2,355 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Navigator of the Seas is an amazing ship. This was our first cruise and we were shocked by this ship and its many wonders. Our magnificent vacation aboard this astounding ship was so amazing and wonderful not simply because of the physical ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas is an amazing ship. This was our first cruise and we were shocked by this ship and its many wonders. Our magnificent vacation aboard this astounding ship was so amazing and wonderful not simply because of the physical reality of the beautiful ship but even more so because of the fantastic service we experienced throughout the ship. Some of the staff we met deserve special mention, if you meet these people, count yourself lucky, they are all amazing. Our bartender in the stunning Cosmopolitan lounge overlooking the ship and the surroundings on the 15th deck was Roger Pasmore. What a great guy and a great bartender. Royan Caribbean should really promote him, he works so hard to make people happy and satisfied in every way. He set us up with a friend of his in Ocho Rios for a personally guided tour, and the result was the best day of our trip. Mark Henry is a must see in Jamaica, mon. What he did for us was great, we got to see everything we wanted to see, and more. All of this while in no rush and no need to wait for others. Our group of four had the best time with Mark, a great guy everyone should try to hire as your personal tour guide in Jamaica. We can't wait to go back and see Roger, Mark, and Roger's family on that beautiful island. For our delicious dinners we couldn't have had better service and more fun than we did with our wait staff of Isidoro Rebello and Eveline Gheorgiu, they were simply the best on board. Their attention to detail was unsurpassed and they made dining in the same dining room for 7 nights and special occassion each evening - truly amazing! In addition was our dining room bartender Sean Bryan, and really Irish Jamaican - you can't find a better combination. And Sean was the best, he made sure we always had what we wanted and when we wanted it. He works hard and happily to make people happy. Finally, our room attendant was Martin and he was also the best on board. His enjoyment of the job made the cruise that much more fun - what a great guy. He was so friendly and informative, always willing to go the extra mile. No request was too much for him and he always had a smile, a funny comment, or a laugh for us. He really made the cruise a great experience. All of these people, and the countless others we didn't get to know as well turn a phenomonal ship into a vacation experience to remember for a lifetime. We can't say enough about Roger, Isidoro, Eveline, Sean, and Martin - and we can't thank them enough for helping us have such a great experience and wonderful time. And of course Mark on shore in Ocho Rios - you helped us have the best day of 7 excellent days. I hope many people contact you in the future for their own personal tours of your great country. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
This was our first cruise, and it was breath taking. It was like living with the rich without being rich. It won't be our last hopefully. We learned a lot so we are better prepared for our next cruise. The ship was outstanding, ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and it was breath taking. It was like living with the rich without being rich. It won't be our last hopefully. We learned a lot so we are better prepared for our next cruise. The ship was outstanding, there was so much to do and see. The food and the service was incredible. Our statesman was Isaac and he was incredible. There was nothing he would not do to make your stay top of the line. Unfortunately, we happened to be on the ship during March break and we found that there were just too many kids. Don't get me wrong I love kids but I found it hard to even get in the jacuzzi for the kids that used them for swimming pools. At one point a child was swimming and came up and kicked a lady in the face, it was an accident but things like this are not necessary. The teens on board ran the halls all night long keeping the older passengers from getting their rest. One man on board chased them three time one night down the hall. This is not appropriate. Also there should be one pool side just for adults as there are designated areas on the ship just for teens. The dining was above and beyond. Our head waiter was great. The dining room was out of this world, and the food amazing. You won't come home without gaining weight. I really enjoyed the ice show as well as the Nelson brothers. Also the midnight buffet and pool party were great. The shopping on board was fabulous, lots of great buys every day. We didn't take all the excursions we wanted to do, time was too limited. We did visit San Juan, St. Thomas and Nassau. My favorite of our destinations was Nassau. Hopefully we will cruise again and we will get to do more, there was a lot we didn't know but hey you learn as you go. Way to go Navigator of the Seas. GREAT CRUISE!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
I love reading trip reports before a trip so I thought this might be helpful to some of you. This trip was my husband and I and our 8 year old son, Austin. We have taken two Carnival and one Celebrity cruises prior to this trip on the ... Read More
I love reading trip reports before a trip so I thought this might be helpful to some of you. This trip was my husband and I and our 8 year old son, Austin. We have taken two Carnival and one Celebrity cruises prior to this trip on the wonderful Navigator! We started our vacation on Saturday, March 6, 2004 with a 4:15 AM alarm. We were at the airport at 5:40 (the recommended two hours early). There was the longest line for Sun Country Airlines that I have ever seen. As time crept along, everyone on our flight that was still in line was called to the front of the line so we wouldn't miss our flight. We were assigned seats in the back of the plane. We spoke to other travelers that were at the front of the plane. They arrived after 6:00 and used curbside check in; they didn't have to stand in the long lines. Our flight arrived on time in Miami. There were plenty of representatives from Hobbit Travel (our tour company) waiting to direct us to our transportation bus. After waiting for all the travelers to arrive we were underway to the port. The Royal Caribbean check in was smooth, but we waited in line for at least 30 minutes. You checked in by cabin level. We were checked in and on the ship by 2:15. Austin was so excited to get on the ship; he kept asking tons of questions. We were in cabin 9658; ninth floor, aft and port side. The room was of standard size for cruise ships and the balcony was big enough for two chairs and a small table. The balcony felt private, as you couldn't see through to the adjoining balconies (but the doors could be opened if you wanted). The views while sitting on a chair on the balcony were wonderful and unobstructed. We had a snack at the Windjammer after exploring the ship a bit. I really liked the tortilla roll up sandwiches; they hit the spot after a long day of traveling. Our luggage arrived in the room around 5:00 PM. There was plenty of space for the three of us to unpack all of our things. We thought there were plenty of little "cabinets and shelves" to store all of our things. There are two medicine cabinet type shelves on each side of the large mirror over the desk unit; I didn't notice there were shelves on both sides until after we were unpacked. I found them very convenient for makeup/hair supplies, etc. We did bring extra hangars; while there is quite a number in the closet, there is never enough! Since we were going to be using the pull out couch for Austin's bed, we asked the cabin steward to remove the glass coffee table. The couch/bed was HUGE; a queen size bed he found very comfortable. The two beds put together for Kevin and I were very comfortable. We went to an Adventure Club orientation in Studio B. It was neat, as they gave the kids a preview of the ice show. We went up to check out the rooms used for the kids program. They are nicely divided by ages and the staff was warm, inviting and accommodating. They efficiently handled Austin's food allergy issues without hesitation. The variety of programs offered looked interesting. The only downside at first glance was the location of the dreaded arcade right next to the kids club. The arcade was filled with kids all hours of the day! Austin chose not to attend any of the activities at the Adventure Ocean, as he enjoyed being with us. There were only 120 kids on board during our week. The next two weeks, were told that number jumped to 1200! They do have some nice activities for teens and special lounge/dance areas that don't allow adults. There was a family on the plane that had a 15 year old and she really enjoyed the activities for her age level. They were always supervised, so her parents felt comfortable, but she didn't get in until late at night (hot tub parties, etc.). She made so many friends she was crying on the plane that she missed them. Second dinner seating was at 9:00 the first night. We met our tablemates. They were a great family from Ottawa, Canada. They had two girls, ages 9 & 10. The kids got along great all week. The cod and chicken entrees were our favorite. Our waiter was fabulous. His name was Peamkait (we called him pumpkin or Jackie Chan). Our asst. waiter was Calvert. There was a welcome parade at 11:00 PM on the 5th floor Promenade; it is worth going to. Day 2 We were in port at Free Port, Grand Bahama, but we didn't get off the ship. The weather was sunny and warm. We got off to a slow start around 8:30. We had breakfast at the Windjammer. They have the standard fare of eggs, omelets, pancakes, waffles, fruit, etc. There is a huge variety, but it is the same every day. I really enjoyed time at the Solarium Pool area (this is the adults only area). There are nice chairs, a pool and two covered hot tubs. The general pool area has two covered hot tubs, one open hot tub and two pools. One area of one pool is very shallow for very small children. Austin wished that the pools had a shallow end that he could stand and play in. The depth was around 4'11" of the main pools. I never had trouble finding a lounge chair, even on days at sea. I worked out at noon in the beautiful exercise facility. There is a nice hot tub in that area also. There are plenty of treadmills and steppers, etc. We had a late lunch at Johnny Rockets. We enjoyed the fun music and atmosphere. The staff dances to Stayin' Alive; Austin really enjoyed that. They bring you onion rings and fries right away. The burgers were very good and I enjoyed the chili cheese fries. We did not try the malts. We did hear that they were going to be charging for Johnny Rockets starting the next week. I talked to the manager and he said it would be $3.95 per person, per visit (malts/drinks extra). He said it was for crowd control, but a bartender told us it was because people were ordering tons of stuff and not eating them. He said that a group of kids came in and ordered a huge amount of burgers and they found them in the garbage can. Not sure the truth of that, but that is what the bartender said. After lunch, we spent some time on the sports deck playing mini golf, inline skating and climbing the vertical wall. Tickets for the ice show were given away starting at 4:30. I went down to get in line around 4:20 and they were already handing them out. The line went quickly, but I was glad I went early as it got longer and longer as time progressed. We took a late afternoon nap and dressed for the Captain's Dinner. We went for pictures at 7:30 and it wasn't nearly as busy as it was closer to 8:30. We enjoyed the tenderloin and salmon at dinner. The cheesecake and pecan dessert were also favorites. We very much enjoyed the "Now & Forever" dance/singing show. The singers are fantastic! The show goes through a variety of songs from Broadway Shows. Be warned, they do the Full Monty! (we were trying to explain why they did this to Austin). Day 3 We slept late, got up after 10:00. It was a day at sea with hot, sunny weather. The Windjammer was packed at 10:30. Even with it busy, it is nothing like the congestion we experienced on our last Carnival cruise. I don't know why this ship feels less crowded with more people, but it does! Spent the day at the pool, ice skating and golf. We had a late lunch at the Windjammer. We watched the Adventure Ocean "circus show" on the Promenade. It was cute. We ate fruit tart and lemon pound cake (very yummy) at the Cafe Promenade. Up to the room for showers and a nap. It was Italian night and this dinner was by far my favorite! I just loved the amazing risotto with scallops appetizer (had two). The desserts were forgettable. The show that night was pretty good. It was Bobby Arvon, the man that wrote the theme to "Happy Days". He did some great impressions. Day 4 We slept in again, choosing not to get off in Jamaica. We heard that Dunns River Falls was a good excursion though. The weather was great; hot and sunny. The ship was empty and we enjoyed the pool. We had lunch at Johnny Rockets again; there was no wait today! We attended the ice show before dinner; it was very, very good. It is amazing what they do on such small ice. We sat at the end where you come in and that appeared to be the main way the skaters face. We got there five minutes before it started and got a seat in the second row. We enjoyed the Krooze Komics entertainment prior to the show starting. Dinner was Caribbean theme; we enjoyed the tilapia and jerk chicken. The Mardi Gras parade that night was wonderful and very high energy. There was a pool party at midnight. There was a buffet and music. We didn't eat anything; too full. Day 5 Unfortunately, our Grand Cayman stop was cancelled due to high winds for the boat tenders. Everyone was pretty disappointed with this. Since we hadn't gotten off the ship at the point, it was even more disappointing. Apparently, other cruise lines were able to be tendered in on the southern part of the island, but the two RCCL ships were not able to on the northern part of the island. At dinner I loved the chocolate dessert, rich and sinful! We also enjoyed the shrimp pasta and lobster. We went to the show; All Access, singing and dancing. It was OK, but not the greatest. Tonight was the night of the Grand Buffet, it was the best one I have ever seen. I even took pictures of food, which I have never done. We did go back to get chocolate covered strawberries, but nothing else. Day 6 Today was our Cozumel stop and we got off the ship! The weather was beautiful again. We took a cab; we were going to Chakanaab Park originally but the cabbie said there were eight ships in port and it would be crazy. Then, we were planning on going to Paradise Beach (which is an American run, free beach with all sorts of activities), but the cabbie recommended a beach called Nachi-Cocom (it is farther than Paradise and Mr. Sanchos Beach). The cab ride was $15.00. It was a nice, clean area with a great beach area, pool, restrooms and a restaurant. They do ask for $3/person to use the chairs and facilities. We ended up walking along the beach for some time and went back to Nachi-Cocom for drinks and lunch (we didn't end up paying the fee). It was a very pleasant afternoon! That night, the headliner entertainment was an acoustic group called Toxic Audio. They made all the sounds with their mouths; no instruments. They were very talented and their humorous bits were quite entertaining. My husband got pulled from the audience to participate onstage. It was their last cruise ship show, as they are opening a show off-Broadway. If you get a chance to see them in New York, I bet you wouldn't be disappointed! Day 7 This was our last day. We were at sea and it was cold, cloudy and VERY windy. We bummed around the ship, tried to play golf in the wind gusts (which was rather entertaining) and ate our final meal at Johnny Rockets. We did try breakfast in the dining room. The eggs benedict was a nice change from the Windjammer buffet. Little Observations: ·The 5th floor promenade is wonderful! We enjoyed stopping at Cafe Promenade for pizza, sandwiches, treats and water whenever we felt a bit hungry ·They change the day of the week on the elevators; Austin thought that was pretty cool. ·We brought a lanyard for Austin to wear his sea pass on. The purser's desk punched an extra hole in it so he could use it to open our door while keeping it attached to the lanyard. Several people stopped to ask us where we got it and wished they had one. ·We did get the soda/juice package for Austin. It cost $34.16 with gratuity. We never had a problem getting him a soda, at any of the bars or in the dining room. ·We really enjoyed the Bolero bar on the 4th deck, aft. The bartenders were awesome there! We especially liked the entertainment of Adrianne, from the Philippines. He entertained Austin like crazy with tricks and puzzles with toothpicks. ·Speaking of entertaining; the waiters and bartenders all loved sharing their tricks with the kids at our table. My son came home with a bunch of jokes and tricks to share; it was really fun! ·The service on the entire ship is really incredible. The best of any of our cruises. When walking around the ship or down the hallway of your stateroom, the crew would always stop what they were doing and say hello, etc. The cabin steward that took care of the rooms next to us was so friendly and personable, I felt like we should give him a tip too! ·I felt that I brought clothes that were too dressy. There are the two formal nights, but the other nights are really much more casual. I didn't feel as comfortable in dresses the other nights. I would recommend bringing along less clothes that are fancy. They have the beach night, so there were whole families in tropical shirts. There is also the 70's (Back in Time) night and you were encouraged to dress up like that too. I don't know how you would know about these nights ahead of time though. Of course, it is freezing in the dining room (my only complaint), so make sure to have long sleeves or a sweater. You do need pants to ice skate. Food The food was wonderful all week. We ate in the dining room every night. The $25 cost of Portofino and Chops just didn't seem worth it, especially when we had such wonderful service and great food in the dining room. The head waiter was very attentive to our table. In three other cruises, we have only seen the head waiter when he comes around looking for a tip on the last day. This time, he was visible all the time and stopped at our table at least once a night. He regularly cut up Austin's steak and cut off the corn kernels from his cob of corn (VERY SPOILED!) Our tablemates requested calamari; they did everything they could to get some for them but were unable. Instead, they made a special dish of mussels for them and offered to bring more every night if they wished. Austin got a bowl of sliced strawberries every night for dessert. Our table loved veggies, so every night we had a large plate of steamed veggies brought to our table. There were a ton of special requests at our table and all requests were met without fail. Peamkait always said, "whatever you want" or "of course, whatever makes you happy". We were absolutely so pampered! Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Where do I start? This was my first cruise and I can honestly say that I hope it is not my last. I got a very good first impression from this ship. Even though the sailing was a bit rough at first, the animated staff and cautious captain ... Read More
