50 Galveston Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

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
This was the second cruise for me and my husband. We are in our 20's with no kids. We had some rough waters, but I didn't let that affect my overall experience because there's nothing you can do about mother nature. ... Read More
This was the second cruise for me and my husband. We are in our 20's with no kids. We had some rough waters, but I didn't let that affect my overall experience because there's nothing you can do about mother nature. Embarkation was fairly easy. We waited about 30 minutes in security lines, but didn't have a line to check-in. We were on the ship before noon! The food was average, at best. As the week went on, we got bored with the food in the dining room. We were also seated very close to another couple at a table for two. There's no privacy or space in any restaurant, other than The Windjammer! I get that this is a cruise and there are people everywhere, but sometimes it is nice to sit down with your spouse at dinner at have some privacy. We dined at Chops and Sabor, but probably wouldn't pay the extra money to go back to either of these. We were again seated very close to another couple in Chops and they wanted to chat the entire time. This was irritating and did affect our Chops experience. They even talked WHILE we ate! The food was good, dessert was overly rich and unimpressive. Sabor wasn't very good. The chips were VERY stale (but somehow greasy) and the table-side guacamole was so far away we couldn't see it. The guac had no salt but it tasted good otherwise. The best thing was the dessert...thank goodness because my entree was terrible (fish). You pay extra for a good meal and good service and Sabor had neither. Service throughout the ship was great and everyone we encountered was friendly. We did feel like they were selling the specialty dining too heavily. We were approached at least once a day while in Cafe Promenade or The Windjammer by someone wanting us to book a table. We chose not to book any shore excursions this time and instead enjoyed time on the ship and on our aft balcony. Our stateroom attendant was awesome! She always greeted us by name and would open our door for us if she saw us coming down the hall. She definitely set the bar high for future cruises. One day, the water was salty throughout the ship and it was still served to us with no explanation. It was gross! The coffee and tea were also salty. We woke up two mornings in a row without our toilet flushing. Not a huge deal but it did take a few hours to fix. Disembarkation was messed up by a tropical storm that almost kept us from coming into port until Monday. We ended up being delayed by an hour or so. We chose to take our luggage with us and were in the first group ( B - aft dining room level 4). No one was checking tickets because of the delay so things were a little chaotic. Despite the weather, we did have a good time and made some great memories! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My family was excited to go on the Navigator as it was the largest ship we've ever been on and it had some features we'd never experienced before. The ship itself was nice, and the family oceanview room with separate bunks for ... Read More
My family was excited to go on the Navigator as it was the largest ship we've ever been on and it had some features we'd never experienced before. The ship itself was nice, and the family oceanview room with separate bunks for the kids was awesome--that was probably the best part of the entire experience. The kids had fun at the kids camp and we enjoyed all of our shore excursions. And the ice skating show was great. Beyond that, we left fairly unimpressed with Royal Caribbean. This was our 8th cruise, and admittedly, our last was a Disney, so it was hard not to compare this one to it, but it just seemed like it was lacking many of the special touches that even the cheap 5 day Carnival cruises have had. While we are used to having to pay extra for SOME things, like alcohol, it really seemed over the top on this cruise. Everything seemed to have an upgraded version available, even dinner in the main dining room, where you could order a lobster or better steak for an extra $30. In the past, we have been happy to just sick with the included dining options, but much of it was really not good, and at times, inedible. Horrible, horrible instant coffee and iced tea...but of course Starbucks is right there....for an extra charge. Bland, unimpressive food at most meals in the main dining room and casual buffet...or you can pay extra to eat at one of the specialty restaurants. We tried Johnny Rockets one night, and even that wasn't great. The staff did their jobs, but really weren't all that friendly or available if we needed something--we only saw our room steward a couple of times during the whole week. No extras in the room, such as toiletry kits, or even a pen (unless you wanted to pay for the snacks in the mini fridge), and the bed and pillows were flat and hard, making sleep difficult. We got just three towel animals the whole week, which has always been something the kids were excited to find in the room each night. It was quiet most of the time (aside from our own children), so that was good, but I think it was mostly due to the fact that many of the people around us had to be moved to other rooms after a pretty significant flood of the interior staterooms. Again, we had a good time and nothing BAD happened, we just didn't leave feeling like we had really been pampered. Common areas were usually pretty congested, things didn't seem to be laid out to allow a good flow of the many people--like, instead of a hamburger grill and drink station right by the pool like we've seen on other ships, you had to go all the way in to the Windjammer cafe, so it was hard to even grab a quick snack or drink while at the pool. And the "blowout $10 sale" in the shopping area was total madness, with people elbowing each other in the face just to snatch up a crappy watch or hat. Think, Black Friday shopping at sea. Not my idea of fun! My husband said this cruise was like "taking a vacation on a city bus". So I think we'll stick to Disney or Carnival for any future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
First off, may I begin by noting that we have sailed many of RCCL's ships over the years, both domestically and internationally. That said, I cannot ignore the gradual decline in both service and quality of food over the years. The ... Read More
First off, may I begin by noting that we have sailed many of RCCL's ships over the years, both domestically and internationally. That said, I cannot ignore the gradual decline in both service and quality of food over the years. The Dining Room experience used to be something we always looked forward to. We could always find a dish every night that was outstanding. The room was usually full of other cruisers enjoying their meal. Just recently off the Navigator of the Seas Oct. 4-11, W. Caribbean. Let me preface this review, as food always is subjective, so I won't spend too much time on this, however, I must note the absence of diners from the Sapphire dining room each night, which changes the ambiance dramatically. All the empty tables should send a message to RCCL that we choose not to experiment with the "hit or miss" quality of the food served. We chose to dine at Giovanni's which was quite good, however, we chose the Filet entree and was served one pasta dish as a side. Not a good sampling of the Italian dishes available. The service was wonderful!! Kudos to the windjammer. We found the food to be quite tasty, as we chose to eat breakfast and lunches there practically every day. Now I, for one, do not like buffet food, but at least I could find something each day that was good!! The service was wonderful and entertaining!! Cafe Promenade serves much better coffee than the windjammer, however, breakfast choices are few/usually pastries/bread/etc., and limited choices for sandwiches at lunchtime. Small, quiet atmosphere and I have no complaints here!! This was our first sailing as "diamond", which I found the "diamond lounge" to be the best perk, as we could frequent each evening from 4:30 - 7:30 pm, for snacks/drinks. Nadja (concierge) was wonderful and had a ready supply of tickets for the "Ice Dancing Show". We also could enjoy free cocktails throughout the ship between 4:30 - 7:30 in addition to the convenience of the lounge. We chose to tip the bartenders a little extra, which they appreciated and we were given excellent service. However, we did find that most of the bars were understaffed, so the wait time for a cocktail was longer than expected. We chose to pay $30/pp for the "galley tour", which proved very disappointing, we saw two helpers chopping veggies, but other than that, we saw hot ovens/stoves/dishwashing equip. etc. (total waste of time). The buffet served after the tour was supposed to be a sampling from all the specialty restaurants, however, based on the food served, I would not be enthusiastic about paying the upcharge. It was a ripoff!!! and a very poor representation of the upscale restaurants. Many of the others in our group agreed!! While onboard we chose to book a family cruise for Christmas of 2016 on the Liberty, as we are also booked for Christmas 2015. They were offering a $500 OBC which applied to our current cruise. First time we've even done this, and did not find the "Next Cruise" people to be very enthusiastic, or helpful, the first go around got totally screwed up, and we had to start all over with a new person, who proved to be not much better. However, we wanted to take advantage of the OBC of $500 for our current trip, so we tolerated the lack of C/S. Of course our Room Attendant, Karen (Cabin 6592) was magnificent. The balconies are badly in need of refurbishment, as peeling paint and rust are quite apparent. All and all, we enjoyed the cruise, as the ship is lovely, despite the noted disappointments. However, we miss the level of service that we had come to expect from RCCL. We chose to book our family cruise for 11 on Liberty of the Seas for 12/15 as our grandchildren remember the cruises we took them on over the years and remember all the wonderful times we all had together on the Freedom of the Seas. Since it has been a few years since the grands have been on a cruise, we look forward to a great time together regardless!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our waiter Jasper and Assistant Waiter Jirmansyah were excellent. They made our cruise enjoyable in spite of other falling-short on the cruise. With regards to Entertainment/Shows. Very lame. I have seen better High School ... Read More
