928 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

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
Due to Hurricane Frances, our 7 day cruise became a 5 day cruise. We were a little disappointed at first, but Royal Caribbean was very accommodating and really did make it worth our while. They gave all of us a $500.00 US onboard credit ... Read More
Due to Hurricane Frances, our 7 day cruise became a 5 day cruise. We were a little disappointed at first, but Royal Caribbean was very accommodating and really did make it worth our while. They gave all of us a $500.00 US onboard credit and 50% off our next cruise, which is already booked for June 3, 2005. First let us say that we had an absolutely fabulous time aboard the Navigator! This was our first cruise and we were celebrating our 10th anniversary. We have 2 children at home, but decided this would be a getaway for just the two of us. On our first day, boarding went easy and very soon we were touring this awesome ship with pina coladas in hand. Even though our departure was delayed from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., we were on board by 12:30 p.m. and basically laid back by the pool and enjoyed the reggae band. We took an inside cabin and found it fine. It was small, as we expected, but the furnishings and decor were nicer than expected. We actually found it quite cozy and thought the space was well utilized. We had breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer everyday and found it quite good. The food was not gourmet, but certainly better than most buffets we've ever been to, and the fruit was always so fresh! We had dinner in the dining room every night. We were on deck 4, The Coppelia-it was absolutely gorgeous! We were seated by the balcony with a great view of the beautiful dining room. As for the food we found it very good, and at times excellent. The lobster and prime rib would be about the best. Tried the ship shape menu one night (fish) and the meal was bland-might as well live a little and enjoy what you eat. However, the low-fat desserts were quite good. What we really enjoyed and can't stop telling our friends about is the Promenade. It was just so much fun! We enjoyed the Cafe Promenade and often ended up there for a late afternoon snack. They had these wonderful little sandwiches (new varieties each day) as well as delicious cookies and small pastries. As for the coffee, we have read reviews where others seemed to have hated it, but we REALLY liked it. We don't know if others prefer a more coarse coffee but we thought the blend was exactly to our liking, mild but flavourful. While on board we saw two parades which were lots of fun. We saw one show at the Metropolis which was good, but not our favorite. The ice skating show was great and game shows Love and Marriage and The Quest were hilarious! There was so much to do but we just couldn't do everything. On our last day we finally got around to rock climbing and are glad we did. As for the ports, we went to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. In Grand Cayman we went to Stingray City (shallow area) and after freaking out for a few minutes, this quickly became our favorite shore excursion. These fish are so gentle and the guides were just great. Anyone who is scared to do this should build up the courage as this will be a highlight to their cruise! Shopping was a pleasure as you are not hustled. For anyone who wants a great deal on Movado watches, this is a great place to buy one. Cozumel was a fun, bustling port with shops specializing in cheap souvenir type items (T-shirts, maracas and Mexican blankets). However, it is a good place to get silver. We went snorkeling and this was our first time but we did enjoy it. We were surprised to see how safety conscious both tours were (booked through RCI) and felt very comfortable. Just a note, when in port you can go back to the ship and eat a great lunch at the Windjammer, rather than eat an overpriced lunch in port. We just thought this was a good way to save money for the things we really wanted. A note about the staff, Cruise Director Becky was energetic and entertaining and almost all the staff were very friendly and aimed to please. We were quite impressed with Captain Rick Sullivan. We ran into him and questioned him about upcoming Hurricane Ivan, as we were spending two extra days in Miami and we heard some reports that the hurricane might be headed that way. He told us he would look into it and to our surprise, a few hours later we received a message on our cabin voice mail from Captain Sullivan outlining the hurricane's path and assuring us of our safety. We really appreciated that phone call! Well, we loved our cruise and after seeing our videos, our parents booked a cruise of their own on the Voyager in January. We can't wait until our cruise in June. This time we will be taking the kids and will be leaving from Cape Liberty, NY, for a 9-day cruise on the Voyager. We hope it will be a vacation of a lifetime for our whole family! Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
Just returned from our 9/11/04 cruise to the eastern Caribbean aboard the NOS. This was our third cruise and second on RCCL. Embarkation: Very smooth, we arrived at the Miami airport to have the RCCL agent waiting for us. They took care ... Read More
