37 Barcelona Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Embarkation was as usual...not good, not bad. We were in a Grand Suite (GS 1298) and found it to be most delightful. It was spacious with a good lay-out...albeit a bit tired looking, but the ship is to be refurbished in January we were ... Read More
Embarkation was as usual...not good, not bad. We were in a Grand Suite (GS 1298) and found it to be most delightful. It was spacious with a good lay-out...albeit a bit tired looking, but the ship is to be refurbished in January we were told. The Concierge room was a joke. It was totally jammed every evening with mostly the super frequent flyer group of good ol' boys who felt that visiting had to be at full volume, drawing up circles of people from their crowd. This certainly took away from any atmosphere of a quiet conversation over a cocktail. So much for the perk of spending money for a suite. We sometimes just took our drink to our cabin. One wonders how some of the trolling women were in the room, but I guess if you get enough cheap tickets and spend months on a ship you qualify. Movies in the theater were so awful we left two of them and didn't try again. TV programming was terrible. Gave up..and will NOT pay to watch a movie in our cabin. Hello, this is the age of communication and it isn't that expensive for Royal Caribbean to provide top quality TV. Food was OK, but I wouldn't go out my way for the specialty restaurants. Celebrity speciality restaurants totally outshine anything we saw on RC. The staff overall was most friendly and helpful. We applauded them. Lastly..my husband and I both came off the ship with pneumonia. We are both quite ill. Think cruising is on the back burner for some while (we have cruised about twice a year for several years). Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our 1st TA but our 25th cruise. We stayed at the Hotel Canton in Barcelona the night before. Great pre-cruise hotel & quick cab ride to the port. The ship, while a little tired, was much nicer than I thought it would be. Did ... Read More
This was our 1st TA but our 25th cruise. We stayed at the Hotel Canton in Barcelona the night before. Great pre-cruise hotel & quick cab ride to the port. The ship, while a little tired, was much nicer than I thought it would be. Did feel that it lacked that "outdoor" feeling. would have loved an ocean breeze while in the Windjammer. Café Promenade was a great spot for a quick snack. Played a lot of Trivia with a nice group of "new" friends. Ice show was FAB!, Hypnotist was entertaining, heard that the lectures were good but never could leave the Schooner bar where the trivia was. Food was good & while not too much was "outstanding", we never sent anything back. Roxie, our cabin steward was fine, but our waiter, BOGDAN, was the BEST we have EVER had!. There was nothing he could not do or get. Scott our tablemate was late every night & Bogdan pre-ordered for him because he could figure out just what he would want. Casino was large with 300 slots. Staff was almost too invisible. Cabin TV was awful & the internet was the slowest we have had in recent years. But we still had a great time. Also, I injured my foot 2 bays before the end of the trip. Went to the doctor's office. Got great treatment there. Looking forward to our next TA. This cruise made us understand why so many people love the "crossings". Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We took our first t/a on this same ship two years ago and got totally hooked on transatlantics, this trip was our fourth t/a in two years. R/C must have had all the in training officers put on this ship, it was really unorganized. The ... Read More
We took our first t/a on this same ship two years ago and got totally hooked on transatlantics, this trip was our fourth t/a in two years. R/C must have had all the in training officers put on this ship, it was really unorganized. The activities were led by people that had Just been informed that they were doing it or had not been told at all. The entire ship was hot in all the public areas so sitting in other than your cabin or outside was very uncomfortable. I get cold if the temp drops below 70 so it wasn't me, the men wearing suits were taking their jackets off after making an appearance. The ship lost satelite tv for 10 days so we watched the same reruns of recorded tv over and over again! The thing that bothered me the most was that they never bothered to tell us any news except we were diverting to try to get below a storm. I went on the internet after a couple of days rocking and rolling to find out that we were in the middle of tropical storm Melissa. If we wanted to know if the world wass still out there we had to telephone relatives or get on the internet both of which are expensive. I normally love R/C but this was a bad one.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I am a Platinum member of RCCL's Crown and Anchor Society, and this was our second Transatlantic. In the past we were quite satisfied with the hospitality given to passenger on the Royal Caribbean ships we have sailed on. This trip ... Read More
I am a Platinum member of RCCL's Crown and Anchor Society, and this was our second Transatlantic. In the past we were quite satisfied with the hospitality given to passenger on the Royal Caribbean ships we have sailed on. This trip left a lot to be desired. I read the review that another passenger left on our cruise, and I find he was quite accurate. He spent a lot of time on the food, and I concur. The food was mediocre, at best, and I was really surprised, when it was announced two days out, that the ship had run out of raw eggs. This was the day after we were in Nassau. I would think, they should have restocked when they were in port. Not only were Eggs sold out, but they ran out of bananas and Berries on day 10. The other reviewer mentioned a shrimp soup. I also was surprised by this when I ordered it, and saw the lack of shrimp. We had a surf and turf night, and a lobster night. The Surf part of Surf and turf was 1/2 of a small lobster tail. It also was served in shell, and was hard to retrieve the meat, which was overcooked. The cooks could also learn something about seasoning. There were a number of passengers from Louisiana on board, since the ship was slated to terminate in New Orleans. Several times on the lunch menu Jambalaya was featured. I was sitting in the restaurant with a couple from New Orleans. I told them not to expect much, and that's what they got. No heat at all! One of the problems we encountered was the state of the room. To be frank, it was dirty, and showed signs of extreme wear. This ship needs a renovation badly. the room was a little larger than many of the balcony staterooms, and on the hump, which is about the best you can get, and not have a suite. so I was disappointed when we saw cigarette burns on the carpet, and had lumpy mattresses. Shortly after boarding, we sent out some our clothes for cleaning. The clothes were delivered the next day. About halfway through they offered a special deal. Laundry was done for $25 all you can get. Unfortunately it took two days instead of one. To top that off, they lost our laundry. Our cabin steward had to bring three bags of unmarked laundry, and helped us find it. Which brings me to entertainment. Many of our table mates had sailed on the Navigator before. They commented on the shows which were pedestrian at best. In some cases they had seen the same shows two or three times. the cruise director made the point in one of his pre show comments, that he had been in the same show in 2003. Ten years is a long time to have the same show. Now I know why the shows seemed dated. I also have criticism with the activities, or lack thereof. The Art auctions no longer are with Park West. RCCL now runs the auction themselves, and they are not as varied than the Park West auctions. It also seemed that there were less poolside activities, then we've seen in the past. One standout was Vito, who ran the Bingo games. He is also a marine biologist, and also had a series of enrichment programs which were educational and well attended. Finally kudos to the wait staff, and cabin stewards, who worked hard and were very professional. I was impressed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Flight to Barcelona was 3 1/2 hours late in leaving this was not to bad considering hurricane sandy and the troubles other folks had. Hotel Rivalto was great, room was clean, staff was great, location excellent will definitely go there ... Read More
Flight to Barcelona was 3 1/2 hours late in leaving this was not to bad considering hurricane sandy and the troubles other folks had. Hotel Rivalto was great, room was clean, staff was great, location excellent will definitely go there again. Arrived at ship 1 pm on Sat. very smooth embarkation stateroom was ready dropped off carry on, off to windjammer. Our cabin needed a do over as the carpets were not clean and bathroom was still dirty. our cabin was never really cleaned like previous cruises and if was really was an effort to get it cleaned before 11.30 most mornings even after putting his make room card out at 8 am. Just to say we are really happy go lucky couple with many cruise on rcl, this is my first and probably my last attempt at doing a review. This transatlantic our 7th left a lot to be desired. Food. very disappointed with selection, and quality, our wait staff were excellent, but the food coming out of kitchen was never hot. we were a table of 8 and all had similar complaints. Shows were weak other than ice show and the Platters who did a great job with the oldies, other than these two just fair Day time activities less than exciting, trivia fun, sudoku ok,guest speakers no comment Debarkation was close to 4 hrs from start to finish what a mess, Please RCL bring your product up to your old standards us loyal cruisers have supported you in the past but you will lose us in the future unless you improve your attitude and services. PS Ricardo in the cc lounge is the best assest on the ship, a real gentleman with a great way of taking care of his guests. Overall 6 out of 10 Still love cruising GOING ON A 14 DAY CRUISE WITH A PRESIDENTAL ELECTION IN THE MIDDLE WAS QUITE AN EXPERIENCE ALMOST LIKE BEING IN CONGRESS WHERE THERE WERE TWO SIDES WHO NEVER AGREE GOD BLESS AMERICA Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was our second time aboard Navagator of the Seas and once again we were very happy with the crew and the for the most part happy with the whole experience. As has been noted by others Navagator is due for a makeover and if it is ... Read More
This was our second time aboard Navagator of the Seas and once again we were very happy with the crew and the for the most part happy with the whole experience. As has been noted by others Navagator is due for a makeover and if it is another 18 months off she will really need some help. We arrived in Barcelona late on Thur. before boarding on Saturday and found that a day and a half is not enough time in this great city. STayed at the Hotel Villamari and found it comfortable and in a good location from which to get around the City. Arriving at the port about 2PM only took about 30 minutes to get on board and our stateroom was ready for us--clean but a little worn--the embarkation was about as smooth as could be expected. We enjoyed the Ports both Cartagena and Malaga were pleasnt enough and the weather was good. One problem we found in Malaga was a that several places did not accept credit cards and after you order lunch without cash it gets a little tense. Tennerefe was interesting with the very rugged topography coming right down to the waters edge. My wife and I both thought the shows in the theater started out as very poor but got better later during the trip, The Platters put on a good show as did El Gaucho. The Ice show was good but not as spectacular as previous Ice Shows we have seen on both the Navagator and on Mariner. I always look forward to the encrichment lectures and am disappointed when they are not offered. The Fun Decades presentation was fun and informative and I thought the speaker was among the best we have seen on Cruise ships. The art historian a little less impressive. I also enjoyed the evening Astronomy lectures offered by one of the Directors staff. I would like to know in the future that these types of lectures will be offered it might be the difference in going or not going. Now to the dinning experience, we are relatively new to Cruising (only about 6 years) but I certainly feel that even in that short time the meals have gotten worse both in quality and variety. We were always able to find something on the dinner menue that was agreable but unlike a few years ago when almost each evening there were two or three things on the menue that I thought I would like to have. Our waite staff was very good there were a couple of evening when the food was not as hot as I would have prefered. The windjammer was ok we had the late seating for dinner and would usually just look for a snack for lunch and then perhaps go to tea aroun 4 or so. I think on future transatlantics we will try to get the early seating for dinner. Most mornings we had breakfast in the Main Dinning room and found that very good Hot food cooked to order. I was a little worried about 6 consecutive sea days but they litteraly flew by to the point that I lost track--we played bridge most days, attended the lectures and other activites and found ourselves plenty busy. The last comment concerns the debarkation I don't think you can necessairly fault RCI but the last memory of a very good trip is a bad experience. I don't know how to fix this problem certainly we need security and control but this system is just a mess with little information being transmitted to very frustrated passengers. Fortunately we were in no great hurry as we had a late afternoon flight out of New Orleans but there were a lot of people at the airport when we got there that had missed flights some of them international connections. The trip was really great and one that we will do more often the future it is a great value at less than 100 dollars a day I can't stay home for that. Fishforfun Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
My wife and I took the RCCL Navigator on the 14-day Transatlantic back from the Mediterranean to New Orleans. A couple of weeks earlier, we had cruised the Norwegian Spirit on a Grand Mediterranean circuit (reviewed separately on Cruise ... Read More
My wife and I took the RCCL Navigator on the 14-day Transatlantic back from the Mediterranean to New Orleans. A couple of weeks earlier, we had cruised the Norwegian Spirit on a Grand Mediterranean circuit (reviewed separately on Cruise Critic). So my evaluation of the Navigator below contains several comparisons to our Norwegian Spirit trip (generally, we thought our experience on the Spirit was superior to our experience on the Navigator). The embarkation experience on to the Navigator was fine. We have learned to arrive for our cruise vacations later rather than earlier, and so after we got to the Barcelona cruise terminal at 2 PM it only took us half an hour to get on board the ship. Our interior cabin, 8183, was fine (as discussed below). Food is an important part of a cruise vacation, particularly when you have a lot of sea days as we did on the Navigator Transatlantic. Unfortunately, our food and beverage experience on the Navigator started out poorly and did not improve much. A rather long discussion of the food follows. We had a traditional dinner seating arrangement, and we and most of our six tablemates had problems with our food on the first night. The woman to our left ordered the sea bass, and did not like the way it was cooked. Myself, the fellow across from me, and the woman to his left all ordered the prime rib. Their two orders were not delivered up cooked as they had requested, and so they switched orders, but were still not happy -- the man said the meat had "no flavor" (and I concurred with this). Several persons at the table ordered the sweet and sour shrimp soup, and then joked that there was no discernible shrimp in their bowls. My wife had the spaghetti, and said that was OK. But I am thinking, is spaghetti the best they can do for dinner?? At breakfast the next morning, I did not see much on the Navigator that looked appetizing. I like hot food for breakfast if I can get it. The scrambled eggs did not look good, little clumps of egg, so I skipped those. I like biscuits and sausage gravy, so I tried that. The biscuits were doughy, not flaky. The gravy was thin, and the the meat consisted of a few sausage links that had been hastily (and sloppily) sliced into the gravy. Good sausage gravy (like I had on the Norwegian Spirit cruise just a couple of weeks previous) is thick and well seasoned and the sausage is well crumbled and mixed into the gravy. I also like Oatmeal, but the Navigator's oatmeal was thin and watery, again, unlike the Norwegian Spirit Oatmeal which was nice and thick. Our dining experience the rest of our Navigator trip was hit and miss, with a few more misses than hits. I tried the top sirlion (the steak option