8 Barcelona to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We flew from Ireland into Barcelona the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Continental Palacette a hotel frequented by many cruisers. I would recommend this hotel. We had a family of 4 (2 children) and there are not many ... Read More
We flew from Ireland into Barcelona the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Continental Palacette a hotel frequented by many cruisers. I would recommend this hotel. We had a family of 4 (2 children) and there are not many hotels which can accommodate 4 in a room. Now it was a tight fit, but it was fine. An added bonus was meeting a fellow cruiser the night before and then bumping into them over the next 11 days. Our only RCI experience had been the previous Nov. on Brilliance of the Seas in the med. So i was really looking forward to experiencing the bigger ship the Navigator. We arrived that the port at 11.30am, checked in quickly and had about a 20 minute wait till we could board at 12pm. Our room a GS was the same as on Brilliance however it was larger. We had a camp bed for our second son and on the Brilliance he slept in the bar area...a tight fit. In the Navigator cabin 1278 there was enough room for him to sleep next to the sofa bed. It really was a nice space for a family of 4. As we walked to our cabin our cabin attendant from Brilliance last year, Josephine called out to us. We were delighted to see her as she was brilliant. Unfortunately we missed having her by only a few cabins and instead our attendant this time was not particularly friendly, only called us by our names on the last day, left someone else's excursion tickets in our room, left the compass in spanish instead of english, and a few other things of this nature which while aren't bad, i expect more when i am paying a lot of money for a suite. We noticed on the whole that the service was no where near as good on the Navigator. The welcomes weren't as friendly, and we were unlucky again in having a waiter who really had no personality and the assistant had to be called over by us whenever we wanted bread or water.........something that i have been assured by many people you just shouldn't have to do. so after 3 nights in the dining room we tried the windjammer for Formal night (we don't dress up). we found the service if not the food so much better in the windjammer that we didn't return to the dining room for the rest of the cruise. the staff there were so attentive i was really surprised. I do have a few complaints about the windjammer at breakfast and lunch, just in terms of the space and how difficult it was to find a seat at times something i never experienced on the Brilliance. As for room service, it seems the menu is different on Navigator? I recall on Brilliance being able to get anything that was being served in the dining room. On Navigator it was cheese plate, fruit plate and hot dog and hamburger. Now i could be wrong and maybe you could still ask for meals but it didn't say it on the menu. a huge disappointment. On the whole the food was really only just average for me. I didn't see many shows on the Navigator however i did see both ice shows. I thoroughly enjoyed them though i was surprised how many times a few of the skaters fell. however, it was enjoyable and i would recommend them to anyone. My boys loved Adventure Ocean. Despite being mid term break there were not that many kids on board so the age groups 6 - 8 and 9 - 11 were combined. this was great as i have a 6 & 9 yr old and they enjoyed being together. they made great friends however the program didn't seem to be any different than last year which i thought could get really boring if you are lucky enough to cruise more than once a year. i was really looking forward to the Promenade and thats one of the reasons i chose the Navigator this time. I was so disappointed. the shopping was pathetic and i couldn't find anything to buy. I thought that the shops on Brilliance which shouldn't be the case at all. The other thing was i realized that i missed the light and glass of the Brilliance. Navigator felt too enclosed for us. Now this isn't to say i wouldn't go on her again, i would. I just thought i would like it better. We chose this itinerary as it had 4 sea days as opposed to our cruise last year which was really port intensive. the problem was this time that some of the port we only had about 5 hours, so it was quite rushed. Palma de Mallorca was nice, an easy stroll around town. Unfortunately Sardinia had a tornado, which came completely out of the blue, so we were unable to disembark and instead had an extra sea day. Athens was hot and busy. There was a lots of ships in port that day and all seemed to be at the Acropolis. Istanbul the first day was a disaster as it rained very heavily. I was ill and unable to take the tour but my dh arrived back on the ship soaking wet and freezing. We had till 2pm on the Monday and we headed for the Grand Bazaar. An absolute highlight of the cruise. We loved it and had a really fun morning and i would highly recommend a cruise with Istanbul as a port. Lastly was Malta and a lovely 26 degrees sun and sightseeing. As a final comment the last day was really rocky and it was a shame as a lot of the ship, including staff were sick. thankfully we were fine although our cabin was midship so maybe that helped. The final night was very quiet and both the windjammer and dining room was pretty empty. On the whole we still really enjoyed the cruise but maybe that was more about the holiday itself than the service and food etc that i expected would make the holiday great. Not as good as the Brilliance. While i wouldn't rule out another of the bigger ships, i am not sure i would race back to the Navigator in a hurry. Wasn't bad.....just not outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
My wife and I sailed on Navigator of the Seas for a 10 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise 10 October 2008. She is disabled, with limited mobility. She uses a scooter or manual wheelchair outside our home, and can walk about 15-20 yards on ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on Navigator of the Seas for a 10 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise 10 October 2008. She is disabled, with limited mobility. She uses a scooter or manual wheelchair outside our home, and can walk about 15-20 yards on crutches when required. This was her fourth cruise. Two years ago, we were on the Splendour of the Seas for a similar cruise - 7 days Eastern Med. The weather was absolutely horrid on that one, so we decided to do a virtual repeat, This time the weather cooperated! I'll first review from the point of view of the disabled cruiser, and follow with general comments. We booked cabin 7600 - an "accessible" cabin. It's not possible to book these cabins online, so our travel agent books for us. Apparently there is a procedure for agents to follow to allow booking of these cabins, but I have no idea of what it might be. Once the booking number is assigned, all Internet activity (ordering Gifts and Gear, online check in, etc.) is fine. The infrastructure and facilities of NOS are wonderful: The cabin is 1-1/2 size and allows for wheelchair or scooter to turn around easily inside. The bathroom is roll-in, no lip at the floor, and there is an extra set of drains in the floor to prevent water running all over the cabin. The roll-in shower has easily accessible low controls. However, the