I really didn't really plan much for this cruise as we had so much going on before it like a funeral and a wedding, so my level was much lower than previous cruises just because we didn't have time to think too much about it. ... Read More
I really didn't really plan much for this cruise as we had so much going on before it like a funeral and a wedding, so my level was much lower than previous cruises just because we didn't have time to think too much about it. I'll break it down to the sections, there were some really good things, but it seemed like more bad than good at times. I don't have an option to rate it 2.5 so I'm going with 2 because of an ongoing issue.
Embarkation: What a mess! We arrived there somewhere around 11:45 and it was a zoo. Once we got on the escalator up, as usual with RCI, there was no room for passengers to go and many were pushing their way off the escalator and into other passengers who had no where to move to. They do this every week, why is this still an issue? This is a safety issue and they need to address it though. Upstairs, we looked for priority check in, the agent told us there wasn't one anymore and they were putting people into that line that did not have priority. Even better was being told to leave that line and go to the even longer regular line. It took over an hour to get through that queue just to get up to check in. Now we move on to security. I called prior to the cruise to make sure I could still bring a steamer on board, I was told yes, just no irons. Well, not so. I had to wait on the side while they took apart my entire bag. Medications were dumped out and when I reached to grab it before it fell off the table I got yelled at. Sorry, not acceptable. I kept my cool the whole time and took my claim check and was told I'd have to claim it after the cruise. Repeat after me....you are on vacation, don't sweat this lol!
Getting on board: Easy to get on the ship, no one greeted us or welcomed us even though there were crew members standing there speaking to each other, in fairness they ignored all of us that were getting on that I could tell. We weren't sure what time cabins were going to be ready so we were just going to walk around until we found someone. We happened on to a very nice crew member who was selling the specialty dining packages. I WISH I could remember his name because he was able to help us with any questions, he set up our dining times and made a note that it was my birthday on Saturday which was why we wanted Chops Grill. By the time we got done, our cabin was ready so we took our elevator up and dropped our things off.
Windjammer: We decided to go up and grab a quite bite to eat, the staff there was very sweet despite the fact that it was packed as usual. Throughout the cruise, it was pretty much the same, best wait staff was there instead of the dining room though, we thought that was funny. Omelette station worked very well and if you want tomato juice you just have to ask for it. We had light lunches there too as well as deck 5 cafe' promenade with little sandwiches. No complaints at all.
Muster: Drill was outside for us, it did start to drizzle and it was getting cold. Normal drill as most ships have had. Just wish we had been one of the lucky ones to do it inside.
Sail away: We were set to sail at 5 p.m. and I think we were fairly close to that. It was getting cold, there was a DJ up on the pool deck trying to get people to dance, but no band. No sail away drinks being sold by wait staff either like previous cruises. The bar was packed because of this so we just went to the rail and waited. Now it may sound like I'm whining, but when you leave your home port and even in many destination ports, the captain sounds the horn, not so, not the entire time. That's part of the fun of sail away for us, we've been sailing for the last 20 years so we expect this little detail.
Main Dining Room: Oh boy. Well, we had a nice table with very nice companions at it. When we received our menu we kind of looked at each other and someone asked if this was a small selection because it was the first night, it wasn't. Service was slow, courses were missed completely, people had to ask several times for sodas, what they ordered to eat etc. When we ordered dessert, I ordered a cappuccino. It never came. I asked several times but it never came. I did get an apology as I was leaving though. We ended up booking 4 nights at specialty restaurants so we were a bit relieved at that but shouldn't have to do so just because of a limited evening menu each night. There was only steak offered on the dining room menu 1 night out of 9. Seriously, it's no longer listed as a classic option and the entire cruise it was a one page limited menu. Two nights I ordered chicken and both nights it was flat and dry. And the other nights, I couldn't tell you what I ordered, that's a first for me. As the nights went on it was still the same problem, one person would order the same soda every time, she'd be lucky to get one. I ordered my cappuccino 2 more times and it was warm but not hot. First night waiter said he wasn't going to charge me but next night he charged me for two. So, I stopped ordering it. Each night you could count on someone coming by trying to upsell things like specialty dining or now the galley tour is offered but for a fee with food from the specialty restaurants, it's lunch we don't eat like that for lunch. I think it was $30 or $35 per person.
Chops Grill: We did this the first formal night, it was my birthday and we were very excited. When we arrived there was a very long line of people unhappy that they had to wait even though they had reservations. We didn't mind that so much but I think we only waited about 15 minutes. We sat at a table right by the kitchen area and it was crazy. Our waitress was rushing the whole time. We placed our order and ordered wine. The french onion soup was absolutely delicious! Our appetizer came out and as we began to eat she brought the 2nd hot dish right away so you had one to eat hot or try to eat both at the same time which didn't work. After that, we waited 45 minutes, she never stopped, she never same to explain the long wait, so we stopped her when she finally went past us and she said she'd check to see if there was a problem. About 5 minutes later she brought our filet mignons out. They were excellent but the wait of 45 minutes between appetizers was too long. We saw other people upset at tables near by but we tried not to notice, it was my night! Oh, when the dessert menu came out my sister said, it's her birthday tonight, we mentioned that again to the maitre d and she just said, ok, and handed us the menu. Nothing after that until the restaurant had emptied out and she brought the check to sign. Again, nothing said, no happy birthday, nothing. Again, to others it may not seem like much, but I rarely ever celebrate my birthday so I was hoping for something, like a piece of cake? Something. An acknowledgement would have been nice. This was the specialty restaurant, they dropped the ball here.
Sabor: Didn't know what to expect. Their sweet and spicy margarita was EXCELLENT! They make your guacamole right at the table and their desert selections are served like a tasting tray which was amazing! But $30 for tacos and quesadillas was a bit too steep to do again.