available every night), but it was dry and chewey, again, unlike the Spirit, where the steak option they made available every evening was tender and flavorful. Another example was a lobster bisque on the Navigator that was thin and tasteless. And those dishes that were "hits" were not really outstanding, just decent. Example: The escargot. I love escargot, but the Navigator's escargot -- served only one night -- was not superior (unlike what we had on the Spirit) -- it was just, say, a cut above ordinary. We like curry and other Indian food, and the buffet at the Navigator had some of that every day. Again, though, it was not as good as on the Spirit. Also, the Navigator put out some Indian bread (i.e., crispy Papadum) on only one day of the cruise, unlike the Spirit, which put out both Naan and Papadum EVERY day on the buffet. Interestingly, the Navigator's buffet had good potatoes: The fries were usually hot; the breakfast hash browns (think McDonalds style) were usually hot and crispy; and the mashed potatoes were creamy and made from scratch. I had the mashed potatoes at almost every lunch. But do you see a pattern here (good spaghetti and good potatoes??). The desserts on the Navigator were also hit and miss -- usually there were one or two a night that were pretty good, but figuring out which ones were going to be good in advance was difficult. And some of the desserts were inexplicably bad -- like the tiramasu on Italian Night by the Navigator's Italian head chef. The tiramasu tasted like it was made with gelatin. Uch, no one at the table could eat it. My wife said I should also say something about the layout of the Windjammer (the Navigator's buffet). The Windjammer almost always had a crowded feel, like you had to weave back and forth to avoid bumping into someone when stalking your food or looking for a table. In comparison, we never had this "crowded" feeling when dining in the Spirit's buffet. Also, while the Navigator's buffet seating area was almost entirely inside, the Spirit buffet seating was a 50/50 split of inside and covered outside (with views off the stern), and that was nice, because we like to eat outside. Of course, the Navigator does have two specialty restaurants, the Portofino (Italian at $20 cover per person) and Choppes Grill (Steak at $30 cover per person). These prices were higher than the corresponding Italian and Steak specialty restaurants on the Spirit ($10 and $25, respectively). We did not try the Choppes Grill, but did eat at the Portofino in conjunction with a Mystery Dinner theatre presentation (discussed below). The Portofino food was nice: good starters, and some tasty and tender beef. The Navigator also what I call a "half" specialty restaurant -- a diner called Johnny Rockets. I say "half" because the diner serves basic food -- hamburgers, hot dogs, onion rings, and fries, all for a relatively small charge ($5 per person, beverages extra). The hamburgers and hot dogs at Rockets were fresh, hot, and tasty -- and we paid the extra money and ate lunch at Rockets often. Unfortunately, that also tells you a lot about what we thought of the "free" lunch food in the buffet. Anyways, enough discussion of the food!! Unfortunately, there were some other less than satisfactory aspects of our Transatlantic on the Navigator. For example, we found the Navigator's alcohol policies to be irritating, both with regard to alcohol brought on the ship and alcohol sold on the ship. First, Navigator appears to have a strict policy against bringing any alcohol onto the ship and into your cabin, either at embarkation or at any port stop. I say "appears," because we heard from some fellow passengers that they were able to sneek alcohol on board, while other passengers said they tried but were caught and their liquor confiscated until the end of the voyage. We asked our headwaiter about bringing wine from off the ship and into your cabin, and she said that you could bring a couple of wine bottles into your cabin, but that the Navigator would charge you a $25 corkage fee at the time you brought it on to the ship regardless of whether you drank it in your cabin or in the restaurant. This Navigator policy about bringing alcohol from off the ship compares unfavorably with the Norwegian policy. For example, we bought four bottles of wine in the duty free shop in Barcelona before we boarded the Norwegian Spirit, and Norwegian let us bring the bottles on board and into our cabin free of charge, and charged us a $15 corkage fee only if we brought our wine into the dining room. Second, we also found that Navigator's wine prices were higher than Norwegian's, including: 1) when purchased as part of a wine package, 2) when purchased by the individual bottle, and 3) when purchased by the glass. We also found that individual mixed drinks (e.g, rum and coke) were slightly higher on the Navigator than on the Norwegian ship. We like to have a couple of mixed drinks before dinner, and the Norwegian Spirit had a nice 2 for 1 special during happy hour in Henry's Pub, but the Navigator had no nice drink specials like this. Our mixed drinks on the Navigator also seemed to be watered down a bit. The end result was that we bought less alcohol, but at a higher total price, aboard the Navigator than aboard the Spirit. And, at least in my mind, this affects how much you enjoy your cruise. The Navigator did offer a periodic "fill the bag" laundry special, like on the Spirit. My wife really likes these specials. For $25, they will do all the laundry in the bag for you. Interestingly, the Navigator had limits on what type of clothing you could put in the bag, only permitting underclothes, socks, T-shirts, and swimwear. The Spirit had no such limits. Again, the kudos got the Spirit over the Navigator. And at the end of our cruise disembarkation in New Orleans was irritating -- extremely slow, with a lot of standing in line. We were supposed to get off the ship at 7:30 AM, but stood in line on the ship for awhile, then got off at about 9 AM, stood in line some more, and finally cleared customs at about 10:05 AM. The customer service reps went around saying they were short of customs agents, and that they were trying to hunt down more customs agents, but I think this should have been better coordinated in advance by Royal Caribbean with the US Customs Service. In any event, we have only had two bad disembarkation experiences on our six cruises -- but both were on our Royal Caribbean cruises. Not good, not good for Royal Caribbean. OK, yes, I can say some good things about our cruise and the Navigator. Our inside cabin was nice: pleasantly decorated, well-maintained, and fairly roomy as these cabins go. The shower had good hot water and good water pressure. The hair drier worked very well. The soundproofing was very good -- we heard almost no noises from adjoining cabins or the hallway. The crew of the Navigator was generally pleasant and helpful, including our room steward and our dining wait staff. I know the staff works hard, and we appreciated it -- and we tipped all of our waiters at above the recommended amount. The port calls, although limited, were all nice, particularly on the European side (Tenerife, Malaga, and Cartegena). All three towns are excellent walking towns, and the ship docks fairly close to the town in each of them. We did the hop-on hop-off bus in Tenerife, and I would recommend it. It was always pretty easy to find a comfortable chair to sit in somewhere -- The Navigator has a lot of chairs, and I think more of the comfy type chairs than the Norwegian Spirit did. I like to play Poker, and poker on the Navigator was a rip-off, but not quite the rip-off that it was on the Norwegian Spirit (i.e., the Navigator limited the 10% house rake to a maximum of $15 a hand, unlike the $25 max per hand on the Spirit). The Navigator did have some enrichment classes, more than the Spirit did, but I found the woman who gave the enrichment presentations on the Navigator to be repetitive and dull. As for the evening entertainment, we have been on enough cruise ships now to get kind of blase about the performances -- there is usually very little that you can remember a few days afterwards. On the plus side, we found the Ice Dancing show on the Navigator to be very well choreographed and very entertaining. The acting for the Mystery Dinner theatre was amateurish, but the overall production was fun -- and its fun was enhanced by the fact that unlimited wine was included in the base price ($49 per person if purchased in advance). On the down side, we occasionally like to see a movie. Other cruise lines show movies in a large theatre, or sometimes at night under the stars. Not the Navigator. Instead, they have a tiny "screening room," which filled up quickly the two times we went. Also, the movie selection in your cabin was very limited, unless you wanted to do "pay per view" at $12 (or more) a pop. In sum, it is hard to give the Navigator a glowing recommendation. In fairness, I have to note that our cruise fare was very cheap -- less than $50 per person per day. It seems obvious, then, that Royal Caribbean is trying to make up for that cheap fare by reducing costs (e.g., for food) and upcharging for certain extras (e.g., alcohol). If you are looking for inexpensive travel, and are willing to sacrifice on the quality of food and perhaps also on your alcohol consumption, you might find this sort of transatlantic cruise acceptable. In the future, though, we will look to cruise with another line (like Norwegian), even if we have to pay more cruise fare in dollars per day. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
After a two night stay in Barcelona we boarded the Navigator of the Seas. It had been two and a half years since we last sailed on the Navigator and not much had changed but we did notice that she was getting tired and ready for a face ... Read More
After a two night stay in Barcelona we boarded the Navigator of the Seas. It had been two and a half years since we last sailed on the Navigator and not much had changed but we did notice that she was getting tired and ready for a face lift. We were told that that upgrading had been postponed till spring 2014, she will be very tired by then I'm afraid. All that aside the cruise turned out to be one of out top three cruises for good times and great food. we enjoyed dinner in the dinning room very night with a great wait staff. If people complain about the quality of the meals they must have a wonderful life at home. The only meal we had that was less than great was the night we all went to Portofino where the meal was much less than spectacular and the seafood was cool by the time we got our meal. The entertainment was very good, both in-house and shows in the theatre. Special mention to the Sunlight Band who we miss the most. All in all we had a great time, put on a couple of pounds and came home with some great memories. The only real negative from our point of view was the number of smoking venues and the lack of enforcement of smoking in non smoking areas. I guess I have to mention the debacle when we arrived in New Orleans, even though it was the Port Authority and not RCCL that is responsible on this one. Over four hours to get off the ship and on the street is a little crazy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was our fourth cruise. Now feel ready to feed the internet with feedback. Have read many reviews, usually finding the negative side to contain the most useful information. Bringing liquor on board On previous cruises we have ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise. Now feel ready to feed the internet with feedback. Have read many reviews, usually finding the negative side to contain the most useful information. Bringing liquor on board On previous cruises we have packed a bottle of Baileys for the room. My wife likes it in her coffee and I like the odd shot before dinner or in the morning. Well Royal Caribbean thinks this cuts into their drink sales and abuses the safety security scanning to confiscate liquor. Your bag just doesn't show up and when ask staff, they say to check with security on deck 1. Down there, they get you to open your bag, give them the bottle for safe keeping, then send you on your way to haul luggage through the ship to your stateroom. Not exactly the classiest way to start a transatlantic crossing. Have no problem paying corkage at any of the dining venues, but what we do in our stateroom is our business. Imagine if a hotel tried crap like this. Liquor on board Expensive, around $8 for a pint of beer or their mixed drink of the day. Two Poets pub had a sad selection of only two lager beers on draft, Heineken and Amstel light. Our local pub down the hill has about 10 on draft, including several types of ales and a stout. Also, the Two Poets atmosphere is polluted with cigarette smoke. RC should get into the 21st century and start protecting their staff and customers from this hazard. Stateroom Paid a bit extra for an outside window stateroom. The first night we noticed how hot the room was even though set to maximum cold and there was a humming noise similar to a bathroom fan coming from the wall on the left side of the window. The next morning went to Customer Service for first time ever to ask for a cooler and quieter stateroom. Am informed there is no hope in hell we will be moved and that Maintenance will come have a look. Guy in overalls quickly fixed the broken air conditioning but said can do nothing about the vibrating wall. We got somewhat used to the constantly slightly noisy stateroom. Later talked to a couple that had an inside room on deck 10 with unbearable pool sloshing noise and were changed to a quieter room. So it looks like will get moved if room has serious problem but are stuck with minor problems. It would be nice if RC would just let customers know about room defects or if someone would start (or find) a website similar to the excellent http://www.seatguru.com/ for airline seats. As a nice gesture, RC provided a free bottle of red wine with a couple of glasses. Bathroom Just soap, shampoo and towels are provided. Bought conditioner in one of the Spanish ports. Tap water Colour light amber, nose of dirt and chlorine. Found out at Captain's presentation that water was purchased at port in Cartagena. Drinking water seemed better in dining room and buffet but this could be because had more time to breathe or the added ice numbed the senses. Water quality improved over the days as more was desalinated onboard. Bought some spring water in most of the ports. No hassle bringing onboard. Pool towels Have to show seapass card to get pool towels on deck 11, then give room number when returning to same location. Purpose is to get passengers to clean up their towels. Side effect is can reserve deck chairs by placing towels. Laundry No laundry rooms to wash clothes or iron shirts. They have a fill bag wash and fold service for $25. Strangely, it says can only put undergarments, t-shirts, and pajamas in but will charge full rip-off rate for pants, sweaters etc. Can't quite picture a land based laundry doing this for long. Internet Bought the 5 bottle wine packages ahead of time. Am not very knowledgeable about wine, so got our wine expert friend to help compile a list. The dining room staff brought the first bottle of wine but took the list and lost it. Oops. Told them I could easily retrieve the list by remotely connecting to my home computer. So the dining room staff very graciously got me $10 free internet time. Went to the Royal Caribbean Online room and quickly found that Windows Remote Desktop software is locked out. Asked IT staff guy for help but he said can do nothing, then suggested I go to an internet cafe at next port to waste my time and money retrieving this file. Also, my paranoia says it is dicey typing my passwords into a possibly infected internet cafe computer. Dining room staff suggested I go back to Customer Service and get them to hook me up with the IT manager. As far as talking with IT manager, ran into a firewall at Customer Service. However, they asked if phone access would help and gave me a free phone call. Called a friend who remotely connected to my home computer, retrieved the text file and emailed it to my work email that has a web interface. Was then able to go back to Royal Caribbean Online room, log onto my work email and get the list. So Customer Service was able to help resolve this, but when it comes to computers on board, the 'Nation of Why Not' quickly becomes the 'Nation of Can't Do It'. Ports An interesting selection of ports. Problem is spend too little time actually in the ports, for example, pulled out of Tenerife at 2:30pm to start 6 days at sea. It looks like fuel efficiency is more important than time in port. Find other people's perception of ports interesting. In the dining room breakfast the next morning after Tenerife one of our table mates said 'didn't think much of the place' while we had been scheming on how to get back to this spectacular island. Sea days One of the best parts of the cruise. Lots of relaxation with no shortage of things to do, such as eating, exploring the ship, rock climbing, swimming, cooking in the steam room, more eating, nightly entertainment. Could do this for weeks. Many people enjoyed the outer decks with mostly warm weather, low winds and calm seas. The enrichment we went to was just a slide show with some commentary. RC could learn from Cunard in this area. Summary Navigator of the Seas is a large beautiful slightly tired cruise ship with good design and many amenities. Staff provided excellent service even with constraining policies. Overall good value for the dollar. Will likely try another line for out next cruise to see how they do things. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We met the ship in Barcelona after flying in from the UK with BA - flights booked with our trip. Next time we may book independently but we were late in booking holiday so thought easier this time. Flight was fully booked and seat ... Read More