shower bench supplied had no rubber tips at the feet, which enabled it to slide around. My wife's solution was to place a towel on the floor under the bench, which kept it dry enough to be safe. The toilet seat height and bars are fine. The door to the balcony has a small shallow ramp covering the door track, which automatically raised and lowered itself (by simple gravity, not any kind of fancy thing) allowing roll-in balcony access. Of course, the balcony is a bit small for any maneuvering of a chair, but is adequate for use. The closet is equipped with an ingenious mechanism so the cross rod for hanging clothing can be used either at standard height, or with a simple pull on a handle, by a wheelchair user sitting down. The in-room safe is at a good height. Of course, the higher shelves (closet and above the TV set) are out of reach for a wheelchair user, but there was adequate space at a low level. There are two problems in the cabin. There is no full-length mirror, so a chair user can not see how they look when dressing. The controls for the air conditioning are too high for a seated person. The public areas we frequented are well suited to the disabled. All doors were either automatic electric eye (for everyone's convenience) or, in the case of doors to the restrooms and the "wheelchair" stalls, buttons are provided which are at the correct location and level for the wheelchair user. The Windjammer is problematical in that most of the tables are impossible to reach in a wheelchair. Some lines "reserve" a few tables at the entrance to each section (a sign on the table "This table reserved for the disabled") which we mentioned to the Windjammer manager. The casino slot area is OK, but the tables are too close to the wall (or low railing) for a chair to maneuver, although if one could get to the table in a chair, the height is OK. My wife played the first night on her scooter, but caused so much congestion that on succeeding casino visits, she parked the scooter near the door and walked to the table (we are avid casino players). The Nutcracker Dining room (3rd deck) is unsuitable for chair users. All the chair users in our seating parked their chairs at the entrance, and walked to their table. I believe that the upper levels have better accessibility. The Metropole Theater has good facilities. A row of movable chairs is set in back of the last row, and the staff will gladly remove one so the scooter or wheelchair fits right in, and their friends sit with them. The location of these seats is OK - sound and view are fine. The shows we saw were well done and we enjoyed them. As many of the public areas are carpeted, making using a manual chair more difficult, this trip my wife (as I mentioned above, she is a regular scooter user) rented a scooter. As directed on the RCI website, she contacted the Special Services department, which emailed addresses of two companies which provide this service. Our travel agent contacted both of them, and returned to us with a set of prices from each. Since my wife is a large lady, we chose on the basis of what the offered weight capacity was, rather than simply on price. We chose "Special Needs at Sea" which quoted $425 for the ten days for a scooter of suitable capacity. As promised, the scooter was in our cabin before we arrived (at a little after 2 PM) and we simply left it in the cabin when we disembarked. The charger worked perfectly, fully recharging overnight. In general (but see below for a BAD exception) the staff is great. They - especially the staff in the Windjammer - were an immense help. Getting on ad off ship at ports of call was handled well (those little gangplanks are DANGEROUS for wheelchairs). Our waiter in the main dining room took charge of my wife's crutches as soon as we reached the table. The headwaiter staff managed all the wheelchairs and provided us with a roll-in parking spot at the entrance to the dining room each night. We're nor club hoppers or pub frequenters, and spent most nights in the casino. In the places where we usually spent time - theater, Boleros, casino - the bar waiters got to know us and our preferences quickly. But not all is rosy. Our practice has always been to not book any excursions until the Excursion Desk can see and talk to my wife face to face. They said that the first two ports, Messina and Thessaloniki had nothing suitable. For Istanbul, they booked us on "Easy Istanbul" which was presented as being suitable for wheelchair users, and for Malta, a tour that was listed as a coach only tour. Since we had booked tours on previous cruises (not with RCI) which were advertised like "Easy Istanbul", we expected a wheelchair van with lift. At the departure area, we saw a regular tour bus, with six steps up to the seats. Another two couples who also had booked, turned away immediately - one was a woman in a chair who could not walk at all, and another a gentleman who used a walker but with great difficulty. My wife has limited ability and can sometimes manage a short flight of steps. We asked the tour guide if there would be much walking, and were told there would not be. At the first stop, she stayed on the bus. The second stop was to be a long one, so we got off, and got her chair from underneath. The guide started walking - over a rough cobblestoned area, and walked and walked. Well, we just stopped, sat down in a cafe, and had a cup of coffee while the group went to wherever they went. The next stop was the Blue Mosque - high point of the tour. At the entrance to the Mosque there is a good size flight of steps. My wife went to ask the guide if she could use the chair once she was at the top, and while asking, the bus driver pulled away with her chair still underneath! Istanbul traffic being what it is, we were not able to get the chair back at that moment, so again, we sat and waited for the tour to go through the Mosque. Upon our return to the ship, we immediately contacted the Excursions Desk as soon as it opened. Our point was that the tour had been misrepresented to us. We spoke with the manager of the department who was quite apologetic, but insisted that she always emphasizes to her staff to correctly determine what is in each tour and sell it accordingly. To us, it seemed not enough "emphasis." She agreed that the tour we booked for Malta (but not yet taken) was not suitable and immediately refunded our money for it. We demanded a refund for the "Easy Istanbul." That she had to put through her authority chain. It took almost 72 hours (and prodding on our part) to get the refund for that one. But nothing could make up for the frustration and humiliation my wife went through on that disastrous tour. Now, for our critique of the cruise disability aside. First and foremost, it is abundantly clear that Royal Caribbean is cutting corners wherever it can. Dining in the Main Dining Room (we always opt for second seating) has degenerated to a less than good experience. Until we complained several times, the food was often brought out cold when it needed to be hot. A three course (used to be four) took over an hour and a half a number of times (why?????). The main courses offered have sunk in both number and variety, to say nothing of quality. Of eight items offered, generally two were pasta, two were fish, two were beef (and I will put a bet on the fact that "black Angus sirloin" here was nothing but a buzz-word) one was a variable, and one was some kind of vegetarian something or other. A shrimp main dish my wife