Sail Date: November 2015
After a 5-year cruising hiatus, we decided to book a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. We were both pleased and disappointed with the changes to cruising that have occurred in the interim. Security was noticeably more ... Read More
After a 5-year cruising hiatus, we decided to book a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. We were both pleased and disappointed with the changes to cruising that have occurred in the interim. Security was noticeably more thorough than on our last cruise, but embarkation at Galveston went smoothly though (at around 11am), and we were able to access our cabin by 1pm. The first disappointment was the lack of a champagne welcome for previous cruising Crown & Anchor members (listed as a former cruiser benefit on the web site); we got a 2 for 1 beer/wine purchase instead. Diamond and above members got actual perks. Being a member is not much of a benefit until after a dozen or so cruises. The Navigator of the Seas is a mid-size ship by today’s standards; 3100+ passengers. The ship was stable even through some hurricane force winds encountered in the Gulf of Mexico. During that overnight event, the ship leaned considerably but didn’t rock much as the wind was perpendicular and sustained at 70+ MPH for a few hours. We experienced rain at least part of every day except the first day at sea. That limited enjoyment of the exterior sections of the ship. Navigating around the ship was somewhat challenging due to only two elevator areas and no fore to aft pass through on decks 2 and 3 (and on Deck 4 the only way through was to traverse the ultra-smoky casino). The outdoor promenade deck did not continue fully around the ship. There was a jogging track, but it was located in the congested Deck 12 pool area. Crew did a better than average job of curtailing long term reserving of deck chairs, so we could always find a lounger. Our morning routine started with a trip to the Café Promenade on Deck 5 for fresh brewed coffee. After wakening fully, we generally took breakfast in the Windjammer Café; we tried room service, but the earliest we could get delivery was 6:30am—by then we were gnawing on the furniture. The buffet breakfast was ok, and there were plenty of choices. Oddly, there is no outdoor component to the buffet seating. The layout prevents long lines except at the most popular stations, but navigating around was chaotic. We never had a problem finding a table however. Even in the buffet, gone is the reconstituted “coffee” we have endured in the past, it is now brewed, although very strong. Lunch was split between the Windjammer Café, the dining room, or onshore. There are several specialty dining venues on the Navigator, but given our past experiences and the current cover charge averaging around $20-$40 per person, we never tried them. One dinner in the Windjammer as enough; with the same chaos as at breakfast and lunch. The rest of our meals were in the Sapphire Dining room. We were booked with My Time dining, and I must say, it is far superior to the early and late seating we usually experienced. The third floor of the dining room is for “My Time” dining, and you can make reservations on Day 1 for a time and table of your choice for that evening or for the entire cruise if you wish. We had the same servers and the same table every night. Gone are the long queues for early and late, and service in the dining room seemed more smooth. The food on the other hand was nothing special. The menu featured 5-star named items and descriptions that wine reviewers would envy (Chocolate Pot de Creme = chocolate pudding). The food however was mixed. My salmon entrée was quite good, but my wife’s prime rib was of poor quality. My other fish entrees were fair to good, but my wife’s shrimp ravioli was inedible. The high points were the desserts; the low points were the miserable salads and general scarcity of vegetables. The lobster was good of course, and the last evening’s turkey dinner was great. Service was generally very good, although bread was offered too frequently, even while water glasses remained in need of filling. Dress was very casual, and even on formal night suits or tuxedos were in the minority. The stereotypical Texas cowboy-chic look and demeanor were extremely rare in contrast to what was reported in some reviews on this site. The Café Promenade is open 24/7 and offers small pastries and miniature sandwiches, so there is always food somewhere. The Windjammer buffet is open several times a day, but had frustratingly varied hours. Gone is the poolside hamburger grill; instead one must seek out Johnny Rockets on Deck 14, and pay a $7 cover charge to get an afternoon hot dog or hamburger. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Starbucks coffee are available for a fee, but if you know where to look, you can find soft drinks, ice cream and frozen yogurt for free most of the day. In the Windjammer and dining rooms, most non-alcoholic drinks were free. Although it was possible to get alcoholic drinks around the pool decks or in the lounges, there were few servers and we certainly weren’t pestered to buy drinks anywhere. Drink prices were high of course. There were plenty of activities on the ship, including frequent trivial contests. We found these contests to be difficult and the prizes were the cheapest we’d ever encountered. The ship’s stage shows varied from poor to good, and mostly suffered from poor direction and arrangement. The standout show is, as mentioned elsewhere, the ice skating show. Get your (free) tickets early, the space is small and the show is first rate. Music in the lounges was varied, but we really liked the Vibes 