I traveled with my husband and teen daughter on the 8/2 Western Med sailing on Navigator of the Seas. For my husband and me, this was our 5th cruise, and second on Royal. We had wanted to take a Med cruise last year, but ended up putting it off, so this was a long-awaited trip that we were very excited about. In the past I'd acted as my family's travel agent, but this time we used a professional and were very happy to have the assistance.
We flew into Rome and spent a night at the Mecenate Palace Hotel. We used Rome Cabs for the transfer, and had them come again the next day for the transfer to the port. They were reliable and this worked out very well. The scene at the port was a bit chaotic. No one helped us with our bags; it seemed that porters were going to everyone else but us, even after we directly approached them asking for help. Finally, someone agreed to actually take our bags, and we went on to check in. Check in was smooth and quick, and in no time we were on the ship.
The ship was beautiful. It was the largest cruise ship we'd been on, but generally did not feel crowded. We had a balcony cabin. It was not large, but was adequate, especially since we were able to stow our suitcases under the bed, giving us the maximum amount of storage space possible.
We did My Time Dining. This was our first time using this. We had chosen it because we wanted the flexibility of eating at different times. In general, it worked well. We were always able to get a table for 3. On the third night, though, we dined later than usual. We had been unable to make a reservation, as we were out at port all day and thus not on the ship during the limited hours they had the phone line open to make a reservation. We ended up having to wait quite a while for a table. Worse than the wait, though, was the absence of any communication. Along with the other passengers, we all just stood in line- there were no names taken, or lists made, as there would have been at any land restaurant in the U.S. I'm not even sure how a reservation would have helped, as there was no separate line for people with reservations, and they were not going through the line looking for people with reservations. Additionally, the same person was both assigning tables and walking people back to their tables, thus leaving the podium empty for long periods. After this, we realized that it would be best to arrive at the dining room before 9:00. When we did this, the process was very smooth and we did not have to wait for a table.
The food was good; definitely better than what I remembered getting on my previous RCCL cruise. The assistant waiter took drink orders. This was a welcome innovation, as it was nice not to have to wait for the bar staff to place an order for a glass of wine.
We dined every night in the dining room. We had made reservations for Chops, but eventually decided to cancel them. The menu didn't look like anything that special, and we were enjoying our dinners in the main dining room enough so that we didn't feel we needed the specialty restaurants. We tried Johnny Rockets one late afternoon after a long day in port, and enjoyed the comfort food there. The Windjammer buffet was good for breakfast and lunch, although on port days we had lunch in port.
The entertainment was the usual kind of cruise ship stuff. The singers and dancers were talented, but the productions were kind of cheesy. Nevertheless, it was fun to go see the show after dinner. This ship had a first for me- an ice show. I hadn't been expecting much and was very impressed. There were multiple costume changes and it was quite elaborate.
Because most of our days were spent in ports, my daughter did not really participate in the teen program until the very end of the cruise. When she did, she had a great time meeting kids from other countries.
I loved the itinerary. We stopped at Genoa, Villefranche, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, and Cagliari. We had only one sea day; it would have been nice to have more to enjoy the ship, but I wouldn't have wanted to skip any of the ports.
When I could, I also really liked relaxing in the solarium. It was nice to get away from the screaming, splashing children in the main pool. I was always able to get a chair when I wanted one, and I saw ship personnel clearing towels off of unused chairs.
On the sea day, my husband and I tried an Italian class. I thought it was terrible and left early- he stuck it out. We also played Bingo- it's a cruise tradition.
Disembarkation was very easy. We waited in the theater for only a few minutes, and then walked off. We were traveling independently after the cruise, and the RCCL personnel were not helpful in locating the free port shuttle, sending us first to wait in the wrong place. We did eventually find it, though, and I left feeling that it had been a great cruise.