Where do I start? This was my first cruise and I can honestly say that I hope it is not my last. I got a very good first impression from this ship. Even though the sailing was a bit rough at first, the animated staff and cautious captain was able to keep everybody's spirits up. As far as food is concerned, you have plenty of choices. Windjammer's is a buffet open all day with more choices than you need and a section with sushi (Jade). There are also two restaurants, Chops and Portofino which are very nice. Chops is a specialty in meats and Portofino in Italian cuisine. If that is not enough, you can always go to the dining room, which I definitely suggest because of its beautiful decor and excellent service. You will NOT be bored on this cruise and will probably come off the ship feeling like you hadn't done much, but that's only because there is so much to do. There is a sports deck, a pool deck, plenty of indoor activities, such as daily Bingo in the Extapa lounge and ice skating (yes you can go skating on this ship!). At night, you can enjoy the wonderfully executed shows with truly talented singers and dancers. The good bye show is something you should not miss and will not be able to forget. Excursions can be easily planned in the comfort of your own room, by selecting from the menu on you television, or if you feel like dealing with someone face-to-face, you can go down to the desk and plan it there. St. Thomas is the place for shopping so I don't recommend that you choose a long activity that day because it truly has some great shops. As far as service is concerned, that is really what made my trip. My state room attendant (from India), our waiters (from Jamaica, South Africa and India) and everyone that you ask for directions while on the ship (from all over the world!!) are so kind and respectful and it really seems like they want you to have a pleasant stay. All that combined with the fun activities (do not hesitate to attend Bingo...you will regret it!) make for a very pampered stay that makes it very difficult to leave and truly reinforces that it is "Like no vacation on earth"! Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
You may think you're ready for your cruise after having seen commercials and videos and after hearing first-hand what is waiting for you but nothing could have prepared me for the amazing experience I had... After checking into my ... Read More
You may think you're ready for your cruise after having seen commercials and videos and after hearing first-hand what is waiting for you but nothing could have prepared me for the amazing experience I had... After checking into my stateroom with my brother and parents by my side, we prepared to do a routine emergency evacuation...what an experience! It makes you feel really safe to know that they know what they are doing and to see first-hand how organized they are. We then did a tour around the ship alongside my cousin who works on the ship and were amazed at the size of the ship, its beauty and the details of every piece of artwork. As far as food is concerned, you don't have to worry about ever feeling hungry...Windjammer is always stocked with food and the Cafe Promenade is open 24/7 if you want a coffee or a little snack. The dining room is beautiful to look at and great to eat in; you get the chance to meet people if you requested a table that accommodates more than the people travelling with you and you get a chance to meet some very warm and talented waiters. They make you feel good about yourself and they really care about how your day was and if you're enjoying the food and services. You also get to see where everyone is from because of their country of origin printed on their name tag...it really shows the beauty of the different cultures in the world and it was really nice to get a chance to meet people from all over the world. After filling your stomach with a delightful choice of international cuisine, you can head on to a show, the casino or maybe a lounge if you feel like relaxing. The shows are amazing, with extremely talented singers and dancers and you're sure to have a laugh or two with the comedians! Bingo is definitely something you will not want to miss...remember, Bingo Becky's jokes are on sale for $29.95 in the gift shops and they're on sale!! You also might want to sit in on Karaoke Idol or make your way to Studio B for an ice show...whatever it is that suits you because after all, it is your vacation! Activities on board the ship are great! Whether it's rock climbing, basketball, volleyball, ping-pong or the belly-flop contest alongside the pool, you are bound to find something to fill your day. When you have finally tired yourself out and are ready to drag yourself to your room, you will be pleasantly surprised to find your bed laid down for you, a chocolate placed on your pillow and an animal made out of towels(possibly sporting a pair of your sunglasses) ready to greet you on your bed! The stateroom attendants are pleasant and kind and you are most probably going to find it very difficult to say goodbye at the end of the week...aboard the ship, you become a family with the staff! Even though our cruise started out with a bit of rough seas, the animated staff, the caring crew and the cautious captain brought us through with memories that will last forever! No matter what activities you take part in and no matter who you meet, there is no doubt that this is an experience that you will never forget and there is no doubt that this is like no vacation on earth!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
I would rate this cruise very highly. The ship is beautiful and the staff worked like an efficient team. Ours was a balcony stateroom, and a bit larger than the inside stateroom we booked for our kids. The public areas are well maintained, ... Read More
I would rate this cruise very highly. The ship is beautiful and the staff worked like an efficient team. Ours was a balcony stateroom, and a bit larger than the inside stateroom we booked for our kids. The public areas are well maintained, with enough variety to keep us entertained for the whole week. We used the ice rink, the pools and the gym, and all of them were high quality. The ice rink is small, but adequate, and they played good skating music. I did my running on the track on level 12 and it was good enough, though pretty windy. We really liked the gym. There are plenty of machines, free towels, a water fountain, and fantastic views. It was always in use when we went, but never too crowded. There is a library where you could sprawl on comfy leather couches and chairs for a good read, a business center, and a large internet center. It costs $.50 per minute to do your email. There were plenty of lounge chairs by the pool, but we could never find any vacant ones, due to the overabundance of chair hogs. I got into it with them on one occasion, but after that I just didn't bother. I took a chair when no one was there, sunbathed for an hour, then put their towel back. They never knew. Overall the food was good, but I honestly eat better at home, though there is the cleanup to deal with at home. The kids were thrilled, however. There were two soft serve ice cream stations and kids were walking around eating ice cream at all hours. The girls were big on room service, too. A couple of nights while we went out they spent the evening in our bigger cabin with a movie, getting a late snack delivered. We usually ate dinner in the dining room, a beautiful three level Russian themed extravaganza. Our wait staff was efficient, but a little too eager to please. It was obvious they had their minds on the end of cruise tip. However, they were very good and we tipped accordingly. The buffet was busy, but the food was good. Out of around 3000 people on board I heard there were over 1200 children. I happen to like that, and the fact that this was a spring break cruise was probably the main factor in the high ratio of adult/child. There were tons of activities, but our kids were a little aloof. They used the facilities, but didn't go in for the organized activities. This did not dampen the fun for them at all. (They're 11, 15, and 16 years old.) Our itinerary had been changed a lot due to the unrest in Haiti, so we were in Nassau on Easter Sunday, when almost everything was closed. It was a bit on the tacky side, so we went back to the ship early. St. Thomas was fantastic, however. We took the Turtle Cove Snorkeling trip, and had a ball. The boat was pretty, the crew was a riot, and they had very clean snorkeling gear. They took us to one of the little Islands near St. Thomas, showed everyone the ropes, and we 'walked the plank'. The water was warm, there were lots of huge turtles, sting rays, and swarms of the most beautiful fish. I loved it and it seemed like everyone else did too. We weren't in San Juan, Puerto Rico long enough to do much but tour the old fort and lighthouse, and we almost missed the ship. That was pretty exciting, but I wouldn't want to repeat the experience! All in all, this was a great vacation experience. I got to nap every day, didn't have to lift a finger, and we were in beautiful surroundings almost all the time. I give it 5 stars. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
We have just returned from our first cruise. We were fortunate to be on this ship. Everything about the trip was great. Our cabin, with balcony, was big enough for the two of us and our 9 and 11 year olds. The stateroom attendant did an ... Read More
We have just returned from our first cruise. We were fortunate to be on this ship. Everything about the trip was great. Our cabin, with balcony, was big enough for the two of us and our 9 and 11 year olds. The stateroom attendant did an excellent job keeping it neat and clean. We had the main dinner seating and although our table seated nine, we were the only ones who came. Our waiter, Geovani, and assistant, Jameson, were fabulous and did an excellent job meeting our needs. The food was great and the variety of choices satisfied everyone's tastes. The lunch and breakfast buffets were also plentiful and easy to use. We made use of the spa and fitness centers. Although they were busy, we were never turned away nor did we have to wait for service. We also used pools, climbing wall, minigolf. The only area that ever seemed crowded was the main pool during the middle of the day. We did snorkeling excursions in Nassau and St. Thomas. Both were good, however, Captain Nautica's powerboating and snorkeling in St. Thomas was excellent. The boat ride was fun, the group was small, and our guides, Patrick and Parker, did an excellent job helping us with our equipment and making sure we saw good stuff: turtles, rays, barracudas, and lots of coral reef life. The only disappointment was that our day at Cococay was cancelled. The seas were too rough to safely transport passengers with the tenders. I think the captain made the right call. The crew did quickly put together ship board activities. It was a great trip and we would do it again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
hello this was our 4th cruise first on rcl. and we went down with friends whom were getting married in st. thomas. Embarkation: we flew down the day of the cruise to miami airport, booked own airfare and saved 100.00 from the rcl package ... Read More
hello this was our 4th cruise first on rcl. and we went down with friends whom were getting married in st. thomas. Embarkation: we flew down the day of the cruise to miami airport, booked own airfare and saved 100.00 from the rcl package price, at the airport was a little disappointed with the long wait for a bus to transfer us to the port about 1 1/4 hrs. once on the bus the driver was wonderful. when we got to the port and we were told by our travel agent to go to the aft line and we went right in about 15mins for such a large ship. the only other complaint about embarkation was the lack on notice of having to fill out a second customs form for the bahamas with limited table space to fill these outs. Public rooms: once on the ship wonderful greeting of the staff and we arrived on board about 1:15pm and went right to our balcony room which was ready and our luggage was waiting. now we were off to lunch and to explore the ship. we first went to lunch at the buffet it was wonderful the food was great with plenty to choose from you name it and it was there. now the rest of the ship was incredible the design was nothing we have ever seen before in this class of ship from the main decks to the skating rink and the rock wall was wonderful the kids loved it. so off to the cruise now. cabin: the room was wonderful the view was great must get a balcony on this class of ship the voyager class is very nice, the only thing we didn't like about the cabin was the design of the bathroom a little tight compared to disney's split bathroom design so two people can get dressed at the same time. dining: we tried everything for food from room service to buffet, and assigned early seating for dinner, and then the famed chops steak house with the biggest bake potatoes we ever seen, and portfina's classic food from italy. the overall food was wonderful make sure to try the food at chops and portfina's along with the service it scores a 10. the main dinning food is also wonderful and the staff is wonderful it also gets a 10, and make sure you are there for lobster night all you can eat our friends had 3 each... the buffet is good the kids loved it for almost all there meals. entertainment: the ships entertainment was wonderful the shows were great we went every night to them and every night we were very happy. the off boadway shows were wonderful the ice shows were incredible and you can't believe that you're off the coast of san juan watching an ice show on a ship. the schooner bar's piano guy is great spent a few night there until 2am. the dungeon night club is more for the young adult passengers 18-25 didn't cater to us. There is every type of bar on this ship to cater to everyone from cigar bars to sports bars to coffee and wine bars no lack of a place to sit and have a drink that caters to everyone. fitness: wonderful gym plenty of room new state of the art fitness machines. shore excursions: our first port was nassau, did the atlantis tour and it was wonderful well worth the morning, the rest of the day spent shopping downtown and was wonderful just be careful of the straw market a lot of pick pockets.... second port st. thomas didn't do any excursions here our friends got married wonderful place to get married. third port san juan. not a great place to do an excursion not many offered and the ones offered were not very good. this was a good day to take advantage of the pools and all the wonderful stuff to do on the ship. we got off for about an hour and there wasn't much to do and the city was very dirty. this port would be one that rcl should look into skipping. and the final port of call was rcl's coco cay this was just a wonderful day for all you most do the waverunner tour we worth the 100.00 book it early, we also snorkeled wonderful waters. the kids had a great time on the island plenty to do. the staff of rcl did a great job on the big outside cookout wonderful food. the con of this cruise: the biggest flaw we had on this cruise was in dealing with rcl's guest relations staff very poorly trained and they would give you there word that they would get back to you on issues and never did. we had to go down and ask for the manager evertime whom was not helpful at all. we had a couple of small problems and they never got resolved and we currently are still in contact with rcl's main office about them so be carful when dealing with these people they are very poorly trained.. this was the only thing in our eyes that kept rcl on this cruise from getting the perfect 10 from us. and the disembarkation was slow and no very good but it is like that i feel on every ship i have been on it seems to have a lot to do to our us customs officers also so as for this sit back and just wait we are just use to this on every cruiseline. let me know if anyone has found a better cruise line at this i would like to know. overall: rcl's new voyager class ship are wonderful for both adults and children they have found the trick to cater to everyone so nobody feel left out and there is no lack of things to do you need at least two weeks to do everything on these ships. we will definitely do another rcl cruise in the near future and would love to do a 14 day trip. well to all who have read this hope to shed some light on the rcl experience of the voyager class ships well worth the money. any question feel free to contact me at louzac@comcast.net Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
Well what can I say, been back home for two weeks and really wish I could be back on board the awesome Navigator. Never in my life have I experienced such an amazing holiday. So much so I have decided my next cruise will be planned around ... Read More