ordered consisted of TWO shrimp! A "shrimp ravioli" main course didn't have a single solid piece of shrimp in it - truth in advertising would require it to be labeled "shrimp flavor ravioli". A main dish called "turkey" was in fact a few slices of deli-style turkey roll. Admittedly, we all mourn the loss of lobster tails for one dinner, but the depth that the food has sunk to is simply unacceptable. In the course of the ten days, we had dinner in the Windjammer twice. Once the "special offering of the day" was Mongolian Grill. FINALLY a decent dinner! The other time, it was chicken Marsala. Somewhat overblown, and of course PASTA. Sigh. Our table mates had occasion to eat at Portofino one evening, and said it was good. But why should we have to pay $40 for the two of us to get a decent dinner? I would be happy if RCI increased the price of the cruise by that 40 dollars and gave us a decent dinner every night! And... the coffee is atrocious. As my wife and I are rather heavy smokers, we were concerned about the smoking policy on this cruise. RCI no longer permits smoking in the cabins, but the balcony where smoking is permitted, served us well. The few public areas where smoking is permitted are, except for the starboard side of the pool deck, small and usually inconveniently located. In Boleros, the area has room for no more than 20 seats. The Schooner Bar's "designated area" is only a couple of tables, and is off in a corner where it isn't possible to see what is going on. The casino now has a "No smoking on formal nights" policy. While we understand the policy of giving non-smokers their time in the casino, we would have liked it better if one of the two nights in question was moved to a non-formal night, so that we could enjoy gaming on a formal night. Corner-cutting was obvious in many other places. Boleros, a very busy place, had only two bar people and they worked the entire evening without a break. One of them told my wife that they no longer actually mix drinks, but use prepared mixes for bloody marys and that kind of drink. Many of the staff, while very friendly and eager, simply looked overworked all the time. Since we are night owls, not getting to sleep until after 2 AM, it is our habit to order a small amount of room-service breakfast to keep us until we can have a "brunch" at Windjammer. One day we ordered it for 9-9:30 AM. At 9:45 I looked outside the room and saw that the order slip - placed before the required 3 AM - was still hanging on the door handle. Sigh. We ordered two items from Gifts and Gear and were badly disappointed. The "Non alcoholic grape juice cheese and crackers" contained two small jars of strange flavored jam, a package of Melba Toast and a wedge of..... PARMESAN cheese! The "chocolate covered strawberries" was nothing more than some packets of standards like chocolate coated raisins, coated peanuts, and so forth. Two years ago, these items were delivered as advertised and as expected. There are areas on the ship that need some work. The railings on the balconies need a sanding/varnish very badly. Other areas look a little threadbare. An occasional foul odor here and there lead to a conclusion that the sanitary system is not 100 percent right. In sum, not a very pleasant cruise experience. The most disappointing thing is that just two years ago, we did a very similar cruise with Royal Caribbean and loved it. What has happened in such a short time? It saddens me to think that Royal Caribbean is playing to the "McDonalds is my kind of place" level. If that is a conscious business decision, I hope that the increased patronage they will get, combined with the lowered cost from their point of view, is enough to offset what they will lose. My wife and I will now look elsewhere when choosing a cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
We didn't need another holiday - it was just that the weather was so lousy in England all summer, we decided on a last minute bargain. Flew out the day before and stayed at the wonderful Eurostars Gran Marina (£173 on eBookers). ... Read More
We didn't need another holiday - it was just that the weather was so lousy in England all summer, we decided on a last minute bargain. Flew out the day before and stayed at the wonderful Eurostars Gran Marina (£173 on eBookers). The cab from the airport was €26. We strolled into town for dinner. Prices have certainly gone up with the rise of the € - tapas and a bottle of wine at Teller de Tapas in the old town was €70. After a great night's sleep we woke to find Celebrity Century berthed right next door to the hotel - so handy if you were on her - not this time! We caught a cab to the port for €7 at 11.25 and were on board by 11.40. Very efficient boarding process in Barcelona with all the desks clearly signed for Platinum and above, suites, and then by deck. The lifeboat drill was in the Ixtapa Lounge, some people would not keep quiet, and the Captain's address was drowned out by the ripping of velcro in their haste to get outta there. There were two seatings for dinner - 6.15 and 8.45 but you could arrive up to 15 minutes later than this time. This did not stop the table next to us turning up every evening at 9.15 - so rude! This meant that the shows were now after dinner at 9 and 11pm each night (with a few exceptions) We had a D1 balcony right at the front, the bed was near the balcony (as opposed to the sofa), there was a large sofabed, the curtain between the bed and sofabed only drew about 3 feet so not too good for sharers who were not too intimate! Balcony had 2 chairs and a very small table. The dividers could be opened if you wished. The room also had an adjoining door but we never heard a peep. Saturday: a sea day. Breakfast in the Windjammer where the 'secret tip' of taking your plate to eat in the Chops doesn't seem to be too much of a secret any more. We took the Bistro 30 lunch in the main dining room. A good selection, and the first of our dinners in Chops. After dinner we found the ship to be deserted - how do they hide 3,200 people - the answer was easy - the theatre was packed with everyone enjoying the great entertainment provided by Soul Sensation. If these guys are ever on your ship go and see them - they are fabulous! Sunday: Messina, Sicily - Sicily on a Sunday is closed, basically, so we had to take the 'Taormina on your own' tour for $49pp, which drove you on the 50min drive, and we had around 3 ½ hours to explore the Greek/Roman amphitheater (€6pp entry fee) and have lunch at a little place called Da Rita which is down a side street opposite the 'outlet' shop (which did not have the sort of outlet prices I am used to!). Lunch consisted of a caprese salad, 2 pizzas, ½ litre of local wine, and coffee and water for €31. For the first time in our plentiful cruising history we ate in Windjammer. I dislike this area intensely because of the lack of trays! The Jade section had sushi which I had not seen before on RCI, and very tender beef satay. There were napkins on the table but no tablecloths, the lighting was dimmed, but it was still just eating in the Windjammer! Clocks went forward an hour that night. Monday: another sea day For the C&A party that night there were over 750 attendees - but unfortunately this clashed with the Murder Mystery evening held in Portofino ($49.50pp), it was the Curse of the Dark Star Necklace, and we started in the Cosmopolitan club with the scene setting and then moved on to the restaurant. Unfortunately we were seated at a table with