925 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

The Navigator is a very friendly ship. There were 12 of us and we had a fabulous time. US Coast Guard had to check out the ship prior to our boarding so we did not get on until 12:30. No big deal as we were at the Buffet by 12:45. Food ... Read More
The Navigator is a very friendly ship. There were 12 of us and we had a fabulous time. US Coast Guard had to check out the ship prior to our boarding so we did not get on until 12:30. No big deal as we were at the Buffet by 12:45. Food was excellent on this ship. Enjoyed everything from the buffet, to Main Dining room dinners and also our night at Portofino. What a great dinner we had there and so much fun. Rebecca was our server and was delightful. The wait staff was outstanding as was all the staff on the ship. Kudos must go out to Erickson and Katherine our dinner staff, Lindon, one of the pool bar servers, Nicholae, our favorite server in the Two Poets pub,and even the head waiter made a difference by setting us up with escargot for all the last 2 nights of the the cruise. Our room steward was superb. We were in 9595 and, unfortunately we lost her name. It was a tough one to remember and spell but she was the best out of all 26 cruises we have been on. All were extremely attentive and catered to our every need. We, as a group, celebrate different theme nights. One being Crazy Hat night, another, Pirate night, another, Toga Night and also specialty tee shirt and blinky things night. We do this from dinner until bed, in the casino, on deck, in the cigar bar and really any place we go. Every passenger we talked to seemed to love the way we did things. The cruise was not stuffy or stogy at all. We also like to drink a lot but we are always courteous to all. We love to party and dance and this ship was made for that. Dallas, the singer in the two Poets pub was very good as was most of the entertainment. Craig, also a singer at the Schooner piano bar was a riot. Really enjoyed him. As you may be able to tell we quite liked this cruise. There were a couple of things that would be better if different. We are Diamond members and the Dungeon night club is not the greatest place for our happy hour get togethers. The Crown Viking lounge would be much better. Also, for some inexplicable reason, RCCL is now charging a buck a glass for water served at the bars. Kind of miserly especially with the consideration that our bar bill alone was almost 1000.00. Get rid of that policy please! All the ports were great. St. Martin, St. Kitts, San Juan and Labadee are great places to spend the day. The Labadoozies at Labadee are drinks that shouldn't be missed. Overall a great time and can't wait to book with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having recently experienced an airline luggage issue, we decided to fly to Fort Lauderdale on Friday instead of our day of departure. Luckily, our luggage arrived without issue. We stayed at the Renaissance Cruise Port Hotel. It was ... Read More
Having recently experienced an airline luggage issue, we decided to fly to Fort Lauderdale on Friday instead of our day of departure. Luckily, our luggage arrived without issue. We stayed at the Renaissance Cruise Port Hotel. It was exciting to look out the window the next morning and see all the ship funnels in port (seven ships that day). We met several of our Cruise Critic fellow passengers in the Lobby. How we missed each other the night before, we will never know. We used the hotel shuttle and arrived at Port Everglades (Pier 29) around 10:55 AM. (We have to admit the pier was not what we expected compared to the our first stop at the pier for Oasis / Allure to drop off other passengers. Pier 29 felt like a warehouse for cargo instead of boarding a cruise ship.) Upon arrival, the porter met our shuttle and quickly transferred the bags to the baggage pallets behind them. We then proceeded to a rather disorganized zigzag line. Shortly after our arrival, the port staff, realigned the line to run parallel to the buildings entrance in a zigzag pattern. Oddly, we waited and waited and waited, but the line did not move AND we had no idea what the hold-up to boarding was. About 11:30, a RCCL associate walked along our portion of the line and announced boarding would be delayed due to a Coast Guard inspection. The announcement was not broadcast, but merely "announced" by the associate talking loudly (no megaphone or other public address system was used). At this point, when we looked back, and estimated there was probably a good 500+ people behind us. About 11:45, RCCL associates returned to hand out water from a cooler using paper cups. The beverage offering was quickly depleted and they returned back into the terminal (and did not return to resume handing out refreshments). All communications and beverages were only offered to our portion of the line -- that we are aware of. Shortly thereafter, check-in staff appeared handing out the Medical Questionnaires. Around 12:50 we were allowed to enter the terminal and pass thru security to begin the boarding process. Check-in was quick and efficient. The agent checking us in was very upbeat and pleasant, but did not offer an apology or explanation for the delays. We boarded the ship shortly after 1:00. An observation: RCCL should be better prepared and have sufficient contingency plans in place should boarding delays or other issues arise during the embarkation process. In particular: >>> Communication is of utmost importance. Staff should have the ability to communicate easily with a mass of people by either a public address system or use of a megaphone or other device. To state the pier is the ports responsibility is "passing the buck". Passengers need to understand what is going on. >>> Basic necessities should be provided. RCCL should make restrooms available to boarding passengers, especially in event of delays. (Much the same as required by the airline industry during runway delays. At least in those situations, passengers have a place to sit and are not exposed to the elements.) In addition, the investment of handing out bottles of water by RCCL to the waiting passengers would have demonstrated they truly cared for the wellbeing of their passengers instead of leaving their guests to the elements. The cost would have been immaterial (probably less than $500 -- if that). Having sailed on Navigators sister ship, Adventure of the Seas, we decided to proceed to our cabin before exploring the ship since we are fairly familiar with the ships layout. We booked cabin 9608, a Junior Suite. Due to the delays in boarding, we were happy to see our cabin was ready for access. Cabin: The cabin was very spacious, significantly larger than the Superior Ocean View Stateroom on our previous cruises. The décor was consistent with Adventure (and Serenade) comprised of pastel blues, greens and peach with oak wood tones. The bathroom was well appointed with a bathtub / shower. The tub was slightly smaller than a "standard" tub, but large enough to actually turnaround in and take a relaxing shower. Water pressure was good; however, hot water most mornings was an issue -- warm showers became the norm. (We typically showered between 7:00 and 8:00 each morning. A few mornings, we showered after 8:00, when hot water seemed to make it to the room.) The vanity was standard size, with ample storage on each side of the mirror and below the sink. Speaking of storage, this was the first cabin where we had more storage space than we knew what to do with. The cabin has a large walk-in closet with double poles for hanging clothes and ample hangers. The closet also had floor-to-ceiling shelves for storing clothes. Additional storage is available in the cabin around the desk area. Our cabin attendant was one of the best we have had. He quickly handled requests (even managed to resolve items Guest Services struggled with). Guest Services: We found Guest Services highly ineffective and unable to resolve the simplest of requests. (An observation -- they appeared "worn out".) For example, we ordered two items from Gifts and Gear. The receipt in our room on boarding day indicated two, yet only one was delivered to our cabin. We tried to resolve it with Guest Services only to be rudely dismissed. When mentioned to our cabin attendant, he was able to resolve the issue. Main Dining Room: Our waiter and assistant waiter operated as a highly efficient and synchronized team. The food was good, albeit rather duplicative of the menu we experienced on our prior cruise two years ago. The strawberry and meringue dessert is one of the best. Be sure to order multiples the night the dessert is available!!! Spa: We planned to book massages, but was surprised to learn of a change in hiring policy of male therapists. From what we understand from the reservations representative, who was extremely rude and condescending to us and the guests behind us with the same inquiry, male therapists are no longer being hired and placed on RCCL ships. (We are unclear if this is an RCCL or Steiner policy.) Ship: She is starting to show her age and need for refurbishment. A good cleaning, dusting and paint would go along way in bringing her back. She has the same elevator design flaw as other Voyager Class ships -- slow response time to passenger requests, especially the aft set. This becomes particularly evident on port days and evenings. As on our previous cruise on Adventure, we found to go down it is faster to take the stairs. If going up one, maybe two decks, also use the stairs. Otherwise, wait for an elevator. (We did not experience an issue with elevators on Serenade.) Our first two days we had sea days, including the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle. We were excited to finally have an opportunity to meet everyone. Interestingly, RCCL did not provide any cocktails as mentioned in the reservation process and only three trays of appetizers for 150+ participants. Also, the event felt rather rushed by RCCL staff. A slight miss on RCCL part. Following the Meet & Mingle we had a "Cabin Crawl" and "Slot Pull". Excellent events that we thank our fellow Cruise Critic passengers for organizing and also participating in. The "Cabin Crawl" was very informative in that we were able to see a samples of all cabin categories, i.e., interior, balcony, and suite staterooms. Our itinerary was great and included: St Maarten, St Kitts, San Juan and Labadee. Labadee was a wonderful playground with lots to do or just relax. We highly recommend the zipline and "rollercoaster". NOTE: Be sure to secure a map before leaving the ship, as they are not available from the information desk on the island -- thought that was what an Information Desk existed for -- to provide information. The area is large and a map is a must have. (RCCL suggestion: provide a map with the Cruise Compass for the day.) The zipline in St Kitts is not to be missed. The rainforest views are breathtaking. All-in-all we had a good time. Outside of the boarding fiasco, the other items can be easily addressed by RCCL. Regarding boarding processes, we strongly urge RCCL to develop appropriate contingency procedures and have appropriate equipment and supplies available should another boarding situation arise. NOTE: Yes, we have booked another cruise on Navigator next year for the Western Caribbean and are excited to see her again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I'm just back last week from the Navigator TA. It was my first experience with RCL, and I got to say it made me eager for more even though there were several glitches - we booked another November TA for 2012. This was my second TA ... Read More
I'm just back last week from the Navigator TA. It was my first experience with RCL, and I got to say it made me eager for more even though there were several glitches - we booked another November TA for 2012. This was my second TA - previous with Celebrity. Prior to that I was worried about the long string of sea days and worried about boredom - believe me... boredom is not likely! I am so hooked on TAs now! I have always enjoyed Celebrity's food and considered that a reason worth sailing with CC. Comparing Celebrity to RCL food I'd say it was a toss - the food was equally good in quality and quantity. While we enjoyed CC's Aquaclass Blu restaurant, I don't think its worth the disadvantage of the less than perfect cabin locations. This trip was the first time we used a specialty restaurant and we loved Portofino. Our regular dining assignment was at a table for 10, and we had a terrific group. Each evening I actually looked forward to sitting down with the group to discuss the day's adventures. So much so that on the night we went to Portofinos we went back to "our table" to see our new friends. It helped to have the very best wait staff I've ever encountered. The evening meal was a highlight of each day. Our trip started a bit weird - we had chosen a middle of the ship cabin and had requested no upgrades because we wanted to keep mid ship because Danni gets a bit motion sick sometimes. We boarded without incident, other than during the 15 minute walk from our hotel to the ship the skies went from blue to gray and a cloudburst left us drenched. Civitavecchia was easy and seamless for boarding, So wet and still happy we boarded. We went to lunch, then after it was announced we could go to our cabins we went to our cabin to find other people there. The steward told us we had been upgraded from our selected interior 9th floor cabin to an ocean view on the 2nd deck forward...very forward. We were not pleased! Down to Customer service to appeal, and at first treated rudely for questioning our good luck in getting a free upgrade. After explaining we were told to come back after dinner. By then our clothes were drying out but still a bit uncomfortable as we did the usual selfguided tour of the ship, and then went to dinner. After dinner, back to the desk - no solution yet. We went to the theater, and then around 10pm came to a resolution of the room - ocean view 2nd deck, but at least between the elevators, closer to mid ship. They gave us vouchers for a specialty restaurant as compensation. Not great, but at least we finally had a room. Back at our room we told our tale to the room steward and asked him to help us find our luggage. He found them on the 9th floor and brought our damp suitcases...fortunately the contents were protected with plastic and our clothes were dry. Rough start to a great vacation, but all things considered we were very happy with the cruise. As it turned out while we were in Toulon, the worst storm in the last 10 years hit the Mediterranean. We were stuck in port overnight and lost a port day in the Azores, which also meant we would cross the Atlantic in an uninterrupted 8 days at sea. We also crossed the Atlantic on the edges of a storm that gave rough sea conditions. while usually 3 to 5 meters, the occasional wave was up to 10 meters. To tell the truth we ended up glad for the 2nd deck cabin - the lower the deck the more stable the ride. Despite that there were lots of activities - loved the many trivia contests, live music throughout the ship at different venues. We don't drink much but found we were welcome to sit and listen to music in any bar at any time, even without buying drinks...in all my previous cruises I was hesitant to sit in bars in the evening without making purchases. This time it was apparent it was not only acceptable, but we we were very welcome! As Elite with Celebrity I had Diamond status. I was very disappointed to find that even though we were sharing a cabin Danny could not join me for pre-dinner wine in the Dungeon...actually, she did join me the first 3 nights, but on the fourth night a different attendant check her card (not just mine) and she was denied access. Since my DH doesn't have Elite yet on Celebrity and he has been able to join me to Elite functions I never doubted that Danni would be able to share. Not so. Its no fun to sit in a venue and drink wine by yourself leaving your roomate behind, so I didn't go to any more Diamond functions. We did use the gym almost daily, and found equipment usually available within 10 minutes even during the busiest periods. Loved the gym. Thank God for it - it accounted for a 1.4 pound weight gain during the cruise, despite the fact I thoroughly enjoyed myself at every meal...my Weight Watchers leader was happy. On the roughest days the pools were closed, but other than that we were able to swim most days - I wasn't sure if that would be so for a November crossing, so this was another positive. Final verdict - not perfect, but we had a terrific time, and can't wait to go again. and look forward to many more RCl cruises. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Summary Our second cruise on RCI was even better than our first and the aggressive pricing works for us as well. Compared to Holland America, Princess and Celebrity, RCI has a much higher energy vibe and more activity. While not for ... Read More