Well what can I say, been back home for two weeks and really wish I could be back on board the awesome Navigator. Never in my life have I experienced such an amazing holiday. So much so I have decided my next cruise will be planned around this boat and not so much the destination! From the port in miami checking in was a bit hectic, but we did arrive at 14.00pm. Once I made my way to the cabin which I must say I thought to be very 'spacious' in comparison to some other cruise lines, i headed up to the Windjammer for a nibble. Which of course as buffets go..... ended up to be a very large helping! After lunch just walked around the ship to orientate myself a bit, being a fitness freak had to go check out the health club. Very nice indeed. All the crew were very friendly and helpful and i also got the feeling would go way out of their way to help with ANYTHING if needed. Supper was on Deck 5 - Swan lake dining room, at table 543, which was located very close to the entrance of the dining room and next to the banister. So the view from the top was excellent! I did feel initially the seating arrangements could have been a little more organized as far as age groups go but nonetheless after the first meal had made good friends already! Our waiter who was from Turkey, (Omer) I thought he was excellent, a little shy but very very professional. He cracked a few good jokes along the way which made dinner all the more pleasant. The assistant waiter was also good (from Lithuania) I dont remember his name. Was quiet surprised about the littlest things they manage to remember which I found impressive, although it's part of their work requirements - personal touches make an impression which of course result in a very nice tip! I thought our head waiter was a bit of a waste of time really (from Philippines) also forgot his name, the information he gave us was really just a repeat of what Omer gave us. But maybe because Omer was so good, we didn't require any further 'organizing' or 'special requests' from him, so I'm being a bit biased. The cruise on whole was just amazing, to travel is one thing but to be "chilling" on the top deck at the pool with a pina colada and listening to the live band play bob marley, was an experience of note! I dont think I have ever been so relaxed. Before a 'dance session' at the Dungeon ;-) Excursions were also good, one or two mishaps along the way with the weather but everything is very organized. I have been told the the Navigator of the Seas is one of the newer, bigger and better ships around - and I tell you, the next cruise - I will settle for nothing less! I highly recommend this ship to anyone wanting to get a way for a 'ladies vaca', a 'guys vaca' or the whole family! there is something for EVERYONE! Regards Paula South Africa Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
Navigator of the Seas Review May 22-29, 2004 Eastern Caribbean Cruising history: Family of 4 - DH(46), me (45), DS (21), DD (19) 7th cruise - 4 Carnival, 2 RCI and 1 Princess Last cruise - Grand Princess Occasion - DS's college ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas Review May 22-29, 2004 Eastern Caribbean Cruising history: Family of 4 - DH(46), me (45), DS (21), DD (19) 7th cruise - 4 Carnival, 2 RCI and 1 Princess Last cruise - Grand Princess Occasion - DS's college graduation Embarkation: A+ Fast and easy. Arrived at the Port of Miami about 11:15. Parked the car in the garage and wheeled our luggage into the building. We had 4-22" suitcases, 4 tote bags that fit on top of the suitcases, 1 garment bag, 1 beach bag and a video camera bag. It all fit through the scanner with ease. Check in was quick - we registered on line and had completed our Bahamas immigration forms that came with our documents. After leaving check-in, we got ready to stand in a long line to board the ship. However, when they saw our Gold Member status we were escorted to a special ship entrance. We were on board before noon. Ship: A Beautiful ship. Great condition. Well thought out. Decks for activities are 3, 4, and 5 and then 11, 12, and 13. The rest of the decks are mostly sleeping decks. Ship sails very smoothly. We had rough weather on the way to St. Thomas and were very glad we had that big bow to plow through the waves (we had 12 ft seas). Cabins: A 2 balcony cabins side-by-side on Deck 8, mid-ship. Cabins small but nicely appointed with lots of closet space, about 20 hangers, and lots of drawers and cubbie holes. TV, stocked mini-bar, small, but well appointed bathroom (shower very small). Nice size bed and comfortable couch. Fair sized balcony - comfortable for 2. Room stewardess was Carlene. Gave her an AT&T phone card - she took good care of us all week. Towel animals most nights, remembered that we liked 4 bath towels daily and helped us keep track of the kids! Food: B Windjammer: A. Breakfast in the Windjammer is similar each morning and very good. You can have an omelette made to order. Lunch each day included great hamburgers, hot dogs, and a lots of additional variety. Did not eat dinner at the Windjammer. Dining Room: B. We were assigned to Coppelia dining room on Deck 4. Our servers were Gabor and Zhivco. We had excellent service and excellent food all week with lots of variety. You can order a steak every night and it is a good quality steak! We ate just one breakfast and one lunch in the dining room (served in the dining room on Deck 3) - food and service was pretty bad. Chops: C. We ate here on Caribbean night. Service was very good but I'm sorry to say that the food quality was so-so. It wasn't worth the $25. As a result, we cancelled our reservation at Portofino's. Cafe Promenade: A. Serves pastries at breakfast and small sandwiches, cookies (they have the best chocolate chip cookies!) and desserts the rest of the day. The Cafe Promenade is your 24 hour food source in addition to room service. Johnny Rockets: D. Past RCL guests get a voucher to eat free at Johnny Rockets. I thought the food was awful and visited just once. Room service: A. Quick and good. There's a yummy fruit and cheese plate. Photos: C Located on Deck 3. There is no big sell. They were out and around the ship each night but you could avoid them if you wished. They were there for port photos. They did come around to the dining room each night but it was quick and painless. Photo prices are expensive at $9.95 and up. We only purchased 3 photos since the quality was just OK and the prices so high. Ice Skating Show: A Deck 3. What a COOL thing - watching an ice skating show on a ship! We arrived early to Studio B on Deck 3 and had front row seats (you have to pick up tickets in advance which was easy). There were 10 skaters who skated to a variety of songs (ice dancing). For me, this was a cruise highlight! They take drink orders before the show which is great! Entertainment: D For once we did not attend the other shows. There were several comedians and several shows - there was nothing original - we'd seen all of the shows on other cruise lines. We watched the Love and Marriage Show on TV which was very funny. We listened to 2 of the singers one night on the Promenade- they were excellent. We also saw one of the parades. Warning to those who want a Promenade cabin - these shows are loud and a couple were held after 11 PM. Beware! The cruise director was not very visible and didn't generate a lot of enthusiasm. I'm used to more enthusiastic cruise directors. Casino: A Deck 4. Lots of slots. Not too many tables. Some nights the casino was dead. Other nights it was packed. DS won a total of $370 on the slots. I won $40. On the last night I hit 5-50 coin wins - unfortunately they were pretty spread out. The casino was fun. Royal Promenade: A Deck 5. This is the heart of the ship. I had seen a picture of the Voyager's promenade but until you see it in person, it just doesn't compute. Absolutely stunning! There are 5 shops, 2 bars and the Promenade Cafe. At either end is an atrium. Aft is a dining room and forward is the Ixtapa lounge. Stunning, fun place. If you need to meet someone, the promenade is a good place. Library: A Deck 7 - lots of books. Open 24 hours with really comfortable chairs. There is a daily trivia sheet each day which DS loved. Internet Cafe: C Deck 8. Lots of terminals - open 24 hours. Very slow. 50 cents per minute. Costs add up quickly. Pools: C Too small for a ship this size. Hot tubs were a good size. Salt water pools (miss the chlorine pools of Princess!). Lots and lots of deck chairs - almost hard to negotiate the area due to all the chairs. There is an adult pool but it is very small. A ship this size should have at least one more pool. No covered pools so when there was a rainy day the rest of the ship was busy since no one could swim. Sports deck: B+ Deck 13 aft. Fun place! Full basketball court, volleyball area, ping pong tables, inline skating area (small) and 9 holes of miniature golf (very fun). No reservations needed for any of this. Rock climbing wall is here too - very impressive. Viking Crown Lounge: B- Nice view but very quiet. Didn't care for the band there. Ports: Nassau: C What can I say? Nassau is Nassau. This was my 4th time here so we hit the shops for a bit. The Bahamians could really make Nassau nice if they so desired. St. Thomas: A Family favorite. We skipped the beach this time and rode the tram to Paradise Point where we saw a great parrot show (10:30 AM) and then did some major shopping in Charlotte Amalie. We were in port with the Carnival Triumph which we sailed in 2000. We were also in port with the Caribbean Princess - what a pretty ship! Her balcony glass partitions are a pretty blue! San Juan: A Included a trip to El Morro - a cool, old fort with lots of steps and climbing. We did some shopping in San Juan but since it was a short day, were unable to do anything else. Love the history in San Juan. The Carnival Legend arrived just before we left. I'd be interested in hearing from others about the condition of this ship. From the outside she definitely need some paint in certain areas. Labadee: B- Smallish beach area. Sea urchins in the water. Cold water. Lunch not too tasty. Coco Cay is much prettier and more fun. Disembarkation: D Didn't leave the ship until 10:15. Slowest disembarkation ever. Waited in line for 45 minutes just to get through immigration. Only had 1 immigration officer working for almost 4000 guests! The Miami immigration office definitely needs to work on this one. Once through immigration we sailed through Customs since we carried our luggage off. RCL needs to add the Carnival/Princess touch where guests carrying their own luggage can get off first. Overall impression: B. A good cruise with lots of fun memories. Good food, great ice show, collected more art, and relaxed. Will I sail a voyager class ship again? No, they are too big and too crowded. Crowd control and navigation was often difficult near scheduled events - especially in the promenade. Additionally, on a rainy sea day navigation was quite difficult since no one could swim because there is no covered pool. Service was also hit and miss - the purser's desk and the store clerks were especially poor. I am so glad we sailed a voyager class ship - an experience to never forget. It's pretty neat to know you're the biggest ship in port! Now it's time to select next year's ship - more planning to do!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
This was our first cruise and I had some second thoughts going into it, but I can honestly say it was nothing like I thought it would be. First of all, we were very pleased with our promenade room which looked out on the promenade deck ... Read More
This was our first cruise and I had some second thoughts going into it, but I can honestly say it was nothing like I thought it would be. First of all, we were very pleased with our promenade room which looked out on the promenade deck which consisted of many shops and little cafe/bars. It was beautifully designed and each night the motif would change depending on what the theme of the following day would be. There were at least two parades I believe, and only one night was the music and the sound coming from the promenade so loud that it could be heard in my cabin. The rest of the time you were not bothered with any noise at all. Our cabin attendant was Carlton, and he treated us royally, making up our cabin twice a day and leaving always the little towel animals that I've heard are traditionally displayed on the bed, although the last night there was one little guy hanging from a coat hanger as a trapeze artist might do...very cute. We opted for the early seating for dinner and were served in the Swan Lake Dining Room on the fifth floor. Our waiter was a fabulous fellow from Hungary, Gabor. He took extremely good care of us, and I really liked being addressed as "Mum". He went beyond normal service in seeing to it that my husband was served with his iceberg lettuce salad almost every night (hubby is a plain eating fellow and was very happy with Gabor's willingness to help him out in this way.) The food was exquisite. I have never had such delicious food served in such style. The meals were looked forward to and enjoyed immensely. The excursions we chose were not exactly what I expected. We took the Island Drive tour of St. Thomas, and while the driver was very knowledgeable, we got kind of tired of hearing about Home Depot. If you take the tour you'll understand that the islanders or overwhelmed with joy to have Home Depot, and that's great, but.. Anyway, the views were breathtaking and we got a lot of lovely shots of Magen's Bay and at Mountaintop. The other excursion we took was the old city/new city tour of San Juan. I wasn't happy with having no chance to stop and take pictures except for the one at the fort. I tried to get some shots as we sped along, but because we were in the back of the van we couldn't hear well and the air conditioning wasn't very good either. I have heard that self reserved tours from independent tour companies are very good, some folks we met had told us about theirs. That might be worth consideration. Another couple we met had an unfortunate experience with the bike tour they reserved. I hope they get their money back as they never gained access to any bikes at all on their tour... We enjoyed the spa/jacuzzi when everyone else was off at a show. We did really enjoy the ice show which was top notch. And we also saw a show with some "gauchos" and comedian Tom Parks which was excellent. We were impressed with the "Clean Act" he did...it proves that you don't have to hear crude language to have a good time. I enjoyed very much the spa trip I made. I had the absolute face and body experience on the day before our trip ended. It was heaven. worth the $176 I had to pay. But look for those specials and when you're in port, you get 10% off. We had our formal portrait made the first formal night although not with the captain. He was very busy posing with many people. Although he was a good captain, he is not the permanent one. Captain Bang was unfortunately unable to sail due to his wife's illness but was expected back within a few weeks, I think. Our cruise director, Marc Walker, was great and I can't fathom how he musters up all that energy all the time. He was leaving to go to the Adventurer of the Seas as we left the Navigator. I guess these folks move around a lot. All in all, it was a lovely time and I have lots of photos to show for it. There was a bit of rough seas one day and evening but other than that, I really came to enjoy being "rocked" to sleep at night. I was surprised that I never got seasick although I was prepared with Dramamine just in case. Now I know though not to take so many clothes. I brought back many clean clothes. The embarkation was a bit tiring. We had to stand in line for an hour to get on. Debarking was quick and painless. We got our own cab and sped off to the airport whereupon we waited several hours for our flight, but that was okay since we wanted to be sure we were there. I was rudely welcomed back by cool winds and rain, and had to even buy a sweatshirt in Cincinnati before proceeding on home since I still had my island gear on.... It was lovely. We may do it again some day. Navigator is a gorgeous ship and you won't lack for a good time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
Do not even consider this ship if you have children under three or who are not potty trained. There is absolutely nothing for them to do. My 19 month old watched his 4 year old brother go to the kids club and swim in the pool and was ... Read More
Do not even consider this ship if you have children under three or who are not potty trained. There is absolutely nothing for them to do. My 19 month old watched his 4 year old brother go to the kids club and swim in the pool and was miserable as he was not allowed in either. Many of the excursions were 6 hours or more, too long for young children. And some of the excursions had minimum age requirements (typically 8 or older). So you are stuck on the boat with nothing to do with a toddler. There were lots of other discomforts. The whole thing seemed to just not be family friendly. For example early dinner in the main dining room was at 6 pm. But if you didn't want to subject everyone to your children who couldn't sit through a three course meal, the buffet didn't start until 6:30. It seems to me you would want to feed the kids first. They advertise all you can drink beverage cards for the kids, but it turns out they are only good for soda. You can only get juice or milk in the dining rooms. So your kids end up drinking way too much soda. I would recommend skipping the beverage cards. Finally, since the excursions don't really work for families with small children, you end up on the ship when in port, which is exactly the time when the older crowd is looking to enjoy the ship. I can't tell you how many times we went up to the pool only to have the people seated near us cringe. There is an adult area only, but the larger pool deck is the one for kids. Seems like they might want the smaller area to be for kids. Finally there is an arcade right next to the kids center. There is no way you are getting off the ship without spending a small fortune on the video games (which a good part of the time seem to take your money but not work correctly). The boat has other problems that are not child specific. It seems there is a theft problem. Members of our group had their digital camera stolen. We had our ID card stolen. The food was only mediocre. And there was often room service trays left in the hallways which created an unpleasant odor. The good points: our penthouse suite was quite large, the service was good and there were cookies and ice cream available all the time. I would definitely try another cruise line. If you have kids Disney seems to be more family friendly. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
I have sailed on other Royal Caribbean cruise ship and as far as I am concerned they just can't be beat. I did find the food on this ship, in the dining room, was not as good as other Royal Caribbean ships I have sailed on. An ... Read More
I have sailed on other Royal Caribbean cruise ship and as far as I am concerned they just can't be beat. I did find the food on this ship, in the dining room, was not as good as other Royal Caribbean ships I have sailed on. An example is a shrimp and pasta main entree that I ordered. I was so disappointed when I got it. It contained no shrimp, not even shrimp flavor. The choices were as bad as those on Carnival ships I have sailed on. The service was excellent, as is the usual with Royal Caribbean ships. My grandson, who is 4 years old (his 3rd cruise) really enjoyed the children's activities and constantly wanted to be with the group. My 13 year old grandson had the time of his life. This was his first cruise. We were with a group, and everyone, with the exception of my children (who have sailed before), had never sailed on Royal Caribbean before. But after cruising on this ship they vowed to go Royal Caribbean all the time. Everyone said they really enjoyed the entertainment that was on this ship. The entire group joined the Crown and Anchor society while on board, but what made me feel real good, being the group leader, was that each one of them said they saw why I brag on Royal Caribbean so Much. The Navigator of the Seas only improvement that I see needed is the food in the main dining room at night. KEEP UP THE EXCELLENT WORK ROYAL CARIBBEAN. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