We met the ship in Barcelona after flying in from the UK with BA - flights booked with our trip. Next time we may book independently but we were late in booking holiday so thought easier this time. Flight was fully booked and seat allocation was poor. Nearly didn't get to sit together. After going left instead of right and ending up in the wrong terminal we eventually found our baggage reclaim and our bags. The Royal Caribbean Representative was easy to spot and escorted us to our coach. It was a short journey (under 45mins) to the ship and embarkation was a breeze. Straight in, checked in and then straight on board. There was also the opportunity to purchase the Soda drink package before boarding which we did - approx £40 for the 8 days. Once on board we had a nose around and then headed for the Windjammer for lunch. It was huge and as cruise novices didn't realise till breakfast the next day there was another part of it! So we only saw a small selection of the buffet but still managed to get some good food and enjoy the view out the window. We had breakfast and lunch most days in the Windjammer and were impressed with the wide selection of choice they had available. I was compelled to have my cheese salad everyday for lunch and was always finding something new on looking around.  Gutted I didn't fine the fresh salmon and cream cheese till our last morning! We did try the Honey Stung Chicken that is so often mentioned on here but sad to say wasn't that impressed with it, sorry. Our room was available at 1pm and we were lucky enough to get our luggage quite quickly, which was good because my partner forgot to pack his trainers in hand luggage and shorts with posh shoes don't really cut it! Room was lovely - bigger than I expected. Clean and tidy. It actually looked like it did in the pictures on the websites. Shower was smallish but ok for us, maybe a squeeze if you like your food! We chose a room with a balcony, it was lovely to have and used it for breakfast on the occasions we had it in our room. I think we've spoiled ourselves as don't think we could ever cruise again without one, unless it was a bargain offer! Our room attendant was lovely and very helpful, extra hangers, towels. We loved the towel animals although our new favourite game is showing the photo's to friends and playing 'Can you guess what it is?' We opted for My Time Dining as didn't like the seating options avail on this cruise - 645pm or 915pm. I would suggest booking with the dining room each night. We usually booked the next night's time when leaving after dinner. We sat on tables for 8, 4, 6, and 2 - you were given the option of what table size you wanted and weren't made to sit with others if you chose not to. We ate at various times during the cruise, usually to fit around what we wanted to do that evening. We will definately choose this option in the future. One night we had a table for 4 and sat with an American couple and thoroughly enjoyed our evening with much wine had. So much so, we opted to sit together again on another night. Didn't know what to expect from the food, there's so many mixed reports on here. Most nights there was a good choice of Starters, Mains and Desserts. One night I even had two starters and the cheese plate! Most of the waiters were friendly and helpful and service was quick but not rushed. The only disappointment was on our last two nights where we were sat in the same section. I was disappointed with the waiter we had for both these nights. After 6 nights of great service he was a real let down, so much so I mentioned to my partner how I felt it nearly spoilt the end of my holiday. We waited ages for everything on these nights, food, bread, drinks. I even had to ask 6 times for my partners diet Coke! We tried Portofino's on our 4th night and enjoyed the meal and the service but I am not sure it rated the extra $20 each cover charge. Maybe we'll try Chops next time. There was no lobster tails at any meals, was expecting it at least once during the 8 night trip. We did try a few of the bars on board, more so for pre dinner drinks. We even entered one of the quizzes one night and won! It was 4 key rings! I tried several of the cocktails throughout the trip, prices ranged from $6-$10 plus service charge. I always had a cocktail in the Theatre while watching the shows. Didn't use the Spa - thought the prices were a little too much for me to 'treat' myself. My Partner used the gym daily and liked the choice of equipment but said some of it could do with a refit. Went into the Casino for a silly play on the slots, won and lost some but not too much. Being a Showaholic we saw every show on board bar the very first one. The Beatles were great, so were the shows put on by the entertainment crew especially the first one. Elton John performer was good, and the Magician was ok. Caught the Ice show and thought it was fantastic, especially considering the size of ice they have to skate on, plus they played Rock me Amadeus by Falco which is a song I loved in my youth! Definitely recommend not missing that. Did drag my partner along to Quest. I loved it, so my thing, we didn't win but we had great fun watching, worth going along just for that! The Promenade parades were fun. Caught both the Sailaway and the last one, but only the start of the 70's night as we were tired that day. Disembarkation was smooth, luggage taken the night before so woke up, ate breakfast packed overnight bag and got off. We had transport to the Airport and this was smooth with no problems. We ended our trip with 2 days in Rome instead of flying home and I was a lovely place, I'll definitely be back there.Only gripes was you had to use the ships shuttle to get off the ship at most ports. Villefranche and Palma being the only exceptions as you could walk off or were tendered off. We also booked a ship trip to Pisa/Florence so didn't need the shuttle then. It was expensive £71 (GBP) each for basically transport to Pisa and Florence. Next time I think I'll plan something else of team up with someone for taxi. It was $6 per person each way so just to get off the ship cost us $24 a time. There was an offer of a package for all days at $38 for all 5 ports but we only needed 3 so was cheaper to buy individually. I thought this was a little expensive as there is no real other way to get to the town so you're stuck with their option. Photos on board were lovely but expensive - $19.95 plus tax - we would have bought many more than we did had they been cheaper.   All in all we both thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and will be doing another one very soon. Already looking at one out of Southampton next year! Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas had a one-time trip from Barcelona to Rome beginning in early June 2009. We had a large family group on this cruise, made up of 6 adults, 3 children ages 12, 9, and 5, and a 14-month old ... Read More
Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas had a one-time trip from Barcelona to Rome beginning in early June 2009. We had a large family group on this cruise, made up of 6 adults, 3 children ages 12, 9, and 5, and a 14-month old daughter. We flew to Barcelona via Atlanta, and stayed two nights at the Gallery Hotel in Barcelona. We found this hotel neat and cozy, and preferred its quieter location than many other hotels amid the bustle of Las Ramblas. We booked this hotel on our own, not through a ship program. We boarded the Navigator of the Seas on June 6th in Barcelona. The boarding process was very fast and easy compared to others we've experienced in the past. It was almost too fast - our luggage was taken and whisked away before we could even think! Luckily, we had everything we needed with us and didn't lose any bags. My husband and I shared an 8th deck balcony room (located near the front elevators) with our 14-month old daughter. The room was as expected; just like other cruises we've been on before. A pack-n-play was provided for our daughter to sleep in, which made us even more cramped than usual. But that's cruising! Our itinerary was as follows: Barcelona, Valencia, Palma De Mallorca, Marseilles/Provence, Nice, Livorno/Florence/Pisa, and Civitavecchia/Rome. This was a one-time itinerary, as Navigator will now be continuing on to Greece, Turkey, and Malta for a regular sailing. Our ports and excursions were lovely, but we were disappointed in RCCL's communication about port days and transportation. At most ports, we had to take buses to get to city centers, and tickets were supposed to be purchased ahead of time. They were selling at the port as well, but it made for confusion and lines that we did not expect. We should have had regular communication the afternoon before each new port to explain what would be happening the following morning. Stateroom attendant service was outstanding, and every attendant we saw made a special point to speak to us and laugh with the baby. Our wait staff was also good, but we had an assistant waiter who was on his first cruise, and his service was sometimes slow and forgetful. But our dining experience was fine, and we understand he needs a learning curve to get used to his new job. He really caught on towards the end of our trip, and even anticipated our bread and drink requests. We did have a problem with the pre-paid gratuities, however. Two of our traveling parties never got their vouchers. On the final night of the cruise, they spent a lot of time in lines trying to get vouchers for our wait staff. They ended up only getting copies, and we certainly hope the wait staff receives the money that is due to them. One fellow passenger was irate and embarrassed that she did not have any vouchers to present to her waiters at the final meal. We certainly hope RCCL fixes this problem for future cruisers. My husband and I did not take part in most ship activities or entertainment, since we had our 14-month old with us and needed to get her to bed after dinner. But the other parties traveling with us saw several shows and commented on how much they enjoyed them. They especially talked and laughed about the comedian afterwards. My mother-in-law enjoyed a brief French lesson the day before we sailed to Marseilles/Provence. The children loved the sports deck, especially playing ping-pong and mini golf. And everyone enjoyed the ice cream machines found throughout the ship. Our at-sea days were spent by the pool. Some of us swam a little bit, but the water was pretty chilly. Hopefully it warms up as the ship continues sailing through the summer. The food on the ship was surprisingly disappointing. We've traveled with RCCL before, and we thought the food was outstanding. We expected that again. But this time it was not as enjoyable. The Windjammer food was not up to par. I only enjoyed the custom-made Mongolian Grill, but the wait for my plate was a good 10 minutes or so. The bacon available on the Windjammer buffet every morning was terrible. It had a bad taste and was soggy and fatty. The turkey sausage was decent. The best thing I had at the Windjammer was a chocolate tart on the dessert bar on night 6 or 7 of the cruise. That was fantastic! I had a couple extra, it was so good. The formal dining room food was good most of the time, bad a couple times, and outstanding a couple times. If you're a steak lover, don't bother with any steak on the ship! What they call medium rare comes on your plate 100% gray all the way through. It's not tender and it's fatty. Stick with some of the seafood dishes. I don't eat much seafood, so my favorite entrees at dinner were the potato & leek pie and the roasted half chicken with vegetables. The gnocchi with ham & peas was also very good. I enjoyed many of the appetizers, including an onion tart, spinach dip with tortilla chips, exotic fruit plate, and a few of the chilled fruit soups. Desserts were very good! Disembarkation was quick & easy. We were able to get the white tags, as my mother-in-law is a platinum Crown & Anchor member and we were all traveling together. Communication was once again confusing though, as it told us we had to be off the ship "BY 6:15", when in fact we could be off anytime 6:15 or later. This made us rush to get ready & out too early, and we spent an hour in the hot terminal waiting for our transfer to Rome. But our baggage was ready and easy to find, and there were toilet facilities available in the terminal. Overall, I'd give this cruise experience a 7 out of 10. I think there were several kinks because it was a one-time itinerary and they were more concerned with moving the ship and getting ready for their regular sailings through Greece, Turkey, and Malta. I'm not sure the food will improve for those sailings, but hopefully some of the communication will become clearer and the confusion will be limited for future passengers. Despite the kinks, we had a lovely time and saw some amazing sights! Thanks, Navigator of the Seas. We miss you! Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We began our holiday with 24hrs in Barcelona, which is a favourite city of mine.....Stayed at the Hotel Jazz which has a great location, few minutes walk from Catalunya Square with all its transport links...The fountains of Montjuic with ... Read More
We began our holiday with 24hrs in Barcelona, which is a favourite city of mine.....Stayed at the Hotel Jazz which has a great location, few minutes walk from Catalunya Square with all its transport links...The fountains of Montjuic with their light and music show (from 9.00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) were fantantastic and the next morning we used the funicular and cable car to get back to Montjuic for panoramic views of the city, and to check that the Navigator was waiting for us. We taxied from hotel to port at 2.30, and only had a short wait before checking in and boarding....We had booked quite late and all the outside cabins had been taken, so had chosen one which overlooked the Royal Parade....It was OK, but I did miss natural light, and forgot a few times to pull the curtains when getting changed, so potentially scared other passengers. I am not keen on dining particually early or late, so opted for My Time Dining, which was being trialled on the Navigatior.  Clearly the staff were struggling a bit with the technology (handy backup of pencil with very large rubber attached to it by a rubber band) but having said that we would like to eat at 8.00 with others, it was a great success, and as the main show was at 9.45, we were always able to catch that too...The food was OK, I had been on the Azamara earlier in the year, where the food had been exceptional, and I guess it is a little unfair to compare the two, although the total cost for the Azamara was only slightly more then the Navigator. Good to have a choice of Bars...although what has happened to the pre dinner nibbles?...do RCI not realise that nuts and crisps encourage their customers to drink more??? Managed to miss the better shows (Beatles and pseudo Elton John) and managed to sit through a dreadful Magic act (I think he thought he was a comedian...) and a Broadway show with songs I had not heard before. Good crowd around the Poker table (although it would have been so much better had it been non-smoking all the time rather then just sea days) and good to have a proper dealer unlike the video machine on Azamara. Spa OK - thought treatments had increased in price considerably, didn't seem very busy, so perhaps a correlation there. Biggest whinge - disembarcation - We had planned to get port shuttle, then catch train into Rome...however the queue for the shuttle was enormous, and only seemingly served by 2 busses...Waited for 30 minutes without moving, then found a bus going to central Rome so paid 50 Euros each for the trip.....there was meant to be a RCI rep at the stop to help passengers with onward transportation...didn't see anyone.  As Civatecchia is home port for RCI they really do need to use more influence to ensure smoother transportation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Overall, the cruise was great.  The food was decent (dining room was much better than general areas), the staff was wonderful, the shows and trivia were entertaining.  However, be careful when deciding where to spend your money for your ... Read More