Summary Our second cruise on RCI was even better than our first and the aggressive pricing works for us as well. Compared to Holland America, Princess and Celebrity, RCI has a much higher energy vibe and more activity. While not for everyone, we did enjoy the transat and time in Rome. Itinerary Back in April 2011, the Navigator of the Seas (NOTS) was shifted from year round service in Europe back to the Caribbean presumably due to business reasons. Since the routing change was sudden, this cruise was significantly discounted at first when we booked. The 14 day crossing left from the port of Civitavecchia for Rome on Nov 6th stopping at Livorno for Florence on Monday, Toulon, France on Tuesday, Barcelona and Cartagena, Spain on Wednesday and Thursday. There would be two days at sea, then Ponta Delgada, Portugal on Sunday the 13th followed by six sea days and ending at Fort Lauderdale on Sunday Nov 20th. Due to hurricane strength winds in Toulon Tuesday night, we were pinned in port till Wednesday morning. See this article on the storm http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2011/11/15/224109.htm We sailed for Barcelona that morning arriving about 7P where we stayed till Thursday evening. We proceeded to Cartagena Friday, one day late. To make up lost time, Ponta Delgada was dropped and we sailed directly for Fort Lauderdale. Pre-Cruise We flew direct JFK to FCO (Rome Fiumicino) on Tuesday night Nov 1st on AA 236 leaving JFK at 8:50P arriving FCO 9:55A. We chose this flight as it arrives later so we would not have to wander around Rome for very long before checking in at 2P. We also had the (forlorn) hope of sleeping more since it left later. Food was usual roach coach fare, but at least they did not charge for it (did not provide an emergency procedures manual for the meal either). Taking a taxi from FCO to Rome anywhere within the Aurelian walls, center city) should cost 40 Euros, but since we only had 50s and the driver feigned having no change, he got a large tip. Do bring small bills to avoid this type of issue. We booked a room at the SuiteDream Hotel on Via Modena 5, just off of Plaza Repubblica about 800 meters west of Termini, Rome's main railroad station. If you book directly with the hotel instead of through a booking site, breakfast is included in the price and it features cold cereals, hard boiled eggs, fruit, cold cuts and pastries which is quite sufficient for a day of touring. For four days (Nov 2nd to 6th including breakfast and bottled water only in the room fridge, the price was a very reasonable 130 Euros per night including breakfast for two people. Taxes of 2 Euros pp were extra. The rooms came with individual a/c and free wifi and had comfortable beds. Being on a side street, the rooms were very quiet. Bathrooms had basic amenities and the room was spacious for a European hotel. We toured the usual tourist attractions in central Rome and St. Peter's square. We were unable to find the stop for the 115 bus that takes you to an overlook on the west side of the Tiber for a panoramic view of the city. Note that the Coliseum has high steps to the second level which is tiring. Also, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forums have uneven footing that requires sturdy shoes. The lines for entry to St Peter moved reasonably fast and you do have to clear through metal detectors. The efforts are well worthwhile. We also ventured up Arventine hill to the keyhole of Malta. Look this up; it is well worth the view. Food in Rome was pretty good though expensive; for the two of us, we averaged $50 for lunch and $80 for dinner with a glass of wine. I am sure we could have done it cheaper, but we enjoyed what we had. We had dinner at Hosteria Romana which was recommended by Zagats and Rick Steve's. We also had lunch at Roma Spartia popularized by Anthony Bourdain in his Rome tour. Yes, the Cacio e Peppe was good as was their ravioli. Weather was good for the first three days with rain Saturday night and Sunday, the day of departure. A Cruisecritic member chartered two buses for a group of us to go from Rome Termini with an intermediate pickup point directly to the terminal in Civitavecchia. At $24 each, it was a bargain for direct service to the ship. Since we had priority boarding, we were on board in about 15 minutes. Luggage arrived about 2P and we sailed at about 6P. While a sailaway meeting was scheduled that afternoon, we demurred due to rain and wind where we were to meet. Note to self, always plan an alternate indoor meeting point for sailaway meetings. The wind and rain were to dog us for three days. Ports For our first stop, Livorno, on Monday, we shared a private van tour of Florence and Pisa which cost about 75 Euro (approx 100 USD) each. While the price was comparable to a ship tour, we had a private van for seven people and we could determine where we wanted to spend more time. We stopped first at an overlook on the southwest side of the Arno River where we could see much of Florence including the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge with shops built on the sides. The driver took us on a tour of the city to orient us then dropped us off for a few hours. Since this was Monday, the museums were closed. Despite the rain which was heavy at times, we had a good time walking around the city which is compact. Then we went to Pisa and the tower which remains as an object lesson for foundation engineers worldwide. The rain was heavy by then and we returned to ship. At Toulon, we docked at La Seyne-sur-Mer across the bay from Toulon itself. Given the heavy rain, hurricane strength winds and our experience in the rain in Florence, we opted to stay on board. Those who did take tours away from the coast said that they had sunny conditions. With winds gusting to 90+ mph, the captain, Eric Stendal, said that the port was closed and we would stay overnight. Midmorning Wednesday, we did sail out for Barcelona arriving 7P and stayed overnight. We took the ship's tour to the monastery at Montserrat northwest of Barcelona up about 2,200 feet up the side of a sheer rock cliff. The monastery was undergoing renovation but the cathedral area was still quite impressive. We walked around a bit but did not have time to take the cog railroad to the very top of the mountain. You can get to Montserrat by road as we did, cog railroad or cable car. The last two connect to a regional rail line that goes to Barcelona. For $42 pp for four hours, I thought the tour was reasonable. That afternoon, we went back into town using RCI's overpriced shuttle service of $10 pp. We walked up Las Ramblas to Plaza de Catalunya stopping a few places to shop. By the time we got back to the ship, we were starting to feel the effects of a virus that had been going around the ship plus walking in the rain in Florence. Friday in Cartagena, we took a short walk downtown. Facing the town from the pier, there is a medieval fort on the top of a hill and to the right is the entry way into the fort. There is a fee to enter the fort. To the left of the fort is a pedestrian only street with shops and open air restaurants. There is also a seaside esplanade near the pier area. Cartagena was the site of a battle between the royalists and fascists during the Spanish Civil War which trashed part of the city. After Cartagena, we skipped Ponta Delgada and sailed directly for Fort Lauderdale. Since we would have topped off supplies on Sunday in Ponta Delgada, some fruits and dairy products began to disappear by day six. Salad greens held up well but lemons and lines showed up only at the bars (no surprise there). Weather for the crossing was OK with some rain and wind from time to time. We did run into Tropical Storm Sean late in the cruise with strong winds and spray which caused the outside decks to be locked and the pools drained and netted. Not having to go north to the Azores, Captain Stendal took us south to the Canaries after exiting the Med and then headed west to Florida. This provided warmer weather and there were some people using the pools and sun deck though the open areas were breezy. Unfortunately, it was too windy t try the rock climbing wall. The Ship The Navigator is the fourth of the five ship Voyager class and unlike the first two ships; the last three had glass balcony partitions instead of steel which made the balconies and cabins brighter and gave the ship an airier look. Like the other Voyager class ships, the signature design of the Navigator is the four story tall Royal Promenade that runs down the middle of the ship on deck 5 between the forward and aft Centrums. The Royal Promenade has "window" rooms that look out onto the promenade from both sides on the upper three levels and a mix of shops, bars and eating venues on the first level. The Centrums are another feature of RCI ships and these extended from deck 3 to deck 12 forward and to deck 14 aft. Most of the public spaces are on decks 3 to 5 and decks 11 to 14. The main dining room is aft on decks 3 to 5 with buffet options in the Windjammer Cafe aft on deck 11. The bars are on decks 3 to 5 and 11 to 14. For more information on the Voyager class of ships, go to this URL http://voyager-class.com/. At the aft end of the Royal Promenade are the library on deck 7, the internet cafe on deck 8 and the Concierge Club for Suite pax on deck 9. Mary who is a retired librarian noted some deficiencies in the library operation that may be due to cost cutting. For one, there is never anyone from the cruise staff there to check material in or out. Also, not much effort was made to properly shelve books; books that should have been in the collection were misfiled on the paperback exchange shelf. Another cost cutting casualty is the daily news briefs that we received on every other ship we've taken. These news briefs are an eight page 8 ½ x 11 brief that offered bits of the world outside the ship. It might have been a feed from the New York Times, the Times of London or the Toronto Globe and Mail. Whatever it was, it was welcome. We didn't have this on the Navigator. The only news channel we found on the in-cabin TV was Fox News. CNN or BBC was not available. Movie selections were Ok with recent runs such as Knight and Day and REDs (Retired, Extremely Dangerous??). Good entertainment on a rainy day. Stateroom With the very favorable pricing, we booked a Grand Suite, 1564, forward portside. At about 390 ft2 with a 90 ft2 balcony, the room is double the width of a standard balcony stateroom. As one enters our cabin, to the right ix a dressing area with three closets and a waist high granite topped dresser with six large drawers and a built-in mini-fridge. The closets are to the right against the hallway wall and the dresser is on the left of this area which divides the dressing area from the living room area. There is also a bar setup area with glasses and an ice bucket. Pity, they do not let you bring liquor on board. Also here is a full length mirror. To the left of the entry is a large bathroom with a tub shower, a two sinks and a shelf for towels. The sink vanity has drawers down the middle and hidden trashcans under each sink. The mirror above the sink has storage behind it for your toiletries. Amenities included bath soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lube. There is a razor point with both 110V and 220V outlets. The razor point is powered only when the bathroom light is on. Beyond the bathroom door is a small two drawer table and mirror along with various switches and sliders for controlling the lights. The living area beyond the dresser has a large sofa, two club chairs and a coffee table. The sofa is flanked by two end tables with lamps. Behind the bathroom is a sleeping alcove for a king sized bed and a vanity desk area with six more dresser drawers and a mirror area above the vanity with two hidden storage areas behind the side mirrors. The coffee/tea service setup is on the desk and there are 110V and 220V outlets just below the mirror. The balcony siding door is on the living area side with a light switch for the balcony light to the right of the door. The LCD TV and DVD player are in a low console between the window on the alcove side and the sliding door to the balcony. Our stateroom attendant, Anca Butic (sp?) did an excellent job of tending the cabin. Booking a full suite (Grand, Royal Family, Owner and Royal) gives access to the concierge lounge on deck 9 which has morning continental breakfast and a cappuccino/espresso machine (when it works) and cookies in the afternoon. Access to the lounge is by the room card. The concierge has regular morning hours. From 5P to 8:30P, there is a nightly cocktail party in the forward lounge on deck 5 (Ixtapa on the NOTS) that is limited to suite pax (also Diamond plus and Pinnacle club members). In addition to complimentary drinks, wine and beer, there are hot and cold appetizers available. Needless to say, our bar bill was de minimus for this cruise. The concierge can be found here during the party. In addition to the concierge lounge and nightly cocktail party, suite pax have access to reserved seating in the main theatre and Studio B for Ice shows as well as a separate seating area on the pool deck. In addition to the regular ice show, there was a special show for suite and diamond plus pax with complimentary cocktails and appetizers. Dining We had first seating (6P) in the Swan Lake dining room (deck 5) at a table for six. The food in the MDR was the equal of what we have had on Princess and HAL last summer and fall. The meat quality was very good as was the seafood; I normally shy away from seafood on ships but at Jacob's urging, I tried several fish and shrimp dishes and they were better than I expected with none of the fishy/bitter aroma and taste that sometimes accompanies ship board seafood. Service was good although the kitchen was slow in providing the dishes in some cases and the food, while not piping hot, was certainly at an acceptable temperature when served. As Diamond members, we also had access to the D/D+ breakfast area which was very good, but we drifted back to the Windjammer for its greater variety. Lunches in the MDR were also very good with a spec your own salad bar and 30 minute hot entree service (usually faster unless they got slammed by a large inrush of pax at lunch). The Windjammer Cafe offers a large variety of foods at breakfast and lunch and we often found ourselves eating there rather than the MDR. The first part is the Jade Restaurant which is divided into two sections which are opened at staggered intervals as needed. The hot table section offers Asian entrees such as congee and miso soups, various curries and Chinese dishes and sushi that change daily. Further back is the Windjammer Cafe which offers spec your own omelets at breakfast and spec your own sandwiches at lunch. The breakfast offerings were the same day to day as was many of the lunch entrees. Seating in the Windjammer Cafe area is more available than in the Jade. The table servers come around to offer beverages (both free and extra tariff) and clear away used plates quickly. The self serve soft ice cream machines are at the dividing partitions between the Jade and Windjammer dining areas. Suite pax may use the Portofino Restaurant area for breakfast and lunch. Made to order omelets are available at breakfast along with fruit and pastry items. Nothing special is available at lunch in the Portofino, but it is nice to have a quiet area with white tablecloth service. Cold and hot drinks are provided at the table. There is no outdoor grill for burgers and such; the burgers at the Windjammer looked dry and overcooked. Although there is snack service from 3:30 to 5 P each afternoon, the offerings were the same every day. Yet another food venue is the Cafe Promenade in the Royal Promenade on deck 5. This is a 24 hour eatery which offers continental breakfast in the morning and light sandwiches, pizza and snacks the rest of the time. If you get it fresh, the pizzas were good, otherwise they were dried out. Seattle's Best coffee, regular and decaf, along with hot water for hot cocoa and various teas and iced water is available at all times. Extra tariff items include specialty coffees and Ben and Jerry Ice Cream. We did not try Portofino's, the extra tariff Italian restaurant nor Johnny Rockets, the 50s diner but we heard positive reviews from other pax about them. When the concierge lounge cap/exp machine was not working (the last few days of the crossing), showing the suite room card will get free specialty coffee service at the Cafe Promenade coffee bar. Entertainment We did see some of the shows, but they are the usual cruise ship fare. The Metropolis Theatre is nicely decorated but can fill up quickly unless you get there early. We did not use the suite pax sitting area as we rarely stayed the full time for the shows. The ice shows in Studio B were good but since the skaters were trying out new routines during the crossing, only a few shows were put on. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Remember the end of the 1985 movie Cocoon when all the rejuvenated elderly folks went with the aliens to their world where people never get ill, age or die? Well, they're back with a vengeance and I think I know where -â€" ... Read More