Just returned from an absolutely wonderful first-time cruise. What can I say? I was totally amazed. Our flight and transfer to the pier went smoothly. I was impressed with the thorough security the entire week. After checking in and ... Read More
Just returned from an absolutely wonderful first-time cruise. What can I say? I was totally amazed. Our flight and transfer to the pier went smoothly. I was impressed with the thorough security the entire week. After checking in and making our way onto the ship, we got to our room and was very pleased with the size of the room - we had a balcony stateroom. Would definitely get this again - I couldn't imagine a cruise without a balcony! We explored the ship and discovered that the Windjammer Cafe would quickly become a favorite place to eat! The views on all the decks, inside or out are beautiful. There is always something to see or do from movies, ice skating, BINGO! Good luck to Asst. Cruise Director Jeannie as she returns home to Montreal!!, casino (check out the incredible glass floor!), grabbing a snack in the Cafe Promenade, shopping, internet (there was trouble sending from AOL), mini-golf, rock wall climbing, swimming, roller-blading, etc. The Metropolis theatre is perfect for the amazing shows - extremely talented performers - also wonderful ice show in Studio 2B - Don't miss it! We didn't do the "nightclub" thing and as we are non-drinkers we didn't visit the bars, but opportunities abound and other family members greatly enjoyed these venues. A must-see is the Mardi-Gras parade. Although it was a bit sad the final night of the cruise, knowing that the parade signified the (almost) end of our vacation. Our cabin attendant did a wonderful job, everything was always clean and made up nicely and we actually looked forward to going back to the room after dinner to see what towel animal was waiting for us on the bed (and to see the next day's schedule). We had main dining in the Swan Lake dining room - top level deck 5 - Table for 8,corner, ocean view. Beautiful! Our waiter Agus and Assistant waiter Weildan made the dining experience even more enjoyable. We all wished Agus the best as his 10 years in the business ended the day our cruise ended as he headed home to Bali to his wife and 5 yr. old daughter. We enjoyed our chats with the crew as to their lives aboard the ship, their work schedules and their homelands. Our "Meet and Mingle" the first full day at sea gave our group an opportunity to meet everyone in our travel group of 42 and also meet the Captain and his wife - very nice people!! Shore excursions are great! When you see a photo of an island in a magazine, think : Royal Caribbean can get you there! I was soooo impressed with Labadee. From the palm trees to the white sand to the multi-hued turquoise sea. It took my breath away. I didn't want to leave. We lounged on the beach and had a wonderful lunch provided by Royal Caribbean. Jamaica was exciting as well. We took a tour of Brimmer Hall to see a working plantation of coconuts, bananas, sugar cane and pineapples. Always wanted to do that! Then it was on to Dunn's River Falls. SCARY from the bottom looking up but worth it to say you did it!!!! A must see is a stop in Island Village by the pier. Margaritaville is a favorite stop cuz Jimmy Buffett is #1, YEAH MON!! I think the most eye-opening thing about Jamaica though was our 45-minute or so drive to Brimmer Hall which took us along the coast but away from the "tourist" town. You see a lot of "reality" here - from mansions to the poorest of poor - makes you appreciate you have a cruise ship to go back to. Next was Grand Cayman. An island I have wanted to visit for a very long time. We had a wonderful tour guide - a man that was born on the island. This is the perfect job for him because he liked to talk, a lot, about everything. Our first stop was Hell with its limestone field and tacky little gift shop. Cute! We then went to Stingray City for a semi-submersible view of a diver feeding the stingrays - awesome!! The C.I. Turtle Farm is a must see! The turtles are adorable and make sure you hold one! If you like shopping , Cozumel is for you. We aren't shoppers so we rented a car! Many thanks go out to Ricardo at Hertz at the end of the Pier. After checking out all the rental places at the pier we decided to go with a name-brand rental company and ended up with Hertz. We had a four door Acura type with a/c. Ran great, no problems. Used minimal gas. We put $10 in the tank and barely used it. We drove the entire island, a lot of good bargains at the back roads stands on blankets, hammocks, etc. Our goal was Coconuts Bar and Grill on the East side of the island. A must-see! Amazing views from the hill-top, friendly staff, delicious food and VERY interesting decor! We made a few stops along the road back to Cozumel. Very few people and very beautiful beaches - no hotels, just pull off the road and hit the sand! This is the ultimate if you are a beach/island lover and want to see the "perfect" beach. Heading back to Cozumel we stopped at Paradise Beach - rain was heading in unfortunately - This is a FREE beach but it looks like it could be at one of the finest hotels. Skip the shore excursions in Cozumel and head to this beach! You won't regret it! Look for the bar on the beach (you can get soda) that has the swings for chairs - we hung out there and watched the jet skiers and swimmers for awhile. It was a wonderful day in Cozumel. To wrap up my rambling, I'll say a big thanks to Ken the cruise director for the wonderful entertainment, to Melissa, the social hostess for always having a smile, to the whole crew for a wonderful time. Don't miss the midnight buffets, the sunrises from your balcony (or top deck), keep in mind that the souvenirs are inexpensive, cell phones work in port but you have to call collect at $.95 a minute. I am sure I missed something to comment on but right now I am anxious to get back the 14 rolls of film I took! We all had a great week and wish it could go on longer!! Royal Caribbean is the ONLY way to go!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
Okay let me start by saying a little bit about myself. I am an 18 year old male from Maryland who just went on the cruise (came back today) with my family, my grandma and my cousins family. It was simply amazing and probably the best ... Read More
Okay let me start by saying a little bit about myself. I am an 18 year old male from Maryland who just went on the cruise (came back today) with my family, my grandma and my cousins family. It was simply amazing and probably the best vacation I have gone on in my life which is impressive! (My entire family had a blast) Let me review several aspects of the cruise. Arrival: We got to Miami after a 2 hour flight into Fort Lauderdale. When we got off the taxi (a big van since we had so many bags for six people -6 suitcases and 4 hanging bags) there was a guy to take our stuff it was pretty well organized. We arrived at the port of Miami at around 12:30PM which was good because people had started to arrive and it wasn't that crowded. Security was good. check in was a little hectic but is to be expected. Upon seeing the ship we were all in awe by the size and elegance of it. Bags take a while to get but if you just started to relax right away it would be good. Stateroom: Sure, the rooms are small but what do you need a huge room for when you are only really in the room to sleep. I would say on average each day between the time that I woke up until the time I went to bed I was in the room for about 1-2 hours a day. That is not much so the size didn't matter. My brother and I shared the room and it was fine size. Having a balcony was nice but comes at a premium. I wouldn't have wanted an interior stateroom as there was no view. However I think having just a window would have sufficed since it's cheaper, but the balcony was nice to have. We were on deck 7 which was great as it was halfway between the main areas (dining room on 3 and pool on 11 along with stuff in between) and as a result I almost always used the stairs. Our stateroom attendant was as friendly as they come. His name is Patrick and is from Jamaica. He was the best, friendliest person I have ever met in that position (housekeepers at hotels included). He was very helpful with everything and was a pleasure to talk to. I loved his accent as he would greet me with a "hey man and yeah man" in that cool Jamaican accent. We would talk about what I did and stuff and he would give me some suggestions and knew everything about the ship and ports of call. A neat little feature is that all the stateroom attendants each night would make a towel animal and put it in your room when they came to turndown the beds. This was a neat little feature as I came back to my room or to my cousins room each night to see what was waiting for us (at the end they even show you how to make them yourself). A few negatives about the room were with regards to amenities. In the bathroom the toilet paper that they had was atrocious. It was hard and caused my rear to be in pain. For a cruise where guests are paying a lot I would think they could afford to buy better toilet paper than the cheapo no name brand hard stuff. Also they gave you soap and shampoo but not conditioner. Unless the shampoo in the dispenser was a two in one (which I don't think it was). Public rooms: The entire ship was really nice. It was fun to find new things all the time. A neat thing was that on the decks with staterooms there was a theme for the pictures on the walls. Deck 7 was movies and deck 8 was fashion. The royal promenade was neat with the shops and stuff. It was well furnished and a nice ship. Dining: The food was superb. We ate about half of the breakfasts, half of the lunches, and all of the dinners in the main dining room. We were assigned to table 295 in the nutcracker dining room (all ten of us from the family). I liked being with my cousins but was wondering what it would have been like to meet new people. But I hear it can go either way you can meet cool people or grouchy people. The staff that attended to us in the dining room was SIMPLY AMAZING. Our waiter's name was Amirtur from Indonesia. He was a friendly guy and after 2 days remembered all of our names. I still remember the way he would say our names in his accent "Ms. Mary what would you like tonight." The assistant waiter was Nikola from Yugoslavia. He was also very friendly. He remembered my little brothers name right off the bat and would always ask him by name what breads he wanted and water and stuff. My grandma told him he was a good looking guy and i think embarrassed him, but he was really nice. Our head waiter's name was Faruk from Turkey and the first night he came over to our table and was of great help. My mom asked him if shrimp cocktail was on the menu ever and he immediately said he would be willing to get us shrimp cocktails each night if we wanted them. This was a great gesture. He was funny too. Then the bartender who came to our table was a guy from Dominica named Hilton. He was funny and extremely friendly especially with my brothers and cousins. My little brother (10 years old) asked for a drink of cranberry juice and iced tea together and Hilton called it black and tan for him. He would come over and be like "David black and tan man?" All four of them were professional and friendly and we would often talk to them all about anything. I truly miss each and every one of them as well as Patrick. The food was terrific as the menu changed each night and was plentiful. I am glad we didn't go to the specialty restaurants for dinner as there was no need with the great service and food available for free. Why pay? I didn't want to miss a great meal and great service from those guys. The windjammer we went to some days for breakfast and lunch. It was somewhat crowded but lines were never long. Sometimes tables were hard to find but not really. I preferred eating in the dining room in sit down style. Food was pretty good upstairs but definitely better in the dining room. We ordered room service sometimes and with the one time it took over an hour, it was prompt for a quick bite to eat. I don't recommend getting the unlimited soda card for kids because for 42 dollars you would have to get over 30 sodas to make it worthwhile. I probably only drank 10 the entire time at the most. It was nice to be able to have a beer or wine if I wanted to, which was about 3 times. Entertainment: This was terrific primarily the evening shows. There were four comedians each of who were terrific. Billy Garan, "two funny guys" (two brothers), and Troy Thirdgill were hilarious. The fourth wasn't as funny. The ice show was excellent. As was the gentleman's juggler Christian Christov. The cruise director Ken Rush was funny and informative. He was good at keeping the audience entertained and was a fun guy. I went to the Dungeon two times but didn't stay for long as it was a lot of older people in their 30's and 40s who were there. There were some people who were twenties but not so many. The casino was fun but didn't pay well on the slots. I started playing them and lost money. Then went to blackjack and did really well. Was up 55 bucks but then lost it all and 20 more. It was still fun, you just need to quit when you are ahead! This lady playing next to me was up 150 and lost it all like that (I told her she should quit then but she didn't and then lost 90 dollars). It was awfully smoky in the casino though which was not really pleasant. Excursions/ports of call: We went to Nassau on Sunday, St. Thomas on Tuesday, San Juan on Wednesday, and RC's private island Labadee in Haiti on Thursday. In Nassau we went to the beach by the Marriott hotel I believe. It was gorgeous as the water was crystal clear. It was I believe a 4 dollar cab ride to get there per person, but was worth it. (This wasn't an excursion but we did it on our own and there were plenty of other cruise people there too). At St. Thomas we went to another beach which wasn't as nice. 5 dollars a person taxi ride. Snorkeling wasn't great there. We also did some shopping which we found great bargains. At San Juan we went to the El Junque rainforest. This was a little bit of a let down as I was expecting more like the Amazon which it was definitely not. There were lots of trees but no exotic animals or flowers. It was a bus ride tour with three stops which can be a plus or minus. I don't think it was worth 30 dollars a person. Labadee was terrific. It was gorgeous and secluded. They had so many things to do. We went snorkeling and saw some fish (don't expect too many huge ones) and rented these mats to lie on. Also my cousins and I went jet skiing which was fun but expensive 99.00 for two people. Fitness/Recreation: The fitness center was well equipped. Not nearly as good as the gym I go to at home but good enough for on the ship. One area I thought was lacking was the outdoor pool. There were two fairly small pools for everyone on board. Granted there is so much more to do it would have been nice to have a few more pools or bigger ones. Maybe have different themed ones with cool features such as slides and stuff. I didn't get a chance to go on the rock climbing wall but it looked pretty good (I used to do it at camp so I wasn't so anxious to go). Other thoughts: There were so many people of all ages. Plenty of teenagers and kids 16-20. I made several friends. I think all of the teens would surmise that there were many good looking kids of the opposite sex. I met two really cool girls whose screen names I got. The on ship photographers took good pictures but they were really overpriced. They would put them up in the photo gallery where you could view them. However I am guessing that maybe 20% of the photos sold and that's being generous. They were simply too expensive (19.95 for an 8x10, 6.95 for a 5x7). Had they been priced more reasonably I am sure more people would have bought the pictures that they would have made more money. Overall: The vacation was superb. I highly recommend going on the Royal Caribbean especially on this ship. Top notch service, fun experience. The best vacation I have ever been on. DEFINITELY GO ON ROYAL CARIBBEAN!!! We saw some other ships at ports of call. Let me tell you this, Carnival is disgusting looking. I have heard many bad things about it as well. RC has gotten great reviews and now I see why. Why don't you find out for yourself as well. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
Part 1 of 2 Hello Cruisers!!! I want to start of by saying that the Navigator is HUGE!!! When in other port, our ship shadowed those others. Anyway, the cruise was AMAZING!!! I hope you enjoy my detailed review! :) Feel free you email me ... Read More
Part 1 of 2 Hello Cruisers!!! I want to start of by saying that the Navigator is HUGE!!! When in other port, our ship shadowed those others. Anyway, the cruise was AMAZING!!! I hope you enjoy my detailed review! :) Feel free you email me with any questions you might have! Embarkation: Since we were on the July 3rd cruise, the ship was searched just to be safe for the next day would be the 4th of July. The ship was not ready when passengers started arriving. After waiting for a hour, the lines finally started moving. Once moving, the line was quick. The Ship: WoooooW!!! This ship was just amazing. It's towing 14 decks, and 1000+ ft length simply put me into awe. I have prev. sailed on the Carnival Fascination, but this was no comparison. The ice rink, shows (especially the ice show!) Promenade, and pool areas were flawless. Our Room: We booked a D1 category balcony room on deck 6. I THINK the room was 180 sq. ft. or so. Balconies are simply a must! The bathroom was cramped, but not as small as on Carnival's Fascination. Our room was odor-free and quiet at night. We did have one night of fairly rough seas, and the ship DID rock...my 8 year old got sick. :( The Food: A very important part of every cruise. There were many dining venus on this ship. Personally, I only used the Cafe, Windjammer, Jade, and the Main Dinning Room the whole trip. There were 3 specialty restaurants: Chops Grille, Johnny Rockets and Portifino. The food at the Cafe, Jade, and Windjammer were good. Nothing truly amazing. The dining rooms were great! Our waiter, Alan, was the best. Food was presented hot, attractive, and most importantly...YUMMY!!! There are free self-serve frozen ice cream and yogurts throughout the ship. Ben and Jerry's can be found at the Cafe for a nominal fee. Public Areas: Simply amazing. On our voyage, the ship was filled to max. cap. at about 3450. We only noticed the 3450 people when we were getting (or should I say TRYING to get) elevators, and when tendering at Labadee. The pools were super, along with the Jacuzzis. There is a large (20 person +) Jacuzzi on deck 12, in the spa area. Many people really don't know it's there, and its great. The gym was super and well equipped. The ice rink was amazing....all its said to be. The ice show was amazing! We also were some other shows at the theatre (beautiful!!) and they were super also. The teen area was also good...kept my 12 and 14 year olds busy.:) Golf, rock wall, roller rink, and basketball courts were always in use. I did not venture into the casino. My Complaints...:( : 1) Room service...the service itself is very fast. However, the selection is VERY limited. Virtually no hot items (besides coffee and tea). We used room service when in Nassau, for the Dolphin Encounter was at 8 AM. (more about ports, excursions, and shopping in part 2! :) ) 2) Teen Center...although the teen center was great, the 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 year olds were all together at certain times. My 12 year old daughter did not enjoy being around 16 year old boys. She said they were rude and had "potty mouths!" But, what can you expect...they are teens. Be on the look-out for part 2! :) Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