Overall, the cruise was great.  The food was decent (dining room was much better than general areas), the staff was wonderful, the shows and trivia were entertaining.  However, be careful when deciding where to spend your money for your ports.  If you are able, I would highly recommend researching the local transportation systems and save yourself lots of money.Barcelona has a fantastic Metro.  You can buy a T10 card for less than 10 Euro and get around the city on your own.  When you get to the dock to board your boat, don't expect any help.  There is absolutely no information posted anywhere.  There is a bus stop and people waiting in line.  A bus will eventually show up, charge you 2 EURO per person and drive you to the ship.  I would give yourself an hour and a half to get to the boat.  OR you can find another couple and take a taxi.  Not sure what it costs, but you will get there faster.  With that said, the longer you wait to board the ship, the faster your boarding will go.  If you get there early, you will just wait in a longer line at the port.  Make sense?Cannes France - the train system here is not horribly reliable.  We took a train to Nice, and had very little time to do anything.  And there's not much to do.  I would just stick to Cannes and look around and go back to the ship.  You get to Cannes via a little boat tender that is free from your cruise ship.  Easy day.Florence - I would not recommend spending the $90 per person to take the cruise's excursion (bus) to Florence.  The train station is very easy.  You simply find another couple of people, take a taxi for 20 Euro which drops you right off at the train and will take you right back.  The taxi drivers know where you are going. The train schedule is posted on www.trenitalia.com.  You are going from Livorno Centrale to Santa Maria Novella and back.  The roundtrip ticket costs 13 EURO per person.  DO NOT get the ship's Shuttle Ticket at $12/person.  Complete waste of money.Rome - again, just go on your own.  There is a free port shuttle that takes you from the ship to the port entrance and from there is it is a 10 minute walk to the train station (train schedule on http://www.trenitalia.com/, you are traveling from Civitavecchia to San Peitro or Termini).  Again, the ship gives you no help.  YOu will have to walk off the ship and find somebody to direct you to the shuttle.  At the train station, buy the BIRG ticket, which costs about 9 EURO each.  It includes roundtrip ticket to Rome and includes the buses and local metro in Rome.  Great transportation.  You will need to do some research but the Rome train system is very user friendly and the Roman people are very helpful. The main train station in Rome is Termini.  You can also get off at St. Peter's.  There are two main lines, A and B, from Termini.  A travels between St. Peter's and Termini.  And B travels between Termini and the Colliseum.  Very easy.  Just do your research.When you get back to Barcelona, don't bother with the ship transport to the airport.  Just get a taxi.  I think the cost is the same and you don't have to wait for the bus to get full and sift through your bags when you get to the airport.Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We decided to splash out on an Owner's Suite for this crossing and paid a significant premium for the privilege. Perhaps I should say up front that we had a really good time aboard Navigator, despite the somewhat critical comments ... Read More
We decided to splash out on an Owner's Suite for this crossing and paid a significant premium for the privilege. Perhaps I should say up front that we had a really good time aboard Navigator, despite the somewhat critical comments that will follow! For us, the lesson was that if one wants a cruising experience commensurate with an investment of some $6000, then Navigator (and RCI) is not the appropriate choice. For a fraction of what we paid, we could have had just as good a time in comfortable balcony accommodations. Check in was effortless, and very efficient. We were very impressed that RCI was able to process almost 3000 passengers without long delays. Arriving on board, there was no assistance offered in finding our suite; neither were any welcome drinks offered. The ship is beautiful, and well maintained. Despite its size, it is easy to "navigate" one's way around without getting lost. Our suite, the Fiji Suite, was nicely appointed, and really spacious. There is enough closet and packing space for a household! The bathroom was stocked with premium toiletries, and a bowl of fresh fruit was awaiting us on the dining table. A bottle of complimentary mineral water was placed on the bar counter. Neither the fruit nor the water were replaced during the duration of the 12 day cruise, and on one afternoon, we received a cheese plate that was available from the room service menu. We received an access card for the small concierge lounge on Deck 9, and an invitation to the daily complimentary cocktails and snacks in the Ixtapa Lounge on Deck 5. This was the sum total of the privileges we received for booking an Owner's Suite. Our greatest disappointment was the level of indifference with which we were treated. We most certainly did not wish to be fawned upon, but some personal interaction with senior crew members would have been welcome. The "concierge service" throughout the cruise was lacking. One one occasion, we entertained guests in our suite, and asked the concierge to arrange some snacks (from the complimentary room service menu). We were informed that this would cost $350, despite the fact that we ordered wine and drinks from the ship's bar! Eventually we called room service ourselves, and our order was delivered at no charge! The concierge, Xavier, seemed disinterested and not inclined to make any effort - maybe fatigue from a season of cruising in the Mediterranean. Food...The food was of a reasonable standard (but not remarkable), in both the Windjammer Cafe and the dining room. We never had difficulty finding a table in the Windjammer during breakfast and lunch. The lunchtime menu and made-to-order salads in the dining room were excellent - perhaps the best meals we had on board. Dinner menus were somewhat repetitive in the dining room, but the food was palatable. Our waiter and assistant waiter (Glennifer and Serdar) were excellent,and were willing to go to great lengths to please. The Head Waiter, Ashton, was also wonderful. Standards have slipped, though - but quite understandable given the massive global food price increases over recent times. Getting tea and coffee outside Windjammer opening hours was a challenge and an irritation - getting early morning coffee meant a trek to Deck 5 (if we did not make our own in the suite). The star of our cruise was the bar waiter in the Ixtapa Lounge, Mark Lyttleton, who is a shining example of outstanding service. Activities and entertainment...We saw all three production shows, which were good. The highlight, though, was the special performance of "Ice Dancin'", the ice show, for Platinum and Diamond Crown & Anchor members. Wow! It was great. We enjoyed the gym facilities. Other activities were quite low-key, and influenced by the awful weather conditions across the Atlantic. (For "operational reasons" RCI decided to change our route from what was originally advertised when we booked, and the more northerly route resulted in a cold and windy crossing). We found the Cruise Director and his Assistant to be rather indifferent, and the daily video clips advertising activities on board to be reminiscent of a Butlins Holiday Camp (UK members will know what I mean). The activities staff didn't show much initiative or innovation in tailoring activities in the light of the bad weather. On a positive note, The ship's master, Captain Bang, was visible around the ship throughout the crossing (including in the gym), and communicated regularly. It would have been good if his officers had followed his example. During the cruise, it transpired that our rather bumpy ride was exacerbated by the fact that one of the two stabilizer sets on the ship was out of action. The motion caused one of the large closet doors in our suite to come off its hinges, and we were kept awake on several nights with drawers banging. In conclusion: we had a very enjoyable 12 days, but mainly due to the company of great people, and the hard work of a few outstanding crew members. It was most certainly not value for money, and although I steadfastly refrain from making comparisons with other cruise lines, RCI's premium category services are very poor indeed, by any standards. It lacks finesse and attention to detail, despite pricing that compares with premium cruise lines. Maybe a mid-priced balcony cabin in future, but never again a suite! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
After an absence of about 4 years I decided to try Royal Caribbean again. I should never have bothered. They definitely earn their standing as worst cruise line in my book. This was a 12 day cruise and the tap water came out brown ... Read More
After an absence of about 4 years I decided to try Royal Caribbean again. I should never have bothered. They definitely earn their standing as worst cruise line in my book. This was a 12 day cruise and the tap water came out brown during the entire cruise. I understand the problem continued on the following cruise. The bathroom featured a nice shower with good water pressure. There was a shampoo dispenser but no shower gel. They place bar soap in the shower. Also, there is a water restricter on the sink tap which made the water come out in almost a trickle. I needed to use the handheld shower head to rinse out anything in the sink. Luckily it reached. The men's gym was disgusting. The soiled towels piled up and fresh towels were not to be found. Several phone calls were made before anyone would appear to clean up. On Carnival, there was a full-time crew member maintaining the changing area. The crew aboard Navigator was not the friendliest group. Very often they would pass by without a friendly greeting. I have always found cruise ship staff to make an effort to be friendly to their guests but apparently this is not encouraged or monitored on Royal Caribbean. I had a PR cabin and the drawer space consisted of 3 drawers beneath the tv about the width of a shoe box. There were 2 other drawers, one each in each night stand. Also, small. For a 12-night cruise this was unacceptable. At times the food could be very good. Even the lobster tails proved to be excellent. There was also an excellent baked sea bass, which was one of the only dishes I experience, other than the Indian cuisine, that had any kick to it. There was plenty of food. However, they ran out of something so basic as lemon. The Seattle's Best coffee is horrible. They even put Instant Maxwell House out as a alternative. I dined in both Portofino and Chops. Portofino definitely has the edge. Service and food were excellent. I did enjoy my entree (a perfectly cooked veal chop), sides(the mushrooms are like heroin) and dessert in Chops, as well as the service, but the soups, starters and salads were ho-hum. Carnival's supper club is far superior. Entertainment was not so wonderful. I find the music options superior on NCL and Carnival. The theatre is not well designed and there are a lot of obstructed views. There are only 2 banks of elevators, which are then sub-divided so that you need to run back and forth if no elevator is available in the direction you are heading. Check-in was excellent and went quickly. Disembarkation was done by schedule and ran smoothly, except when you arrive in the terminal building in Ft. Lauderdale, you wait in line before entering the baggage claim area. I recall things running smoother in the Miami terminal. The shops on board the ship offered no bargains. I priced a Tissot Watch and it was going for U.S. retail price. They then offered a slight discount, but nothing compared to what you can get at home. Alcohol was not as cheap as the Caribbean but since the ship was not going there they probably felt that they didn't need to be as competitive. Also, despite the Royal Promenade featuring a lot of shops, they still felt it necessary to place tables in the middle to sell even more merchandise. The television offered a decent selection of not-so-new films. But since I hadn't seen any of them, it was fine with me. However, no film schedule was printed or available on television. Worst of all was the c.d. Kieron and his side-kick Cuddy. Two classless boors who have no business parading their low comedy on the onboard tv. Kieron thought it would be a hoot to have guests shout across to the Disney Wonder, "You're on the wrong ship!" as we docked next to it in Nassau. Not only is this tacky, but incorrect. We were on the wrong ship! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Background There was 5 of us on this cruise, myself, my wife and 18 year old daughter, plus my in-laws. This was our 5 cruise and third Transatlantic cruise. We had a outside stateroom on deck 2 mid ship and my in-laws had a balcony ... Read More
Background There was 5 of us on this cruise, myself, my wife and 18 year old daughter, plus my in-laws. This was our 5 cruise and third Transatlantic cruise. We had a outside stateroom on deck 2 mid ship and my in-laws had a balcony stateroom on deck 6. Travelling & Embarkation We travelled from Edinburgh to Barcelona via London City airport. It was a very early start with a 6:30 flight out of Edinburgh, but we all seemed to get up with spring in out step as it was holiday time. We arrived in Barcelona at 12:30 and were met just outside baggage collection by the RCI rep, who pointed us in the right direction of porters; this was the last we saw out luggage until we were on the ship. There was a short 20 min bus ride to the port where we were sped through the check in process. Having now attained Platinum status we were very lucky to join a very short queue and within 30-40 mins we were on the ship. After a getting slightly lost, we found our stateroom which was still in the process of getting ready. Sammy our stateroom attendant met us, what a nice guy. Nothing was a problem for him, and always seemed to be smiling as we met him coming and going. The Ship & Crew Having been on both the Mariner and Explorer; we all had a basic idea of the layout so it didn't take us long to to figure out where everything was. We knew that the Windjammer was going to busy so we headed for the Promenade Cafe on deck 5 for a few snacks. The ship it's self is still looking like it just came out the dock. Everywhere we looked someone was polishing or cleaning something. We can't praise the staff and crew highly enough, everyone we passed in the corridors had a smile or a nod to acknowledge we were there. I'll give a special mention to our Waiter, Judith and her assistant (who for the life of me I can't remember his name), plus Ray our Head Waiter, honestly the best Head Waiter we've ever had. Normally in the past we've found they only show face, smile and move on, but this guy took the time to speak to all of us. We would regularly meet him in the Windjammer always taking the time to chat. I'll also mention the bar tenders we got friendly with. Richard in the Theatre, who only after the second night knew what we were all drinking. One more was in Vintages (and I'm truly sorry I never got his name). Again he knew what I was drinking and before my bum was on the seat he was over handing me my drink, now that's service. At this point I'll mention our Cruise Director and his staff, Kieron Buffrey was for me just about right. Not in your face and subtle, which I don't think went down well with our American friends. Once again thank to the CD staff who after my wife wrote to Kieron arrange for my daughter to do a backstage tour as she is studying stage management and lighting in the theatre at collage. He had a great partner in Cuddy who managed to bounce off Kieron just nicely. I hope he makes a CD in the future. For me the only cloud on the silver lining was Captain Bang, for us he was as dully as dish water. His daily announcement were tedious, all we seemed to here was hear was his name then a became garbled with long periods of silence. I'm sure in person he's a very interesting person but on the stage of pubic speaking a small improvement is needed. Ports We didn't have many ports of call on this cruise, which is one of the reasons we choose it. The first up was Cartegena in Spain. The ship had never been docked here before so it was bit of an adventure for guest and crew alike. We did manage to get on an open top bus trip for €13 each, taking about an hour for the tour. Very nice and condensed city full of naval history. After the tour we took a stroll up to the shops. After 2 days at sea we arrived at the port of Ponta Delgada in the Azores, where we had 16 hours to kill. We've never organized a tour via the ship as we can normally find something to do. With this port we really struggled. The tourist information desk should be done under the trade descriptions as they weren't helpful at all, telling us most of the buses were off or broken. So we had to fend for ourselves. The town it's self is very compact and we managed to wander through the small