27 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Transatlantic Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

If you are considering booking a wedding with Royal Carribean DON'T and please consider the following. Disclaimer: I DO TIE MY EXPERIENCE WITH ROYAL ROMANCE DIRECTLY WITH THE CRUISE AS A WHOLE. First off there is a ... Read More
If you are considering booking a wedding with Royal Carribean DON'T and please consider the following. Disclaimer: I DO TIE MY EXPERIENCE WITH ROYAL ROMANCE DIRECTLY WITH THE CRUISE AS A WHOLE. First off there is a brochure/downloadable pdf on the Royal Carribean website that paints it all as a well oiled machine. As though it is all worked out and everything will be taken care of. This is wrong. You might as well throw this document in the trash. I can not tell you how many times I had someone say "oh, we need to change that on the brochure". My response: "That's not my fault." You have to spend half your time at guest services making sure that you get what you paid for or what was advertised to you. They really make you work for it too, finding any excuse to not give you the advertised prices. Pre wedding communication with Ingrid at Royal Romance/Weddings was horrible. She had no idea about how things worked from the start. I wanted to schedule spa/salon appointments prior to the cruise, as they were advertised in not only the downloadable royal wedding pdf but a second list of services that she sent me. We were getting married on the second day of the cruise so it was important to have that scheduled ahead of time. She then told me this had to be scheduled on board and that she could not assure me that there would be a person to do the "specialty makeup" that was advertised on both documents. So, I was to make that the first place I went on cruise day, go to the salon and schedule appointments for the following day and hope the did not fill up before we could. When we got on the ship we did as instructed and she got scheduled but on the next day when she showed up for her appointment, they asked where her makeup bag was. They wanted her to use her makeup and brushes. Fine, whatever! They sent someone to the room to get them. It was her wedding day, not going to let a little thing like that ruin it. The day after the wedding i was reveiwing my bill on the cruise so far and I noticed that the amount charged for both hair and makeup was more than advertised in "the pdf". I called and asked why the prices were higher than advertised and was told that if i wanted to get those prices i needed to book before the cruise...I explained that i was told i couldnt pre book those services and the phonecalls start, trying to figure out whats going on. This person calls that person , and that person calls the next one. After arguing with two or three different people the manager of the spa calls me and tells me they have now applied the advertised rates to my account but...There was also a discount advertised in "the pdf" saying that people that purchased a wedding package would get 10% off first spa treatment, 20% off second and 30% off third. So now I have to convince her that these discounts (which I have mentioned several times already) need to be applied. I finally get it all charged to me correctly after 2 days of arguing with them. When you buy a wedding package you get an hour of photography included. You will have the opportunity to purchase these photos. The exact same thing happened with this as with the Spa treatments. on this one I told Ingrid that I wanted to use our Honeymoon registry money that has purchases specifically for photos to pre purchase the wedding photos and was again told that this would have to be done on the ship. The difference is that this time they would not give an inch since it was a outside company that they hire to do pictures. However this time we were not talking about a 10% or 20% mark up we were talking about a 50% markup. The package that cost 400 now cost 600 and a single photo that cost 20 now cost me 30. The photographers were great, but they were bound by the prices of there company. I am not mad at them. I am mad thought because I had to make my wife pick which photos of the happiest day of our life she wanted to leave as we had budgeted for $500 dollars for the 30 picture package as advertised in the brochure. Since we were on the ship that now cost almost $900. they had us over an emotional barrel and they knew it. We ended up paying almost $600 for 20 picture. The cruise itself was spectacular, and the wedding was too in the moment of it all. But Royal Caribbean's nickle and dime mode of operation and their inability to know what is going on between departments made it hard to enjoy everything. I know any big corporation will have its communication issues but no one seemed to know anything on Navigator of the Seas. We had considered taking a cruise on Ovation but we got engaged on the Navigator, so we thought it would be romantic to get married there, but it looks like we made the wrong choice. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first experience with Royal Caribbean and it will be our last. We spoke with other passengers who were die hard "Royal" fans and they said that if this had been their first experience, they wouldn't be back. ... Read More
This was our first experience with Royal Caribbean and it will be our last. We spoke with other passengers who were die hard "Royal" fans and they said that if this had been their first experience, they wouldn't be back. The cabin stewards and dining wait staff were wonderful. We really liked the "My time dining" option. The on-board activities were few, the mistakes on the "compass" were many. Curfew is not an activity! This was our first transatlantic crossing so we thought there would be many activities to choose from - based on our experiences on other cruises. This wasn't the case. The nightly entertainment was good, but overall, we found the activities and choices underwhelming. The "library" was picked clean within the first couple of hours. I went shortly after boarding and saw someone leaving with a tower of books! Really? Are you going to read 8 books at once?! The food was alright, nothing to write home about and the portions were small. Something we weren't expecting was the lack of facilities after 9pm. The windjammer closed, so your only option for tea/coffee was the small cafe located on the Promenade. This filled up quickly and there wasn't really another convenient area that you could meet up with ppl and chat - it seemed to us that they were trying to channel ppl into drinking establishments. Speaking of upselling - it was annoying! At almost every meal, we were interrupted by someone trying to upsell their fee restaurants. I found the lack of food choices disappointing and unclear. Basically, your only choice for food is the windjammer/dining room. Breakfasts were good, the lunches were edible but varied little, for dinner, we ate in the dining room. The meals were good but we found the portions much smaller than other lines we have cruised with. There also seemed to be some major issues with getting back on the ship after ports of call. At one port, we were waiting for well over an hour. I saw someone asking if handicapped ppl could go ahead and they were denied. So ppl with walkers and various disabilities were left standing in the sun. When we finally got back on board we were told that it was the fault of the port authority. Hmm, so you knew there was an issue and yet, no water was offered, no intervention of any kind? We would definitely take another transatlantic cruise. We met some wonderful ppl, and it's a much easier way to travel to Europe if you have the time, just not on this line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I must commend the people who designed and built the boat... Bravo it is a beautiful boat. We were recently on a Transatlantic repositioning cruise. The operation of the cruise and the organizational weakness of the management was obvious ... Read More
I must commend the people who designed and built the boat... Bravo it is a beautiful boat. We were recently on a Transatlantic repositioning cruise. The operation of the cruise and the organizational weakness of the management was obvious through the cruise. The cruise director was enormously disorganized, regularly provided incorrect information and conducted the disembarkation for shore excursions in a terrible manner. Absolutely everyone was pissed. The line at the guest services desk was extremely long 24-7 with people lodging complaints and rarely more than one or two staff, always scowling. . If you want to see a short or no line go to the location where you sign up for your next cruise. Well staffed, happy people, but no line. They upsell you on 13 days of WI-FI, but when you get to sea, they tell you that because of the size of the ocean, there is no or weak WI-FI... what a scam... Again if you want to get a stronger signal, go sit in the location where you sign up for the next cruise. Their signal is great. Lovely boat, moderately good food, poorly prepared staff. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We booked this trip mainly on the blowout price. $500 for a 13 night cruise in a decent cabin cant be beat. This was our first time with RCCL but we are seasoned cruisers having sailed with 5 other companies. This was out first and likely ... Read More
We booked this trip mainly on the blowout price. $500 for a 13 night cruise in a decent cabin cant be beat. This was our first time with RCCL but we are seasoned cruisers having sailed with 5 other companies. This was out first and likely our last with RCCL. I got an incredible deal but If I had paid more I would have been disappointed. The good: Embarkation was very well organized The rooms were great, the beds, the size, the way they are organized. It all seemed very well thought out and as good as any line or room we have had. Many (but not all) of the staff were also very good. The main dining staff were professional and attentive. Most of the staff in the windjammer were also good. The spa staff were excellent. The ballroom themed show was excellent and the ice dancing show spectacular. These two shows were REALLY REALLY good. The orchestra was great and the cafe singers and guitar players were superb. The live violin and piano music in the dining room really added to the experience. The flowrider was fun and very easy to get time on. The gym was clean, well equipped, and always had space. The drinks were well made. The parade/carnival was fun. Medicore: The food, at best, was mediocre. Very bland and inoffensive, like a Cracker Barrel at sea. Far behind ANY other cruise line we have sailed. Our group lost weight on this 13 day cruise! The exceptions being the Indian and Asian foods offered which were edible to good. The juggler and Magician were decent enough. (I didnt catch the hypnotist so cant judge him) Cabin steward was good but lacked personality. The disco on the promenade could have been more interactive. Bad: The entertainment not mentioned above was awful. Like off-strip Vegas 25 years ago. Cruise director felt like a used car salesman and had no rapport or interaction with guests. Constant up-selling of Izumi and Sabor. I got approached 6 times for Izumi and 3 times for Sabor and was given the hard sell each time. It felt like a time share sales presentation and they often interrupted conversations and meals to sell to you. I was going to try them before the sales pitch but decided against it out of spite after the hard sell. By day 5 I just started to be rude and send them away once I saw them coming. Really disorganized ports, 1.5 hours to get on ship in Azores, problems at other ports. Cruise director admitting "he knows nothing about these ports"; well do some research! 24 hour cafe promenade is a joke. It is tiny and has only 2 options for food; Pizza or a Sandwich. Terrible pizza and sandwiches that are 4 inches of bread with 1 thinly sliced piece of meat and a limp piece of lettuce (literally). If you wanted a sandwich that didn't taste purely of bread you had to get 5 sandwiches, take them apart to make 1 decent sandwich. So much bread waste as everyone was doing this. Many other cruise lines do made to order sandwiches, why cant RCCL? It would save them money and waste. Better year ditch the cafe promenade and leave a section of Windjammer open past 9:30 pm! Windjammer (buffet area) closed and locked at many times people wanted to use it (after lunch, after 9:30). Heck at least let people sit in there, you don't have to serve food (although it would be nice to leave a small section open until at least midnight). There were not enough places to play cards and the windjammer and all its oceanview tables was locked up tight. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I have 25 sailings with Royal Caribbean, four are on the Navigator all of our sailings on her have been wonderful. Unfortunately our Transatlantic cruise was not up to their normal high standards. The odd things that happened on this ... Read More