Remember the end of the 1985 movie Cocoon when all the rejuvenated elderly folks went with the aliens to their world where people never get ill, age or die? Well, they're back with a vengeance and I think I know where -â€" Royal Caribbean's cruise ship, The Navigator of the Seas. It all started with an innocuous email in my inbox way back in April -â€" an announcement that Royal Caribbean had made a sudden decision to reposition one of its ships (originally meant to winter in and around Dubai) from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. This meant an entirely empty ship desperate for passengers with prices to match. Sitting there in my office, swamped with work, the prospect of quitting my job to travel the world looming large -â€" suddenly the idea of spending days on end doing nothing but staring at the big blue sea, without a care in the world while traversing the Atlantic, book in one hand, a shrimp cocktail in the other, was wildly intoxicating. And since I would already be in the general vicinity at the time of sailing, the rock bottom pricing was impossible to refuse. For those who have never cruised before, a cruise vacation is somewhat like having a floating hotel, ferrying you to various ports-of-call to enjoy during the day, while filling up your nights with gourmet meals and slightly cheesy entertainment. In some ways, the ship is even a destination in itself with shops, bars, casinos, specialty restaurants and in the case of the Navigator, a rock climbing wall and an ice rink. So it was that I found myself boarding the ship in Rome along with about 3,000 other cruisers, with stops in Livorno (Italy), Provence (France), Barcelona and the seaside town of Cartegena (Spain) and the archipelago islands of the Azores (Portugal). Days were spent taking excursions to Pisa (the tower was much prettier and whiter than I had imagined. Warning: Shameful confession ahead... This was one stop where I did the tourist thing I usually despise and took the requisite picture of me propping the tower up. Sad, I know, but how can you not, right?), Florence (a shopper's paradise with high end artisan shops specializing in the most beautiful leather and paper products), San Gimignano (a medieval walled Tuscan town famed for its soaring towers), Aix-en-Provence (birthplace of Paul Cezanne, home to a delightful farmer's market) and Marseille with its picturesque old harbor... The sailing reached an exciting climax early on when we found ourselves in the middle of a weather phenomenon known as a medicane, a Mediterranean hurricane, with sustained winds in excess of 90 mph, forcing the ship to stay in port for an extra day in France and foregoing the stop in Portugal. The ship rocked back and forth so much that passengers looked like people badly failing a drunk driving test trying to walk in a straight line... Something else I was apprehensive about was what to do on those 9 long days at sea. Turns out I shouldn't have worried as every day was a race from one activity to another, including highly competitive trivia three times a day ("What is the literary collective noun for a group of owls?") fighting tooth and nail for cheap Royal Caribbean promotional umbrellas and caps (if bought in the gift shop = useless junk. However, same items won in a trivia game? priceless heirlooms), crew vs. guest volleyball and line dancing by the pool deck. You haven't lived until you've seen 60 seniors doing the Electric Slide... Aaaaaaand grapevine! From my very unscientific data gathering, the typical transatlantic cruiser would seem to be comfortably retired, about 68 years old and possessing a propensity towards enormous buffets. It doesn't help that there's in essence a buffet 3 times a day, with options of ordering however much you want from a menu in the dining room ("Actually, I WILL have three appetizers, thank you for asking!") to a casual buffet restaurant with at least 50-60 meal options, from miso soup to roast turkey to pizza and burgers and everything in between. Free food + non-stop food = an average weight gain of 2lbs per day (lunch literally starts half an hour after breakfast finishes, meaning it was physically impossible to feel any type of hunger for two solid weeks). The first few days, I found myself running around wanting to try everything (and feeling faint afterwards. Fried hashbrowns AND sauteed potatoes for breakfast? I'm talking Sophie's Choice here). Sure, there are "healthy" options of salmon, grilled chicken breast, steamed vegetables, etc., but where's the fun in that? I was finally home! I had found... "my people". All kidding aside, I found myself bonding with really nice people over trivia (shout out to teammates Efren and Maria!), the odd Scrabble game in the card room overrun by old Chinese ladies playing Mahjong much to the chagrin of the Balderdash / cribbage players ("They really need to have a separate room for those noisy games!") and really long dinners. The dining room table dynamic on a cruise ship is a strange one. Put ten people from differing socio-economic classes together every night for at least an hour and a half for 14 dinners (if you're counting, that's 21 hours of conversation...) and mundane dialogue centering on past cruising experiences imperceptibly move on to deep dark family secrets, youthful indiscretions and embarrassing stories. Perhaps it's the thought that you'll never see these people ever again? Or the camaraderie that comes from being on the same vessel in the middle of the ocean? In any case, scintillating... Evenings were filled with shows ranging from the ship's own singers and dancers to specialty acts brought on at various ports to perform magic, hypnosis, comedy, acrobatics, Motown, piano playing and more. While cruise ship entertainment leans towards the cheesy (hence all the Simon Cowell references), I found the few shows I did go to mildly-to-rather entertaining. There were even ice skaters admirably performing jumps and spins in the small but very popular ice rink onboard. If you've ever exclaimed, "I wish there were more hours in a day!", then a transatlantic cruise is for you. To make up the time difference, an extra hour is added on select sea days, meaning you could go to that 11pm karaoke competition or poolside buffet under the stars and still get your beauty rest. Overall, the cruise was a great chance to decompress, do nothing & everything and travel in style back to North America. Oh, and by the way, a group of owls is a "parliament". Just send me a Royal Caribbean key chain when you end up winning the trivia... Travel tips: (1) I first heard of this deal through Travel Zoo, a great weekly e-newsletter that scours thousands of deals to produce a list of the Top 20 travel values of the week. While you may rarely be able to take advantage of the deals, it's worth signing up because you never know when something might come along. Besides, it's fun to see what kind of deals are out there. Before seeing the email, taking a cruise wasn't even on my radar. But I'm glad I did. I ended up paying a base fare of $499 (for a total of $890 including a single supplement and all taxes). I also got $100 shipboard credit which I applied towards the gratuities and a $60 dinner for two in one of the ship's specialty restaurants. All said and done, the cruise averaged just slightly over $60 / day for accommodation, all meals and entertainment onboard. I also used 20,000 fewer frequent flyer miles for my around-the-world ticket which made the deal too good to pass up. (2) I found Cruise Critic's roll call a really helpful resource. This particular group was forum-happy, creating a total of 3,400+ posts, of which only about 1 in 20 were relatively useful. The rest was evenly divided between non-cruise items such as the weather where they lived, relating makeups and breakups, medical conditions and past sailings with arranging cabin viewings, gift exchanges, slot pulls and trivia groups. However, it was great for finding people to fill a group for privately arranged tours. The tours I went on in Italy and France were both arranged by motivated people on the cruisecritic forum and turned out to be cheaper / better organized / more efficient than the ship's tours. (3) There were three specialty restaurants on board. Portofino ($20 surcharge), a great Italian restaurant, serving up a delicious giant shrimp risotto, succulent seafood skewer of scallops, shrimp, lobster with a raspberry tiramisu served with a shot glass of heavenly kahlua topped with cream. I also had Johnny Rockets (old-fashioned diner food, $4.95 surcharge which includes gratuities but not drinks) one afternoon, ostensibly for a snack. However, bottomless onion rings / fries, classic hamburger with all the fixings, and chicken tenders, turned out to be a lot of food! Don't forget to indulge in the chocolate sundae afterwards. (4) Getting to the cruise terminal in Civitavecchia was very easy to do on your own. Tickets can be bought on the day of travel at Termini via vending machine. My advice would be to pay the extra 2.50 euros and go with a first class ticket. Seats are plusher and there is room to keep your luggage with you, as opposed to fighting for a seat in 2nd class. Just note that Italian trains are notoriously late, so leave yourself plenty of time. When arriving in Civitavecchia, you'll need to schlep your luggage down and up one flight of stairs and walk about 7 minutes to the entrance of the port where a dedicated shuttle bus takes you the rest of the way to the ship. (5) Barcelona is eminently easy to do on your own. Forego the ship's $10 transfer and take the blue city bus all the way to La Rambla. The subway system is very easy to use, taking you to almost all the major stops at only 6.20 euro for the day. If you haven't been there, arrange to get to the Sagrada Familia in the afternoon when the around-the-block lines die down. You won't regret the relatively steep entrance fee to see this one of a kind building that's everything a cathedral isn't supposed to be. Did you enjoy this review? If so, check out my travel blog as I travel around the world, passing along helpful tips along the way. www.dreamtravelblog.wordpress.com Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This was our first cruise. When we had to pick the cruise we found out that Royal Caribbean had the best price/quality. So we expected a great holliday, The Cruise turned out to be even greater than we expected. A very important reason for ... Read More
This was our first cruise. When we had to pick the cruise we found out that Royal Caribbean had the best price/quality. So we expected a great holliday, The Cruise turned out to be even greater than we expected. A very important reason for our enthousiasm was the ship and the crew. Our waiter and assistant waiter were very kind people and the ship was beautifull. You can do exactly what you like and because the ship is so big it is even possible to miss all the things you don't like. The entertainment was fantastic, allthough the singers of RCCL were not that great, the shows en productions were superb. Service was outstanding and so were the excursions. Overall: a wonderfull experience. Food was excellent. The windjammer and the Jade offered many choices and the quality was excellent. The food in the main diningroom was also very good. And sometimes, after 5 years, we still miss our waiter and assistant waiter Pharell and Adina. Civitavecchia is not the ideal port since it's pretty far from Rome and the airport and a little chaotic. After this first cruise we had two other cruises. Also with Royal Caribbean. All cruises were great, but the Navigator is still our favourite 1 ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We had 1 night in Rome prior to departure which gave us some time to visit the sights of the city. We took the train from Rome termini to the port (Cittavecchia) on Sunday morning for a fare of 7 Euro's (First class -â€" worth ... Read More
We had 1 night in Rome prior to departure which gave us some time to visit the sights of the city. We took the train from Rome termini to the port (Cittavecchia) on Sunday morning for a fare of 7 Euro's (First class -â€" worth it), a journey time of 1 hours. On arrival it was a 5 minute walk towards the Port entrance where free shuttle buses took us on a 5 minute trip to the ship terminal. There is no pedestrian access inside the port. Check-in was completed within 10 minutes and we were onboard having lunch soon after. We had been told that check-in was from 1 pm, but in fact check-in normally starts 2 to 3 hours before the advertised time, and it is usually far quicker. The general decor of the ship was excellent, it had a "nice feel", beautifully decorated with two Atrium's and plenty of lifts made it very easy to get around. We had a large ocean view cabin on deck 7 facing the front of the ship giving us excellent views. Plenty of storage space, a decent size bathroom with a shower door and not curtains. The TV had plenty of channels, with many in English. We ate all our breakfasts & lunches in the Windjammer -â€" a wide variety of dishes, good quality, and plenty of it. Could get busy at times. All our evening meals were in the main restaurant (which went over three levels). The 8.30, second sitting, suited us and helped break up the evening nicely. Again an excellently dining room with good choice and quality. Service was a little slow and disorganized as our waiters who were nice and friendly but did not work together very well. We had pre-ordered the 7 bottle wine package and found it to be well worth it and cost effective. The cafe on the promenade was open 24 hours, was free, with a variety of hot drinks, cakes, biscuits, & snacks -â€" very popular. We did use room service for a pre-breakfast tea/coffee and occasionally a mid-afternoon snack. This was excellent, and food and drink was delivered quickly and delivery was always preceded with a phone call to confirm our order and to tell us it was on its way. There were a variety of Bars for all tastes, but drinks were on the expensive side. Entertainment in the main theatre was better than we anticipated having read previous reviews. The Ice skating was amazing and should not be missed. Also some of the entertainment on the promenade was quite enjoyable. The Casino is one of the Glitziest on-board Casino's we have seen -â€" very Las Vegas. As we had been to most of the Ports of call previously we tended to be independent. In Palermo we picked up a map at the information bureau on the wharf a got an excellent walking route that took us on an approximately 2 hour tour -â€"to places we would not have found. A great idea if the weather is good. In Athens, to get to the Acropolis, you can walk from Terminal B, keeping the Sea/port on your left, go for 10-15 minutes until you find a foot bridge with an escalator to take you over the main road and down to the railway station. Get two single 1.40 euro tickets (one for the return) and get off at Monastiraki. A journey of about 15 mins. And then follow the marked road up to the Acropolis entrance. (Entrance 12 Euro's or 6 Euro's for seniors). At Kusedasi, if you haven't been to Ephesus, it's really worth taking the tour. Or you can get a taxi from just outside the port -â€" a good deal if there are four of you. Kusedasi itself is a great place for the shops. At Crete, Chania, there was a 3 Euro shuttle into town, very pretty with shops & cafes looking over the sea. We also took a taxi to the Souda War memorial cemetery (British & commonwealth soldiers from World War 2 ) a short trip around the bay the ship was in. The taxi waited for us for 20 minutes, cost 17 euro's. A great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I am a 2nd time cruiser and my friend a first time cruiser. This is the 2nd time I have sailed with Royal Caribbean and will sail with them again. The ship was very big and plenty to do. I booked the whole fly and cruise deal with ... Read More