streets taking in the all the sites and sounds. After returning to the ship for some lunch and a change we went back off the ship and struck lucky. It seemed we were there on the day all the Christmas lights were being switched on. It truly magical place, full of marching bands, Santa and kids playing. Our last stop came after 6 days at seas and we arrived in the port of Nassau in the Bahamas. After a small delay waiting for another ship to dock we got off and headed for the hotel Atlantis. Having been to Nassau in the past we knew where to go and how to get there so no time was wasted. We wandered round the hotel checking out the aquarium and casino, then headed back to the main town for a drink at the local Hard Rock Cafe. It was then back to the ship and prepare for the big off load at Fort Lauderdale the next morning. The Sea Days As I've said before we choose this cruise because of the amount to days at sea, which for us the must relaxing time you can have. In total out of the 12 days 8 of them were spent at sea. The only down side to this was the weather wasn't the most favorable, it was warm but for the most part overcast. To say the sea was lumpy would be a small understatement, for at least 2 days it was pretty rough, so much so when we looked our stateroom window it wasn't unusual to see the sea hitting it. We did spend this time doing all the stuff around the playing golf and roller blading and ice skating etc. The rough waters didn't stop us have a great time; sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth. We were just lucky on all the port days the sun was shinning. Entertainment This was a real mixed bag for us. We though the RCI dancers done a good job working under the conditions they do. However some of the star turns were a bit poor. Darren Day was really bad and never seemed to connect with the audience. Brenda Cochran tried very hard and has some real talent but I don't think the theatre was big enough for her voice. The real star turn was Mr Nobody (Yacov Noy). His three legged man was just classic. We did manage to see 3 showings of the Ice Dancing and we all still watch with open mouths how these people to do the things they do. With leaps, jumps and back flips it's all very cool. We just managed to stand up on the ice when the ship was moving all over the place how they do it is beyond me. Food I can't really do a review without mentioning the food. Overall it was really good. The choice within the Windjammer is amazing, if you can't find something you like you must be a very picky eater. Somethings could have been hotter. I do feel like people behave extremely badly and can be very rude within the Windjammer. Pushing in when queues have been formed, loading plates up like all the food is going to run out. I've always subscribed to you can go up as many time as you like, don't waste good food. We ate every night in the main restaurant, and there wasn't a night gone by that I couldn't find something to eat. The steak was always done the way I like it. I never walked away thinking hmm I need more to eat. In fact most nights I thought that was a lovely meal, and I don't have to do the dishes. Disembarkation We were very lucky that managed to be one of the last one off the ship, and also being Platinum member we had access to the our own waiting area, which was in the restaurant on deck 4. This made for a more pleasant experience than sitting in the theatre. By the time we got off the ship there were only a few cases left in the hall so we could spot our luggage without any problem. Clearing immigration was only a problem as some people seemed think it was a good idea to fill in their green cards when they arrived at them immigration officer. On the whole we were on our way to the airport within an hour from getting off the ship. Overall In conclusion this was a very enjoyable cruise, well worth the money we spent. Will we be doing another cruise, you better believe it, and will we choose Royal Caribbean, most defiantly yes, they tick all the right boxes for me. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We flew from Ireland into Barcelona the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Continental Palacette a hotel frequented by many cruisers. I would recommend this hotel. We had a family of 4 (2 children) and there are not many ... Read More
We flew from Ireland into Barcelona the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Continental Palacette a hotel frequented by many cruisers. I would recommend this hotel. We had a family of 4 (2 children) and there are not many hotels which can accommodate 4 in a room. Now it was a tight fit, but it was fine. An added bonus was meeting a fellow cruiser the night before and then bumping into them over the next 11 days. Our only RCI experience had been the previous Nov. on Brilliance of the Seas in the med. So i was really looking forward to experiencing the bigger ship the Navigator. We arrived that the port at 11.30am, checked in quickly and had about a 20 minute wait till we could board at 12pm. Our room a GS was the same as on Brilliance however it was larger. We had a camp bed for our second son and on the Brilliance he slept in the bar area...a tight fit. In the Navigator cabin 1278 there was enough room for him to sleep next to the sofa bed. It really was a nice space for a family of 4. As we walked to our cabin our cabin attendant from Brilliance last year, Josephine called out to us. We were delighted to see her as she was brilliant. Unfortunately we missed having her by only a few cabins and instead our attendant this time was not particularly friendly, only called us by our names on the last day, left someone else's excursion tickets in our room, left the compass in spanish instead of english, and a few other things of this nature which while aren't bad, i expect more when i am paying a lot of money for a suite. We noticed on the whole that the service was no where near as good on the Navigator. The welcomes weren't as friendly, and we were unlucky again in having a waiter who really had no personality and the assistant had to be called over by us whenever we wanted bread or water.........something that i have been assured by many people you just shouldn't have to do. so after 3 nights in the dining room we tried the windjammer for Formal night (we don't dress up). we found the service if not the food so much better in the windjammer that we didn't return to the dining room for the rest of the cruise. the staff there were so attentive i was really surprised. I do have a few complaints about the windjammer at breakfast and lunch, just in terms of the space and how difficult it was to find a seat at times something i never experienced on the Brilliance. As for room service, it seems the menu is different on Navigator? I recall on Brilliance being able to get anything that was being served in the dining room. On Navigator it was cheese plate, fruit plate and hot dog and hamburger. Now i could be wrong and maybe you could still ask for meals but it didn't say it on the menu. a huge disappointment. On the whole the food was really only just average for me. I didn't see many shows on the Navigator however i did see both ice shows. I thoroughly enjoyed them though i was surprised how many times a few of the skaters fell. however, it was enjoyable and i would recommend them to anyone. My boys loved Adventure Ocean. Despite being mid term break there were not that many kids on board so the age groups 6 - 8 and 9 - 11 were combined. this was great as i have a 6 & 9 yr old and they enjoyed being together. they made great friends however the program didn't seem to be any different than last year which i thought could get really boring if you are lucky enough to cruise more than once a year. i was really looking forward to the Promenade and thats one of the reasons i chose the Navigator this time. I was so disappointed. the shopping was pathetic and i couldn't find anything to buy. I thought that the shops on Brilliance which shouldn't be the case at all. The other thing was i realized that i missed the light and glass of the Brilliance. Navigator felt too enclosed for us. Now this isn't to say i wouldn't go on her again, i would. I just thought i would like it better. We chose this itinerary as it had 4 sea days as opposed to our cruise last year which was really port intensive. the problem was this time that some of the port we only had about 5 hours, so it was quite rushed. Palma de Mallorca was nice, an easy stroll around town. Unfortunately Sardinia had a tornado, which came completely out of the blue, so we were unable to disembark and instead had an extra sea day. Athens was hot and busy. There was a lots of ships in port that day and all seemed to be at the Acropolis. Istanbul the first day was a disaster as it rained very heavily. I was ill and unable to take the tour but my dh arrived back on the ship soaking wet and freezing. We had till 2pm on the Monday and we headed for the Grand Bazaar. An absolute highlight of the cruise. We loved it and had a really fun morning and i would highly recommend a cruise with Istanbul as a port. Lastly was Malta and a lovely 26 degrees sun and sightseeing. As a final comment the last day was really rocky and it was a shame as a lot of the ship, including staff were sick. thankfully we were fine although our cabin was midship so maybe that helped. The final night was very quiet and both the windjammer and dining room was pretty empty. On the whole we still really enjoyed the cruise but maybe that was more about the holiday itself than the service and food etc that i expected would make the holiday great. Not as good as the Brilliance. While i wouldn't rule out another of the bigger ships, i am not sure i would race back to the Navigator in a hurry. Wasn't bad.....just not outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
My wife and I sailed on Navigator of the Seas for a 10 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise 10 October 2008. She is disabled, with limited mobility. She uses a scooter or manual wheelchair outside our home, and can walk about 15-20 yards on ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on Navigator of the Seas for a 10 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise 10 October 2008. She is disabled, with limited mobility. She uses a scooter or manual wheelchair outside our home, and can walk about 15-20 yards on crutches when required. This was her fourth cruise. Two years ago, we were on the Splendour of the Seas for a similar cruise - 7 days Eastern Med. The weather was absolutely horrid on that one, so we decided to do a virtual repeat, This time the weather cooperated! I'll first review from the point of view of the disabled cruiser, and follow with general comments. We booked cabin 7600 - an "accessible" cabin. It's not possible to book these cabins online, so our travel agent books for us. Apparently there is a procedure for agents to follow to allow booking of these cabins, but I have no idea of what it might be. Once the booking number is assigned, all Internet activity (ordering Gifts and Gear, online check in, etc.) is fine. The infrastructure and facilities of NOS are wonderful: The cabin is 1-1/2 size and allows for wheelchair or scooter to turn around easily inside. The bathroom is roll-in, no lip at the floor, and there is an extra set of drains in the floor to prevent water running all over the cabin. The roll-in shower has easily accessible low controls. However, the shower bench supplied had no rubber tips at the feet, which enabled it to slide around. My wife's solution was to place a towel on the floor under the bench, which kept it dry enough to be safe. The toilet seat height and bars are fine. The door to the balcony has a small shallow ramp covering the door track, which automatically raised and lowered itself (by simple gravity, not any kind of fancy thing) allowing roll-in balcony access. Of course, the balcony is a bit small for any maneuvering of a chair, but is adequate for use. The closet is equipped with an ingenious mechanism so the cross rod for hanging clothing can be used either at standard height, or with a simple pull on a handle, by a wheelchair user sitting down. The in-room safe is at a good height. Of course, the higher shelves (closet and above the TV set) are out of reach for a wheelchair user, but there was adequate space at a low level. There are two problems in the cabin. There is no full-length mirror, so a chair user can not see how they look when dressing. The controls for the air conditioning are too high for a seated person. The public areas we frequented are well suited to the disabled. All doors were either automatic electric eye (for everyone's convenience) or, in the case of doors to the restrooms and the "wheelchair" stalls, buttons are provided which are at the correct location and level for the wheelchair user. The Windjammer is problematical in that most of the tables are impossible to reach in a wheelchair. Some lines "reserve" a few tables at the entrance to each section (a sign on the table "This table reserved for the disabled") which we mentioned to the Windjammer manager. The casino slot area is OK, but the tables are too close to the wall (or low railing) for a chair to maneuver, although if one could get to the table in a chair, the height is OK. My wife played the first night on her scooter, but caused so much congestion that on succeeding casino visits, she parked the scooter near the door and walked to the table (we are avid casino players). The Nutcracker Dining room (3rd deck) is unsuitable for chair users. All the chair users in our seating parked their chairs at the entrance, and walked to their table. I believe that the upper levels have better accessibility. The Metropole Theater has good facilities. A row of movable chairs is set in back of the last row, and the staff will gladly remove one so the scooter or wheelchair fits right in, and their friends sit with them. The location of these seats is OK - sound and view are fine. The shows we saw were well done and we enjoyed them. As many of the public areas are carpeted, making using a manual chair more difficult, this trip my wife (as I mentioned above, she is a regular scooter user) rented a scooter. As directed on the RCI website, she contacted the Special Services department, which emailed addresses of two companies which provide this service. Our travel agent contacted both of them, and returned to us with a set of prices from each. Since my wife is a large lady, we chose on the basis of what the offered weight capacity was, rather than simply on price. We chose "Special Needs at Sea" which quoted $425 for the ten days for a scooter of suitable capacity. As promised, the scooter was in our cabin before we arrived (at a little after 2 PM) and we simply left it in the cabin when we disembarked. The charger worked perfectly, fully recharging overnight. In general (but see below for a BAD exception) the staff is great. They - especially the staff in the Windjammer - were an immense help. Getting on ad off ship at ports of call was handled well (those little gangplanks are DANGEROUS for wheelchairs). Our waiter in the main dining room took charge of my wife's crutches as soon as we reached the table. The headwaiter staff managed all the wheelchairs and provided us with a roll-in parking spot at the entrance to the dining room each night. We're nor club hoppers or pub frequenters, and spent most nights in the casino. In the places where we usually spent time - theater, Boleros, casino - the bar waiters got to know us and our preferences quickly. But not all is rosy. Our practice has always been to not book any excursions until the Excursion Desk can see and talk to my wife face to face. They said that the first two ports, Messina and Thessaloniki had nothing suitable. For Istanbul, they booked us on "Easy Istanbul" which was presented as being suitable for wheelchair users, and for Malta, a tour that was listed as a coach only tour. Since we had booked tours on previous cruises (not with RCI) which were advertised like "Easy Istanbul", we expected a wheelchair van with lift. At the departure area, we saw a regular tour bus, with six steps up to the seats. Another two couples who also had booked, turned away immediately - one was a woman in a chair who could not walk at all, and another a gentleman who used a walker but with great difficulty. My wife has limited ability and can sometimes manage a short flight of steps. We asked the tour guide if there would be much walking, and were told there would not be. At the first stop, she stayed on the bus. The second stop was to be a long one, so we got off, and got her chair from underneath. The guide started walking - over a rough cobblestoned area, and walked and walked. Well, we just stopped, sat down in a cafe, and had a cup of coffee while the group went to wherever they went. The next stop was the Blue Mosque - high point of the tour. At the entrance to the Mosque there is a good size flight of steps. My wife went to ask the guide if she could use the chair once she was at the top, and while asking, the bus driver pulled away with her chair still