17 Barcelona Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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 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
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
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
This was our second cruise on the Navigator; we took the cruise to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday. The last cruise on the Navigator was 2 1/2 years ago and she has not aged one day. It is incredible to see how well maintained ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Navigator; we took the cruise to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday. The last cruise on the Navigator was 2 1/2 years ago and she has not aged one day. It is incredible to see how well maintained everything is. The ship was full (and more) and still everything was clean and well kept. The ship sailed from Barcelona, where we stayed for two days before and explored the city with the tourist bus (26 Euros for two days, well worth it as the bus takes you to all the major sites with commentary in quite a few languages). The tourist info at Sants Train station had told us about a shuttle bus from DRASSANES metro station, since we only had one trolley style suitcase between the two of us we decided to try it. You have to walk a couple of minutes as you get out of the metro station, cross the giant round-about at the Colon monument and wait for a blue bus at a bus shelter (just behind the red hut where you can buy tickets for the tourist bus and get tourist info). The shuttle trip costs 2 Euros, together with the metro ticket of 1,30 Euros, we had the cheapest embarkation ever. As we got off the bus porters were there to take our luggage, there were more than 20 check-in stations and no line. We were on the ship just minutes after getting off the bus. Not only the cheapest but also quickest embarkation ever. Interesting for European citizens : although the RCCL web-site said that you needed a passport, my husband wanted to try checking in with his ID card only - no problem. They never asked for a passport. We had a promenade cabin, normal standard, everything clean and in good working order. The cabin attendant was fun, we did not spend a lot of time in the cabin. The cruise was completely booked, half of the guests from Spain, with the guests from South America, this made more than half Spanish speaking. The ship was well prepared for this, most crew seemed so speak at least some Spanish. There was a welcome show in English and one in English and Spanish. The Love and Marriage Game show was separated by language (English in the Ixtapa Lounge, Spanish in the theater) but other than that we did not see anything radically different from a 'regular' or 'American' cruise. Well, yes, there was one big difference: this was the weekend when school holidays/vacation started so there were LOTS AND LOTS of kids on board WITHOUT the usual problems with kids on Caribbean cruises. The Spanish youngsters (including teens) were exceptionally well behaved. We never saw one drunken teen misbehaving. We do not have kids ourselves and I was not looking forward to cruising with hundreds of kids, but no problem at all. I cannot say anything about the ports as we only went ashore to take pictures of other ships in port and quickly returned on board. I cannot say anything about the main dining room either, as we did not go. We went to Portofino on my husband's birthday and it was great: Food and Service just perfect. We also ate at Jonny Rockets one night, enjoyed this a lot. In both places we had the impression that the pay-restaurants are used as the officer's dining room. More staff than paying guests were present. A pity for everybody who did not go as these places are well worth the extra charge. We did not go to Chops Grill as neither of us is fond of big slabs of meat, so no comment on Chops Grill. However, a long comment on Windjammer: Jade seemed kind of faded out. There was a hidden pot of miso soup for breakfast and a bit of Asian food at each service, but nothing like it was when we sailed on the Navigator before. This might have to do with the fact that there were hardly any Asian guests on board. However, since we had quite a few Indian fellow guests we were lucky and found Indian food items at every meal. The rest was kind of lack-luster buffet food /junk food - hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta, salad bar, tacos, pizza, and a carving station. It was not bad, but nothing special either. Service in the Windjammer was BAD - I guess due to the fact that there were many large families. The service staff could not keep up, was stressed and not very friendly. We were unlucky enough to eat there one lunch during rush-hour. There were incessant announcements asking us to vacate our seat as soon as we were finished eating (in Spanish and English) - this does not contribute to a relaxed meal. I guess they did the best they could but the best in this case was not good enough. They ran out of strange staples : no strawberry jam (as I am allergic to strawberries, we never buy it at home and my husband looks forward to eating it whenever he travels), no honey, no more portion size milk from the middle of the cruise (at the beginning they still had jars of milk where you could serve yourself, but then it was down to small packages of creamer, some of it advertising that it was made with vegetable fat, not very appealing). However, they had also added to their selection of condiments - Marmite for the British and sweet mustard from Germany. The pools were great - the pool patrol made sure that no kids went into the pools in the Solarium, but the atmosphere was so festive around the main pools that we went there and did not mind getting splashed from time to time. All pools were open during "rush hours" and were cleaned at night when hardly anyone wanted to swim, so there was never a real shortage of cool water. The best: there was never a shortage of freshly laundered towels either. With the masses of people going through the pools and towels, they did a better than perfect job. The bars were hopping during the cruise, I guess European cruisers party a bit more than we saw on previous cruises in the Caribbean with RCCL. The show were good - the production shows updated, the ice show the same as 2 1/2 years ago but still as good. There was a singing quartet as a head liner act - it would have been more appropriate to a cruise with more Americans as they sang mostly American staples. The comic/juggler in the welcome show (I forget his name) was the stupidest act I have ever seen - I nearly peed my pants from laughing. Such a pity he did only one show, he was perfect for any language. The cruise director was so so, I guess it is hard to get into his regular spiel when he has to wait for a Spanish translation. Still, he and his staff did a great job at keeping everybody occupied. Disembarkation was quicker than we wanted. It started at noon the day before we arrived back in Barcelona - the captain made his noon speech and farewell speech at once. This seemed a bit early because we were still in full vacation mode. The following morning we were told that we needed to meet in the public rooms, because these were the only places where you could hear the disembarkation announcements. Guess not: 6.45 am we had the first announcement in the hallways and from there on nearly non-stop. You knew your vacation was over and you had better get out. The suitcases were offloaded earlier than planned, so our color was called earlier and we felt kind of pushed out. We preferred leaving and waiting in the train station. Getting your suitcase back at the terminal was easy and quick, there were hardly any taxis but a long line of guests trying to leave by taxi. So we took the bus back to the Colon statue and the metro to the train station. I think we were a lot faster than those waiting in line of a taxi. I feel that disembarkation and the trip home is part of my vacation, so I did not enjoy being pushed off like last week's faded lettuce, but I guess that was the price we had to pay for the early embarkation we had on the beginning of our cruise. They cannot allow new cruisers on board if the old ones have not left. Good news on the bill - we previously had had problems with the automatic conversion of currencies at the end of the cruise. This time everything worked perfectly, we got our final bill in USD and not in Euros, just as we had always wanted but not always had. All in all it was a great cruise, a great ship, nice fellow passengers but the majority of the crew seemed a bit short of smiles and patience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
"You'll be disappointed" warned my better half, eyes raised to heaven as I stayed on the internet night after night reading CC and every other internet site with the word "cruise" in the title. It isn't very ... Read More
"You'll be disappointed" warned my better half, eyes raised to heaven as I stayed on the internet night after night reading CC and every other internet site with the word "cruise" in the title. It isn't very often that she is wrong, so let's get the gloating over and done with. I wasn't!!! Our travel agency had arranged early morning flights to BCN from Dublin (I know, CC Rule #1 broken already), which went off without a hitch, and we landed at Barcelona at 10.15am, walking into what can only be described as a wall of heat. The RCL transfer to the ship was speedy and comfortable, and check in at about 12.15pm was a breeze. The check in agent asked if this was our first time cruising, and then complimented me on how well our set sail passes we filled out. I flashed DW my "Whose laughing now?" look, and off we went to get our photographs taken and board the Navigator for real. Now, since last September, I've watched dozens of YouTube videos, looked at hundreds of photographs and read numerous posts, so I thought I was ready. I wasn't. For the next hour, we walked around the ship taking the Lord's name in vain and uttering naughty words. Wow. I won't go in to loads of detail about the facilities etc., they are well documented elsewhere and it's all true. And then some! Getting lounge chairs on deck was never a problem, and the queue for the miniature golf was never excessive. I played my 14 year old son daily. I actually beat him once! The food was superb, and all I can say is people dissatisfied with the main dining room must be eating in amazing restaurants on land. We were placed on a table for four in the Arabesque section of Nutcracker, and our wait team was the perfect combination. Petro, our waiter was a model of efficiency and professionalism, while his assistant Nestor was a bundle of enthusiasm. Many of you will know him as the morning greeter at Windjammer "Good morning, happy happy people". He saw we had soda cards. We asked for Diet Coke once, and our glasses were constantly filled for the whole cruise. Embarkation day was our son's 14th birthday, and we'd ordered a cake online. Head waiter Enrico and his team delivered it bang on time with some side plates of ice cream, sang happy birthday and embarrassed him totally. Result!! Marius our stateroom attendant also deserves a special mention. He seemed to develop an uncanny ability to read our minds, usually providing what we needed before we got around to asking for it. Our two teens were in an inside across the hall from us, and still talk about the towel animals. Tendering to Cannes was easy and the day onshore was relaxing. Livorno was not as picturesque, but a trip to Pisa on the train went without any problems. The shuttle bus at $6 each way each caused a few grumbles, but we got over it. Returning, we were ravenous, and this is one of our few quibbles. We were on late seating, which was 9.15 to suit the sizeable Spanish contingent. No problem there. However, our habit was not to eat lunch on shore, but grab a bite when we returned to the ship in the late afternoon. We were by no means the only ones doing that, and the only food outlet open was the Cafe Promenade. These were the biggest queues we faced, and the options were limited. Our preference would have been for Windjammer to be open at that point. However, I must give Cafe Promenade a big thumbs up for their sandwiches, rolls and cookies. Lovely! My beloved's other quibble is that while pizza was in plentiful supply, there was never any garlic bread to be found. Next day was Rome, when we got together with a gang from Cruise Critic to walk the Eternal City. Now, anyone can get together with a gang from their own ship, but I have a habit of going against the grain. I had met up with Preds (Mike) on the Europe forum where I posted about our walking plans, he realized we were in port on the same day and suggested we join up. However, he had signatures turned off, and presumed we were on his ship, Norwegian Gem. No, but why let a little detail like that get in the way. We met up at the fort in Civitavecchia, and what a delight Mike and his family proved to be. Indeed, they are such friendly and gregarious people that they'd already made friends with half the Gem, and brought some of them with them, so a big shout out to Matt and Kristen, Don and Louise and Jose and his family. We had a great day tramping around the sights of Rome, my walking masterplan worked fine until I got lost, but we found our way to the Pantheon via some back streets, threw our coins into the Trevi Fountain and walked the Via Sacra through the forum. The heat was unrelenting, and in retrospect, perhaps we should have used the metro and bus system more. A truly memorable day, and the smiles and experience we shared will remain burned in our memory long after the heat has passed into oblivion. The midnight pool party and buffet that night was excellent, Kieron Buffery the Cruise Director taking vocals for the first half hour or so, and doing a fine job. Disembarkation was fine after a much needed restful sea day, and the holiday of a lifetime (so far) was rounded off with two days in the Gran Hotel Barcino near the cathedral and much use of the Bus Turistic. By the way, a little tip. If you are staying in Barcelona post cruise and want to see your ship leave, take the Teleferic cable car to the top of Montjuic - the views over the port are excellent. Finally, like many people, I stumbled onto Cruise Critic in our early days of research. It's a fine site, and the information gleaned here has been one of the determining factors in ensuring that the family who decided to try cruising last September is set to join the growing ranks of people who will never consider anything else for a long time. Thank you all. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