I am a 2nd time cruiser and my friend a first time cruiser. This is the 2nd time I have sailed with Royal Caribbean and will sail with them again. The ship was very big and plenty to do. I booked the whole fly and cruise deal with Royal Caribbean, this was easy, their website is extremely user friendly. The whole cruise including return flight from Heathrow to Rome was 625.00 for the week. This was great value for money and worth every penny. From the minute we checked in on our chartered flight at Heathrow, it was painless. BMI flight Rome, all on time, you collected your luggage, and handed over to the waiting Royal Caribbean staff, they then took care of our luggage and delivered this to the ship for you. We were then shown to our waiting coaches to take us to the ship, the transfer time to the port was 70 minutes. The guide on the tour gave us some local info on Rome and the surrounding areas. Embarkation onto the ship took no more than 10 mins, very professional, organised and a well oiled process. Onto the ship we went, and we were not disappointed, our Stateroom was nice, good size, very clean, the shower was amazing the water pressure was the best ever, our Stateroom attendant was Vic and he was very nice, and kept our room spotless, the work very hard and take pride in their jobs The ship had too many activities to mention, definitely a highlight was learning to make towel animals- life long skill now learnt. Outside area were great, although ship was almost full to capacity, no shortage of sunbeds etc. The food on board was plentiful, good quality and service was brilliant we ate twice in the formal dining areas on the formal nights (optional you do not have too)The service was great, and the quality was also great. We were on anytime dining and first time, we sat with four other people and had great conversation. We did not eat in the speciality restaurants as the food in the other areas was of such a good standard and variety. Entertainment, the shows were a dancing show, with professional ballroom dancers which was amazing, Abbamax tribute show- excellent, Emperors of Soul- brilliant, Ice Dance show, which was the amazing and the final show was called Now and Forever (mix of different Broadway shows) The shows were all very professional, and a very high standard. There was also a Love and Marriage show that was very very funny. Karaoke competition was also great fun. Final Parade down the Royal Promenade was a Circus show, this was the first time the crew had performed this. Costumes were great, a giant Nelly the Elephant and various other animals were amazing. What impressed me the most that all staff you were in contact with even passing in a corridor, spoke to you said Hi, were very pleasant and helpful. This was further highlighted that the cruise director Warren (in charge of entertainment) personally saying goodbye to you as we left the ship. Considering he must have only had around 5hrs sleep after the final Circus parade this was a very personal touch and a great way to end our cruise Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
If touring the Eastern Mediterranean is on your bucket list I highly recommend that you do it with Royal Caribbean on the Navigator of the Seas. My wife and I (no kids) recently returned from an 8 day 7 night cruise in October, 2011. We ... Read More
If touring the Eastern Mediterranean is on your bucket list I highly recommend that you do it with Royal Caribbean on the Navigator of the Seas. My wife and I (no kids) recently returned from an 8 day 7 night cruise in October, 2011. We boarded the ship in Civitavecchia (often referred to as Rome but it is 60-90 minutes from Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci Airport depending on which method of transportation you take) for a round-trip cruise that took us first to Messina, Italy, then Valetta, Malta, Kusadasi, Turkey and Chania, Greece. The stop in Valetta, Malta was not planned. Originally the itinerary called for Athens, Greece, but due to a series a series of protests and strikes by members of their public transportation agencies Royal Caribbean (RC) made the difficult to decision to change the ports so the cruise could continue on-schedule. I commend them on their rationale and ability to pull of the change on such short notice with absolutely no impact on the guests. Many were disappointed including my wife and I as Athens was a big reason we wanted to take the cruise but RC made lemonade out of lemons. From the moment you arrive at the port of embarkation in Civitavecchia RC has the check-in process down to a science. After the usual passport checks and x-ray scanners you're boarding the boat. Shortly after boarding you'll go through the paces of a safety drill so you know what to do in the event of an emergency. It is no fun being shoulder to shoulder with 100+ other people but at least you'll know what to do if the unthinkable should happen. Yes, ships still sink so I applaud RC on making sure that everyone onboard fully understands how to get off safely. Wasting no time you'll be headed to dinner before you know it. Navigator of the Seas has a 3-story dining room with each floor named after a famous ballet. We found ourselves on the first floor -â€" located on deck 3 -â€" called Nutcracker. There are three options for dining when you book your cruise: Early (6PM), Late (8:30PM) and My Time Dining which means you can pick any time between 6-8:30PM... for a price. We had the early seating. On the 2 occasions where a shore excursion or on-board activity caused us to be late they were very accommodating in getting us seated and fed even when 30 minutes late. You'll quickly get to know your dining room staff that consist of the head waiter, waiter and assistant waiter. Ours were top-flight. RC, being the second largest cruise operator attracts people from all over the world to work on their ships. This presents an added benefit to guests as you are able to gain their insight on life in their native country. Sure, it can be a bit difficult to understand them with their accents but it just makes you listen a bit closer. We enjoyed watching our waiter's eyes light up when we told him about one of our shore excursions to his hometown of Tire, Turkey. The wait staff will make every effort to learn about your preferences. My Diet Coke vice was well communicated and my glass was never dry. For others who prefer wine there is plenty of that too. The food is excellent on multiple levels. First, each night there is a new menu. That means new appetizers, entrees and deserts. The selection ensures that you don't get tired of the same old thing night after night. Whether you are a seafood lover or prefer ground-based meals they are exciting and different night after night. Second, the presentation and temperature were consistently excellent which is an impressive feat when you're cooking for 3,123 guests -â€" the total number of guests for our cruise. Finally, RC makes sure that you never go hungry. On several occasions my wife and I had several appetizers or entrees and the wait staff was more than happy to serve them to us. That would probably explain why I had to loosen my belt one notch. Breakfast and lunch are also served in the dining room although there is only one seating so the flow is different than dinner. On more than one occasion we weren't feeling a semi-casual dinner and utilized the other dining options. For families or couples looking for something different deck 11 hosts two buffet-style restaurants, Jade (Asian) and Windjammer. Food there is decent and plentiful. My advice would be to not dine there during peak breakfast and lunch as the tables quickly fill up and you might find yourself standing up to eat. There are three other restaurants which require you to pay an additional cover fee: Johnny Rockets (deck 12), Portofino and Chops (both on deck 11). We enjoyed the "cuisine" at Johnny Rockets. You have to pay extra if you want a shake but it is worth it. It is $5 per person + $6 for the shake. It is a bit steep but they haven't put a McDonalds onboard (yet) so if you're craving grease there is no substitution. Portofino is marketed as an Italian restaurant for couples but we didn't partake so I can't speak to the food. It is a $20 cover fee to dine there. Finally, Chops is their steakhouse and WOW. We saved the best for last choosing to pay the $30 per person on the 6th night of our cruise. After a shrimp and crab cake, 10 oz. cut of filet mignon with a cabernet reduction, sides of mushrooms, asparagus, mashed and baked potatoes, and a berry desert. Sides are shared and whether you get 2 or 8 the price is the same. Self-control is the name of the game when it comes to eating on their cruises. On the Royal Promenade on Deck 5 you'll find the café which serves cookies, coffee, beverages and other small treats around the clock. You can go for Ben & Jerry's which is next to the café but their process are out of this world. Get the free soft serve ice cream inside the Windjammer Cafe. One last note on food -â€" if you have an early shore excursion and don't want to get up early enough to make it to breakfast order room service the night before. Believe it or not the service is free. The only time you'll incur a charge is if you order food overnight between midnight and 5AM. Entertainment is never lacking aboard Navigator of the Seas. Disco parties, Broadway revues, ice skating shows, bingo, scrapbooking, rock climbing, ice skating (real ice), in-line skating, miniature golfing, 3 pools, 7 hot tubs, gambling, movies, basketball, volleyball, ping pong, shuffleboard, dancing, wine tasting, game shows, karaoke, the list goes on. You can even learn how to fold napkins and towels like the wait staff and housekeepers do. We were active 18 hours a day and still didn't get to experience everything. Most of the entertainment is free with the exception of a few classes in the gym and bingo. While they offer a lot for free RC is a master of finding ways to drain your wallet. The biggest culprits are shore excursions, wine -â€" usually at 3-4x what you would pay on land, alcoholic drinks, spa services, the casino and "bazaars" in the royal promenade. If you're a soda drinker plan on spending an additional $50 to gain access to the all-you-can-drink soda privileges. Soda can be bought anywhere by the glass at a steep $2.50. Gratuities come out to ~$90 per person but that is more than reasonable with the amount of work they do for you. $90 covers food and housekeeping services. Gratuities for the bar staff or waiters at Chops/Portofino/Johnny Rockets are "conveniently" included in your purchase automatically. If you plan on spending an additional $750 per person for all of the above you will have budgeted well for your cruise. It is masterfully executed through the use of your SeaPass card which is your charge account for EVERYTHING while you're onboard. Unless you have been keeping track or watching your account activity on the interactive TV in your room that last day when your bill is delivered to your stateroom can be a painful one. Some of the greatest dinner discussions were about the shore excursions. Ultimately, it all comes down to the tour guide. If you have a great one they can make anything interesting. If they're dry you're in for a long day. My wife and I went off the beaten path taking excursions like the Taromina/Lava River wine tasting, Turkish Towns and Villages and Mdina and Historic Malta. All three took us out of the tourist areas to explore how the people of those countries live. We were pleased with the guides and transportation. A word of warning: if you consider an excursion that is a transfer-only be prepared to find your own way around town. While in Crete our bus dropped us off in the center of a city that doesn't believe in street signs and left us without a map for a 2-hour shopping trip. RC touts their "Gold Crown Service" and from someone who can find flaws in anything I assure you they do not disappoint. From the waiter in the most elegant restaurant to the people cleaning the bathrooms all members of the crew wear a smile at all times. They truly love their jobs and it shows in how clean the ship is and how they treat the guests. Every night each of their pools are drained, cleaned and re-filled. There are constantly people cleaning the expansive art displays located throughout the ship, polishing banisters, painting, mopping and sweeping. As busy as they are not a single one refused to say "hello" or yield to my wife and I as we walked down a deck. It is service you expect in a 5-star hotel. Our experience with Royal Caribbean was a very positive one that we hope to repeat in the not too distant future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Had great week on RCCL Navigator from Rome. Had booked flights and transfers with RCCL and everything went very smoothly (slight delay on way home). We were family of 6 in a family oceanview and it was fine, just really somewhere to ... Read More
Had great week on RCCL Navigator from Rome. Had booked flights and transfers with RCCL and everything went very smoothly (slight delay on way home). We were family of 6 in a family oceanview and it was fine, just really somewhere to sleep with the added bonus of a fantastic view. For our needs, Navigator was a great ship. I agree with other reviews on the friendly staff, great food, plentiful activities, fantastic entertainment. Our teenagers disappeared every day to meet with friends, even staying on board during our last stop in Chania. We had arranged private tours in Ephesus and Athens and our drivers/guides were great. We ate mostly in the Windjammer rather than the main dining room as self-service suited us. At breakfast and lunch the Windjammer is very busy and it can be difficult to find a seat, but in the evening it is quite relaxed. Our cabin steward was very helpful and attentive as he had to make up the sofa bed and then stow it away again every day. Staff never passed you without saying hello. Entertainment was first class with "Beatles", "Il Divo", cabaret, mime, ice-skating and lots more. All in all a great holiday and highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I traveled with 5 of my coworkers. We all work for a major Airline and word spread that they made a ton of money last year and all employees were receiving a profit sharing check from the company. I've traveled with these same ... Read More
I traveled with 5 of my coworkers. We all work for a major Airline and word spread that they made a ton of money last year and all employees were receiving a profit sharing check from the company. I've traveled with these same coworkers before (ages from 44 - 62) and we all get along so well. We did Hawaii the previous year and wanted to try Egypt for 2011. Well, we all know what happened in Egypt. So we nixed that idea. Some one bought up Europe and since none of them had been on a cruise before, I suggested a Med. cruise. I went home and saw Navigator for $499.00 (inside cabin). My coworkers couldn't believe it. Well we did get a share of the profits and immediately called RCCL and put down deposits in February. Fast Forward and October arrives quickly. We fly free, only having to pay taxes, so for $42.50 we flew round trip to Rome from Philly. Flight was very nice on an Airbus 330 and the flight attendants were wonderful. This was my first time to Europe and I'm hooked. We flew in a day early and stayed at the Hotel Georgina. Would stay again if cruising out of Rome. Right up the street from Termini Station. Place was clean and inexpensive. Immediately dropped our luggage and headed to the Coliseum. If you do go, people will be walking back and forth offering tours to go in. Please take it. We paid an additional 7 euros and it was worth every euro. She walked us around the whole place and gave us a history lesson of things I never knew about the Coliseum. We had walkie talkies that went around our necks and you put it up to your ear when the guide speaks. I was in awe of this place. After that we went back to our hotel and napped then woke up for dinner. The food was so fresh and the pasta and wine so good. We took the train from Termini to the port of Civ. Saved a lot of money doing it that way. Just make sure you get to the train station early. We had a hard time finding out what track our train was on. Train ride was nice with some good scenery. Having been on the Explorer before, I was looking forward to being back on the Voyager class. We had 2 inside cabins and 1 couple had a balcony. Our cabin was comfy. Love the shower doors. Navigator is going into drydock soon. I'm sure there was wear and tear around the ship. However, everything was clean and shiny. I only noticed a few dirt spots on the carpet, because it was right there in plain sight. 