Just returned from our 9/11/04 cruise to the eastern Caribbean aboard the NOS. This was our third cruise and second on RCCL. Embarkation: Very smooth, we arrived at the Miami airport to have the RCCL agent waiting for us. They took care of our luggage and boarded us a bus to the pier. Total time from airport arrival to pier was less than 45 minutes! Check-in only took 15 minutes as they checked you in by deck. We were on deck 10 with line. We were on the ship by 11:30 am. Day 1: There was lots to do as we waited for the ship to leave Miami, we started with lunch in the Windjammer and then began to explore the ship. There were tours of the spa and gym, in addition, there was an Expo on the Promenade with door prizes and displays of all the ship has to offer. We thought the prizes could have been a little better. The ship left port at 5:00pm and we headed for dinner as we had the main seating. I would recommend main seating if you like a little time before the nightly shows begin. Stateroom: What can we say, we had a balcony D1 amid all the suites on deck 10. We never had any problem with noise either from our neighbors or in the hallway. The room had a queen bed and a sofa as well as mini fridge. The bathroom had a wonderful shower with closing doors instead of a shower curtain. Our room attendant was outstanding, her name was Sheree and she was from Trindad. We gave her a calling card on the first day and she bent over backwards to assist us. The card was well received as it get costly for the crew to make calls home. Ports: Nassau was hot and boring, as we only had a half day in port we went shopping. The local market place was OK, not a lot of deals as they wanted top dollar for knock off purses and such. St. Thomas was wonderful, we took full advantage of the duty free shopping. If your looking for a good deal on diamonds, we would recommend Cardoz, they were the best and treated us very well. If your looking for a local eatery, we recommend Cuzzen's on Back Street, very good Counch Fritters and Mahi Mahi, get the combo plate. The best port was Labadee. It is a private bay owned by RCCL and very well kept. My wife went parasailing and loved it, I just laid in sun all day and rented a floating mat, lunch was excellent and provided by the ship, plenty for everyone. One caution, be prepared to fend off the locals if you wander into the Straw Market, I found them so pushy that I could not even window shop. Ship food: The food was so well prepared and presented that we had dinner in the main dining room every night. Lunch was either at the buffet, main dining room, or Johnny Rockets. Here's a tip, if your a Crown and Anchor member, you will receive a free pass to Johnny Rockets. Crew: Our Waiter and Assistant Waiter were wonderful, great service and well informed on everything from the menu to the ship's activities. Overall we would rate this ship a 10! Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
Let me start off by saying that my husband and I went on this cruise to redeem a bad 1st cruise with Carnival. The outcome of redemption??? A fantastic time... I'm glad we tried again!! Embarkation: 30-45 min. wait, not bad. ... Read More
Let me start off by saying that my husband and I went on this cruise to redeem a bad 1st cruise with Carnival. The outcome of redemption??? A fantastic time... I'm glad we tried again!! Embarkation: 30-45 min. wait, not bad. Dining: The food was great! I'm a picky eater and I was able to find something at each meal (in the main dining) that I liked and I even tried a few new things! (That's what I love about a cruise...if you don't like what they bring you, you can order something else.) I think we also ate a million cookies from the Cafe Promenade! One night we ate at Chops..the steak I had was definitely one of the best! We also ate at Johnny Rockets late one night. While it was good I didn't think the burger was much different then ones we ate in the Windjammer. Overall... EXCELLENT FOOD!!! Public Rooms: The whole boat seemed to be layed out very nicely, easily accessible. Everything was very well kept and very clean. Entertainment: I think we attended all the shows... we skipped out on a few that were the RC dancers and singers, not our cup of tea. The comedians were all great. The ice show is a must see... it really is amazing they can keep their balance and on such a small floor. Our favorite part was the Karaoke...this was the most fun to watch.. We had a gentleman who sang Mustang Sally and did a great job of it. He went on to Karaoke Idol and won the best male!! I also watched several contests out by the pool and that was great because it kept my days at sea busy. Cabin: We had a inside room that overlooked the Promenade. While I was winding down I could people-watch out of my window. We also watched the parades from our room. I don't know if all rooms are like this but ours stayed very dark which was great for sleeping! It was great to come back to a clean room a couple times a day. (I'm sure our stateroom attendant must have nicknamed us the PIGS!!! ha! ha!) Shore Excursions: Nassau...We went on the Yellowbird Tour. This was a choice for us, we got to relax on the boat ride once we got to the private beach (which is located on a little island). It was great because they had it netted off so I didn't see any fish in the water!! (I know it sounds crazy for me to take my vacations on a beach when I'm not that fond of sea animals). We had a great time, and on the way back there was a little dance party on the boat! St