We had a wonderful cruise on our Navigator trip to Alaska June 9.
Prior to Embarkation - We traveled with another couple and stayed at the Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver for a couple of days prior to the cruise. The hotel was outstanding. The rooms were spacious, clean and luxurious. The concierge made wonderful dinner recommendations, and all the personnel - from the front desk people to the doormen - were terrific.
Embarkation: The four of us took a limousine to the pier as it was less expensive than taking two cabs to accommodate our luggage. Boarding was quick and easy. We were on the ship around 1:00pm and had lunch in the Compass Room. We had all our meals in either the Compass Room or, one night, in Prime 7. We approached La Veranda for breakfast one morning, but quickly decided we preferred to be served in a dining room.
Introduction to Navigator - We had been upgraded to a Penthouse A Suite, #1123. The only difference between this stateroom and the other balcony categories is a butler. Ours certainly was very nice, but I don't believe he provided any services not offered by room stewards. He made sure our refrigerator had the beverages we like and that our fruit basket was replenished. Our room steward was extremely efficient. The stateroom itself had a WALK-IN CLOSET. The bathroom had a separate stall shower, granite counter tops and tile floors. Nice. There was plenty of storage space. Dining - The quality and variety of the food was excellent. However, the service in the Compass Room was not up to the standards we previously experienced on Regent. Several times we were brought the wrong entrEe, and sometimes we felt rushed. Though open dining is convenient, I prefer having the same service staff throughout a cruise so they get to know your preferences. Also, the tables are too close together, and the wait staff negotiating between them was disruptive. It was nothing like fine dining. Prime 7, on the other hand, was absolutely perfect. I regret we were able to eat there only once.
Excursions - We were supposed to take the Misty Fjords Seaplane Adventure, but it was cancelled because of weather. Our favorite was the Tracy Arm catamaran -an extraordinary experience. Another "can't miss" excursion was the White Pass Railroad in Skagway. I don't recommend the Mendenhall Glacier River Float. It was freezing, wet, uncomfortable and rather boring. I wore five layers of clothes plus the horrible rubber pants, boots, jacket and life jacket they make you wear. Others in our party felt much the same way. We didn't book excursions in Whitehall but had an enjoyable time exploring on our own.
Entertainment - We went to the first two shows and were a little disappointed. We skipped the third show. We did, however, go to the Krew Kapers and loved it! There was no comedian on board. The lectures were good. The trivia and other daytime activities were nice. We enjoyed the pianist, Constantine, very much, and the band was terrific. But we missed the variety of evening entertainment afforded on larger ships. We enjoyed cocktails in Galileos and the small bar outside the library. The casino was very nice for such a small ship. We probably spent too much time there!
Miscellaneous - Wireless worked well except in Skagway. We hooked up our Magic Jack and were able to make free calls most days. The computer manager printed out our airline boarding passes the day before we left. It's a small ship with only two stores. I actually had trouble spending our onboard credits. My husband says this is the first time I've had trouble spending money!
Disembarkment - Easy. Organized.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip. The staff on Navigator is terrific. Everyone goes to great lengths to make sure you have a good time. And we did! Is it worth the price compared to lines like Holland America and Celebrity? We're not so sure.