Navigator was our first cruise and well, it won't be our last. The ship was spectacular. The service was unbeatable. The food while not the best I've had was very good and occasionally fabulous. We were assigned to the late ... Read More
Navigator was our first cruise and well, it won't be our last. The ship was spectacular. The service was unbeatable. The food while not the best I've had was very good and occasionally fabulous. We were assigned to the late dining but no table, the head waiter worked his magic and after our first night, when we ate at 6:30, we got our second seating. Our waiters were above and beyond spectacular. They were always available and in good humor. Our particular head waiter came by each night and spoke at length about our day asking questions of each of us. Then he would tell us what to expect the next day even offering advice about this and that. We ate there each evening except our anniversary night when we dined in the Porto Fino, which we felt was well worth the fifty bucks extra (25.00 p/p). The daily events and nightly entertainment was numerous and well organized, Sometimes however, the staff, not the talent, did seem a little forced, and just going through the motions. My only complaint if one would call it that was the shopping guy on the room TV. He was annoying and gave doubtful information. Cozumel for example, the recommended places were the most expensive....and commercialized according to my wife who I should add, speaks Spanish. Finding "deals" in Cruise ship ports has to be a 1 and 10,000 shot but, the shopping guy made it seem as if a deal was around every corner. My two cents. Speaking of ports of call, each was excellent in its own way, go in with clear expectations and you won't be disappointed. I noticed a few of my fellow passengers were disappointed for one reason or another with Labadee, Haiti. It was spectacular but if you are expecting a built up megaplex of tourist shops, duty free stores, Watch stores and Gem shops etc. stay aboard. Labadee, is as third world as this hemisphere gets and one is confined to a just a few acres of beach with a lot of security... enjoy the beach, haggle with the craftsmen, (there is some really nice art there for next to nothing) or go for a walk. It easily can remind you of a long ago lost Caribbean adventure. I just remembered, the tender process to Labadee was long but there were only three tenders. NOS was an over all excellent experience we can't wait to set sail again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
This was our 6th cruise, the 5th with Royal Caribbean. We had the best time. Seven family members, 6 adults and a 13 year old went on this cruise. Beautiful ship and the best crew all around ever on a cruise. Suresh was the greatest waiter ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise, the 5th with Royal Caribbean. We had the best time. Seven family members, 6 adults and a 13 year old went on this cruise. Beautiful ship and the best crew all around ever on a cruise. Suresh was the greatest waiter and Jenny the best asst. waiter ever. Both from India. We had a balcony room again which is great especially entering each port. The ship was clean and well kept. The food was outstanding, the shows wonderful and of course the casino was lots of fun. Be sure not to miss the ice show. It's incredible! Johnny Rockets now has a $3.95 cover charge per person but it's sure worth it and fun to watch the waitstaff sing and dance while we ate. The pool deck had plenty of lounge chairs and the adults only solarium was a nice place to go in the hot tub. By the way, we hardly ever saw the 13 year old as he was with his age group in one of the clubs and did things with his new friends most of the time. The excursions offered were great (book online before going on your cruise). Dolphin encounter in Nassau was absolutely fantastic! And what a surprise to find RC private island of Labadee much improved. We couldn't believe how nice the island looks. Went to a great water park there and relaxed on the beach. Royal Caribbean is an excellent cruise line and we will sail with them again. Hope to go on a longer cruise next year. Can't wait for their new ship coming in 2006. Navigator is gorgeous! Boarding of the ship wasn't too bad, had to wait in line for awhile but it did move right along. Exiting the ship was a lot easier and finding the luggage and getting right to American Airlines sight set right up at the dock make life great! Luggage went to the airport with American Airlines people. Security on and off the ship is high but appreciated by us. Be prepared for your luggage to be searched as ours was by the airlines when departing the ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
Navigator of the Seas is an amazing ship. Of course, this being my first cruise (my wife's third), I don't have a lot to compare it to. My wife had already sailed on Royal Caribbean twice before and when the idea came up for a ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas is an amazing ship. Of course, this being my first cruise (my wife's third), I don't have a lot to compare it to. My wife had already sailed on Royal Caribbean twice before and when the idea came up for a cruise vacation, she refused to sail with any other line (and I can see why). Cabin: We purchased an interior stateroom on deck nine (9369). The room is slightly wider than a king-size bed and long enough to fit the bed, a love seat, vanity mirror and table opposite the love seat, and a closet opposite the bathroom. Since it's an interior stateroom w/o a view, the room is pitch-black day or night when the lights are off, which is perfect for afternoon naps or a good sleep. Embarkation: This was undoubtedly the worst part of our cruise. Initially, the boarding process was slow but steady...until it was our turn to be processed. With approximately 100 people behind us waiting in line, we were forced to wait behind a family of 5 from Norway. For some reason, it took FOREVER for RCCL to get these people on board the ship. We were not allowed to change lines and, as a result, all 100+ people behind us boarded the ship before we did. In fact, by the time we boarded the ship, there was virtually nobody in line behind us at all. I understand that foreign passengers with passports will take longer to board, but RCCL could have at least allowed us to move to another attendant to be processed. We waited in line for 30-40 minutes. Then we waited an additional 40-45 minutes behind the family from Norway. Public Rooms: It is true what they say...the public rooms are filled with beautiful artwork and, at times, you find yourself alone in a ship full of people. Dining: We ate in the dining room every night (second seating) and the food was consistently good. RCCL offers a wide array of selections to choose from and are more than happy to accommodate picky eaters with substitutions. And if you're having trouble deciding on an appetizer, why not have one of each? We often doubled-up on appetizers and desserts, and we split an entree between us here and there. Our waiter, Allen, and the assistant waiter, Vernon, worked well together and made our nightly dining an experience to remember. Allen and Vernon worked hard all week, and we especially enjoyed getting to know them personally. Please don't forget to tip your waiters, especially if they do a good job. We ate breakfast and lunch mostly in the Windjammer Cafe (standard buffet-style food offering a wide array of cuisines). We paid the $3.95pp charge to eat at Johnny Rockets one afternoon. I am a sucker for good onion rings, so I would have to say that the cover charge was well worth the price. As soon as you are seated, the waiter bring a platter with onion rings and fries to munch on. Please note, the shakes here are an additional cost beyond the cover charge, otherwise, all of the food items are included. We also paid the $25pp charge to eat at Chops Grille, Navigator's premier steakhouse. If you love steak, this is well worth the price. We both had the 14 ounce filet mignon, which was cooked to perfection, one of the best I've ever had. You could literally make yourself sick here with all of the food made available to you, so come hungry (skip a meal if you have to). Entertainment: Navigator features one live stage show per evening. The Navigator singers/dancers are what you would expect to find on a cruise ship. The singers in particular are OK, but would most likely be ridiculed by Simon Cowell of American Idol fame. The dancers are full of energy and are fun to watch. The stand-up comedy acts were top-notch (especially the "two funny guys" - Mario and Daniel I believe?). Navigator also has an ice rink that features "Ice Dancing". I have to give the ice dancers credit for attempting double-axels on a moving sheet of ice - the show we saw was not bad at all. We spent almost every evening listening to the Rob Chapman quartet at the Cosmopolitan Club in the Viking Crown. This jazz quartet rocked the house every night. If you get the opportunity, request "Caravan", my personal favorite. The most entertaining part of our cruise had to be the Krooze Komics, especially Amy (hope I have the name right). Whether it be a juggling act in the Royal Promenade or a pre-show skit, this group can really make you laugh. Be sure to check out their pre-show banana act in the Metropolis Theater - hilarious! Cruise Director: Ken Rush is the cruise director on-board Navigator. He will be your guide from beginning to end. Ken clearly enjoys his job and he is very good at it too. He believes first and foremost that you should have fun on your cruise - relax, loosen-up and have some FUN! Thanks to Ken, we did just that and had one of the most memorable vacations ever. I highly recommend Navigator of the Seas for your next cruise. We're already looking at Navigator's schedule for a cruise next year! Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
This is my fourth cruise review and it is somewhat different than many. I tend to write about our vacation as a whole and not just the amenities of the ship. If you are looking for hard facts about the Navigator, this is probably not the ... Read More
This is my fourth cruise review and it is somewhat different than many. I tend to write about our vacation as a whole and not just the amenities of the ship. If you are looking for hard facts about the Navigator, this is probably not the review for you, but, if you wish to read on member's cruise journal, feel free. I am giving one member's opinion only, not a loyalist, nor a flamer, but just a view from someone who loves to cruise and vacation with his family as a get away from everyday life. My wife and I planned this 5th cruise for us and 2nd for our adult children for the same week we cruise every year, with full knowledge that it is hurricane season. When we first cruised 4 years ago, it was for our 20th wedding anniversary which is in mid-August. As I have a tendency to do some basic research prior to purchasing anything, I discovered a number of cruise boards which allowed me to experience cruising with some additional knowledge of what to expect and having the luxury of your combined tips. This I found to be of great assistance. The original research led me to find that cruising the last week of August (or at least the week prior to Labor Day) offered better rates than mid summer. The other advantage was that when we arrived home, we would normally have an additional two days before having to go back to work. My wife is an educator and only has the summer and school vacations to travel, thus we tend to be on ships with a larger contingent of children. Anyway, we planned the August 28th sailing of Navigator of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean itinerary from Miami. We had sailed her the same week last year, and were very fortunate to upgrade at the pier to an owner's suite, 1320, the Bora Bora Suite. This year, we were traveling with our children, son, 21, and daughter, aged 19 and out of high school (the general excuse for bringing them along again). We live in New England and normally fly from Boston. We had flown many airlines in the past, and armed with the wealth of knowledge of these boards, we decided to check flights into Ft. Lauderdale versus Miami. There was a substantial difference between the two for these dates and we settled on Song Airlines. Our flight was direct from Boston to Ft. Lauderdale. We usually fly down a day in advance to avoid stress and potential delays, and did again this time. Our flights were direct, non-stop and were less than $700 for the four of us. Song Airlines was wonderful experience. They planes are standardized and feature leather seats and the new 5" Satellite TV screens which offer music, 15-20 channels of television, trivia contest between flyers, and a GPS tracking of the plane's progress. It was a pleasant way to kill time on the flight. The airline does not provide food gratis, but does offer a nice selection of sandwiches, salads, and cheese offerings for sale along with snacks. Basic beverage service is included. The flight crew was humorous ala Southwest, with their commentary. We were very impressed, more so when considering the pricing and would most definitely fly with Song Airlines again. I had utilized Priceline (am a strong supporter for hotels through Priceline) and secured two rooms at $51/room. Our reservations were for the Sheraton Yankee Clipper on the beach (3*). As a Starwoods Preferred Guest, I had called in advance and requested adjoining rooms, one with a king, the other with two doubles, and non-smoking to boot. Priceline does not guarantee any requests will be met, but I always make the attempt. Being a frequent guest at any hotel booked through Priceline is really easy to do on the internet and can help upon check-in, so worth trying. We arrived mid afternoon and took a cab to the Sheraton. It took a few minutes to arrange the rooms that we had requested, but the entire time, the clerk and bellman that was assisting us were truly wonderful examples of good customer service. In fact, throughout our brief stay, their entire staff was excellent. The Sheraton consists of three buildings, and directly on the beach on Ft. Lauderdale. I had read where the hotel was very old, moldy and in need of major updating, but we found it to very adequate. We were assigned rooms in the south Tower, which is connected to the main building by a skywalk on the second floor. Our rooms were on the tenth floor overlooking the intercoastal waterway and the ocean over the beach! The accommodations were very updated, spacious and very appealing to us all. We decided to all go down to the beach for a late afternoon swim. The hotel provides beach towels, but does not include beach chairs and umbrellas. It was close to 5 PM so this was no bother to us. The water was very warm and soothing, and we watched a parade of different boats and ships coming back to port as we swam. After a while, we headed up to one of two hotel pools. This pool overlooked and was adjacent to the beach and boasted two bars, misters to keep cool and a large deck with chairs and tables. My gang enjoyed the first of the week's adult beverages. This was a very nice way to start the week's vacation. After a while, we decided to head up to our rooms to shower and head out to dinner. The hotel and the south tower in particular, are right across the street to a stop on the water taxi, which tours the intercoastal with numerous stops along the way. We were headed to Los Olmos Boulevard and the Riverside location downtown for dinner. The ticket office was closed, however, you can purchase tickets on board. The water taxi was large enough to hold 30 - 40 people, mostly enclosed with large windows with the air conditioning on, or you could sit aft with the windows opened. The tour took approximately ½ hour and the captain and mate provided informative commentary the entire time. We learned of many of the names of the homeowners who lived along this beautiful area. We arrived at our location and we had a choice of Dan Marino's Restaurant, Hooter's, the Ugly Tuna and a few other dinner choices. After a decent dinner, we headed back to our hotel. The moonlit boat ride back took a little longer, but was highlighted by the shimmering lights of the waterway's illuminated homes and the bonus fireworks along the way! We awoke after a comfortable sleep full of anticipation for our week ahead. We took advantage of the Sheraton's buffet breakfast ($52 for the family) which was typical buffet fare, but convenient and easy. I must say that the staff again, proved to be very hospitable. After breakfast, we gathered our luggage and waited for our transportation down to Miami and the Navigator. I had previously booked with www.limosofmiami.com for a town car for a reasonable rate (ballpark $65-$70 plus tip) to pick us up at 9:00 AM. At 9:05 AM (note my impatience). I called Eric of Limos of Miami and he informed me the driver was running a few minutes late. I must interject here to mention that this particular weekend, the MTV video awards were being held at the American Airlines Arena in Miami this particular weekend (unknown to me when I booked) and rides were hard to come by. Anyway, Eric informed me that he had upgraded us without cost and we were to expect a stretch to be along shortly. I had told the kids and the bellman to be on the lookout for a Town Car. A few minutes later, an enormous SUV stretch pulls up to the front lobby. The driver got out and came into the lobby and asked