Thomas... We went to Megan's Bay... I had seen this on the Travel Channel as one of the top 10 beach's (like #4). I wasn't that impressed. The water wasn't as clear and blue as it looked on the way there. The beach was crowded. It was still a good relaxing time but if I went back I would choose something else. We did walk through the shopping district by the pier. We aren't big shoppers..if you want jewelry or liquor this is a haven. We just try to pick up some kind of trinket from every stop to keep track of where we've been. We also rode the sky tram to Paradise Point. It had some great views for pictures. It was a nice place to see... it smelled kind of weird though. San Juan.... We only spent about 30 mins. off the ship. We didn't like this stop at all. It was the dirtiest of all, and there were bums everywhere shaking their paper cups at you for donations. We got our trinket and got back on the ship. RC only offered a handful of excursions for San Juan and not of them were of interest to us. It's somewhere you can say you've been but we wouldn't venture back. Labadee.... This was our favorite stop! The beaches were clean, no weird smell, and the shopping was great. The handcarved wood items are definitely something to check out. We went on the shoreline kayaking...it was a good time. More exercise than I thought it would be (as we have never been kayaking before). We got closer to the town of Labadee and stopped at a little beach cove. It had about 10 tables set up with people selling stuff. I didn't know we'd be stopping so I didn't take any money with me. Our tour guide told us that they would walk it back over to the beach where I did have money (they had little cubby holes for the people kayaking to leave their stuff and a worker from RC watched it). So I bargained and they brought my stuff to the beach where I paid them. Overall Cruise.... We had a great time! I was glad we didn't stop at our bad experience with Carnival (on the Paradise). We had a lot of our friends tell us to try Royal Caribbean and I'm glad we did. We will definitely cruise with them again. Something I didn't mention was above was the pool area that was designated for adults. It was free of kids 98% of the time. The 2% they showed up, pool patrol told them to go to the other side!!! This was great... Not to sound rude but I didn't travel with kids for a reason. Our cruise director, Ken Rush, told us on the last night there was 480ish kids on board. Although I saw them here and there I didn't really notice them (which was also great)! Our cruise director was pretty good too, not as stale as Jeff Bronson that we had on Carnival. I'd definitely try this ship out again, but probably with a Western stops. That was the one thing I did love on our first cruise was the stops. I think Western vs. Eastern ... the Western stops have bluer, clearer water. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
This was our 5th cruise, our 2nd RCI cruise. Always wanted to go on a Voyager Class Ship. The Navigator of the Seas was not a disappointment. We got to the port by 10 A.M. parking was easy and right by the terminal. Embarkation took ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise, our 2nd RCI cruise. Always wanted to go on a Voyager Class Ship. The Navigator of the Seas was not a disappointment. We got to the port by 10 A.M. parking was easy and right by the terminal. Embarkation took awhile because of a delay of the people getting off of a prior cruise but we were still sitting having lunch by the Lido deck by 12 noon. Our cabin by RCI standards was spacious and very comfortable and we enjoyed having the use of a balcony. Our room steward was courteous and efficient. We had ample space for our luggage and our clothes. We ate all our dinners in the dining room and the serving staff was excellent and the food in general was quite good. If you did not see anything on the menu that was to your taste, you could ask the waiter and he catered to your request. The Windjammer was clean, nice selection of foods, and the meals were quite good. The only complaint was the pizza was better on the Carnival ships. When ordering room service do not feel limited by the menu. You can order just about anything you want. At night my wife generally ordered a chefs salad and I usually ordered a soup and of course coffee. Your order was brought up very quickly and the steward was always friendly. The Promenade was a small city on a ship. It was very picturesque, fun to watch the people, and a nice way to spend a couple of hours. The cruise comedians usually came by and they were fantastic as were the parades. The shows in general were good, the headline entertainers were very good, the production shows were okay but are better on the Carnival ships. The ice show is a must see and it is amazing to watch that not only are they doing these things on ice but also on a moving ship. If you see any specialty show on the ship make sure you see the Quest. It is a "side splitter". We had an extra day at sea because of the hurricanes so we didn't go to Grand Cayman Islands and we enjoyed the extra day at sea. Disembarkation was a nightmare and took us over 4 hours to get off the ship. Getting to the car and leaving the port was no problem. All in all I would find it hard not to go back to a Voyager class ship especially one like the Navigator of the Sea. It was definitely a memorable