Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by kjhighball: Thanksgiving Celebration
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Western Caribbean
This cruise was full of celebrations for our group of 15: two birthdays and Thanksgiving. This was my second time on the Navigator of the Seas, 3rd Voyager-Class, and 4th Royal Caribbean cruise. Coming in, we had high expectations. In most cases, we had a great journey. But in some aspects, we were disappointed. To start with, the weather produced some rough seas midweek so we missed a port call in Grand Cayman.
Overall, it was in good shape but definitely had some things that will be addressed (I hope) in dry dock (scheduled for early 2014). The cabin faucets had trouble distinguishing from hot or cold water -- it was always just warm. A fellow traveler complained 3 times, but nothing was ever fixed. We had a closet door hinge break, but it was fixed quickly. Some of the carpet and theater seats look worn and ready for replacing. But overall, everything was functional and still kept in good shape.
We were in Aft 1392 - our favorite More on this ship. The covered area of the balcony is big enough for two sitting chairs, a table, and two lounge chairs. It is quiet - not much traffic. There is a little more side-to-side vibration movement at full speed, but there is almost no up-down motion being in the very back. Our room steward was very efficient and kept us very happy.
For the first time on a ship, we opted for a big table with 15 seats. The dining room appears to have two right in the center, near the stairs. It was exciting to be near the action and activities. But I think the size also caused major service issues On the first night, we all were seated close to the 5:30 time. But the actual service was very extended with long pauses between courses. Finally at about 7:45, our desserts started to arrive. We were the last table in the dining room, and we could see the people lining up at the door for the 8:00 seating. One of the head waiters finally came over and said we would have to leave even though our dessert/coffee had been on the table for just minutes. We explained the situation, and he indicated it would be addressed. For the rest of the nights, service was inconsistent and still took a long time. What bothered me is that we never saw an Asst. Head Waiter at our table or appear to help our Waiter out. The Asst. Waiter did a great job of keeping drinks and bread refilled, but she did not help with food distribution at all.
For the first time on a RCCL ship, I never saw or met our Assistant Head Waiter! The Head Waiter stopped by a couple of times, and he said he did some things to have the problem addressed. But I don't think it helped much. Was our table too big for their system? Maybe...but our waiter may have just been over her head.
The food itself was good. Some dishes were excellent (turkey and sole), but some items were tough and rubbery (steak and lobster).
Outside the dining staff, the staff was pleasant and friendly. Some did seem "tired", and many of them said this was their final cruise before vacation. It seems the transatlantic voyage and some missed port calls for time off was weighing on them. There just didn't seem to be that energy with the crew that I have seen on previous ships.
The stage shows were well acted, but they do need to be refreshed. We had taken a Spring Break 2012 cruise, and much of the content was the same. The guest ice show performers and the guest headliners were excellent. We really enjoyed the "Man of 1000 voices" and the Russian ice skaters.
The kids said Adventure Ocean was pretty crowded at time, but there were 900 kids/youth onboard this ship (out of 3,690 guests!)
PORT OF GALVESTON:
Having taken a previous Galveston cruise, I learned some tricks:
1) Entry Into Port: Avoid Harborside completely and go through the "Strand" area to enter the port directly around 22nd street. You bypass the massive line of cars coming down Harborside. There is still a 1-car-wide funnel just inside the port before the Terminal 1/Terminal 2 divide that needs to be fixed.
2) Check-In: The agents were pretty efficient for normal cruisers, but the handicap/wheelchair area was backed up. We arrived about 11:30, but the wheelchairs were still be used by disembarking passengers.
3) Disembarkation: This was much improved. We had two wheelchairs with us so we got a little priority but not much. We waited about 30 minutes onboard, then it took about 15 to get to our bags. Once we had our bags, we were outside in 10 minutes. They had 8+ customs lanes open.
We love cruising from Galveston as we can drive so I hope that the drydock and crew change that should occur will revive the Navigator for its year+ stay in Texas. Less
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Cabin review: 1392
We were in Aft 1392 - our favorite on this class of ship. The covered area of the balcony is big enough for two sitting chairs, a table, and two lounge chairs. It is quiet - not much traffic. There is a little more side-to-side vibration movement at full speed, but there is almost no up-down motion being in the very back. I highly recommend the Deck 10 aft cabins.
Port and Shore Excursions
For our 3rd time in Cozumel, we opted for a on-your-own beach break at Playa Mia. Taxis are plentiful so getting there and back was not a problem. The park was very nice and big - water park, swimming pools, long beach. There were hundreds of people there, but we got on a quiet end of the beach that was great for the kids to play in the sand.
Unfortunately, there was a red flag warning so the Playa Mia "floating playground" was not out when we got there. The lifeguards were being pretty strict and would only let you swim in a small area. But the kids got to play on the beach.
About noon, they dropped the surf warning to "yellow flag" but the water was still pretty rough. They took about an hour and setup the floating playground. It was VERY difficult in the rough waters for many of the kids.
If the weather had been better, it would been more enjoyable so I would recommend Playa Mia in the future.
Dunn's River Falls
This was a lot of fun! We did have to go in a group, but it is not so bad. The water was very refreshing, and the guides were fun and engaging. We had a videographer that filmed us but we didn't feel pressure to buy the $40 DVD (we did anyway since there were 10 of us). I highly recommend this excursion. The drive from Falmouth is about 1 hour unfortunately so you lose a lot of time driving.
Jamaica Bobsled Experience
Bobsled ride was a lot of fun. You get one turn. Additional ride start at 2/$22 They should have included some sort of snack/drink with this excursion. We didn't receive anything. The chairlift (like a skilift) ride up was nice and relaxing. There were some great views of the surrounding water, Ocho Rios, and the bay. The drive from Falmouth is about 1 hour unfortunately so you lose a lot of time driving.
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Food and service were abysmal.