This was our first cruise. I'm 24 and my husband is 36 and we couldn't decide where to go on our first big holiday so we decided a cruise was the way to go as we could see a few places. We booked through an internet agent which ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I'm 24 and my husband is 36 and we couldn't decide where to go on our first big holiday so we decided a cruise was the way to go as we could see a few places. We booked through an internet agent which was simple and got a good deal. We went from Barcelona (we stayed there for 2 nights before going on the cruise) and then went to Cannes, Florence, Rome, at sea and then Barcelona again. We wanted a balcony as I was worried about feeling claustrophobic so we paid extra. We hadn't travelled very much at all before so all the documents and information we received from Royal Caribbean seemed daunting eg online check-in, all the stuff you had to remember to take and do (vaccinations/visas etc), shore excursions and dress codes etc, but in reality I worried much too much and checking in was absolutely fine online and all we had to bring with us was our setsail passes and passports as a lot didn't apply to us. The port in Barcelona is best to get to by taxi and only costs about €15 from the city centre. You'll get left right up to the terminal for embarkation. Like I said, embarkation was very simple and before we knew it we were on the ship and it was amazing - no wear and tear, it looked like brand new, so clean and shiny and luxurious and we went straight to the Windjammer for lunch as our room wouldn't be ready for an hour. The Windjammer is great. There were always seats no matter what time of the day as it is huge and the range of food was brilliant - rice, stirfry, chinese, sushi, roast dinners, burgers, chips, sandwiches, desserts, always vegetables and freshly prepared fruit and best of all a constant supply of free iced water, iced tea, fruit punch and lemonade which saved us a lot of money as I drink a LOT of water! This meant that we didn't have to buy juice for my husband and bottled water at all and as we don't drink alcohol (nothing against it, just grew out of it) we didn't buy any drinks on the cruise at all as the Windjammer is open all day with the exception of about an hour in between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner and you can go in simply to lift a few drinks and head out to your room or the pool, etc. It was a godsend as I hate spending money on overpriced drinks. The breakfasts in the Windjammer are unbelievable - the waffles with whipped cream and strawberries are to die for, plus there is prepared fruit, bacon, eggs, muffins, cereal, etc, etc, etc you would need a very long cruise to try everything! The food was really top class. We ate in Coppelia and on our first day there we asked the Maitre'd if we could have a table just for us two and he was able to do that (although if you want to do this you need to go at the allotted time specified on the welcoming information left in your room). We were both really pleased as we prefer our own company and wanted more "romantic" dining rather than meeting people. The service was excellent. Both our waiter and assistant waiter were great. The menu was varied and delicious and I had some of the nicest food I have ever tasted - the fresh fruit with lime syrup starter, pasta with marinara sauce, thai chicken with coconut rice and the baklava dessert on the last night all stick in my memory as being wonderful. Both me and my husband are quite fussy eaters but there was always at least 3 choices on each course that we would have enjoyed. We ordered room service a couple of times (its free)- we just got a jug of iced water and cookies (the coconut cookies are amazing) and it was always there in about 10 minutes. The Royal Promenade also serves free cookies and tea and coffee until 11pm. The ship is really fun to be on. There is something for everyone, young people, older, people who love to party (excellent cocktail list), people who like sports, people (like us) who wanted to relax after being out at the port of call all day and we spent a lot of time at the solarium nipping in and out of the jaccuzzi and lying on the deck chairs reading. There was always something on like bingo or a pool party or ice skating (which I did) or rock climbing or an ice show (which was really good) but it was really nice just to relax and sit or walk around on the boat looking out to sea. The shops on the Royal Promenade are good. Duty free alcohol, perfume, a nice souvenir shop, jewelry, etc but the best thing was that the Promenade looked like a street - it was amazing. The whole feel of the boat is just lovely. Our room was lovely - massive bed, nice decor, lovely balcony, good tv and nice bathroom. Our stateroom attendant was great and our room was really clean and tidy and they left towels shaped into different animals every night which i took photos of because it was such a nice funny touch (we even went to a towel folding demonstration and they gave us a leaflet of how to do it - yes, I know it's not exactly rock & roll for a 24 year old but it was funny..honestly!). The ship also didn't move until our day at sea and then it was very minimal - no sea sickness at all. The sea pass works very well - we chose to pay in cash and had brought our dollars with us. Its very easy to keep track of as you can see exactly what you spend on your tv so you are in complete control and the Guest Relations desk was always open and very helpful. We didn't take a shore excursion in Cannes as you arrive right in Cannes so you can get about yourself but we did book A Taste of Florence and A Taste of Rome as both cities are about 1 1/2 hours away from the port and I didn't trust ourselves to get to the ship and back ourselves. The Florence tour was very well run and it consisted of being "babysat" on the coach to Florence with a guide who gave you a great map and you could ask hr questions about how to get to places you wanted. Then after a 2 hour tour you were left on your own for 3 hours and then met up at a designated meeting point to head back to the ship. It was the same with the Rome excursion although our guide was not as good or diligent about not losing people and as you cant speak in St Peter's we were given headphones to link us up to the guide which didn't work well. Personally I found the excursions overpriced - they cost us £200 altogether but it was worth it for peace of mind as we didn't want to have to organize travel ourselves and risk missing the ship. I would personally now do the Florence and Rome on Your Own tours as then you are taken there and back with a guide on the bus you can get a map off and ask questions to but you have the whole time to yourself to look around. The more expensive tours often include lunch or entry fees into some of the places you see but these ones didn't so you were literally paying for the bus and a very minimal tour. If you are arriving right in the city (like Cannes) do not bother with an excursion as like I said, it was overpriced and you can do everything on your own, but for someone with little travelling experience, the shore excursions are useful. All in all, the cruise was simply perfect - all you could want and something for everyone. We cannot wait to cruise again, possibly next year but more likely the year after next (what with the credit crunch!!). I will always sail with Royal Caribbean now as I trust them and know what to expect now. It far surpassed my expectations. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
My girlfriend and I, both in our early 20's and recent university graduates, took a fantastic Mediterranean cruise on Royal Caribbean's beautiful Navigator of the Seas on May 19, 2008. We sailed out of Barcelona and visited ... Read More
My girlfriend and I, both in our early 20's and recent university graduates, took a fantastic Mediterranean cruise on Royal Caribbean's beautiful Navigator of the Seas on May 19, 2008. We sailed out of Barcelona and visited Cannes, Florence and Rome. We started planning our European trip back in December 2007. My girlfriend had certain desires for the trip, as did I. She wanted to visit a few specific cities and well, simply, I wanted to go on a Mediterranean cruise. Not just any cruise, but a Royal Caribbean cruise. Who can blame me! Ever since Summer 2007 I've been completely hooked on cruising with Royal Caribbean. Within a period of less than 12 months I will have taken four cruises. Three great cruises on Royal Caribbean and one mediocre cruise on Carnival. After lots of hassling with picking dates to fly and dates to sail, we finally found the perfect combination that would allow us to spend lots of time in Europe before and after the cruise. Along with the perfect timing of the sailing date, we also chose this specific cruise for several reasons: the amazing itinerary; the time of year to visit these great classic cities, the price of the cruise; and most important, the fact that we had sailed on Navigator of the Seas in November 2007 and absolutely loved it! In case you want to know why we loved Navigator of the Seas, here is my Cruise Critic review from the November 2007 sailing: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...?EntryID=35111 After months of anticipation and extreme planning, including endless hours on Cruise Critic, we finally flew to Madrid on May 13th to begin our 3-week adventure. We stayed in Madrid for 3 nights before taking the Renfe AVE train to Barcelona on the 17th. This was going to be my first time commuting on a 'real' train. I've taken dozens of metros and city trains, but never a 'real' train from one major city to another. The amazing thing was the short amount of time it took to get from Madrid to Barcelona. It's usually a 7 or so hour trip but the AVE train accomplishes it in 2 hours and 30 minutes going at speeds of over 200mph. We chose the early-afternoon train because it travels direct without making any stops. This explains how it can make the trip in such little time. We spent the 17th and 18th in Barcelona before the "big day" on the 19th. DAY 1 - EMBARKATION IN BARCELONA On the 19th in the morning we took a rather inexpensive taxi to the Moll Adossat at the Port of Barcelona. This is where the Navigator of the Seas was patiently waiting for us. As we crossed the bridge that links Barcelona with the cruise terminals we got our first glimpse of this gigantic cruise ship. Of course Navigator of the Seas was the biggest cruise ship in port that day, and without a doubt the most impressive. It was cool realizing that the last time we had seen the ship was back in Fort Lauderdale and now we were seeing her again thousands of miles away in Barcelona. We arrived at the terminal at around 10:50am and made our way through the security checkpoint with our luggage. Whenever my girlfriend and I cruise we only take standard carry-on luggage. Sometimes several pieces of carry-on luggage, but as long as we don't have to check bags we're satisfied. It just makes things easier. Once through security we quickly checked in at the counter and received our Sea Pass cards. In my opinion, definitely the quickest and most efficient check in staff. We then made our way to a line of people that was waiting for the escalators to be turned on that would lead us to the ship's promenade deck for embarkation. The terminal staff started the embarkation process at around 11:20am and my girlfriend and I were literally the third and fourth ones to get on the ship. Once onboard we went up to the 9th deck to find our stateroom. The doors leading to the staterooms were still closed since they were preparing the rooms, but that didn't stop us. We simply opened one of the doors and made our way to our assigned stateroom, which we discovered had just been prepared minutes earlier. We introduced ourselves to our stateroom attendant Bobby and he helped us get settled in. He was extremely courteous and helpful. After unpacking we grabbed a bite to eat at the Cafe Promenade and then the Windjammer. We also made our reservations for Chops and Portofino. Thereafter we visited the Solarium and enjoyed the jacuzzi all to ourselves. When we got bored with the outside jacuzzi we made our way to the huge jacuzzi in the spa and enjoyed that all to ourselves as well. Soon after we returned to the Solarium jacuzzi and stayed there for a while before finally returning to the room to get ready for the all-mighty muster drill. Though muster drills are boring, especially after doing them a few times, they are indeed extremely necessary and we take them very serious. However on this cruise the muster drill took boring to the extremes. Being an international sailing, the muster drill was held in what seemed like four or five different languages. It was the longest, most boring time you could ever imagine. To make things worse, the drill did not start on time since many of the international guests were not aware of the strict requirements to attend. I did see something quite funny while at the drill. Next to our muster station in the aft of the ship they have a door labeled specifically for the use of the crew only. It appears to lead to a staircase or service elevator. We constantly witnessed guests coming out of that door to find their muster station. It seems likely that when the time came for the drill, some