vacation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Navigator of the Seas - 10/30/04 - 100th Voyage Pre-Cruise - We flew AirTran from Kansas City to Miami and arrived around 2:30 in the afternoon. When we arrived at the Holiday Inn downtown, our room wasn't ready and there seemed to ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas - 10/30/04 - 100th Voyage Pre-Cruise - We flew AirTran from Kansas City to Miami and arrived around 2:30 in the afternoon. When we arrived at the Holiday Inn downtown, our room wasn't ready and there seemed to be some problem. The manager gave us room 311, which seemed to be better than what we had originally booked as it had a separate bedroom (king bed) and living room with a wet bar. This room was on the front corner of the hotel and overlooked Bayside Marketplace. We could also see people lining up for the Kerry campaign rally which was taking place later in the day. There was some noise at night from traffic and the band playing at Bayside, but we slept through most of it. We had pre-arranged with our Meet and Mingle group to meet in the bar and everyone was to wear yellow ribbons since most of us had never met before. After getting everyone together, we walked to Bubba Gumps for dinner. There were 15 of us and one who joined us later after the rally. I had the Bucket of Boat Trash which was just okay and we also celebrated a birthday for one of our group. It was a fun place and I would recommend it for anyone staying in the area. Bayside itself was interesting and we walked around listening to the live music and checking out the stores before returning to the hotel for the night. Embarkation Day - We all grabbed cabs and headed to the port around 11:30. Everything went smoothly until we were ready to board the ship. Then we noticed people from the previous cruise still in line for disembarkation so we were held up until approximately 1:15. Security and immigration were tight due to the upcoming election and the fact that both Senator Kerry and President Bush were in Miami over the weekend. I understand that Homeland Security had also implemented some new procedures as well. Finally we were allowed to board and were greeted with a glass of champagne to celebrate the 100th voyage of the Navigator. Nice touch! Our first stop was to check out our cabin, 9690 a corner aft balcony. The room itself seemed to be of an average size with a door that opens out and a large round window. There was plenty of storage space for the two of us and I noticed the closet had fold down racks for extra clothing. A hair dryer is provided. The balcony was pie shaped and not as large as other aft balconies toward the middle. It easily held two chairs, a small table and one lounge chair. We could only see above and below our cabin when standing at the railing. There was definitely some movement, but we had no problems with it and slept like babies every night. Our steward team was a young man and a young lady named Chotilda. We dealt with her daily and she did a fantastic job! After this we checked to see if we had received a large table as requested (we had) and began to tour the ship looking for our first foo foo drink. Because of the delay earlier in the day, muster drill and sail away were set back, muster from 4:30 to 5:00 and sail away from 5:00 to 6:00. We had early seating which was normally at 6:00, but didn't make it to the dining room as we were on deck for sail away. We checked out the ship some more and made the Two Poets Pub our favorite watering hole. Opal from Jamaica was great there and got lots of tips throughout the cruise. Eventually we made it to the Windjammer for dinner. A Bon Voyage parade was held on the Promenade but we watched it on TV the next day. College football was being shown that evening in the Ixtapa Lounge as well as in the cabin. No reservations were required for either Chops or Portofino's that night. Attire was casual, the dinner theme was Bon Voyage and the drink of the day was the Pina Colada. The drink of the week was the Centennial Special. This was also the night to set back our clocks one hour for daylight savings time. Sunday - Sea Day - Happy Halloween! We had never tried the dining room for breakfast on any of our previous sailings so we decided to try it once for the experience. We enjoyed meeting new people and the food was good. We continued to explore the ship until time for our Meet and Mingle at 11:30 in the Cosmopolitan Lounge on deck 14. Of the nearly 70 people who signed up, I would say we had at least 40 who attended and Linda from our M&M had made name tags for everyone. Captain Bang was present and apologized for the previous day's delay. He spoke about the ship and was open to questions. His one request of us was that we let everyone know that the Navigator had not run aground as was reported in a previous review. It merely kicked up some mud from the bottom in a shallow area. A raffle was held before he left and one couple won dinner at the Captain's table on the second formal night. They also gave out collapsible coolers, photo albums and hats to some of the other winners. We then took time to meet our fellow cruisers at the M&M before heading off to other activities. Ice show tickets were available for free at two different times this day with each dinner seating having recommended times for the shows. A note in the Cruise Compass said that reserving of deck chairs was not allowed and that chairs left