Having been a passenger on five cruises (three with Royal Caribbean) can tend to set a person's expectations a little higher. It's not surprising that first time cruisers found this cruise to be the best thing since sliced bread, but if this had been their forth or fifth cruise I'm fairly sure their review would have been more in line with reality.
Embarkation: Check-in process was surprisingly fast. There ware two separate areas, one for people who had their Set Sail Pass, and those who did not. If you don't know what the Set Sail Pass is, please visit RCCL's Website and find out. Two members of our group did not have their Set Sail Pass with them, but we were all able to get checked in within minutes of each other. TIP: arrive at the terminal at 11:30 AM.
Room: We had a category H outside stateroom facing the front of the ship. Great view of arrivals and departures into ports. A little disappointed that the room was no larger than other RCCL ships. With a ship that big they could have added a couple of feet to the rooms.
Dining: Second dinner seating in the main dining room. Waiter, Anca, was absolutely wonderful. She was very friendly and attentive.
The food as compared to other RCCL cruises was mediocre at best. The chef's special on one particular night was sirloin steak that was tougher than shoe leather. I overheard one guest say, "If that's the best the chef has, it's time to get a new chef." Deserts were a little blah. The Outback Steakhouse in Phoenix has better deserts that what we had on the Navigator. There could have been more choices for entrees and deserts, and the food needs to be turned up a notch. Very disappointed with the food.
Two of the members of our group were unable to get the second dinner seating because they booked the cruise too late, so on the last night of the cruise we decided to eat at Chops. Big Mistake! For the $25 per person cover charge the service should have been much better. The food was excellent; however, it was downhill from there.
We needed a search warrant to find the bar hostess. We waited 20 minutes to get our first drink and never saw her again until we were ready to leave. We asked for a bottle of wine when we first ordered our meal and 30 minutes later we still didn't have it. The appetizer plates stayed in front of us for at least 30 minutes after we finished.
When the manager came by to ask us how everything was I told him what we thought about the service. The sad thing was he did absolutely nothing for us. He asked us if we wanted dessert to take with us! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Isn't dessert included in the price of the cruise????? Our reservation was 7:30 PM and by the time we left it was after 10:00 PM because the service was so bad. NEVER AGAIN will I pay a cover charge. The food should be that good in the main dining room. Why should you have to pay extra to get good food? Norwegian and Carnival don't charge extra for good food, and their cruises average $100 less than RCCL. Enough said on that.
I could go on, but in summary, the ship is beautiful no doubt, and the public areas are nice. Entertainment was very good. The ice show is a must see, very well done. The comedians were very funny, and the Broadway-style shows were all good.
I could write a book about the shore excursions, but let's just say they need improvement. Bacardi Rum factory tour--BUST. Save your money.
Please feel free to email me any time. Both constructive and destructive criticism is welcome.