We went on a Mediterranean cruise July 3rd to 10th 2011. The Navigator of the Seas is a huge ship with a crew from many different countries. I will focus on the negative things on this cruise in this review, to help those who are looking for something exclusive and wonderful when searching for a cruise line. First of all, the ships focus on selling merchandise is enormous. They display and push their goods all around the ship, and it felt as if we were in a bazaar. Cheap watches, different souvenirs of various quality, cheap jewels, T-shirts. The list goes on.
The service on the ship varied so much, that their self-exclaimed Gold Anchor service, which is supposed to be supreme, seemed ridiculous. Our State Attendant (the man who serviced our rooms and cleaned it) was kind and polite. Most of the waiters were alert and attentive, but it felt forced sometimes. The Portofino restaurant had an exceptional staff. Very service-minded and smiling.
We played Bingo, and won, but had to share the prize because someone else had bingo too, and even if they didn't shout Bingo, as we were thoroughly explained we had to in order to get the prize, they got half of the prize. This was not explained in advance, rather to the contrary, they said that there was only one prize:$300, and we felt cheated. We mentioned this in the Guest relations Desk, and they had the Cruise Director call us. He just said this was the way they did it, but we could get some cards and play the next day.The game-shows were identical to the shows on a RCCL cruise we went on in January 2009 in Mexico.
The guest relation desk were supposed to have information on the Ports of call, but they knew nothing except from what was written on a piece of paper that we already had received in our State room. We wanted to know if there was a beach near by, but they had no idea. Had never been ashore!
One of the Excursion! desk employees was very condescending when we asked him if he knew about a beach, and did not want to talk about anything if it was not on the excursion program. The excursions that they sold.
The speaker system was poor and it was difficult to hear what they said. It just made a lot of noise. This was particularly annoying outside by the pool.
There was a policy on board that one could not reserve sunbeds. There were big signs everywhere to announce this. People did it anyway - on the days at sea everybody wants to get a bed by the pool and in the sun, but there just aren't enough of them - but the crew did nothing to prevent it. It would be so easy for them to remove the towels put on the beds to reserve them.
The brochures stated the dress codes for the elegant dining room. Many guests couldn't be bothered to follow them, and went to dinner in T-shirts and shorts. This made the dinner experience feel "common" and less than stylish, especially on the Formal nights. The head waiter did nothing to stop this from happening, and it reduced the atmosphere. It felt strange to be dressed elegantly among shorts, T-shirts and sneakers.
The entertainers seemed sick to their stomach to be there. The musical entertainers we saw were empty-eyed and made no attempt to connect to the guests.
Last but not least. Be advised that the Tips expected is a flat out robbery. It is unfair. These are the people they "program" us to tip: State room attendant, Head Waiter, Waiter and assistant wait. We talked to some of the staff, and most of them make much less than the waiters and get no Tip. Our advice is to tip as you feel like during the course of the cruise, and don't feel pressured into tipping according to RCCL's expectations in their brochures: 3-7$ pr person pr day pr employee mentioned before. Remember, non of this money goes to the sweet man bringing you breakfast in you state room, or to the hundreds of other employees doing their best to make you happy. They receive a VERY low salary, but to quote one of them: "It is better than what we could get at home. There, there were no jobs".