My wife and I are avid cruisers; this being our 24th cruise since 1996, and while the Navigator did present some moments of pleasure-like the service staff, this was a very disappointing experience and we will never cruise on RCCL again.
Embarkation-the Navigator was stuck on Pier 29 in Port Everglades, which is off to the side of the main port area. There is a ONE LANE road leading to the ship, so it took us half an hour from the time we entered the port to the time we reached the ship. Then I dropped off my party and drove to the parking garage; taking the shuttle back to the ship. The shuttle did not have air conditioning, so I choose instead to walk back to the ship; I got there 15 mins before the shuttle did that I was on. Not a good start. The lines getting on the ship were very long and chaotic; at last 15 deep getting past the security.
Once on the ship, I was impressed by the ship itself-although ten years old, it was in pretty good condition;some of the carpet was worn, but it did not look its age. Once we found our cabin, (no assistance like on Celebrity), we went up to the Windjammer Cafe, and that is when we felt like we were dipped in cold water and realized what the next seven days lie ahead for us.
My wife and I have NEVER been exposed to such horrible food in our lives. Everything was either over cooked, too salty, or while one cannot do too much to salad fare, the meats were overcooked and dry. There was no sandwich station where one could get a tuna or egg salad sandwich the pizza was a doughy mess. This was a constant throughout the cruise. Well, we hoped that the dining room food would be better.WRONG-it was worse! Wilted lettuce for salads, minuscule starters, The first night I ordered the "Black Angus Top Sirloin", well what I got was a hockey puck- the same size, and blackened from wear and tear. This same hockey puck was served later on the cruise as a "NY Strip Steak" I even believe it was cooked at the same time and left over. Lobster was gooey and gummy-not firm like it should be. Any chicken dish was the same frozen chicken cutlet like you get prepackaged the supermarket- the only difference being the types of sauces it was dipped in. Desserts were spotty. My wife and I became afraid to enter the dining room. This brings us to another point-the service. While the waiters were attentive and overworked; our waiter Alexander was constantly getting orders wrong and sweating profusely, the kitchen itself was a disaster; most evenings it took 45 minutes to get our starters and and hour and 15 mins to get our main courses Enoiugh said- you get the idea.
The shows also were spotty- the ice show was very good and the three tenors were also very good- but the production shows were poorly produced and none had the big production numbers that we loveThe sets and scenery were strictly high school level;we left after ten mins or so each show they had.
The facilities were ok;the pools were very nice; with large jacuzzis, also in a major design flaw, one had to go to a different floor for a key to the locker rooms where the sauna and steam rooms were.
Oh, back to the food; in amazing act of commercialism, there was a paper on each table in the MDR saying if you want to pay $14.95,you can order a REAL steak from the specialty dining room, if you do not like the dreck we have here. Further, the only way to get real orange juice was to pay $3.95 for a glass, or else you werr subjected to the orange or apple flavored water they had to offer you for breakfast.
The ports were nice- Saint Martin, my wife and I took a cab ride to Orient Beach and had a lovely morning there, and then the ONLY good meal we had all week- lunch at a restaurant in Philipsburg; the beach at Labadee was nice, but it got overcrowded very early not enough chairs, we did nt get off the ship in San Jian.
Also a disappoointment was the promenade, where the goods sold were shopping mall quality and the special salews were CONSTANT from day one- another marketing ploy. The shows presented there were decent,but of corse it was very crowded, which took away from the enjoyment.
Overall, we cannot forgive RCCL for this mass marketing, in your face attempt at vacationing, especially since its subsidiary, Celebrity offers the finest cruising in the world in all respects. There are other cruise lines, go on them.