people who took no part in the proceedings so the evening was not as much fun for us as it was for others. I won't say 'who dun it' Tuesday: Thessaloniki - we had breakfast on our balcony and then took a leisurely stroll to the White Tower, then we went to the Archaeological Museum (€6pp entry fee) - this is the building with the razor blade sculpture out front - the gold exhibits were fantastic with many intricate pieces dating from 5000 BC. We strolled round a few churches and then had a typical Greek lunch in a square seated in the sunshine. €27 got us 2 beers, greek salad, haloumi, squid and souvlaki. There was an on deck buffet at 11.30pm and the dress theme was 'white' But as RCI don't let you know there is going to be a 'theme' beforehand many were not prepared! Wednesday: Istanbul - the sail in at 11 was fantastic, shame the weather did not cooperate - it was a steady drizzle all day. There were 5 ships in port so depending on where you were you just walked out in either direction. The main road with the tram line is very close. If you were the 5th ship exit the port and turn right to find the Findikli stop, if you were in the middle aim for the big mosque and the Tophane stop is right there, and if you were closest to town then the Karakoy stop was just before the bridge. At each station there is a booth marked 'Jeton' which is where you get your token. Current cost is TRY1.40pp ($.75c). Compare this to the $20pp that RCI were charging for their transfers! Trams are quick, efficient, and air conditioned and seemed to run every 2 minutes. Check your change as we were short changed by TRY5 at the first stop we used. Heading to town you take the tram marked Zeytinburnu and trams back to the port are marked Kabatas. For the Topkapi Palace get off at Gulhane (despite the tram signage saying that you use Sultanahmet) and just walk up the hill a short distance. It really is much closer. For Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque use Sultanahmet. Turkey is another country that has put up its prices since we last visited! Entry to Topkapi is TRY20pp and to the Harem is another TRY15pp. Entry to Aya Sofya is also TRY20pp. The Blue Mosque is free (still!) After sightseeing we walked up the main road with the tram line in the middle, to the traffic lights and then turned right, down the hill a bit and then took the first road on the left Nurosmaniye Caddesi - which took us straight to the Grand Bazaar. Nuromaniye is where the RCI busses were dropping off - close to the shops. After this we walked back down to almost back at the bridge, where we got Turkish Delight at the Hafiz Mustafa shop, then we caught the tram back up the hill to Sultanahmet and we had dinner at a great place called Pasha (almost opposite McDonalds). Dinner for 2 came to TRY152. We took a few pictures of the mosques by night and then hopped on a Kabatas tram back to the ship. The next day it was much better weather, so after breakfast we went back into town. The grounds of the mosques seem to be home to dozens of stray cats - many of which enjoyed a breakfast of RCI-donated sausages that day...! Everyone back on board for our sailaway at 1.30. We had dinner in Portofinos that night. The food was good as usual but I was not happy with the drop in adherence to the rules and dress code. The girl next to me wore flip-flops, another looked like an ASBO teen complete with hoodie, jeans and Converse trainers; then the final straw was when a jean wearing couple were allowed in pushing a pram. After about 10 minutes the child started screaming, and they had to remove it and I believe arrange for their dinner to be taken to their cabin. Not impressed at all. Drinks in the 14th deck Cosmopolitan lounge that evening to watch the sail through the Bosphorus/Dardanelles and to see the war memorials lit up at night, which were wonderful Friday - day 8 already and nearing the end of our cruise. There was a brunch for C&A in the dining room which was nicely done. We spent the day in the solarium. It was the 2nd formal night - I would say 40% in tuxedo and the rest in suits. We won $225 in the casino which compensated slightly for the $180 that had been swallowed up by the Wheel of Fortune a few days earlier. Clocks went back an hour tonight. Saturday: Malta - another sunny day and another fabulous sail into the harbor. We had breakfast in the main dining room. I am not sure about the buffet set up in the middle, and they no longer offer pastries at the table. The Eggs Benedict are still good though. We took the tour of Valetta and Mdina $43pp and wish we had not! It appeared to be very easy to walk up the hill to the bus station which is at the roundabout outside the famous Phoenicia hotel and catch one of the old fashioned yellow and orange busses to Mdina ourselves. Mdina is just a beautiful city and I would have liked more time there. We ate again in Chops that night. Sunday: at sea - our last full day. I went to Johnny Rockets for the first time - wow what a place and wow what fabulous burgers and onion rings! Even better that it was free with our C&A voucher. It was a beautiful sunny day, and that evening it was warm enough to sleep with the balcony doors open with the sound of the waves. Monday: back in Barcelona! We strolled off around 8.30, collected our luggage from the airport-style conveyor belt and waited about 20 mins for a cab. There was a blue T3 Portbus that seemed to go over the bridge but as we had no idea where it stopped we did not catch it. The RCI transfer to Estacion Sants was $20pp - our cab cost €15. We had lunch with friends who were boarding her that afternoon, and then time for the airport and home. General observations - there were no hand sanitizers at the restaurants, there is a flower stall set up on the Royal Promenade each evening, demographic on board was 50% Spanish/European, 25% British and 25% Americans. Catholic mass was available every day. Announcements in English and Spanish. Approx 40 children on board which were obviously kept well entertained as we never saw them. Did not get towel animals until the 4th night of the cruise. There was a $20 laundry special on night 7. In summary a very enjoyable cruise. The ship was in excellent condition, our stewardess Luciana worked her socks off, the crew were great. Dining room was OK, not great, which accounted for us eating 4 times in the speciality restaurants, and Boleros was the place to be each night with the great salsa band. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
I'm still swaying and my head is till swimming from a most distressing last couple of days on board a Navigator of the Seas without fully operational stabilizers. The Med was rough between Valletta and Barcelona on the final leg of ... Read More