underneath! Istanbul traffic being what it is, we were not able to get the chair back at that moment, so again, we sat and waited for the tour to go through the Mosque. Upon our return to the ship, we immediately contacted the Excursions Desk as soon as it opened. Our point was that the tour had been misrepresented to us. We spoke with the manager of the department who was quite apologetic, but insisted that she always emphasizes to her staff to correctly determine what is in each tour and sell it accordingly. To us, it seemed not enough "emphasis." She agreed that the tour we booked for Malta (but not yet taken) was not suitable and immediately refunded our money for it. We demanded a refund for the "Easy Istanbul." That she had to put through her authority chain. It took almost 72 hours (and prodding on our part) to get the refund for that one. But nothing could make up for the frustration and humiliation my wife went through on that disastrous tour. Now, for our critique of the cruise disability aside. First and foremost, it is abundantly clear that Royal Caribbean is cutting corners wherever it can. Dining in the Main Dining Room (we always opt for second seating) has degenerated to a less than good experience. Until we complained several times, the food was often brought out cold when it needed to be hot. A three course (used to be four) took over an hour and a half a number of times (why?????). The main courses offered have sunk in both number and variety, to say nothing of quality. Of eight items offered, generally two were pasta, two were fish, two were beef (and I will put a bet on the fact that "black Angus sirloin" here was nothing but a buzz-word) one was a variable, and one was some kind of vegetarian something or other. A shrimp main dish my wife ordered consisted of TWO shrimp! A "shrimp ravioli" main course didn't have a single solid piece of shrimp in it - truth in advertising would require it to be labeled "shrimp flavor ravioli". A main dish called "turkey" was in fact a few slices of deli-style turkey roll. Admittedly, we all mourn the loss of lobster tails for one dinner, but the depth that the food has sunk to is simply unacceptable. In the course of the ten days, we had dinner in the Windjammer twice. Once the "special offering of the day" was Mongolian Grill. FINALLY a decent dinner! The other time, it was chicken Marsala. Somewhat overblown, and of course PASTA. Sigh. Our table mates had occasion to eat at Portofino one evening, and said it was good. But why should we have to pay $40 for the two of us to get a decent dinner? I would be happy if RCI increased the price of the cruise by that 40 dollars and gave us a decent dinner every night! And... the coffee is atrocious. As my wife and I are rather heavy smokers, we were concerned about the smoking policy on this cruise. RCI no longer permits smoking in the cabins, but the balcony where smoking is permitted, served us well. The few public areas where smoking is permitted are, except for the starboard side of the pool deck, small and usually inconveniently located. In Boleros, the area has room for no more than 20 seats. The Schooner Bar's "designated area" is only a couple of tables, and is off in a corner where it isn't possible to see what is going on. The casino now has a "No smoking on formal nights" policy. While we understand the policy of giving non-smokers their time in the casino, we would have liked it better if one of the two nights in question was moved to a non-formal night, so that we could enjoy gaming on a formal night. Corner-cutting was obvious in many other places. Boleros, a very busy place, had only two bar people and they worked the entire evening without a break. One of them told my wife that they no longer actually mix drinks, but use prepared mixes for bloody marys and that kind of drink. Many of the staff, while very friendly and eager, simply looked overworked all the time. Since we are night owls, not getting to sleep until after 2 AM, it is our habit to order a small amount of room-service breakfast to keep us until we can have a "brunch" at Windjammer. One day we ordered it for 9-9:30 AM. At 9:45 I looked outside the room and saw that the order slip - placed before the required 3 AM - was still hanging on the door handle. Sigh. We ordered two items from Gifts and Gear and were badly disappointed. The "Non alcoholic grape juice cheese and crackers" contained two small jars of strange flavored jam, a package of Melba Toast and a wedge of..... PARMESAN cheese! The "chocolate covered strawberries" was nothing more than some packets of standards like chocolate coated raisins, coated peanuts, and so forth. Two years ago, these items were delivered as advertised and as expected. There are areas on the ship that need some work. The railings on the balconies need a sanding/varnish very badly. Other areas look a little threadbare. An occasional foul odor here and there lead to a conclusion that the sanitary system is not 100 percent right. In sum, not a very pleasant cruise experience. The most disappointing thing is that just two years ago, we did a very similar cruise with Royal Caribbean and loved it. What has happened in such a short time? It saddens me to think that Royal Caribbean is playing to the "McDonalds is my kind of place" level. If that is a conscious business decision, I hope that the increased patronage they will get, combined with the lowered cost from their point of view, is enough to offset what they will lose. My wife and I will now look elsewhere when choosing a cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
We didn't need another holiday - it was just that the weather was so lousy in England all summer, we decided on a last minute bargain. Flew out the day before and stayed at the wonderful Eurostars Gran Marina (£173 on eBookers). ... Read More
We didn't need another holiday - it was just that the weather was so lousy in England all summer, we decided on a last minute bargain. Flew out the day before and stayed at the wonderful Eurostars Gran Marina (£173 on eBookers). The cab from the airport was €26. We strolled into town for dinner. Prices have certainly gone up with the rise of the € - tapas and a bottle of wine at Teller de Tapas in the old town was €70. After a great night's sleep we woke to find Celebrity Century berthed right next door to the hotel - so handy if you were on her - not this time! We caught a cab to the port for €7 at 11.25 and were on board by 11.40. Very efficient boarding process in Barcelona with all the desks clearly signed for Platinum and above, suites, and then by deck. The lifeboat drill was in the Ixtapa Lounge, some people would not keep quiet, and the Captain's address was drowned out by the ripping of velcro in their haste to get outta there. There were two seatings for dinner - 6.15 and 8.45 but you could arrive up to 15 minutes later than this time. This did not stop the table next to us turning up every evening at 9.15 - so rude! This meant that the shows were now after dinner at 9 and 11pm each night (with a few exceptions) We had a D1 balcony right at the front, the bed was near the balcony (as opposed to the sofa), there was a large sofabed, the curtain between the bed and sofabed only drew about 3 feet so not too good for sharers who were not too intimate! Balcony had 2 chairs and a very small table. The dividers could be opened if you wished. The room also had an adjoining door but we never heard a peep. Saturday: a sea day. Breakfast in the Windjammer where the 'secret tip' of taking your plate to eat in the Chops doesn't seem to be too much of a secret any more. We took the Bistro 30 lunch in the main dining room. A good selection, and the first of our dinners in Chops. After dinner we found the ship to be deserted - how do they hide 3,200 people - the answer was easy - the theatre was packed with everyone enjoying the great entertainment provided by Soul Sensation. If these guys are ever on your ship go and see them - they are fabulous! Sunday: Messina, Sicily - Sicily on a Sunday is closed, basically, so we had to take the 'Taormina on your own' tour for $49pp, which drove you on the 50min drive, and we had around 3 ½ hours to explore the Greek/Roman amphitheater (€6pp entry fee) and have lunch at a little place called Da Rita which is down a side street opposite the 'outlet' shop (which did not have the sort of outlet prices I am used to!). Lunch consisted of a caprese salad, 2 pizzas, ½ litre of local wine, and coffee and water for €31. For the first time in our plentiful cruising history we ate in Windjammer. I dislike this area intensely because of the lack of trays! The Jade section had sushi which I had not seen before on RCI, and very tender beef satay. There were napkins on the table but no tablecloths, the lighting was dimmed, but it was still just eating in the Windjammer! Clocks went forward an hour that night. Monday: another sea day For the C&A party that night there were over 750 attendees - but unfortunately this clashed with the Murder Mystery evening held in Portofino ($49.50pp), it was the Curse of the Dark Star Necklace, and we started in the Cosmopolitan club with the scene setting and then moved on to the restaurant. Unfortunately we were seated at a table with people who took no part in the proceedings so the evening was not as much fun for us as it was for others. I won't say 'who dun it' Tuesday: Thessaloniki - we had breakfast on our balcony and then took a leisurely stroll to the White Tower, then we went to the Archaeological Museum (€6pp entry fee) - this is the building with the razor blade sculpture out front - the gold exhibits were fantastic with many intricate pieces dating from 5000 BC. We strolled round a few churches and then had a typical Greek lunch in a square seated in the sunshine. €27 got us 2 beers, greek salad, haloumi, squid and souvlaki. There was an on deck buffet at 11.30pm and the dress theme was 'white' But as RCI don't let you know there is going to be a 'theme' beforehand many were not prepared! Wednesday: Istanbul - the sail in at 11 was fantastic, shame the weather did not cooperate - it was a steady drizzle all day. There were 5 ships in port so depending on where you were you just walked out in either direction. The main road with the tram line is very close. If you were the 5th ship exit the port and turn right to find the Findikli stop, if you were in the middle aim for the big mosque and the Tophane stop is right there, and if you were closest to town then the Karakoy stop was just before the bridge. At each station there is a booth marked 'Jeton' which is where you get your token. Current cost is TRY1.40pp ($.75c). Compare this to the $20pp that RCI were charging for their transfers! Trams are quick, efficient, and air conditioned and seemed to run every 2 minutes. Check your change as we were short changed by TRY5 at the first stop we used. Heading to town you take the tram marked Zeytinburnu and trams back to the port are marked Kabatas. For the Topkapi Palace get off at Gulhane (despite the tram signage saying that you use Sultanahmet) and just walk up the hill a short distance. It really is much closer. For Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque use Sultanahmet. Turkey is another country that has put up its prices since we last visited! Entry to Topkapi is TRY20pp and to the Harem is another TRY15pp. Entry to Aya Sofya is also TRY20pp. The Blue Mosque is free (still!) After sightseeing we walked up the main road with the tram line in the middle, to the traffic lights and then turned right, down the hill a bit and then took the first road on the left Nurosmaniye Caddesi - which took us straight to the Grand Bazaar. Nuromaniye is where the RCI busses were dropping off - close to the shops. After this we walked back down to almost back at the bridge, where we got Turkish Delight at the Hafiz Mustafa shop, then we caught the tram back up the hill to Sultanahmet and we had dinner at a great place called Pasha (almost opposite McDonalds). Dinner for 2 came to TRY152. We took a few pictures of the mosques by night and then hopped on a Kabatas tram back to the ship. The next day it was much better weather, so after breakfast we went back into town. The grounds of the mosques seem to be home to dozens of stray cats - many of which enjoyed a breakfast of RCI-donated sausages that day...! Everyone back on board for our sailaway at 1.30. We had dinner in Portofinos that night. The food was good as usual but I was not happy with the drop in adherence to the rules and dress code. The girl next to me wore flip-flops, another looked like an ASBO teen complete with hoodie, jeans and Converse trainers; then the final straw was when a jean wearing couple were allowed in pushing a pram. After about 10 minutes the child started screaming, and they had to remove it and I believe arrange for their dinner to be taken to their cabin. Not impressed at all. Drinks in the 14th deck Cosmopolitan lounge that evening to watch the sail through the Bosphorus/Dardanelles and to see the war memorials lit up at night, which were wonderful Friday - day 8 already and nearing the end of our cruise. There was a brunch for C&A in the dining room which was nicely done. We spent the day in the solarium. It was the 2nd formal night - I would say 40% in tuxedo and the rest in suits. We won $225 in the casino which compensated slightly for the $180 that had been swallowed up by the Wheel of Fortune a few days earlier. Clocks went back an hour tonight. Saturday: Malta - another sunny day and another fabulous sail into the harbor. We had breakfast in the main dining room. I am not sure about the buffet set up in the middle, and they no longer offer pastries at the table. The Eggs Benedict are still good though. We took the tour of Valetta and Mdina $43pp and wish we had not! It appeared to be very easy to walk up the hill to the bus station which is at the roundabout outside the famous Phoenicia hotel and catch one of the old fashioned yellow and orange busses to Mdina ourselves. Mdina is just a beautiful city and I would have liked more time there. We ate again in Chops that night. Sunday: at sea - our last full day. I went to Johnny Rockets for the first time - wow what a place and wow what fabulous burgers and onion rings! Even better that it was free with our C&A voucher. It was a beautiful sunny day, and that evening it was warm enough to sleep with the balcony doors open with the sound of the waves. Monday: back in Barcelona! We strolled off around 8.30, collected our luggage from the airport-style conveyor belt and waited about 20 mins for a cab. There was a blue T3 Portbus that seemed to go over the bridge but as we had no idea where it stopped we did not catch it. The RCI transfer to Estacion Sants was $20pp - our cab cost €15. We had lunch with friends who were boarding her that afternoon, and then time for the airport and home. General observations - there were no hand sanitizers at the restaurants, there is a flower stall set up on the Royal Promenade each evening, demographic on board was 50% Spanish/European, 25% British and 25% Americans. Catholic mass was available every day. Announcements in English and Spanish. Approx 40 children on board which were obviously kept well entertained as we never saw them. Did not get towel animals until the 4th night of the cruise. There was a $20 laundry special on night 7. In summary a very enjoyable cruise. The ship was in excellent condition, our stewardess Luciana worked her socks off, the crew were great. Dining room was OK, not great, which accounted for us eating 4 times in the speciality restaurants, and Boleros was the place to be each night with the great salsa band. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
I'm still swaying and my head is till swimming from a most distressing last couple of days on board a Navigator of the Seas without fully operational stabilizers. The Med was rough between Valletta and Barcelona on the final leg of ... Read More