Our waiter Jasper and Assistant Waiter Jirmansyah were excellent. They made our cruise enjoyable in spite of other falling-short on the cruise. With regards to Entertainment/Shows. Very lame. I have seen better High School productions. Another issue that needs to be improved is the music: 1. At the pool. There was NO music playing except when there was a "competition" or the Reggae Band was playing. Reggae is okay for a day, but every day of the 7 days? and for only 1-2 hours of the day? 2. At the Boleros Bar, the musicians seemed bored and played the SAME songs EACH night, in the same order. To top it off most were not even done live, but played from an ipad and they pretended to play and sing the song. They weren't even good lip-sync artists. 3. When there were dance lessons, for example, Salsa Dance Class. They promptly played Merengue and Bachata and Cumbia. The effect was to confuse everyone as to whether we were supposed to try to dance the Salsa steps to the wrong genre of music. They have a wonderfully HUGE movie screen by the pool. this was mostly used for promoting the newer ships of Royal Caribbean and occasional CNN or a movie here and there. Otherwise, it was not used. A waste of money and space. These are some of the areas that I found entertainment seriously lacking. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was the second RCI ship I have been on since June and the second ship where the food was mediocre at best. Good thing I don't cruise for the food, we cruise for the adventure of new ports and the people we meet. But many ... Read More
This was the second RCI ship I have been on since June and the second ship where the food was mediocre at best. Good thing I don't cruise for the food, we cruise for the adventure of new ports and the people we meet. But many people remember the food and this prompts this review. The buffet food on this cruise was best described as less than mediocre. When two young men that have eaten me out of house and home growing up rather go to the main dining room than the buffet that should tell you something. Even the desserts at time appeared to be below par. Maybe in tough times RCI is cutting back on the food selections but that shouldn't affect taste and variety, should it? Otherwise, service was exceptional from the staff. The shows I thought were not as entertaining as others. Cleanliness was of high standards in both the cabins and public areas. Other than the food my only other major criticism is about the port of Galveston. When the line to get to customs upon disembarking crosses in front of the baggage pickup it cause confusion and some chaos. I overheard many first timers to Galveston cruise port saying they would have to think twice about going on another cruise from there. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We live in Houston, and Galveston is only an hour away from our home. My husband and I have sailed on Royal Caribbean several times and are seasoned cruisers. Age 57-53. Embarkation- was a breeze, got to the port at 10:30AM and was on ... Read More
We live in Houston, and Galveston is only an hour away from our home. My husband and I have sailed on Royal Caribbean several times and are seasoned cruisers. Age 57-53. Embarkation- was a breeze, got to the port at 10:30AM and was on the ship by 11:15AM. Stateroom available at 1PM. Service- on board the ship was awesome. Drink service a bit slow, but was not because of the service, just they did not have enough help to manage the crowd. Our cabin steward was beyond great. Cabin- bed was beyond horrible. It was like sleeping on the floor. We asked for a foam topper to be told they no longer provided. Again, the bed was horrible!! Main dining room-food was the worse than we have ever had on a cruise. The steak did not have the texture of a steak. It was like spam in a steak form. Disgusting. Windjammer-food was like a local buffet, breakfast was the same every day. Chops-excellent food, but the waiter seemed disinterested and only wanted reassurance that we would rate him high on the survey that you received after you got home. Tender-to Grand Cayman-I KID YOU NOT-TOOK US THREE HOURS TO GET OFF THE SHIP!!! Three hours of our cruise waiting to get on a boat to take us to shore. Jamaica-did not do an excursion thru Royal Caribbean. Did a private excursion and had the time of our lives! Cozumel-nothing special-been there-done that. Main show-high school kids could do a better job. Terrible. Comedian-raunchy doesn’t make it funny. Ice Show-Day one they made you wait in line for tickets, and show night didn’t even ask for them. Show-not bad-not great Pictures-they have you look on a kiosk to decide if you would like to purchase, and have writing all across the pictures so you cannot tell until after you buy them if you have say your eyes closed or something doesn’t look right. One night the entire ship lost power for maybe 2 minutes, totally freaked. However, you would think nothing happened. Drink service continued. People just didn’t seem to even notice. Way funny. One woman on board stayed drunk the entire trip-falling down drunk-got mean and loud and no one stepped in to take care of it. Every show she was loud and trying to get attention and again no one from Royal Caribbean stepped in to stop her. One show she was in the front seat and started to cry and blaming the performer for her troubles. Stopped the whole show- Again, no one stepped in to stop her. TIPS-watch out peeps- people take their karaoke very serious! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We arrived in Galveston early used Lighthouse Parking (which we always use) and got on the ship within 30 minutes. The ship is pretty and clean. Our cabin was nice and located in a great area on the ship but it was so hot in there we ... Read More
We arrived in Galveston early used Lighthouse Parking (which we always use) and got on the ship within 30 minutes. The ship is pretty and clean. Our cabin was nice and located in a great area on the ship but it was so hot in there we could not stand it. I immediately requested a fan and it was delivered and problem solved. The service in the dining room was extremely slow and we had to ask for water and tea. Our waiter spent most of his time jumping on his poor assistant. We only ate there 3 times and we were dissappointed each time. On formal night you could not find anyone to take a picture of you and if you did you had to wait forever. I thought that was so odd. The Windjammer buffet was good not great. They had a good selection and we ate there a lot but they are only open certain times of the day. If you get hungry after 9 pm good luck in trying to find something to eat. Everything closes early. Ice Cream is not 24 hrs and neither is pizza so if you want anything you have to get room service. We spent a lot of time in the little cafe drinking coffee and having a snack. We were hassled a lot about going to eat at the speciality restaurants. We would be trying to enjoy lunch at Windjammer and someone would walk up everyday to try to get us to try the restaurants and $20 per person (no thanks)! The shows were great all of them! We loved the comedians, ice show and ventriliquist. I never saw the Cruise Director except at the shows announcing the performers. He was never just walking around talking to cruisers. Our cabin Steward Bev was great. We loved her! We booked all private tours and they were great! The activities during sea days were ok. This was our first Royal Carribean and have always cruised Carnival so I was comparing a lot. The ship was laid out great, easy to get to things and much prettier than Carnival but all in all we just have more fun on Carnival. The service in the dining room is definitely better on Carnival and the food is better and you can get something to eat late at night. We were with a great group of people and we had fun but will probably be going back to Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Mixed feelings about RCCL. We are age 43 years old and thought we'd try a more "mature cruise". The ship was beautiful, loved our room, balcony view and deck. We felt that the first couple days were really great ... Read More