3,000 pax trampling around on the carpet, so that didn't bother me at all. The welcome back show was very enjoyable. Please don't miss it. Our 1st port was Messina, Italy. We booked an independant full day tour and was given 3hrs in Taormina, then went to Castelmola, had lunch at a restaurant with a beautiful view of Mt. Etna, then back to tour Messina. We loved our guide who fed us so much history and answered all questions. Everyone agreed this was a wonderful start to the cruise. It was sunny and in the 70's perfect weather for touring. Next was a sea day. It was windy that day, so relaxing outside was out of the question. I found a quiet corner and read and had a few drinks. Some of my coworkers had the compass and followed activities off of that. Everyone had a relaxing day. The Ice Skating show was fabolous as always. Don't miss it. Next was Athens, Greece. Had an independent tour and went to the Acropolis. We felt a little cheated out of this because when you buy your tickets, it includes other sites, however, they're closed for whatever reasons. I don't think we should pay full price for tickets if they know a lot of the other sites are closed. Acroplis was amazing. Went to the New Museum. Awesome place. Went to Plaka and walked the streets with our guide. Nice and quaint. Athens dept of sanitation was on strike and there was bags of trash everywhere. Yuck. Enjoyed our day. The ruins were simply amazing. We did the Michael Jackson Name that Tune after dinner. Great fun. Athens was sunny and in the 70's. Next, Turkey (Ephesus). Again, an independent tour. Went to Mary's house, Ephesus ruins were unbelievable. Saw an reenactment of gladiators fighting in front of Cleopatra and Antony. They put on a show with horses and chariots in full costumes. It was so neat. We happened to be in the right place at the right time. Got some great pictures. Also, went to the carpet show because someone was interested in purchasing a rug and he did. He's getting it framed and hanging it on his wall. He said it costs to much money to be walked on. We had a turkish lunch there also, it was outside with white tableclothes. Our Tour guide again was wonderful. Learned so much. Went to the Movie Theatre, saw a movie with Denzel Washington in it. Forgot the name, but it was a good movie. It was warm this day, but with a nice breeze. Next was Crete, I slept in that day and never went on the island. Some of my coworkers did and they said it was nice. They bought some souvenirs. This day was sunny and warm. So while everyone was off the ship, we had it to ourselves. We played basketball. Had the court all to ourselves. Then played mini golf. We never laughed so hard. Next we went and changed into swim suits and went to the Solarium, found chairs together and read, listened to Ipods or slept. We went in the jacuzzi which was nice and hot. I fell asleep with my face in the sun and would you believe I got sunburned. They had a barbecue lunch set up that day with ribs, chicken, salads, all types of food. I have to also say our dining team was unbelievable. Our head waiter came around every night. He told us they make other dishes not on the menu, just ask. One night we had curry chicken. Which was not on the menu. So good. Lobster was not served on this cruise. I did miss that. Food was good, I actually gained 10 pounds. However, I feel Carnival has more varieties of food and I prefer their menu. Embarkation was painless. We carried our own bags and was off the ship in no time. We stayed another night in Rome. So took the train back. Found another hotel, Hotel Everest. It was up the street from Hotel Georgina. We dropped off our luggage and took the subway to the Vatican. And would you believe while we were standing in the middle of the square, the Pope comes out to deliver his blessings. He said it in about 3 different languages including english. Incredible. I'm not Catholic, but not many people can say they saw the Pope, Live. We also took the Subway to see the Trevi Fountain. Just Incredible. Our flight home left on time and we had the cruise of a lifetime. I would like to think Cruise Critic. All our private tours were found from reviews posted on this website. Hopefully, 2012 we can do another Med. cruise. I'm hooked. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I have always wanted to visit Athens and Kusadesi, but my husband has no interest in holidaying, so when I was invited by friends to join them on this cruise, I jumped at the chance. I nearly gave up when I couldn't find a reasonable ... Read More
I have always wanted to visit Athens and Kusadesi, but my husband has no interest in holidaying, so when I was invited by friends to join them on this cruise, I jumped at the chance. I nearly gave up when I couldn't find a reasonable price, but eventually I got a very good deal from an Internet agency. I parted with my credit card details, got the cruise and transfers booked, and felt very pleased with myself. I booked the air fare myself, and ended up with a stateroom, sole occupancy, for the same rate as my friends who were sharing! When we arrived at Rome airport, there was no way were Royal Caribbean personnel allowing us NOT to get to the ship. Everything was laid on, but I had no transfer documentation. Eventually my name was found and I was en-route to the ship!! I looked in awe at the size of the ship. It towered over everything! I had never seen anything quite so big. Embarkation. It took about 15 minutes of slow walking before I was called to the desk, and there a very pleasant young man took my details, forms etc. and issued me with my Sail Pass. Then it was onto the quayside and boarding. While I was trying to get my transfer sorted out, my friends got ushered onto a bus, so I was on my own. I dropped my hand luggage in my stateroom and spent nearly 3 hours traversing the ship in the hope of finding my friends. Eventually we all bumped into each other.I found places on the ship that I could never find again. But I did find nice quiet places where I could enjoy the ocean and read or sleep!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean and we were not disappointed. We took the cruise out of Civitacecchia, Italy not really know what to expect with this being our first European cruise. As well, this cruise was different for us ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean and we were not disappointed. We took the cruise out of Civitacecchia, Italy not really know what to expect with this being our first European cruise. As well, this cruise was different for us as we were by ourselves - no friends or children. Here are our thoughts: *Flew into Rome and trained to Civitavecchia - Very easy to get to the rail station at FCO...a little walking. One of our few problems on the trip came here but it was due to our not reading the train schedules correctly so...we missed a train. I had printed out the schedule before I left though & we were able to catch a later train with the same connecting point. Just made our trip tighter. No need to buy tickets early, they are easy to get at the station. My only real advice is pay close attention to the tickets and signs as train/track info is sometimes hard to find. Also, get on/off of your train quickly; they don't stop long. *If you train in to Civitavecchia, it is an easy walk to the port entrance but certain taxis can take you from the rail station to the cruise terminal. I would take the taxi again; our driver pulled us right up to the terminal and helped with bags...was inexpensive. *Check in at this terminal was the easiest I've had on a cruise! Very organized and quick. *We loved the ship! Ice skating rink & events were cool; entertainment was good even though it was a bit thin due to trying to mixup events between English and Italian. *The promenade adds a very cool environment to the ship. Pub option was great; wine bar, piano bar, and Solarium bars were all great. The Promenade Cafe came in very handy for mid afternoon and late night food drink & dessert options. *The pools were great! We really enjoyed the adult only Solarium option. It had plenty of sunning and shaded areas...was quiet. *Our balcony room was clean, spacious and gave us a great view. *Theater was very nice with comfy seats. *Main dining & Windjammer- on par with other RC experiences...great service. Food was okay - good with a few really good things mixed in. Wine choices were nice and it was nice for us to be able to buy a bottle and share it over a couple of meals (they kept it for us). *Johnny Rockets was spot on and really hit the spot when we just wanted a plain, known simple meal. *The gym/workout area was great. Amazing views, good equipment & helpful staff. *Service throughout the boat was top notch! We would definitely do this boat again. The teen/kid options and activities looked great as well. We just didn't need them this time. Few Negatives/Thoughts... *Wi-Fi signal could be boosted and price is steep. *Would love to be able to get TV sound in the Workout area. Lot's of TV's you just couldn't hear them. *Workout area was a bit warm but it may have just been me dying as my diet was a bit different :) Feel free to message me with questions about the boat. I'll also post some pics. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Cruised on Navigator of the Seas - 11th September 2011 - departing Civitivecchia - Eastern Mediterranean - 7 nights. Ports Messina, Sicily - Athens, Greece - Kusadasi, Turkey - Chania, Crete. Balcony cabin which was wonderful - ... Read More
Cruised on Navigator of the Seas - 11th September 2011 - departing Civitivecchia - Eastern Mediterranean - 7 nights. Ports Messina, Sicily - Athens, Greece - Kusadasi, Turkey - Chania, Crete. Balcony cabin which was wonderful - dinner always nice. Plenty of dishes to choose from and the waiting staff were absolutely wonderful. We had a table of two - so we chatted a lot with the staff - maybe this makes a difference to the service and enjoyment of the meal. Ports and tours were fine - enjoyed tours which also left us sometime to do our own thing. Had the most beautiful meal at speciality restaurant Portofinos - a real treat. Some reviews of this ship have not been favourable - but I couldn't find fault with anything. All staff were very friendly and the efforts they made was welcomed. I don't ask for perfection and wouldn't expect it - I can only suggest that those who have not been happy dip into their wallets and pay top prices for exclusive ships and cruise lines. Really enjoyed getting away from it all with people around who were only too happy to assist in me having a great holiday. Pleased to recommend Royal Caribbean and this particular ship. Toni Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We have boarded the Navigator in port of Civitavecchia -- all went smooth, fast and with a smile. Entering that amazing ship for the first time was an experience itself! As we arrived early, I had plenty of time to explore the boat ... Read More
We have boarded the Navigator in port of Civitavecchia -- all went smooth, fast and with a smile. Entering that amazing ship for the first time was an experience itself! As we arrived early, I had plenty of time to explore the boat before it got crowded. I did notice a slight drop in quality of the design and the materials used then in the Radiance class ships of RCCL, but this is a bigger ship so it did not hit me as a negative towards the Navigator. The dislike of the main public areas is to few pools for such as huge ship and especially lack of the Solarium -- an indoor pool area where people can swim even in the cold weather or during the winter time cruises. The main pool is large and cold, and there is one pool on the front that is adults only. There is also one huge hot tub in the closed SPA area, but if I have been on a winter cruise would actually have no options for swimming. The staff was amazing -- helpful, smiley, always ready to help and chat. We loved them all and they solved our every issue in a moment. The front office staff was really organized, there were never lines, if by any chance a line created (on the payment day for example), they brought extra staff and a lady who went from person to person in a row to see if she can be of any help so they would not need to wait in line or to give quick answers. I found this really good because my boyfriend, who usually loses nerves waiting in lines, has not even said a word even we stood there longer than 20 minutes. The lady that was cleaning our rooms was great -- we liked to sleep longer so she switched her room schedule for the cleaning and for the turndown service. The bar staff was also good that we (my boyfriend and me) did not even need to meet other cruisers -- just hanging at the bar with them and listening to their great and funny stories was enough. And last to mention, the Portofino and Chops service as top of the cake -- so good that we actually ate there 5 out of 7 nights on our cruise and did not even get a chance to try the dining room! After the first dinner at the Chops, we knew we will pretty much not move from there. The ambiance is great, the staff amazing and the food is incredible. A must to try is the melting T bone steak, but we loved everything else as after 5 nights we pretty much went through the whole menu. Other two nights of the cruise we used the Windjammer caffe for a quick snack, and my opinions on the food on board star rocketed when I saw a great choice of sushi served at the Windjammer - after a cruise on Costa (Serena) and their food choice, this was a dream come true. Lunch in the Windjammer was also a surprise as we had Indian, Japaneese, Mexican and other cuisines plus the regular meals. The variety was great as well as the taste. I was pleasantly surprised to see the choice of free soft drinks, coffe and ice-cream (this aslo after Costa cruise where you can be happy if you find free water, not to mention other soft drinks or ice-cream). Besides this, numerous buffets around the ship, all nicely presented and yummy resulted in a couple of kilos extra. Other services we used was shore excursions -- well organized, no complaints about that except the prices are really a bit high for simple excursions -- would probably go on more if prices were at least 10 -- 20 % down which they could comparing to what we are actually paying for (the bus, the guide and maybe and entrance to some local attraction). All in all, a great experience and a great ship and staff who made my boyfriend change his mind about cruising -- after our (and his first) cruise on a different company he was not so excited about cruising, but now he cannot wait to do it again! Ports of call: Civitavechia Bari Athens Ephesus (Turkey) Chania (Krete) Civitavecchai (Rome) Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We've done multiple cruises in the Caribbean and to the Bahamas, as we live in central florida, and it just makes it an easy vacation. We decided to go for this Mediterranean cruise, as we were already planning an Italy vacation, but ... Read More
We've done multiple cruises in the Caribbean and to the Bahamas, as we live in central florida, and it just makes it an easy vacation. We decided to go for this Mediterranean cruise, as we were already planning an Italy vacation, but wanted to cut the cost a bit. This cruise fit the bill, and then gave us a lot of wonderful surprises! First off, we were in Rome for a few days before departure. If you are looking to do that, here is what we did, and what I recommend: Fly into FCO (Fiumicino airport), and after you get your bags, follow the signs (or pictures actually) for the train (little black and white image of a train car overhead as you walk through the airport). At one point, you hang a left, and go down some escalators, and on for a few minutes- then up another set, and you'll see signs that you are leaving the airport and entering the train station. Go to the TrenItalia desk, and purchase passes on the Leonardo Express. It runs to Termini every 20-30 minutes, and it only takes about 30 minutes to get there. They run until 11pm. EASY! We stayed at Welcome Piram Hotel, just blocks from Termini. VERY convenient and safe, as you really don't want to be dealing with your bags on the Roman subway (gulp), and the area around Termini is graffiti-ed, yet safe. You can walk, take a bus or metro anywhere from there too. We booked an express train to Civitavecchia from Rome, 13.50 Euro pp. Pros: only about 8 people in our car, booked seats, and tons of luggage storage area within eye sight. WAY cheaper than renting a van or taxi. Your other inexpensive option is to take the commuter train. I think it's about 1/2 the price, but crammed with people, and your bags are often out of sight with all the people. Hard to get on and off the trains with bags too sometimes. We stayed over night at the port town to keep things simple, we didn't want to mess with the train the day of and risk something going wrong. We stayed at a B&B type placed called Villa Susanna- HIGHLY recommended! Inexpensive, simple yet has everything you need, and the owners are accustomed to cruisers, and will have all of your answers before you know your questions! They're about a 5 minute walk (about a 10 minute stroll) from the train station, and about a 10-15 min walk from the port entrance, even pulling bags. Getting to the ship from the port entrance was super simple and efficient- a shuttle (full bus) picks you and your bags up, and drops you at the entrance to the boarding area for your ship. If you get your luggage tags at home, you go to one side and hand over your bags, and then the other way to go into the port building. GET THERE EARLY! Don't wait for 12 or 1! Be at the