I'm still swaying and my head is till swimming from a most distressing last couple of days on board a Navigator of the Seas without fully operational stabilizers. The Med was rough between Valletta and Barcelona on the final leg of our cruise and, sadly, took its toll on a number of guests. I can't recall a more unpleasant and prolonged experience and am still suffering nearly 48 hours later. Trying to pack suitcases in those conditions was an absolute nightmare. But what about the cruise overall? These are first impressions and my views may moderate over time of course - we only got back last night. Well, Navigator is a lovely ship of course and impressions were generally positive. However, whilst I wouldn't have had a word to say against Brilliance of the Seas last year, this year's cruise had a number of negatives: The weather - clearly nothing RCI could have done about this but there were three particularly bad days. There was actually a tornado in Cagliari, which flipped over a bus quay-side before our eyes and meant that we were unable to disembark there at all, reducing our stops from five to four. Similarly, the first day in Turkey was horrendous. An absolute torrent of rain came down and excursions should most definitely have been cancelled there too but I guess RCI stood to lose too much money so they went ahead and were a total farce. Firstly, we learned a day before arrival that a marathon was taking place in the city so traffic was very restricted. As a consequence, with no prior warning our excursion tour bus stopped some distance from the focal point of the tour and we were all then traipsed around on foot in the torrential rain by our arrogant and disinterested guide Selma for about five hours. My four year-old daughter and elderly mother in law really suffered in these dreadful conditions. To compound matters, Selma wasn't interested in ensuring everyone could keep pace, just in getting her job done and picking up her pay check no doubt. We had booked another excursion ashore in Istanbul that evening but with the rain not abating we attempted to cancel. However, RCI would not allow us to do so. Their inflexibility in such extreme circumstances would certainly make me think twice about sailing with them again. My wife and I even attempted to brave the deluge to avoid wasting a considerable sum of money all together but could only get a hundred yards or so from the ship, despite umbrellas, before we were completely drenched again and had to turn back. We should most certainly have been offered refunds by RCI and will be complaining formally. The last day at sea we endured very rough seas and here the lack of functioning stabilizers really came home to roost. It was a most unpleasant experience and surely RCI should compensate travellers for such a critical malfunction. As usual, the food was terrific and the service - at least from the room attendant and all waiting staff - was excellent. On the down side, Navigator was too smoky - nine of the bars and lounges permitted smoking, which meant that you could smell smoke when strolling along the Royal Promenade - not what you expect on board ship, and surely not sensible from a health and safety perspective. I'm sure there weren't that many smokers on board but it only takes one in a bar.... Smoking was also allowed starboard side on deck so, as there wasn't as much open space on Navigator as there was on Brilliance, it was always apparent. Anyway, it's not an insurmountable problem but if you're a non-smoker, stay out of those bars and remain portside! On the plus side, the ship looked good - maybe cabin carpets in need of replacement or a deep clean but otherwise everywhere looked first class, as usual. The Adventure Ocean "kids club" was again excellent and my daughter loved it. Even the lack of a designated kids' pool and water slide was no problem. The pool facilities were just fine. I was a little surprised about the whole Royal Promenade experience. It just seemed an unnecessary gimmick to me, one which the Oasis of the Seas will be taking to even greater extremes it seems with its Central Park tree lined area. The Promenade looked good, certainly, but I didn't notice any greater shopping choice than on Brilliance. The coffee bar was nice and well used, but seemed to be the only place cruisers could help themselves to a coffee (except on the final morning when the coffee machine wasn't working). As I recall, Brilliance has a few such refreshment stations in strategic deck locations. Despite being a bigger ship overall, the impression I got was that the facilities on Navigator of the Seas catered for no more than on the smaller Brilliance of the Seas, with the consequence that at peak times on Navigator it was very difficult to get a seat in the Windjammer/Jade buffet dining areas. Further pluses on our Eastern Med cruise - the Mallorca stop was nice, Athens a great experience and Malta a pleasant surprise. In conclusion, RCI clearly cannot be held responsible for bad weather but in my opinion they could certainly do more to compensate customers for the limitations this imposed on services offered and for the lack of stabilizing functionality on board. Just off for another lie down.... Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
We began our cruise from Germany so did not book the Pre Cruise or after cruise package in Barcelona. Recommend those coming from the US do this. We arrived day early and stayed at the Atrium Palace, Apsis Hotel Chain, in the center of ... Read More
We began our cruise from Germany so did not book the Pre Cruise or after cruise package in Barcelona. Recommend those coming from the US do this. We arrived day early and stayed at the Atrium Palace, Apsis Hotel Chain, in the center of town. A very good hotel. Double room was Euro 187 per night. It is near Ramblis, and within walking distance of shops, restaurants. Service and front desk was exceptional. English was spoken by everyone. Breakfast is Euro 16 unless you book via the Internet and then it is only Euro 8. Highly recommend you take this option. Taxi to the Hotel with 2 large bags was Euro 25. There is bus and subway connections but do not recommend if you have luggage. Taxis are clean, metered and fast. We were not part of any pre excursion group but there was a Royal Caribbean Representative in the hotel that was very helpful. She advised us about 09:00 AM that due to some kind of "gastrointestinal" infection on the ship, boarding would be delayed until 14:00. Check out is 12 but Hotel has holding area for bags so not an issue. The representative told us that since bus was not full we could catch a ride which we did. We arrived about 14:30 and there was no crowd and check in went very smoothly and efficiently. We had our sailing card and on board in less than 30 minutes. Very efficient compared to Civitavecchia (Rome). Debarking was same. Much better than in Civitavecchia. We never heard another word about the so called "infection" and I am not sure there was one as many folks were already on the ship, so they obviously came much earlier. Our late lunch was cut short, due to the mandatory Life Boat Drill. It was perfunctory at best and some never figured it out or did not care. Seems like it is just to say it was done. It took too long as lot of other messages were put out. No one was in mood to hear anything not related to the life boat drill plus it was hot and the vests were uncomfortable. Shortly after getting unpacked discovered that we had forgotten our toothpaste. We asked the cabin attendant if he had a complimentary paste, but were informed that he did not. On Carnival Freedom in May, shampoo, tooth paste, shower gel were provided daily. So we bought some at one of the stores on the main deck, for $6.00 for small tube. More on pricing later. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable. This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean so I cannot compare with others. We had a mid ship cabin with balcony on 8th deck. Room was very adequate and balcony was great. Our cabin attendant was friendly and did a good job with basic housekeeping but we noticed that the toilet had urine stains on the wall that had been there a long time and were there when we left. Average would be best grade I could give them on housekeeping. Another nuisance was the slowness of picking up the room service trash. It was on the floor in front of doors along the corridor, sometimes until mid morning. Do not know why it could not have been collected earlier. Our safe would not work and we had to call maintenance. They were there in less than 15 minutes and fixed it. It stopped working on the last day again and they had to come and open it for us. On our safe the numbers were worn off from use so you had to guess the first time where the Close and Reset buttons were. Smoking: Basically a non smoking ship, except in designated areas, but not enforced. On several occasions, observed smokers right under a NO SMOKING sign. To me this is a major irritant. Ships crew do not seem to want to enforce it. Our neighbors smoked on their the balcony, (which is permitted) it seemed around the clock, and we could not keep the balcony door open because it drafted the smoke, Especially bad at night as we preferred the sea air to the air conditioner, which by the way was always on either hot or cold. Never found a way to make it just neutral. Dining: We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer, and first dinner seating in the main dining room. The Buffet in the Windjammer was OK; lot of choices, hot food was hot and cold food was cold, the way it is supposed to be. However there were two issues that were annoying. First off the Windjammer is not adequate for the amount of people on the ship. It was always crowded and often announcements were made to depart when you finished your meal; made you feel guilty to stay and have an after meal coffee. Staking out your table was an issue because just putting your silverware down meant nothing. You had to park someone and alternate getting your food from the line. The bussing of the tables was just plain unsatisfactory. There were enough people but they did not seem very interested and spent lot of time socializing with each other. Most of the time they would not clear all the used dishes and rarely wiped the tables. It appears there was little if any supervision by ships cadre in the Windjammer. Some effort to fix this problem is required. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants so cannot comment. On Carnival Freedom they had excellent short order/sandwich facility that was free. On Navigator they had overcooked hamburgers and hot dogs and cold buns. In fact the buns were stale and cold. If you wanted a real Hamburger or snack then you had to go to Johnny Rockets and pay extra for it. On at least two occasions the only mail toilet on the 11th Deck, Windjammer was out of order and the door was locked. On one occasion the toilets were over flowing due to some kind of malfunction. I am not sure they ever got the problem fixed. Shore excursions: Only took one, Taormina in Sicily. Well worth the money. We arrived in Istanbul at about 14:30 and those who tried to do the afternoon tour to the Covered Bazaar found, due to the unbelievable heavy traffic that it took hour each way with a bus. You can walk to the Covered Bazaar in a shorter time; in fact you can walk to the Blue Mosque and other attractions. We were told you would find a taxi just outside the pier, but we did not; in fact you do not need one, if you are able to walk a mile or so. In Thessaloniki we walked on our own. You can easily walk to the White Tower and some of the ancient ruins in the city. It is a beautiful city with many cafes and coffees you can enjoy. If you want to see sites outside of the city then a tour would be necessary. In Sicily we took the bus tour to Taormina a beautiful resort city about 45 minutes away. It is very touristy but worth a visit. We almost got left there because our guide told us to meet at a specific time in front of the cathedral; we were there way ahead of time but at the wrong cathedral. There are several so pay attention. Hint: take a picture, remember the number on your camera, and review it ahead of your meeting time. If you miss your rendezvous head to the exit, take the elevators down to the huge underground bus and car parking lot. If your bus is gone try to hitch ride with another tour from your boat. There are many busses. In Malta, one can walk to the center of town in about 15 minutes (it is uphill and you can take the steps for a shortcut) or take one of the very colorful Leyland Malta Busses to and from the pier. Bus stop is directly across the street from the terminal; on left side of the street. In Malta they drive on the left side like in UK. It is bus 187 and cost 1 Euro each way. Main Bus stop is about 3 minutes from city gates. Return bus stop is marked "Bus to the Piers) the buses seem to run continuously, so you wait until one shows up. Pricing on the ship: It was obvious that Royal Caribbean adjusted their prices in dollars upwards, because most of the passengers on this voyage were Europeans, whose currency was the Euro, British Pound, or Canadian Dollar. Prices in dollars were very high in all the on board shops and restaurants. For those on non dollar currencies the prices might be reasonable. For those on dollar standard they are not! One of the store keepers told me that they had elevated the prices slightly. I would say way more than slightly. In my opinion 3,000 passengers is too many for this ship. The ship felt crowded most of the time. Never felt I had space. Main Street promenade was packed at peak hours. I do not know what the word for excuse me or thank you in Spanish, English, French, and German is but never heard it when it was apparent it should have been used. Bumping and shoving at the buffet lines was normal. I think some of the Europeans feel they are going to run out of food! Sanitation: Why does Royal Caribbean not have hand sanitizer dispensers by rest rooms, dining areas? Carnival Freedom had them everywhere and they were used. Seems it would help control any infectious outbreak. No one from the Ship's crew told us but you may pick up a condensed newspaper, sports, and finance at the Library on the 7th Floor aft. They are there about 09:00 from France, German, Spain, and the US. Was the cruise worth the money? Yes but with just a little effort on part of Royal Caribbean could be much more enjoyable. Someone in the supervisor line needs to pay attention. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
My wife and I (now in our sixties) have cruised many times with RCCL on their Sovereign, Vision and Radiance class ships. We also cruise with Celebrity and P&O and we knew that the Voyager Class Navigator of the Seas would present a ... Read More
My wife and I (now in our sixties) have cruised many times with RCCL on their Sovereign, Vision and Radiance class ships. We also cruise with Celebrity and P&O and we knew that the Voyager Class Navigator of the Seas would present a different experience for us. Our agent booked direct flights for us to Barcelona flying out the day before our cruise. We stayed overnight at the Apsis Splendid near to Catalunya Square and whilst this was in no way a luxury hotel it was very pleasant and made a nice start to our holiday.. The following day we booked a taxi from the hotel to the port which cost us 16 Euros plus tip. We arrived at the port around 11.30am and since we had completed our Sea Pass online and are Crown & Anchor Platinum members we went quickly through the check-in process. Barcelona is an excellent port in our experience both for departure and arrival and there was adequate seating for us whilst we waited for boarding to commence. Again as Crown & Anchor Platinum members we were given priority boarding at 12 noon although cabins were not available until 1pm. Our cabin 8692 on the stern of the ship was very nice. The bonus with this cabin is the huge balcony. There was plenty of storage space and the bed was very comfortable with room beneath for our luggage. The only down side was the shower enclosure which looks quite nice with solid sliding doors (as opposed to a shower curtain) but it was quite small. Now to the ship - as you would expect from Royal Caribbean the ship is spectacular, very glitzy and glamorous. The focal point of the ship is the Royal Promenade with spectacular atriums at each end. Alas for us the Royal Promenade did not do it for us. It is a 4 deck high affair with shops and bars on the lower level and 3 decks of Promenade view cabins above. To us the Promenade view cabins looked like flats over a block of shops with ill fitting window drapes and sometimes views of the occupants which I'm sure they never intended us to see. The promenade had 2 pubs along its length (to be fair one is billed as a wine bar) and the entire area had a 'pub' feel about it. We feel that this leads to the ship not being as 'classy' as the other classes of ship in the fleet e.g. Radiance class. Another disappointment for us was the Viking Crown Lounge which is not as big or as glamorous as the similar venue on other ships. Whilst the food in general was good the evening dinner has been reduced to 3 courses from 5 - lots of people were complaining about this. Right, enough of the groaning the signature Champagne Bar is very nice with excellent service from the wonderful Christina and some super table top magic from another member of the wine bar team Antero. We dined one evening in the speciality restaurant Portofino and at $20 this was excellent- the food was very good and very well served by a very charming team. We did not dine in Chops grille but this was said to be good also. As a couple who never eat Hamburgers and have only been in McDonalds once with our grandchildren we thought it would be fun to try Johnny Rockets the American diner on the top of the ship. We were not disappointed the food was excellent and the staff perform a dance routine every 30 minutes. The thick shakes are wonderful. There is a $3.95 cover charge and you also pay for drinks. The entertainment was good although to be honest we have seen better production shows. Other entertainment was provided by Jackie Scott an excellent West End singer and also a wonderful multi-instrumentalist called Samantha Jay. The Beatle Maniacs had everyone on their feet - we've seen them before. The Cruise Director, Gordon was probably the best we have ever seen and has a fantastic singing voice which unfortunately we only got to hear on the last night. Our ports of call were: Sicily and we took the excursion 'Taormina on your own' - If you haven't been don't miss this beautiful village up in the mountains, we had about 4 hours there. You can go under your own steam but a taxi will cost more then the tour and the train leaves you with a considerable walk. Our next port was Thessaloniki which is a city with a pleasant long promenade - nothing special. We had an overnight stay in Istanbul - the traffic is horrendous and some people who took tours were very frustrated being stuck for long spells in traffic. We took the shuttle bus into the centre but it is quite easy to walk back to the ship. We visited the Blue Mosque which for us did not live up to all the hype! The Grand Bazaar is OK but you can't look in a shop window without being confronted by the owner. Our final port was Valletta Malta the sail in is spectacular but the city itself for us was 'scruffy' and on reflection we regretted that we had not taken an island tour to get a better view of Malta on which we have heard very mixed reviews. In summary this was a most enjoyable cruise but we feel that Voyager Class ships are primarily aimed at families and younger people. We will choose the older RCCL ships in future and the fabulous Celebrity ships. Please enter your review. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Our first trip to Europe was very exciting! We had planned for months and really anticipated a wonderful adventure.We have sailed 3 times with Celebrity.This was our first experience with Royal Caribbean. Embarkation in Barcelona was a ... Read More