Mixed feelings about RCCL. We are age 43 years old and thought we'd try a more "mature cruise". The ship was beautiful, loved our room, balcony view and deck. We felt that the first couple days were really great considering we were still in the oooh's and awe's of the ship. However, as the days went on we were finding it hard to find anything to really do other than the usual drinking, sunbathing and shopping. This cruise just seemed to be missing more activities for our taste. Found ourselves a bit bored and searching for things to do. On other cruises we seemed to always run into a game, line dancing lessons, trivia etc...We previously cruised Carnival Magic which is who I am comparing to. I really enjoyed Carnival overall. I will try another ship with RCCL before I totally count them out. Disappointed in the lack of 'open' good places to find a snack on the ship, the only place was at the royal promenade cafe and the food was pretty bad. The other cruises I've been on always had at least burgers, pizza and ice cream easily accessible near the pool and movie deck. One of the best meals we did have was when we ordered room service after midnight, it was delish! The meals at dinner were good. I mostly ordered what our waiter suggested and was always satisfied. The dinner staff did not seem to have as much fun like the Carnival waiters who would sing and dance most nights. Plus the breakfast in the Saphire dining was terrible. Your best option is to stick with the buffet for breakfast and lunch. Or visit Johnny Rockets (fee) for lunch, but do not sit inside unless you want to be stuffy. The entertainment on the pool deck was lacking. The pool big screen showed videos that did not match the entertainment on the pool deck. They should of either played the music videos with the matching sound or had a camera focused on the entertainment for all to see. Seemed like there was a lot of silence, we felt like elevator music should of been at least piped throughout the ship in some places. The piano man was not very good. We really were entertained by the guest singer he had instead of him. He seemed to want to sing a whole Elton John Album verses a variety of other songs. Most of the singers/bands in the bars were wonderful, but again more drinking and just hanging out. The live shows in the auditorium were good as well the Promenade Parties were lively. We visited the Cosmopolitan for club dancing. The DJ wasn't very lively. He sat mostly and I don't remember seeing him look up very often or interact. People danced, but mostly it was just to drink and hang out...again. Funny to see the teens sneak up the elevators to bust a few moves in the hallway. The drinks were very pricey although the best was only having to buy 1 drink card because I am not a big drinker where as my hubby enjoys his beer. Hated the routine to get our luggage when got back. The signs were not posted high enough to see where your luggage was and for some stupid reason, a lot of it was piled in the center of the customs building. They pushed us out of the ship too soon. We would of been more comfortable waiting in the theatre for customs to clear out a bit. -Not a lot of photographers snapping your photo like the Carnival. Which meant having to wait in line to get a photo on the dressup nights. -Loved the Service team, be sure to tip them extra. They work so hard to please. -Request Ice twice daily, to let melt for drinking. Bring a water bottle. They have coolers with drinking water at the pool bars. -Select Early dining to not miss evening shows or Select Late dining to get extra desserts or entres....Especially for Lobster night. -Formal, is not "too formal". Ladies, skip the gown if you want. Although on Formal nights I saw anywhere from capris to Prom dresses. Shirt and Tie and slacks are great for the fellas. It's just an opportunity for you to really dress up if you wish. -Decorate your door with magnetic items. Also buy strong Magnetic hooks to hang your swimwear to dry (the walls are metal behind the wallpaper) All in all I wasn't impressed with the activities on the ship but I Loved my room and the pools. Will try again with RCCL just on a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I have been on 10 Cruises and work in the travel industry. It is with this point of view I share what I hope are beneficial comments. We traveled with my wife's family, 16 total in our group. I had my wife and 3 small children, 6, ... Read More
I have been on 10 Cruises and work in the travel industry. It is with this point of view I share what I hope are beneficial comments. We traveled with my wife's family, 16 total in our group. I had my wife and 3 small children, 6, 4, 18 months. There were over 1,000 kids on this ship and I will say it didn’t seem like it to me, but then again 3 of them were mine. If you don’t like kids my best advice is don’t cruise in July. Parking We used Galveston park n cruise right across the street. It could not have been easier and I would do that again on any cruise I sail from Galveston. We arrived about 10:15 dropped the family and bags at the terminal and then dropped the cars. There was very light traffic at this time, as we were in between both rushes of people getting off and on. By 11:00 we were checked in and on board. Cabin We had the highly coveted cabin #1388, and it lived up to the hype. It is a strange design but it does have more floor space. The balcony portion of it is also strange. I had to duck to get around that beam, and the furniture was nice but again in the way to move around the beam. But, we would choose it again. Kid’s Club/Nursery I cannot say enough nice things about the people that do this. They were amazing and all of my kids liked it. Nursery is for 0-2 years and is $6 before 7:00 pm (I think) $8 after. I forget the exact hour but around then. Kid’s club is free 3-17 years and was the best deal of the entire cruise. I can’t believe it is free. After 10:00 pm until 2:00 am it is $7 or $8 an hour. Dining We did My Time and moved it around most days without a problem. Every meal we had at the same table except one night. Service was friendly but slow at times. The personality of the staff made up for their speed. Food was hit and miss, with some stuff being great and other stuff not very good. Overall it was fine and we enjoyed dinner. Again that might have more to do with the kid’s club/nursery. We had the kids with us 3 of the 7 nights. Every night listed in our cruise compass was either Casual or Formal. The day we got on board the ship I saw adults in shorts and t-shirts and thought they probably didn't have their bags yet. The next night (first sea day) was formal night and everyone was "dressed up." Every night except the two formal nights had people in ball caps, shorts, t-shirts, flip flops...I asked the maitre d if they were dressed appropriately for the dining room, and he said, "Yes anything goes on casual night but swim wear" I was surprised. Excursions Cozumel: We took a cab to Playa Mia and had a blast. We pre-paid for the all-inclusive package and we were glad we did. I was very surprised at how good the buffet was. I had heard negative stuff and wasn’t expecting it to be very good, but it was. Everyone had a good time here and I would recommend it if you have kids. If you don’t and don’t want to be around them, I would advise you to choose another beach club. I would if I didn’t have my kids. Grand Cayman: I arranged for our group to go to Stingray City with Capt. Marvin’s. They were right across the street from our tender pier and it was so convenient. They took our entire group and we had a blast. The little ones were a little nervous but still liked it. This was a very windy day so we had to snorkel at the Coral Gardens. It was fine if you hadn’t snorkeled much. Jamaica: This was the only excursion we booked with the ship. We left the kids onboard, (a little scary) and did a catamaran and snorkel out of Montego Bay. It is about a 30-45 min ride by bus. Traffic was bad for some reason, but I enjoyed seeing the country. Boat was great with good snacks and drinks (all included), but it was windy this day too. Snorkeling was fun but just got knocked around a bit because of the wind. Nothing terrible just not great conditions. This was probably my favorite excursion, but I love sailing. Issues: One of my issues was an issue every parent of small children talked about while on board your ship. There is absolutely no place for toddlers to play in the water. Everyone with toddlers was asked to remove them from the pools. I understand why they are not allowed in the pool, but it is unacceptable to me, for the ship to not to provide a free play area for this age. There was literally no place to take them during the day unless you wanted to pay and drop them off. I have sailed other ships that have small play areas where the little ones can run around. There were MANY upset parents who commented that they would never had come on a cruise had they known about the pool rule. Again, I understand the rule and I'm grateful for it, but I would point families with young children towards other vacation options or ships that at least have play areas. The Jacuzzi in the spa is rusted and in need of a makeover. It was one of the only places on the ship that looked as old as it is. When we were on this ship 10 years ago there were buttons that would make the jets work. Now the buttons don't do anything and the wires that used to be attached to are just loose. I'm shocked somebody looked at that and thought it was acceptable. It doesn't look dangerous or anything just trashy. Not what I ever expected to see on a Royal Caribbean ship. The evening entertainment was way below what I was expecting. I'm not sure if the orchestra had the week off or what, but we never saw them again after the first night, until the final night. The first song and dance show had music played over the sound system instead of live. There never seemed to be a consistent flow to the evening entertainment/schedule. I don't know how to explain it other than it just felt off. I left with the impression and hope for their sake this was some sort of transition week. The Liverpool Legends were good, and the quest was funny. I'm not really sure what to take away as my overall impression of this cruise. There were some real highs and some real lows. My group of 16 was split about Royal Caribbean living up to its reputation. Our first time cruisers were still impressed, but those of us who had cruised before were not. I can't say I would recommend Royal Caribbean over other lines, if the cost we much higher. I was hoping I could. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This is my 4th cruise. My first 3 with Carnival and the last with royal caribbean We though that they will have better service, food, entertainment for adults and kids, and daily activities. 1.Housekeeping people just barely say hi ... Read More