guests picked any staircase or elevator they could find without paying much attention to the big signs explaining they were for crew only. After the muster drill we returned to our stateroom to get ready for dinner. We had the late 9:30pm seating but had made a 6:30pm reservation at Chops for the first night. We had never tried the specialty restaurants onboard so we figured we'd give it a shot. And in the end we definitely regretted it. I'm aware that literally thousands of Cruise Critic guests brag about their awesome experiences at Chops, but we were one of the few that didn't enjoy it. I'll start with this. Yes, the food was quite good. Nothing over the top, but good. It was definitely comparable to the dining room food, which in my opinion is really good for the most part. The part that led to the bad experience was the service. Since we were the early birds that night, Chops was pretty empty. There were maybe five or six other couples at most. However, right after we ordered one of the ship's officers and a female guest entered Chops and were seated in a large booth in the back of the room. Thereafter the service got horrible as the Chops staff seemed to ignore the other couples and literally spent the entire time catering to the officer, who was not the Captain by the way. A megaphone would have come in handy that night to get the staffs' attention. Every time we needed something, the waiters were over at the officer's tabling chatting. When we finished our entrees I asked our waiter nicely if she could please clear our table and she refused. She said she was busy and she'd do it later. She of course rushed back to the officer's table. Not the type of service we were expecting. The only real advantage of eating there was the view of the Mediterranean coastline as we sailed to our first port of call, Cannes, France. We wanted to enjoy our cruise on a positive note so we decided not to complain about the Chops issue and just write it off as a lesson learned. In case you're wondering, I had the French onion soup, the mushroom caps, the t-bone steak, and we tried every desert on the menu, while my girlfriend had a French onion soup and the fish entree. When we finished at Chops we hung out around the ship for a little and then made our way to our regular dinner seating to meet the guests at our table. We ended up with the coolest table on the entire cruise. We were four young non-married couples, and all American. We all got along great from the start. Even though we didn't eat a thing, my girlfriend and I still ended up staying all the way through desert chatting it up with our new friends. We also were very impressed with our waiter and assistant waiter. They were really nice and efficient. After dinner we headed back to the room to get a good night's sleep as we would be waking up early for Cannes the next morning. DAY 2 - CANNES Waking up early at home: horrible feeling. Waking up early on a nearly billion dollar cruise ship in the middle of the Mediterranean: exciting for obvious reasons. Once awake, we quickly headed up two floors to the Windjammer for breakfast. We got there so early that we had to sneak in and wait at a table by the aft windows for a few minute till the official opening time. The guy who always greets guests entering the Windjammer on Navigator of the Seas tried kicking us out for being early, but someone stopped him and told him to let us stay since we weren't bothering. After breakfast we got ready and then made our way up to the pool deck to wait for the distribution of the tender tickets to get to Cannes. As everybody was waiting in the huge line on the pool deck, I faintly heard an announcement over the PA system talking about guests not needing tickets if they went down to the tenders right away. Since the PA wasn't too clear out on the pool deck, I was second-guessing if I had heard the announcement correctly. Since the same thing happened on our November sailing, I figured I must have heard correctly. I told my girlfriend to run for it and we literally ran down the stairs all the way from the pool deck to the first floor and we were indeed able to board the tenders without tickets. It was funny cause when we ran all the other guests in line on the pool deck were looking as us as if we were crazy. Unfortunately they all remained waiting in that long line. Eventually after about 15 minutes of waiting on the tenders for more people to show up, we began seeing people who had been on the pool deck begin to board the tenders. We ended up leaving to Cannes about 10 minutes later. When we first booked the cruise we realized that we were going to be in Cannes during the international film festival, the Festival de Cannes. We also realized that all Festival activities and events were off limits to the public so we figured that the only way to enjoy our time in Cannes was to secure full access passes to the festival. After pulling a few strings, we were able to secure these nearly impossible-to-get passes. As soon as the tender got to the Old Port in Cannes, we were the first ones to get off and we immediately rushed over to the Palais de Festival, the official headquarters of the film festival. There we picked up our passes and enjoyed a truly memorable day. We were able to get into all of the exclusive areas of the Festival! We even attended two VIP parties in the afternoon. The only downside was that we had to be back on the ship by about 5:30pm. This meant that we couldn't experience any of the famous nightlife of the Festival nor the red carpet action that we constantly see on television and in the magazines. We ended up taking a tender back to the ship at around 4:00pm. We usually prefer to go back a little early to avoid the craziness that occurs on the tenders as sailing time approaches. After returning to the ship we rested for a while and then got ready for the formal dinner. I was really happy to finally be eating in the dining room after the previous night's unfortunate experience at Chops. Also, after not eating anything in the main dining room on the first night, I was excited to finally be able to do what I always do on cruises: order everything I want on the menu. I usually average about two appetizers a night, two or three entrees, and about three deserts. After dinner we walked around for a little and then went to sleep. This cruise had a very port-intensive itinerary so we had to go to sleep early every night to be able to function well and enjoy the coming day. DAY 3 - LIVORNO (FLORENCE) Overnight we had sailed from Cannes to Livorno, Italy. Livorno is the port city for Florence and Pisa since both are inland. To really experience the splendor of Florence in the time allotted, we had pre-booked the Royal Caribbean excursion Historical Florence and Accademia Museum. This was the only excursion offered that guaranteed a visit to the Accademia Museum, or Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze as it's also known, home to Michelangelo's statue of David. There was no way we were going to visit Florence and not stand before this incredible statue. After breakfast in the Windjammer that morning we finished getting ready and then headed down to the Ixtapa Lounge to meet up with the group for our tour. As soon as every one was there, we all headed down to the first floor to exit the ship and board our bus to Florence. There were literally dozens of big charter buses lined up in front of the ship. Since there's really not much to do in Livorno, it seemed like most guests had opted to go on one of the many excursions offered by Royal Caribbean. The journey to Florence afforded us the opportunity to catch unforgettable views of the surrounding scenery of Tuscany. From a distance we got to see the town of Pisa, including the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa or as it's known in Italy, Torre pendente di Pisa. We also drove past some of the huge Tuscan mountain ranges that have provided the marble that's been used for some of Italy's most famous statues, including the statue of David we would soon visit. The only negative thing about the bus ride to Florence was that even though we were only a small group of about twenty people, we stopped for three long bathroom breaks in a period of one hour. These stops ultimately delayed our arrival in Florence. This was really upsetting as we had paid to see Florence, not to be parked at local gas stations for extended periods of time. When we finally arrived in Florence, the bus dropped us off a few blocks away from the Accademia Museum. Our group made its way to the museum and once there waited outside for a few minutes as our tour guide picked up our tickets. Being on a tour proved to be so valuable as we got to skip the huge lines outside and get right in. Once in the main hall, there in front of us stood the famous statue of David we had anxiously waited to see. It's actually a bit bigger than I had expected it to be. It's truly amazing how skilled Michelangelo was as he was able to duplicate in marble nearly every feature of the human body. The only disappointment at the Accademia Museum was that they don't let you take pictures of the statue. Ironically, in the Royal Caribbean television commercials they show guests taking pictures of the statue and make a point of promoting that fact. Either way, I still shot a bunch of really good pictures of the front of the statue without getting caught. Just as I was starting to take pictures of the back of the statue, one of the museum's staff members finally caught me. She politely asked me to put the camera away and that was it. After the Accademia Museum the group made its way to the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo of Florence. This particular excursion didn't include a tour of the Duomo, but we were still able to visit the square surrounding the Duomo and view the grand Brunelleschi dome and Giotto's Bell tower. While in the square we also stopped in front of the Florence Baptistery or Battistero di San Giovanni where our tour guide pointed out the biblical scenes carved into the bronze doors of the Baptistery. Soon after we walked a few blocks to Palazzo Vecchio, the square where the original statue of David stood outside until 1873. They now have a replica of the statue where the original once stood. From here we walked past the Uffizi Gallert to the banks of the Arno River where we marveled at our first views of the beautiful bridge, the Ponte Vecchio. The bridge really exemplifies the beauty and history of Florence. We walked along the street that lines the river to the bridge's entrance and then spent a few minutes taking pictures and browsing the shops lining the narrow street atop the bridge. After our stop at the bridge we returned to the Palazzo Vecchio and had lunch at a small restaurant in the square. The lunch was included in the price of the excursion. It was a typical Italian lunch with unlimited wine and champagne. We weren't offered any choices or menu, yet everything they brought out was delicious. For desert they gave us a tiramisu ice cream in a small cup. I'm a huge fan of tiramisu and have tasted literally dozens of different versions of it yet an ice cream version was a first for me. It was actually really good. Following lunch we made our way to the square in front of the Santa Croce Church. We were given about 45 minutes of free time and then told to meet back for the group to continue on to the tour of the church. We took the opportunity to do our souvenir shopping here. We also visited the world famous Vivolis ice cream shop but the lines were too long so we had to skip it. When we finally reunited with the group, we made our way to the entrance of the church. Inside we visited the tombs of some of history's most famous individuals such as Galileo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, and several others. After the church tour we made our way back along the Arno River and reunited with our bus. Once everyone was on the bus, we took a short ride up to Plaza Michelangelo atop a hill overlooking the city. This afforded us the chance to enjoy beautiful views of Florence. We could see everything from atop the hill. It's interesting to see how the majority of buildings in Florence all have the same color roof tiles. After this we made our hour or so trip back to Livorno. We were so lucky this day as the weather was amazing!! We couldn't have asked for a nicer day. After returning to the ship we rested till dinner. As was the case on previous nights, we went to sleep almost immediately after dinner since we had a big day ahead. DAY 4 - CIVITAVECCHIA (ROME) The next morning we awoke in another Italian city: Civitavecchia. This is the port city for the incredible city of Rome or as the Italians call it, Roma. We enjoyed an early breakfast in the windjammer and then made our way to the main theater to meet up with our group for the Rome-On-Your-Own excursion offered through Royal Caribbean. This excursion was basically just a ride to and from Rome. We chose this excursion since the Vatican was closed on the day we were there for Corpus Christi Day. Everything else in Rome can pretty much be accomplished on your own. Once our entire group was accounted for in the theater, we all headed down to the gangway on first deck of the ship and boarded a large air-conditioned and really comfortable bus to begin our hour or so long journey to Rome. As expected, the closer the bus got to Rome, the more traffic we encountered. We ended getting to Rome about 30 minutes later than planned. Our bus dropped us off in the Gianicolo underground bus terminal and our intelligent Italian guide escorted us to St Peters Square to announce our meeting time and location for later that afternoon. As soon as she let us go, we grabbed a taxi in front of the Saint Angelo Castle on Via Della Conciliazione in Vatican City. Our taxi driver was a relatively old guy with the driving skills of a teenage video gamer. He also knew every curse word ever created. This was a taxi ride to remember as we definitely came close to death at least a half dozen times while he drove us to the Colosseum. He was barely done avoiding one crash, when he had to start avoiding another one on the other side. It was definitely a ride I don't ever desire to take again. But thankfully we survived and he proceeded to drop us off in front of the Forum and Palatine Hill entrance next to the massive Colosseum. As per our tour guide's advise, and the tips in some trusted guide books, we proceeded first to the long but manageable line at the Forum and Palatine Hill. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the ticket window. Our plan was to buy the all-inclusive ticket here which granted admission to the Forum, Palatine Hill, and Colosseum, and then as per the advise we'd been given, make our way to the Colosseum with ticket in hand. This would supposedly get us into a quick line at the Colosseum and we would avoid the two hour or so ticket line there. Sadly, our plan didn't work. The two lines to get into the Colosseum were both extremely long. One line is for buying tickets while the other is for tour groups. We'd been told to get into the line for tour groups but then we realized that line was just as long. After asking a few people for guidance, we realized there was no way we'd be able to tour the Colosseum and still do everything else in Rome we wanted to do. By the way, in front of the Colosseum they have American tour guides soliciting tourists for "private" tours of the Colosseum for $10 per person plus the cost of admission. This seemed like an obvious scam as they were promising you'd be inside in less than 15 minutes, yet we witnessed the same groups waiting in the super long lines. We proceeded to take as many exterior photos of the Colosseum as we could and then made our way back to the Forum and Palantine Hill. With the ticket already purchased, we entered through a special gate with no line whatsoever. Since we were already way behind schedule, we decided to rush through the Forum and exit at the other end by the Piazza Venezia and the huge memorial to King Vittorio Emanuele II, which is an incredible and massive structure. From here we rushed through the narrow streets of Rome to the Trevi Fountain. Sadly, it was a cloudy day with occasional drizzles. We soon learned what a light drizzle can easily turn into in a matter of seconds. Once we arrived at the Trevi Fountain we took a few pictures and then it started to drizzle. That drizzle soon turned into a massive downpour. Everybody was scrambling for cover. We ran into a McDonalds and proceeded to put on our ponchos and cover our backpacks in plastic for what would prove to be a daunting walk to the Pantheon in this horrible downpour. When we finally reached the Pantheon, we witnessed literally hundreds of people camped out there to avoid the rain. We entered this amazing and ancient structure and got to witness a unique site. The Pantheon has a giant hole in the center of its dome. When it rains, the water comes right into the hole and pours down into the center of the building. This was a cool scene to see. When it finally stopped raining we visited the Piazza Navona. Big disappointment as the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini was being renovated and was covered by a bunch of wooden panels preventing you from viewing it. A lot of people proclaim this to be a beautiful plaza yet we found it pretty dull and boring, and not as pretty as other places in Rome. We were getting hungry now so we began searching for a good pizzeria. We finally found one about two blocks from Piazza Navona where they had an awesome deal for only 5 euros. It included two slices of pizza, an arancino rice ball, and a soda or juice. Five euros for all that was a steal compared to the usual prices in Rome. Some places charge 5 euros just for one slice or pizza! After lunch we returned to the square in front of the Pantheon to take pictures as the sun had returned in full strength. It's incredible when you realize that a structure as unique and impressive as the Pantheon was built nearly two thousand years ago. Nowadays you need big powerful cranes and equipment to create something even similar. Yet back in the days of Ancient Rome, lacking all of our current technological advances, they were still able to build something so impressive. Even more amazing is the fact that it has survived intact for so long. Since the rain ruined our original visit to the Trevi Fountain, we decided to trek back to the Fountain to retake our pictures, this time without the gray skies. We were fortunate enough that there weren't that many people at the Fountain yet so we were able to take pictures right down by the water. After visiting the Fountain, we began our long but scenic walk to Vatican City. To ensure that we didn't get lost, we would ask for directions almost every two blocks. This way we'd always know if we were still going the right way. The streets in Rome form quite a maze so even one wrong turn could have thrown us way off course. Sadly as we approached Vatican City, the skies began to turn to gray again. The much desired sun was leaving us again. After crossing over the Tiber River we found ourselves in front of Saint Angelo Castle. On the front steps of the castle they were having an exhibition to show off the unique vehicles and watercraft used by Rome's police and rescue departments. It was here that I came upon a police car that every police department should have, a Lamborghini police car. From here we continued our walk on the Via della Conciliazione and finally arrived at one of the most visited sites in the world, St Peter's Square in front of St Peter's Basilica. Unfortunately it was beginning to drizzle while we were in the Square so we decided to just do some souvenir shopping and then proceed to our group's meeting spot a few minutes. When we got there our tour guide was already there taking attendance as people arrived. Amazingly, everyone arrived back on time and we departed without issue. After an exhausting day in Rome, I took the opportunity to catch a good nap on the bus ride back to Civitavecchia. Compared to the ugly weather in Rome when we left the city, Civitavecchia was experiencing a beautiful day of sunshine. The bus pulled up right in front of the ship's gangway and we made our way back onto the beautiful Navigator of the Seas. After dropping off our stuff in the room, we proceeded to the best spot on the ship: the jacuzzi in the Solarium. Nothing beats a relaxing trip to the jacuzzi after such a long and exhausting day. Some friends from our Florence tour also found their way to the jacuzzi so we all spent a few hours reminiscing about our awesome experiences in Italy. I must note that dinner that night was very special to me. They finally served tiramisu, my favorite. Spending a day in Rome, Italian pizza for lunch, and tiramisu for desert made this one of the best days of the trip! After dinner we convinced our entire table to come with us to the usually fun and wacky Love & Marriage Show hosted by the cruise director. Our last time on the Navigator of the Seas we had witnessed one of the most hilarious versions of the show. Unfortunately this time around it was extremely boring. The problem was they didn't recruit the right contestants for it. It was way too predictable compared to the bizarre answers given during our November sailing. After the show it was bedtime as we were exhausted! DAY 5 - DAY AT SEA On this last full day of the cruise, we finally had a morning to sleep in as this would be a relaxing day at sea. We woke up just in time to catch the last few minutes of the breakfast buffet. After breakfast we chilled out for a little and then went to lunch in the dining room. I absolutely love Royal Caribbean's dining room lunch menu. It was the same great menu from our November sailing. The food was great but we did experience some less than pleasant service from our waitress. Whenever anyone, including myself, would order more than one thing on the menu she would make a mean comment about that being too much food for us to handle and then we had to proceed to remind her that we indeed wanted those items on the menu. When I finished all my items to her disbelief she made another comment about how I ate so much. We just brushed it off and didn't let it spoil our thus far incredible vacation. After lunch we did something that is definitely bad for your health. We spent about 5 hours in the jacuzzi in the Solarium. However nothing beats the priceless moment when I finally left the jacuzzi. My gray bathing suit was now completely yellow cause of the chlorine in the jacuzzi. Even worse, it smelled like it had been dunked into a tank of chlorine for days. But I didn't care. Gray, yellow, blue, red, it's still a bathing suit and it still fits just as good. After our jacuzzi adventure we got ready for our last dinner of the cruise. It was so sad that in only a few hours we'd be saying goodbye to the ship in Barcelona. That night we had a wonderful final dinner service and then rewarded our waiters with generous and much deserved tips for their hard work. Our table even took a group picture together with our waiter and assistant waiter. After dinner we walked around the ship for a few minutes to explore areas we hadn't seen before such as the dance club before proceeding back to our stateroom and going to bed. DAY 6 - DEBARKATION IN BARCELONA We woke up fairly early today and had breakfast in the Windjammer. We then returned to our stateroom and went back to sleep. We were going to be staying in Barcelona anyways so we had no hurry to get off the ship. Essentially, the later we got off, the better. When we finally left our room, we were the only ones left in our hallway. All the other rooms were already being cleaned. We located our stateroom attendant Bobby and gave him his also much deserved tip and thanked him for doing a wonderful job. He was definitely one of the nicest stateroom attendants we had ever had. He wasn't even upset that we were still in our room. If only all stateroom attendants could be like him! We were carrying our own luggage off so we proceeded to the promenade deck and made our way off the ship. We ended up getting off at around 10:00am. As we talked through baggage claim there where still hundreds of people waiting for their bags and for buses to pick them up. We made our way to the taxi stand in front of the terminal. It was raining really bad this morning, so it was a bit chaotic at the port yet altogether much more organized than the South Florida cruise ports on debarkation days. As we left in the taxi we had to finally concede that this was the end to an incredible cruise on the beautiful Navigator of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This was a very last second cruise. Two nights prior to arriving in Barcelona on the Voyager of the Seas, received word of a great rate for inside cabins on the NOS. DH didn't think twice about us taking this cruise. Could not book ... Read More
This was a very last second cruise. Two nights prior to arriving in Barcelona on the Voyager of the Seas, received word of a great rate for inside cabins on the NOS. DH didn't think twice about us taking this cruise. Could not book through RCCL as less than 48 hours to sailing so called TA in U.S. Had confirmation number in an hour and we were all set. The Navigator was docked behind the Voyager in Barcelona so we walked the 150 yds to the terminal. The VOS transferred our luggage. Another couple, with whom we made friends and were table mates on the VOS, joined us for the 3 hour wait. time went by fast as they were new crew members arriving and sitting near us. We volunteered to apply for jobs on the ship, but I guess they felt we were a little too old. As we booked through our TA's and had no documents but a confirmation number, it took quite awhile to get us assigned cabins. But, this too worked out. We all ended up with Promenade cabins vs no window. For 5 nights this is okay, but you never know what the weather is like. This is the first time we have had an inside/promenade cabin. It was okay and could do again if it was the absolutely only way we could sail. I would send DH to an upper deck in the morning for a weather report as there is no way of knowing what to wear. The Navigator is a beautiful ship as she is much newer than VOS. It shows. The appointments and finishes are first class. The staff was great, friendly and extremely helpful. The dining staff again, seem overworked and under staffed. The Maitre'd was outstanding. As we all had no pre-arranged seating, he arranged a fabulous table next to the Captain's table and a third couple, a lovely mother & daughter to join us. Again, used the Gym which seemed smaller than VOS, but still enjoyed. As the Voyager, the Solarium needs to be enclosed. Could not enjoy the pool areas due to cool and very windy weather. The signage for not saving chaise lounges is useless. People must get up at 4am to put their stuff on a chair. We never could get a chaise in the sun. Many never had a person on them, only their bags. We didn't want to be there all day, just an hour or two, but others were adamant that the people would be right back. This never occured. I must say, the majority were German and far from friendly. I am an American, but have lived all over the world. There was absolutely no give and take when it came to the lounges. The buffet cafes are an improvement over the Windjammer and liked the more european style of foods. Cleaning tables seemed to be problem the first day, but that was soon corrected. We do not use the shore excursions, but took off on our own. First stop, Marseilles, France. I don't think one should have to pay for transportation from the dock to the city area if the dock is inaccessible. However, we had no choice and the buses were comfortable and a necessity. Once in town, walked around then took the tram for 4.5Eu/each up to the Basilica and back. Best deal around. Stayed several hours, attending Sunday Mass and touring the area. Picked up the tram to town, walked around since stores were closed. Chose a small outdoor cafe to have a great French lunch. Delighted myself by remembering enough French to translate menu for DH and order for both of us. Weather was great, did some small shopping on the quay side then picked up the bus to return to ship. Next stop, Cagliari, Sardinia - Wet and cool, but walked around town, stopped for espresso, people watched and tried to stay dry. Shops closed in afternoon and department store not of any interest. Found a small cafe to enjoy cheese, proscuitto and wine before walking back to ship. Palermo, Sicily - another port you can walk to to town. Strolled the old streets before hiring a carriage to drive us around for an hour. Carriages at port were asking 80Eu for two, negotiated 40Eu for two of us. However, at the end, driver wanted another 40Eu. Just stood my ground and he walked away. This cruise arrives in ports during the afternoon siesta and shops, restaurants, etc are not open. Not good timing. Dined early this time due to the much later seating on the Mediterranean run. This afforded us to see the shows. Shows much better on this ship. Cruise Director was great, best ever. Enjoyed the ice show which we did not see on the VOS as tickets only distributed once for all performances. This show was open seating and never full. We went to the Platinum members lounge for coffee and rolls which is a real plus. They called our tag color in 30 minutes. Disembarkation was a breeze. Off the ship by 8:30 and in a taxi headed to the train station to pick up rent car. Overall, would definitely sail the Navigator again and take the Mediterranean cruise. Great value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS: OUR MEDITERRANEAN ADVENTURE My girlfriend and I, both in our early 20's and recent university graduates, took a fantastic Mediterranean cruise on Royal Caribbean's beautiful Navigator of the Seas on May ... Read More
NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS: OUR MEDITERRANEAN ADVENTURE My girlfriend and I, both in our early 20's and recent university graduates, took a fantastic Mediterranean cruise on Royal Caribbean's beautiful Navigator of the Seas on May 19, 2008. We sailed out of Barcelona and visited Cannes, Florence and Rome. We started planning our European trip back in December 2007. My girlfriend had certain desires for the trip, as did I. She wanted to visit a few specific cities and well, simply, I wanted to go on a Mediterranean cruise. Not just any cruise, but a Royal Caribbean cruise. Who can blame me! Ever since Summer 2007 I've been completely hooked on cruising with Royal Caribbean. Within a period of less than 12 months I will have taken four cruises. Three great cruises on Royal Caribbean and one mediocre cruise on Carnival. After lots of hassling with picking dates to fly and dates to sail, we finally found the perfect combination that would allow us to spend lots of time in Europe before and after the cruise. Along with the perfect timing of the sailing date, we also chose this specific cruise for several reasons: the amazing itinerary; the time of year to visit these great classic cities, the price of the cruise; and most important, the fact that we had sailed on Navigator of the Seas in November 2007 and absolutely loved it! In case you want to know why we loved Navigator of the Seas, here is my Cruise Critic review from the November 2007 sailing: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=35111 After months of anticipation and extreme planning, including endless hours on Cruise Critic, we finally flew to Madrid on May 13th to begin our 3-week adventure. We stayed in Madrid for 3 nights before taking the Renfe AVE train to Barcelona on the 17th. This was going to be my first time commuting on a 'real' train. I've taken dozens of metros and city trains, but never a 'real' train from one major city to another. The amazing thing was the short amount of time it took to get from Madrid to Barcelona. It's usually a 7 or so hour trip but the AVE train accomplishes it in 2 hours and 30 minutes going at speeds of over 200mph. We chose the early-afternoon train because it travels direct without making any stops. This explains how it can make the trip in such little time. We spent the 17th and 18th in Barcelona before the "big day" on the 19th. DAY 1 - EMBARKATION IN BARCELONA On the 19th in the morning we took a rather inexpensive taxi to the Moll Adossat at the Port of Barcelona. This is where the Navigator of the Seas was patiently waiting for us. As we crossed the bridge that links Barcelona with the cruise terminals we got our first glimpse of this gigantic cruise ship. Of course Navigator of the Seas was the biggest cruise ship in port that day, and without a doubt the most impressive. It was cool realizing that the last time we had seen the ship was back in Fort Lauderdale and now we were seeing her again thousands of miles away in Barcelona. We arrived at the terminal at around 10:50am and made our way through the security checkpoint with our luggage. Whenever my girlfriend and I cruise we only take standard carry-on luggage. Sometimes several pieces of carry-on luggage, but as long as we don't have to check bags we're satisfied. It just makes things easier. Once through security we quickly checked in at the counter and received our Sea Pass cards. In my opinion, definitely the quickest and most efficient check in staff. We then made our way to a line of people that was waiting for the escalators to be turned on that would lead us to the ship's promenade deck for embarkation. The terminal staff started the embarkation process at around 11:20am and my girlfriend and I were literally the third and fourth ones to get on the ship. Once onboard we went up to the 9th deck to find our stateroom. The doors leading to the staterooms were still closed since they were preparing the rooms, but that didn't stop us. We simply opened one of the doors and made our way to our assigned stateroom, which we discovered had just been prepared minutes earlier. We introduced ourselves to our stateroom attendant Bobby and he helped us get settled in. He was extremely courteous and helpful. After unpacking we grabbed a bite to eat at the Cafe Promenade and then the Windjammer. We also made our reservations for Chops and Portofino. Thereafter we visited the Solarium and enjoyed the jacuzzi all to ourselves. When we got bored with the outside jacuzzi we made our way to the huge jacuzzi in the spa and enjoyed that all to ourselves as well. Soon after we returned to the Solarium jacuzzi and stayed there for a while before finally returning to the room to get ready for the all-mighty muster drill. Though muster drills are boring, especially after doing them a few times, they are indeed extremely necessary and we take them very serious. However on this cruise the muster drill took boring to the extremes. Being an international sailing, the muster drill was held in what seemed like four or five different languages. It was the longest, most boring time you could ever imagine. To make things worse, the drill did not start on time since many of the international guests were not aware of the strict requirements to attend. I did see something quite funny while at the drill. Next to our muster station in the aft of the ship they have a door labeled specifically for the use of the crew only. It appears to lead to a staircase or service elevator. We constantly witnessed guests coming out of that door to find their muster station. It seems likely that when the time came for the drill, some guests picked any staircase or elevator they could find without paying much attention to the big signs explaining they were for crew only. After the muster drill we returned to our stateroom to get ready for dinner. We had the late 9:30pm seating but had made a 6:30pm reservation at Chops for the first night. We had never tried the specialty restaurants onboard so we figured we'd give it a shot. And in the end we definitely regretted it. I'm aware that literally thousands of Cruise Critic guests brag about their awesome experiences at Chops, but we were one of the few that didn't enjoy it. I'll start with this. Yes, the food was quite good. Nothing over the top, but good. It was definitely comparable to the dining room food, which in my opinion is really good for the most part. The part that led to the bad experience was the service. Since we were the early birds that night, Chops was pretty empty. There were maybe five or six other couples at most. However, right after we ordered one of the ship's officers and a female guest entered Chops and were seated in a large booth in the back of the room. Thereafter the service got horrible as the Chops staff seemed to ignore the other couples and literally spent the entire time catering to the officer, who was not the Captain by the way. A megaphone would have come in handy that night to get the staffs' attention. Every time we needed something, the waiters were over at the officer's tabling chatting. When we finished our entrEes I asked our waiter nicely if she could please clear our table and she refused. She said she was busy and she'd do it later. She of course rushed back to the officer's table. Not the type of service we were expecting. The only real advantage of eating there was the view of the Mediterranean coastline as we sailed to our first port of call, Cannes, France. We wanted to enjoy our cruise on a positive note so we decided not to complain about the Chops issue and just write it off as a lesson learned. In case you're wondering, I had the French onion soup, the mushroom caps, the t-bone steak, and we tried every desert on the menu, while my girlfriend had a French onion soup and the fish entrEe. When we finished at Chops we hung out around the ship for a little and then made our way to our regular dinner seating to meet the guests at our table. We ended up with the coolest table on the entire cruise. We were four young non-married couples, and all American. We all got along great from the start. Even though we didn't eat a thing, my girlfriend and I still ended up staying all the way through desert chatting it up with our new friends. We also were very impressed with our waiter and assistant waiter. They were really nice and efficient. After dinner we headed back to the room to get a good night's sleep as we would be waking up early for Cannes the next morning. DAY 2 - CANNES Waking up early at home: horrible feeling. Waking up early on a nearly billion dollar cruise ship in the middle of the Mediterranean: exciting for obvious reasons. Once awake, we quickly headed up two floors to the Windjammer for breakfast. We got there so early that we had to sneak in and wait at a table by the aft windows for a few minute till the official opening time. The guy who always greets guests entering the Windjammer on Navigator of the Seas tried kicking us out for being early, but someone stopped him and told him to let us stay since we weren't bothering. After breakfast we got ready and then made our way up to the pool deck to wait for the distribution of the tender tickets to get to Cannes. As everybody was waiting in the huge line on the pool deck, I faintly heard an announcement over the PA system talking about guests not needing tickets if they went down to the tenders right away. Since the PA wasn't too clear out on the pool deck, I was second-guessing if I had heard the announcement correctly. Since the same thing happened on our November sailing, I figured I must have heard correctly. I told my girlfriend to run for it and we literally ran down the stairs all the way from the pool deck to the first floor and we were indeed able to board the tenders without tickets. It was funny cause when we ran all the other guests in line on the pool deck were looking as us as if we were crazy. Unfortunately they all remained waiting in that long line. Eventually after about 15 minutes of waiting on the tenders for more people to show up, we began seeing people who had been on the pool deck begin to board the tenders. We ended up leaving to Cannes about 10 minutes later. When we first booked the cruise we realized that we were going to be in Cannes during the international film festival, the Festival de Cannes. We also realized that all Festival activities and events were off limits to the public so we figured that the only way to enjoy our time in Cannes was to secure full access passes to the festival. After pulling a few strings, we were able to secure these nearly impossible-to-get passes. As soon as the tender got to the Old Port in Cannes, we were the first ones to get off and we immediately rushed over to the Palais de Festival, the official headquarters of the film festival. There we picked up our passes and enjoyed a truly memorable day. We were able to get into all of the exclusive areas of the Festival! We even attended two VIP parties in the afternoon. The only downside was that we had to be back on the ship by about 5:30pm. This meant that we couldn't experience any of the famous nightlife of the Festival nor the red carpet action that we constantly see on television and in the magazines. We ended up taking a tender back to the ship at around 4:00pm. We usually prefer to go back a little early to avoid the craziness that occurs on the tenders as sailing time approaches. After returning to the ship we rested for a while and then got ready for the formal dinner. I was really happy to finally be eating in the dining room after the previous night's unfortunate experience at Chops. Also, after not eating anything in the main dining room on the first night, I was excited to finally be able to do what I always do on cruises: order everything I want on the menu. I usually average about two appetizers a night, two or three entrEes, and about three deserts. After dinner we walked around for a little and then went to sleep. This cruise had a very port-intensive itinerary so we had to go to sleep early every night to be able to function well and enjoy the coming day. DAY 3 - LIVORNO (FLORENCE) Overnight we had sailed from Cannes