if I was his customer, and the kid's eyes lit up! Again, another nice way to start the week. I would highly recommend Eric and Limos of Miami to anyone and plan on using him again next year. My wife likes to tell how we asked to stop along the way to get a few last minute items to bring on the ship. The driver graciously found a local Walgreen's for us. What a scene to see us putting our shopping bags in the back of this tank sized limo! As you can see, we are not use to this method of transportation and we all got quite a boot out of the experience. We arrived at the Miami Cruise Terminal before 10:00 AM to beat the crowds (and to upgrade at the pier if you wish). A porter took care of our larger bags, but the four of us always bring in our carry-ons and backpacks with a few days clothing and toiletries, just in case a bag doesn't find itself to our rooms. We were sitting comfortably in the outer lobby of the terminal waiting to go through security and the boarding process. We decided at last minute to defer the upgrade process, for we had secured very good cabins, the much talked about 1388, a D1 on the aft corner, and an inside promenade room for the kids. 1388 has been discussed many times on the boards and is a fine cabin. I was more impressed with the room in the cabin than the balcony. There is plenty of space, however, there is a major support beam and much of the balcony is in shade. I would book the room again, but would not be disappointed if I did not get it. From the forward elevators it is approximately 225 steps to the cabin. It is a great way to walk off those extra pounds. Our room stewards were Randy and Jason, both very efficient! Our cabin was ready when we boarded at noon, and as we walked every morning and were out of our cabin by 9:00 AM at the latest, our cabin was always well made up before noon time. Each of our stewards was very personable and always had a smile to share. Our kids had a promenade room overlooking the "bridge" where most of the entertainment occurred. Being in their late teens and early 20's, a tidy room is not their most important concern. Kenneth and Cynthia went far overboard in their kindnesses to the kids. Again, these two hardworking crew members always had a warm greeting for us and the kids, as did every member of the housekeeping staff we encountered. We were on the ship and had dropped our bags at our rooms by Noon (there was a delay in clearing the ship) and enjoying lunch at the Windjammer shortly thereafter. We took the kids on a tour of the ship and actually just waited to sail away, as the weather was cloudy with a few showers. The ship was slightly delayed due to the thunderstorms, getting underway around 6:30 PM. During our tour, we entered the dining room, first level to find our table 307. We always request a large table, to be able to meet some new friends from around the world. We were somewhat disappointed to find out it was only a table of six, so we would only be joining two others for the week. We were however, very pleased with the location just a few tables over from the first level staircase, between the Captain's table and the stairs, where the dining room staff often sing and dance for you throughout the week. The first evening at dinner we were happy to meet our tablemates from the UK who were holdovers from the previous cruise. They were celebrating a long awaited belated honeymoon by spending two weeks (they thought!) on the Navigator. There are some tablemates who may have been disappointed to dine with a family, but these kind folks were very social, enjoyable tablemates throughout the cruise. We had hearty discussions nightly and shared bottles of different wines every night. One of our pleasant surprises was that when our waiter introduced himself, we found that Gilberto from Costa Rica, was our waiter on last year's cruise! He was very happy to see us again, as were we. He and his lovely assistant, Rowena from the Philippines were simply outstanding. We all joked, danced and generally had a great time all week. There were many hugs and pictures when we departed. Gilbert has two children and a wife at home in Costa Rica. He was able to arrange his contract to be home for two months when his youngest was born. He has been aboard ships for twelve years now and in his experience, he feels that the Navigator is the best ship for crew. Better accommodations, inexpensive internet (his lifeline to home), food, and the ability to get off ship weekly to call home were his reasoning. Rowena's husband works in the galley. The Head Waiter did make an appearance every night to say hello. The team the entire week never mentioned surveys and ratings, they didn't need to, they were excellent! As you may know, the survey results dictate how many tables and diners the team serves. The highest number is 18; I believe that Gilbert mentioned the lowest was 12. Their pay is obviously affected by the number of diners who will tip them for the week. What is difficult is that many times, if the food is not up to someone's tastes, cruisers base their evaluation of the serving staff on what happens in the kitchen, which the server has no control over. Our food choices for the week were good. Understand that I am not a gourmet, but enjoy food. The beef was not as good as the Majesty in April, but the cold soups, the salads and the presentation was very good. The portions were plentiful and seconds were easily obtained from Gilbert and Rowena. The shrimp scampi utilized a smaller shrimp and the rib eye steak was not the best cut, but overall it was good. In the last few months, I have been reading reviews of Becky, the Cruise Director on the Navigator. We first met Becky in 2001 when she was on the staff of Jeffrey, our Cruise Director on the Explorer of the Seas. Jeffrey was our first CD, and every other has been compared to him. When we first met Becky, she was full of energy. Nothing has changed, she still is. This cruise was to pose quite a challenge for her with the churning Hurricane Frances threatening to disrupt our cruise itinerary for the week. In speaking with Becky, we had thought she was the Assistant Cruise Director under Jeff, she was not. She was a member of his staff. He was so impressed with her that he had written a letter to RCCL insisting that she should be fast tracked to a Cruise Director. She had been a dancer and is obviously very comfortable in front of a crowd. We were introduced to her on the welcome show with her consistent "Hello Love" and playful kick! Little did we realize just how much of Becky we would see during this week? Immediately the first night, we were told that our first port of call, Nassau would be missed due to Frances and its potential impact. From day one, the main goal was to get a stop in St. Thomas if at all possible. So we changed our plans for the morning in Nassau and enjoyed the rest of the evening. Our first of what was to become many days of sea was typical of our week. We pre-ordered room service for breakfast for 7:00 AM. Room service always calls to inform you that your order was on its way, and usually would arrive within 5 minutes of the call. After a nice breakfast (yes the coffee is strong!), we headed up to jogging track to do our walk. Every morning at 8:30 AM they do a walk a mile and give out shipshape bucks which you can turn in the last day of the cruise for T shirts, lanyard, small beach bags and the like. My wife was determined to get a shipshape T-shirt this week, but she had forgotten her accumulated shipshape bucks at home, so I knew for sure I was going to be walking every morning to help her get it. I thing the T shirt was 14 or 15 shipshape bucks. She eventually got the shirt with many bucks to spare. We were joined by the same 10-15 people every day for the walk, and there were numerous joggers out along the way. After our walk, we would head down to the solarium pool, the adults only pool area. Most mornings we were here by latest 10:00 AM and there were usually adequate chairs available. The chairs immediately adjacent to this pool only numbered 30-35, and we noticed the same crowd their almost every day. There seemed to be two distinct crowds, the early risers who were out between nine and ten, and the late risers (late partiers) who would saunter down at noon or so, expecting a chair by the pool. No matter what you feel about saving chairs, you can't expect a chair right next to the pool when you arrive at noon. I did notice this trend however, like us, many end up going to lunch and leave the pool for the day, freeing up chairs. We would typically leave between noon and 1:00 PM and be done for the sun for the day. I can't comment on the main pool area, we just never sit there. The deck patrol was very active in removing young toddlers from the pool. The first few days there were many instances where parents would bring young children with them into the pool. Usually the deck patrol would quietly inform them that the solarium was for those older than 16. Most were just unaware and would leave and go the main pool area. A few however, wanted to be shown where it was posted and were quite angry. We noticed this cruise that the bar staff was not as aggressive as in the past pushing the frozen foo foo drinks. Yes they were around, as were the waiters offering bar service, but they did not seem as frequent which is a blessing. Again, they were always pleasant and smiling. Our adult children had an entirely different perspective, enjoying the nightlife later and sleeping in later each day. They would show up anytime between 10:00 AM and noon each day. On the first night, they met two wonderful friends from Scotland. The young aspiring businessman, Ross, and his Dad, Dave were resplendent in their formal kilts on formal evenings. Laura had just passed her nursing boards and was to be certified as a Registered Nurse upon her return home. They were also traveling as family with Gran, who enjoyed her Bingo all week! Ross and Laura were to join us many times all week, and was a true pleasure to meet such fine young adults. They will share many e-mail for a long time, I'm sure. Our kids had two basic rules, dinner with us every night as a family, and check in with us when in for the evening. They pretty much established their own routine for the week, and I as the Dad, enjoyed their presence very much. With so many activities to partake in, we decided that we would take the new program of Explorer Academy, which offered lessons in dancing, skating and the like. We chose the salsa dancing lessons. The first class was held in the Ixtapa Lounge with members of the entertainment staff. 4 to 5 of the dances showed up and were shocked by the large number of cruisers who showed up for their first lesson. Subsequent lessons were held in Studio B, the ice skating rink to accommodate the crowds. It was a lot of fun, and also a shipshape activity (had to get those bucks for wife's T shirt). Everyone had a blast as did the staff (or at least they made you thing they did). Realizing just how long I am rambling, I will summarize the rest of the cruise rather than bore you with a day to day account. I had mentioned CD Becky and how visible she was during the cruise. We were so fortunate to have as our Captain for the second year, Capt. Rick of Canada at the helm. With a major hurricane simmering, he did a daily update, not only over the PA, but on the closed circuit television. He would show us the nautical charts, our locale, the distance to the hurricane and the proposed route we would be sailing. He was in constant communication with the National Hurricane Center, Royal's corporate headquarters and his own team to decide how and when we would proceed. But, in addition to that, he seemed to be everywhere on board. He is very social and approachable, always having a moment for a hello, or a picture. I was very impressed with him and his presence on board. He gave cruisers a sense of confidence all week. Each afternoon at 5-6 PM, Becky would be on the bridge interviewing the Captain, sort of a RCCL CNN Weather Channel. These short updates would then air constantly until the next update. This first day, we knew we would be impacted by this storm. Becky's emergence occurred at the Love and Marriage Show. She could not have picked better contestants. Although this show was advertised as having an adult theme, there were many children in attendance. After the show, I'm sure many parents were sorry that they allowed the kids to attend! There were many comments and innuendos that were not appropriate for the younger crowd, but the for those of age, it was simply hilarious! Becky antics and reaction were priceless, and many on board saw a different side of her than have been mentioned on this board. On the topic of children, most on board were well behaved. There were some, I'm sure that were not, in fact, it was rumored (totally unsubstantiated) that a family was put off for a child's defacing of artwork. There was one trend however, that we were not totally pleased with. There were many very young children, under the age of two, who were all over the ship at all hours, and when I say all hours, I mean after midnight, and many at 1:00 AM in a number of adult lounges. The only time it affected us was when visiting the Cosmopolitan Lounge at the top of the ship late night. The daily planner specifically states that children under the age of 18 are not allowed after 10:00 PM. The only drawback with the kids, who were there after midnight, is that this a locale where jazz was being played and a few times the kids were whining, crying and generally just exhausted. The parents seemed to be clueless. I know that this is a family vacation, but, young kids in an adult lounge after midnight just doesn't seem appropriate. To each their own I guess. Hurricane Frances did delay our cruise. We did not get into Nassau, San Juan or get to Labade. Antigua was substituted as one port, and we enjoyed a morning on the beach at Long Bay. The surf was somewhat higher, but still pleasant. We also got into St. Thomas. Our original plan was to take the Red Hook ferry to St. John, but with the effects of the hurricane, we decided that Meagan's Bay was a better option. Meagan's Bay is $5-6 cab ride per person from the dock. When you get to the beach, the area to the right is much more congested, while the left area is much more private. We witnessed a wedding on the beach. The weather was very nice and there was a noticeable increase in the swells as a result of the storm. Body surfing was the order of the day. This beach day locale does offer a snack bar, showers, lockers and rentals of beach accessories. After our beach day at St. Thomas, brief shopping and a new opal bracelet for the deserving wife. Daughter spent the day with her new friends from Scotland shopping. The rest of the cruise was all sea days! Instead of arriving back to port on Saturday, we did not arrive until Monday AM. RCCL did their best to arrange phones with direct lines to the airlines to facilitate rescheduling of flights. We were not able to get through by phone, but with internet connection, we were able to get a new flight for Monday noon to Boston. Unfortunately, the two nice ladies in front of us were not able to get out until the next day. Song airlines did eventually refund my newly booked flight due to the circumstances and honor my cancelled flight instead, a savings of over $500. I did have travel insurance if it had not. I also booked a Priceline Hotel while onboard in the hope that we may have arrived into port Sunday night. I knew the risk of using Priceline and their no refund rule; however, I will try to submit to travel insurance. I was surprised by the varying opinions on the cruise lines response to the crisis while onboard. Many were still very opinionated and disappointed that while we received two extra nights onboard at no cost, many were looking for additional onboard credit and a discount on a future cruise. I for one felt RCCL did an outstanding job of trying to meet the needs of the passengers at all times. Was a credit and discount necessary, I don't think so? An act of God is beyond all control and all of us know that when we travel at this time of year, we are taking a risk. Please, if you do travel at this time of year, use a travel insurance policy, the peace of mind is well worth it. While onboard, we did again book Navigator for next summer (same week) and for a four night in April on Majesty. We were given $100 credit per cabin for Navigator and $50 onboard credit for Majesty. With our Platinum status after this past cruise, we will also qualify for another $100 credit for the balcony on Navigator as well. Final thoughts and maybe should be a separate post, but I must describe my interaction with Jack from Montreal. He is the RCCL ambassador, having cruised now 113 times with them. Jack is easily recognized with his well coiffed white hair, sunglasses and typical Royal Caribbean T shirt of the day. Well tanned, considered good looking by the ladies who were always surrounding him, my wife says he is my cruising idol! Jack is a 60 something retiree from Montreal who after a very successful career as a high-end ladies fashion salesman, has made his retirement one as the ultimate cruiser. He commands his own table across from the Captains table where he sits alone. The reason he dines alone (when not at the Captains Table for dinner or with any of the many staff at Breakfast and Lunch) is that he feels that is would be inconsiderate for him to be seated with tablemates when he gets up to say hello to it seems most passengers, which he does all meal long! At dinner and virtually anywhere he is to be found on the ship, all you can here when he passes by is "Hey Jack, how are you!" His standard line when he meets anyone is "How are you enjoying yourself, is there anything I can do for you!" And this man can. He is on a first name basis with virtually all the crew members, from the Captain on down. He normally books and inexpensive cabin, and upon completion of the embarkation process, he is upgraded to the usually the best cabin available. And he does indeed deserve it. While sailing with us, he was on his 112th cruise, and he had decided to stay on again for his 113th! He started cruising in 1984, and now cruises at least one week a month. Don't try to get him off a RCCL ship though, he won't. Others have tried unsuccessfully, including one of Royal's sister companies, Celebrity. Jack was offered at one time the Royal Suite at no charge on a Celebrity sailing, but he refused. He is the face of Royal Caribbean. The day before our sailing, he arrived in Miami a day early. His normal hotel stay is at the Hyatt downtown (like many of the Priceline bidders!) where on of his many friends is the general manager. He spent most of the day Friday at the corporate headquarters of RCCL visiting more of his friends who work inside. In talking with him, he favors the smaller ships for their intimacy. His favorite itinerary, and he's done them all, was Hawaii. He was hard pressed to reveal either of those facts, for he loves all the ships and as he says, "the itinerary doesn't matter; I rarely even get off the ship". For someone who loves to cruise, having a few minutes to talk with Jack was an honor and pleasure. And if you are a single lady or a group of single ladies traveling together, keep your eyes open for Jack. You just may be the one who can crack this confirmed bachelor, and who knows, once a month cruising wouldn't be a bad retirement at all! Thanks again Jack for your kindness to my son on this cruise. You are a gentleman and a joy to speak with. And I thank this board for the opportunity to share some of our cruise highlights of a memorable Hurricane Frances Cruise of 2004! Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Our party of 9 went on the East Caribbean cruise of RCI's Navigator of the Seas on August 28, 2004. The cruise was supposed to be 7 nights/8 days but it ended up being a 9 nights/10 days cruise due to Hurricane Frances. So we got to ... Read More