This is my 4th cruise. My first 3 with Carnival and the last with royal caribbean We though that they will have better service, food, entertainment for adults and kids, and daily activities. 1.Housekeeping people just barely say hi to you, and they not even clean well your stateroom 2. During the whole week the food from the buffet always was the same food, not any variety. 3. Shows were boring we just went 2 times and never come back 4. they don't have any kids pool and if your little one is still in diaper ...forget...... you can use any pool for him/her 5. The bast activities were during they were on port, so when we are at see they didn't have any fun activities for the whole family. 6. They don't have any night club for adults they have little bars with small dance floors Royal caribbean try to make more money in the ship that is why the occupy more spaces with restaurants, stores and bars at extra charge I will totally recommend Carnival, every single day they have different food from different nationalities, they have kids pool and they have more entertainment for kids also, they have more night clubs for adults and teenagers and more of their space is occupy with things that you can use to entertain yourself for free. soda card at royal caribbean is 60 dlls per adult and carnival is only 30 dlls. With carnival you can have more entertainment, better food, better service for a better price. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I traveled with my wife and two teenage kids. We flew into Hobby and arranged a shuttle for the next day. We arrived at 11am, and spent about an hour getting on the ship, maybe less. We had none of the problems others have mentioned. ... Read More
I traveled with my wife and two teenage kids. We flew into Hobby and arranged a shuttle for the next day. We arrived at 11am, and spent about an hour getting on the ship, maybe less. We had none of the problems others have mentioned. Debarkation was done fairly easy too, we were told our time was 10am to leave the ship, and we are almost through customs by 10am, so they were ahead of schedule. Good: room steward David, waiters Rey and Nataliia were fantastic. The food was good but a bit repetitive. We ate at Sabor one night and enjoyed it. It was worth the upcharge. The ship was clean, tenders ran quickly, and the shows were good. The comedians the last night were fantastic. I liked the Starbucks, which was very reasonable. My kids did the wave machine and enjoyed it. Line was usually about 20 minutes long. Bad: Drink prices were terrible and inconsistent. We got charged three different prices for a Tom Collins. The fitness center was full almost everytime I went and cardio equipment wasn't available. People were staying on it for HOURS at a time. And finally, the ship was overcrowded. The fact is that this ship should have had 15-20% less people on it. I would never do this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We embarked from Galveston, terminal 2, and although I believe the port is not run by RRC, it was the first day of my cruise. And we spent 4.5 hours in various lines, half of which were outside in Texas heat. Being on the ship was a ... Read More
We embarked from Galveston, terminal 2, and although I believe the port is not run by RRC, it was the first day of my cruise. And we spent 4.5 hours in various lines, half of which were outside in Texas heat. Being on the ship was a huge relief, then it was dinner time. And our group of 6, that had all booked together, and requested my time dining, was separated by assigned times and tables. None of the three couples were together. It took two days of frustrations and lots of different people to straighten it out. So yay, now we all can dine together. Our head waiter and assistant waiter were wonderful. James and Sergio, thumbs up. We love to cruise, this was our fourth and my parents 11th. It bums me to have had so many things that weren't up to the RRC standard. We all had balcony rooms, and the beds and pillows were beyond worn out. The mattress felt like a bad pull out sofa, and the pillows were little flat bricks. My last cruise was Carnival, and wow the beds and pillows were amazing. So lastly, this is just a silly little disappointment, but we only had 2 towel animals...the little things help put the smile on your face at the end of the day. We spent an enormous amount of time on the pool deck. The bands that played p oolside were really enjoyable, but only played short sets. Most of the time, the giant TV was playing skit videos. The pool area is nice with plenty of seating, but get there early if want close to the pool. These seats always go first. The pool deck is very slippery, be cautious. On many occasions there were children in the adult pool. There isn't a pool for kids or toddlers. So the main pool is mainly rambuctious, barley supervised kids. Disembarkation was easy. We carried our luggage out, the first time for us. And we will probably do this again. We took the first time out at 7:30am and were in our car on the way home by 9:00. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
My wife and I have cruised numerous times with Royal Caribbean over the years, and have generally had very positive experiences. We just finished a cruise out of Galveston on Navigator of the Seas, and the ship itself, the service, the ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised numerous times with Royal Caribbean over the years, and have generally had very positive experiences. We just finished a cruise out of Galveston on Navigator of the Seas, and the ship itself, the service, the food etc. were all quite good. The only complaint I have regarding the ship itself has to do with the process for purchasing photographs taken on the ship; you are supposed to be able to view the photos on Deck 3 with the use of ipads and other screens provided by the ship, however at any given time more than half of these screens were not working, and those that did malfunctioned during the purchasing process. RCCL should work on getting those kinks ironed out. My only real issue though is the continuously worsening behavior of my fellow Texans that sail out of Galveston. I have cruised from Galveston 3 times now in the past 2 years, and each time the behavior has been worse. It is not uncommon at all to see shorts in the dining room at dinner, which Royal Caribbean says is not allowed but continues to tolerate. On multiple occasions I saw men walking around the Promenade Deck (indoors) without shirts.While sitting at a table in Vintages (wine bar) I had someone sneeze twice without any attempt at covering their face, spraying visible mucous on the table and floor. I could offer many more examples, but you get the point. Cruising with Royal Caribbean used to be special, but RCCL is allowing itself to slowly slide into Carnival territory. I have never seen this kind of behavior from guests when cruising from the various ports in Florida. I doubt very seriously that my wife and I would consider cruising from Galveston again. So, the ship and service are good, but the hillbilly behavior is very prevalent and very off-putting. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our sixth cruise, our third on Royal Caribbean, and I've never written a review on any of our trips. However, the issues getting on this ship in Galveston were so frustrating, I felt a need to let others know. We drove to ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise, our third on Royal Caribbean, and I've never written a review on any of our trips. However, the issues getting on this ship in Galveston were so frustrating, I felt a need to let others know. We drove to Galveston that morning and arrived at the port at noon. We saw a long line outside and got in it on this hot early afternoon. We were standing in line a total of three hours before getting to the actual check in counter! The first hour and a half getting through security and the second hour and a half to check in and get seas passes etc. before boarding. This was the most chaotic boarding process we have ever seen. By the time we finally got on the ship, they were sending people to the lifeboat drill and we were not able to even get a drink! By the time we were able to sit down out of the heat, it had been 4 and 1/2 hours! The security line was somewhat understandable and we are glad bags are carefully checked in todays world, but the line to get checked in on the boat was just a long mess with not nearly enough personal to check in passengers. We have never seen anything like this. Im not sure we would try this ship again, but if you do, go very very early, no matter what the phone call you get from Royal Caribbean tells you as far as time to arrive! Once aboard, our cruise was enjoyable. Our room and dining attendants were awesome, the ice show was exceptional as well. The Magic show and guest singer were also very good. Other shows we saw with the ship dancers were not nearly as good and I probably would not go to those again. I would have to say that food was just so so, I believe the quality has gone downhill over the years we have cruised. We really did not have one good desert the entire trip. Drinks such as lemonade and tea were very very watered down. The coffee was just bad. We opted for My Time dining for the first time, and that did not go smoothly at all. Our time was 6:30, and we were given a pager every night and told there were no tables. We were told 6:30 was a bad time to reserve as tables fill earlier and others are not finished yet. We are not sure why they even let you book that time. The dining room hostess acted irritated with us for selecting that time. She seemed very stressed and irritable. Our teen (16), did have a wonderful time and enjoyed the teen room and meeting other kids. The staff did a great job with the kids and sports activities, mixers etc. He enjoyed the climbing wall, putt putt, pools, gym etc... I am not sure that the good things about this trip outweighed the bad. Though we loved our Port stops of Cozumel, Belize and Roatan, the ship experience could be greatly improved! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I write this as a Pinnacle RCI member with over 90 RCI cruises and thus will be comparing this trip with my other RCI experiences. First - upon arrival at the Galveston cruise terminal there were hundreds of people lined up both inside ... Read More