I have 25 sailings with Royal Caribbean, four are on the Navigator all of our sailings on her have been wonderful. Unfortunately our Transatlantic cruise was not up to their normal high standards. The odd things that happened on this cruise are not normal at all. I do have a few disappointments as well as high points to share. The guests on board were seasoned travelers, we notice every little thing. The average age was 65+. EMBARKATION - The line for the Priority boarding for Diamond and above was extremely long. The person inside the door at the terminal directed us to the shortest line for general boarding. It was a quick easy process. LIFE BOAT DRILL - The life boat drill was held later than usual. This created a problem in the dining room. Some muster stations are in the dining room. The life boat drill was not totally completed in time for the passengers with the 5:30 dining to enter the dining room. We were trying to leave as they were trying to enter. The poor waiters were trying to move everyone along. DIAMOND LOUNGE - The Star Lounge which they used for the Diamond Evening events had many broken chairs. Even by moving the large number of Diamond members to a huge facility, finding seats was challenging at times. On the positive side, there were two areas where you could get hot and cold snacks. They kept them well stocked. The waiters were always available to get you a beverage. Most of them remembered exactly what you drank. The regular Diamond lounge is always open. They still served their continental breakfast with Salmon, and had warm cookies in the afternoon. It is also a nice quiet place to go and sit. GUEST SERVICES - I never found any long lines or wait times at Guest Services, I went there on several occasions and quickly had my questions answered to my satisfaction. All the agents were pleasant. As usual there were long lines on day one and on the last day. MEDICAL FACILITY - I needed a medical issue taken care of and went to the medical facility. The particular insurance I purchased pays the facility up front. The guest should never receive a bill. This is one of the reasons I choose this company. It is not the insurance sold through the cruise line. I went to the medical office and showed them my insurance card. They didn’t look at the card and said it would be on my onboard account. My bill was less than $100 so it was not a budget breaker. I cannot imagine the immediate out of pocket cost of a major illness or accident on board. MISCOMMUNICATION - There were typo errors and incorrect information in the Daily Cruise Compass. That publication comes from the home office in Miami, therefore, the crew on board has no control over what they receive. They had to deal with what they got, just as we did. In my 25 cruises with Royal Caribbean I have never run across this issue. When the cruise director read the compass at his morning TV show you could see that he was taken aback by when he read daily events from the Cruise Compass. He was able to make verbal corrections on the spot. He tried to play it off, many people saw this action as uncaring. It is too bad passengers viewed it that way. It was not his intent, he was trying to make the best out of an uncomfortable situation. DAILY ACTIVITIES - There were many different types of activities to keep us busy through the entire trip. The activities were varied and offered something for everyone. DINING ROOM - I did not see shrimp cocktail on the menu any evening. I found out later, from another passenger, they do have it available if YOU ASK for it. The meals were ok, but not spectacular. The wait staff did an excellent job. IMMIGRATION - In order to speed up the disembarkation process in Southampton, immigration agents came on board during an at sea day to check our passports. Immigration did not send enough agents to smoothly and quickly do this process. The passengers did not help this situation either. We were all given times to show up for this process. Many thought why not go early. Well that action delayed everyone. Again not Royal Caribbean's fault. The immigration officials office determines how many agents they need to send out. There should have been more agents and passengers should have stuck to their assigned time to get in line. The cruise line did the best they could in this inconvenient situation. SPA - I have never treated myself to a massage on a cruise. I was pleasantly surprised, they have many rooms. Everything was professional and clean. The atmosphere was calm and I felt so much better after my treatment. I will do this on every cruise from now on. GYM - I thought with being at sea for so many days the gym would be packed. No it was not. I usually went about 10 AM and I was able to use any of the machines I wanted. ENTERTAINMENT - Many reviews slammed the entertainment. I did not find it much different than the regular twice yearly 7 night cruises we take. It is geared to please various tastes and they can't please everyone every day. SHORE EXCURSIONS - There were two tours offered to Normandy, people who booked one tour were told 2 days in advance it was cancelled due to weather. I find that odd since the other tour went on as scheduled. The weather was beautiful that day. This is a 10 hour tour and I do believe they should have some sort of provision for food. PONTA DELGADA WAIT- Unfortunately the port of Ponta Delgada did not have enough security agents. Due to short staffing and a small security area the wait to get back on board was 45 min to an hour. Royal Caribbean cannot be faulted for this. It is the Azores Port Authority who staffs the security. The blame lies on them for this. WINE TASTING TOURS - We took 3 tours which included wine tasting at the end of the regular tour. I do not recommend doing this. It is not what we think of as a wine tasting. All three places gave you a bit less than 2 oz of ONE wine. That was it. One place offered many cheeses, one offered some canapés and a sweet item, one offered only crackers. They are not worth the additional cost. Take the tour that is the same but does not include the wine tasting that is good by itself. ANOTHER SLOW EMBARKATION - At one port we had to wait for the gangway to be moved to a different level on the ship. This is due to the normal ebb and flow of the tides. It was an inconvenience but not Royal Caribbean's fault. They do not have control over the tides. They moved the gangway as swiftly and safely as they could. Yes, this caused lines, but there was no other option. We were at the mercy of the seas. HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE TOUR CANCELLED - At one port there was a tour geared to those with mobility issues. It was the only tour that was handicap accessible. They cancelled that tour due to only 4 people signing up. That is a shame and slap in the face to the disabled. PHOTOS - They are doing the purchasing of your photos differently. They now, after your order them on the computer kiosk, deliver them to your room. This did not work out so well. Many people did not get their photos and had to have the charges removed from their account. If you wanted to purchase a photo on the last night, there was no way they could get the photo to you before we docked. They were only open from 9-11PM the last day. You could pay and down load the photo to your electronic device. That would have incurred additional fees for WiFi, then the cost to have it printed when you got home. We wanted a PRIVATE BLACK AND WHITE photo taken in celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary. We tried to contact that photographer the entire 13 days on the ship. We went to the photo studio area and made the request every couple of days. They wrote down our name and said the photographer would contact us. That never happened. HELPFUL TIPS - There are 3 formal nights. You will move your clock ahead 1 hour at NOON 4 days in a row. From the Azores to Lisbon you move 1 hour ahead at midnight. From LeHarve to Southampton you move the clock back 1 hour at midnight. Changing the clock at noon was very strange. It is well worth taking the cruise line transfer from Southampton to Heathrow. It has two routes, one stops at Stonehenge and the other at Windsor Castle. LEAVING THE SHIP AT AN ALTERNATE PORT - I was curious if this could be done. I received many different answers. I know the answer now. Several couples left the ship in LeHarve and traveled on their own to other European destinations. You have to make special arrangements through the Cruise Line to do this. CRUISE DIRECTOR Jeff has been with Royal Caribbean for 25 years. Many passengers had issue with him. He has a very demanding job; he needs to be all things to all people, both passengers and staff. Imagine having lines of upset passengers and trying to solve all of their problems. Many issues were caused by outside sources not Royal Caribbean itself. With all of the glitches with this cruise this had to be one of the hardest ones he worked. Give him a break, put yourself in his shoes. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Overall the cruise was great. The ship is dated but is a beautiful ship. Embarkation on first day was great. No issues at all. Food on ship was good. The buffet closed at 9pm which really wasn't good. If you have a late show, by ... Read More
Overall the cruise was great. The ship is dated but is a beautiful ship. Embarkation on first day was great. No issues at all. Food on ship was good. The buffet closed at 9pm which really wasn't good. If you have a late show, by the time you get out of the show, the buffet is closed which doesn't make any sense to me. They also didn't open up the whole Windjammer most of the time which was crazy. The only place to get a snack was on the promenade deck and it was limited as to what you could get. Couldn't make your own toast, so the toast they made was as hard as a rock cause it was probably sitting there. They should have had someone at the toaster making toast as people asked for it. Our dining room experience was good. The only thing I didn't like was that we had a table of 14 (oblong table) which I think is too big. We could never converse with the others at the other end of the table as it was too big. We have always had a table of 8 or 10 (round table) which was great. We have done 6 TAs and always enjoyed meeting the officers and the Captain always had a hour long q and a time at the coffee place. On this cruise, we never seen an officer (only at the Captain night). Not the most friendly officers. Excursions at the Ports - Getting off the ship was a nightmare and even worse getting back on from the ports. I have never seen such a dis organized group of people in my life. It took forever to get off the ship and the line ups to get back on the ship were worse. They really have to work on this. I think that it turned a lot of people off..It did us. Television was really bad in the rooms. They repeated the same shows day in and day out. I know this may sound trivial but on other ships they had great shows on the tv and never repeats. Our dining staff and housekeeping staff were great. I did notice that they have cut back on staff and staff were working a lot. All in all it was a great TA but there could be improvements. We are not loyal to any one shipping line but Royal Caribbean will not be top on our list. They have a lot to work on. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was my 5th Transatlantic. Transatlantic cruises are my husband & my favorite cruise. This was our 25 Royal Caribbean cruise but our first on Navigator of the Seas. We have been loyalist to RCCL..25 cruises on RCCL, 1 on ... Read More
This was my 5th Transatlantic. Transatlantic cruises are my husband & my favorite cruise. This was our 25 Royal Caribbean cruise but our first on Navigator of the Seas. We have been loyalist to RCCL..25 cruises on RCCL, 1 on Celebrity. We flew down the evening before and stayed at a Quality Inn with cruise port shuttle. Hotel was fair but shuttle was full and had no openings till 2pm, so we had to get cab ($20). We would not stay at this hotel again. Check in at pier went smoothly though lines were longer for Crown & Anchor upper tiers than for general boarding. We got right on Navigator and made our way to pool deck. Ship was lovely and clean. Not many crew greeting you when you boarded. Windjammer buffet opened (only 1side) at 11:30. It was crowded and food was okay. Not a great selection. Crew in Windjammer was welcoming and helpful. The girl greeting you was wonderful and continued to be every day. She greeted everyone with a giant smile, warm hello and "washy,washy". Sometimes she had fairy wings, a princess crown, she just loved her job and the passengers. Got in room at 1pm. Inside cabin on deck 7. Was what we expected. Plenty of storage, very clean. There was a hole on the cushion of the love seat. Our cabin steward Mike was friendly, efficient and very helpful. We asked for ice and it was there every morning & evening. He made great towel animals...just wish they were more often. The location was good and room was quiet (7355) The menu was mediocre. It was first time we went to specialty restaurant based on not liking any item on menu. While the dining menu left much to be desired, our servers were great. Emily & Susan were fun, warm, and made sure we enjoyed our meal. They also went out of their way to say hi if they saw us in main dining room or Windjammer for breakfast or lunch. We NEVER saw our head waiter. Not once even to introduce himself. Shame on him! Specialty restaurants Gianni's and Chops were very good...food delicious and service great. Cruise director was depressing...he seemed to hate being at sea and wanted everyone to feel the same. He never seemed to interact with passengers or staff unless it was staged. NO Lectures except on retirement or if ship was trying to sell something. No special things for all the time at sea. And often cruise compass had wrong times. Was very disappointed in lack of activities or lack of planning (ie Show 8:30, game 8:45, karaoke 9pm). His morning show was depressing and it was only him behind a desk. No birthday, anniversary shout outs, no What's in the box. Activities staff ran the gamut... Billie andJP were friendly, always said hi and were lots of fun. Another girl was mean and nasty. Production shows were good, entertainers (for most part were excellent), ice show was spectacular. Never saw officers. Captain did not attend top tier event (which was a first for us) Excursions offered were great but the organizing of them was horrible. The first port the excursion departures were so disorganized that it created a dangerous situation with people just herded in, hallways, stairs and elevators blocked. Worst experience I ever had on cruise. Also awful was customs on the ship. Cruise director had a schedule, promised it would only take 10 minutes...he was a little off it took 2 days and people were in line for long periods of time. Cruise director spent a lot of time apologizing and thanking everyone for their patience, When we asked why there was such chaos, we were told "we weren't expecting so many of you" or "there are a lot of you". They should have known that, they had a passenger list and a list of who bought excursions. Every port had very long lines getting off and getting back on ship. Very poor planning and very disorganized. Any cruise is better than no cruise BUT Royal Caribbean feel far short of their WOW on this transatlantic The excursions we went on were very good, especially Fatima. It was the disorganization that was so horrible We had the Windsor Castle and airport drop off for disembarking. The meeting place was too small and when we got off to get luggage, many found their luggage not out. After more than 1/2 hour they found missing luggage still on ship and brought it out (5 carts full). Just another example of the disorganization. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Cruise Critic Roll Call Members: We had over 200 members on the active Roll Call and many volunteers organized daily activities for the big group. This made it one of the most enjoyable crossings we've ever experienced. We made ... Read More
