everyone was very friendly and very willing to help.
Port & Shore Excursions: We booked a catamaran snorkel tour through RCI in Cozumel and it was a great experience. ON Grand Cayman we took a taxi to Seven Mile Beach and rented lounge chairs and an umbrella. The beach was beautiful and the water very warm. In Jamaica we just did some shopping inside the secure area as we've been to Jamaica before and did not want to expose the kids to the people trying to sell you "stuff". If we didn't have the kids we probably would have ventured outside or taken a tour of some sort.
Disembarkation: This was easy and organized except for the line for customs. We got our bags in no time and walked up to the exit before realizing that the line went all the way back to where er got our bags and then some. Once we got through customs we walked out, flagged and cab and was off to the airport. The drive to the airport only took 20 minutes and we were there by 9:15am.
Summary: This was a very nice cruise and I would do it again. The Navigator is a great ship - not too big, not too small. The staff was awesome!