I hadn't been on a cruise for at least 15 years & wasn't entirely pleased with my past cruising experiences. I consider myself a well-seasoned traveler & found cruises to be boring. However, as I matured & started to value convenience, I decided to give cruising another try. Our trip got off to a bad start when we arrived in Fort Lauderdale & my travel agency never bothered to book my pre-cruise hotel (although I had paid for it upfront). So we arrived at the hotel & but no reservation was made. Traveling with a special needs adult, I was quite upset. But the staff at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel found us another room at another hotel. I still had to pay for another room, but things worked out. I'm calling my travel agency (AAA) to get this straightened out.
Check-in was a breeze - we literally got out of the car & walked onto the ship. The porters took our luggage & the line to check in moved fast. In total, we probably spent 10 minutes checking in. Our balcony state room was well-appointed, a good size for 2 people. The bathroom was very small, but always had hot water & served its purpose. The beds were comfy & our stateroom attendant was wonderful. Overall, the service aboard the Navigator was impeccable.
The food was also very good. The Windjammer buffet had a large variety, but it could get very crowded & seating could be hard to come by. There was also a smaller Asian buffet. Dinner was in the Swan Lake dining room. The service was incredible & the food very good. The portions were small, but delicious. If you want to gorge, go to the buffet. There was one midnight buffet, on the pool deck. It was set-up beautifully, but the line was very long. RCL has an extensive list of cocktails, ranging in price from $6.00 USD to $10 USD. We also had dinner at Portofino, one of the Navigator's specialty restaurant ($20 per person)& it was terrific. We had the shrimp & crab-meat risotto. The full-service restaurants have expansive wine lists.
As for activities, there was something for every taste, from jewelry making to ballroom dancing lessons, plus the usual casinos & bingo. The bingo games were very expensive; we didn't gamble in the casino. The shows were first-rate, with very talented performers. We also enjoyed the parades on the Royal Promenade. The shops on board actually had quite a few bargains, especially with liquor.
All in all, despite our rough start, this was a magical experience. We already booked our next cruise & look forward to traveling with RCL many times in the future.