Cruise Critic Roll Call Members: We had over 200 members on the active Roll Call and many volunteers organized daily activities for the big group. This made it one of the most enjoyable crossings we've ever experienced. We made lots of friends, who we hope to cruise with again. Embarkation: We arrived at 11:30 AM and stood in a relatively fast moving line (both outside and inside) for about 45 minutes. The staff was pleasant and helpful. Cabins were ready at 1 PM. Cruise Critics assembled for a Sail Away Party after the Muster Drill. Great fun. Ship: The ship was in good condition for its age and we eventually learned the large layout. We got to like the way the ship is laid out with an indoor promenade. Placement of dining room, show room, lounges and cafe was typical of large ships and better than Carnival. The ship is 15 decks high and rode the open seas very well. We had smooth sailing and very good weather for the crossing. Cabin: Our balcony cabin (#6322) was on the starboard "hump" and therefore slightly larger than others in that category. The location near the rear elevators was perfect. We were one deck above our dining level and near the elevators for a ride to deck 11 for the Windjammer Cafe. The cabin size is typical of ships this size. We used the balcony only a few times. The beds were comfortable. Linens and carpet were clean. On the negative side: The bathroom seemed smaller than other ships we've been on. We had a very slow drain in our sink. The TV was old and the programming was slim. No ice was provided in the cabin. We had plastic SOLO cups for glasses in the bathroom. Our stateroom attendant's name was not provided in our cabin and did not present himself on the first day. Stateroom Attendant: He kept the room clean but visited it only twice per day. He did not make himself know to us for a few days. I ran into him once during the entire cruise. He did provide 4 towels instead of the normal two. But we've had much better service on other cruises. Recommended tip for him. Dining: We found the Windjammer Cafe relatively clean but always crowded. The staff seemed shy but friendly. The breakfast buffet quickly became boring. Pastries were stale. Toasted bagels were like a rock. Had to wait in line for a cup of coffee. The omelet ordering process was tedious. Some food was cold. The eggs were a purveyor's ready mix product with food coloring added and quite watery - not fresh scrambled eggs. Bacon and sausage were OK. Waffles and French Toast were pretty poor products. The Main Dining Rooms (3 decks high) were nicely decorated and clean. Early dining was moved to 5:30 PM. The variety of meals offered were somewhat disappointing. They offered daily standards of Sirloin Steak or Salmon. The Salmon was quite good. The steak was deplorable. 3 at our table had to send it back and order something else. It needs to be removed from the menu. When Lobster & Filet was offered, the lobster was miniscule. We all laughed that a single shrimp would have made a better Surf 'n Turf. Overall the food was barely acceptable and has gone down another notch since last year's TA on the Jewel OTS. Wine was very expensive. A $16 bottle of 10 Year Vine XY Zin sold for $49 onboard including tip. It took 30 minutes to get a cocktail ordered and delivered to the table. They need a dedicated cocktail waitress and a sommelier for the dining rooms. Lunch in the main dining room offered a made-to-order salad. That was excellent. The pasta offerings were not good. Other items for lunch were acceptable. Cafe Promenade offered stale donuts. Johnny Rockets should be closed or made no charge. Alternate Dining: We dined at Portofino's and found it below the level we experienced on Celebrity ships. At $25pp we went there only once. My meal was average. Dining Room Staff: Our waiter and assistant were good, not great. Respectful and friendly. The head waiter interrupted our conversations often. He lost my bottle of wine, mis-marking it for another table who enjoyed it, I'm sure. Our tablemates had to convince him that a full bottle was put aside two days ago after it was opened and only sampled. He finally "bought me" another bottle. Extra tip for the waiter and assistant but much less for the head waiter. Entertainment: The CD was Mike Hunnerup from Australia and he quickly grew on us. He was fun and approachable. The staff, including Richard, the Activities Director, were friendly and helpful. Just one person had an "attitude" we didn't appreciate. The stage entertainment ran the gamut. Some poor, most mediocre and a few memorable. Individual singers tend to be poor. The variety was good however. RCL held a nice Meet & Mingle for us on Day 3. At my suggestion they had a few Bridge Tour door prizes for lucky members. Quest is a big hit and was held on the ice rink. Great adult fun. Ship's Staff: Captain Patrik Dahlgren is probably the best we've encountered on all the ships we've cruised on. He stopped at all the dining room tables for conversation and photos during the cruise. Very engaging. He's an asset to RCL. Enrichment: Did not enjoy Joe Condrill's lectures or Hohn & Donna Mollan's presentations very much. I've see much better on other cruises. We missed Jack Cochrane's (Cruise Critic member) lecture about water on day 7 because of a conflict. Don't believe it was taped either. We were disappointed we missed him. Facilities: The Internet Cafe is too expensive and too slow to use often. Library was average for cruise ships. Fitness facility was very good but no TVs on the equipment. Smoke in some of the lounges and part of the casino is still problematic. Champagne Bar was expensive. The Wine Bar on the promenade was way overpriced. Way too much selling on the floors all day. You ran into tables set up to sell goods and services everywhere. It is quite annoying. Seems that after early dining, your opportunity for after dinner dancing lasts just 30 minutes. No venue existed that played dance music from 7:30-9:00 PM for us. Ports of Call: We were happy to visit Tenerife for the first time. Ship's excursions were too expensive for the full day (5 hr.) tour ($99pp). A Cruise Critic member organized a longer tour on a private basis for just $21pp. We enjoyed it. Mallorca and Ajaccio were somewhat interesting. We prefer the Azores. The printed port information provided by the ship is almost useless. We bring our own maps. Debarkation: Needed luggage tags for an earlier time and had to wait in line at Guest Relations to move up 1 hour earlier. We walked off and found our (damaged) luggage in little time. There was no time to report a claim. The taxis would only take passengers for Rome and not local destinations like Civitavecchia. We took the FREE port bus to the port entrance and then walked to the rail station. Took about an hour. Overall: We notice RCL quality going downhill each year. Both for food quality and service. Cruise rates are stable but onboard charges keep going up. Ours was $950 this trip. Ouch! We may not use RCL again next year. Regards, Florida Rich... Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our first transatlantic cruise and I wasn't sure if we would get bored. But there was plenty to do including bridge lessons and bridge games. There were times that were disorganized such as going out on excursions and in ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise and I wasn't sure if we would get bored. But there was plenty to do including bridge lessons and bridge games. There were times that were disorganized such as going out on excursions and in the Azores it took over an hour to return to the ship because of the security process. But it is a beautiful ship and we enjoyed ourselves. The food was very good and the staff was friendly and tried to make our cruise pleasant. The entertainment was also very good and a few of the shows were excellent. Disembarkation was in Southampton England. Because we were immigration checked our passports on the ship it went smoothly. However the process for doing this was quite long and used up a sea day while waiting to be checked. The excursions we chose were informative and quite nice. We especially enjoyed Paris. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first transatlantic cruise and it was wonderful. There were some minor issues which is why I can't give it a 5. I would give a 4.5 if I could however. There was plenty to do on the ship as they really did try to ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise and it was wonderful. There were some minor issues which is why I can't give it a 5. I would give a 4.5 if I could however. There was plenty to do on the ship as they really did try to offer a variety especially with being at sea for 6 days. I brought along some "things to do" anyhow. I especially enjoyed some of the crew offering basic language classes in Spanish, Portuguese and French. We had "cheat sheets" to carry with us just in case. I checked the Compass every evening to see what was going on the next day. Very good evening shows in the theater. The ice dancing show was awesome. We opted for tours in Ponta Delgada & Lisbon, Portugal as well as Paris, France. Very enjoyable and the tour guides were very informative. The 1st day of touring was rather disorganized and many complained about getting off the ship and getting on it. We were at least 45 minutes late in getting off the ship for our tour. It took us about 30 minutes to get back on but for others it was an hr or more. Amends and improvements were made as we received a 15% credit off our excursion cost plus changes were made going forward to make it easier to get off the ship. However there was still a bit of an issue with getting off at the time indicated which could have been due in part to the tides and where to put the ramps. Not their fault. We were pleased with the food offered but then we were looking for some different options. Our dining room servers, Reynante and Boohpendra, were really good as was our bar server Howard. We sometimes asked what their recommendations were for the main entree and weren't disappointed. We don't usually see the head waiter on our cruises but that wasn't the case this time. Unfortunately I don't recall his name but he came over and talked with us a few times. He asked how everything was going, did we have any concerns with the dining or in other areas of the ship. He was very good. We had MyTime dining for the first time and am going with it again on our next cruise. We weren't happy with our room attendant's service but he could have been new to the position or had too many cabins. Our cabin was set up with 2 towels and 1 small bar of soap for 2 people. I asked for a couple more towels but we didn't get that day or the next morning so we had to ask again. The 3rd time I said I would at least like 1 more towel. We didn't get more soap so I had to spend $19 for a bottle of shower gel. I also had to ask at least 3 times for more toilet paper as we were down to less than 1/2 a roll at one point. We had a bath mat one morning but it was taken away and we didn't see another for at least a week so we used a hand towel. After a week onboard, we received a tube of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion. One day our room didn't receive service so I went to the desk. We were in the cabin when the attendant came the 1st time but we left within 30 minutes. He could have come back but he didn't. We didn't have the card to place in the door to make up the room because he took the card on the 1st day. We did eventually get one back. However, in spite of the issues mentioned, the good outweighed the bad so we have booked another cruise on the same ship for next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
While I have a lot of criticism in this review, let me say that we had a great time, and if you really drill down there is no doubt that the value was fantastic on this cruise. There is nowhere, other than staying in your backyard, where ... Read More
While I have a lot of criticism in this review, let me say that we had a great time, and if you really drill down there is no doubt that the value was fantastic on this cruise. There is nowhere, other than staying in your backyard, where you can spend 15 nights for less than the cost of sailing transatlantic. All that said, there were some annoyances, and I'll throw a few of these out. Embarkation: Pretty good considering we showed up way too early and were at the port at 11:00am. We were in the Windjammer by noon, and that in my mind was not bad at all. Arrived in Lauderdale, stayed at the Sleep Inn, and always a great stay. Common Rooms. The Navigator suffers from not having enough bars that are practical. We usually like to have a pre-dinner drink, and the choice was limited to the Schooner, the Constellation, or Boleros. The Schooner was somtetimes not available due to trivia, Boleros has a Latin flavour which is an acquired taste that I haven't yet acquired. We usually settled on the Constellation, which is good, but 11 floors from the dining room. One other irritant was the number of people who used the Windjammer as their private rec room, as on a daily basis the whole front section was taken up by card players and mah jongers. No consideration at all for the fact this is a dining room, not a games room. Sorry to point fingers, but most of the culprits were Cruise Critic badge wearers, of which there were more than 275 on the ship. Not good! Activities: Lots of trivia which was a lot of fun. In particular there were 2 couples from Minnesota that knew more about TV than the head of CBS. Nice people who I hope I run into on future cruises, if you're reading this. Casino was great, staff very friendly, a little disappointed there weren't more craps players, but that's the luck of the draw. Keep up the good work RCL casino staff. Dining: Best wait staff on any cruise ship I've ever been on. The Head Waiter actually did more than sidle around on the last night, and often was seen cleaning off tables. Waiters Gilberto and Li deserve recognition for there efforts and pleasant personalities. Food was really nothing to write home about, with poor beef and small lobster portions, but given the great cost of this trip, I understand that something has to be cut back in order to make a profit for the ship. Rooms: We had a small balcony on the port side of the ship. Lacked a little storage space but it was roomy enough. The TV's in the rooms have been around since "I Love Lucy" and really need to be replaced as a priority. This was particularly important given our 15 nights at sea, 9 of which we were at sea. Excursions: Took the Pisa/Florence tour. Most of this time was on the bus, and a long walk from the bus drop-off. Now I've seen the Tower I doubt I'll ever go back, but glad we went. Toulon (Aix au Provence) was great and I would recommend. Despite all my negativity, I loved the trip. It was great to have so many sea days and it's our intention to do this again in the fall of 2013, starting in Europe and coming west to North America Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
as I said ship was incredible..shows were better than decent..food was passable..wait staff was beyound perfect..they do accomodate gluten free if needed..they don't really accomodate people watching their weight..I ate salmon and ... Read More