Chops Attempt 2: I guess the 2nd time is a charm. Waiter was awesome, food was timely, they even got my cappuccino to me hot at the same time my dessert arrived! Well done for attempt #2. Lesson learned, don't do a specialty restaurant on the first formal night.
Giovanni's! What can I say?! Spectacular! We almost cancelled because the menu didn't look that interesting, thank God we didn't! Best service, best food, just well done and worth the money!
Cabin: I think I forgot to get to this. Navigator has a problem with the rubber rings in their toilets, I think that's what it was, so black streaks in the toilets with a note in the cabins explaining. Open the medicine cabinet and the screws are coming through the wall and particle board. We had a D2 cabin aft and the beds were great, we had a full size couch that would fit one person if needed. The cabin attendant was perfect. He made an effort right away to know what we needed every day like extra face cloths. Ice bucket with ice each day. Two nights he made animals on my bed. He knew our names and each day made sure to talk to us about our days and to ask how his service was and what more could he do for us. Simply perfect. Overall, I think this ship is due for a major facelift but the cabin was still in good shape at least.
Entertainment: Here again, I know we weren't alone with our response. The RCI dancers and singers tried, but it just wasn't good, certainly not up to a cruise line show. I felt bad when I saw people walking out so we made sure to stay until the end. We went for 2 of their shows and both were about the same. The professional ballroom dancers were excellent but the rest of the singers just didn't match voices well. It was not good. Other nights they had Beattle's tribute band, they were good, and the acapella singers were fantastic. The comedian was really funny to us but we so abrasive I know he upset people and again we saw people leaving. The ice skaters were fabulous and we enjoyed the ice shows more than any others.
There were no parades down the promenade like they used to do, we missed that and wish they would have done something other than sell merchandise out there. Speaking of that, it was so hard to get through when they would have that, we saw people getting angry and complaining about the traffic jams daily.
Casino: Small! There is a small area that is supposed to be smoke free, but they also put the old fashioned machines there and not the fun ones. As the cruise went on, we noticed that the machines stopped paying out. We took a quick lesson from the craps table and LOVED the staff that worked there so much! We miss them! Yes, we lost most nights but it was a lot more fun than sitting next to chain smokers at the machines. We had fun and learned how to play. Those people take quite a bit of abuse from some of the gamblers which is sad, be nice to them!
Bars: This is a problem area. No matter how much we tried to drink, we couldn't get consistently decent drinks. Forget the pub, they lost their guitar player to another ship. They do beer well though. Upstairs at the pool first drink would be good and then the next was weak, we didn't have the drink package so we had to pay for each drink, and at $12-14 a drink you want them to taste good. R Bar was hit or miss, there is a girl that works there and she makes great drinks, the guys are sweet and funny but not that good at making the drinks. They also seemed to not want to wait on you anywhere, we had to keep going to the bar to order, we got the feeling that they get tired of people with the drink packages and lack of extra tips, but we didn't have that and still had poor service.
Pools and Whirlpools: Crowded. People still saving chairs despite signs. Last sea day we did manage to snag 2 chairs and spent a few hours at the adult pool. However, when we walked by the empty whirlpool on the way out it was disgusting, the water was brownish. Be careful!
Shore Excursions: Aruba tour was not worth the money, bus ride around island, made a few quick stops and then the Aloe factory where we quickly went through and ended up in their overpriced gift shop. Never stopped at a beach, just drove past it. Next one was 3 hours at a beach club in Bonaire, we were picked up in an old school bus, ripped seats, shattered windshield and windows and no a/c on a day that was 89 degrees. Not kidding.
We opted to not take the bus back and stayed there for a few more hours and paid $5 per person to take the water taxi back. I had wanted to snorkel there with a company I used last time, their website advertised 2 stops for $39 but if you're on the ship, you have to go through the ship at $69 per person I believe, I was so mad I didn't book it at all. This ripping people off needs to stop. Our table mates booked every tour on their own and had the best time. We should have done the same.
Shopping: I never have done the shopping lectures before but we did it this trip. We listened to what we were told and when we went into port, we felt we would get the best deals from the stores they recommend through the ship. BULL! Do not, and I repeat DO NOT buy jewelry in port. Shop at home. I bought 4 different items and only one item was a deal that was less than I could have gotten at home. One necklace was $895 in Aruba but when I got home, Macy's had it for $817!! Now I'm fighting Diamonds International who's appraisal is almost double what I had it appraised for at home for another necklace. And now I have to find an independent gemologist who does not engage in buying or selling of any sort of gemstones and pay them to appraise the necklace just to attempt to recover the difference and I've been told good luck with that. Just don't do it!!!!
Disembarkation: Oh this was a complete joke. We had #2 to get off the ship. We had to go to the theater to wait. Not one staff member was there, just a hundred people or so looking around lost. When the announcement was made, no one heard it because it was only announced outside in the hallway, not inside the theater where we all were waiting patiently. Oh, and that confiscated steamer? I had to go back to where we checked in to claim it again and walk back to the other side where we got off, dragging my luggage with me. The ladies there were very nice though.
So, that's it, we were told by other people that were on the Oasis class ships that it's like night and day difference. So, that left me with the opinion that Navigator is the low end of their ships now, how sad. They've made so many cuts that they've cheapened the experience, they certainly didn't even meet my low expectations. I would love to go back again and see the same islands, but not on this ship again. Also, people were complaining to each other. The last 3 to 4 days it was everywhere, service in dining room was bad, shows were terrible, ship was not up to RCI standards. A cruise is what you make of it, and we still managed to have a good time despite all the negative comments, but when you have so many people complaining about the same things, you start to know there is a problem. RCI needs to fix this.
If you read through all this, thank you! Read Less