vacant for more than 30 minutes might be reassigned to others. While I did notice some saving of chairs, there were always plenty to go around at the pool and other places on the open decks including the area next to Johnny Rockets. The horse auction was in the afternoon and we were part owners of Jumakem Run which eventually finished fourth. Today's movie in the Screening Room was "Master and Commander." This was our first formal night as well as Halloween. Various parts of the ship, including the Promenade and dining room, were decorated and many people were in costume at dinner as well as in formal dress. The children's parade was held at 8:30 followed by the adults at 10:45. There were some great costumes and awards were given out in various categories, with men winning in both the men's and women's categories. Parties were going on in the Dungeon and Studio B. We finally met our tablemates, two couples from Jacksonville, FL, and really enjoyed their company. The dinner theme was the Captains' Gala. Drink of the day was Witches Brew or Mango Tango. Monday - Labadee - Tenders went back and forth from 8:30 to 3:30 and we were asked to use the aft elevators only. We spent the day with our new friends Pat and Tom and walked from the pier to Hideaway Beach which was less crowded. A map was provided by the ship. A tram was available but we didn't use it. Remember to take your water shoes as the entrance to the water is very rocky. Attendants set up chairs for us in the shade near the water, drinks were available a few feet away as were the restrooms, hammocks and mats were available, and we had a great view of the ship. A BBQ lunch was served starting at 11:30. It was very good and had many more choices than I had expected. This part of Haiti appeared to have been unaffected by the hurricanes earlier in the season. Before we headed back to the ship, we stopped at the vendors area. Yes, they were somewhat aggressive, but a simple no worked just fine. I bought several handcrafted wooden items, including a globe, and a small painting. Prices were negotiable. Drink of the day was the Bacardi Cocktail. Remember to order the drink of the day in a regular glass unless you want the souvenir glass every day. The dinner theme was Venetian and attire was smart casual, although most people seemed to dress casual. I did see hats and shorts in the dining room in the evening on several nights, but most people dressed as requested. The movie of the day was "Garfield" and Monday Night Football was shown in the Ixtapa Lounge. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres were offered at Vintages every evening starting from 5 to 8:30. Most evenings found us in the Two Poets Pub with our new friends from the M&M but we managed a bar crawl one evening. Tuesday - Ocho Rios, Jamaica - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Stay on ship's time at this port as Jamaica is one hour behind. We had arranged a tour with Peat Taylor and met up with new friends Franki and Mark for the day. At $30 per person, we got our money's worth! Several families from New Jersey were aboard our bus. The kids were okay, but the adults were rude, loud mouthed and just barely tolerable. Our first stop was the Wassi Art Pottery factory for a tour and shopping. They had many beautiful pieces, but I made my husband happy by purchasing something small. They also offered shipping of larger pieces and drinks were available. Next we drove through Fern Gully then headed to Dunn's River Falls. The price of entrance was included in Peat's fee, but we tipped him extra to cover that. Lockers were available for $5 of which $2 was returned when you turned in the lock. We were put into groups then headed down to the beach to begin our climb. Good water shoes are definitely needed here. We began our climb and really enjoyed it, but about 1/3 of the way up our legs gave out so we left the falls at the first available exit. The water was great but there were some accidents. One lady in our group appeared to have a panic attack while in other groups one woman had a skinned knee and one man had a broken finger. Peat dropped us off either at the ship or Margaritaville for lunch and would have picked us up afterward to continue the tour, but we decided to skip the afternoon and stayed to shop at Island Village before meeting our friends at Margaritaville. I picked up some Appleton Estates Rum, Jablum coffee, another wood carving for my husband's collection and some Margaritaville souvenirs. Eventually, it was time to leave the fun and head back to the ship. We were worn out from the previous days' activities so we had a late dinner at the Windjammer when I woke up from my nap. I wish I could remember the name of the Assistant Manager at the Windjammer. He was kind enough to carry my plate to a table by the window and even brought me extra sauce for my food without being asked. Dinner theme was Caribbean Colors, attire was casual or Caribbean. Drink of the day was the Margarita. Wednesday - At Sea - This was supposed to be a stop at Grand Cayman, but they were not as yet allowing more than two ships into port while they recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Ivan. We slept in, had lunch at Johnny Rockets with our Crown and Anchor coupons, then spent the afternoon recouping our energies and watching pay per view movies in our cabin. I don't remember the exact price, either $12.95 or $14.95 per