as I said ship was incredible..shows were better than decent..food was passable..wait staff was beyound perfect..they do accomodate gluten free if needed..they don't really accomodate people watching their weight..I ate salmon and green veggies..18 out of 23 nights..there were no low calorie..low fat choices..no non fat sugar free soft serve yogurt,,very difficult for even if you are diabetic..no brown rice or whole wheat pasta..buffet closes at 9pm, so you then had to pay for ben and jerry's..and they did have sugar free..[one flavor]..but no fat free= sugar free.. wine package [cheapest] was $155 for 5 regular size bottles..that included 15% tip...Ice show was incredible...Promenade was full of stores and great shows in some evenings..If you are not fussy about what you eat..no washing machines on board and paying $25.00 for a small bag of wash..you won't have a problem..Just remember to reread everything We wnt to Chops for dinner anticipating rack of Lamb..$30.00 pp and after getting the menu found out rack of lamb has been off the menu for a year..It would have been nice if they changed their website to tell all about changes.. so to make a long story short..It was a great cruise..weather was perfect..people were nice..crew was great..shows were good..but as i said ...they nickle and dime you to death Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
The process of getting on board the ship was fairly painless. I flew into Ft. Lauderdale and was greeted by the RCCL rep, who directed me to a waiting shuttle bus. I packed for a 15-day cruise, so I had two nearly 50 lb suitcases, plus a ... Read More
The process of getting on board the ship was fairly painless. I flew into Ft. Lauderdale and was greeted by the RCCL rep, who directed me to a waiting shuttle bus. I packed for a 15-day cruise, so I had two nearly 50 lb suitcases, plus a carry-on. That's a lot of luggage for a lone woman to handle! There were carts available at the airport to rent, but it would have been nice to have a porter to help. I was there about 2 hours before boarding time, but was allowed to board early. There was a long line at check-in, even though I had filled out all the forms online which stated it would make check-in quicker and easier. The first 8 days of cruisng was a REAL vacation! I had a balcony room (which I recommend for anyone who is on a ship that long) and enjoyed watching the ocean whenever I had a chance. The cruise line had a jam packed itinerary for all passengers. I didn't need all the activity, but according to the daily updates, more people than they'd counted on were taking part in the activities. I especially enjoyed the daily lectures and evening entertainment. The food at the Windjammer was just okay. On a scale of one to ten, I'd have to give it a five. The same with the main dining room. Just okay food. I ate at two specialty restaurants, Chops and Portofino, and the food there was excellent. My cabin steward, Ray, was outstanding. He was so kind to me and though I didn't require much attention, he was always nearby with a smile and willing attitude. The waiters in the main dining room were excellent, as well. I really enjoyed getting to know them. I was seated with 5 of the most interesting and lively women, who I enjoyed tremendously. Thanks to all of them for making dinner time the highlight of my day! There was a fantastic ice dancing show that required getting special tickets. That didn't go so well, in my opinion. We were told tickets would be handed out at 10:00 one morning. (This was the second round of ticket giveaways.) I went down at about ten minutes before hand, and the line already spread over the length of the ship. I probably stood in line for 45 minutes. I believe that could have been handled differently. Why not just have the room attendants leave tickets under the door? On the first day of excursions in Tenerife, it was a nightmare--a complete and utter failure of the activity director (or whoever handled it) to have an organized departure for those taking tours. We stood in line and then were seated, waiting, for over an hour--time that was supposed to have been spent on our tour. After complaining loudly--on the phone and in writing--I was refunded a portion of my fee, and then the following days the tours went smoothly. Hundreds of people were digusted on that day and I'm sure made their voices heard. We had some problems with people saving seats in the Metropolis Theater--when there were signs everywhere, and announcements everywhere, that saving seats was prohibited. Some people just don't like to follow rules. It makes it very frustrating when you go early enough to get a good seat, only to find that someone is saving 8 seats for friends who don't get there until 5 minutes before show time. I believe that could have been handled by having ushers seat everyone. First come, first serve. Instead, people were rude and unkind--on both ends. I didn't visit the movie theater on board one time, primarily because the movies weren't any good. Also, they ran the same movies over and over on TV. It would have been nice to have a better selection. CBS was the TV station providing some shows, and they ran the same shows the entire trip. Why couldn't they have recorded a couple of weeks worth of shows, instead of repeating the same things? My cabin was excellent. The staff was excellent. There was plenty of entertainment for whoever wanted it. So aside from a few glitches, the cruise was fun and left me with mostly good memories. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Pre-Cruise:We bought RCL's pre-cruise package of spending one night in Fort Lauderdale prior to departure. The Sheraton Ocean Beach was comfortable and offered a great view of the ocean from our room on the tenth floor. ... Read More
Pre-Cruise:We bought RCL's pre-cruise package of spending one night in Fort Lauderdale prior to departure. The Sheraton Ocean Beach was comfortable and offered a great view of the ocean from our room on the tenth floor. Transportation to the ship was easy and convenient.Embarkation:Boarding was reasonably easy. We had the option of using a check-in line for frequent cruisers but elected to use the first line that was available. The entire process took less than 20 minutes. Since cabins were not ready until 1 PM, we were directed to the Windjammer cafe for lunch. As you can imagine, the buffet was packed but the ship's staff assisted in finding us a table in short order. Our cabin was located in the stern of the vessel on the 7th deck. It was roomy for a cruise ship and within an hour or so, our checked luggage was delivered to our cabin.Ship's Condition;The Navigator of the Seas is a ten-year old ship but is quite well maintained. The brassware was polished, carpets looked new and the paint was fresh. However, the TV's in the cabins were also 10 years old and needed replacement with new flat panel sets. Our cabin was an ocean view and located near the stern of the ship. It was quiet and comfortable. It is one of the largest non-balcony cabins in this class of ships. On the negative side, the refrigerator barely cooled water. It was reported the second day of the cruise and was never replaced nor repaired. Additionally, the television was ten years old and needed replacing years ago. The color was faulty and picture quality terrible. Our stateroom attendant was quietly efficient, and did an excellent job of keeping our room neat and tidy.Food Service and Quality:We were assigned early dining at 5:30 PM. Initially, mealtime took well over two hours. When this was brought to management's attention, the situation was corrected. Meal selection could stand some improvement as choices included a disproportionate number of vegetarian meals. Food quality ranged from very good to marginal in the dining room. Service was excellent, however. We loved to have lunch in the dining room some of the time as the made-to-order salads were outstanding as were the homemade rolls. Breakfast was usually in the Windjammer and was average for a cruise ship. Eggs were not always hot when served and some of the pastries seemed dry. Service in the Windjammer was excellent. RCL has made substantial improvement in the attitude of the wait staff from previous cruises. There folks were friendly and very helpful.On-Board Entertainment and Facilities:The fitness center was well-equipped, although some of the weight equipment had seen better days. The cardio machines were in reasonable shape. The major issue in the center was the temperature. I made several complaints to Guest Services about the high temperature and humidity in the center...nothing changed. If RCL would as a minimum installed fans to circulate the air, it would be very much appreciated.The Internet Cafe was expensive (as is the case on most cruise ships) and service was very slow. I decided not to use the internet for the above reasons. I did hear several guests complain, however.The library needed to be restocked. The books were old and somewhat worn. And the selection was not very good. Libraries on Holland America ships were exponentially better.Evening entertainment ranged from very good to below average. The Elton John impersonator was wonderful as was the tenor from London's West End. We walked out on the violinist and the Celine Dion impersonator. The ship's orchestra was excellent albeit a bit loud. The production shows were below RCL standards. I feel it was the shows themselves that weren't very good rather than the singers and dancers. The Cruise Director was average....corny at times.The enrichment lecturer, Joe, was outstanding. He was well-infomed and an excellent presenter. His sessions were always well-attended.Kudos to RCL for providing religious services during the voyage. There was a Catholic priest on board throughout the entire trip. On Sunday, Protestant services were held as well using a visiting pastor.Port Calls:We visited Tenerife, Canary Islands, Palma De Mallorca, and Corsica. All ports were interesting. We took RCL sponsored tours in Tenerife and Palma. Both were very good and not overly pricey. We were dockside for all three port visits.Debarkation:Debarkation at Civitavecchia was easy and orderly. However, with 3000 passengers leaving at nearly the same time, the elevators were the usual problem. A suggestion would be to arrive at your designated debarkation point early so allow time to take the elevator.Summary:Overall this was an enjoyable repositioning cruise. Some small glitches but nothing serious enough to ruin a good vacation. We have already booked an RCL repositioning cruise from Civitavecchia to Galveston in 2012. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Background Mid-60's, 30th cruise overall, 8th on Royal Caribbean which includes four trans-Atlantics, one Panama Canal, and three one-week cruises. Pre-cruise Flew into Ft. Lauderdale a day early and stayed at the Red Carpet ... Read More
Background Mid-60's, 30th cruise overall, 8th on Royal Caribbean which includes four trans-Atlantics, one Panama Canal, and three one-week cruises. Pre-cruise Flew into Ft. Lauderdale a day early and stayed at the Red Carpet Inn.  Reviews were mixed and leaned towards negative but we found it fine for our purposes.  Free airport shuttle and port shuttle, clean, free internet, and had a reasonably priced restaurant attached to it which was good as there is nothing else around it other than a sports grill attached to the hotel next door—I think it was a Best Western.  Although in the flight path of the airport, we were not disturbed by the planes at all. I think they limit take offs and landings at night.  Largest pool I have ever seen for an establishment of that size. Embarkation We had heard that because the hotel's port shuttle was first come, first served it was advisable to line up early which we did at 10:30 a.m. for a 11:00 shuttle.   However, since we were leaving on a Thursday, there was no line, just one other couple and a lady waiting.   First they took the lady to the airport rental car location to pick up a car and then took us to the port.  The driver remarked how easy it was leaving on an off day.  It was around 11:30 when we got to the port and handed our luggage over.  We were directed to a large waiting area and told that the computers were down, and we would have to wait until they were up again to process our boarding. When the "hostess" made a remark about how clean the ship would be with the wait, I got suspicious that maybe they were cleaning because of the virus.  Especially since they were still cleaning cabins when we got on.  However, our cruising friend got there before the computers went down and he got right on. There was seating for everyone in the waiting area and employees who would ordinarily man the check-in counters circulated offering  water or juice. There was no separate area for Platinum, Diamond, etc. Every 15 minutes or so they would tell us that they computers were still down and thank us for our patience.  Around 12:45 they started boarding.  It was done in an orderly fashion with people being released by rows from the seating areas to the check-in area in the order they arrived at the terminal..  Check-in went efficiently and we were thanked for our patience by every employee we encountered.  We got on the ship and dropped off our things in the cabin before heading for lunch. After lunch we returned to the cabin to find our Diamond Value books and concierge lounge pass key but no ice in the bucket yet.  We had a balcony cabin on Deck 6 very near the front.   A few minutes later the room steward dropped by to introduce himself and I requested four things:  1) two Compasses a day; 2) ice put in my six-pack thermo bag which would be on the shower floor because it "sweats;" 3) empty the mini fridge and  4) see if he could hustle us up an egg crate mattress which he did do. By 3:00 p.m. luggage had been delivered and unpacking complete.  That is a record.  All contents of the suitcases were intact if you get my drift. The muster drill for our section was held in the Ixtapa lounge rather than outside.  Much preferred this to standing in the hot sun, cheek to jowl with other passengers.  It went quickly.  I liked that the closet had a "cubby" for life jackets storage in the cabin.  Let the cruise begin! We are "discarded" Diamonds on our first cruise as Diamond members.  The overflow lounge was full to be sure but very organized with no problem getting drinks (either at the bar or ordered while seated) and very nice appetizers. We requested late dining because the eastbound TA cruise  we took last year had early dining at 5:30 rather than the 6:00 we expected.  Couple this with moving the clocks up an hour at noon several days at sea (making our dinner at 4:30 "stomach time") and port calls that lasted until 5-6:00 p.m. we switched from our usual main dining time.to late.  However, on embarkation, we found our late dining would be 8:30 which is a little late for us and early dining would be 6:00.   So I asked the concierge (hey, I'm Diamond now if only for a few minutes) if he could assist us in changing to MTD and, basically, he blew me off.  If he had politely told me that he wished he could help but this could only be handled by me in person or some other words to that effect, I would have understood.  