My girlfriend and I had reservations across from the Johnson Space center at the Microtel hotel, some 40mins away from the port. A room there seemed a better cost effective option than anything on the island. So on Saturday April 18, we drove down from Arkansas. The hotel was adequate for our overnight needs, and had no vacancies.
Day 1, Sunday, Departing Galveston, TX. : We ate breakfast at the hotel, checked out about 9:00am, and drove to Galveston in about 45mins. I had planned on driving around the island to see the sights before parking, and then start the boarding process around noon. However, someone had picked that day for walk-a-thon type event, and we ran into a traffic mess and barricaded streets. After much delay, due to U-turns, and waiting for participants to cross various streets, we made it to terminal 2 and Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. I dropped off my luggage along with my companion, and headed out in the traffic again to find Park-N-Cruise. Arriving there about 10:45, I was quickly guided to an indoor parking spot, where I grabbed my backpack, other items, locked the car, and walked over to the terminal. We then rolled our main bags over to the luggage area and a porter stacked them on a cart. We entered the terminal building, and went through the screening process fairly quickly, with my backpack and its two bottles of wine being unquestioned. Stopping by the RC customer counter, we got our ship passes without delay, and boarded the ship at 11:15.
We walked around looking over the ship some, and then went to the WindJammer for lunch, where we found many choices. We wound up usually eating breakfast and lunch in the WindJammer, as it was so convenient. Neither of us have any complaints about their food or service at the WindJammer. You will use the germ killer solution entering the restaurant, or they will quickly “offer” you some.
Ocean View stateroom, #2314: At 1:15 we were admitted to our room and were both satisfied with the room’s size, cleanliness, appearance, décor, electrical outlets, window size/view/curtains, etc. We pulled away from the dock around 4:50, and all our luggage was outside our door at 5:00. Unfortunately, our room had an adjoining door to the next room. Normal conversation levels came easily through the door, and naturally our neighbors were louder than normal. They argued and carried on for three days on one topic. On the second day I complained to our steward, who said he’d turn it in to security. On the 3rd day, I asked and was told security didn’t catch them in, and so nothing was done. I called the steward into the room one afternoon, where he quickly got a dose of the next door action. He immediately pulled out his phone and reported it, and later I was told they did contact the occupants. While I realize the position this type of complaint puts the crew in, planned active/physical excursions, let alone the whole cruise, would certainly be less enjoyable if one is suffering from insomnia. From night one, we were both forced to use earplugs and a rain sound file on my notepad. By the third night, with excursions looming, I was glad I had brought Rx sleeping pills. Eventually, things got quieter, maybe because they got tired of arguing, or we were more tired from the port adventures. So, point of the story here is, bring your earplugs.
We unpacked and walked up to the Sapphire for dinner, which is the main dining room (MDR). Again, the anti-bacterial self-dispensing machines were everywhere, and the hostess watches all who enter. The food and service in the Sapphire, was excellent every time. We had chosen My Time Dining, and ate dinner there every night, and breakfast one morning. We were always seated at a table by ourselves, and you could specify a waiter/table combo. We settled on table #634 with waiter Rodrigo, assisted by Janice, both from the Philippines. I was not bringing a suit or sport coat on my cruise, and reluctantly brought a tie. In a button up shirt and tie, I felt very comfortable at dinner in the Sapphire on those formal nights. I was certainly not alone, and ditched the tie after the first formal night, seeing many others who obviously shared my viewpoint. We had shrimp cocktail, grilled cod, crème brulee for dessert.
Day 2, Monday, At Sea:
Hot tub that am, suntan time, World’s Sexiest man competition poolside, We had signed up for the Meet and Mingle, but the timing was off as we busy somewhere else (FloRider?), and opted to stay with that. Scallops and lobster bisque, tenderloin, plate with three sample desserts. Around 7:30p, the Captain addressed the audience in the promenade, while we had complimentary wine.
Day 3, Tuesday, At Sea:
We had our only breakfast in the MDR, with four others at a table. I had salmon eggs benedict, which was very good. Then it was more hot tub, sunshine, steam room, and food. Poolside, we saw the Men’s International Belly Flop contest. In the MDR, we had pork tenderloin w/stacked potatoes, ? for dessert. That evening in the Metropolis theater, Joel Mason as Elton John – a hilarious entertainer, and I’m not easily amused, sorry if you missed it.
Day 4, Wednesday, Rotan
Excursions – Even though beginners, we opted for only one RC sponsored excursion, along with two private ones, and were pleased with all of them:
In Rotan, off the ship at 8:30, Hector from Rony’s tours took good care of us, showing us the island, finding the beachfront Barefeet Bar where we had two lobster plates, including beer for $40. He also took us to a nearby place to snorkel on a reef. He dropped us off in town around 2:00, and we shopped a bit, buying the usual t-shirts and stuff. His car’s AC worked well, which turned out to be an exception elsewhere. I also purchased some jewelry from D.I. in the port terminal. Later, in the MDR, we had crab cakes, encrusted loin of cob fish, and Rum Baba for dessert.
