We enjoyed our third Royal Caribean cruise on the Navigator during the NE school vacation February 18-26th (our sixth in total)after being on the Explorer and Mariner in the last three years. We are a family of four with two older teens. It was an eight day cruise visiting St Martin, St. Kitts, San Juan and Labadee. Having been on two similar ships, it felt deja vu and very comfortable. In fact, the Explorer seemed to follow us on 3:4 ports (more about that later)
We arrived from the warm NE three days early to do some sightseeing in the Fort Lauderdale Area. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn booked via an internet agency for very reasonable price. We were very satisfied with the Fairfield especially the cleanliness and the breakfast. It was centrally located off of 95 if you had a car;however without a car, it was isolated if you were to stay there more than one night.
We returned our Alamo rent a car after noon on the day of embarkation. It took about an hour to get to the port via their shuttle bus. The first one was too crowded so we had to wait for another. Then it took a bit longer to get into the port where there was an accident between a private vehicle and tour bus. Then of course they stopped at each of the seven piers and we were the last one. Keep an eye on your luggage as the driver almost unloaded some poor couples luggage at the wrong pier
We arrived around 1pm; we breezed through the check-in and were on the ship within 15 minutes. We immediately dropped off our carry ons in our room and then went to the Windjammer. It wasn't even that crowded as most had eaten. I enjoyed my obligatory Honey Stung Chicken and salad. After lunch, my husband and I worked out and then went to unpack our luggage which arrived sometime after 3pm right before the 4pm muster
We were seated in Table 357 and we were surprised for our family of four to be seated with at a table of 6. We found out that another family of six were separated and seated two each at the nearbye tables. They were reasonably upset but we got along so well they kept their arrangements and they would switch tables daily which made interesting. The food was OK, not good or bad. The service was quite good; though we made a point to tell our waiters to have our sodas and iced tea available to us upon arrival (as the first three nights it took 30 minutes to arrive). After that things got better. My old favorites like vidalia onion tart etc seemed different. Some of the foods came lukewarm; but we didn't make a big deal of it. I did not like; however when the mahi tempora was full of bones. We ate some snacks in promenade, one lunch in MDR and a couple of room service snacks (though 30-40 minute wait, they were always hot and delicious)
St Martin: We went on Bernards Tours with "Sugar" as our driver. We had a fantastic time, one of the best excursions ever in my six cruises. We felt that we got a comprehensive tour of the island and he really listened to our needs. We saw the iguanas, sea urchins, Orient Beach, Marigot, Maho. I made a request to stop at Rimas, he was more than happy to oblige, let us off with another family, gave us enough time and picked us up to return to the ship. We were 1:7 ships that day.
St Kitts: RCL sponsored volcano hike: I had a miserable time on Mt Misery. Despite being experienced hikers, it rained in the rainforest in the entire time, making for dangerous conditions. We hiked to the top, was given minutes to rest plus there was nothing to see due to the clouds. I am surprised that RCL runs such a dangerous excursion. Without the rain and the ankle deep much, it would have been better but it is unpredictable.
San Juan: Too short as usual. We were next to the Explorer again. We used the day to shop around the island, since we couldn't shop in St Kitts due to being covered with mud. We enjoyed the small shops and the jewelry street vendors who have some unusual reasonably priced costume jewelry.
Labadee: Again we were with the Explorer with over 6000 passengers. It was easy to get seats as the attendants would bring you one; however the wait for the food was 30-40 minutes. The most confusing part was that the ships were on different times. We had turned our clocks back the night before while the Explorer still was on Caribean time. So each time we asked the time so not to miss our excursion, we would get a different answer depending on what ship the person was from. We did the jet skiing which we did before and it was a lot of fun.
The entertainment was mixed. The ice show was nice but I enjoyed the shows more on the other ships. The company dancers were OK, they were leaving the ship after this cruise and it showed. They had a fantastic comedien and I really enjoyed the Nelson brothers. We enjoyed working out, the free classes and took stairs everywhere which kept the weight gain down.
All in all, it was a great cruise