Instead, he told me to go down to the desk at the dining room and see if I could get it changed.  I did and after waiting 20 minutes for the lady who could handle it, I was told to come back at 9:30 the next morning as the lady was "unavailable."  So, we went off to the dining room the first night  to discover we had been assigned a table with great people.  A family and friends group from Canada who warmly welcomed us into their circle.  We decided we didn't want a change after all.  Things do have a way of working out. Our cabin was a D2 which we got on a guarantee.  The only difference I could see between that and an E2 (which we have had before) is the sofa was longer so I guess the cabin was longer, too. It was still just as "skinny."   There was a shampoo dispenser in the shower but no soap dispenser.  If you have a  "soap on a rope" stashed away, now would be a good time to use it.  The little bars provided slip through the wires on the soap holder and good luck picking it up without getting out of the shower. The shower had solid, curved doors rather than a curtain that "loves" you.   The cabin steward emptied the mini-bar but put all the items to the side of the fridge inside its "cubby.".  As the cruise progressed, the fridge "moved" over and one of the soda cans got punctured by the door hinge.  So we took everything out and put it on shelving on the side which was not being used, telling the room steward why.  He offered to take the things away but we told him no need to.  We did not get charged for the soda.  Another thing I liked about our balcony was it was glass below the railing vs. steel that we had on the Voyager.  Three previous trans-Atlantics have been on the Voyager so this review will make inevitable comparisons between the two ships.  The layout is the same other than different names for the venues except the Sports Bar was replaced by a wine bar. To me, the crew was much friendlier.    Not that they weren't on the Voyager but I felt more so on the Navigator. There seemed to be better organization throughout the cruise particularly in the area of port calls and accuracy in the Compass.  They had separate gangways for the ship's tours so that alleviated the crowding to get off.  We only disembarked one time with the "masses" to catch a private tour and walked off the ship with little or no delay.  Other times, we waited until later as we didn't have any tours lined up other than the HOHO.  There were fewer announcements.  I can only remember one or two for Bingo or the Art Auction.  The ship offered shuttle service into town centers but it wasn't heavily hawked with words like "you are miles from town and you need to buy our service because cabs are not readily available or more expensive (pick one).  In fact, you weren't that far from town and, if you shared a cab, it was cheaper than four individual shuttle tickets.   If you got off and decided to hoof it after seeing how close you were, you could get your unused shuttle ticket(s) refunded.  We are big time trivia players.  The prizes were much better than on the Voyager which seemed to only have key chains, pens, and water wallets. We got backpacks, shoulder bags, photo albums, hats, t-shirts, halfway useful stuff.  It  probably helped that they are doing away with their Vitality Program so they had items you traded for tickets to get rid of.  However, I heard on the Voyager TA at the same time, it was water wallets, pens, and key chains for trivia.  The hosts were more congenial and their English easy to understand.  On the Voyager there seemed to always be a confrontation at every game over one or two questions and some passengers getting quite ugly to the entertainment staff.   Did not happen once on this cruise.  There was one question that clearly had the wrong answer to it on the paper and the host  discarded it as even she knew Beethoven did not die in 1927 (lol).   There were three or four games a day, although, the 8:00 p.m. one usually involved a music theme trivia as in "name that tune/artist/movie" which was not our strong point. They had a trivia marathon which kept a running score for the 10:00 a.m. sea-day trivia sessions with the final held on the last day.   Unfortunately, the last day trivia was evicted from our usual meeting place at 10:00 a.m. by the art auction so the final was at 10:15 p.m.  The art auction had been a "problem" on most of our morning sessions trying to set up and this severely limited seating.  All the teams seemed to make it to the late hour for the final session.  All the trivia games were held in the Schooner Bar other than the marathon which was in Ixtapa.  However, the Schooner is too small a venue for trivia and seats went fast so people were pulling stools out of the casino and from the bar.  I did not think the production shows were as good as on the Voyager. The dancing was good but the sets minimal and the songs were for the most part ones we were not familiar with.  Husband and I had a running argument over whether the music was live or recorded.  It was probably a little of both.  The main singers may have been live and the orchestra was on the stage in the background during one of the shows.  However, on another show they were in the pit at the beginning which was lowered when the show started but not covered and I didn't see any tops of heads showing (we were in the balcony) nor were they bought back up when acknowledged after the show was over.  The third show I never saw the orchestra either before or after.  The Cruise Director was missing in action unless on stage.  At the M&M for our cruise critic group the staff had a few raffle prizes one of which was a small stuffed seal which I won.  The Activities Director hosting the M&M told me to bring the seal  to Bingo because there were some bonus things that went with it.  He was late getting there and when he got there, he had to chase down the sheet of paper which took awhile.  Turned out it was worthless stuff for me like 10 percent off at a gift store or something off spa treatment, or extra jackpot card for Bingo.  Anyway, while waiting, the card sales were going on, I did some calculating.  It was $32 for six cards for each of four games.  They had an electronic thingee for $67 that had 30 "cards" on it.  You just sat and held it and it did all the work keeping up with the numbers.  Other things was a strip of somethings (scratch offs???)  that if you bought you got a t-shirt, and you could buy my seal for $12 that came with the sheet of discounts.  If you bought  two "packets," you got an extra jackpot card of three games.  A lot of ways to separate you from your money.  When the game started, I counted about 80 people there.  Say they paid an average of $50 a person (and I think that is conservative) that would be $4,000.  The first game was straight bingo, around 10 numbers called, three winners split $76.  Next game was four corners, again about a dozen numbers called, think that one was worth $92.  The next game was "postage stamp" winner(s) got $102.  The last game was coverall and if all your numbers were covered in 44 pulls, you got the jackpot of around $1,500.  If not, then the game continued and the winner got $128 or thereabouts and some money was put towards the last session "jackpot must go" coverall.  Now you do the math.  $4,000 minimum taken in, and $400 paid out plus maybe $500 held back for the final day jackpot unless someone covered up all the numbers earlier with the allotted pulls.  That's $3,000 in their pocket each of the six sessions they had.   Out of curiosity, I went down to a couple of more games and the number of players participating were down (they can do math, too) so the payoffs were even less and split many times. The last coverall game where the jackpot would be given away had maybe 100 people there and the jackpot was $3,600.  They called 60 numbers before someone got it.  $67 electronic handhelds won most of the prizes—doh.   I figure the cruise line made about $18,000 on that little venture. The M&M was well attended with the Activities Director emceeing it with some helpers. They had punch and appetizers.  Raffle prizes were given out and everyone received a bag with a water wallet in it.  The helper facilitated the gift exchange by handing out drawing tickets to those that participated when they turned in their gifts and then delivering the gifts after their number was called.  Food I would like to say it has improved.  Not.  I've learned on the TA's that once the menu gets to Steak Diane, it is going to go downhill from there in my opinion.  They did have lobster twice—once on the Fisherman's Platter and again as "surf and turf." Unfortunately that night they had a special showing of the ice show for Platinum, Diamond, etc. people at 8:00.  Since our dinner hour was 8:30, we went to the Windjammer to eat prior to the show.  However, before the show started, they told us that it would be o.k. for late seating to go late to dinner.  Wish we had known that beforehand.  Both lobster dinners were on a formal night.  If you like salmon, fish, pasta, chicken then you are in business.  No one at our table availed themselves of the $15 steak so I can't comment on that.  It really saves me from myself because I don't agonize over which appetizer, entrEe or dessert to order and end up ordering multiples.  I've never left the dining room hungry, there is always something even if I make a meal on appetizers, soup and dessert. We ate lunches in the Windjammer and could always find a place to sit either by ourselves or asking someone at a large table if we could join them.   I noticed some people would come in and get their silverware and place it on a table to save it while getting their food.  I usually just had soup and dessert but husband filled his plate and there seemed to be a good selection.  The plates have shrunk from the large oval ones to regular dinner plate size.  No trays.  Service was pretty good with clearing tables and getting drinks if you asked. We ate all our breakfasts in the MDR.  On the Voyager, the MDR had an "express" breakfast buffet that had fruit, bread, eggs, bacon, etc. your basics every day.   You could, also, order omelets, pancakes, etc. from the menu.  On this ship, they had a buffet some days or maybe just a fruit bar or a pancake making bar or nothing at all a few times.  So I can't address how the seating was at breakfast in the Windjammer. Casino They only had about seven penny slots and one was down the entire cruise.  Two of them paid off enough to keep you entertained for a half-hour or so with a dollar at a penny a pull.  The others just sucked up your money faster than a tornado through a trailer park so you had no trouble at getting a seat at those.  Usual table games but I did notice the minimum at BJ was $5 rather than the $6 on the Voyager.  On formal nights, it was non-smoking in the evenings. I didn't happen to go through there so I can't comment on whether the attendance was up or down.  I do know that non-smokers were very pleased, though.  Cost Cutting/Amenities No chocolates, towel animals some nights but not every night.  On the good side, the Compass was not loaded up with all the inserts as in the past.  The Art Auction one was always there but I suspect Park Galleries supplies those and they had the half "strip"of  promotions but that was it.   Gift is slated to go in September.  We got the ever popular baseball hats this time. No daily "newspaper" was a real bummer because on a TA you are in a vacuum as far as news goes.  CNN on the television was reruns of what we had already seen four days before and Fox News didn't provide much either. We got bits and pieces about the Swine Flu.  ESPN equally worthless—taped reruns of long ago played games—usually soccer.  I did go to the concierge lounge twice to see what it was like.  I didn't stay more than a few minutes each time.  Neither time was it crowded (11:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.)  Not being a coffee drinker and wanting more than a danish and juice for breakfast, this is one amenity I won't miss come September 1. Because of the length of a TA cruise, you are bound to have a lot of older, retired, multi cruised RCL people.  This was no exception so an overflow lounge was utilized in the evenings.  I know people have said it is not about the drinks but, trust me, it is about the drinks.  I made a mental note of people around me and for every glass of wine/champagne I saw poured, I saw five or six mixed drinks.  I saw people downing several mixed drinks in an hour.   I will be interested to see how that ratio works on our return TA in November when the mixed drinks are 25% off and wine/champagne is free  The service was outstanding in the lounge and the appetizers plentiful and good.  There was a lot of socializing when people would come into the lounge and spot friends and join them or made arrangements to meet there at a certain time.  If seating was "tight" (like right before the first dinner seating when you have second dinner seating people coming in before 1st seating people have left), people were not shy about asking to join you if you had seats at your table and always welcomed.  It really is a good perk to get together with fellow cruisers and I am glad that Royal Caribbean is keeping it in some fashion. They had a section by the pool roped off for suites but I never saw more than three or four sitting there.  Since the weather, for the most part, was windy and cool, there was no problem getting seats elsewhere.  No chair hogs this cruise!  In the show room they roped off the first two rows of the balcony for the suite guests.  However, I heard some people just stepped over the ropes and sat down.  Maybe they were suite people. We were laughing because the first row of the balcony is not that desirable because the railing obstructs the view.  I did not see either the pool or the theater area being "monitored" to make sure it was only being used by suite guests.  We never had any problems getting a seat in the theater even coming at the last minute.   I have no ill will towards the suite guests getting these perks any more than against those that ride first class in an airplane while I am crammed in the back.  They paid a lot more than I did for the cruise so they deserve more than I get.  The Value Booklet has been gutted for all practical purposes.  Wine is a BOGO, JR has a BOGO for a milkshake only, coffee, same, percentage off things of like 10 percent—just about everything required you to buy something to get something.  They did still have the $5 match play at the casino and the slot pull coupon.  Has anybody ever won anything with that other than a key chain or t-shirt? Admittedly, the service is not as good as in the "old days" but that is due to cutting back on the staff not the staff not doing their job.  They can only do so much in the time allotted to them.  Our room steward was as good as we have ever had.   Our dining waiters were, also, satisfactory. Our waiter was new so there were some "whiffs" but still better service than I have had on many cruises.   