Our party of 9 went on the East Caribbean cruise of RCI's Navigator of the Seas on August 28, 2004. The cruise was supposed to be 7 nights/8 days but it ended up being a 9 nights/10 days cruise due to Hurricane Frances. So we got to stay on board for 2 extra days FOR FREE. THAT WAS AWESOME!! We had to compliment our captain, Rick Sullivan, for keeping us away from the hurricane at all times. We were at least 200 nautical miles away from it so we did not feel any discomfort while on board. I must admit that at times it was quite windy especially during the times when we were having our morning jogs. Although the original itinerary included 4 ports (Nassau in Bahamas, Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, San Juan in Puerto Rico & Labadee in Haiti), we had to cancel most of them due to different routing. We were still pleased to be able to visit St. John's in Antigua (a very nice substitute) and St. Thomas. It was a pity that all water activities including the submarine, aqua park and BOB (underwater scooter) had to be cancelled but we had a great time doing land tours. The beaches were absolutely fantastic! I will talk about those ports in detail later on. When we chose our cruise ship in January, we wanted to go for RCI's biggest ship. It was proven to be a very wise choice as we had so much to do on board on sea days that we never got bored even though we had to stay for extra days. RCI definitely had the BEST children's program as our kids (two 11 & one 15 years old) LOVED it! Disney is too young for them and all other cruise lines' are not as well-organized. Activities like ice skating, roller blading & rock climbing were all free (not even any charge for rentals) but make sure that kids (even teenagers) can find you whenever they want to go & play as parents/guardians have to sign waiver forms & be with them while they play. Let's talk about our pre-cruise activities first! Flying from Toronto to Miami & Car Rental It was great that we arrived at Miami 3 days before the cruise so we could enjoy SOBE before the hurricane attacks - another piece of luck! We arrived at MIA (Miami International Airport) at around 12:10 p.m., and got our baggage from Section G (flying from Toronto on Air Canada) at 12:30 p.m. Since we had booked a rental minivan (Thrifty's special deal for US$38.99 per day) in advance, our party of 7 (2 seniors were joining us 2 days later) boarded one of the many Thrifty shuttle buses (they run non-stop) right outside the terminal. The shuttle bus took us to the rental car office (all rental car companies are located outside of the airport) in 5 minutes. With 3 big suitcases and 6 carry-ons we had no problems to fit all 7 passengers and luggage in the Grand Caravan. We left Thrifty at 12:50 p.m. and started to drive to Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel in Miami Beach. Eden Roc Miami Beach, a Renaissance Resort & Spa We were at the hotel for 2 nights and were absolutely impressed with the excellent service that the hotel staff provided. The check-in staff was helpful & efficient & upgraded our 2 rooms to Ocean & Bay view with no extra charge. The partial ocean & bayview rooms were the best as you got spectacular views of 2 stretches of water on both the left & the right side of your room. The extra bucks for a full oceanview room was totally unnecessary especially for us who will be going on a cruise. The concierge, especially Luis, gave us helpful and practical suggestions for dining options and useful info regarding our trip to Key West. The hotel was easily accessible from the airport and the drive was only 15 minutes. Without a car, Eden Roc would not be a good choice as it's quite far from Ocean Drive & SOBE downtown. However, if you love night life & traffic jams, go for those fancy hotels like Crowne Plaza & Loews or the more economical ones like Holiday Inn (20 mins. walk to Ocean Dr.). The beach off Eden Roc Hotel was amazing. No one was near us when we swam at around 6 p.m. It was like a private beach. Umbrella & chair rentals, however, were not available for those late hours. The hotel outdoor pool & the whirlpool were clean and well-maintained. Even more so, due to hotel renovation (4th floor only, but we stayed on Floor 10) during the time of our stay, the hotel sent us a $50 resort credit (which could be used for parking, food or other resort facility rentals) for each of our 2 rooms before we left for Miami, and we could also use the $100 Marriott Bonus Bucks coupons (around $30 through eBay). The hotel lobby was classy and they offered free sampling of wine every evening we were there. Starbucks coffee was available even in the lobby bar, which was quite unusual. One thing you have to be careful was tipping. On top of the $20 daily valet parking fee, porters asked for tips when they unloaded luggage from our van just to the front lobby, then the luggage was transferred to the bell boy & we'd have to tip again when our luggage was delivered to our rooms. So if you can manage without the luggage cart, you'll easily save another 10 bucks. SOBE (South Beach) Miami When we were there on Aug. 25 & 26, we wondered where the tourists were as we could easily find meter parking right in the heart of South Beach (only $1/hour, same rate as the big parking lot off Lincoln Rd. & 17th Ave.). Just make sure you have lots of quarters!! Parking for the weekend was $5 flat rate per day in public car parks without in and out privileges, go for meter parking if you need to use your car around for short trips. For dining in SOBE, I highly recommended the 2 restaurants we went to, Next & Van Dyke, and they're both in the famous Lincoln Rd. Mall. If you have a small appetite, share your dishes as they're HUGE. Key West The drive from mainland Florida to Key West was about 3½ hours each way and we went on 42 bridges before we were at the southernmost point of USA. Although we didn't have a lot of time to spend there, we did manage to stop at the Big Lobster on our way & took some pictures. The Big Lobster there was definitely less famous than the world's largest lobster in Shediac, New Brunswick in Canada, but it still looked quite real and more 'fierce'. The Conch Train Tour in Key West was really worth it as you did not have to drive your own car around the little streets & got bombarded by tons of those trains. We bought the Miami/Florida Keys Entertainment Book for $10 in July and got 3 buy-one-get-one-free coupons all in one book, that saved us $66. Shopping in Key West was unbelievable. Shells were beautiful & souvenirs were way cheaper than those in SOBE. My husband got a beautiful silk-like Caribbean/Hawaiian shirt with beautiful palm trees & beach print for $9 and a matching long sarong for ladies was only $10. Make sure you bargain & you could get really good deals. Another point to remember was the heat in August; it was so hot that even though you're in an air-conditioned shop you would still sweat non-stop. Think of that as free saunas and you'd feel much better. Hyatt Regency Miami -- We switched hotels because Hyatt was way closer to the Port of Miami than Eden Roc and it was closer to Downtown Sheraton where we had to return our rental car from Budget. Originally, we planned to return our van from Thrifty right at Hyatt but the Thrifty office was closed a couple of months ago, so we had to switch from Thrifty to Budget. It was OK since I had to go to the airport to pick up my parents one day before our cruise, so it was all right to switch cars too. We got a really good rate at Hyatt; the senior rate was only $44.95 for a very spacious room. Upgrading to the Regency Club floors was only $32 extra & we had free buffet breakfast for 4 ($15 each if we had to pay). I reserved the hotel rooms way in advance in January, so the rate was absolutely unbeatable. The front desk staff was not as helpful as those in Eden Roc & less friendly. When I asked for directions to go on the free Metromover (Miami's downtown skyrail) to Bayside Market, they told us to get off 2 stops earlier so we had to walk under the unbearably hot sun for 10 minutes. I personally did not like Bayside Market as the merchandise was not as cheap as SOBE's and the quality of food in the food court was only average. Basically, no one wanted to shop in the market stalls as there was no air-conditioning and even the air-conditioned food court was not cool enough. However, the air-conditioned Disney Store there had some excellent T-shirts for $5 and stuffed animals like a one-foot long Nemo was only $6. Then the real excitement came when we had to board the famous Navigator of the Seas Embarkation Boarding the cruise ship at around 11:30 a.m. was quite easy for us. From past cruise experience, I found that since we always check-in according to deck levels, it's best to go for staterooms on the very top deck where the Royal Suite & other grand suites are located. Based on the fact that there're less passengers on that deck and most of them are Crown & Anchor platinum & diamond members that they don't have to wait in line, we could go to the check-in counter without a wait. It was awesome when you saw that other decks were packed with 50-100 people in line and we were the only group at the counter. We simply completed our check-ins in less than 10 minutes. One thing that didn't please me at all was the Welcome Picture that they took. You could see thousands of people behind you and beside you & it was not 'personal' or special at all. Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony -- Another good point about being on Deck 10 was the efficiency and superb service that you could get from the housekeeping team. At least one member of the team would be there for us whenever we needed them for anything, since they're always cleaning the suites beside us. Definitely the suites are more spacious but you have to pay an extra tip of $3 per passenger per day. However, the suite would be cleaned EVERY TIME when you stepped in & then left. What a service! For us, we got 3 superior oceanview staterooms with balcony side by side and 2 of the rooms were connected (the connecting door had to be unlocked by the stateroom attendant & will be left unlocked for the duration of the cruise), so it was good enough. I honestly believe that having a balcony stateroom was worth the money. Every one of us (even our pre-teen and teenage girls) felt so relaxed when we just sat and chatted on the balcony. After all, having some privacy while enjoying the gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean on a 3000-passenger cruise ship was a great way to relax and reduce stress, right? Food on Board -- Many reviews have commented on the setting & food quality of various dining rooms and restaurants so I'm not going into great details. However, we found that we're constantly eating on board. Breakfast at 9:30 a.m. after our morning jog & swim, then lunch at 1 p.m. Dinner was at 6 p.m. and you couldn't be late as they still had to serve the 8:30 seating. We just couldn't have a chance to get hungry. The food in the Nutcracker Dining Room was above average & the food in Windjammer was great for the buffet style. Kids dined at Johnny Rockets once since we got many coupons for being the Crown & Anchor members. They said that the food was mouth-watering and waiters' singing and dancing were very entertaining. They mentioned that even if they had to pay they would still choose to eat there, so the food must be very good. Besides, ice cream machines were available on the top decks close to Adventure Ocean (kid's program), and soda cards for kids were around $35 each ($52 for adult). Those were good as you only had to pay a few bucks each day for numerous drinks. If you only like juice, milk or ice tea, you could get those free when Windjammer on Deck 11 was open or from the Promenade Cafe (open 24 hours) on Deck 5 where there's always a line-up. We didn't eat at the Portofino but Chops Grille was absolutely amazing. The cozy & romantic setting was great, service was excellent and the steaks were very tasty. It's definitely worth the extra $25 per person. Bear in mind that both specialty dining locations only welcome guests aged 13 or above, so pre-teens & little kids need to be taken care of elsewhere. We did it on the night that the 11 year-olds were having pyjamas party with Adventure Ocean and the adults & my 15-year old had an excellent time there. Fitness, Spa & Salon -- The fitness centre was very well-equipped & there was no line up for any machine when we were there. The solarium pool and whirlpools were way less crowded than the main pools and the whirlpool inside the spa (free of charge) was always nice & quiet. Shipshape centre offered a lot of classes & some were easy workouts which were good for those who didn't usually go to gym. I tried the facial on port day ($99 special) & my appointment was at 8:30a.m. so I could still enjoy my land tour after breakfast. Book early if you need one & they'd give you freebies like $40 eye treatment. The service was good, the atmosphere & music were soothing & relaxing. That's why you wanted to be pampered while on board. The aesthetician asked me to buy over $400 of products & I found her a bit pushy, so I only agreed to buy a cream that reduces the redness of my skin. I go to spa regularly so I have my own skin care products & really can't be bothered with others. The salon was spacious & the hair dresser was very quick. A wash & blow-dry only took less than 30 minutes & it cost $50. I was hoping that some kind of scalp massage would be done & was quite disappointed when it was not applied. I guessed they were very busy on formal nights, that's why they're SO EFFICIENT. 1st Port of Call - St. John's, Antigua -- As the captain was trying his best to stay away from Hurricane Frances, we had to change our route so this stop was a bonus as we had to sail down to the West Indies which was further than where we planned to go. The merchandise there was very cheap but most shops did not have air-conditioning so it was boiling hot there. We managed to get a cab for all 9 of us for $100 & the driver was called Mr. Tie as he loved ties so much that we was wearing one with a T-shirt. In his van he had about a dozen of ties hanging down the mirror, we should have given him a tie to get a greater discount. The van was air-conditioned but we were still sweating like crazy, so we opened the windows instead to get more breeze. Our tour was almost 3 hours long. First we went to a scenic lookout to the English Harbour, and then we drove to the other side of the island to Nelson Dockyard. Since we didn't have a lot of time we didn't pay to visit the historic fort, but the people there were kind enough to let us use the washrooms. There was a tourist info office with only a few brochures - not much help if you want to gather info. Then we went to Turner's Beach where the water was clear and the beach was lovely. Non-swimmers could relax in the breezy under-cover shelters overlooking the beautiful beach. Drinks there were reasonably priced and if you want to braid your hair, it's only $1 per braid. In St. Thomas it's $2 and $5 on the cruise ship. You could also bargain to get a cheaper rate. 2nd Port of Call - Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, US Virgin Island -- The next day we were at St. Thomas. The port was very nice and houses were better-kept and we could tell right away that the island was much better maintained than Antigua. We docked side by side with Holland America's new Zuiderdam. It was really spectacular to see 2 big cruise ships from the Mountain Top. It was a big shame that all water activities had to be cancelled because of the poor water quality after the storm as we were so looking forward to being on the BOB (underwater scooter). Even the tram going up the mountain was closed due to the strong wind. We were absolutely appalled by the fact that cab drivers were bugging us so much. We were hollered by tons of them, each offering a cheaper price than the one before. They argued among themselves about who the first one was to approach us... and so on. However, when we asked them where they would take us, the route and the length of the tour varied so much that we had to bargain over and over again. We finally were able to get a cab for $140 to go to scenic spots and stop for swimming & snorkeling at Sapphire Beach, which was beautiful but not as famous as Magen's Bay, one of the world's top 10 beaches. The cab was converted from a pick-up truck (most of the cabs in St. Thomas were like that) and it could seat 12 people, so it was quite roomy for the nine of us. As there was no windows, it was great to take pictures when we passed by attractions and the breeze was great. It was definitely a more enjoyable ride than the one in Antigua the day before. Although Budget and Avis Car Rental offices were right at the dock, it was not easy to drive in St. Thomas as they drive on the left side of the road with right-side driving; it's like using an English car to drive in N. America, how awkward! Taxi drivers were always zooming by or stopping suddenly, and there were always traffic jams near the dock, so we didn't go for a rental car although it's cheaper. We went to the famous Mountain Top where we could see the pier with 2 cruise ships and shopping there was amazing. Just make sure you have enough time there. Definitely things were cheaper at stalls but the heat was quite unbearable. Nevertheless, St. Thomas was undoubtedly a shopping paradise. The reason why we didn't go to Magen's Bay was because each person had to pay a few bucks to get in and with the very limited time that we had it was not worth it. However, we got to see the beautiful Magen's Bay from the mountain top and were really impressed by the long and beautiful U-shaped sandy beach. Swimming in Sapphire Beach was our alternative. We rented snorkeling equipment there for $10 an hour and had a lot of fun with the very clear blue water. There were lots of fishes around and the beach was not crowded. There were lots of rocks and pebbles as we were walking in the water, wearing aqua shoes would be perfect. We got those for $12 a pair in Antigua & it was $19.99 on the ship. The girls wanted to get their hair braided so the cab driver dropped us off in a mall which was a 5-minute walking distance from the pier and we could have a nap in the air-conditioned hairdresser for 1 hour while the girls were having their hair done. It was only $15 per head. What a good deal! Disembarkation -- The night before we got off the ship we were given colour tags to put on our luggage. Ours were orange (2nd group off) so we could get off pretty early at around 9:00. The baggage claim area was quite spacious and the luggage came out in carousels according to colour groups. We were very lucky that we didn't have to stand by for any flights as we originally planned for some post-cruise activities like visiting the alligator farm and going on an airboat. Although Hurricane Frances did cause us some kinds of inconvenience, we thoroughly enjoyed the extra 2 days on board. We were really thankful that it was a big ship with a very good cruise director, Becky, who was able to arrange extra ice shows and night entertainment so we never got bored. In general, we were very pleased with our cruise and will definitely sail with RCI again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