I'm still swaying and my head is till swimming from a most distressing last couple of days on board a Navigator of the Seas without fully operational stabilizers. The Med was rough between Valletta and Barcelona on the final leg of our cruise and, sadly, took its toll on a number of guests. I can't recall a more unpleasant and prolonged experience and am still suffering nearly 48 hours later. Trying to pack suitcases in those conditions was an absolute nightmare. But what about the cruise overall? These are first impressions and my views may moderate over time of course - we only got back last night. Well, Navigator is a lovely ship of course and impressions were generally positive. However, whilst I wouldn't have had a word to say against Brilliance of the Seas last year, this year's cruise had a number of negatives: The weather - clearly nothing RCI could have done about this but there were three particularly bad days. There was actually a tornado in Cagliari, which flipped over a bus quay-side before our eyes and meant that we were unable to disembark there at all, reducing our stops from five to four. Similarly, the first day in Turkey was horrendous. An absolute torrent of rain came down and excursions should most definitely have been cancelled there too but I guess RCI stood to lose too much money so they went ahead and were a total farce. Firstly, we learned a day before arrival that a marathon was taking place in the city so traffic was very restricted. As a consequence, with no prior warning our excursion tour bus stopped some distance from the focal point of the tour and we were all then traipsed around on foot in the torrential rain by our arrogant and disinterested guide Selma for about five hours. My four year-old daughter and elderly mother in law really suffered in these dreadful conditions. To compound matters, Selma wasn't interested in ensuring everyone could keep pace, just in getting her job done and picking up her pay check no doubt. We had booked another excursion ashore in Istanbul that evening but with the rain not abating we attempted to cancel. However, RCI would not allow us to do so. Their inflexibility in such extreme circumstances would certainly make me think twice about sailing with them again. My wife and I even attempted to brave the deluge to avoid wasting a considerable sum of money all together but could only get a hundred yards or so from the ship, despite umbrellas, before we were completely drenched again and had to turn back. We should most certainly have been offered refunds by RCI and will be complaining formally. The last day at sea we endured very rough seas and here the lack of functioning stabilizers really came home to roost. It was a most unpleasant experience and surely RCI should compensate travellers for such a critical malfunction. As usual, the food was terrific and the service - at least from the room attendant and all waiting staff - was excellent. On the down side, Navigator was too smoky - nine of the bars and lounges permitted smoking, which meant that you could smell smoke when strolling along the Royal Promenade - not what you expect on board ship, and surely not sensible from a health and safety perspective. I'm sure there weren't that many smokers on board but it only takes one in a bar.... Smoking was also allowed starboard side on deck so, as there wasn't as much open space on Navigator as there was on Brilliance, it was always apparent. Anyway, it's not an insurmountable problem but if you're a non-smoker, stay out of those bars and remain portside! On the plus side, the ship looked good - maybe cabin carpets in need of replacement or a deep clean but otherwise everywhere looked first class, as usual. The Adventure Ocean "kids club" was again excellent and my daughter loved it. Even the lack of a designated kids' pool and water slide was no problem. The pool facilities were just fine. I was a little surprised about the whole Royal Promenade experience. It just seemed an unnecessary gimmick to me, one which the Oasis of the Seas will be taking to even greater extremes it seems with its Central Park tree lined area. The Promenade looked good, certainly, but I didn't notice any greater shopping choice than on Brilliance. The coffee bar was nice and well used, but seemed to be the only place cruisers could help themselves to a coffee (except on the final morning when the coffee machine wasn't working). As I recall, Brilliance has a few such refreshment stations in strategic deck locations. Despite being a bigger ship overall, the impression I got was that the facilities on Navigator of the Seas catered for no more than on the smaller Brilliance of the Seas, with the consequence that at peak times on Navigator it was very difficult to get a seat in the Windjammer/Jade buffet dining areas. Further pluses on our Eastern Med cruise - the Mallorca stop was nice, Athens a great experience and Malta a pleasant surprise. In conclusion, RCI clearly cannot be held responsible for bad weather but in my opinion they could certainly do more to compensate customers for the limitations this imposed on services offered and for the lack of stabilizing functionality on board. Just off for another lie down.... Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
We began our cruise from Germany so did not book the Pre Cruise or after cruise package in Barcelona. Recommend those coming from the US do this. We arrived day early and stayed at the Atrium Palace, Apsis Hotel Chain, in the center of ... Read More
We began our cruise from Germany so did not book the Pre Cruise or after cruise package in Barcelona. Recommend those coming from the US do this. We arrived day early and stayed at the Atrium Palace, Apsis Hotel Chain, in the center of town. A very good hotel. Double room was Euro 187 per night. It is near Ramblis, and within walking distance of shops, restaurants. Service and front desk was exceptional. English was spoken by everyone. Breakfast is Euro 16 unless you book via the Internet and then it is only Euro 8. Highly recommend you take this option. Taxi to the Hotel with 2 large bags was Euro 25. There is bus and subway connections but do not recommend if you have luggage. Taxis are clean, metered and fast. We were not part of any pre excursion group but there was a Royal Caribbean Representative in the hotel that was very helpful. She advised us about 09:00 AM that due to some kind of "gastrointestinal" infection on the ship, boarding would be delayed until 14:00. Check out is 12 but Hotel has holding area for bags so not an issue. The representative told us that since bus was not full we could catch a ride which we did. We arrived about 14:30 and there was no crowd and check in went very smoothly and efficiently. We had our sailing card and on board in less than 30 minutes. Very efficient compared to Civitavecchia (Rome). Debarking was same. Much better than in Civitavecchia. We never heard another word about the so called "infection" and I am not sure there was one as many folks were already on the ship, so they obviously came much earlier. Our late lunch was cut short, due to the mandatory Life Boat Drill. It was perfunctory at best and some never figured it out or did not care. Seems like it is just to say it was done. It took too long as lot of other messages were put out. No one was in mood to hear anything not related to the life boat drill plus it was hot and the vests were uncomfortable. Shortly after getting unpacked discovered that we had forgotten our toothpaste. We asked the cabin attendant if he had a complimentary paste, but were informed that he did not. On Carnival Freedom in May, shampoo, tooth paste, shower gel were provided daily. So we bought some at one of the stores on the main deck, for $6.00 for small tube. More on pricing later. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable. This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean so I cannot compare with others. We had a mid ship cabin with balcony on 8th deck. Room was very adequate and balcony was great. Our cabin attendant was friendly and did a good job with basic housekeeping but we noticed that the toilet had urine stains on the wall that had been there a long time and were there when we left. Average would be best grade I could give them on housekeeping. Another nuisance was the slowness of picking up the room service trash. It was on the floor in front of doors along the corridor, sometimes until mid morning. Do not know why it could not have been collected earlier. Our safe would not work and we had to call maintenance. They were there in less than 15 minutes and fixed it. It stopped working on the last day again and they had to come and open it for us. On our safe the numbers were worn off from use so you had to guess the first time where the Close and Reset buttons were. Smoking: Basically a non smoking ship, except in designated areas, but not enforced. On several occasions, observed smokers right under a NO SMOKING sign. To me this is a major irritant. Ships crew do not seem to want to enforce it. Our neighbors smoked on their the balcony, (which is permitted) it seemed around the clock, and we could not keep the balcony door open because it drafted the smoke, Especially bad at night as we preferred the sea air to the air conditioner, which by the way was always on either hot or cold. Never found a way to make it just neutral. Dining: We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer, and first dinner seating in the main dining room. The Buffet in the Windjammer was OK; lot of choices, hot food was hot and cold food was cold, the way it is supposed to be. However there were two issues that were annoying. First off the Windjammer is not adequate for the amount of people on the ship. It was always crowded and often announcements were made to depart when you finished your meal; made you feel guilty to stay and have an after meal coffee. Staking out your table was an issue because just putting your silverware down meant nothing. You had to park someone and alternate getting your food from the line. The bussing of the tables was just plain unsatisfactory. There were enough people but they did not seem very interested and spent lot of time socializing with each other. Most of the time they would not clear all the used dishes and rarely wiped the tables. It appears there was little if any supervision by ships cadre in the Windjammer. Some effort to fix this problem is required. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants so cannot comment. On Carnival Freedom they had excellent short order/sandwich facility that was free. On Navigator they had overcooked hamburgers and hot dogs and cold buns. In fact the buns were stale and cold. If you wanted a real Hamburger or snack then you had to go to Johnny Rockets and pay extra for it. On at least two occasions the only mail toilet on the 11th Deck, Windjammer was out of order and the door was locked. On one occasion the toilets were over flowing due to some kind of malfunction. I am not sure they ever got the problem fixed. Shore excursions: Only took one, Taormina in Sicily. Well worth the money. We arrived in Istanbul at about 14:30 and those who tried to do the afternoon tour to the Covered Bazaar found, due to the unbelievable heavy traffic that it took hour each way with a bus. You can walk to the Covered Bazaar in a shorter time; in fact you can walk to the Blue Mosque and other attractions. We were told you would find a taxi just outside the pier, but we did not; in fact you do not need one, if you are able to walk a mile or so. In Thessaloniki we walked on our own. You can easily walk to the White Tower and some of the ancient ruins in the city. It is a beautiful city with many cafes and coffees you can enjoy. If you want to see sites outside of the city then a tour would be necessary. In Sicily we took the bus tour to Taormina a beautiful resort city about 45 minutes away. It is very touristy but worth a visit. We almost got left there because our guide told us to meet at a specific time in front of the cathedral; we were there way ahead of time but at the wrong cathedral. There are several so pay attention. Hint: take a picture, remember the number on your camera, and review it ahead of your meeting time. If you miss your rendezvous head to the exit, take the elevators down to the huge underground bus and car parking lot. If your bus is gone try to hitch ride with another tour from your boat. There are many busses. In Malta, one can walk to the center of town in about 15 minutes (it is uphill and you can take the steps for a shortcut) or take one of the very colorful Leyland Malta Busses to and from the pier. Bus stop is directly across the street from the terminal; on left side of the street. In Malta they drive on the left side like in UK. It is bus 187 and cost 1 Euro each way. Main Bus stop is about 3 minutes from city gates. Return bus stop is marked "Bus to the Piers) the buses seem to run continuously, so you wait until one shows up. Pricing on the ship: It was obvious that Royal Caribbean adjusted their prices in dollars upwards, because most of the passengers on this voyage were Europeans, whose currency was the Euro, British Pound, or Canadian Dollar. Prices in dollars were very high in all the on board shops and restaurants. For those on non dollar currencies the prices might be reasonable. For those on dollar standard they are not! One of the store keepers told me that they had elevated the prices slightly. I would say way more than slightly. In my opinion 3,000 passengers is too many for this ship. The ship felt crowded most of the time. Never felt I had space. Main Street promenade was packed at peak hours. I do not know what the word for excuse me or thank you in Spanish, English, French, and German is but never heard it when it was apparent it should have been used. Bumping and shoving at the buffet lines was normal. I think some of the Europeans feel they are going to run out of food! Sanitation: Why does Royal Caribbean not have hand sanitizer dispensers by rest rooms, dining areas? Carnival Freedom had them everywhere and they were used. Seems it would help control any infectious outbreak. No one from the Ship's crew told us but you may pick up a condensed newspaper, sports, and finance at the Library on the 7th Floor aft. They are there about 09:00 from France, German, Spain, and the US. Was the cruise worth the money? Yes but with just a little effort on part of Royal Caribbean could be much more enjoyable. Someone in the supervisor line needs to pay attention. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
My wife and I (now in our sixties) have cruised many times with RCCL on their Sovereign, Vision and Radiance class ships. We also cruise with Celebrity and P&O and we knew that the Voyager Class Navigator of the Seas would present a ... Read More
