We needed a break, and since our youngest was celebrating her 21st birthday the week before the cruise, we decided this was a perfect time. This was Navigator's third trip after her recent yard period, and she didn't disappoint. ... Read More
We needed a break, and since our youngest was celebrating her 21st birthday the week before the cruise, we decided this was a perfect time. This was Navigator's third trip after her recent yard period, and she didn't disappoint. On this cruise we had me (59), SWMBO (54), our son (26), our daughter (21), SWMBO's sister (59) and her husband (68). We travel often with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and will continue to do so as long as they will have us. We always have a great time with them.
Embarkation: Normally, embarkation is quick with little to no wait. Not this time. It seemed the folks from the cruise before ours were slow to leave the ship, so we were standing around in a crowded embarkation center for quite some time. We arrived around 1030 and didn't board until between 1200 and 1230. There was a large group that had been corresponding on social media and here on Cruise Critic and we were able to meet up with some friends of ours while waiting to board.
Meals - Windjammer: The food in the Windjammer this cruise was up to its usual standard - decent, not outstanding, but it filled the void. Some was very good (especially the desserts) and some not so much (avoid the Eggs Benedict - the toughest English Muffins I have ever seen). As usual, the staff in the Windjammer was great, and overall it fit the bill.
Meals - My Time Dining: Before cruising, we booked My Time Dining for 1800 each night of the cruise. First night - no problem. We were promptly seated and had a great table - first table on the left as you enter the dining room. The table has a decorative wall surrounding it that made it feel more private than the other tables. We really liked it. The second night, the computer system had our reservations at a different time 1715, but having booked everything for 1800 before leaving, we arrived at 1800. Of course, our table was given to another group, so we got moved to a new table with a different waiter and assistant waiter. It all worked out great though, as our waiter, Francisco, and his assistant, Shuzhen, were wonderful. Shuzhen is from China, and she told us some folks have trouble pronouncing her name, so she told us to call her by her family name - Moh. They were so friendly and attentive - absolutely terrific. The food was very good, except for one night when a number of us ordered the Braised Beef Short Rib - it was so bland. As for the rest of it - truly excellent.
Bars - we all had the drink package and, as usual, it did not disappoint. The bar staff on the Navigator make killer Frozen Mojitos, Bushwhackers, and Mudslides. Their Moscow Mule could use some work though - theirs is basically vodka and ginger beer with a lime garnish.
Ports: we hit Labadee, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao on this cruise. We only booked excursions thru RC for Labadee - the Jet Ski excursion (we love this one), and my daughter loves the Zip Line. As for the other ports -
In Aruba, we booked the JetLev (the water jet pack) for our son and daughter thru a local company (Red Sail Sports if I recall correctly - SWMBO did the research and booked it). Our son took to it immediately and loved it. Our daughter had a face-plant in the water and got a snoot-full of ocean, so she decided that was enough for her. The folks at Red Sail were outstanding. They meet you at the pier and drive you to their location. The driver gave us great tips for using the bus system in Aruba as the plan was to go to Arashi Beach after the JetLev. We grabbed lunch with our friends from NJ (whose son also did the JetLev) at a small joint by the beach - nothing special there. Afterwards, my daughter wanted to go back to the ship, so she and I took the bus back to the port while the rest took the bus in the other direction to Arashi Beach. Aruba is beautiful, and everyone had a great time.
In Curacao we walked around town and did some shopping and sight-seeing - took it easy that day. We ate lunch at the Iguana Café along the canal next to the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge. We got to see the bridge open and close a few times while we ate. Pretty good food there - we pretty much dined on the appetizer menu and really enjoyed it. It is an easy walk from the ship.
In Bonaire, we rented golf carts for the day from Bonaire Cruisers, and that is definitely the way to go. They are two blocks from the dock, and they gave us great directions and maps and off we went to explore the island. From the salt flats, flamingo sanctuary, the old slave quarters, the lighthouse, the windsurfers and all the divers, we really enjoyed the leisurely trip around Bonaire. Highly recommended.
Disembarkation - things ran a little slowly as the escalator that takes you from the ship to customs broke down. There was about an hour delay getting off the ship as a result, but we got our bags and got thru customs with no problems.
Overall, we loved this cruise and were ready to get right back on the ship when we disembarked. I highly recommend this itinerary Read Less