Flew from Newcastle (UK) to Rome on the day of departure , arranged through RCI. Had driven from down from Scotland the day before. Any worries I had about flying on the day of departure were soon set aside by the wonderful efficient way RCI handled every thing. Were met as soon as we got off the plane and told exactly which carousel to get our luggage from and where to then go meet the rep who would tell us about our transfer bus to the ship.
Once on the bus our rep helped every one fill in the health forms and make sure they knew exactly what to do when they got to the port. Check in was quick and efficient as we followed her past lines of people into the terminal building and direct to the check in desks. Were on board in next to no time and heading for our cabin.
We had an inside cabin on deck 7 (7439 ) just behind the library. Cabin was bigger than I expected with a sofa and coffee table. We had the double bed split and a Pullman bed from the ceiling as there were 3 of us traveling. Wardrobe could have done with being a bit bigger for all our clothes and was glad didnt have any more cases to store but it met our needs. Beds were really comfortable and the whole cabin was spotless and clean. Bath room was small as they always are but had good storage space behind one of the mirrors.
Had read a lot about the Navigator before the cruise and while yes could see a few signs of wear and tear in some areas like the mini golf area on the sports deck etc was amazed people found things to complain about. No the carpets are not 100 % new looking but still in excellent condition. The public areas are kept very clean and well looked after.
The Royal Promenade was not as big as I thought it would be, not to say its not huge lol but images I got from online just made me imagine it being bigger. The cafe there served food 24/7 and was a great place to go get that extra sandwich or cake / cookie in between lunch and dinner.
We had second sitting which was advertised to be 8.30 pm but was however at 9pm. First we knew of this change was our sea pass card which has the seating details printed on it. I did feel this was too late and if I sailed with RCI in the future would do my time dining. We did not get out of the dining room some nights until 10 30 pm and after a long day the though of then going on to do a full show in the theater followed by drinks was just too much.
Food in the dining room was good but not excellent. Every thing was hot and served quickly and our waitress Marichris was great. But despite the fancy write up on the menu the food was not overly inspiring. Every thing was "nice" but nothing blew my socks off. Maybe though I expected too much after all they are catering for 3500 people !
The bars on the ship all seemed to have their own personalities and this was great as there was something for every one. I loved the Champagne bar for pre dinner drinks and my daughter found a second home in the Dungeon disco til 3 am or later many nights. There was always some where to get a seat and a drink some where and the staff at the bars were all very helpful and friendly.
We ate at the WJ on two evenings and the food in there although missing the waitress service was very good. In some ways i preferred it to the main dining room because of the huge choice of meals and options available. The freshly prepared crepes with a choice of fillings were very very yummy :)
Ports of Call
Messina we stayed in town and did our own thing that day , the clock tower and its musical story at 12 noon is very interesting too see , but make sure you visit the church too as its beautiful inside. Found the street sellers just out side the dock a little pushy a firm no seemed to work fine.
Athens , did own thing again and walked to metro station from the ships docking point on dock B. Its a LONG way! We are fit and healthy but by the time we got off the metro and walked up through the Plaka to the main sights we were dreading the walk back.Found Athens to be a very big and sprawling city , the views are amazing but if was to go again would take an organised tour as just took too long and to tiring to get between areas on our own.
Kusadasi , took the ships tour to Ephesus , we chose the one which took in the Roman terraced houses too. Excellent tour with lots of interesting information. The ancient site is amazing and well worth the visit.
Kusadasi itself is very busy but their market i found quite intimidating. Unlike Messina saying no to the traders does not stop them and its impossible to "window shop" as they dont seem to leave you alone.
However if you can get your head around all that the market sells every thing you can think of and is very popular :)
Chania, Crete I think was the best port stop of the trip , however had to back on board by 2.30 so this did not leave much time to do anything. Local bus from port to town takes about 30 mins and is 3 euros return. Excellent service and deff no need to book the shops transport. Chania itself is a charming place and the harbour lovely. Could have sat in the pavement cafe and drunk tea and eaten cake all day and watched the people go by.
Sea days were spent swimming and sun bathing, never got around to going ice skating etc. Daughter did do the rock climbing on the second day and enjoyed it. Entertainment on the ship was very good from what we saw of it, only made the one show in the theatre. The Quest adult game show was the best fun had had in ages :)
Enjoyed our holiday very much and was very sad to leave the ship when we got back to Rome. RCI transfer back to the airport was equally as efficient as arrival, with the reps letting us know exactly which check in desk to go to once we got off the bus etc. Departure from the ship was also well organised and we found our luggage etc all very easily.
Rome airport itself is a bit of a Zoo and security checks are long and very thorough so be prepared to wait but it is a huge airport so to be expected.
Would deff cruise with RCI again and would go back on the Navigator any time.