4 who performed frequently on the pool deck and in the Bolero Lounge on Deck 4. Our port activities were OK, but marred by rain on Cozumel and Cayman Islands. Taxis are cheap and plentiful on Cozumel, but finding transportation on Grand Cayman was difficult and expensive. We wanted to go to the Cayman Turtle Farm on our own, but taxis were over $30 one-way. We found an excursion bus for $8 each, but the rain leaked in and the bus was dirty. On the way back to the ship we were able to find an excursion bus driver who mercifully took us back to the ship in a clean, non-leaking bus for only $5 per person. The Turtle Farm was good, but we couldn’t enjoy it much because of the rain. The on-site restaurant was quite expensive. In Falmouth, Jamaica, we took our only cruise ship excursion, Bamboo Rafting on the Martha Brae river. The weather was great for the morning raft ride, and the trip was relaxing and scenic. The only negative was the intense pressure to buy over-priced crafts that the raft pilot claimed he made. There were also several shopping “opportunities” at spots along the river. Overall, our Royal Caribbean cruise was at least average compared to others in the past. We will likely never use the port of Galveston again as it was too crowded and chaotic. They need a new terminal. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
The Good: The ship is most luxuriously decorated. Lots of amazing photo ops. We felt good just being there. Lots to do and see. Evening dining was great. (We were alone and chose 5:30 traditional dining with a table for 6. It ... Read More
The Good: The ship is most luxuriously decorated. Lots of amazing photo ops. We felt good just being there. Lots to do and see. Evening dining was great. (We were alone and chose 5:30 traditional dining with a table for 6. It was a great social success.) The food, service and table appointment equals the best upscale restaurants in Galveston - and is included with the cruise price. RC spends a lot of effort promoting specialty dining, but we were very happy with "our" table. The evening service waitstaff is more than amazing - you will be glad to tip them extra! The Bad: The mattress was worth complaining about- but to no avail. Our bed was as poor as camping in a sleeping bag and air mattress. I have stayed in Motel Six and had better rest. Bad. The Ugly: Galveston port is under construction, and since they receive no tax money, it is pay-as-you-go slow. The planned upgrades will hopefully take care of embark and debark problems. The food/service is so-so in the Windjammer- the free buffet is unimaginative, but it offers the best views of any aboard. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
We stayed in a deluxe balcony, which was upgrade over the standard. Very satisfied with the size of unit. Bathroom was large enough and functional. Did use a plastic shoe storage, over the door, for bath and personal storage. Very nice ... Read More
We stayed in a deluxe balcony, which was upgrade over the standard. Very satisfied with the size of unit. Bathroom was large enough and functional. Did use a plastic shoe storage, over the door, for bath and personal storage. Very nice to have all the items organized without having to dig through a bag. Thanks cruise critic for this advice. Our third cruise, and sadly this was the last for the Navigator before it moves to Florida. Ship is very nice, and all the shows very well done. Food in the buffet was pretty much as any buffet and plenty available. The dinner table service with my time dinning was excellent. Staff very good. Loved the different menu items. You won't leave hungry. Comics and head liner were excellent. If i would change anything i would have upgraded to the junior suite. Worth the extra as we toured one after in port. Did have storm the last night that was very rough. Ship and captain handled and did not get seasick. Sign up for the my time dinning option if possible. We did an early seating and were always early so no waiting. The excursions were ok, but rain did make them a challenge. The tender experience was functional. Please take the advice of crew and only go where you are told. Signed up for a new cruise on board as the 30 percent discount is better than the buy one get one half off sale usually found everywhere. You do get perks for this method. Get a reservation as there are many waiting to take advantage. Love the adult area pool on the 11th deck. Were not a lot of kids on this cruise. Compliments to all crew members, you made us into cruisers! Galveston port was a breeze as we arrived a little early and got through the lines easily. So many agents still made lines move well. No complaints here over the port. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean, and overall, we were pleased with the Navigator. However, the Navigator was on its last cruise out of Galveston. The day that we disembarked, it was on its way to Florida. The replacement ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean, and overall, we were pleased with the Navigator. However, the Navigator was on its last cruise out of Galveston. The day that we disembarked, it was on its way to Florida. The replacement will be Liberty of the Seas which is a larger ship. Embarkation: It was great. We arrived at the pier at 11:00am and were on the ship by 11:45. No waiting at all. Our cabin was ready by 1:00pm as promised. Ship: We really liked the Promenade located on Deck 5. This deck included most of the stores, shops, etc. all in one place. The Cafe Promenade was nice to sit and people watch. We were travelling with 2 friends and spent quite a lot of time there. The one thing that was annoying to us was how the