My son and I decided to seize the opportunity to take a cruise when My husband decided at the last minute, to take my daughter with him to the Orient for business. We were left with two weeks before the start of school...and an empty ... Read More
My son and I decided to seize the opportunity to take a cruise when My husband decided at the last minute, to take my daughter with him to the Orient for business. We were left with two weeks before the start of school...and an empty calendar. Since my husband says he "would rather get his nails pulled out of their beds than go on a cruise", we saw this as our only opportunity! My first call was to a good friend, who along with her family, had gone on over a dozen cruises. She was the one who recommended Navigator of the Seas, as it is a luxury ship with great amenities for the kids, (it's the one on that Royal Caribbean ad with the rock-climbing wall, ice rink, giant theatre, miniature golf etc...) We got a last minute deal, and then she and her sons decided to join us!!!! (which was a blessing) I went in not expecting much but a new experience but was VERY impressed with the whole operation. The balcony stateroom was (or seemed) very spacious with plenty of storage. But by far the BEST part of the trip, was the ship itself. There was so much to do that you wished for more "days at sea". We enjoyed it so much that we opted NOT to disembark in Cozumel for our pre-scheduled excursion...and to stay ON the ship! Everyone should experience a cruise once before they die! I decided while ON the cruise, to angle my review to first time novice cruisers who don't have the benefit of a seasoned cruiser walking them through everything like we did (Risa...you rock!) -Pack a generous carry-on with at least one change of day clothes, a sundress for night and bathing suits, cosmetics and medicine etc...your luggage does not arrive for several hours. Stories have been told about families showing up for formal night in their shorts and tank tops. Luggage gets lost...no mall. -Opt for the shuttle TO the ship (they take away your large luggage to free you up for the check -in) but Take a cab BACK to the airport (which saves you the added complication of finding your luggage twice once at the pier...and then again at the airport. -Pack EVERYTHING you need. Although the ship had a "General store" it was little spartan on supplies. There was no conditioner in the rooms and they "were all out and NOT getting anymore in" (it was a ship of BAD HAIR) Worse yet....they had NO RAZORS, which without the charity of a fellow traveler, would have resulted in long pants at the pool for me, and a full beard for any male traveler come day five -DON'T pack your "skinny clothes" if you can barely fit in them before the trip...they certainly won't fit by day three. bring at least 3 dressy outfits, in case a button pops or zipper busts. -they have NO IRONS on she ship (but they do offer a pricey ironing service) Iron everything that might need it before you leave and fold carefully. -Pre-book your shore excursions online before the trip as not to get "closed out" of the good ones, Make sure you receive the physical paper excursion tickets in your room soon after check in. -Plan on a nice chunk'o'change to be spent onboard....even though the food is free, the drinks aren't (and those tropical drink pushers as we came to know them) are everywhere. In addition, Tipping is really not optional as many of these hard-working crew members live primarily from tips, and it is a couple hundred dollars at the end of the cruise. -Bring walkie/talkies to keep tabs on your party (and don't loose one the first day like we did). -DO NOT check your bags at the pier when you disembark the last day. Finding our bags were easy, but then a representative from American Airlines is there saying "check in here...its only a half-hour (read 45 minutes)...at the airport its over 2/1/2 hours". This was our big mistake as we had lost our cruise "sherpa" by then. They rifle through ALL tightly packed luggage (at the airport it's screened mechanically) and it just drags on as the people with earlier flights magically jump the line. Once at the airport, the cab drops you curbside to a bunch of empty-handed eager bag checkers (no wait, no re-packing) and once in the terminal, thanks to the magic of e-tickets and stupid cruisers like me who waited at the pier in line...dead quiet at all of the American windows. DON'T do it! - Most of all go with an open mind, I snickered through a couple of the review shows (but to someone who doesn't live 12 miles from Broadway I'm sure they seem great). The ice show was Fab as were some of the "featured" acts. El Gaucho...was by far the most entertaining act I'd seen in years, and nobody knew who he was or what he did. Also check out the guitarist in the Two poets pub...he may look like Vic Damone...but he rocks like Carlos Santana! Happy travels....and don't forget the conditioner! Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
My wife and I had never been on a cruise before and we looked into several different cruise lines. Everyone we talked to all told us the same thing. Go on Royal Caribbean! We decided that we would take their advice since we were ... Read More
My wife and I had never been on a cruise before and we looked into several different cruise lines. Everyone we talked to all told us the same thing. Go on Royal Caribbean! We decided that we would take their advice since we were "rookies." Are we ever glad we did! We booked our 7 night Western Caribbean cruise through Rod's Custom Travel aboard the Navigator of the Seas. Rod was a great help and had our travel documents to us in no time. Check-in and security went fast and smooth. We boarded shortly thereafter and headed straight to our room. Though it was not a big room, the extra space and view from the balcony more than made up for it. After lunch we decided to take a tour of the ship to familiarize ourselves with the layout. What a beautiful ship this is. The Royal Promenade makes you forget where you are. My cabin steward, Eliza, was the best. The waiters in the dining room also went out of their way to make us feel at home. All in all everyone is friendly and helpful. Props goes out to Dave, the port and shopping guide. The food though not great, was good and plentiful. Chops Restaurant was certainly worth the $25 p/p charge and definitely a must. Johnny Rockets is also worth the extra charge. The service was spectacular and the food excellent. DO NOT miss any of the shows, ESPECIALLY Ice Dancin. I have traveled to alot of interesting places around the world and rank this trip right up there. I am already currently planning my next trip to the Eastern Caribbean, again with Royal Caribbean. Cannot wait! Here is my quick take on the ports-of-call. Labadee, Haiti: Make sure you take Safe Sea (jellyfish repellent) and apply liberally. I did battle with a jellyfish and lost. Ocho Rios, Jamaica: In my opinion the best spot for shopping. Purchased two watches for my wife and I at a decent discount. Also, do the Dunn's River Falls tour with Peat Taylor. Great tour!! Grand Cayman: Must do the Stingray City and Coral Gardens tour with Nativeway Watersports. The guys on the boat are a class act. Great place to buy your booze and rum cake, but not much else. The store employees seem to be a little stuck up. Cozumel: Definitely rent a jeep and take a tour of the island yourself. Stop at the different secluded beaches. Do not go to the recommended shops for shopping. Going a few blocks out of the way will definitely save you money. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Navigator 9/18 - We just got back from our 7 day Western Caribbean cruise which turned into a 9 day cruise because of Hurricane Jeanne. It was FABULOUS! The ship always stayed clear of the hurricane, and in this case, we stayed out two ... Read More
Navigator 9/18 - We just got back from our 7 day Western Caribbean cruise which turned into a 9 day cruise because of Hurricane Jeanne. It was FABULOUS! The ship always stayed clear of the hurricane, and in this case, we stayed out two extra days to stay clear of the storm, so instead of returning on our expected day of 9/25, we returned on 9/27. What a deal! They also proved satellite phones for passengers to call family/friends in addition to people changing their airline reservations so nobody would worry. The ship is fantastic and amazing even though we have been on Explorer of the Seas twice. I thought that Explorer was 5 stars, so Navigator must be 6 stars! The food was the best I have ever eaten on a cruise ship (of course we have only ever used RCCL and will never use anyone else). I noticed the food has improved greatly over the cruises on Explorer so I asked the Head Waiter about that issue. He told me that the entire fleet has up-graded their food quality on all ships so I can expect this quality of food on any of their ships. We have always been extremely happy on the Voyager class ships and the Navigator is no exception. Of course with life, nothing is ever as perfect as you would like it to be, and some things turn out differently than you had hoped (itinerary changes, some food not to your tastes etc.), but the overall vacation on this ship is top notch for the value. Mostly everyone on the ship was very friendly and went well. Some people on websites that complain about how things are on the ship whether it be the crew, entertainment, food etc., are probably complainers to start with anyway. Life isn't PERFECT! Some small things happened to us and not even worth mentioning and wasting time. Look at the overall cruise experience. We arrived at the port at 11:15 and was in line to get on the ship by 11:30. The last cruise passengers were still disembarking so we had to wait until noon when they started boarding. We were eating lunch by 12:30. Labadee: Tendered onto the island. We did the wave runner excursion which I would highly recommend. We enjoyed it a lot. The beach BBQ was excellent (burgers, hot dogs and great ribs! etc.) Ocho Rios, Jamaica: Docked right at the pier. We did the River Tubing Safari which was great with the exception of the young guys that ran it (only concerned about how much tip money you would give them). It wasn't a class act and I was surprised that RCCL had them do it as an excursion, but we enjoyed it anyway if you overlook that part. If your a drinker, the best prices and selections for Rum etc., are right at the pier at the "Cruise Booze" store. The next day was at sea since our stop in Grand Cayman was cancelled due to the damage from hurricane Frances 3 weeks ago. No big deal, as I said, you go with the flow because some things can change as planned. Cozumel, Mexico: Docked at the pier. This was my favorite port. We took a taxi into town for $6 each way (3 miles). A lot of shops on the main street, but the best prices are on the side streets were shop owners will deal more on their goods. We didn't do any water activities, but we definitely will next time since the water looked so wonderful and inviting. Again for drinkers, the best prices are right at the pier. Next 3 days were at sea avoiding hurricane Jeanne. We did ice skating, rollerblading, miniature golf etc. You can eat 24 hours a day while on board, so take clothes that's a little loose around the waist because after the cruise they will probably be tight. My favorite late night snack was Cafe Promenade (subs, pizza, desserts). The entertainment was exceptional either on the main stage or the ice rink. I can go on and on saying good things about the ship, and it would be very hard to get a better value for food, entertainment and service. If you have never been on this ship or class of ship, get ready for a great time, as long as you have it set in your mind to have a good time. Disembarkation: Smooth. After eating Breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe, we waited in Studio B (ice skating rink) until our color was called which took around 1 hour for us, longer for others. It was a little longer than usual because 4-5 cruise ships all coming in to the port of Miami at the same time because the hurricane delayed them all. They are not used to handling that many cruise ships at one time especially on a Monday morning. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
This was my second cruise. The first one was on Carnival's smoke-free Paradise. I'm a single guy in my 30's, which may give you some perspective on my review. I went on the cruise with one of my buddies from work. If you are ... Read More
This was my second cruise. The first one was on Carnival's smoke-free Paradise. I'm a single guy in my 30's, which may give you some perspective on my review. I went on the cruise with one of my buddies from work. If you are wondering what it's like to have your cruise delayed by a hurricane, this is a good one to read. Hurricane Jeanne was heading for the east coast of Florida as we needed to drive down I-95 to get to Miami. I checked Royal Caribbean's web site often to find out if the cruise was delayed. I would have to say Orbitz and Royal Caribbean did a good job in keeping us informed. We found out we were delayed one day and that our itinerary may change. We were supposed to go to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, the Bahamas and Labadee. We decided to drive down the morning before the hurricane hit to avoid it. We stayed at the Hyatt in Miami and later found out that we would be delayed 2 days and that we would only be going to Labadee and Jamaica. Royal Caribbean did give us a $500 on-board credit per room and a voucher for 50% the next cruise, which was nice. The parking garage for Royal Caribbean is a little confusing. There are no signs in the garage. We found a porter and had our luggage tagged. The check-in went pretty smooth. We found out that they had upgraded us from an outside cabin to a balcony cabin. We were on deck 6 which was nice. I don't know if I would want any other cabin. Our room attendant was nice and had to find our bags since we had been upgraded. Someone else's bags were in our room. We explored the ship and found out, IT'S HUGE!!! The weight room was big. There were lots of treadmills, free weights and workout equipment. It was never crowded. There are several pools. The adult only pool is hidden and I liked it the best. It was quieter than the others. They have a nice arcade with air hockey tables. The sports deck is fun. I did the mini-golf, rock wall, and won the volleyball championship at the end of the trip. I didn't try Johnny Rockets since I've got one around the corner from the house. The Windjammer cafe was busy, but the food was good. I recommend the smoked salmon. The main dinning area is also huge with its 3 stories. The ice skating ring was also a lot of fun. The Dungeon was the place to be after 11 p.m. There was a lack of single people on this ship. I met someone on the Paradise and we spent the week together. My other friend married the girl he met on the Paradise. This ship had mostly families and married couples. The only single girls I saw were with their parents. I thought the shows were just as good as the ones on Carnival's ship. The theatres were better. There were no bad seats. The Royal Promenade was a great place to shop and hang out. It felt like you were on the street. The night of the Captain's dinner they served free champagne and we took advantage. I could never see the street shows. It was hard to see them with all the people. The casino was what you would expect. I liked the food. I have read some bad reviews here, but I thought it was just as good as any other place I've been to. Our waiter and assistant were super. Our assistant waiter looked like Balke from the TV show "Perfect Strangers". We tipped the head waiter at the end of the cruise, but I'm not really sure what he does. They had the normal singing and dancing at dinner which is always fun. My only complaint about the food service was one morning for breakfast we ate in the dinning room and they put my toast on my neighbor's dish. It wasn't their fault though. My neighbor used my plate. I think they should have noticed this since I didn't eat anything, yet the plate had crumbs and a jelly knife on it. They did get me new toast so it was okay. In Jamaica we did the horseback riding excursion. I'm not sure I will ever have kids. :) We went riding in the water and on land. I've never been on a horse and I will never forget this experience. I've been to Jamaica before so I knew to expect all the drug offers and the pushy people trying to sell stuff. Labadee was surprisingly nice. I expected it to stink since I figured Royal Caribbean takes you there to save money on port charges. The island is beautiful and was fun to explore. We did the kayak excursion there. It was nice to learn about Haiti. We were there 2 weeks after they had been hit with floods from the hurricanes. We kayaked to a stop on Haiti and I think they had the best looking native stuff to buy. Getting off the boat took forever. I don't remember Paradise taking as long. Although, on the Paradise we waited until almost everyone was off the ship. I think it took about an hour to get off the ship. I would sail again with Royal Caribbean. The hurricane did make the trip a bit of a challenge, but you can't blame Royal Caribbean for that. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

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