Over the past several months, I have read many of the reviews of the ship. The categories are people love it or hate it with only a few in the middle. While I am not an experienced "recreational" cruiser, I have lived onboard a ship and transited both the Panama and Suez (4x) Canals.
Arrival - The port seems a bit cluttered and once dropped off, the staff didn't seem overly excited to help with taking our bags until we walked in the baggage area and asked someone what to do with our bag. Then they were nice enough to point over to a pile based on the color of our tags. This isn't really a RC issue, but a problem with the port. We found the end of the line right outside the baggage drop off and while it wasn't slow, it wasn't fast either, but it did manage to move. July in Galveston is hot and the building isn't designed for 3K people to stand inside for the screening process, be prepared to wait outside. Special shout-out to the people that want to carry-on all their luggage. More
Thanks for clogging up the lines and slowing down the screening process so you don't have to wait for your luggage.
Once we got to an agent, the process was ok and I checked in fine even with a minor that didn't belong to me. I expected a little hassle, but almost no questions were asked to her if she was willing to travel with us and if her parents gave permission. Having her passport and a notarized letter allowing travel was all that was needed. We actually got more questions on our return to the port than leaving.
Stateroom - We had 2 PR staterooms and 2 Interior staterooms. My goal wasn't to spend time in the stateroom outside of sleeping and getting ready for my day. They were nice, but smaller than the HAL staterooms and drawer space is almost zero. We did pack several wire hangers and hung almost everything up. The bathroom was small and I wasn't excited that the switch was behind the hinges of the door, just turn the light on before you try to enter. Again, I understand space is a premium, so I expected small.
Dining - MDR: We had regular dinner reservations nightly at 20:00. Our waiter was very nice and polite and took time explaining the entries to 2 adults and 6 teen girls (yes, we took 6 teens). He did mention that they were understaffed, but I never felt rushed at any meal onboard. We ate in the MDR 6 of the 7 nights. Special requests were accommodated, but I will say it took some time to keep my water glass filled. The kids all had the Royal refreshment package so their glasses were filled and my wife had plenty of wine, I just grabbed water glasses from the kids on the table.
Breakfast: Most days we ate at the Windjammer and while nothing exceptional, it was filling. They did have a decent array of food and it too seemed that the wait staff was lacking in the numbers needed. For me, I was able to get what I needed from anyone walking by.
Lunch: two of the sea days we ate at the MDR and had the Tutti Salad. It was very tasty and changes mush have been made as I noticed each bowl was mixed with a new pair of tongs to prevent any cross contamination of foods. The last day, I was so full, I only ate dinner.
Sabor: Food was great and a lot of it. In all honesty, We would have been fine with the Guac and desert tray. Everything else was too much.
Drinks - I don't think I ever heard the word "No" on the cruise. Not sure if I talked to the right people or just didn't have any outrageous requests. While I had the Royal Refreshment, I easily walked from bar to bar getting bottles of water. There were lines at the pool bars, but while they were packed at the pool, I could walk to the Skybar one deck up or around the corner to the Solarium with minimal effort. I was able to stock my mini-fridge with minimal effort on the 1st day. One thing that did bother me was not always was the water cold. I have to take away points on that, but even cold water gets warm about 20 minutes under my lounge chair. They did limit 1 drink at a time, but to me it wasn't an issue. My wife was happy with the selections of drinks offered and while she might not have drank a lot, I got great use out of the coffee bar and bottled water and occasional virgin frozen drinks to make it worth while. I know my kids loaded up on the Mocha's at the café too.
Entertainment - It was standard shipboard entertainment and while it wasn't great, it wasn't bad. People have different tastes and if you have time to kill, go and see a show or two. The live music in the different venues was pretty good and I did enjoy the poolside band.
My favorite was the trivia contest and met a few new folks to team up with. General knowledge, History, Texas, Logo and music were all fun and yes, the prizes are crappy. I didn't go for the prizes, but managed to win 3 rounds and held my own for a few other.
Staff - The staff was helpful of all the requests and tried to accommodate everything I wanted. Guest services straightened out my room charges easily so I could determine who bought what. Staff members I walked past were friendly and usually said hello first, but would always respond if I asked a question. Less
Navigator of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean
All in all, the room was nice. I wasn't taking a cruise to stay in the room so I limited my time to sleeping and showering. While I did watch a little TV at night, it was right before I went to bed. The down side was that the 2 poets pub was right below me. I could hear the music nightly, but it was usually over by 23:30. Once I was out, it didn't matter. Something for my next cruise will be to bring a container of hand soap so I don't have to use the bar in the bathroom and a nightlight so I can find my way in the dark.