sales people tried to whip people into a frenzy when they had sales. They kept counting down the time until the items were available for sale. By the time of the actual event, the people were lining up 6 deep to buy a $10 t-shirt. However, the crew members were very friendly and courteous. Dining: We ate at Sabor, Giovanni's Table, and Chops Grille. Overall, the food was good. Although at Chops Grille, my husband and our friend ordered their steak medium and it came out almost raw. They sent it back but it still wasn't cooked enough. The service at all the restaurants was excellent. We tried My Time Dining and really liked it. The food was ok, not extraordinary. Our servers were great. We ate breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer, and were mostly pleased. There is a wide variety of food so it isn't hard to find something you like. The best thing is about the buffet is that there were no long lines like on Carnival. It may be the way they have the various stations configured but we never had to stand in line. Entertainment: The ice show was entertaining. The Headliner show was good. The show on the last night was cancelled due to rough weather. We hit the casino several nights and actually broke even. We had good weather in Cozumel and just shopped a little. This was our 5th trip to Cozumel so we weren't that excited about excursions. It was raining in Grand Cayman so our stingray excursion was cancelled which was ok due to the weather. We walked around for a while and did some more shopping. We went to Red Stripe Beach in Jamaica and it was actually good. We swam and enjoyed the sun for a while. The shuttle comes about every hour so you don't have to stay the entire time. The last night we had to sail through some sort of disturbance and the ship was really rolling and rocking. We were extremely glad to see Galveston. Disembarkation was a breeze. We carried our luggage and were off the ship and on our way home by 7:45am. All in all, I would say that we had a good time on this cruise. Of course, we were with good friends which made it much more enjoyable than if we had been by ourselves. If we cruise again, we will definitely do it with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Just got off the Navigator of the seas after a 7 day cruise that took us from Galveston to Roatan, Belize and Cozumel before returning home… Hurricane Patricia had us worrying, but the cruise went off without much of a hitch. Captain ... Read More
Just got off the Navigator of the seas after a 7 day cruise that took us from Galveston to Roatan, Belize and Cozumel before returning home… Hurricane Patricia had us worrying, but the cruise went off without much of a hitch. Captain decided to keep us over night due to the weather (35mph sustained winds and rain…. Good call mate). We got off around 11am the following day and were informed that the itinerary would be reversed due to the weather. Nobody seemed to care and I actually thought it was better to have the two sea days at the beginning of the trip rather than the end. Gave us time to get to know the boat. The Navigator itself and the Staff…. I’ve read a lot of reviews recently about how poorly conditioned the Navigator is. BS…. She’s beautiful... I actually took the time to try and find the “worn carpet” everyone talks about or the horrible sewage smells. Didn’t find any…. Anywhere…. Anytime. Forget about it…. Anyone who thinks this ship isn’t clean is full of it. Our ship was sold out and so I was expecting some issues with pool chairs and lines at the bars… but I really didn’t experience much of either (even on sea days). The bar service could be a little slow at times, but I think that was more to do with their payment system rather than the staff. Each time anyone orders a drink, the bartenders have to swipe your sea pass card. I was with my wife and so each time we went to the bar the bartender had to swipe each of our cards, wait for the slips to print and then find a pen and walk them over to us. This usually took longer than it did to make the drink or grab the beer. I went on my first Royal Caribbean Cruise back in 1998 and so it’s been nearly 20 years since my first experience with them. Unfortunately those who write about the decline of the food and the service are probably in my boat (no pun intended). My dinning experience 20 years ago, was amazing… the food in the main dining room was amazing…. And the waiters were amazing. It seems Royal has moved the “AMAZING” parts of that sentence to the specialty dining areas on the boat (more about that later), because they are definitely not in the MDR. Our waiter was good… very attentive and nice enough… but the bar waiter was a joke. If you want to have a drink in the MDR bring it with you or plan on heading out to the bar on 4 to grab it between courses, because you’ll never see him and if you do, you won’t see him twice if you need another. The food was not horrible, but it was just what you’d expect from a kitchen turning out 2000 meals for dinner. Portions were small, however they did allow you to order multiple items. Everything I had was good…. But not melt in your mouth fantastic. Likewise in the Windjammer…. Food was what you’d expect for a buffet. The windjammer was the only place on the ship where I felt there was a crowd. I guess free food does that to people. We elected to try two specialty restaurants….Giovannis and Sabor. Both were fantastic for different reasons, but the food and the service was excellent at both. Our cabin steward (Bernadette), seemed nice, but quite honestly we saw her twice the whole week. Our room was always clean and we got the obligatory towel animals, but not really much more than