I write this as a Pinnacle RCI member with over 90 RCI cruises and thus will be comparing this trip with my other RCI experiences. First - upon arrival at the Galveston cruise terminal there were hundreds of people lined up both inside and outside in the searing heat and humidity and nothing was happening. After 30 min a Security Guard told some of us that RCI had a complete crash of their boarding web system and so no one could be processed until the problem was resolved. After about an hour apparently a fix was in place and processing started again. The backup was so severe that the ship was delayed in departing. Hundreds sweltered in the heat, no effort was made to assist pax in any way, no information was provided, and to my knowledge not a word of explanation or apology was made at any time during the cruise at least not that I either read or heard. Not acceptable - but is in accord with the usual Cruise Company policy on most lines to NEVER tell pax anything. Ship was badly overcrowded - almost 3900 pax on a ship whose double occupancy is less than 3500, which means that every temporary pull out/pull down bed was in use. This included over 900 children between 7 and 17. In Grand Cayman it took over three hours to get pax ashore. The Dining room was so overcrowded that waiters could hardly squeeze between tables, and even the Captains Table was used for regular dining. Pinnacle members usually get certain "perks", but not here - no fruit bowl, no canapés, no special recognition, no dinner with Hotel Director/Captain, no flowers in the cabin etc. and there were only two Pinnacle members on the ship and so "cost" of such perks, given on other RCI ships, would have been less than nothing. I found both my Room Steward and Dining Room waiter to be much less friendly and competent than on other cruises. In the Dining Room luckily for me the Head Waiter took over taking care of me and did so excellently. Coffee tables have been removed from the cabins as have all throw cushions etc. Of course RCI long ago removed pens, paper, wine glasses, slippers etc. from cabins even their Junior Suites. Production Shows were "new" to me and enjoyable. "Headliners" as usual left much to be desired - but that's why they are on ships - they can't make it elsewhere. Food - In Dining Room and Windjammer - all usual RCI standard menu now several years old and needing updating. Food in Giovanni's (the "new" Portofino), and Chops Grill has declined in quality while prices have increased. Beverages - I only drink wine, but cheapest "half glass" is now $8.oo plus 18% "service" charge. Shopping - continues to decline, nothing available but grossly overpriced clothing that would not be used on a cruise. Try to find RCI logo clothing, sundries etc. and you will have little luck. More and more "experienced" cruisers have had more than enough of crowded Caribbean ports and wish to stay aboard; however little in the line of activities is provided for "stay aboards". Experienced Cruisers also like to have some sort of dress code and are put off by seeing so many in the Dining Room with tank tops, flip flops, shorts, baseball caps etc. I inquired and finally got a Head Waiter to tell me that the Company has revised its "dress code" so that anything is OK EXCEPT that SHORTS cannot be worn on "formal night". In other words wear anything, we don't care. This is what FORMAL night now means on RCI. All in all - not a particularly good trip; however I sure that the thousands who were there, and who will probably not become faithful to RCI, spent lots of money and that is the only thing RCI is interested in. RCI's philosophy and that of Carnival are now much alike - get them drunk, have them spend, create an atmosphere of rowdiness with lots of sexual innuendo etc. and make $$$. Personally I have transferred most of my cruising away from RCI to other lines, and this trip confirms my decision. Yesterday I answered RCI post cruise survey and noticed that they don't even include a place for one to submit "negative comments". Only "positive" comments are wanted I guess. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I booked this cruise as a high school graduation gift for my daughter. I traveled with my husband, daughter and mother for this trip. For my mom and daughter, this was their first cruise ever. I have previously cruised on the Crown ... Read More
I booked this cruise as a high school graduation gift for my daughter. I traveled with my husband, daughter and mother for this trip. For my mom and daughter, this was their first cruise ever. I have previously cruised on the Crown Princess but the Navigator was our first experience with Royal Caribbean. Embarkation, for us was simple. Since we have family that lives close to Galveston, they dropped us off at the cruise terminal and left in our vehicle. The check in went very well. Plenty of staff were present and helpful during check in. We purchased our drink package after check in but before boarding the ship at a table on the way. My husband and I purchased the soda only package. We're not big drinkers. Although, we did carry 2 bottles of wine aboard with no problems. I purchased the coffee package for my daughter so she could have the starbucks coffee. This package also included bottled water. I liked the fact that she could pick up a water before leaving the ship for the port or at night to take our meds. Overall, I think the drink packages for Royal Caribbean are too high. On our previous cruise with princess, it was 35$ a week for the sodas and mocktails for the WHOLE week. Princess's coffee card was also more reasonable, however princess coffee was undrinkable according to my husband (I don't drink coffee) and the navigator coffee was drinkable. The dining room was great! Melvine and Junmar were our waiters and did a fabulous job. I don't know if you can request certain waiters or not but I would definitely request them again! I'm a huge escargot fan. I had them for 3 nights that week. Our waiters would bring out extras of items that we had requested on a previous nights. The Windjammer was a different story. There were NEVER enough seating. I know, on the first day at noon, the windjammer is EXPECTED to be packed. I get that, I expect that. However, on the following days, there just wasn't enough seating. I hope royal fixes this problem either with another buffet area or another seating area. What is available just isn't enough. The food was just ok. Nothing special, I prefer the princess buffet. The entertainment was ok. We prefer the game/quiz/karaoke shows to the more -produced shows. We really really enjoyed The Quest game show. Very Very Very funny! The cruise director was good. Disembarkation was ok. We were the last ones off the ship. We waited down in the ice rink before our turn to leave. I can not recommend enough to get there EARLY. Otherwise, you will have to stand during your wait time. Customs was a breeze. We had our passports and customs form signed and ready to go. Overall, our trip was good. I will go back to princess when available but would sail with RC only if the price was really really nice. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
If asked before this cruise, I would have said I prefer cruising Royal Caribbean out of Galveston/Houston. However, this cruise made me rethink this after having cruised in February on NCL for a lower price with a better experience. On ... Read More
If asked before this cruise, I would have said I prefer cruising Royal Caribbean out of Galveston/Houston. However, this cruise made me rethink this after having cruised in February on NCL for a lower price with a better experience. On the plus side, Navigator of the Seas is a very nice, clean ship. The service (cabin steward and dining room) was as good as any we have had in well over 20 cruises. Two of the evening headline shows were excellent (Re-Voiced and the Ice show). Shore excursions seemed to be priced well compared to those offered on other cruise lines although I still found it more than we could do by doing something outside. Disembarkation went smoothly. On the negative side, the embarkation process was long, hot and painful. I'm not sure if this is a cruise line issue or a port issue but it should be addressed. The dining room staff was delivering the food as quickly as it came out, but it was NEVER hot and rarely even very warm which detracted a great deal from the quality. The production staff entertainment was about the weakest I have ever seen with regard to the 4 singers. They tried to cover this with lots of flashy costumes and set changes but did not succeed. We had multiple problems with the safe in our cabin and it took 3 times before the fix occurred which was as simple as changing the batteries. The virtual balcony froze up 4 or 5 times and my cabin door key quit working at an inopportune time. In summary, I was disappointed as I was on cruise with my sister, parents and aunt and uncle. I picked RC because I wanted them to have a great experience and while it wasn't bad, it wasn't great. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Food service and the dining room food was great. Other cruise dining room overall experiences were better however. Entertainment was spotty, with some real misses including the adult event known as the Quest and the adult comedian. ... Read More