I noticed we saw the head waiter much more frequently now as he/she is pitching in to take up the slack when necessary.  In the "old days" about the only time we ever saw him was when he was "trolling for tips."  A quick "how is everything" while looking past you  plotting the move to the next table.  Hence, I was never quick with a tip for them if I didn't ask for anything from them.  Now, I feel they earn the tip because they are so visible and helpful. This is a review so I am not going to editorialize on my opinions of the new policy of not allowing OBC/discounts being combined or the Diamond loyalty program cuts other than to say the playing field as been leveled in our choosing future cruises.  Library It was as pitiful as it is on the Voyager.  Bring your own reading material.  On the last day, I was taking up a paper back I had finished planning to put it on the shelf.  As I entered, there was a lady doing "dumpster diving" in the box that you return books in.  She had placed some of her books in there.  I know because she pointed out one she said she had finished by the same author of ones I was putting in there.  There were many paper backs which the library doesn't have.  I was wondering how one would distinguish what hardback was a donation and what was the library's when husband pointed out the library had "dots" on the spine to facilitate shelving them.  So, if you get desperate for reading material, do some dumpster diving.  It seems to me that Royal could dedicate some shelves for a "book exchange" since a lot of their shelves are empty.  Sick Bay Unfortunately, I had to visit the medical facilities.  My ears stopped up—probably a combination of air pressure flying in and build up of wax.  While it didn't seem that crowded when I went to the waiting room (maybe a half dozen people there and some were waiting with companions), it was still over an hour after I signed in to be looked at.  Once  the doctor saw me, he was very professional but English was definitely a second language and I had trouble understanding him.   Boy, am I glad I had insurance. $70 to walk through the door, $82 each ear to treat it, $35 for "medication" which was some ear drops and peroxide. I think I'll come out about even paying for insurance vs. charges.  I heard a broken wrist was over $3K.  Buy that insurance!! When checking in, the nurse went over the $70 charge to be seen and said that there would be an additional charge for services and medication.  So it is not like she didn't warn me.    I noticed a vending machine for OTC medications outside the door.  Didn't check out the prices, though.  Smoking As a smoker, I found the smoking rules very acceptable.  As I mentioned before, no smoking on formal nights in the casino.  I was surprised that smoking was allowed in the Two Poets Pub because on the Voyager, I heard, they don't have it in the Pub there anymore.  I never smoked in the cabin to begin with as a courtesy to those that would occupy the cabin after me so this was not a problem for me.  I did smoke on our balcony when the balconies on either side were not being occupied.  Early in the cruise, when my neighbor was out on the balcony at the railing, I did ask him if my smoking on the balcony bothered him and he told me it did not.   In the Schooner Bar, they have taken the smoking away from the "main" area but there is smoking allowed by the casino entrance.  Smoking allowed on one side of the Bolero Lounge separated by the stairs in the atrium.  Smoking was allowed on the Starboard side of the pool deck.  There were no ashtrays on the tables but a lot of "standing" ashtrays scattered around.  I was glad I had my Altoids tin to use.  Overall, I think their smoking policy is very fair for smokers.  While I am sure the many non-smokers would like to see the entire ship non-smoking or smokers relegated to the top deck by the smoke stack, that is not going to happen.  I think Carnival's Paradise showed this not to be an economical option.    I think Royal Caribbean has a good balance accommodating both smokers and non-smokers. If smoking on balconies bothers you, then you can cruise Celebrity which does not allow it.  Disembarkation On past cruises, there was always a paragraph in the Compass about how you should buy their transportation to the airport because cabs could be a two hour wait.  I assumed they meant they weren't plentiful.  When we disembarked last year in Barcelona, we carried our own luggage off as we arranged for our own transportation to the airport with pick up at  8:30.    I saw plenty of cabs there but, keep in mind, this was 7:30 or so in the morning.  This time, we were spending the night in Barcelona so we were not in any hurry to get off the ship as our hotel room would not be ready.  I, also, noted this time we were not asked to vacate the cabin by 8:30 as we have been in the past.  Aside note:  Our cabin steward knocked on the door at 7:30 and started to come in the cabin.  So, put out the do not disturb sign the night before.  When they "kicked us off the ship" around 9:30 a.m., we got in line for the cabs.  Good news is that there were plenty of cabs.  As fast as they could load them, they were leaving with another one waiting.  The bad news, it was over an hour by the time we got in line until we got to the front of the line. I think this is where the up to two hour wait sentence came in.   I'm sure we got in the line when it was at its longest. because there were many spending extra nights in Barcelona.  I did not hear anyone boo-hooing they were going to miss their flights because of the lengthy wait.  I don't think our cab driver was happy we weren't going to the airport because to make up for it instead of going around Las Ramblas to our hotel, he went down Las Ramblas which was very slow going and the meter was ticking.  Miscellaneous Notes No hand sanitizers.  The reasoning I heard was that they aren't that effective for Norovirus to start with and that people were depending on them rather than washing their hands which is the most effective way to protect against it.  As far as I know, no one got the virus or the swine flu.  However, lots of coughing, colds, etc.  I think it is due more to being in a confined environment than lack of "sanitizing."  I do a heavy dose of building up immunity before leaving home and while flying/cruising with Airborne, Cold FX, and a few of those awful tasting zinc tablets.  So far, it has worked for me.  I could set the clock of being sick 48 hours after any long-distance flight or commencing a cruise before I started being pro-active.  The clocks were moved up at noon every day (7 of them) except for the last advancement which was done at night.  Did not have any major problems with getting elevators except during those times you would expect it—dinner, leaving the show.  We think the ones that don't go to decks 13 and 14 were quicker to arrive, though.  When reboarding after spending a day in port, if you keep on walking past the first bank of elevators you come to, you will come to a second bank and there was never a wait there for one.  No iced tea except in the Windjammer between lunch and 9:30 when it closes.  I make my own stash by putting a tea bag in a water bottle and fill it with water for those off times. Husband liberated a coffee cup from the Windjammer because he said the paper cups in the Promenade were flimsy and too hot to hold even with the thingees there to put around them. No yellow mustard—French's type.  The only mustard husband will eat.  On the Voyager you could get it in packets in the Promenade Cafe but not on this ship.  They only had Dijon type. Ports I won't go into them much as the TA's are one time stops. Tenerife One of our fellow CC members lined up a private tour which took us to the volcanos.  Very good tour and half Royal Caribbean's price.  The only downside is you must walk off the pier to get to the transportation as no cabs or tour buses other than RCL's are allowed on the pier.  It is about a ¾ mile walk.  I think what surprised me the most was I wasn't aware of how "stark" part of the island is around the volcanos.  In fact, our driver told us that movies are filmed there (and we saw one was being filmed) because it resembles moonscape and "old" West.  Reminded me of Monument Valley.  A lot of beautiful vegetation in the lower levels. Lisbon We did the HOHO bus there. Having never been to these ports, we decided to get an overview so when/if we return, we will have a better idea of what we would like to concentrate on.   I purchased all our HOHO tickets from Expedia before leaving so I would not have to worry about having Euros or finding a kiosk or whatever to purchase them once in the port.  As it turned out, you can buy them from the bus driver but they want Euros.  They may take dollars but I'm sure the exchange rate would not be good (lol).  We bought shuttle tickets from the ship but it turned out the HOHO bus stopped right in front of the terminal so we got a refund on the ship's shuttle tickets.  Those that took the shuttle were let out with a five minute walk into town. Cadiz In Cadiz, we couldn't dock where they had planned; we were put in a cargo terminal instead.   We were delayed getting off so the port call was extended an hour.  When we got off, numerous crew members (including the Captain, I heard) were deployed to direct people around the containers to the end of the pier. Again did the HOHO route.  We had to walk about ½ a mile to get into town.  The reason why we were shifted to the cargo port was because the Ruby Princess beat us to our docking place.  Once it town, we went to the tourist information office to find out where to pick up the bus.  In front of Burger King  right across the street.  Unfortunately, the stop before this stop was right in front of the Ruby Princess.  So, when the bus got to us, it was mostly full—maybe only a dozen seats left.  The first bus came and some people shall we say, were not very orderly.  Being told that it would be half an hour (it seemed longer) until the next bus came (Cadiz does not usually have that many cruise passengers in town at the same time so they were overwhelmed) we got a little more "organized."  A line was formed and people politely told where the end of it was.  After awhile a HOHO employee came over to direct people to the end of the line and keep things organized.. Malaga HOHO.  About a ½ mile walk to the bus stop along a promenade by the beach.   This is where I came to the realization that ear buds are not designed for my ears.  No matter how I pushed, shoved, twisted, they would not stay in my ear.  In Lisbon, the driver spoke over a PA system (good English, easy to understand).  In Cadiz and Malaga they had the ear buds which you could hook up and choose a language.  Mental note to self, next TA when I plan to do the HOHO, bring some el cheapo ear phones with me.  Continental Airline's won't work because they have two prongs instead of one.  You need a one pronged ear phone. Additional Notes In Tenerife, our first European stop, we tried to get Euro's.  For some reason, our cards would not work in the two ATMs we tried.. We had some Euros with us so this was not the end of the world.  If push came to shove, we had a friend who could get euros off his card for us.  In Lisbon, we again attempted to get some Euros from an ATM with no luck.  It appeared the ATM wanted  a six digit pin and we have a four digit one.  However, at a second machine, we noticed that in addition to buttons running down the side of the machine which we had pressed to "confirm our transaction"  after using them to set the transaction up, there were some buttons on the base of the machine where we could "confirm our transaction."  That worked.  For some reason we cannot fathom, we were invited to dine with the Captain.  We were in an el-cheapo balcony guarantee cabin, just made Diamond, our ship board tabs on previous cruises have been practically nothing due to OBC (on the last TA cruise got $100 back), don't wear designer clothes or expensive jewelry, don't gamble, didn't suck up to any officers, but we do clean up nice.   Dart board?  We were extended the invitation on a Monday evening at dinner and told an invitation would be forthcoming.  Tuesday evening the Head Waiter discreetly told my husband he needed to speak with us after dinner.  We figured they were going to tell us that a mistake had been made and give us a bottle of wine for our disappointment (lol).  Nope, just wanted confirmation we were coming and to give us the official invitation.  Needless to say, it was the highlight of this cruise.  The Captain and his wife were there and an officer.  The other couples invited to round out the 12-man table were just Plain Jane people like us—or appeared to be.  I was worried husband didn't have a tux with him but we were told a suit would be fine.  Only one other male guest had a tux on and he was "apologizing" saying it was all he had bought. We had a special menu, signed by the captain and wine was flowing.  They took a group picture of us from the balcony and presented it to us after dinner.   I am passing this on not to "brag" but to give everyone hope they, too, might get an invite. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to e-mail me at whitlock@alumni.utexas.net.  It was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Friends invited us to join them on this Transatlantic cruise, I am usually a loyal Celebrity Cruise Line cruiser - this was the 3rd trip that I have sailed on RCCL. The Navigator is a beautiful ship, well maintained and the open concourse ... Read More
Friends invited us to join them on this Transatlantic cruise, I am usually a loyal Celebrity Cruise Line cruiser - this was the 3rd trip that I have sailed on RCCL. The Navigator is a beautiful ship, well maintained and the open concourse is beautiful - a much smaller version to the open concourse on the Allure of the Seas. The smaller size is somewhat of an advantage as it takes relatively little time to travel from the front of the ship to the back of the ship and the new electronic navigation devices near the elevators made it so easy to find any venue on the ship. We had a room at the front of the ship with windows just below the ships bridge - sort of like riding shotgun in a car! Room was slightly larger than the ocean view rooms that are located on the sides of the ship. Friendly, efficient room attendant (Marcelino), he kept the room in an immaculate condition, twice daily ice delivery. Great food in the Sapphire Dining room (My Time Dining), excellent service! The Windjammer Buffet had an excellent salad bar and outstanding curries, the service level was great always someone from the wait staff offering coffee, tea, juice, water. Tables cleared in an efficient manner, only very few times when one had to search for a table. I found that there was excellent service from all staff members with two major exceptions - the Front Desk Reception area, staff unorganized, extremely slow and not as user friendly. Also noted that there did not seem to be many senior officers around and the Cruise Director was possibly the worst Cruise Director I have ever seen. The Diamond Lounge (held nightly in Star Lounge) was great - bar staff (Tatiana) made a point of remembering your drink preferences. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This cruise was for my wife and I on our 25th wedding anniversary. Neither of us had ever traveled to Europe. This repositioning Trans-Atlantic Cruise seemed perfect, and for the most part it was. This was our second time on Royal ... Read More