movie, but they had a good selection. During the cruise we ended up seeing "The Stepford Wives," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner o Azkaban" and "Van Helsing". This was our second formal night and the theme was the Chef's dinner. I have to say here that our wait staff, including head waiter Claude from Belgium, were outstanding throughout the cruise! All the ladies received a long stemmed rose from Claude with a card thanking us for sailing on the 100th voyage of the Navigator. After dinner we had our pictures taken with Captain Bang (Captain's reception) and then he spoke from the Bridge on the Promenade at 8:15. Cake and streamers followed while the passengers were treated to champagne and hors d'oeuvres. This was also the night for the Gala Buffet toward midnight. We ended this evening, like most, at one of the bars and making a donation to the casino. Drink of the day was the Goombay Smash and the movie was "Under the Tuscan Sun." One note about Johnny Rockets. The service was great, the entertainment fun, the food just okay. I wouldn't bother eating there again, but it was fun to do just once. Thursday - Cozumel - Again, stay on ship's time! We took a taxi with friends Franki and Mark to Chankanaab Park arriving very early. Entrance fee was $12 for adults. It seemed we had the park to ourselves for a while although there were several ships in port that day. We swam and sat on the beach for a while then decided to head to La Laguna restaurant and bar for lunch and drinks. Lunch was excellent! Several times during the day the rain came down in sheets, but we were comfy and dry until time for our swim with the dolphins. This had to be one of the most memorable experiences of the entire cruise! Of course the rain decided to soak us before we made it into the water, but our dolphin Pegaso made every minute worth it for the ten people in our group. I had no plans to shop in Cozumel this time, but did buy a couple of pictures and the video of our swim. The dinner theme for the evening was Crown and Anchor, attire was casual or 50's - 70's. The dinner times for the evening were changed to 6:30 and 8:45. We tipped our wait staff this night as we had dinner reservations for the last night at Chops. All of them received extra! After dinner my husband was tired so I was on my own. I decided to take in the only show that either of us attended during the entire cruise. The celebrity guest was Mickey Dolenz, former lead singer of the Monkees, and his sister Coco. They really put on a show! Before the show he autographed pictures then after the show he autographed CD's for anyone who wanted to buy them. He was cordial to me, although just barely, even though I didn't buy anything. A quick trip to the casino and I was done for the night. For the night owls they had a Rockin' Through the Ages Dance party in Studio B. The drink of the day was Sex on the Beach. Friday - At Sea - This was our last full day of the cruise. We packed after lunch so that we could enjoy the evening and also filled out our immigration form and baggage tags. The dinner theme for the evening was A Feast of Nations and attire was casual. Drink of the day was the Bahama Mama. Our friends Pat and Tom joined us for drinks then we all headed to Chops for our last dinner aboard the Navigator. Here again, the food and service were excellent and well worth the $25 per person charge. We made a last trip to the photo gallery so that they could pick up their pictures. Some of the pictures this trip had a thank you with them for sailing on this particular voyage. This was also the night for the Farewell Mardi Gras parade in the Promenade. The luggage went out and we once again slept like babies. Saturday - Disembarkation - Sadly we had to leave. We dropped off our Guest Satisfaction Survey, acknowledging those people on the staff who had been so wonderful during our cruise then headed to the Lido deck to wait for our color tag (gray) to be called. There were of course those people who had to settle up with the Purser's Desk, but the wait was fairly short. Getting completely off the ship took a while but we made it around 9. We shared a Super Shuttle to the Miami airport with two other couples. When we arrived, the couple in the front seat, who had taken their one piece of luggage into the van with them, jumped out and stiffed the driver! We checked with AirTran and were able to catch an earlier flight. That put us back in Kansas City at 4 p.m. instead of 10:30. I discovered after arriving home that the TSA had opened one, but only one, of my bags and nothing seemed to be amiss. Final Notes - We are a couple in our late 40's with grown children. We learned after our first cruise to pick and choose what we want to do and to not wear ourselves out trying to do too much. From start to finish the staff were absolutely amazing! They were friendly, attentive and just plain fun. I have absolutely no complaints about the food. It was all good and there was plenty of it. Even Mickey Dolenz commented on it. Okay, so the scrambled eggs were too runny, but they were still edible. The ship was beautiful and clean. Despite having 3,000 people aboard, it never felt crowded. There were so many activities that you couldn't possibly keep up with them all so no one should be bored on this ship. There were a lot of families from New Jersey on the sailing because of the break, but the kids were no trouble. During the cruise we received sets of postcards, toiletry bags, Crown and Anchor coupons, a special postcard for the 100th sailing, and credit card sized maps of the ship which folded out to 3 x 8 times the original size. We heard many languages, some I couldn't identify, and saw American sign language as well. This was a near perfect cruise. We made many new friends from our M&M as well as just around the ship. Would I recommend it? You bet! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