Food service and the dining room food was great. Other cruise dining room overall experiences were better however. Entertainment was spotty, with some real misses including the adult event known as the Quest and the adult comedian. Ship was nice including pools, spas, exercise room, etc. Some of the simple exercise classes were for a fee leading to no one showing. Overall a good experience but have had better on other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was my 4 trip on Royal, 1st on Navigator of the Seas. Over all I was disappointed in the trip. Here are a few things that we noticed: We are early risers and like to go to the upper decks to have coffee and watch the sun rise. But ... Read More
This was my 4 trip on Royal, 1st on Navigator of the Seas. Over all I was disappointed in the trip. Here are a few things that we noticed: We are early risers and like to go to the upper decks to have coffee and watch the sun rise. But there is no coffee service on the liddo deck until 7 o'clock and then you have to go all the way thru windjammer to get the coffee. So if you want coffee early, You have to go all the way down to deck 5 and then elevator up. By then the coffee has cooled and the moment lost. The other ship had a coffee and water station outside on the liddo deck. The staff seems tired. Our waiters Melvine and Junmar were very courteous, but that did not make up for the lackluster dinners. Get this.... we were dining with a couple on the windjammer one evening, and the main dining room server came to windjammer looking for them wondering why they did not come to dinner. He said the main dining room wait staff has access to your sail and sign card and know when you pay to eat other places. It is none of their business where you choose to eat. The ship needs overall maintenance and TLC. At least 5 deck chairs we tried to sit had missing straps in the seat. Someone has lost a lime from their drink in the hall way I know I passed it at least 3 days. The beds were uncomfortable. I gave it a couple of days to try and get use to it. But my back hurt so bad I had to take something for the discomfort. The room steward said they were out of egg crates (imagine that). So I folded up my comforter and put it under my sheet. The ship appeared as tired as the staff. Most were pleasant but you could see they were tired. I have had better room stewards too. The entertainment was poor, the ice show was great and worth a see. Needless to say, Next trip will be on Carnival. We do not drink, so when we were in the casino and my husband tried to use his soda card at the bar, the bartender made him wait and did not want to wait on him. Royal charges for every little thing. Exactly what are we getting for our money. A motel 6 room and cafeteria food. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
The Navigator of the Seas is a beautiful ship. There were a few spots showing age, like the peeling paint on the balcony, but generally, the ship was very well maintained throughout. We were met at the Houston airport with a bus that ... Read More
The Navigator of the Seas is a beautiful ship. There were a few spots showing age, like the peeling paint on the balcony, but generally, the ship was very well maintained throughout. We were met at the Houston airport with a bus that accommodated the wheelchair. The driver was very knowledgeable about the lift, tie down process, and was super friendly. After a drive to Galveston, we were shown the long lines to begin the embarkation process, but were pulled out of the line due to the wheelchair and were escorted to the special needs line. Not sure if it went any faster or not since it took more time to get through security. Then we waited for a while to be helped by the two clerks checking in the disabled. They were somewhat efficient, though one didn't really know how to use a computer. Once on board we enjoyed a lunch, made our way to the room and relaxed before dinner. Even though we had expressed a need (requirement) to be placed in a table that had easy wheelchair access, we were placed in the back corner. Only seven different people had to get up in order for my wife to use the restroom. On the second day at sea we decided to double check with the passenger services to ensure that an accessible bus would be available for us on disembarkation. Despite being told by four different people four different times on the phone that we would be able to make our flight, the passenger services staff told us in no uncertain terms that we would miss our flight since the accessible bus would not be leaving the port until 10:30. With a flight of 11:55, we would not make it. Passenger services was unsympathetic and told us there was nothing they could do. After paying for international fees for making calls, we finally arranged transportation back to the airport. Overall, it probably cost us 4 times the amount to get transported back to the airport than it should have. We noticed that fellow passengers arrived at the airport at the same time as us but on the ship transportation. At another time they told us that the accessible tour we had arranged would not be accessible. Luckily he dug into the tour a little deeper and discovered he had given us the wrong information. Our lesson: don't listen to passenger services staff, as they don't seem to know what they are doing. Norovirus was present on the ship. Hand sanitizers were plentiful and I noticed they changed the tongs at the buffet quite often. Otherwise, I didn't see many other measures that were extraordinary. Dining was not anything spectacular. Once we were assigned to a permanent table, we had wonderful table mates. The food was adequate. Our waiter and assistant waiter, Abraham and Galen were efficient and a pleasure. We splurged one night and went to Sabor's. That was a waste of money and time. Menu choices were horrible and the food was just as bad. The table side guacamole was excellent, but that was the highlight of the meal. Service was not half as good as we received in the dining room. Being at the tail end of spring break, there were a lot of kids on board. unfortunately, security must have taken their break because there were numerous problems with kids all over the ship. Overall, it was a nice cruise. being our 10th cruise, it won't be counted as a favorite and unless Royal Caribbean has the right itinerary, we probably wont be cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
After going on a Disney cruise two years ago and a Royal Caribbean 5 years ago, I had high expectations. Royal Caribbean disappointed. - Food - Disappointing. On previous cruises on Royal Caribbean & Disney, the food was exceptional. ... Read More
After going on a Disney cruise two years ago and a Royal Caribbean 5 years ago, I had high expectations. Royal Caribbean disappointed. - Food - Disappointing. On previous cruises on Royal Caribbean & Disney, the food was exceptional. The dinner food was decent, but worse than other cruises. The breakfast in Windjammer was terrible. Royal Caribbean pushed the paid dining - Are they making the free food poor on purpose? I talked to a bunch of people and everyone was disappointed by the food. - I couldn't enjoy the "special" activities on this ship. Ice skating was all booked the last day. The Flowrider and rock wall always had monster lines. - Departure - Leaving was a complete disaster. I booked two rooms next to each other and the two rooms had different departure times. It took forever. Huge lines everywhere. It was impossible to get a porter so I dragged 4 suitcases with my 3 kids in tow. - Service - It was good not great. The automatic "gratuities" may have something to do with it. They should change the $12 gratuity name to a fee because it's not option. - Laundry - Poor that there is no self-service (like Disney) and the bag option took 2 days and 2 of my white shirts were turned green (and later rewashed and I didn't get it back until late on the last day). - Kids Club - My two boys (11 and 9 years old) had an exceptional time in the kids club. They liked this kids club much much better than Disney's from 2 years ago. The activities were engaging and the staff did an amazing job. I also liked that the boys had to participate instead of just playing video games. I was surprised that Royal Caribbean trumped Disney for kids activities but they did for my two sons. - The big pro of Royal Caribbean over Disney is the casino. Playing craps and black jack and other games are options that Disney doesn't offer. I love cruises and this will not be my last cruise. I could have saved 30% by going with Carnival, and I felt like I paid more and got Carnival-like food & service. I'll either save money and go with Carnival next time or pay more and go with Disney for better service & food.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This cruise was my wife and my seventh Royal Caribbean cruise, and first since having children. We swapped to Disney for the previous 2 cruises since Disney sailed from Galveston for a time (Disney Magic), and we live around 45 minutes ... Read More