This cruise was for my wife and I on our 25th wedding anniversary. Neither of us had ever traveled to Europe. This repositioning Trans-Atlantic Cruise seemed perfect, and for the most part it was. This was our second time on Royal Carribean, but first time on one of the mid sized ships. While we are "Elite" on Princess, we are just starting out on Royal. That being said, the embarkation procedure was fine, not a long wait, not a short wait, but overall it was fine. We were very pleased with the ship, The "Mall" on board is awesome, as is the skating rink on board. We went to the ice skating show "Ice Dancin' " and it was a great show in its own right, but amazing that it was on a cruise ship. The Ship itself was very calm, probably the smoothest cruise I've ever been on (but to be fair, the Atlantic was very calm during the duration of our cruise). The dining was very good to Amazing. At our table we had 3 couples, all celebrating anniversaries. We enjoyed all of the couples, so whatever software R.C. uses to matches up couples is VERY GOOD. We ate at the Steak House 3 times and each time it was amazing. The 18% Gratuity on beverages is outrageously high, especially with the fact that if you buy a bottle of wine there is a 18% gratuity on that too. There are beverage packages, but they are expensive to the point you would need to stay loaded continuously to justify it. I am a realist and realize that we're on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, so things aren't going to be cheap... but 18% is a bit high in my opinion. The shows were great, and the cruise director Jeffrey was amazing. The Ports were nice and wished we could have had more time, particularly in Lisbon and Le Harve (France). We took several tours from the cruise line and all we nice. We stayed several days in London after the cruise was done, so we didn't use the Cruise tour to Stonehenge and Heathrow. Overall we had a wonderful time, and recommend the ship, the line and this cruise highly. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We were on this ship in November and the difference was night and day. This trip was 14 days of total enjoyment for us. Again we had a balcony and the room was in very good condition and our cabin steward was terrific, taking care of all ... Read More
We were on this ship in November and the difference was night and day. This trip was 14 days of total enjoyment for us. Again we had a balcony and the room was in very good condition and our cabin steward was terrific, taking care of all of our needs. We dined in the main dining room every night as a party of 8 travelling together. Our waiter and his assistant were the best we had ever had on a RC cruise ship. The waiter had been around the business for 25 plus years and you could see the way he had trained his young assistant to take care of their passengers. The food was superb every night and we always had plenty to eat. All of the evening shows were top notch entertainment and one f the bands on board, a group call Horizon was the best we had ever heard for dancing. We followed them everywhere they played on the ship. We did a couple of excursions thru the cruise line and they were very good trips to see what we had wanted to see. Disembarking in the countries were a little cumbersome but we worked thru it and didn't let it affect our good time. Our group of 4 couples danced our way across the ocean and we had a phenomenal time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
At the age of 63 it was time to embark on a new journey. As a child I traveled with my family, as a young woman I ventured to a beach resort with some other friends, as a married woman I traveled with my husband and as a single mother to ... Read More
At the age of 63 it was time to embark on a new journey. As a child I traveled with my family, as a young woman I ventured to a beach resort with some other friends, as a married woman I traveled with my husband and as a single mother to visit family members who wintered in Florida. As my son grew up we discovered cruising together, and then shared that joy as a family when I remarried. Although I still share traveling with my grown son and my husband it was time for just me. Many woman wait until they are widowed-not me-no time like the present. I eagerly anticipated being anonymous but at the same time apprehension as I am a very social being and the thought of no meaningful conversation or connection for 2 weeks was a bit creepy, to say the least. What I found was shear exhilaration, liberation, joy, life, laughter and discovery It was a 13 night transatlantic crossing on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. We began in Ft. Lauderdale, were at sea for 7 consecutive nights, first stop was the Azores, another night at sea, then Port in Lisbon. Portugal and Port the following day in Vigo, Spain, another day at Sea then last day/port Le Havre, France then disembark in Southampton, Great Britain. This was not just a transatlantic cruise but a journey of independence, a journey of freedom, a journey of self expression, a journey to feel, to experience, to express and to reconnect my former self back to my new self. I must thank my wonderful husband John who planted the seed for this trip, if it hadn’t been for his desire and planning to ride his bicycle solo through Italy and at the right time, I wouldn’t have had this amazing opportunity. It was our plan for me to meet him “across the pond” as I had when he rode solo the “End to End” starting in John of Groats, Scotland and ending in Lands End, Great Britain. That trip was in July 2 years ago, and traveling via British Airways, although my favorite way to fly, is certainly no feat in independence and self expression, although lugging his bicycle suitcase to the train station and transferring trains was a physical feat in itself but not much more. The only thing gained from it was knowing that working out regularly makes a difference, This solo cruise adventure boils down to one thing, as Cyndi Lauper stated about her 1981 song ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun' “I want it to be an anthem for women around the world - and I mean all women - and a sustaining message that we are powerful human beings. I made sure that when a woman saw the video, she would see herself represented, whether she was thin or heavy, glamorous or not, and whatever race she was." As for the other wonderful women I met - We were all of that. We were of many shapes, sizes, nationalities, ethnicities, colors, lifestyles and ages but our one common denominator was to embark on an adventure where we were completely unknown, unrestrained and to be solo incc a predominantly couples oriented group. But each of us, regardless of age, had a sense of adventure, openness and acceptance one glass of wine at a time. A big thank you to the Navigator Cruiser Director who organized a solo sailor 9:30 am meeting for the first 2 mornings. His personality was engaging, truly warm, genuine and welcoming. He quickly determined the solos, singles, and single solos so everyone knew who was who. Jeff made it a point to get to know each of us and not just to lead the group but to make the group the one everyone on the ship wanted to be on. (Yes, we were the in crowd-the cool kids) He coordinated daily lunches for the group where there was more mingling and soon we were recognizing each other on the dance floor, in different venues on the ship and making a shout out when someone was absent from the group get togethers. I hadn’t been given a set dining time with group table so I decided I would just go to the Windjammer to eat rather than sitting alone in the dining room. That idea was a bit depressing for me because I enjoy getting “cleaned up” for dinner, having a glass of wine and pleasant conversation. So the idea of 13 lonely dinners was a real downer. Lucky for me, one of the solo group invited me to join his early seating table of 8 on the second evening (first full day at sea). He felt quite lucky that he had such a great group to eat with and he was happy to share. To the dismay of the waiter (as the tables are set up for 8, he made room for me, #9. And the best part was at the end of the dinner, the others voted me in to be with them for the duration of the cruise. I didn’t realize I was being interviewed. This worked out so well that we even went to t the nightly entertainment together as a group, and what a blend of folks we were; 2 sisters originally from the Ukraine who now reside in San Francisco, a married couple who reside in Sebring FL, he is a retired naval commandeering who is now a private boat captain and delivers/transports boats (he stated he has water on the brain), the gentleman from Canada who invited me to sit with them was headed to Scotland to golf (his passion), 2 other male solo travelers who since retiring from their respective careers spend lots of time cruising, and then there was the life of the party an author of romance novels from Wisconsin. She always had a smile on her face no matter where or when you saw her, such a beautiful zest for life. (Her unlimited beverage package didn’t hurt much on that count, I’m sure) Once dinner was worked out the party began. Where best to make it happen than on the dance floor. Girls, music, flashing lights, smiles, hips moving, bodies swaying, singing along, this is what it is about. On that dance floor there is no age (other than knowing the words to some really old songs), we are transported to bygone years, the beauty is we know spending hours fixing our hair and makeup just right, the perfect outfit and shoes doesn’t matter at all. Comfortable shoes sweat able clothes and we are all set. Not looking to or for anyone, just “Girls Wanna Have Fun”, and yes, a few guys joined us. But only one could hang with the big girls, as he cruised ship to ship only spending a few months a year on land. He knows what life is about as he had retired 12 years earlier. No put ons, come ons, just let’s live life to the fullest one smile, laugh, story, drink and dance at a time. Never meet a stranger! Get togethers on shore were coordinated, some had already booked excursions and some just looking to explore or rediscover ports visited in the past. Regardless of the day’s activities or events there was always joy, celebration and laughter following. The days always ended with new found kinship in expressing one's self untethered by the questioning or demands of others. Truly liberation from time, age or finances, there was no additional cost to enjoy the company of perfect strangers who became soul mates. On this adventure I wasn’t a wife, a mother, a business owner or even a recent cancer survivor. I was a Girl who wanted to have fun-and I did. And I am booked for next year. Yes, this isn’t backpacking the Appalachian Trail or traveling Europe alone, and I so admire those who do. When I was an adolescent we were protesting he Vietnam War, just getting full access to birth control and women were going to college for more than their MRS. I think of the song “Vogue” by Madonna where she says ‘Express Yourself’, and in that 13 night adventure I certainly did. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This TA on Navigator was pretty much what we had expected. The passengers were mostly retirees, and you can't blame them....the fare for an inside room for 14 days was less than $600! While the overwhelming majority of passengers were ... Read More
This TA on Navigator was pretty much what we had expected. The passengers were mostly retirees, and you can't blame them....the fare for an inside room for 14 days was less than $600! While the overwhelming majority of passengers were nice, there are always 3 or 4 couples who do nothing but complain. One couple who were diamond plus thought that the world owed them a living! UGGGH. From the time that they arrived onboard until they left, it was nothing but complaining! Many other diamond and diamond plus folks take themselves WAYYYY to seriously. ALL that they talk about are "how many nights I have" or "when am I sailing next" or "I'm Diamond Plus and you're not!". Sheesh - - don't equate your self worth to a plastic pin! Get a life and enjoy a cruise. The shows were not quite what we had expected from previous TA's and the singers/dancers only gave 1 show the first week. There was grumbling from many guests about the Cruise Director Warren Clark that I just attributed to not enough information by the passengers! They complained that the trivia questions on rock 'n roll were too hard. Hey! That's WHY it's called trivia! I thought that Warren and the Hotel Director Robert to be great fun, especially on the walk for the Make a Wish. ("Gideeyup, mule, gideeyup" --- inside joke that only TWO people will appreciate!) Our stateroom attendance Duane was GREAT. His supervisor needs to be taken aside and told not to argue with subordinates in front of passengers. Duane was great but the supervisor jumped all over one of the other attendants IN THE HALL and they had a go around! No pretty and should have been done in private. The excursions were good. Barcelona - we saw Montserrat again, but we DID get to see the Black Madonna this time! Toulons was good, and the visit to the vineyard in Livorno like a shopping push - "buy out wine". Still it was fun. We saw a LOT of sick/injured passengers on this ship. There was one "Alpha" call which we later heard involved a passenger who was told by his doctor not to go on the cruise due to a gallbladder problem. The guy went and guess what?? Gallbladder attack, and he had to be taken off the ship at the first port. In France there were a lot of sprains and one lady fell at a cafe in the port and had to be taken to hospital. Again, not the ship's fault. I did find a problem with the tours. They got us back to the ship very late, well past the time that the captain had given for us to return. This resulted in the ship being late in departing. Someone needs to do something about these tours! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We are two sixty-somethings who have been cruising since 2005. We have cruised on Carnival, Princess and are C&A Diamond Members on RCCL. This was our 4th transatlantic but first on RCCL (three on Princess) and our 24th cruise overall. ... Read More