I had read all the reviews on the Navigator before my wife and I went on our cruise last week, and they had me leery. They were lukewarm in their praise and many were downright negative. I am happy to say that those reviews did not ... Read More
I had read all the reviews on the Navigator before my wife and I went on our cruise last week, and they had me leery. They were lukewarm in their praise and many were downright negative. I am happy to say that those reviews did not reflect our experience. We were overjoyed with the quality of almost everything on the ship. The crew members were exceptionally friendly and willing to meet any request. The entertainment was first class and left us wanting to see more. The food was plentiful and the variety was excellent. The quality and the presentation of the food at the late seating was of the highest quality. The cruise director, Ken, and his staff made us truly feel like they took a personal interest in us and we felt like we made new friends among them. The architecture and art displayed on this huge ship was truly breathtaking and a walk around the various decks on the ship was a journey in itself to enjoy. The only suggestion for improvement that I passed along on the "passenger review" was that they could do a better job of controlling the elevator operations. Sometimes, it would take upwards of 7 to 8 minutes for an elevator to stop at your floor, while others zoomed by your floor going in your direction. Oh well, we needed to work off some calories on the stairs anyway!! I would give a definite "thumbs up" to anyone thinking of going on this great ship... I hope to return again soon! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
NOS 10/2-10/9 Western Carib...just off; long! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hello to any interested in reading my overview of the Navigator of the Seas Western Caribbean sailing... We ... Read More
NOS 10/2-10/9 Western Carib...just off; long! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hello to any interested in reading my overview of the Navigator of the Seas Western Caribbean sailing... We are a family of four, this being my 7th cruise, my husband's 4th, and the kid's 2nd (Disney Magic two years ago). We stayed at the Doubletree Grand Biscayne Bay on Friday night, arriving around 10:00 pm. Well, since we missed dinner, my husband and kids (ages 10 and 7) went downstairs and picked up some Chinese (restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel). Booked this on Priceline. In the morning before we checked-out, we stopped at the grocery (also on the ground floor) and bought soda, water, and beer (not much), and put it in our cooler on wheels (which had a home on our balcony during the week). We arrived at the port at 11:30, and were waiting in line to board the ship by 11:50. There were many people ahead of us, but we were on the ship and getting our pictures taken by 12:20. Very quick and efficient! As soon as we boarded, both of our children were given wrist bands to wear indicating our muster station (in the event that they were in Adventure Ocean or somewhere else on the ship, away from us). It made me feel much more secure knowing that the kids would be accounted for in the case of an emergency! We immediately went to our room and dropped off our carryons (too much to lug around). Since we were on the ship so early, we were able to walk around and figure out where things rather quickly. Room: AFT, 10th floor, #1392, D1. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Randy from the Philippines was our room steward and couldn't have been nicer. The balcony was large with 2 loungers, 2 chairs, and 2 tables (great for a quiet breakfast/coffee). The bed was comfortable, and the sofa...while hard...wasn't a problem as the kids (and us) were exhausted by the end of each day. I don't think an over-the-door shoe holder (to store "stuff") is necessary, as there was ample space in the room. The 10th floor was very quiet and we never heard anything when in our room. Food: Really, really, good. We were on deck #5, Swan Lake Dining room, #576. Our waiter was Jafaar from Tunisia and his assistant was Lincoln, from Jamaica. We were at a table of 12...but 4 people never showed (probably were moved). Our table mates were from Curacao, a lovely family that we enjoyed visiting with during dinner. My own opinion, but I think that the wait staff can make/break your dining experience. Our waiters were friendly, talkative, and really added to the overall dining experience. We also enjoyed the variety of food offered in the Windjammer. There was always something different...especially at Jade. The Cafe on the Promenade was also good for a quick sandwich (also changed daily) or dessert before leaving the ship for an excursion. Ship: just beautiful. For being at capacity, it never felt crowded (and at times, we questioned "where is everybody?"). There are just so many