My wife and I (now in our sixties) have cruised many times with RCCL on their Sovereign, Vision and Radiance class ships. We also cruise with Celebrity and P&O and we knew that the Voyager Class Navigator of the Seas would present a different experience for us. Our agent booked direct flights for us to Barcelona flying out the day before our cruise. We stayed overnight at the Apsis Splendid near to Catalunya Square and whilst this was in no way a luxury hotel it was very pleasant and made a nice start to our holiday.. The following day we booked a taxi from the hotel to the port which cost us 16 Euros plus tip. We arrived at the port around 11.30am and since we had completed our Sea Pass online and are Crown & Anchor Platinum members we went quickly through the check-in process. Barcelona is an excellent port in our experience both for departure and arrival and there was adequate seating for us whilst we waited for boarding to commence. Again as Crown & Anchor Platinum members we were given priority boarding at 12 noon although cabins were not available until 1pm. Our cabin 8692 on the stern of the ship was very nice. The bonus with this cabin is the huge balcony. There was plenty of storage space and the bed was very comfortable with room beneath for our luggage. The only down side was the shower enclosure which looks quite nice with solid sliding doors (as opposed to a shower curtain) but it was quite small. Now to the ship - as you would expect from Royal Caribbean the ship is spectacular, very glitzy and glamorous. The focal point of the ship is the Royal Promenade with spectacular atriums at each end. Alas for us the Royal Promenade did not do it for us. It is a 4 deck high affair with shops and bars on the lower level and 3 decks of Promenade view cabins above. To us the Promenade view cabins looked like flats over a block of shops with ill fitting window drapes and sometimes views of the occupants which I'm sure they never intended us to see. The promenade had 2 pubs along its length (to be fair one is billed as a wine bar) and the entire area had a 'pub' feel about it. We feel that this leads to the ship not being as 'classy' as the other classes of ship in the fleet e.g. Radiance class. Another disappointment for us was the Viking Crown Lounge which is not as big or as glamorous as the similar venue on other ships. Whilst the food in general was good the evening dinner has been reduced to 3 courses from 5 - lots of people were complaining about this. Right, enough of the groaning the signature Champagne Bar is very nice with excellent service from the wonderful Christina and some super table top magic from another member of the wine bar team Antero. We dined one evening in the speciality restaurant Portofino and at $20 this was excellent- the food was very good and very well served by a very charming team. We did not dine in Chops grille but this was said to be good also. As a couple who never eat Hamburgers and have only been in McDonalds once with our grandchildren we thought it would be fun to try Johnny Rockets the American diner on the top of the ship. We were not disappointed the food was excellent and the staff perform a dance routine every 30 minutes. The thick shakes are wonderful. There is a $3.95 cover charge and you also pay for drinks. The entertainment was good although to be honest we have seen better production shows. Other entertainment was provided by Jackie Scott an excellent West End singer and also a wonderful multi-instrumentalist called Samantha Jay. The Beatle Maniacs had everyone on their feet - we've seen them before. The Cruise Director, Gordon was probably the best we have ever seen and has a fantastic singing voice which unfortunately we only got to hear on the last night. Our ports of call were: Sicily and we took the excursion 'Taormina on your own' - If you haven't been don't miss this beautiful village up in the mountains, we had about 4 hours there. You can go under your own steam but a taxi will cost more then the tour and the train leaves you with a considerable walk. Our next port was Thessaloniki which is a city with a pleasant long promenade - nothing special. We had an overnight stay in Istanbul - the traffic is horrendous and some people who took tours were very frustrated being stuck for long spells in traffic. We took the shuttle bus into the centre but it is quite easy to walk back to the ship. We visited the Blue Mosque which for us did not live up to all the hype! The Grand Bazaar is OK but you can't look in a shop window without being confronted by the owner. Our final port was Valletta Malta the sail in is spectacular but the city itself for us was 'scruffy' and on reflection we regretted that we had not taken an island tour to get a better view of Malta on which we have heard very mixed reviews. In summary this was a most enjoyable cruise but we feel that Voyager Class ships are primarily aimed at families and younger people. We will choose the older RCCL ships in future and the fabulous Celebrity ships. Please enter your review. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Our first trip to Europe was very exciting! We had planned for months and really anticipated a wonderful adventure.We have sailed 3 times with Celebrity.This was our first experience with Royal Caribbean. Embarkation in Barcelona was a ... Read More
Our first trip to Europe was very exciting! We had planned for months and really anticipated a wonderful adventure.We have sailed 3 times with Celebrity.This was our first experience with Royal Caribbean. Embarkation in Barcelona was a breeze! We transferred from the airport and checked in very quickly. Lunch in the Windjammer Restaurant was disappointing but our cabin was ready at 1 pm and we were delighted to be able to take a nap before the life boat drill. The Swan Lake Dining room was lovely and our waiter Wilson was very efficient. Most meals were quite good but very limited in variety.We avoided the Windjammer and had breakfast and lunch in the dining room as often as possible. We had lunch one day at Johnny Rocket's- great burgers and shakes and lots of fun, too. The Portofino restaurant was very special. We went for dinner at sunset and enjoyed sailing along the Turkish coast as well as a delicious dinner. The food and staff were both fantastic. Excursions were not as well organized as those we've done with Celebrity.The excursions were not as long as advertised. The booklet described 5 hour trips that were closer to 4 hours. The guides were excellent but rushed.The guide in Malta was so pressed for time she only allowed 10 minutes to use restrooms! There were dozens of tour buses and only 2 bathrooms! We spent 20 minutes in Mdina and everyone on the trip felt frustrated by the lack of time. The ship was only in port from 11:00am till 5p. Since the next day was a sea day, why did we need to rush? No one had any explanation. Many guests had booked two half day tours in Istanbul. The day before, we were notified that the tour had been changed to 10 hours on Sunday.The Grand Bazaar was to be a highlight but it is closed on Sunday. More very long lines at the excursion desk to make changes and find half days tours. For us, ten hours was just too long a day. The excursion staff was very patient and helpful but so many passengers had to make changes. It seemed as if Royal Caribbean should have advocated for their guests with the tour operator. Entertainment was a very mixed bag. The Beatle Maniacs were great fun, Jackie Scott was delightful, the Motown Show was terrific, the ice shows were just amazing! The Elton John show was just a disaster! We really missed the early evening music performances that Celebrity did so well. Disembarkation was fine and well organized on the ship. The parking lot was a whole different world. We sat on a full bus from 7a till 7:45a waiting for "permission" to leave for the airport!It seemed as if no one was really in charge and each time a problem developed, 6 people got together and nothing got done. As a result of this delay, the check in lines at the airport were huge! We stood in line for 2 hours and had to run to get through security to make our 10:30a flight from Barcelona to Paris. We sadly missed several amenities that Celebrity had always offered.There were no Christian religious services available on the ship.No guest lectures,no bathrobes in the rooms, no welcome glass of champagne, and a badly stocked library. I think we're "one and done" with Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