This cruise was my wife and my seventh Royal Caribbean cruise, and first since having children. We swapped to Disney for the previous 2 cruises since Disney sailed from Galveston for a time (Disney Magic), and we live around 45 minutes from the port. With Disney moving out of Galveston and Royal Caribbean bringing in a ship (Navigator of the Seas) that has a nursery and kids club for our 13 month and 3 year old, we decided to give Royal a try with kids. We booked an Owners Suite, number 1330, the Hawaiian Suite, to give us a room with a bathtub and a curtain that would separate us from the kids so that when they fell asleep, we could stay up or sneak out on the balcony. There are two doors to the balcony on an Owner’s Suite. The embarkation onto the ship was painless. We left after our younger DD’s morning nap and arrived around 11:15 am to drop off the luggage. We were eating lunch at the Windjammer by noon. There is a long road leading to the turn in for Terminal 1 (Carnival) and Terminal 2 (Royal Caribbean). The road backs up for around half a mile but there are multiple streets that turn right into old downtown Galveston. The area is a grid so a quick left and some stop signs brings you to the street you turn left on to pull into the terminal area. We checked out the kids clubs areas after eating lunch. The nursery is significantly smaller than the one on the Disney Magic (maybe a third of the size) but the counselor we met was very pleasant, and we booked from 7 to 9 pm each evening, as our youngest DD normally goes to bed at 7 pm ($8 / hour). The thought being we’d all enjoy dinner at the early main dining room seating (5:30 pm), go to the room and change into pajamas, and then let her sleep, while the oldest DD would go to the play area for older kids, Aquanauts. There is a program where the counselors from the older kids play area will pick them up each night at 6:40 pm. We viewed the larger play area, which had several main rooms, where I assume they split up the age groups. Our oldest DD was drawn to the mock boat and slide area in the front but there were also areas for drawing, for “cooking”, for playing video games, and for dancing. She asked and asked to go and play even almost throwing a tantrum, which made us feel promising regarding our plan. We dropped her off the 2nd night of the cruise to play and were called close to time to pick her up that she wanted to come back to the room. I think the issue was that she wanted to free play and the Aquanauts activities are set, i.e. story time, coloring time, cooking time, etc. The Aquanauts program has many great fun sounding activities but no choice. Our oldest DD has gone to Mother’s Day out for almost two years and loves it so we were surprised she didn’t take to it. Talking to other couple’s in the Concierge Lounge, most kids under the age of about eight didn’t enjoy the kids clubs. I went into this detail in case you are thinking that you will have a supervised activity your children will love while you and your spouse get some quiet time. Didn’t happen but we made the best of it as we love hanging out with our oldest DD, and it was special as she has had to “share” us with her younger sister. Overall the cruise made us realize Disney offers a much better experience for people with kids. However, it goes beyond this as we were excited this cruise would make us Diamond, and we’ve had several “dream of the future” conversations where we’d sail with Royal Caribbean when we retire some day. Positives: - Concierge Lounge = petit fours were tasty, bartenders were very attentive, and people were pleasant, even with us toting two small children with us for a pre-dinner drink each night. Was a bit worried seeing the comments on Cruise Critic but most had children and enjoyed “playing” or talking to our kids. My DW and I enjoyed Capuccinos from the machine as it was the only drinkable coffee on the ship, other than paying for Starbucks. - Suite Benefits = we took advantage of the Playstation 3 to borrow a controller and have movies from home while we got dressed or sun screened up. The before mentioned Concierge Lounge. I grabbed a donut for the older DD several mornings when getting coffee. Once we discovered how nice eating breakfast was in Chops, we ate there every morning (no fighting the Windjammer crowd, looking for a high chair when there weren’t readily available, and options expanded = Eggs Benedict, Omelet, etc). There was a lunch for Suite Guests that featured food from each of the specialty restaurants that was attended by all of the ships officers. The Captain was very personable. Ricardo contacted us before the cruise and booked us a reservation for Sabor for the last sea day. Finally, we used the suite section at the pool deck multiple times throughout the cruise. - Spa = my wife thoroughly enjoyed a one hour Swedish massage, and the prices weren’t that different that a shore massage. - Ports = we’ve done them all before several times and with little ones, this time we focused on getting off the ship to eat lunch where we ported and then do a bit of shopping. In Jamaica we ate at Margaritaville (crowded and confusing on how to get a table / long wait for check / very humid but music and food were good), Breezes in Grand Cayman (ridiculously slow but it was slammed due to spring break), and Senor Frogs in Cozumel (best of the bunch due to music and nice breeze but very pricey). - Swimming on Ship before lunch = spring break cruise so folks staying up late slept in giving us an almost empty pool. - Windjammer = ate there the last night and for a couple of snacks while younger DD was in nursery. Nightly ice cream with different toppings. Negatives: - Room = ordered a pack and play (crib) well ahead of the cruise and confirmed multiple times it would be set up upon arrival. Wasn’t there and so went to guest services, who stated earliest arrival would be 5 pm. By then our youngest DD missed her afternoon nap, making for a cranky customer and a rough first night. Could be due to room attendant who was kind of bad, considering we splurged for a suite. - Room Doorbell = spring break cruise, you’d expect some kids to ring it every once in a while. Turns out our main offender was a woman in her 40’s who was ringing it late at night (between 1 am and 3 am), which woke up our youngest DD and again caused a rough night. Our room attendant then informed us you can turn it off. - Room Side of Ship = don’t expect to enjoy your balcony out of Galveston with your room on the starboard (right) side of the ship. Sun was blazing after around 10 am and made afternoon enjoyment not possible. Also on the wrong side to view anything but ocean on all 3 stops. Somehow amazingly even on the trip back it was too hot to stay outside for long. - Room Balcony = from prior cruises with Royal Caribbean, one being in a Grand Suite, we skipped a stop and stayed on the balcony. There was a cleaning crew that came and scrubbed the glass and handrail daily. This cruise, the glass was so dirty you couldn’t see through it, the deck furniture left filth on your clothing, and each day they’d wash down the upper deck down onto your balcony. We had standing water each morning with cigarette butts, used straws from drinks, and even women’s hair (my oldest DD stated look, there’s a mommy hair one morning). So if you’re thinking of splurging for a balcony, don’t. - Room Inside Cleanliness = bathtub had to be cleaned by my wife and I prior to giving our daughters their first bath. My oldest daughter had various items in her hair after rough housing with her sister on the floor. - Drink Prices = we splurged with a room service Mimosa that was 50% or better orange juice for $12 a piece before the 18% tip. My favorite RCL drink is the lava flow but not at $12 pool side bar (which I decided to splurge on a second and found out we’d been overcharged the first time as the 2nd was $10). - Main Dining Service Speed = even had my oldest DD wanted to go to the play area, we’d never have been done by 6:40 pm without skipping dessert and some cases the main meal. Disney kicks Royal Caribbean out of the water for kid service, offering to make literally anything your child wants, having their drink of choice already table side when you arrive, and understanding you can’t serve a bowl of fruit to kids and then expect them to wait over an hour for their “dinner” to arrive. Our oldest DD filled up on bread by the time her dinner arrived. - Main Dining Food = some positives but definitely a downgrade to the recent Disney Magic on food quality. Soups used to be a highlight but I didn’t finish any this cruise. Lamb dish was so starving for meat, that I was hungry 15 minutes after eating. We skipped dessert to make the 7 pm nursery time twice and headed to the Windjammer for the last evening. Lobster was pretty good and we splurged on a Chops Filet, which was tasty. No meal stood out that I’d wait in line to order at a restaurant. Quality overall less than Olive Garden to give a sense. - Pool after Lunch = again Disney Magic wins over Navigator with a splash area. Navigator has a shallow area for kids out of diapers, as it connects to the main pool. On Navigator, there’s the Solarium pool, two 5’ deep pools, and the shallow area. After lunch, there are organized classic games that take out the shallow area and one of the 5’ pool from around 1 to 3 pm each sea day. The other pool becomes so crowded as to be unsafe to swim. - Coffee Anywhere on the Ship other than Concierge Lounge / Starbucks = lousy, undrinkable. Very acidic in taste. I drink my coffee black these days and only way to make drinkable is 4-6 packs of sugar and a bunch of milk. I think they are trying to drive folks to purchasing coffee at Starbucks by making the “free” coffee terrible. We used to enjoy an afternoon cup on the balcony daily from room service but didn’t order after the first couple of trys. - Auto-tips = service has overall suffered. We are the ones that would pay the tips and a bit extra. The only “Wow” personnel