that. In her defense, we did not spend much time in our room. Shows Elton John Tribute… OMG. HYSTERICAL! I don’t remember the guys name, but man was that a fun show to watch. Great music and FUNNY! Adult Comedy…… Very, very funny…. actual account of his interaction with one of the ladies in the audience. “What do you do for a living sweetheart?” ….. I’m a admission clerk at a senior living facility. “Well…. That’s an easy job…. You’re (expletive deleted) old….. come on in” The Quest: We heard a lot about it and decided to try it and it was funny, but felt like there were too many veterans that knew what to bring and it kind of took the fun out of it. Pool Deck Activities….. Our Activities Manager was named Cuddy and he was very entertaining. If there is anything happening on the pool deck and he’s running it…. Go see it. Belly Flop Contest, Sexiest Man, Pool Volleyball…. All fantastic due in large part to Cuddy’s amazing MC abilities. Tenders: Fortunately we booked our Belize excursion for 10 am rather than early at 8. We did this because we had heard the tender process in Belize is a nightmare. Never has a statement been more true. Our boat was sold out and beginning at 730am people were lined up to get a tender ticket. In addition, folks were lining the steps to try and get off the ship and the elevators were so busy that they were basically gridlocked. Because we didn’t have the pressure to get off right away due to our later excursion time, we took some time to walk around the top deck of the ship. We headed back down to get a tender ticket about 30 min later and both the tender ticket line as well as the line in the stairwells to get off the ship were empty. Good call!!! Gym/Fitness... I'm an avid runner and tried to run every morning on the boat. The first day I tried the gym treadmills which was too packed and so I bailed to the top deck track (8 times around equals a mile). It's nice, but it's windy and crowded with walkers, runners and just folks just meandering about. Best find for running was on deck four outside. There is a walk way that runs all the way around the ship and it's covered by the upper decks. It's flat almost nobody there for some reason. The only hitch was the stairways on the port and starboard sides of the bow. Basically, I ran both straightaways and the aft portion and walked the steps up and down at the bow. great workout. Embark and Disembark... Galveston is a joke. Nearly ZERO instructions or signage as to what to do or where to go. Everyone has to check their bags with a porter before getting in the security line. We saw a number of people wait in the long security line only to be turned away when they got to the front because they hadn't checked their bags. We got there with the crowds (and a few buses) and so it was packed, but it did move pretty well. Getting off the boat was a bit of a hassle as well. We decided to carry our own bags off and I think that helped. People were complaining they couldn't find their bags etc. Royal has a decent system for grouping bags in piles based on numbers and that's essentially what they were.... piles. People would grab a bag, thinking it's theirs and then just drop it wherever they were when they realized they had the wrong one. Obviously that bag wasnt' where the owner thought it would be when they got to the pile. Customs was slow. I found it odd that the alcohol tax folks were waitiing outside of customs and nearly outside the terminal. They were literally just asking folks if they had alcohol. For those who said yes, they were charged a TX tax right there on the spot. My advice.... put your bottles in your luggage and when they ask if you bought any alcohol.... your answer is "Nope". :) Tips for Royal… Show something on the TV during sea days other than the Royal Caribbean screensaver. We were at Sea on a Saturday and it would have been nice to have some football up there. Allow people to run tabs at bars to cut down on the service time. Stop trying to sell everything all over the boat. This became very annoying. I don’t need to be met each morning by somebody trying to get me to buy a sushi class or a beer tasting for $40. I’m on your boat to relax and enjoy a week at sea…. Not be bombarded by sales staff. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We were to leave out of Galveston on Sunday October 25th. Because of a tropical storm the captain made the decision to stay in port until Monday morning. It was somewhat disappointing but the weather was horrible with heavy rain and winds. ... Read More
We were to leave out of Galveston on Sunday October 25th. Because of a tropical storm the captain made the decision to stay in port until Monday morning. It was somewhat disappointing but the weather was horrible with heavy rain and winds. Everything on board was great, they just couldn't open the shops or the casinos. Other than that it felt like you truly had started your cruise vacation. On Monday morning the captain did a wonderful job in maneuvering the ship from its pier. It was quite the big deal as he had to make a 80 degree turn in a very small space. The winds were howling and if you were outside like us it was cold and very very windy! Once he had done his fantastic job we were on our way. 5 hours later we were in sun and warmth. What a difference. The ship looks beautiful with the renovations. I really have no complaints except that I felt the room steward really didn't care about you. He was nice, but not the friendly persona I have been used to on my other 6 cruises with Royal Caribbean. On the other hand, Patrick our waiter at table 420 was fantastic. He met all our expectations and more!! The order of our ports had to be changed because of the late departure. We went to Honduras, Belize and Cozumel. In Honduras we took a beach tour, in Belize a city tour and Cozumel a shopping tour!!! Spent too much money. LOL.. Departure was hell! My son-in-laws luggage was lost and it took almost an hour for someone to finally find it. The lines through Customs were so long and there was no organization. I've never experienced those problems at any of the departure ports in Florida. I will always remain a RCC Fan. Excited that I am now in the Emerald class. Can't wait for my next cruise.! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