We took an 8 night Mediterranean cruise on Navigator as part of a charter from Atlantis cruises. They supplemented the RCI staff with their own, but I'll just focus on the RCI aspects of the cruise. We boarded at Barcelona and then ... Read More
We took an 8 night Mediterranean cruise on Navigator as part of a charter from Atlantis cruises. They supplemented the RCI staff with their own, but I'll just focus on the RCI aspects of the cruise. We boarded at Barcelona and then stopped at Marseilles, Livorno, Naples, Mykonos, Santorini and finally Civitavecchia, where we disembarked. This was a great itinerary and allowed us to visit a variety of countries and see some amazing sites. Embarkation: Both Navigator and Voyager had embarkations in Barcelona so there were a lot of cabs going to the port! We got to the dock a little after one and had checked in and received our Sea Pass cards in about 20 minutes; we had to wait about another 40 minutes to board the ship, but they kept everything moving well and we were able to sit and relax in the large terminal while waiting to board. Best thing was our cabin was ready with our bags in it by the time we got on board. DEcor/Facilities: The ship was beautiful and very well-maintained. We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 right by the Internet lounge and it was very roomy, with plenty of storage space and really huge closet that had two levels of racks for hanging clothes. The cabin was more spacious than I had anticipated and it was decorated nicely. The bed was very comfortable. The main promenade area of the ship was gorgeous, with lots of striking art work. There also seemed to be plenty of small bars, lounges and alcoves where you could find a relaxing place to sit. I loved the small solarium pool, which featured padded lounge chairs and a lovely tile floor. Views of the Mediterranean are already beautiful, but the view from the Cosmopolitan Bar was fantastic on deck 14 was amazing. The fitness center was large and well-appointed and definitely welcome after eating so much. Treadmills and cross-trainers have beautiful ocean views. Food: We ate breakfast at the Windjammer every day as we didn't have time for a sit down. I was able to find different things to eat and it was okay, but nothing special. I heard others say they were not that impressed and if you want crispy bacon, you are out of luck. It was also challenging to get coffee at times as you had to ask for it; I'd prefer a self-serve machine to expedite service. We ate lunches at the Windjammer and at Johnny Rocket's. Johnny Rocket's costs extra, but the wait staff was fun and did a lot of singing and dancing, plus it is up high on the ship and you can sit outside, which is very nice. Lunches were disappointing as the selection was not that great and many items had a tendency to be overdone. One odd thing, on a day that had hot dogs, they had no hot dog buns, although we saw those at other times when there were no hot dogs. Desserts were always pretty good, especially the cookies! However, the frozen yogurt that came out like soft-serve was not very good and tasted like chemicals to me. We ate dinner just about every night in one of the main dining rooms; the menu was the same in each. They did not have seatings on this cruise, but you would go and get seated at the next available table. I actually liked meeting new people most nights, and even ended up having dinner again with some of our previous tablemates because we enjoyed the company. There was usually a good selection of appetizers and entrees and I was able to try a variety of things each night. The quality of the food in the dining rooms was significantly better than at the buffet. I was surprised at the gap in quality. Overall, food at breakfast and lunch was so-so, but dinners in Swan Lake or the other dining rooms were good. Service: Our cabin steward, Rupert, was awesome. He introduced himself to us the first day and we often saw him on the floor. We had towel animals every night and our room was always cleaned early and refreshed during the day. In most of the bars, service was pretty good. We had trouble getting a bottle of beer in the Cosmopolitan Bar one night because they had a party to set up for in 30 minutes and told us they didn't want to have to kick us out. I told them I just wanted to get a bottle of beer and then I'd leave but they insisted we go to another bar. This was after I'd spent 10 minutes waiting for the bartender at the 19th Hole bar (about 20 feet away) to finish making the large drink order he had to prepare. It didn't make sense to me that one bartender could be overworked, and then two other bartenders within shouting distance could stand there with their arms folded, doing nothing, and the supervisor wouldn't let them give me a beer. Service in the dining rooms was generally good, although some of the servers really imposed themselves on you. Two in particular spoke very loud and very quickly and sort of steam-rolled the table. I understand they need to keep things moving, but others were able to do it more graciously. Overall, service was fine and at a good pace, but trying to get a drink was hard because there were different people who took orders for wine vs. soft drinks or liquor and if you asked the waiter, he'd say he'd send the appropriate person over, but that didn't always happen so a couple of times, I couldn't get a beer with dinner because the beer person never came to the table. Not really anything that hampered my enjoyment of the cruise. Shows/Entertainment: This was a charter cruise so some of the entertainment was from the charter company (Atlantis) while other acts were the regular ship entertainers. For the regular RCI entertainment, the Broadway revue was very good for a cruise ship; we live in New York and see a lot of shows and the singers and dancers they had were very good. The Ice Show was entertaining as well, although due to the small size of the skating area, you won’t be seeing too many spectacular jumps or tricks, but enough to keep you entertained. The Mardi Gras parade was also a lot of fun, but I imagine people with inside cabins overlooking the promenade thought it was loud. We liked the trivia contests in the Two Poets pub and that was a fun place to hang out and watch people walk by and say hello. Debarkation: This was a little delayed because we were late getting into the final port due to a sick passenger who had to be taken off the ship near Sicily. The process was okay, but we had to sit in the hall for an extra hour due to the delay. It would have been preferable for them to make an announcement that everything was being pushed back an hour from the original published schedule, but again, this didn’t seem like such a big deal. Definitely would do a cruise like this again and definitely give RCI thumbs up for maintaining a beautiful ship and providing a consistent level of service throughout the week. My only previous cruise was on NCL America, which I thought was fine, but now after experiencing this cruise, I understand why so many others on that ship were disappointed. It’s easy to get used to being treated nicely in such lovely surroundings. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
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