port entrance at 11am for the first shuttle to the ship! You'll get through with no lines, and be on the ship sipping something fruity (or in my case, a frosty beer), having lunch, maybe sitting by the pool catching some sun, while everyone else is standing in line, waiting to check in and board. This embarkation port is highly effective, and makes boarding a breeze! The ship was great as always- we'd been on once before for my best friend's wedding a few years ago. Good food, good staff (although our head waiter wasn't too great), good drinks, great shows, and we made some new friends as well! Before the trip, we thought Athens would be our highlight- but WOW- were we surprised! Here are the excursions we did: Sicily- Panoramic Sicily My Etna is the main focus, going up to the craters. The colors up there are amazing- deep black rocks and dirt, yet red and brown too- and here and there you get bursts of yellow or green plants. It was cloudy when we were there, so we didn't see down to the ocean, but it was AMAZING! Athens- Athens & Cape Sounion with Lunch - PR03 You go straight to the Acropolis, which is great for missing some of the crowds. Once some time went by though, it got really crowded, and we were ready to go after getting some great pictures. Then we went through Athens, seeing some major highlights along the way (like the 1st Olympic stadium), and then had a fantasticcccc lunch with wine at at local hotel/resort. Amazing food, really. Then the highlight for us, turned out to be Cape Sounion! We really didn't know much about it, but were game, since hey- when are we going to be there again right?? We were in awe of some of the views on the drive out, even though I live in FL and have been through the Caribbean and Hawaii, I've never seen water like this. By the time we got to the Cape, we just about ran off the bus to start soaking it in.... that place is perfect! We want to go back! Poseidon's temple is something else too! Kusadasi, Turkey- Ephesus, Didyma & Miletus with Lunch - ****BEST PORT**** even with the sales pressure when you go into stores, this port was by far my favorite! Ephesus feels like it still has a soul- and when you are there, you are sharing it with all of those who have lived there in the past. They do a little cheesy show of Cleopatra, etc. but it doesn't take away from the place. We saw an amphitheater in Miletus that was also amazing.. and HUGE! I made friends with one of the local kitties there too. :)The Temple of Apollo at Didyma blew our minds. It was like the temple was built for giants...and we were just little bugs visiting in comparison. It was better than the Acropolis, hands down. We had lunch near by, all good food again, and got some souvenirs before getting back on the bus to go back to port. I got a small onyx cat to remember the Turkish kitty I made friends with. :) Crete- no excursion! ****2nd favorite port**** We took the city bus in to Chania, and checked out the local market first. We aren't shoppers, but we did get some great olive oil, and some other cooking items, as well as some inexpensive but good quality gifts for our nieces and nephew. We walked through the harbor, and all the way around and over to the light house, and back. It's amazing to stand up on the wall, which divides the ocean from the harbor, and see how different the two bodies of water look! We can't wait to come back here!! Overall, we really didn't spend a LOT of time on the ship, because we booked long excursions. We made it off the ship at 7am, and back on within an hour of sailing out of port. We did the early dining, because 9:30 is too late for us :), so we'd meet up with our AWESOME table of new friends at dinner, eat, swap stories, laugh at each other, and then go hang out at the Two Poet's pub until we couldn't handle the smoke, then switch to the Vintages Wine Bar. The server let some of us order beer there too, he was kind enough to go to the pub to get it for us. :) The 24 hour free (for food)cafe in the promenade has great good- check out their napoleon dessert when they have it (awesome!!!!) and the Kahlua Cookies rock. :)The bartenders up by the pool made us our signature drink from our wedding last year, even though it wasn't on the menu. If you want to try it- ask for a Banana Colada, with Kahlua and White rum added. Fantastic! Even for someone (like me) who hates Kahlua. There was a guy in the Pub on board that did American bar music late night, which was great. There was also a group called Mariakas (spelled differently but not the right way either), and they were a strings group that played all kinds of music- we really liked them too. Once we got back to Civitavecchia, we split direct transport van back to Fiumicino with two other couples we met on cruise critic. It was simple, quick, and inexpensive compared to other options. We stayed at the Marriott Airport Hotel for a night (always a good stay at a Marriott!), and went out for dinner in the little fishing town of Fiumicino. We found a great street-side cafe, but I can't remember the name of it. :( It was recommended by Trip Advisor, which I found out after the fact. We flew back to the states the next morning! All in all- one of the best vacations we've ever had, and we can't WAIT to go back! If you are considering booking this cruise, do it! You won't regret it! And splurge for the longer excursions! You won't regret that either! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Our group was 6 adults staying in 3 adjacent rooms: me (34 years old), my wife (31), her sister (36), our friend (31), and my in-laws (58, 59). Our two-week vacation to Italy involved this cruise in the early portion of the trip. For ... Read More
Our group was 6 adults staying in 3 adjacent rooms: me (34 years old), my wife (31), her sister (36), our friend (31), and my in-laws (58, 59). Our two-week vacation to Italy involved this cruise in the early portion of the trip. For convenience, the cruise ship review will appear first, followed by our Italy tour information for those planning to stay there longer that just the cruise trip. The Cruise's ports of call descriptions are separate per the format of this site. We arrived in Rome on Saturday morning (red-eye flight), stayed one day, and headed to the port on Sunday. After the cruise returned to Civitavecchia the following Sunday, we toured Italy until the following Sunday and then returned to the US. Cruise Ship The Navigator of the Seas was a very nice ship. The room (Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony) was nice; plenty of room for the two of us. We were on the Starboard side which I recommend for the best views of the ports of call. Dining - We had the 8:45pm dinner time and it actually worked out fine. I thought going in that it would be a little late, but the alternative earlier time was too early for most of the ports of call return times and we would have had to get back to the ship to get ready for dinner to early. As with any cruise there's gonna be dinner selections you like and don't like. But since you can just ask for something else, none of had a dinner meal we didn't like. Our dining wait staff were the most professional and entertaining members of the staff we had contact with all week.Languages - Since this ship ports out of Italy but is still an American-owned cruise line, all announcements, etc. are said in English followed by Italian. My wife found it annoying, but I don't know what else she expected considering half the ship's guests are Italian. I noticed that all the ship staff speak English (to be expected, although some staff still need to work on their English...) and around 40% or so speak Italian as well. Shows - All the entertainment was good, a few were great, especially the Motown group. Only complaint would be there was no comedian. Pool/Deck - RCCL claims that there are enough lounge chairs for everyone on board. This is because the put a bunch on the back end of the ship where there is no pool, little direct sun and NO ALCOHOL because this area is a alcohol-free family/teenage area. So, you still have to play the game of saving chairs, etc. Towards the end of the week, the staff was removing items left on chairs after 30 minutes. I get it, but this is a problem if you just want to go in and get lunch and then come back out. Other - Casino was OK, nothing special, but probably something for everyone. The Ice rink is just too small to really be usable, especially when it's crowded. Works well enough for the ice show, which I could take or leave. Lastly, Johnny Rockets is a waste if you are going there for a milk shake. It's $5 a person to get in, eat pretty much the same quality of burgers and fies you could get from the free buffet and THEN (and this really makes RCCL look cheap) you have to PAY for the milk shake on top of the $5 you paid to get in. That's garbage; you basically paid $11 for a milkshake. Waste. All-in-all, the ship was fun, clean, and very entertaining. See the ports-of-call details below as in the end, these are really what make the cruise. -Italy Tour- Below is the itinerary of our Italy tour. I'm trying to keep it brief and highlight the hotels, companies, and sites that really made the trip fun. All our hotels cost between $150-$200 a night and were either 3 or 4 star hotels. To save space below, I would recommend ALL the hotels we stayed at. If there's something special about a hotel, I'll mention it. July 30th, 2011 (Sat) Arrive in Rome at 10:30 A.M. Reserved transportation through Hotel Alexandra where we stayed one night. 5:30-7:30pm Monumental Tours of Rome - Avventure Bellissime: http://www.tours-italy.com/rome-day_tours-rome_day_tours.htm. This company will let you spread this massive tour over 2 days, so we took the evening tour before the cruise and the rest after. Our tour guides were Luca and Francesca and they were AWESOME! Ask for them by name. July 31st, 2011 (Sun) Pickup at Hotel by Greenline Tours (booked through Viator.com) to get to the Crusie ship - 45-60 minute drive. August 7th, 2011 (Sun) Disembarked Cruise at 8am. Went on Pompeii, Sorrento and Positano Day Tour through Tredy Tours: http://www.italy-tours.org/s.php/tour-pompeii-sorrento-positano-pompeii-tours-en-141-s.htm. Typically this tour leaves from and returns to Rome, but the company was happy to pick us up in Civitavecchia and return us to Rome. Our tour guide, Rick, was great and took us to a couple awesome restaurants and really knew the Amalfi Coast area well. This actually worked out well for the first trip after the cruise as you will have 3-4 hour trip south from Civitavecchia to Pompeii to catch up on sleep. Stayed one night at Dei Consoli Hotel back in Rome (arrived late that night). August 8th, 2011 (Mon) Checked out of hotel (left the bags for later pickup) and met up with Avventure Bellissime tour (the other two portions of our Rome Grand Tour package). Saw Coliseum, Palentine Hill and Vatican. Again, ask for Luca or Francesca as your guides, they are fantastic. After the tour, we picked up our rental van for the week at Hertz near the Vatican and return to Dei Consoli Hotel to retrieve bags and head to Florence. There, we checked into Axial and stayed there 2 nights. This hotel is in a PERFECT location in downtown Florence - highly recommended. It's newly renovated as well. August 9th, 2011 (Tues) Florence all day. We booked two tours with Avventure Bellissime: (1) http://www.tours-italy.com/florence-private_walking_tours-Medici_florence_tours.htm and (2) http://www.tours-italy.com/florence-private_walking_tours-private_florence_italy_walking_tours.htm. We had the same tour guide for both and she was awesome. She is from the area and very knowledgeable of the city's rich history plus she lived in the US for a short time so her English is perfect. A note on Florence: I cannot recommend this city enough. I as well as our whole group liked it more than Rome and wish we'd had another day or two here. Beautiful city, over 150 museums, strolls through the city streets at midnight and feeling completely safe as half the city residents are out for their nightly walk. Just amazing. August 10th, 2011 (Wed) Checked out and drove to Venice, stopping in Bolonga for lunch and an hour of self-guided touring on the way. We parked in the massive parking garage at the entrance to Venice, which we pre-paid before leaving the states. Prepaying is recommended as this ensures you a parking spot and makes leaving a breeze. Google "Piazzale Roma" for details. We stayed at the San Marco Hotel for two nights. Small rooms but great location for the price. All rooms in Venice are small unless you are paying $500+ a night. Also, hotel is kinda hard to find after dark if you're arriving for the first time. August 11th, 2011 (Thurs) Venice tour. We hired our tour through Venice Guide and Boat. We took the Essential Venice tour: http://www.veniceguideandboat.it/one-day-tours.html#EssentialVenice. I CANNOT recommend this tour and here's way. Our guide was great for the Doge's Palace and San Marco Cathedral but that's where I'd stop. We asked if we could forgo part of the Venice tour (after the Palace and Cathedral) to give us time to go to the island of Burano and she had no problem with this. Here's my issue: this guide likes to take her tourists to her friends' places in Burano and Murano. Not a problem except she is only friends with the most expensive places on each island. In Burano, we asked her to recommend a restaurant for lunch. She took us to her friend's restaurant that costs a minimum $40 USD per person for lunch. LUNCH! We didn't want to offend anyone and just bit the bullet and ate there. The tour of Murano island wound up being a trip to the most expensive glass shop on the island and that's it. Very disappointing. I would recommend hiring this company for only the tour(s) they offer within Venice as these were fine. Be sure to make the trip to Burano and Murano island as they are gorgeous. Just use the local transportation boats to go to each island on your own; you don't need a tour guise for these places. August 12th, 2011 (Fri) Checked out, took the boat back to the parking garage and headed out of town. We drop to Pisa and saw the Leaning Tower. Much better than the last time I visited here. You can go up in the tower now and all the wires and junk are gone. Be aware, if you want to go up in the tower, you need to make reservations (if they take them?) or arrive with at least a few hours to kill before heading up. The tickets are sold for time slots and obviously they limit the number of people in the tower at a time. We got there at 3pm, the next available time was for 6:30. We saw the tower, took pictures and moved on to our destination, Volterra, Italy. Volterra is the perfect small Tuscan town. We stayed one night at the La Locando Hotel which was probably the best (and ironically the cheapest) hotel room we stayed at all week. From this town, you can day trip to several wineries and other small towns, the coast is 30 minutes away and the views of the surrounding Tuscan valleys from this hill-top town are second to none. Plus there are not that many tourists in town. Most of those around you live there. For a tour guide, find Giulia Munday, she's excellent. If you are there on a Saturday, be sure to visit the open farmer's market on the north end of the city. In a small family-run BBQ truck you will find the best dry-rub ribs and chicken you can find. I was fortunate enough to live there for 3 months in college 11 years ago and it hadn't changed too much in that time. Just perfect. August 13th, 2011 (Sat) After walking around the town for the morning and afternoon and wishing we had more time there, we headed back to Rome to catch our flight back to the States the next day. We stayed at the Euro Hotel near the Airport. If you just need a room near the airport and don't need to go back into the city, this is a good place. Clean, good size rooms, free parking and 5 minutes from the airport. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Aagin check in and check out, fast and easy, no hassles. Food was excellent, however, we didnt use the dining room as our girls, age 12, hate all the waiting around and prefer the choice in windjammer. Entertainment was ok, ice skating ... Read More
