We jumped off the Ruby Princess in Civitivecchia after doing a wonderful 14 day Transatlantic and boarded the Navigator. We expected to be able to get onboard drop our things and walk around the town for a bit. When we arrived around 10 after taking the port shuttle from the Ruby to the main gate and then catching another shuttle from the gate to the Navigator, things at the Navigator appeared pretty hectic and disorganized. At leastThree people told us different things about where to go to wait. We eventually linked up with others who were waiting to board and were advised by staff that boarding would begin about 10:30. It began closer to 11:30 and we were assigned group 7. It did not matter. The staff had very little coordination or control so embarcation was pretty messy. This was repeated at the end of the cruise when we reported to our assigned area only to find no ship staff and only word of mouth from fellow passengers about the process.
When we boarded we found all of the corridor doors to the cabins secured. We were advised that we would not be able to access the cabin until 1pm. Had we known that in advance we would have checked all of our luggage in and not be left hauling the carry ons around.
The ship is very attractive. The main street atrium is a concourse lined with food, drink and shopping. It gives a grand appearance and gave us the prospect of relaxing in the Irish pub listening to music over a pint, and in the wine bar chatting with new found friends. Unfortunately we later found many of the venues to be heavily used by smokers.
We meandered around the ship trying to orient ourselves and eventually found ourselves in the Windjammer cafe, a large food court. It is a very large very open buffet dining area that winds around the front of the ship. It reminded us of a college cafeteria. It lived up to that as the week progressed. The tables were squeezed together, the food was blah and repetitious, it looked worn out and everything was self service, except for bussing your table.The unfriendly staff were pretty good at making sure you didn't graze at your table too long as fellow passengers waited for a seat.
(what a difference from the cheery welcome, efficient service and sense of being made to feel comfortable and recognized as a guest that we experienced on the Ruby, even in that buffet).
The experienced wait staff in the restaurant weren't too much better. While they smiled and tried to remember your name they couldn't remember your order, whether they had already served you your appetizer or in what order things should be served. Every night was a new experience. The food was generally lukewarm and so so except for the eggplant parm stack and the rack of lamb which were outstanding. The dining room however was gorgeous.
Our room was spacious with a full size couch and more than adequate storage space, but like another reviewer the room had a strong musty smell which we just could not get rid of. and The smokers on the surrounding balconies limited our use of the balcony.
We loved the ports, Messina, Kusadasi, Athens and Crete but the ship left a lot to be desired. The extravagant appearances of the public venues the good entertainment just did not overcome the poor service and mediocre food and smoke.