to Livorno, Italy. Livorno is the port city for Florence and Pisa since both are inland. To really experience the splendor of Florence in the time allotted, we had pre-booked the Royal Caribbean excursion Historical Florence and Accademia Museum. This was the only excursion offered that guaranteed a visit to the Accademia Museum, or Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze as it's also known, home to Michelangelo's statue of David. There was no way we were going to visit Florence and not stand before this incredible statue. After breakfast in the Windjammer that morning we finished getting ready and then headed down to the Ixtapa Lounge to meet up with the group for our tour. As soon as every one was there, we all headed down to the first floor to exit the ship and board our bus to Florence. There were literally dozens of big charter buses lined up in front of the ship. Since there's really not much to do in Livorno, it seemed like most guests had opted to go on one of the many excursions offered by Royal Caribbean. The journey to Florence afforded us the opportunity to catch unforgettable views of the surrounding scenery of Tuscany. From a distance we got to see the town of Pisa, including the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa or as it's known in Italy, Torre pendente di Pisa. We also drove past some of the huge Tuscan mountain ranges that have provided the marble that's been used for some of Italy's most famous statues, including the statue of David we would soon visit. The only negative thing about the bus ride to Florene was that even though we were only a small group of about twenty people, we stopped for three long bathroom breaks in a period of one hour. These stops ultimately delayed our arrival in Florence. This was really upsetting as we had paid to see Florence, not to be parked at local gas stations for extended periods of time. When we finally arrived in Florence, the bus dropped us off a few blocks away from the Accademia Museum. Our group made its way to the museum and once there waited outside for a few minutes as our tour guide picked up our tickets. Being on a tour proved to be so valuable as we got to skip the huge lines outside and get right in. Once in the main hall, there in front of us stood the famous statue of David we had anxiously waited to see. It's actually a bit bigger than I had expected it to be. It's truly amazing how skilled Michelangelo was as he was able to duplicate in marble nearly every feature of the human body. The only disappointment at the Accademia Museum was that they don't let you take pictures of the statue. Ironically, in the Royal Caribbean television commercials they show guests taking pictures of the statue and make a point of promoting that fact. Either way, I still shot a bunch of really good pictures of the front of the statue without getting caught. Just as I was starting to take pictures of the back of the statue, one of the museum's staff members finally caught me. She politely asked me to put the camera away and that was it. After the Accademia Museum the group made its way to the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo of Florence. This particular excursion didn't include a tour of the Duomo, but we were still able to visit the square surrounding the Duomo and view the grand Brunelleschi dome and Giotto's Bell tower. While in the square we also stopped in front of the Florence Baptistry or Battistero di San Giovanni where our tour guide pointed out the biblical scenes carved into the bronze doors of the Baptistry. Soon after we walked a few blocks to Palazzo Vecchio, the square where the original statue of David stood outside until 1873. They now have a replica of the statue where the original once stood. From here we walked past the Uffizi Gallert to the banks of the Arno River where we marveled at our first views of the beautiful bridge, the Ponte Vecchio. The bridge really exemplifies the beauty and history of Florence. We walked along the street that lines the river to the bridge's entrance and then spent a few minutes taking pictures and browsing the shops lining the narrow street atop the bridge. After our stop at the bridge we returned to the Palazzo Vecchio and had lunch at a small restaurant in the square. The lunch was included in the price of the excursion. It was a typical Italian lunch with unlimited wine and champagne. We weren't offered any choices or menu, yet everything they brought out was delicious. For desert they gave us a tiramisu ice cream in a small cup. I'm a huge fan of tiramisu and have tasted literally dozens of different versions of it yet an ice cream version was a first for me. It was actually really good. Following lunch we made our way to the square in front of the Santa Croce Church. We were given about 45 minutes of free time and then told to meet back for the group to continue on to the tour of the church. We took the opportunity to do our souvenir shopping here. We also visited the world famous Vivolis ice cream shop but the lines were too long so we had to skip it. When we finally reunited with the group, we made our way to the entrance of the church. Inside we visited the tombs of some of history's most famous individuals such as Galileo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, and several others. After the church tour we made our way back along the Arno River and reunited with our bus. Once everyone was on the bus, we took a short ride up to Plaza Michelangelo atop a hill overlooking the city. This afforded us the chance to enjoy beautiful views of Florence. We could see everything from atop the hill. It's interesting to see how the majority of buildings in Florence all have the same color roof tiles. After this we made our hour or so trip back to Livorno. We were so lucky this day as the weather was amazing!! We couldn't have asked for a nicer day. After returning to the ship we rested till dinner. As was the case on previous nights, we went to sleep almost immediately after dinner since we had a big day ahead. DAY 4 - CIVITAVECCHIA (ROME) The next morning we awoke in another Italian city: Civitavecchia. This is the port city for the incredible city of Rome or as the Italians call it, Roma. We enjoyed an early breakfast in the windjammer and then made our way to the main theater to meet up with our group for the Rome-On-Your-Own excursion offered through Royal Caribbean. This excursion was basically just a ride to and from Rome. We chose this excursion since the Vatican was closed on the day we were there for Corpus Christi Day. Everything else in Rome can pretty much be accomplished on your own. Once our entire group was accounted for in the theater, we all headed down to the gangway on first deck of the ship and boarded a large air-conditioned and really comfortable bus to begin our hour or so long journey to Rome. As expected, the closer the bus got to Rome, the more traffic we encountered. We ended getting to Rome about 30 minutes later than planned. Our bus dropped us off in the Gianicolo underground bus terminal and our intelligent Italian guide escorted us to St Peters Square to announce our meeting time and location for later that afternoon. As soon as she let us go, we grabbed a taxi in front of the Saint Angelo Castle on Via Della Conciliazione in Vatican City. Our taxi driver was a relatively old guy with the driving skills of a teenage video gamer. He also knew every curse word ever created. This was a taxi ride to remember as we definitely came close to death at least a half dozen times while he drove us to the Colosseum. He was barely done avoiding one crash, when he had to start avoiding another one on the other side. It was definitely a ride I don't ever desire to take again. But thankfully we survived and he proceeded to drop us off in front of the Forum and Palatine Hill entrance next to the massive Colosseum. As per our tour guide's advise, and the tips in some trusted guide books, we proceeded first to the long but manageable line at the Forum and Palatine Hill. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the ticket window. Our plan was to buy the all-inclusive ticket here which granted admission to the Forum, Palatine Hill, and Colosseum, and then as per the advise we'd been given, make our way to the Colosseum with ticket in hand. This would supposedly get us into a quick line at the Colosseum and we would avoid the two hour or so ticket line there. Sadly, our plan didn't work. The two lines to get into the Colosseum were both extremely long. One line is for buying tickets while the other is for tour groups. We'd been told to get into the line for tour groups but then we realized that line was just as long. After asking a few people for guidance, we realized there was no way we'd be able to tour the Colosseum and still do everything else in Rome we wanted to do. By the way, in front of the Colosseum they have American tour guides soliciting tourists for "private" tours of the Colosseum for $10 per person plus the cost of admission. This seemed like an obvious scam as they were promising you'd be inside in less than 15 minutes, yet we witnessed the same groups waiting in the super long lines. We proceeded to take as many exterior photos of the Colosseum as we could and then made our way back to the Forum and Palantine Hill. With the ticket already purchased, we entered through a special gate with no line whatsoever. Since we were already way behind schedule, we decided to rush through the Forum and exit at the other end by the Piazza Venezia and the huge memorial to King Vittorio Emanuele II, which is an incredible and massive structure. From here we rushed through the narrow streets of Rome to the Trevi Fountain. Sadly, it was a cloudy day with occasional drizzles. We soon learned what a light drizzle can easily turn into in a matter of seconds. Once we arrived at the Trevi Fountain we took a few pictures and then it started to drizzle. That drizzle soon turned into a massive downpour. Everybody was scrambling for cover. We ran into a McDonalds and proceeded to put on our ponchos and cover our backpacks in plastic for what would prove to be a daunting walk to the Pantheon in this horrible downpour. When we finally reached the Pantheon, we witnessed literally hundreds of people camped out there to avoid the rain. We entered this amazing and ancient structure and got to witness a unique site. The Pantheon has a giant hole in the center of its dome. When it rains, the water comes right into the hole and pours down into the center of the building. This was a cool scene to see. When it finally stopped raining we visited the Piazza Navona. Big disappointment as the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini was being renovated and was covered by a bunch of wooden panels preventing you from viewing it. A lot of people proclaim this to be a beautiful plaza yet we found it pretty dull and boring, and not as pretty as other places in Rome. We were getting hungry now so we began searching for a good pizzeria. We finally found one about two blocks from Piazza Navona where they had an awesome deal for only 5 euros. It included two slices of pizza, an arancino rice ball, and a soda or juice. Five euros for all that was a steal compared to the usual prices in Rome. Some places charge 5 euros just for one slice or pizza! After lunch we returned to the square in front of the Pantheon to take pictures as the sun had returned in full strength. It's incredible when you realize that a structure as unique and impressive as the Pantheon was built nearly two thousand years ago. Nowadays you need big powerful cranes and equipment to create something even similar. Yet back in the days of Ancient Rome, lacking all of our current technological advances, they were still able to build something so impressive. Even more amazing is the fact that it has survived intact for so long. Since the rain ruined our original visit to the Trevi Fountain, we decided to trek back to the Fountain to retake our pictures, this time without the gray skies. We were fortunate enough that there weren't that many people at the Fountain yet so we were able to take pictures right down by the water. After visiting the Fountain, we began our long but scenic walk to Vatican City. To ensure that we didn't get lost, we would ask for directions almost every two blocks. This way we'd always know if we were still going the right way. The streets in Rome form quite a maze so even one wrong turn could have thrown us way off course. Sadly as we approached Vatican City, the skies began to turn to gray again. The much desired sun was leaving us again. After crossing over the Tiber River we found ourselves in front of Saint Angelo Castle. On the front steps of the castle they were having an exhibition to show off the unique vehicles and watercraft used by Rome's police and rescue departments. It was here that I came upon a police car that every police department should have, a Lamborghini police car. From here we continued our walk on the Via della Conciliazione and finally arrived at one of the most visited sites in the world, St Peter's Square in front of St Peter's Basilica. Unfortunately it was beginning to drizzle while we were in the Square so we decided to just do some souvenir shopping and then proceed to our group's meeting spot a few minutes. When we got there our tour guide was already there taking attendance as people arrived. Amazingly, everyone arrived back on time and we departed without issue. After an exhausting day in Rome, I took the opportunity to catch a good nap on the bus ride back to Civitavecchia. Compared to the ugly weather in Rome when we left the city, Civitavecchia was experiencing a beautiful day of sunshine. The bus pulled up right in front of the ship's gangway and we made our way back onto the beautiful Navigator of the Seas. After dropping off our stuff in the room, we proceeded to the best spot on the ship: the jacuzzi in the Solarium. Nothing beats a relaxing trip to the jacuzzi after such a long and exhausting day. Some friends from our