Aagin check in and check out, fast and easy, no hassles. Food was excellent, however, we didnt use the dining room as our girls, age 12, hate all the waiting around and prefer the choice in windjammer. Entertainment was ok, ice skating show was the best. Band at pool, just ok, more catered for Italians. Bar staff excellent Messina, we took the ships Godfather tour, price was good value for money, but it was a bit too long, We like to just go there, see it and go back to the ship. Must admit I was terrified in the bus of the windy turns on our way up and down the mountains. Think they could just make it a visit to Savoca and forget Forze d'agro as there wasnt much to see there. Piraeus, we got off ship to go for a walk and found a tour bus just outside the port. For 42 euro all four of us got to see the acropolis and back to ship again. The ship tour was more than that per person!!! Kusadasi, best port of call in my opinion, just got off and walked about, plenty to see right beside the port. Very beautiful small beach and the girls enjoyed haggling with the shop owners. Crete, took a bus into Souda from the port, cost was 4 euro each return. walked around shops, lovely town but hadnt much time there. WARNING, the ship has a white night and they dont tell you about it. Its the night of the Kusadasi port of call and lo and behold, right at the port is ashop selling white clothes, girls paid 36 euro each for long flimsy white skirts, items you could buy at home for about £10. So bring your own white clothes. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We've just come back from our first ever cruise, 7 nights on the RCI Navigator of the seas cruising the Eastern Med from Civitavecchia, 2 adults and 2 teenagers. We wanted to visit Athens so the choice of cruise line and ship was ... Read More
We've just come back from our first ever cruise, 7 nights on the RCI Navigator of the seas cruising the Eastern Med from Civitavecchia, 2 adults and 2 teenagers. We wanted to visit Athens so the choice of cruise line and ship was largely dictated by that although RCI got better reviews than MSC so we went with them. Made our own flight arrangements with Alitalia from Heathrow to Fiumicino, got 23kg luggage each and able to prebook seats, at no extra charge Easyjet! Then we had booked a transfer with Bobs Limos, now a note here, give them the flight arrival time don't make an allowance yourself for the time it will take you to get through customs/baggage collection, I did the latter and we had a fraught 45 min wait but anyway van duly arrived and transferred us straight to the ship. The drive was er interesting there was a lot of gesticulating and use of the horn but I think that a, this is standard roman driving and b, it was largely friendly between the taxi driving community. We didn't know what to expect at check in, the van driver knew where he was going and had found us a porter, unloaded our luggage which was then instantly whisked away by the porter before I even had time to sort myself out to tip him. Considering that later we found the ship was full we thought that check in went fast, we were probably queuing in the marquee for ½ hour and there was free fruit punch and cookies available. Onto the ship. Found our stateroom with no trouble, 7692 at the back, recommended by other reviewers and we were very happy. Initially the bed was made up wrong we wanted it split as 2 singles but a quick call to our attendant and when we returned from exploring the ship it had been corrected. A couple of other minor niggles but again as soon as mentioned to our stateroom attendant they were quickly rectified. We trotted down to the windjammer self service restaurant for lunch and it was busy but really what do you expect with so many people boarding at the same time, still managed to get a table for 4 without too much difficulty. I can't comment on organised excursions as we did our own thing but here's a quick port review. Messina; didn't expect much here, but pleasantly surprised, you walk straight off the boat into the town. Great ice cream, but then this is Italy, and don't miss the cathedral clock at mid day its statues are animated, it roars, crows and also plays Ave Maria, trust me it is more impressive than my description. Athens; you get a courtesy bus, probably depending on where the ship docks, to the customs and unless you are on a tour you are on your own. I was planning to take a metro to the centre of Athens but we realised that we were further away from the Piraeus metro station than I expected so we found the tourist info hut at the port and they told us which buses you could take to the metro stop. Couldn't find a ticket vendor the Piraeus end so we fare dodged on the bus, not intentionally I add. The trip on the metro was uneventful although seemed to take forever; one change took us to Acropoli station. The Acropolis was heaving, they made us wait in places on the approach I should imagine to avoid it becoming a total log jam and as other reviewers have mentioned it is slippery, you are walking on uneven marble on a slope in places. Athens is a strange mix of great history and terrible 70's architecture, it is certainly no Rome. We took the same route back to the ship but this time we had found the yellow bus ticket kiosk outside the metro station at Piraeus. Kusadasi; my wife was not looking forward to Turkey, but I wanted to go to Ephesus so had hired a car. At Kusadasi we walked straight from the boat through customs into the town. There is a tourist information office right outside the port, I was confused by Turkish addresses but they sorted me out. I had to walk through the bazaar to get to the hire company and it is a bit intimidating being accosted by shopkeepers but it wasn't as bad as we feared, we just weren't used to it. It is an experience and it can't have been that bad as we went wandering through the bazaar again when we got back from Ephesus. Ephesus was certainly worth seeing but be aware once you are in the site there is nowhere to get a drink until you get back to the stalls/shops at the entrance so in summer take plenty of water, it is bigger than you think! When we were there a small re-enactment was put on for tourists financed by some of the cruise lines/tourist board. We thought it OK but one of the children of our colonial brethren was heard to comment "is that it, that's rubbish" obviously more accustomed to a Disney parade. Personally in hindsight I wouldn't have bothered getting Turkish Lira, we did but everywhere except the entry at Ephesus was priced in Euros and I should imagine they would have taken them too. Chania (Souda) Crete; First off be advised the ship docks at Souda. Chania is the other side of the promontory and not walkable. Assuming that you want to go to Chania, when you get off the ship there is a ticket booth for a local transfer bus. I obviously hadn't done my homework here so just followed everyone else. When you get off the bus in the town centre look for the tourist information hut, we didn't spot this initially and wandered around for 40 minutes but we found some good ice cream. Anyway the tourist info office will tell you where to go through the market to the harbour/lighthouse. The Market is very good especially for leather, very cheap but I suspect that like Turkey the branded goods may not be genuine ;-) Back on the bus from the same stop to the ship, the trip takes around 20-30 minutes. If we hadn't wandered aimlessly around to start we might have had time for a short boat trip from the harbour which you can get. They do snorkeling too. Civitavecchia; disembarkation was very slick, cases packed and collected from outside the room the night before and we picked them up from the dock at our allotted time after breakfast, which ranged from 6.45-9.45. For the return we had decided to take the train back to Rome drop the cases at Termini to wander the city for a few hours. The cruise line had organised buses to take you and luggage to the port entrance if you did not have your own transport organised or use their transfer to the city or airport. At the entrance there were plenty of offers of taxis but we found a train ticket office and brought tickets for the regional to Termini and then onto the dedicated Fiumicino express. The rail station was a 10 minute walk from where we were dropped off, straight along the boulevard, easy. Got into Termini, found the baggage check downstairs, a fair walk and a long queue, and left cases, 4 Euro ea for 5 hours. Picked up luggage and took Fiumicino express, even longer trek to find train and then platform not as originally shown. Now I like Italy so don't get me wrong here but who thinks it is clever to put a train on a dedicated airport run that requires you to get up about 4 narrow steps at the door with your luggage and then drag it down a narrow corridor to the luggage racks? Come on guys get your act together! Anyway back to the Navigator OTS. We ate breakfast in the main restaurant every day apart from one and the staff were always brilliant, I couldn't fault the choice although one day there was a chocolate theme which I imagine was aimed at children as who else could cope with so much chocolate at that time of day? But even this day the usual options were available. Breakfast was only served in the Nutcracker on deck 3 not that that was a problem. We had elected for my time dining to avoid being tied and we were assigned to the Swan Lake Restaurant on Deck 5. Despite being my time we never managed to get a time between 7-9 it was always full/blocked out. The first night ended up at 9.30 after that we took the latest between 6.30-6.45 which worked OK. On this trip my time dining in the main dining room was only available in Swan Lake. Our waiter and assistant waiter were great, took the trouble to learn our children's names and our preferences, thank you Mihai, Eldon, we all had a thoroughly enjoyable time. The only time we didn't eat breakfast in the main dining room was because we wanted to use the whirlpools before they got busy. This gave us the opportunity to see our fellow guests trotting up, choosing the best loungers, planting their towels and then cluttering off for the next few hours. I would have given them the benefit of the doubt if it had only been an hour as they could have gone to breakfast but we were in the tub, went to breakfast in the windjammer and came back and the towel clad loungers were still sans occupants. Oh one thing I didn't know, you don't need your own towels for the loungers you just pick them up and return/change them on deck 11. A couple of other things, the shows, we saw 3, Mario D'Andrea, guitarist, Now & Forever, songs from musicals, and the Ice dancing Spectacular. We thought all were very good, in 50 minutes on a cruise liner you aren't going to get the Phantom of the Opera. I don't mean to come over gushing and I'm not and RCI employee so negatives, well, Mum & Dad got the sofa bed, that must be one of the most uncomfortable sofa beds ever made, come on RCI get a decent one, I've slept on more comfortable floors. Could have done with more information about the ports, we were given rudimentary information and maps, they were definitely steering you towards their excursions. They'll try to flog you mineral water to take ashore "you may get charged up to 20 Euros for mineral water ashore", right, only if you're an idiot, I never paid more than 2 Euro for 1.5litre ashore. The only night the restaurant team seemed pressurised was the last night which we assumed was because more people used the main restaurant on the last night. So be aware, book your table early and be considerate, don't hog that table when you've finished your meal they need it. Finally smoking, was allowed on deck and on the balcony which for me was a negative, not so if you are a smoker. So for anyone interested that possibly hasn't cruised before I hope I have given you some enlightenment. Be aware we have nothing to compare this cruise to but we were happy. We went geared up for seasickness and never opened the boxes, this is a big ship and very stable although to be fair the weather was very good, one night we went for a walk on deck after dinner and only knew it was windy when we opened the doors to be blown across the deck before retreating inside again. All of the crew we came into contact with were always very helpful and friendly indeed couldn't do enough for you. Before we went I was apprehensive, didn't know if it was me but having taken the plunge would I do it again, yes without hesitation. With RCI yes but not exclusively, I just want a balcony. First thing in the morning getting out of bed in your pyjamas and walking onto your balcony to see where in the world you are is fantastic. We've just got to decide where we want to go. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Quick notes to give a huge thumbs up to the staff and crew of the Navigator. Check in was painless, on the ship in less than 30 min. from time of private drop-off. Food in Windjammer was very good. Staff extremely helpful and accommodating ... Read More
Quick notes to give a huge thumbs up to the staff and crew of the Navigator. Check in was painless, on the ship in less than 30 min. from time of private drop-off. Food in Windjammer was very good. Staff extremely helpful and accommodating with my DD's gluten-free needs, even the head chef came out and walked around with us to each station. The room itself was fine, adequate size, like I expected in a balcony non-suite. Balcony however was very disappointing. The aft balcony for room 9390 was less than half the size of my BIL's next door in 9392. It also appeared smaller than the mirror image 9690. 2 chaise lounges, a chair and small table completely filled the balcony with minimal room for one to walk between. Highlights were the mardi gras welcome parade, the staff, the food, the activities, I could go on and on. Staff was very friendly, always speaking. The couple of minor issues we had were quickly taken care of. Our wait staff for the table was amazing. They really catered to my DD's needs as well as a very picky, fussy MIL. Our waiter was a dead ringer for the actor on Rules of Engagement. He was amazing as well as our special head waiter and assistant. Food was very good, nothing bad. Some stand-outs were the vidalia onion tart, the seafood dishes were all good, DD loved the vegetarian Indian options. Key lime pie was good as well as the choc. tart. All great and I left the ship at least 5 lbs heavier even with all the walking. The condition of the ship was excellent. I really didn't notice any of the wear that had been complained about by other reviews. Maybe I was just having too good a time to worry about it. The ice dancing show was the best. I saw a couple of the others and they were good but not outstanding. I opted out of the Motown show, Beatles and last night show, but heard they were very good. There was always something going on at the ship. You could find a quiet place to relax, or take part in sports like my BIL and niece, or enjoy some sports like miniature golf, rock climbing, ice skating etc. I think between my large family group of 9 we tried some of everything. We did private tour excursions in all ports but Crete where we did it on our own. Very pleased with all. We did self disembark and our ride from Rome in Limo was waiting to whisk us to the airport. Very easy. It was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and certainly will not be the last. Very pleased. ONLY complaint is I wish that the first formal night had been on the first sea night rather than on the stop with Messina. They moved up dinner to 6pm for the early sitting instead of the advertised 6:45pm and we were barely able to get ready. We dressed in such a hurry we opted out of photos, which was a shame. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I can hardly believe that we were on the same cruise as some of the former cruise critic. This time we were 7 familypeople from 4 to 70 years old in 3 balcony cabins,and I must say we had a wonderfull time. We arrive at Rome from ... Read More
I can hardly believe that we were on the same cruise as some of the former cruise critic. This time we were 7 familypeople from 4 to 70 years old in 3 balcony cabins,and I must say we had a wonderfull time. We arrive at Rome from Copenhagen, Denmark 1 day before departure. We were picked up at the airport by Rome Cabs, which company we now have used several times when visiting Rome and I can strongly recommend this company. We are always staying in hotel Colonna Palace near Pantheon when we are in Rome. The hotel has a lovely roof terrasse with view to the church Sct. Peter. Our enbarkation next day in Civitavecchia went very smoothly and we were onbord in no time. Our cabins were ready at 1 pm and our luggage came short afterwards. The stateroom attendent has very much to do, but his service was exellent. We had dinner in the main dining room and our waiter was very good and also very kind to the children. We were a little disapointed with the food, especially the meat could have been better. We had a gold wine package and 2 of the wines were sold out. The entertainment in the theater was so and so. We loved the Motown show. The Beatles show have we seen many times now. In Messina our children and grandchildren went on the family tour to Etna and the were very satisfied. In Athen my wife was our tourguide as we have visited Athen about 12 times now. (There is only 3 hours flight from Copenhagen to Athen). We went early and saw the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum. Then greek lunch in our favourite taverna in the Plaka and finally shhopping near Monestraki.Metro back to Piraus and bus 843 back to the ship. In Kusadasi we had hired EKOL Travel to take our family to Efesos. We went very early and we were the first visitors to the house of virgin Mary. So quiert before all the buses came along. In Chania our children and grandchildren went to the beach, but my wife and I took the shuttle bus from the ship to Chania. Very efficient service. In Chania we visited the Archiological museum, the naval and the Byzantine Museums. Our disembarkation also wnt very smoothly and Rome Cabs took us to the aipirt directly. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Fast and smooth embarkation - We were in our cabin (two D1's deck 8 aft) within 30 minutes and our luggage was delivered shortly afterward. From all the languages we heard, we realized that Americans were a minority of this cruise - ... Read More
