This is our third cruise, first on the Navigator but we had been on Adventure before so had some idea what to expect. We love this class ship, everything feels "big enough", very rarely any crowding. Navigator has a wonderful crew, absolutely everyone we met was warm and friendly, it was a treat.
Flew in the morning of the cruise, with our mild northeast winter this year had no issues. Arrived to Pier Terminal about 10:30, lots of folks still unloading from previous cruise. Breezed through security and check-in, with our JS booking and silver Sea Pass card we were taken to the priority boarding area which was nice, padded chairs instead of just the folding ones!
There was a minor delay, the building filled up quickly and it wasn't until about 12:15 that we started to board. Headed right to the Windjammer and got a nice table by the window for lunch. Buffet was good that day, everything was fresh. We had salads, some sandwiches and wraps and cookies and fruit for dessert. There is a ton of heavy food (burgers, pizza, mashed potatoes, creamy pastas) which did not appeal to us at all but they are there if you want them. The quality in the Windjammer nosedived throughout the week. Very few selections ever changed, and you could tell they recycled sandwiches from other days because they were so soggy and the lettuce was turning brown. We only ate there one more time after that first day because it was truly BAD. I looked for sushi but it is evidently only served at dinner, wish they had it for lunchs or snacks. I mentioned this to our dinner waiter and he suggested eating lunch in the MDR the next day. WOW, this was an amazing meal! They are only open on sea days, and only from 12:00-1:30. They have menu service and also a delicious and fresh salad bar. So much better than the Windjammer.
MDR food was much better, and our wait staff (Ping and Simon) were truly wonderful. We had our coveted table for two on Deck 4 and it was just perfect. These gentlemen really took the time to get to know us and our preferences. Within a few days they had our special olive oil blend ready on the table for dipping our bread in, and removed the butter as we never used it. We had the wine package which worked well, 7 bottles gave us one each night for dinner and one extra. The list is underwhelming but serviceable, very heavy on the California wines. We never wanted for anything during our meals, it was truly the best ship dining experience we've had.
We really enjoy the dinner appetizers, and often get 3 or even 4 of these and then split an entree. Tried the escargots on the first formal night and loved them! Garlicky. The only disappointment in the MDR was the sole filets with potato hash on night 4 (way overdone, and the potatoes were positively grey) but it was no big deal. Ping offered to bring something else but we were good with all the apps we'd already eaten! The Italian menu was definitely a highlight for us, antipasta app, risotto with scallops, it was all delicious.
We are not big dessert eaters but have consistently found desserts on all of our cruises to be a major disappointment. Everything looks beautiful but with little to no flavor, just not sure what the issue is but very lacking. The cookies are edible, and we did enjoy the bitter chocolate soufflee and the cherries jubilee.
Room service breakfast every morning on our balcony was fantastic. We usually did afternoon snacks as well, we were sorry to see the nachos removed from the menu but the spinach and artichoke dip was a great substitute. Room service was always excellent, everything arrived hot and fresh. The only time we had to wait more than 15 minutes was one evening near dinner time (6 pm), they were just busy.
We just did beach days at our ports (Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Labadee), and enjoyed all of them. Our first visit to Labadee was truly special, we were in port with Explorer which did make it crowded, but you could easily find a sunny or shady spot and those floating mats were pure heaven in that nice warm water! We came home with 4 Labadoozie cups so yeah, great day. Fun to watch Explorer pull out ahead of us.
The fitness center was great, get there before 8 on sea days to get your choice of machine. Steam and sauna rooms in the locker area were fantastic, as was the hot tub in the fitness center (it was DEEP, nice soak after a workout). Chair hogs were really out the first sea day, tough to get a chair. The second sea day was noticeably less crowded.
Lots of seniors on this sailing and very few kids (hit it just right, before spring break). The only impact this had was that it was never possible to get a lounger in the solarium, the seniors were up bring and early every day and staked their spots out! Not a big deal for us. Really liked the Solarium pool being open, the pools were very chilly in general so it was nice to have the sun. Hot tubs were HOT in the solarium, stingy on our sunburn but nice.
Didn't do any of the entertainment but enjoyed Warren and Simona's poolside activities. Belly dancing was a riot. The Crown & Anchor Welcome Back event was truly a joke with extremely watered down rum punch or champagne being the only cocktails offered. On Adventure we could get Manhattans, gin & tonics, etc. There was no agenda, the captain just did a little Q&A. Felt it was embarrassing for RCCL, just give us a drink coupon or something, we won't go back to another of these "events" as it's a huge waste of time. We did use our drink coupons from the C&A booklet, those were nice.
Self Disembark was AWESOME! We pack lightly, so it was so nice not to have to pack up all our stuff before dinner the last evening, much more relaxing. We were off the ship by 8:15, totally painless.
Overall we had a wonderful time and would not hesitate to book on Navigator again. She is showing some wear and tear (rust in the bathroom and balcony, some mold stains in the bathroom) but nothing to detract from your vacation. The attention of the crew more than made up for any shortcomings on appearance.