Florence tour also found their way to the jacuzzi so we all spent a few hours reminiscing about our awesome experiences in Italy. I must note that dinner that night was very special to me. They finally served tiramisu, my favorite. Spending a day in Rome, Italian pizza for lunch, and tiramisu for desert made this one of the best days of the trip! After dinner we convinced our entire table to come with us to the usually fun and wacky Love & Marriage Show hosted by the cruise director. Our last time on the Navigator of the Seas we had witnessed one of the most hilarious versions of the show. Unfortunately this time around it was extremely boring. The problem was they didn't recruit the right contestants for it. It was way too predictable compared to the bizarre answers given during our November sailing. After the show it was bedtime as we were exhausted! DAY 5 - DAY AT SEA On this last full day of the cruise, we finally had a morning to sleep in as this would be a relaxing day at sea. We woke up just in time to catch the last few minutes of the breakfast buffet. After breakfast we chilled out for a little and then went to lunch in the dining room. I absolutely love Royal Caribbean's dining room lunch menu. It was the same great menu from our November sailing. The food was great but we did experience some less than pleasant service from our waitress. Whenever anyone, including myself, would order more than one thing on the menu she would make a mean comment about that being too much food for us to handle and then we had to proceed to remind her that we indeed wanted those items on the menu. When I finished all my items to her disbelief she made another comment about how I ate so much. We just brushed it off and didn't let it spoil our thus far incredible vacation. After lunch we did something that is definitely bad for your health. We spent about 5 hours in the jacuzzi in the Solarium. However nothing beats the priceless moment when I finally left the jacuzzi. My gray bathing suit was now completely yellow cause of the chlorine in the jacuzzi. Even worse, it smelled like it had been dunked into a tank of chlorine for days. But I didn't care. Gray, yellow, blue, red, it's still a bathing suit and it still fits just as good. After our jacuzzi adventure we got ready for our last dinner of the cruise. It was so sad that in only a few hours we'd be saying goodbye to the ship in Barcelona. That night we had a wonderful final dinner service and then rewarded our waiters with generous and much deserved tips for their hard work. Our table even took a group picture together with our waiter and assistant waiter. After dinner we walked around the ship for a few minutes to explore areas we hadn't seen before such as the dance club before proceeding back to our stateroom and going to bed. DAY 6 - DEBARKATION IN BARCELONA We woke up fairly early today and had breakfast in the Windjammer. We then returned to our stateroom and went back to sleep. We were going to be staying in Barcelona anyways so we had no hurry to get off the ship. Essentially, the later we got off, the better. When we finally left our room, we were the only ones left in our hallway. All the other rooms were already being cleaned. We located our stateroom attendant Bobby and gave him his also much deserved tip and thanked him for doing a wonderful job. He was definitely one of the nicest stateroom attendants we had ever had. He wasn't even upset that we were still in our room. If only all stateroom attendants could be like him! We were carrying our own luggage off so we proceeded to the promenade deck and made our way off the ship. We ended up getting off at around 10:00am. As we talked through baggage claim there where still hundreds of people waiting for their bags and for buses to pick them up. We made our way to the taxi stand in front of the terminal. It was raining really bad this morning, so it was a bit chaotic at the port yet altogether much more organized than the South Florida cruise ports on debarkation days. As we left in the taxi we had to finally concede that this was the end to an incredible cruise on the beautiful Navigator of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Day 1 Got an early flight to Barcelona .We took Barcelona-airport-tranfers to port Moll D'Adossat. Excellent and efficient service, I would highly recommend them. As expected the check in process at the terminal was slow but ... Read More
Day 1 Got an early flight to Barcelona .We took Barcelona-airport-tranfers to port Moll D'Adossat. Excellent and efficient service, I would highly recommend them. As expected the check in process at the terminal was slow but tolerable. Once checked in we headed to the Windjammer for lunch. Such a welcoming crews. Especially one in Windjammer :) Day 2 Our first port of call was Marseilles,France. We were asked to book the shuttle ticket the day before. But on the day itself people still have the option to buy. Provencal rain doesn't really help the day. Took petit train up to Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde .Honestly there's nothing much to do here if you have such a limited time. That night we had a formal dinner. Time to glam up. The sea was quite rough that night. Day 3 Cagliari, Sardinia - Took the bus from Piazza Matteotti to Poetto beach. Beach is gorgeous. Its a little chilly to swim. We had very little time on this stop and had to rush back to the ship. At night the guys spent most of their time in the casino playing craps. They loved it. Day 4 Palermo,Sicily - Took the city sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus. Bought the ticket straight away when you disembarked from the ship .Went around town and walk half way back to get on the other bus line. Very tiring day but we covered most of the town. It's a nice town and people are very relaxed compared with other Italian cities. Day 5 Day at sea - Gym, spa treatment, Jacuzzi and ice-skating. Weather wasn't really nice to sun bathe unfortunately. Day 6 Barcelona, Spain- Check out process was smooth but getting taxi to La Ramblas was a pain. Queued for 1 hour and finally reach our Modernista apartment on Santa Anna. Very well located and highly recommended. Onboard activities - Definitely ice skating / rock climbing / crazy golf Ship - Enormous and nicely decorated. Much younger crowds compared to one last year Itinerary - If you want to cover most stops , a bit tiring as the time given is a bit short. Also the is nothing special about most town except Barcelona . Shows - Great shows especially the acrobats and ice skating. String Fever is our favorites. Cruise director Kieran, such good singer and entertainer Food - Fresh food everyday. Definitely try the garlic baked escargot on the main dining. A bit hard to find table at times at Windjammer . Cabin - We booked interior rooms on deck 10. Comfortable and reasonable size. Had a great trip, bring on the next cruise .... La Caribbean of course ... Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This was our 4th cruise with Royal Caribbean. First on the Voyager Class. We travelled out on Thursday night and stopped in Rivolli Ramblas, a hotel situated on the famous Ramblas in the city centre. Our experience of Barcelona wasn't ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with Royal Caribbean. First on the Voyager Class. We travelled out on Thursday night and stopped in Rivolli Ramblas, a hotel situated on the famous Ramblas in the city centre. Our experience of Barcelona wasn't great, the 'women of the night' pestering us on Las Ramblas was seriously annoying and disturbing.However, the hotel was spacious and clean. Or room was excellent with a jacuzzi bath and two TV's. Breakfast was included and consisted of a buffet in the hotel restaurant. We took a cab to Port Barcelona at about 10.30. The check-in was painless and very speedy. After, we waited in the main foyer for 15 minutes before being allowed to enter the ship. We were enjoying our first drink at 11.15. After sailing two Freedom Class vessels the Navigator failed to deliver that WOW factor but, was well equipped and had many amenities. I must also say that the Navigator doesn't look six years old at all. I'd say about two at the most. Dining! Food in the windjammer was excellent as usual. On embarkation day there was a slight British theme with food such as 'sheperds pie, and 'beef 'ot pot'. My only complaint about the windjammer was the drink station. Sometimes, drinks are there a long time and when they are taken all the ice seems to have melted leaving an extremely watery lemonade. Maybe, Royal Caribbean could allow the customer to apply their own ice to their drink. The main dining room was at a high standard. All meals were hot, delicious and flavored. Service was good but, our headwaiter Ray was exceptional. He very talkative and offered plenty of assistance. For the first time we decided to try Portofino's, I would highly recommend it to everyone! Everything was perfect, the food, the service and the decor. We booked when we first boarded and I would advise others to do the same. Entertainment! Our cruise director was Kieron Buffery. He was very comical and did his job well. I didn't think his system of the 'love and marriage' game show was as good as others but it was enjoyable. There was no quest but RCI productions (including ice shows) were fantastic. We saw Jimmy and Anna for the 3rd time but were still amazed, 'String Fever' were good but, 'Charlie Frye & Company' was out of this world. The magic and comedy were brilliant and this was the best variety act we've ever seen. Room! We had inside room 6647. It was just as we expected. We didn't often see the attendant but, when we did he was extremely friendly and did a superb job with our room. Facilities! The facilities were great. I especially enjoyed the inline skating track and wish it was incorporated into the freedom class. The golf course was showing some wear but this just added fun to the challenge. Only looked in the gym but, it seemed well looked after and had plenty of equipment. Ports! Marseilles- Rained ALL day. We took the petit train to Notre Dam Cathedral. Not much to do there. It was a Sunday so all shops were closed. Cagliari- We took a tour of historic Cagliari. To be fair it's extremely limited. Being British and surrounded by History I found very little in Cagliari. However, the sun was shining so we made the most. Palermo- Not the nicest place in the world. It seemed to be more industrial, rather than touristy. There were some good shops and plenty of nice cafes. We were conned on a horse ride. BEWARE everyone!!! If someone on one of these says 50 euros they mean per person. It cost two of us 100 euros for a twenty minute ride. Also, the horse was that filthy it started my hayfever which I suffered with all the journey. You live and learn. All in all this was a great cruise! The ports weren't great but the cruise was brilliant. My farther and I really enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one. My main concern however, is there were 1700 Brits onboard and 600 spaniards. Still when the cruise director came out and spoke he had a small woman next to him translating word for word. This was very annoying and slowed the whole entertainment process down. But, we didn't let this affect the overall experience for us and still had fun. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
I am going to describe all of our holiday as there may be parts apart from the actual cruises that may be of interest, so feel free to skip paragraphs that you are not interested in! All comments are my opinions, so there! Getting to ... Read More
I am going to describe all of our holiday as there may be parts apart from the actual cruises that may be of interest, so feel free to skip paragraphs that you are not interested in! All comments are my opinions, so there! Getting to Barcelona We decided to try the 'eco friendly' way of getting to BCN and went by train. Northampton to Euston was no problem and it only took us about 15 minutes to walk to St.Pancras to catch the Eurostar to Paris. Although there is the inevitable waiting around, the trip so far was OK. We got to Paris Gare du Nord and headed off on the metro for Gare d'Austerlitz. This is where we had a few problems. Between my wife (Jane) and I we were pulling 3 bags on wheels and 2 holdalls (which were carried on top of the bags). We got down the escalators OK, but were confronted with a flight of stairs and no lift in sight. We got down to platform level after transferring one bag at a time down the stairs. We managed to get on the metro just before they closed the doors(!), which was no mean feat and got off at the 8th stop for Gare d'Austerlitz. The line here has just come over the River Seine on a bridge, so we were 2 floors above ground level and, yes you've guessed, no lift! So we humped the bags down 4 flights of stairs. By the time we got to the bottom I was knackered and had a good sweat on! It was a 2 minute walk into the station and we only waited about 10 minutes before we could board the overnight Trenhotel to BCN. We got on and the first shock was the size of the cabin. We had opted for Gran Classe(1st class) and for this we got a double room with toilet and shower. There is not a lot of room (swinging of cats would be tricky!) and our big bag had to go in the shower (so no shower in the morning) as I could not get it on the overhead storage shelf with the other two. We went for dinner (included) and sat with a couple from the US who were originally from the Ukraine. We were not alone in thinking the cabins small. As they said, if this is Gran Classe, what are the other cabins like?! Dinner was very good and we went off to get some sleep. However, the train had other ideas! I don't know if the its because the track is old or what, but we were thrown about from side to side most of the night (worse than the worse night I've had on a cruise ship in rough seas) and ended up regularly waking up. Got up for breakfast (croissant, toast, petit pain de chocolate, egg and mushroom concoction) and arrived at Franca station on time at 8.25am. Taxi to hotel was about 10 minutes and cost €13. Hotel Continental Palacete As long as you go with the attitude that this is not a 5* hotel you will be fine. The staff are extremely helpful, the place is clean (both plus points in my book!). There are only 19 rooms and 2 suites, but our room was quite spacious and well lit. The bedrooms are done out in pink and look a bit like a 'tarts boudoir', but are perfectly adequate. Each room has an ensuite bathroom, safe, TV, microwave and fridge, but no tea/coffee facilities. However, there is the 24 hr buffet. Whilst you could live off it, you probably won't as it is very samey every day. There is a hot sausage and bacon dish and a sort of ring omelette for breakfast, together with fruit, cereals and toast etc. You have access to unlimited bottled water, canned drinks (pepsi, fanta, beer), tea, coffee, milk, red and white wine. The lounge looks like it belongs at Versailles(!) and is made up of plastic tables and chairs, but these are all tastefully covered. All in all I think it was excellent value and only 5 minutes walk from Placa de Catalunya. There is a taxi rank opposite the hotel and the only real bad thing (if you have mobility issues) is that you have to climb about 10 steps to get to the lift to get up to the first floor of the building. The whole 'hotel' is on the first floor. After we came off our cruise, we had to kill 10 hours in Barcelona and they let us dump our bags at the hotel and use all the facilities free of charge. 