Myself and my husband went on the navigator for a weeks cruise on the 18th of August. We just returned at the weekend. We booked a fly cruise package including transfers through our local travel agent. I'm a really nervous flyer and like to always sit in the front row aisle seat, however after I had booked the package my travel agent told me that I couldn't reserve my seat as royal carribean block book seats and I could only select my seat once we were checking in at the airport. I know this wouldn't bother some people but it really stressed me out. Eventually we did get it sorted though after ringing both the airline and royal caribean ourselves. Tut tut travel agent! We flew from dublin to Rome and almost as soon as we got off the plane we were met by a representative from royal caribean who led us to our luggage reclaim area and who also have us our luggage tags, then someone else showed us where to leave our luggage and someone else escorted us to our bus. It was very well run and would've been impossible to get lost!
We then drove for about an hour to the port. The traffic was pretty light do there was no delays. We had a Rc rep on board who gave us a brief history on the areas we were passing and also explained the check in procedure and ensured everyone had their paperwork filled in correctly so there would be no delays once we were in the cruise terminal. The cruise check in was very smooth and everyone we had to deal with was very friendly and helpful. We were on board within minutes and our cabin was ready!
We booked an interior stateroom at the front of the ship. We also booked a romance package so there was a bottle of chilled sparkling wine and cupcakes waiting for us which was fab after travelling all morning! The room was spotless and as you would expect an interior stateroom to be. Our room attendant called to introduce herself and give us her card if we needed to phone her. She was lovely.
For our first cruise we sailed on liberty of the seas and our next two were on adventure of the seas. We booked navigator this time as we were looking forward to exploring a new ship. This is really the only thing that disappointed us. Navigator is a carbon copy of adventure apart from the name of one bar and it really felt like we had done it all before so for me a bit of the magic was gone.
The ship was lovely though and well maintained. We had one issue in our stateroom with our shower hose splashing and once it was reported it was replaced straight away. We had breakfast and lunch in the windjammer most days. Food was good quality as always but hectic as always too! We always managed to find a seat though! We ate in jonny rockets one night. Food was ok but cod do with a bit of a broader menu. The other nights we ate in the main dining room. Food and service there was excellent. My only complaint was that the lights were blindingly bright in there! They could've done with being dimmed to create a more romantic atmosphere. During the afternoon we often nibbled on one of the amazing sandwiches from cafe promenade. Not to be missed!
We boarded our cruise on the Sunday. We had booked a marriage vow renewal package for the Tuesday so Sunday afternoon after the fire drill we met with our co ordinator Addy, a lovely lady from South Africa. She went through all the details with us and made sure we were happy with everything. Addy would be performing the ceremony also
On Monday we were in Sicily. We decided not to get off the ship. We just fancied a day relaxing by the pool. On Tuesday we had our vow renewal at 2.30pm. Addy and the photographer met me at my stateroom and escorted me to the skylight chapel taking photos along the way. I got plenty of rounds of applause from other passengers walking through in my dress which was lovely. We had a short ceremony and then a bottle of bubbly and chocolate covered strawberries to toast. We then had a photo session all over the ship with our photographer Galina. We were with her until 4pm and then we were free to do our own thing. The renewal package cost 1095 dollars which included the ceremony and a certificate, a bottle of sparkling wine and strawberries for toasting, a button hole for Martin and a bouquet for me which consisted of 3 white rises tied together with a little greenery, and an hour photo session with 30 8x10 prints and a cd of 15 photos. On reflection it was a bit pricey. But we enjoyed it and the photos we got are fab.
Our next port of call was Athens. We did a tour here of panoramic Ancient Rome and plaza and shopping. The next day we were in kusadasi. The port is right in the town so we didn't book any tours as we could walk off ourselves. I have never been to turkey before but if kusadasi is an indicator of what it's like I WON'T be back! I thought it was horrific. We went into the grand bazaar to do some shopping and the men there were horrendous. Extremely intimidating, aggressive and pushy. Women, do not go there alone!! Myself and my husband walked around briefly and then got back on the ship as I felt so intimidated and upset. After a couple of hours Martin persuaded me to get off again as I really wanted to buy a handbag and he knew I'd be annoyed if I didn't get it so we went back, kept our heads down and got my bag and got out again! It was definitely an experience not to be repeated!
The next day we were in Crete. We stayed on board. The next day we were at sea. We wereooking forward to catching some sun and havi g a pool day but there was literally no free sunbeds ANYWHERE. We checked every deck. There wasn't people on most if the beds however, just towels. This is so unfair. There are signs up everywhere saying sunbeds cannot be reserved but this is not policed in any way. It was really infuriating.
We spent most of evenings in the two poets English bar. Or rather outside it on the high stools because of the smoking inside. I can't believe that there is still so much smoking allowed indoors on the ships. And it's especially annoying that its always allowed in the English bar. I think it's the most "traditional pub" type bar so it's a shame it's used as the smoking bar. People who aren't even drinking there pop in for a smoke and pollute everyone else and then leave. In this day and age smoking needs to be outside only and in a restricted area.
All in all we enjoyed our cruise. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the navigator. For me however I felt this cruise had lost a bit of the magic we normally feel and it's possibly time to try a new cruise company for a change.