We are two sixty-somethings who have been cruising since 2005. We have cruised on Carnival, Princess and are C&A Diamond Members on RCCL. This was our 4th transatlantic but first on RCCL (three on Princess) and our 24th cruise overall. We typically do 2 transatlantics a year to take advantage of R/T airfare. I will briefly mention prices throughout the review as many folks are interested in that information.We flew to FLL from Syracuse on Delta with no problems. We stayed at the Comfort Inn and Suites Cruiseport on S Federal Highway. We got a great rate through Skoosh ($80 per night) which included breakfast and free airport shuttle. The hotel offers a shuttle to the cruise port for $5 but we opted for a taxi ($10) as we wanted to get an early start. We arrived at the ship at 10:30 and were on board by 11:00. Embarkation was a breeze. Most folks head to the windjammer but our routine is a bit different. We head to the Pub on the Royal Promenade. I scoop the seats and order a couple of tall Murphys Red drafts will my DW goes to the Promenade Cafe and scoops the munchies. They offer sandwiches, pizza, sweets, cookies and fruit. It's never crowded and we avoid the pandemonium that seems a fixture of the Windjammer on embarkation day. Then we settle in and watch the people coming on board as they ooh and aah their way down the promenade. Rooms were available at 1 pm and our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. We were in a D3 #6360 on the starboard side. Our champagne was waiting but NOT iced down. This was soon remedied by a passing waiter. Our stateroom attendant, Jeanette, stopped by to introduce herself and we gave her our little list of immediate needs (feather pillows, robes, extra hangers, twin beds, extra towels, empty out the fridge etc.) and we gave her a nice tip for her prompt attention to our needs. Muster was at 4:00 and it was the shortest we have ever had. I still like the Princess way where muster is held in the lounges sitting down in air conditioned luxury. Sailaway found us toasting our new adventure on our balcony as we left Ft Lauderdale in our wake.We had a table for two in the Nutcracker Dining Room late traditional at 8 pm. Our waiter was Darius and his assistant was Jean. They were good but not outstanding. Our Headwaiter was conspicuous by his absence. He stopped by a few times but was less than engaging. We opted for the Diamond wine package and were pleased with the selections. I'm not sure what folks are expecting but at a cost of $25 per bottle with the package, we thought it was as good or better than typical restaurant selections and prices. We took a couple bottles to our stateroom to enjoy at sailaways. A word about the food on this cruise...GREAT!!! Once again, I'm not sure what folks expect from a mass-market cruiseline but we were quite pleased with the quality, selection and presentation. We had most of our meals in the dining room but took advantage of the extended hours in the Windjammer on days when we couldn't get to the dining room. We thought that the food was quite good there as well. We did dine at Portofino one night and it was delightful as usual. The shrimp risotto is just the best!To adjust for the time change, clocks were turned ahead at noon. this seemed to work very well.The library on deck seven was the most disorganized we have ever encountered. Nothing alphabetized and no method to the madness. We had brought several books with us and took advantage of the books left by our fellow cruisers for exchange.The Diamond Event was held in the Dungeon each evening from 4:30-8:00 pm. It's a bit dark and claustrophobic in there but after the second glass of wine, we found we could enjoy ourselves quite well thank you.We can't comment on the shows as we never attended a single one! We did attempt to see a movie in the Screening Room once but it was a fiasco. By the time the first-showing guests had squeezed their way past those pushing their way in to get the best seats, the movie had started and the only seats left were much too close to the screen. Points for Princess in this regard as their theater has more seats and allots few minutes between screenings to allow for an orderly transition.Ports visited included Tenerife, Mallorca and Ajaccio. We did no excursions as this was the first time we had visited these ports and we prefer to walk around the town and get the feel of the place before we excurse. We are visiting these same ports later so we'll consider excursions then. Tenerife was OK; Mallorca a bit more interesting; but our favorite by far was Ajaccio. We found a great little restaurant where we had a giant bucket of mussels, crusty bread, frites and house wine for the princely sum of 34 euros. Some might call that expensive; we thought it was cheap at twice the price.We arrived at Civitavecchia quite early and were off the ship by 7:45. We joined others for a shared shuttle into Rome (a big thanks to Chipper and Smiley for arranging this) and were checked into our hotel by noon. We stayed at the Hotel Katty, Via Palestro 35 which we had found through Venere.com. It's a couple blocks from the Metro stop so quite convenient. The price for a double room with bath, fridge and flat-screen TV was 89 euros per night which included breakfast (choice of coffees and massive cream-filled croissants) at a nearby cafe/bar. The hotel was spotlessly clean and we had the best room on the house (top floor corner with a nice view. The typically tiny (maybe ten square feet) elevator was an adventure. There are Internet cafes nearby for checking in for flights. The hotel doesn't offer much in the way of services but it was perfect for us.Our favorite restaurant in Rome is worth a paragraph itself. We happened upon it a few years ago and now it's the only place we eat. It's called Ristorante Pizzeria Carlo Menta, Via della Lungaretta, 101 in Trastevere and it's a 15 minute walk from either the Vatican, Piazza Navonna, the Pantheon or the Vittorio Emmanuelle monument. They offer a tourist menu (I know some folks sneer at these but this one is a winner) with 4 courses (10 euros at lunch; 13 euros at dinner) that is to die for. It starts with fresh tomato and olive oil bruschetta (2 giant hunks), pasta (4 choices; I personally recommend the penne Carlo Menta), a meat course (4 choices; I personally recommend the cotelette de veal Milanese style) and dessert (3 choices; creme caramel, house cake of the day [one day a chocolate cream tart; another an apple tart] and fruit salad [bowl of fruit sections]). We always order a liter of the house red wine (8 euros). There are, of course many other delectable items to choose from and the pizza is some of the best we've ever had. They offer a pizza marinara for 2 euros, pizza margherita for 3 euros and various specialty pizzas for 4-6 euros and they are larger than any other place we've eaten. If you want really good food at reasonable prices, this place is certainly worth a detour.We had opted for a transfer from the hotel to the airport arranged by a fellow cruiser but with time running out and no transportation in sight, we had the hotel car for a taxi and we arrived at the airport just in time to check in. The taxi was 45 euros and our driver was courteous and actually a safe driver!We flew Swiss with one transfer in Zurich and I must say we were very pleased with their aircraft, service, food and amenities. They fed us well and often, drinks (wine or mixed drinks) and movies were free and the service was attentive and friendly. We will certainly fly with them again.In closing, let me say that we had a delightful cruise with RCCL and the entire pre-cruise, cruise, and post-cruise experience went very well. We are now looking forward to our fall transatlantic on the Mariner and subsequent B2B to the Western Caribbean. Bon Voyage to all! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We flew down from Dulles to Ft. Lauderdale on the morning of the cruise.Embarkation was efficient and friendly.The buffet spread for the boarding passengers was very good.Our room steward, Soma, was great. He did everything we asked of ... Read More
We flew down from Dulles to Ft. Lauderdale on the morning of the cruise.Embarkation was efficient and friendly.The buffet spread for the boarding passengers was very good.Our room steward, Soma, was great. He did everything we asked of him, and we probably were more demanding, at least at first, than average in terms of robes, amenities, ice. His towel animals were nice to come home to.Our balcony cabin was perfect for us. Plenty of room to put things for two people. The bed was very comfortable. The room was quiet and our neighbors were very nice. In fact, in general staff and passengers were great. There were few gripers.The library was well managed, and we were able to get interesting books to read. We had Kindle backups, if that hadn't been the case, but we mainly used the library.Because of time changes, we had six 23 hour days. That uncomfortably compressed our food consumption and we skipped lunch several times, or went very light on lunch because we were at the 5:30 seating for dinner. However, changing time at noon was the best approach. The people working on the ship work very hard and need what little sleep they can get.The ship was very clean and well maintained.At the social function, wine and mixed drinks flowed more than I'd experienced on other cruises.The cruise critic mix and mingle was a huge event. It was wonderful. We spent a lot of time with another couple for Herndon, and I departed tipsy on champagne.Although the quality of the shows varied some, every evening show was worth attending. Because the ship was almost full, it was a good idea to go early. We attended the 8:30 shows. The band was very good, as were the guest performers. The ship's dancers seemed shaky at the first show on May 2, but were quite good at every other performance.Entertainment was good around the ship, especially the Latin Express.The ice show was fabulous.The fitness center ran smoothly and was well equipped.Because of wave motion and maintenance, the pools were often not available, but the hot tubs mostly were.The quality of the food in the dinning rooms was very good, and the buffet was good. Definitely above average.Our waiter, Daniel, and assistance waiter, Dasran, were the best.We were a rowdy group of 8. Captain Patrick came by one evening and said with a smile, "So, this is the noisy table!" As to the captain in a social sense, despite his youth, he was as good as it gets on a cruise. The fictional Love Boat Captain pales in comparison. The 8 of us at our table, Bonnie, David, Peter, Helen, Diana, Diane, Lynn and I got along. Four of us were UUs, so we "got" each other on several levels. David, Bonnie, Lynn and I were in Cruise Critic, so we "got" each other. Helen is from Alexandria, next to Fairfax County, where we live. Like Lynn and I, Peter also spent a lot of time with David and Bonnie. The ship activities were mostly well run and interesting or fun. The staff on board was very good overall.Our excursions on Tenerife, Mayorca, and Corsica were good and our free time in those places were good too. They are all beautiful islands with fabulous scenery, history, culture, and towns.Only 60 of the 3000 plus passengers were kids, but the ship tried hard to make it a good cruise for them. I think they mostly were happy with how it went.This was our first Transatlantic cruise, and I just can't say enough good things about it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our first transatlatic. The whole experience was very positive and we had a great time. Embarkation at Fort Lauderdale was fine and we were in about thirty minutes already inside the ship. We had lunch and started our tour at ... Read More
This was our first transatlatic. The whole experience was very positive and we had a great time. Embarkation at Fort Lauderdale was fine and we were in about thirty minutes already inside the ship. We had lunch and started our tour at this lovely ship. Our room was nice and spacious and being a promenade room, we had the opportunity to watch the activities which were always going on at the promenade. It was a litle loud but it did not disturbed us. If some of you want to book a promenade room you might also want to take with you something to protect you from the noise. Food was to our opinion very good in all restaurants. The waiters were friendly and did a good job. The shows were most of the time fine, but we were not very impressed with them. We did not like the attitude of a Celine Dion singer, who was not well prepared for her presentation and had a funny attitude towards the band and towards the public. The ice shows were the best. The guest relations employes were according to us, not very motivated in their job. It must be very difficult to try to solve the problems and requests from so many people and probably requires a special personality to be kind and helpful for such a long time. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions ( for example a lady of China) most of the others did not display that type of personality. One of the most common complaint was the malfunctioning of the Internet connection. Maybe the people at guest relations in these ship cand be helped if somebody takes care that the internet connection works more reliable. Unfortunately we got lost one day while looking for the conference room and ended up at the crew quarters on the second floor. My friend was shouted very loud by a guy from Serbia (He said his name was Nikolai or something similar) who kept yelling we should get out of there inmediately without letting us explain we were lost. Kind of funny experience... The captain had a friendly personality and although he was very young, he seemed to have every thing under control. We also met the ships doctor, who made a very nice impression on us. We also found that Michelle at the Crown and Anchor desk was very helpful and always ready to accomodate our requests. Thank you Michelle! The ship was beautiful and the activities plenty. We made good friends, specially with members of cruise critics. We were very happy to meet people fom so many places and to be able to share time and activities with our cruise critic fellows. Thanks Dorothy, Sandra and Marie for organizing the tour in Teneriffe, the Murder Mistery afternoon and the Pink ribbon luncheon! Thank you Navigator of the seas for treating us cruise critic members with a lovely meet and mingle party. Thank you also for having plenty of activities for your crown and anchor members. We have enjoyed your hospitality. In general we had a fantastic time. We would like to thank to all those people at the Navigator of the seas who have contributed to our positive experience. Thank you so much and until next time! The ports of call were Teneriffe, Palma de Mallorca, Ajaccio and Rome. They were all different and interesting. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

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