were the nursery personnel, the Concierge bartenders and the Chops waiters. Disney blows Royal Caribbean away on this. Like comparing a Gold medalist to a 60th place finisher in a race. - Towel Animals = ridiculous that it's no longer daily. Cost cutting to the point of stupidity. Our oldest DD would ask where's the towel animal on nights without them. We skipped the shows due to having the little ones but did catch the ice show. It was as good as we remembered and the kids enjoyed. That’s another suite benefit = don’t have to get tickets. As mentioned above, we ate at Sabor and it was good but not worth the entry price. The stuffed chicken and tortilla soup were the highlights other than the desert tray, which offered some tasty unusual desserts. I wasn’t impressed with my overcooked fish or DW’s shrimp dish, though she thought it was one of the bet of the trip. We hit up Johnny Rockets, which was worth it as it has been in the past with yummy burgers, fries / onion rings, and shakes. They missed on the order a bit and no longer dance (which we thought the girls would like). All in all I’m left with a conversation I overheard when disembarking (yet another suite perk, as they walk you to the front of the line). One gentleman stated that this was his family’s 5th and last Royal Caribbean cruise. The other gentleman responded with this was our 1st and last Royal Caribbean cruise. I don’t think Royal Caribbean is going to win over repeat business for newcomers or loyalists unless they up their game and make the value received match the ever increasing prices. For us, Royal Caribbean gets one more shot to “Wow” us in 2016. After that it’ll be Disney or land based vacations.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This is our 19th cruise and am not loyal to any particular cruise line. This trip was an average experience which was disappointing as we had taken a 2 yr hiatus from cruising and instead had been doing more eco-traveling land based ... Read More
This is our 19th cruise and am not loyal to any particular cruise line. This trip was an average experience which was disappointing as we had taken a 2 yr hiatus from cruising and instead had been doing more eco-traveling land based vacations. Embarkation and debarkation were both easy. We arrived at the pier at approx 2 pm and were on the ship in 30 min. We did self disembarkation. Met in the show lounge at 7 a.m. and off thes ship at approx 7:20. Parked at EZ Cruise Pkg and quicker to walk to their lots then waiting for their shuttle to fill w/ people before they leave. The ship itself was well maintained. No issues there. We had a corner aft balcony - 7688. It's marked as obstructed view, but we thought it was AMAZING. Google images of RCL Navigator Cabin 7688 and you'll see great pictures to determine if this is the right cabin for you. Stateroom attendant was perhaps the best we've ever had. No more robes on RCL unless you are elite status. Dissapointing. Room service menu seems to have been paired down. Must order on the tv (calling on the phone was a lengthy wait if they even answered). Doesn't allow you to make any one off requests to your order such as I just want 1 cookie w/ my sandwich. For a vegetarian my room service menus were limited. I thought I had read on CC that during dining room hours you could order room service from the dining room menu, but this was not the case. We also missed potato chips or pretzels. None to be found anywhere on the ship. ?? We opted for Windjammer all wk and did not go to the dining room or speciality restaurants. Many options to choose from and food was good. Not bad, not great....acceptable. My biggest complaint of the whole trip is Windjammer closes at 9 pm and only food available after that is the Cafe. Cafe served the same sandwiches the entire week! Nothing changed and only 1 vegetariant option. After 2 days this got old for me. Also Windjammer would be closed when we would return from our ports. Most people are hungry after getting back on the ship and once again all 3000 of us are forced to the cafe w/ the same darn sandwiches they have served all week! Comedians were ok. Joel M (Elton John impersonator) and the ballroom dancing shows were our favorite. Of course, who doesn't get a good laugh by watching the Quest game show?! The country western band was very good. PLEASE give them a larger venue to perform in. We were literally dancing in the walk way each evening b/c the dance floor was so small and only room for a few couples. Cozumel we rented a VW Bug convertible from Rentadora ISIS for $35. Very easy option to explore the island on our own. Always enjoy this port. Disappointed we missed G Cayman. However, weather is weather and nothing can be done abou this. Falmouth we opted for the Mystic Mountain bob sled and zip line tour. We never book ship excursions, but we did this time. For the first time in a long time the ship excursion was cheaper than a private excursion. Wish I had paid the extra $ and done our own tour. The guide did a terrible job of keeping up all together and therefore we ended up waiting 2 hours for everyone to finish their zip, sled and lunch. We got separated in to different groups with other people visiting the park that day and that should not have happened. Across the street from the park is an area w/ a waterfall, selling crafts, etc.... I asked can I go over there and "visit" while we wait and our tour guide said no we are leaving in 15 min. 2 hours later and several more requests of now may I go over there and kept being told we are leaving in 15 min. I should have just gone. Oh well. Zip line was disappointing compared to the others we have done, but if you have never done this it is worth doing. Bob sled was disappointing as well. Its basically a small roller coaster ride. Not sure what i was expecting, but now I can cross this off our bucket list. Used the gym every day. They sell yoga and pilate classes for $12. Every day at 5 pm they offered a free class called stretching or core conditioning. Guess what folks? It's yogo and pilates, but free. Was only 25 min, but a good class especially for a beginner. Gym equipment was in good condition and rarely had to wait for machines. I'd give the cruise a B. LOVED our cabin, shows were ok to good, food ok, but lack of food choices and food venues was TERRIBLE.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
In the middle of the promenade is a staircase that leads down to the casino. I have never seen anyone take these stairs but the stairs function as a chimney for the cigarette smoke in the casino. The smoke from the casino comes up these ... Read More
In the middle of the promenade is a staircase that leads down to the casino. I have never seen anyone take these stairs but the stairs function as a chimney for the cigarette smoke in the casino. The smoke from the casino comes up these stairs and into the promenade. The entrance to the casino is on either end of the promenade, one deck below. Smoke from these casino entrances also ends up in the promenade, , main staircases, and the elevator areas. RC makes statements in their policies such as "our ships are designated as non-smoking" and "onboard all interior public spaces are smoke free". This is misleading and not what happens in actual practice. I had hoped that after RC improved their smoking policy that it would be better than before, but in the common areas it is just as bad. A nonsmoker should be able to take a cruise and not have to breathe smoke. The casino could easily be configured so that smoke does not easily flow into other areas, but RC has not done this. It seems like the most important thing is the comfort of smokers in the casino at the expense of everyone else. They have a bar and a cigar lounge on the ship where smoking is allowed and they smoke from those venues does not enter other parts of the ship. Why don't they do the same thing with the casino. The casino basically is centrally located, open to other areas, place to smoke. I have witness people in the casino just smoking and not playing. I have tried RC twice and while no one is smoking on the balconies anymore, you still have to put up with a lot of smoke, and you shouldn't have to. It has left a bad taste in my mouth and I plan to wait until this improves, to take my next RC cruise. For some reason when you and your travel agent tell RC about you sleeping preference (apart/together) the information never makes it to cabin steward. On both of my RC cruises they had it wrong when I boarded. I heard many other people complaining that had other stewards, so it seems to be a system problem, not just my steward. Our steward also neglected to give us the paperwork and luggage tags before we departed. I had to get them myself. The seating requests also do not get passed through. When we asked about our seating arrangement not being right, the only way they could fix it was to have as eat at *PM instead of our requested 5:30, so we had to live with the mistake. The Galveston terminal is crowded, confusing, small and has contradictory signs. The rest of our cruise was very enjoyable and we were treated royally at every turn. The ship is very nice and we thoroughly enjoyed our aft junior suite. The food was very good and our waiters were fabulous. The gym was sometimes crowded but very nice with lots of equipment. The shows were good and there are lots of things to do onboard. If you ignore the smoking and the few mistakes, it was a great cruise. RC does a great job and has the bests ships. I look forward to cruising with them again as soon as they truly fulfill their promise that "Onboard all interior public spaces are smoke free." Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
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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