Day 5, Thursday, Belize City, BZ. :
In Belize, we had our first tender ride, which went smooth and was not a hassle. We went just outside the terminal’s front door as Yhony had indicated in his emails, and easily hooked up with Butts Up (Cave-Tubing.com). After an interesting bus ride thru Belize City and the countryside, we arrived. Bathrooms for changing, and drinks were there, and after grabbing a PFD, we had a good informative hike up to the caves. At the end of the hike, our tubes with neck rests were waiting for us at the water’s edge. Fernando was our guide in the water and through the caves. Afterwards, it was a free boned in chicken tamale like thingy, which tasted pretty good. Of course, we had to each have a beer. Only downside was they ran out of large size Butts-Up t-shirts to buy, so I left without one. It was a nice day, getting a good overview of life in the city and country of Belize. The bus’s AC was not doing that good, so always sit up front as we did. Overall, Butts-Up was a good value for the money. Back on ship, we dined on Shrimp Ceviche, broiled sole, roasted lamb loin, chocolate cake w/ice cream, and strawberry w/kiwi meringue.
Day 6, Friday, Cozumel, MX. :
In Cozumel, we went into the port that am and got some good prices on T-shirts and stuff. We also had a good $2 lunch and $2 beer in the port at Bar Mandy. I paid the waitress with tip an hour earlier for our first beers, and when leaving she said we didn’t pay. I simply said, “That won’t work with us, you’ve been paid”. We returned later for lunch and had the same waitress, nothing was mentioned and when tipped again she smiled.
We had chosen the RC Island Overview and Mayan Ruins tour at 11:30, over the Bar Hop tour, because we wanted to see some ruins and get a handle on the island. Turned out we picked the wrong time (my girlfriend wanted to sleep late), because it didn’t leave us time to get a cab to the town plaza before or after our tour. So about 11:45, driver Morita and tour guide Nico took us out on the road. The roads led us through the city streets and out to the countryside. We stopped at San Gervasio Ruins, and Nico gave a good walk and talk tour of the Mayan’s and the site’s history. We went out on the west side of the island and saw plenty of blue water and white sandy beaches. We also stopped at the Chocolate Factory which had free Wi-Fi. We arrived back at the terminal at 3:45. Again, the van’s AC was not doing much, so always sit up front as we did. Back on board, it was Royal seafood salad, house salad, lobster tail w/shrimp (uhh, ok, I did have two plates), chocolate sensation and baked Alaska for dessert. Then it was time for Earl Turner at the Metropolis. He’s a really wild character that had the audience in a roar.
Day 7, Saturday, At Sea:
After hot tub, steam room, and breakfast, we went down to the photo shop and ordered up a nice picture the crew had taken of us. Then it was poolside again, pizza and shrimp sandwich lunch at the Promenade Café, the ice rink, and FloRider. Our picture was ready at 3:00pm as promised, price $20. Dinner in the MDR was Cesare salad, scallops and steak, and key lime pie. Afterwards, a walk down the promenade and a drink at Poets lounge.
Day 8, Sunday, Arrive Galveston, TX. :
We chose the self-disembarking option, and at 8:00am with luggage in tow, we went down to the terminal and proceeded to Customs. It was our first time through a real Customs line, and a fairly long line. Both of us had brand new passports, and she’s asking if I go by another name? And after looking at my girlfriend’s passport several minutes, I was told to leave her there and step outside? Finally she appeared, bewildered by what the delay was. So we walked with our luggage across the street to Park-N-Cruise, and loaded up. At 9:00am I was turning onto Harborside Dr. with little traffic, and waving goodbye to the Navigator of the Seas. We arrived back home in AR. at 5:15p.
Good weather and calm seas added to the enjoyment during eight days of sailing and excursions.
Using Park-N-Cruise and their indoor parking option was a good choice with the many thunderstorms passing through on those dates we were at sea.
The boarding process was fairly quick, and self-disembarking is the way to go for those that can, provided your suitcases have two or more wheels.
Except for the ill-timed walk-a-thon, I didn’t find Galveston a bad place to set sail from, although I can’t compare it to elsewhere.
To Galveston, I would not sponsor a walk-a-thon on a Sunday with thousands of people trying to get off and on two cruise ships. Duh…
I saw no sign of anyone being sick whatsoever, and the RC crew was constantly wiping everything down. I often noticed any utensil/food touched, dropped, or mishandled was immediately disposed of.
Just an FYI here to any Cruise line reading this… any line that demands/enforces suit and tie in the main dining room won’t have me as a passenger. It’s simply not my thing to pack a suit, to have to wear eating while on vacation.
We barely noticed any rocking/rolling motion from the ship in our level two room.
We both really enjoyed cruising with Royal Caribbean on the Navigator, and we will be planning another cruise soon. Read Less