Fast and smooth embarkation - We were in our cabin (two D1's deck 8 aft) within 30 minutes and our luggage was delivered shortly afterward. From all the languages we heard, we realized that Americans were a minority of this cruise - about 1/3 of the 3,050 passengers we were told. Cabins were spotless and efficiently arranged with sufficient room for our stuff. We made good use of our balconies. Early risers watched the sunrise and others drank wine under the stars. As we explored the ship we were greeted everywhere by friendly, helpful staff. Navigator looked in very good shape and I was even looking for some of the complaints I had read about from other postings. Our room attendant (Roy) was great and we never lacked for anything. The children immediately signed up for the activities on the sports deck and were so busy with the rock wall, in-line skating, mini golf, the pool, the ice rink and other special events that they never needed the organized kids' program. They would have all been in separate groups and preferred to all stay together. The ports were amazing. Because of the size and ages of our group we had pre-booked private van tours in Sicily, Athens and Ephesus. Absolutely perfect! Crete was a beach/town day on our own - very beautiful. We were pleased with the quality and variety of the food choices. The children always ordered from the menu in the MDR which meant they really expanded their culinary horizons - not one hamburger, hot dog or French fry. In the WJ we always found enough to please us too. Our waiters in the MDR (Motie and Lesly) were terrific. I know this is their job, but they always seemed happy to see and serve us. The staff in the WJ was attentive and friendly, especially to the children. The ice show was wonderful and the one evening show in the theater was pretty good too. Since we had early days planned and 6 PM dinner seating we didn't experience much else 'live' although we did view some things - like the sail away parade - on TV. The TV presentations on the ports were also helpful for the children. This was a very economical, relaxing way for a family to see the world, much easier than our pre-cruise 4 days in Rome and our 5 days afterwards in Paris although they were memorable as well. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Research, research, research if you want to make the most of RCI's Eastern Med cruises unless you just book excursions through RCI and they do all the work for you. We did our own thing at all of the ports on call and saved ... Read More
Research, research, research if you want to make the most of RCI's Eastern Med cruises unless you just book excursions through RCI and they do all the work for you. We did our own thing at all of the ports on call and saved hundreds of dollars, if not a thousand by doing so. The Navigator of the Seas is a great family cruise ship with lots to do onboard from ice skating,Basketball, Putt Putt, Table tennis, Rock climbing etc. The nightly entertainment in the Metropolis was rather average with no real highlights. The ship's singers were also average and forgetable in my humble opinion. When we cruised Ocean Village the ship's singers all got to sing individually in various pubs and clubs around the ship and they were great. Food wise we ate in the Nutcracker restaurant and had the world's best waiter names Darsi who is from the Phillipines. He made our night every night. The food in the windjammer was adequate but could have had more theme areas ie a Curry den, Pizza and pasta bar. If you do some research before you cruise you will find that "doing your own thing" can save you a lot of money on the shore excursions. We made use of local buses and taxi's to the sites and did not pay the high prices and have to be part of large tour groups playing follow the leader. Don't get me wrong, organised tours are brilliant but pricey so do your own research and DIY ! We were a family of 4 so taking a taxi worked out cheaply for 4 . if you only 2 travelling then find another couple to join you. The Taxi's will also help you find another willing couple. Will we cruise on RCI again - most definitely. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We are two sixty-somethings who have been cruising since 2005. We have cruised on Carnival, Princess and are C&A Diamond Members on RCCL. This was our 4th transatlantic but first on RCCL (three on Princess) and our 24th cruise overall. ... Read More
We are two sixty-somethings who have been cruising since 2005. We have cruised on Carnival, Princess and are C&A Diamond Members on RCCL. This was our 4th transatlantic but first on RCCL (three on Princess) and our 24th cruise overall. We typically do 2 transatlantics a year to take advantage of R/T airfare. I will briefly mention prices throughout the review as many folks are interested in that information.We flew to FLL from Syracuse on Delta with no problems. We stayed at the Comfort Inn and Suites Cruiseport on S Federal Highway. We got a great rate through Skoosh ($80 per night) which included breakfast and free airport shuttle. The hotel offers a shuttle to the cruise port for $5 but we opted for a taxi ($10) as we wanted to get an early start. We arrived at the ship at 10:30 and were on board by 11:00. Embarkation was a breeze. Most folks head to the windjammer but our routine is a bit different. We head to the Pub on the Royal Promenade. I scoop the seats and order a couple of tall Murphys Red drafts will my DW goes to the Promenade Cafe and scoops the munchies. They offer sandwiches, pizza, sweets, cookies and fruit. It's never crowded and we avoid the pandemonium that seems a fixture of the Windjammer on embarkation day. Then we settle in and watch the people coming on board as they ooh and aah their way down the promenade. Rooms were available at 1 pm and our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. We were in a D3 #6360 on the starboard side. Our champagne was waiting but NOT iced down. This was soon remedied by a passing waiter. Our stateroom attendant, Jeanette, stopped by to introduce herself and we gave her our little list of immediate needs (feather pillows, robes, extra hangers, twin beds, extra towels, empty out the fridge etc.) and we gave her a nice tip for her prompt attention to our needs. Muster was at 4:00 and it was the shortest we have ever had. I still like the Princess way where muster is held in the lounges sitting down in air conditioned luxury. Sailaway found us toasting our new adventure on our balcony as we left Ft Lauderdale in our wake.We had a table for two in the Nutcracker Dining Room late traditional at 8 pm. Our waiter was Darius and his assistant was Jean. They were good but not outstanding. Our Headwaiter was conspicuous by his absence. He stopped by a few times but was less than engaging. We opted for the Diamond wine package and were pleased with the selections. I'm not sure what folks are expecting but at a cost of $25 per bottle with the package, we thought it was as good or better than typical restaurant selections and prices. We took a couple bottles to our stateroom to enjoy at sailaways. A word about the food on this cruise...GREAT!!! Once again, I'm not sure what folks expect from a mass-market cruiseline but we were quite pleased with the quality, selection and presentation. We had most of our meals in the dining room but took advantage of the extended hours in the Windjammer on days when we couldn't get to the dining room. We thought that the food was quite good there as well. We did dine at Portofino one night and it was delightful as usual. The shrimp risotto is just the best!To adjust for the time change, clocks were turned ahead at noon. this seemed to work very well.The library on deck seven was the most disorganized we have ever encountered. Nothing alphabetized and no method to the madness. We had brought several books with us and took advantage of the books left by our fellow cruisers for exchange.The Diamond Event was held in the Dungeon each evening from 4:30-8:00 pm. It's a bit dark and claustrophobic in there but after the second glass of wine, we found we could enjoy ourselves quite well thank you.We can't comment on the shows as we never attended a single one! We did attempt to see a movie in the Screening Room once but it was a fiasco. By the time the first-showing guests had squeezed their way past those pushing their way in to get the best seats, the movie had started and the only seats left were much too close to the screen. Points for Princess in this regard as their theater has more seats and allots few minutes between screenings to allow for an orderly transition.Ports visited included Tenerife, Mallorca and Ajaccio. We did no excursions as this was the first time we had visited these ports and we prefer to walk around the town and get the feel of the place before we excurse. We are visiting these same ports later so we'll consider excursions then. Tenerife was OK; Mallorca a bit more interesting; but our favorite by far was Ajaccio. We found a great little restaurant where we had a giant bucket of mussels, crusty bread, frites and house wine for the princely sum of 34 euros. Some might call that expensive; we thought it was cheap at twice the price.We arrived at Civitavecchia quite early and were off the ship by 7:45. We joined others for a shared shuttle into Rome (a big thanks to Chipper and Smiley for arranging this) and were checked into our hotel by noon. We stayed at the Hotel Katty, Via Palestro 35 which we had found through Venere.com. It's a couple blocks from the Metro stop so quite convenient. The price for a double room with bath, fridge and flat-screen TV was 89 euros per night which included breakfast (choice of coffees and massive cream-filled croissants) at a nearby cafe/bar. The hotel was spotlessly clean and we had the best room on the house (top floor corner with a nice view. The typically tiny (maybe ten square feet) elevator was an adventure. There are Internet cafes nearby for checking in for flights. The hotel doesn't offer much in the way of services but it was perfect for us.Our favorite restaurant in Rome is worth a paragraph itself. We happened upon it a few years ago and now it's the only place we eat. It's called Ristorante Pizzeria Carlo Menta, Via della Lungaretta, 101 in Trastevere and it's a 15 minute walk from either the Vatican, Piazza Navonna, the Pantheon or the Vittorio Emmanuelle monument. They offer a tourist menu (I know some folks sneer at these but this one is a winner) with 4 courses (10 euros at lunch; 13 euros at dinner) that is to die for. It starts with fresh tomato and olive oil bruschetta (2 giant hunks), pasta (4 choices; I personally recommend the penne Carlo Menta), a meat course (4 choices; I personally recommend the cotelette de veal Milanese style) and dessert (3 choices; creme caramel, house cake of the day [one day a chocolate cream tart; another an apple tart] and fruit salad [bowl of fruit sections]). We always order a liter of the house red wine (8 euros). There are, of course many other delectable items to choose from and the pizza is some of the best we've ever had. They offer a pizza marinara for 2 euros, pizza margherita for 3 euros and various specialty pizzas for 4-6 euros and they are larger than any other place we've eaten. If you want really good food at reasonable prices, this place is certainly worth a detour.We had opted for a transfer from the hotel to the airport arranged by a fellow cruiser but with time running out and no transportation in sight, we had the hotel car for a taxi and we arrived at the airport just in time to check in. The taxi was 45 euros and our driver was courteous and actually a safe driver!We flew Swiss with one transfer in Zurich and I must say we were very pleased with their aircraft, service, food and amenities. They fed us well and often, drinks (wine or mixed drinks) and movies were free and the service was attentive and friendly. We will certainly fly with them again.In closing, let me say that we had a delightful cruise with RCCL and the entire pre-cruise, cruise, and post-cruise experience went very well. We are now looking forward to our fall transatlantic on the Mariner and subsequent B2B to the Western Caribbean. Bon Voyage to all! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We flew down from Dulles to Ft. Lauderdale on the morning of the cruise.Embarkation was efficient and friendly.The buffet spread for the boarding passengers was very good.Our room steward, Soma, was great. He did everything we asked of ... Read More
We flew down from Dulles to Ft. Lauderdale on the morning of the cruise.Embarkation was efficient and friendly.The buffet spread for the boarding passengers was very good.Our room steward, Soma, was great. He did everything we asked of him, and we probably were more demanding, at least at first, than average in terms of robes, amenities, ice. His towel animals were nice to come home to.Our balcony cabin was perfect for us. Plenty of room to put things for two people. The bed was very comfortable. The room was quiet and our neighbors were very nice. In fact, in general staff and passengers were great. There were few gripers.The library was well managed, and we were able to get interesting books to read. We had Kindle backups, if that hadn't been the case, but we mainly used the library.Because of time changes, we had six 23 hour days. That uncomfortably compressed our food consumption and we skipped lunch several times, or went very light on lunch because we were at the 5:30 seating for dinner. However, changing time at noon was the best approach. The people working on the ship work very hard and need what little sleep they can get.The ship was very clean and well maintained.At the social function, wine and mixed drinks flowed more than I'd experienced on other cruises.The cruise critic mix and mingle was a huge event. It was wonderful. We spent a lot of time with another couple for Herndon, and I departed tipsy on champagne.Although the quality of the shows varied some, every evening show was worth attending. Because the ship was almost full, it was a good idea to go early. We attended the 8:30 shows. The band was very good, as were the guest performers. The ship's dancers seemed shaky at the first show on May 2, but were quite good at every other performance.Entertainment was good around the ship, especially the Latin Express.The ice show was fabulous.The fitness center ran smoothly and was well equipped.Because of wave motion and maintenance, the pools were often not available, but the hot tubs mostly were.The quality of the food in the dinning rooms was very good, and the buffet was good. Definitely above average.Our waiter, Daniel, and assistance waiter, Dasran, were the best.We were a rowdy group of 8. Captain Patrick came by one evening and said with a smile, "So, this is the noisy table!" As to the captain in a social sense, despite his youth, he was as good as it gets on a cruise. The fictional Love Boat Captain pales in comparison. The 8 of us at our table, Bonnie, David, Peter, Helen, Diana, Diane, Lynn and I got along. Four of us were UUs, so we "got" each other on several levels. David, Bonnie, Lynn and I were in Cruise Critic, so we "got" each other. Helen is from Alexandria, next to Fairfax County, where we live. Like Lynn and I, Peter also spent a lot of time with David and Bonnie. The ship activities were mostly well run and interesting or fun. The staff on board was very good overall.Our excursions on Tenerife, Mayorca, and Corsica were good and our free time in those places were good too. They are all beautiful islands with fabulous scenery, history, culture, and towns.Only 60 of the 3000 plus passengers were kids, but the ship tried hard to make it a good cruise for them. I think they mostly were happy with how it went.This was our first Transatlantic cruise, and I just can't say enough good things about it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

Find a Navigator of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click