My wife and I along with another couple booked this cruise last year due to some great deals and incentives at the time. Never having sailed out of Galveston or ever been to Texas, we thought it would be fun to try. Arriving three days ... Read More
My wife and I along with another couple booked this cruise last year due to some great deals and incentives at the time. Never having sailed out of Galveston or ever been to Texas, we thought it would be fun to try. Arriving three days early, we were able to see San Antonio and then drove to Houston staying in the Clear Lake area for two nights. We all agreed the best part of Texas was the people (yall) and the worst would be the traffic. Using Lighthouse parking for our rental car, we arrived at the terminal around 11am only to find that a medical emergency had shut it down, leaving the crowd to build up until they opened doors making a large mob for security screening. It took us about an hour to get through that, then easily on board around noonish. The ship is truly stunning to see, our friend was able to ride the flowrider early while there were no crowds and he enjoyed it. The buffet was quite crowded and the one feature we did not like about the ship was having no outside areas either serving food or drinks and nowhere to sit outside and eat a meal. One had to go all the way into the back of the ship to get food or iced drinks, and for sanitary reasons they were handling all drinks by staff, so you could not just go up and dispense your own ice or drinks, but grab a filled glass and pour it into your own thermal mug in our case. The food in the buffet was fine with good variety, however at peak times getting a table would be frustrating. Our cabins were on deck seven just aft of the hump superior balconies, nice and large enough but the design of the closet next to the bathroom door caused issues for us. One day the water pressure was lost entirely while my wife was showering, a call to maintainence told us they were working on a fix, and a few minutes later it came back. The same day the desalinization system went down and they were trying to serve this salty water to crew and guest alike. We ate at Chops that night and they served us this awful water, we could not drink it, so they comped us Evian as they should, however they were obviously trying to keep it hush hush, leaving the guest to speak of it on our own. I found out the next day from our waiter at dinner the entire ship was affected, my only thought is to RCI please be honest with us and tell us. The next day it tasted fine. Our service and food in the dining room was exceptional, and we enjoyed our time with Leonardo and Rommel much. The sailing was rough seas the first day and then the weather was fantastic other than that pesky hurricane Patricia the really messed with our debarkation and drive back to the airport. All in all it was a great cruise for us all. I've read other complain about the coffee however they do serve Seattles Best and it is drip coffee makers both in the Windjammer and Promenade Cafe, we thought it was very good, except the night the water went salty at which time they tried to serve us the coffee and it was undrinkable. One other strange thing we all noticed was the lack of bar servers the first half of the trip. Nowhere at any pool or even in a bar/lounge would you see any bar service, we'd have to walk to the bar and get it ourselves. We thought this was really weird given the profit on alcohol and built in customers. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Our Western Caribbean cruise on Navigator of the Seas was wonderfully relaxing. We hit the weather just right on all three ports -- Cozumel (Mexico), George Town (Grand Cayman) and Falmouth (Jamaica) -- all in the warm 80s. We caught the ... Read More
Our Western Caribbean cruise on Navigator of the Seas was wonderfully relaxing. We hit the weather just right on all three ports -- Cozumel (Mexico), George Town (Grand Cayman) and Falmouth (Jamaica) -- all in the warm 80s. We caught the tail end of Hurricane Patricia (wind and rain that had moved eastward across Mexico) right at the end of the cruise coming into Galveston, causing a short disembarkation delay. Food on the ship was one of the best experienced on Royal. High marks for the consistently good morsels in the Dining Room and the Windjammer. Our Junior Suite was perfect for us -- a restful oasis between all the fun things. Spent a lot of time in the Solarium. This is a nice spot on Navigator. Entertainment was real good -- especially the comedic ventriloquist and the Elton John tribute/comedy. No travel experience is perfect, but this cruise was nearly so for us. The only "minus" for the experience was the distance between the Houston airport and Galveston. But this is geography and not the fault of the Cruise Line. High marks for a great Room Attendant and the food service all week!!! Read Less
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 2.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0
Rates 4.5 0.0

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