Our first trip to Europe was very exciting! We had planned for months and really anticipated a wonderful adventure.We have sailed 3 times with Celebrity.This was our first experience with Royal Caribbean. Embarkation in Barcelona was a breeze! We transferred from the airport and checked in very quickly. Lunch in the Windjammer Restaurant was disappointing but our cabin was ready at 1 pm and we were delighted to be able to take a nap before the life boat drill. The Swan Lake Dining room was lovely and our waiter Wilson was very efficient. Most meals were quite good but very limited in variety.We avoided the Windjammer and had breakfast and lunch in the dining room as often as possible. We had lunch one day at Johnny Rocket's- great burgers and shakes and lots of fun, too. The Portofino restaurant was very special. We went for dinner at sunset and enjoyed sailing along the Turkish coast as well as a delicious dinner. The food and staff were both fantastic. Excursions were not as well organized as those we've done with Celebrity.The excursions were not as long as advertised. The booklet described 5 hour trips that were closer to 4 hours. The guides were excellent but rushed.The guide in Malta was so pressed for time she only allowed 10 minutes to use restrooms! There were dozens of tour buses and only 2 bathrooms! We spent 20 minutes in Mdina and everyone on the trip felt frustrated by the lack of time. The ship was only in port from 11:00am till 5p. Since the next day was a sea day, why did we need to rush? No one had any explanation. Many guests had booked two half day tours in Istanbul. The day before, we were notified that the tour had been changed to 10 hours on Sunday.The Grand Bazaar was to be a highlight but it is closed on Sunday. More very long lines at the excursion desk to make changes and find half days tours. For us, ten hours was just too long a day. The excursion staff was very patient and helpful but so many passengers had to make changes. It seemed as if Royal Caribbean should have advocated for their guests with the tour operator. Entertainment was a very mixed bag. The Beatle Maniacs were great fun, Jackie Scott was delightful, the Motown Show was terrific, the ice shows were just amazing! The Elton John show was just a disaster! We really missed the early evening music performances that Celebrity did so well. Disembarkation was fine and well organized on the ship. The parking lot was a whole different world. We sat on a full bus from 7a till 7:45a waiting for "permission" to leave for the airport!It seemed as if no one was really in charge and each time a problem developed, 6 people got together and nothing got done. As a result of this delay, the check in lines at the airport were huge! We stood in line for 2 hours and had to run to get through security to make our 10:30a flight from Barcelona to Paris. We sadly missed several amenities that Celebrity had always offered.There were no Christian religious services available on the ship.No guest lectures,no bathrobes in the rooms, no welcome glass of champagne, and a badly stocked library. I think we're "one and done" with Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
We took an 8 night Mediterranean cruise on Navigator as part of a charter from Atlantis cruises. They supplemented the RCI staff with their own, but I'll just focus on the RCI aspects of the cruise. We boarded at Barcelona and then ... Read More
We took an 8 night Mediterranean cruise on Navigator as part of a charter from Atlantis cruises. They supplemented the RCI staff with their own, but I'll just focus on the RCI aspects of the cruise. We boarded at Barcelona and then stopped at Marseilles, Livorno, Naples, Mykonos, Santorini and finally Civitavecchia, where we disembarked. This was a great itinerary and allowed us to visit a variety of countries and see some amazing sites. Embarkation: Both Navigator and Voyager had embarkations in Barcelona so there were a lot of cabs going to the port! We got to the dock a little after one and had checked in and received our Sea Pass cards in about 20 minutes; we had to wait about another 40 minutes to board the ship, but they kept everything moving well and we were able to sit and relax in the large terminal while waiting to board. Best thing was our cabin was ready with our bags in it by the time we got on board. DEcor/Facilities: The ship was beautiful and very well-maintained. We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 right by the Internet lounge and it was very roomy, with plenty of storage space and really huge closet that had two levels of racks for hanging clothes. The cabin was more spacious than I had anticipated and it was decorated nicely. The bed was very comfortable. The main promenade area of the ship was gorgeous, with lots of striking art work. There also seemed to be plenty of small bars, lounges and alcoves where you could find a relaxing place to sit. I loved the small solarium pool, which featured padded lounge chairs and a lovely tile floor. Views of the Mediterranean are already beautiful, but the view from the Cosmopolitan Bar was fantastic on deck 14 was amazing. The fitness center was large and well-appointed and definitely welcome after eating so much. Treadmills and cross-trainers have beautiful ocean views. Food: We ate breakfast at the Windjammer every day as we didn't have time for a sit down. I was able to find different things to eat and it was okay, but nothing special. I heard others say they were not that impressed and if you want crispy bacon, you are out of luck. It was also challenging to get coffee at times as you had to ask for it; I'd prefer a self-serve machine to expedite service. We ate lunches at the Windjammer and at Johnny Rocket's. Johnny Rocket's costs extra, but the wait staff was fun and did a lot of singing and dancing, plus it is up high on the ship and you can sit outside, which is very nice. Lunches were disappointing as the selection was not that great and many items had a tendency to be overdone. One odd thing, on a day that had hot dogs, they had no hot dog buns, although we saw those at other times when there were no hot dogs. Desserts were always pretty good, especially the cookies! However, the frozen yogurt that came out like soft-serve was not very good and tasted like chemicals to me. We ate dinner just about every night in one of the main dining rooms; the menu was the same in each. They did not have seatings on this cruise, but you would go and get seated at the next available table. I actually liked meeting new people most nights, and even ended up having dinner again with some of our previous tablemates because we enjoyed the company. There was usually a good selection of appetizers and entrees and I was able to try a variety of things each night. The quality of the food in the dining rooms was significantly better than at the buffet. I was surprised at the gap in quality. Overall, food at breakfast and lunch was so-so, but dinners in Swan Lake or the other dining rooms were good. Service: Our cabin steward, Rupert, was awesome. He introduced himself to us the first day and we often saw him on the floor. We had towel animals every night and our room was always cleaned early and refreshed during the day. In most of the bars, service was pretty good. We had trouble getting a bottle of beer in the Cosmopolitan Bar one night because they had a party to set up for in 30 minutes and told us they didn't want to have to kick us out. I told them I just wanted to get a bottle of beer and then I'd leave but they insisted we go to another bar. This was after I'd spent 10 minutes waiting for the bartender at the 19th Hole bar (about 20 feet away) to finish making the large drink order he had to prepare. It didn't make sense to me that one bartender could be overworked, and then two other bartenders within shouting distance could stand there with their arms folded, doing nothing, and the supervisor wouldn't let them give me a beer. Service in the dining rooms was generally good, although some of the servers really imposed themselves on you. Two in particular spoke very loud and very quickly and sort of steam-rolled the table. I understand they need to keep things moving, but others were able to do it more graciously. Overall, service was fine and at a good pace, but trying to get a drink was hard because there were different people who took orders for wine vs. soft drinks or liquor and if you asked the waiter, he'd say he'd send the appropriate person over, but that didn't always happen so a couple of times, I couldn't get a beer with dinner because the beer person never came to the table. Not really anything that hampered my enjoyment of the cruise. Shows/Entertainment: This was a charter cruise so some of the entertainment was from the charter company (Atlantis) while other acts were the regular ship entertainers. For the regular RCI entertainment, the Broadway revue was very good for a cruise ship; we live in New York and see a lot of shows and the singers and dancers they had were very good. The Ice Show was entertaining as well, although due to the small size of the skating area, you won’t be seeing too many spectacular jumps or tricks, but enough to keep you entertained. The Mardi Gras parade was also a lot of fun, but I imagine people with inside cabins overlooking the promenade thought it was loud. We liked the trivia contests in the Two Poets pub and that was a fun place to hang out and watch people walk by and say hello. Debarkation: This was a little delayed because we were late getting into the final port due to a sick passenger who had to be taken off the ship near Sicily. The process was okay, but we had to sit in the hall for an extra hour due to the delay. It would have been preferable for them to make an announcement that everything was being pushed back an hour from the original published schedule, but again, this didn’t seem like such a big deal. Definitely would do a cruise like this again and definitely give RCI thumbs up for maintaining a beautiful ship and providing a consistent level of service throughout the week. My only previous cruise was on NCL America, which I thought was fine, but now after experiencing this cruise, I understand why so many others on that ship were disappointed. It’s easy to get used to being treated nicely in such lovely surroundings. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
This is the second time we have sailed on the Navigator and once again it fulfilled all our expectations. We had made our own transfer arrangement from Barcelona airport to the Port, this is not difficult as there are numerous Taxis ... Read More
This is the second time we have sailed on the Navigator and once again it fulfilled all our expectations. We had made our own transfer arrangement from Barcelona airport to the Port, this is not difficult as there are numerous Taxis available. We had however pre-booked ours through Resorthopper. If we did it again I would just use airport Taxis as you have to confirm your return Taxi with Resorthopper 24hours beforehand - not so easy when you are at sea! Only tip would be to disembark as early as possible on the last day as taxi queues were quite long by 9.30am. Boarding at Barcelona was quick and easy. Luggage was delivered to our cabin quickly. The cabin with balcony was well fitted and spacious compared to some. The doors to the balcony were welcome at nightime when we slept with them open to create a pleasant cooling effect with the sound of the sea murmuring in the background. The days at sea could be as action packed or relaxing as you required. This depended upon how much you became involved in the on board organized activities which were wide ranging. These varied from towel folding to pool games and basketball to learning to ice skate. As we had our 9 year old Grandson with us he provided us with all the action we required, plus some! He made good use of the Children's Adventure Club which thankfully provided us with some free time. The Adventure club was open all day until 10.00pm for no charge, then up to 11.00pm there was a $5.00 charge. Every night he was keen to attend as he had made many new friends and the staff were excellent. This enabled us to see all the evening shows without any problem. The main problem we encountered was persuading him to leave at 11.00pm. For those children like our Grandson who like to participate in adventurous activities such as rock climbing, ice skating, roller blading it is ideal, all are provided on board the ship and are well supervised by trained staff. The entertainment was good and varied. The show provided by the on board entertainment staff was excellent and comparable with many West End productions. That said the 'Ice Show' was spectacular. To see such fast moving acrobatic dances performed on an ice rink on a moving ship is unbelievable. Our Grandson insisted on seeing this show and he thought it was 'dead cool'. The midnight 'Mardi Gras' parade through the Promenade was colorful, noisy and much fun. It should not be missed! The covered promenade area which is unique provides an excellent choice of shops, cafe's, pub and wine bar. It is stunningly decorated and is overlooked by 3 storey's of balconies. The hot chocolate and cookies in the cafe are worth trying. The main restaurant is on three floors and is stunning with its chandeliers, grand piano and colorful gilded decor. The staff willing offered alternative menu suggestions if required. However we found the choice more than adequate, the 'lamb shank' in particular being quite memorable. On the evening of the formal night it was nice to see that most people had made an effort. This included Josh our Grandson who looked smart in his black coat and bow-tie and meticulously 'styled hair' - 15 minutes in the bathroom. The self service Windjammer and Jade Restaurant was well fitted with excellent sea views (if I could only breakfast with a view like that everyday!) Again there was a wide choice of food and drink available. Staff at all levels were helpful but not pushing, even Josh who commented upon how friendly all the staff were. He and our Cabin Stewart had a nightly game. Each night the inevitable 'folded towel animal' was left in the room. Josh would add to this - a rolled paper cigar in the mouth, or paper hat on its head etc. All added to the 'fun' of the cruise. By the end of the cruise we had a menagerie of, an elephant, snoopy dog, bat, rabbit and monkey. When ashore we made our own arrangements as we always do, but there were a wide variety of excursions provided and the excursion staff were helpful even if you did not book with them. Whilst in Palermo,Sicily some advice I was given many years ago once again proved very profitable. That is to walk away from the port area if you can, and find a taxi or other transport and negotiate a tour with them. On this occasion we found a horse drawn carriage just outside the port area that offered us a tour which was longer and 20euros cheaper than those found in the port. Despite the size of the ship - 3300 passengers, disembarking was well organized with little waiting. It's s also easy to find one's way around unlike some which take several days before you become orientated. All in all and excellent ship and cruise. Cant wait until the next time! Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

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