4 days in Barcelona As our room wasn't ready at the hotel, we went off for a walk down the Ramblas to the old port and walked around the aquarium area and back to the hotel. This took us about 4 hours, so when we got back to the hotel our room was ready and we unpacked. 2nd day we did the HOHO bus. This was €20 for one day (2days €26). We had noticed the previous day that the queues in Placa de Catalunya get big very quickly, so you want to get there for about 9am. We did the red route first, then changed to blue route in Placa de Catalunya. When we did this, one side of the Placa was closed off so both buses were on the same side of the square. Normally the red bus is on the east side and the blue bus on the west, so you have to walk across the square to change. We did also do the green route, but to be honest there was not a lot to see on it. We stopped off and walked along the beach promenade (all redeveloped for the 92 Olympics) where there loads of different restaurants. We also visited Parc Guell, which is quite spectacular, even with the fountains all switched off for maintenance, but be warned...it is a very steep walk. Next day we went to Monserrat monastery. We did this via public transport and arrived back in Barcelona about 4.30pm. The views from the top of the mountains are spectacular, as is the cathedral at the monastery. On our 4th day we did a segway tour around Barcelona. We were the only 2 on the tour, so Buster (our guide) said we could go where we want. He took us all over the city and way down towards the Forum at the NE end of the beach. We had a good 4 hrs on this tour. On returning to the hotel, we went and did a bit of washing at a local laundromat which was very clean and well maintained. Cruise 1 (15th - 19thMay) Got a taxi to the Moll Adossat to join the Navigator. We arrived about 11.30 am. There was about 20 other people checking in, so in about 5 minutes we were walking onto the ship. Others we met on the ship who arrived at the 'correct' time of 2pm waited for an hour or more. Moral: get there early!! We went up to our Junior Suite on deck 9 and were very pleased with the amount of extra room (this was our first time in a JS to get double points, so that by the end of holiday we would be Diamond). Bags arrived just before muster drill. OK, so nobody really likes doing muster drill, but it could save your life. So why don't the crew have a go at those who insist on not wearing their life jacket. I'd let them all drown! I bet they would be first on the lifeboats in a real emergency! We walked round the ship to get our bearings and headed of for dinner. Now on this cruise there were around 120 US, 500 UK ...and 1200 Spanish. As has been said on other boards, meal times have been moved to suit the Spaniards, so we opted for the main (6.45) sitting. All 4 days we were on a table for 10 by the captains table and we were the only 2 on it. Now many of you would say this probably got boring and maybe it did, but it is amazing how critical you can be of other people when no one else is around! We commented on people not sticking to the dress code (why bother having it?) and the amount of people who came to dinner late. I don't mean like 15 minutes or so, but nearly every night a Spanish group of about 20 came in at 8.30 and were served!..bearing in mind that they do not open for second sitting until everyone from main has gone. I think this is just plain rude to other guests, but especially to the wait staff. I don't know why they are not just refused entry. We even mentioned this to the maitre d'. The CD was Kieron Buffery from Dover and we met up with him a few times. I think his humor was slightly lost on the Spaniards, but hey ho thats their loss! As we were going to be on for 3 cruises we decided to watch all the production shows in the first cruise, then if there was anything really impressive, we could watch it again on a subsequent cruise. I'm never very impressed by the 'singers and dancers' shows and although they were quite good, I can't get over singers who think shouting is better than singing well. The 'trapeze' act, (Jimmy and Anna?) were very good (they must get to the gym more!), as was the Charlie Frye (juggler). If you see this act, watch his wife...she is the best bit (and I don't mean in looks!). Ice show was stunning as usual...how do they manage in that small space. Villefranche Went to Monaco for the day. Plan was to go by train, but joy of joys, the French train drivers went on strike! This did not stop the station selling one couple a ticket before telling there were no trains! So, we managed to muscle our way onto the bus (no 100) to Monaco. Took about 25 minute to get there. It started raining, so weather wasn't the best, but we walked up to the palace (and watched guys putting up sheets of steel so no one could overlook next weeks Grand Prix), walked down past the Cathedral, Oceanographic museum and gardens (where guys were put up chain link fencing so no one could camp out on the grass during the Grand Prix) and tried to walk round Monaco, without tripping over armco barriers stands erected for the Grand Prix. Got up to Casino Sq, where a large TV dominated the area for the GP fans and decided to go back to the ship.Went to get the bus back (along with about 50 others!) and watched the first (full) bus go sailing by! Plan B...walked up the road to the next stop. Got the second bus and sailed past all the people at all the bus stops. All in all, the trip which had taken us 25 minutes in the morning took 3 hrs in the afternoon. I think they extended last tender time by an hour to get everyone back on! BTW, Monaco has the cleanest public toilets I have ever seen. You could eat your lunch off the floor. Oh, and they have a Grand Prix!! (in case you hadn't noticed.) Ibiza Arrived 5.30 pm, left 5am. This stop was really for those who wanted to go clubbing. It was also our introduction to RCI's latest money spinner...the $6 each way shuttle bus. If you want to go to town this is really the only way (save a taxi) to do it as the ship docks way out on a new breakwater. We wandered round town for an hour and came back! Personally, with hindsight, I wish we had just walked up round the lighthouse and down the road towards town and come back. In my opinion, this was a total waste of a port. Barcelona On returning to BCN, we got the port shuttle bus (€2 single,€3 return) to Colom monument, walked up Ave Parallel and caught the funicular and cable car to the top of Montjuics. Walked back down by a circuitous route to catch the shuttle back (now about 2pm). There were lots of people waiting for the bus, many Spaniards for the next cruise toting bags. It was a mad scramble for the bus and luckily I heard the driver saying 'those with tickets'. As we had our return tickets, we managed to shoulder our way on. The bus then crawled in the traffic jam all the way to the port...must have taken 40+ minutes. Cruise 2 (19th - 24th May) 800UK, 500US, 800 Spanish Cannes ..was packed for the film festival.We spotted the castle tower from the harbor and decided to climb it! The road up is very steep, the there is 150 odd steps inside the tower, but you get wonderful views from the top. We tried walking along the beachfront avenues, but got peeed off with 'wannabee' celebrities getting in the way as if they owned the place. It was almost impossible to find a cafe to get a coffee or anything (and I bet they hiked the prices too!), so we headed back to the ship. Livorno (Pisa) Another $6 each way shuttle bus dropped us in Livorno. We decided to walk to the station, which took about 25 minutes. Got the train (€1.70 each way..same to Florence), then walked from Pisa station to the Field of Miracles. To be honest, Pisa is pretty shabby, but then you suddenly come upon this..amazing place! Walked all around until our pre booked tower climb. Got half way up and were just about to pass out (!), when they gave us a rest stop! The tour ahead of us then comes down, then we carry on up. You can get right on to the top of the tower, but after about 5 minutes (maybe less) a guard tells you to go back down, so make sure you get your pictures as soon as you get up there. Walked straight back down. Its 301 steps (well, thats what I counted!). We walked back to the station a different way and got the bus from Livorno station back to the shuttle bus. Civitavecchia (Rome...at least that was the plan!) The previous night I went to bed a bit heady and by morning had a stinking cold. As I didn't feel too good, we decided to stay on the ship and save the $24 shuttle fares. At about noon, we found out (with another couple) at Guest Relations, that there is a free shuttle bus and you can walk out of the port if you want. We had 'words' with Guest Relations saying why have you lead us to believe you have got to pay? They were non committal (surprise, surprise). So, we walked out of the port (about 20 mins), found a laundromat about 100 yds from the gate and did the laundry! (Yes, we do know how to live!!). Got the free bus back..and that was Civitavecchia! Barcelona...again! After our fun on the bus 5 days ago, we decided to stay on the ship and go and sunbathe. Opened the curtains in the morning and, yes you've guessed, it was peeing down! Still, at least we weren't in the line for taxis!! Cruise 3 (24th -29th May) This was the half term week for UK schools and I think a lot of people were trying a short cruise as an experiment. There were over 1500 Brits on board. Marseilles Entered dock on the Sunday and were warned that all the shops are closed on a Sunday. Again it was raining, so relatively few people got off the ship. Some extra activities were put on and the Monaco GP was shown in most of the bars on the ship (Oh, did I forget to mention Monaco has a Grand Prix?). About 20 minutes before we slipped our moorings, the sun came out, so I got some nice photos of the coastline and the Chateau d'Ife. Cagliari Another short port. Only there for 4 hours. We did our only RCI excursion at this port. We did the Cagliari Panoramic which took us round various sights and ended up at a restaurant where we had a few 'local' snacks and wine. I ate too much and just had to force down that evenings dinner! Palermo Plan was to take the HOHO bus, but someone told us they do not have many buses and there are often long queues. With a Costa ship and MSC ship in, we thought this would mean 8000 odd people trying to get on 3 or 4 buses, so we went for a walk. The weather had gone from one extreme to the other as it was about 32C in the shade...and there wasn't a lot of that! We walked down toward the fishing harbor and came back. Palermo is another place that real needs to spend some money on sprucing the place up. Got back on the ship and it was like walking into a fridge! Barcelona.. again,again! Changed our tags so we were one of the last off. The ship has the most efficient disembarkation I've seen and everyone is off by 9.30am. Had to wait in line for about an hour to get a taxi back to the Palacete to dump our bags. We walked down to the Aquarium and went inside it, then just walked around and went back to the hotel to kill time until our train left at 9pm. The meal on the Trenhotel was nothing like as good as when we came down (main course..veal chop[that could have been cooked a bit more] and 3 slices of courgette!). Slept a bit better, but not brilliantly. Arrived at Paris on time and this time got a taxi to Gard du Nord to catch the Eurostar to London. Eventually arrived home in Northampton at 4pm. In Conclusion It might sound like we didn't have a good time, but we did! How can you not have a good time on a cruise ship? We met loads of really nice people (and a few who weren't!), got to know the CD and most of the staff who were great, won all but one of the trivias we went in for (so came home loaded with tags, pens and bags of various sorts), had a free go at the jackpot bingo and won $66!, got a few free drinks from one of the bar staff we befriended and all in all had a great time. However, we don't think we would do 3 short cruises back to back again. You miss out on different shows, the dining rooms menus start to repeat and there is only so much you can do on each return to Barcelona, so you are wasting a day on each cruise. If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them. Now, where shall we go on our next voyage?? Simon Read Less
Sail Date May 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

Find a Navigator of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click