lounges, bars, clubs, etc. Activities: We all enjoyed the putt-putt course, ice skating (yes, my son brought his hockey skates), ping-pong, checkers, the pools/hot tubs, and the rock climbing wall. The only thing that we didn't do was the in-line skating...and being such a small course, really wasn't missed. Adventure Ocean: The kids absolutely loved going! Our son was in the 6-8 group, and our daughter in the 9-11 group. For late-night (10-1 and $5.00 per hour), they combined the two groups, which worked out really well since they were together. On any evening, there never seemed to be more than 15 or so kids participating (of the 340 on board) in the activities (which started at 7:15-7:30). While our kids were with us during the day, they really looked forward to meeting up with others in the evening from various parts of the globe. Casino: the slots were horrible...just feed your money in and...nothing! Oh well... The table games were much better (so says my husband). Bingo: the final jackpot was won by a single winner from L.A....$7077! Even if I didn't win, it was fun to play a few times (and I did win 50% off an excursion in Cozumel on a raffle ticket that they give out at bingo...so it wasn't a total loss!). Meet/Mingle: We met many nice people that I had been visiting with online for several months. It was great to chat with folks during the course of the cruise. Shopping: The shops on the Promenade offer different items for sale every evening...so it is worth it to stop there 1x each night to see what they are offering. There are deep discounts on merchandise the last night. Excursions: Peat Taylor (and his son O'neil) in Jamaica for a tour and Dunn's River Falls. A very nice, entertaining man. Fun for all. We also did the Fury Catamaran in Cozumel. This was a typical beginner snorkeling trip, but we all enjoyed it. We had the afternoon excursion (started at 2:00). We were back by 5:30...would have been better if it had been longer. The beach they take you to is gorgeous. In Labadee, we played on the beach, walked, and just enjoyed the sunshine. We were cooked in about 3 hours! It was really good to have a day off on Wednesday (which would have been our Grand Cayman stop) to relax and enjoy the activities on the ship. Disembarking: We left our room at 7:50 (green luggage tags) and walked off the ship at 8:00, and were through customs, baggage claim, and in a taxi by 8:45. Note: we were hoping to check our bags at the port (AA, our flight was at 10:52), we couldn't (there was a sign indicating that anyone with a flight before 11:00 could check their bags at the port...but they told us that the bags wouldn't make it to the airport in time so we just took them to curbside check-in at the airport ourselves). We were at the security check-in at the airport by 9:15...1 1/2 hours before our flight (time for homework!). Entertainment: El Gaucho...crazy and so fun to watch. The kids are still talking about his show. Gary Mule Deer and Jeff Jenna (comics/entertainers) were also very good. The ice show was super, with very talented skaters. We didn't take in any other production shows during the week. Final comments/thoughts: Ken Rush was the cruise director...he could really get the crowd going! Captain Bang was back from vacation (when we had our picture with him...as did everyone...he said that he lives in Orlando and had to dodge the three hurricanes during his time off). Johnny Rockets: yes, they do charge $3+ per person. Final thoughts (thought I'd never get there, right?!): The water tasted fine on the ship. Do not fear drinking it. If you are a returning cruiser, make sure you get the coupon booklet from your cabin steward (should be waiting for you in your cabin upon arrival). This was our first time sailing on one of the Voyager Class ships. It was truly an amazing experience for all of us...and yes, we want to "get out there" and do it again! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
The Navigator of the Seas is a GEM! Had a wonderful time. Met a nice group of people (dinner companions -- 3 other couples). Embarkation was a bit slow, but finally got on board ship. Had lunch at the Windjammer Cafe and then toured the ... Read More
The Navigator of the Seas is a GEM! Had a wonderful time. Met a nice group of people (dinner companions -- 3 other couples). Embarkation was a bit slow, but finally got on board ship. Had lunch at the Windjammer Cafe and then toured the ship. Able to go to our cabin within a couple of hours after boarding ship. The cabin was a balcony cabin on deck 10. Previously, we stayed in a Jr. Suite. Room a bit smaller than Jr. Suite but the balcony is a must. Any time we cruise a balcony cabin or above is a must! Cabin steward was there to greet us. Unfortunately, I do not remember his name. He kept the room immaculate. Our dining room seating was the main. Sat with 3 other couples (around the same age as us) from different parts of the United States. Great company! Our Head Waiter, Sommai, was wonderful. He catered to our every whim. He was a hit with all of us. Ports of Call: Nassau, Bahamas -- We arrived on a Sunday and unfortunately a lot of the shops were closed! Felt bad for anyone who was visiting Nassau, Bahamas, for the first time. For us, we had already visited Nassau the year before. Full day at sea. St. Thomas -- From what the locals were saying, this day was one of the hottest! Temperature hit over 100 degrees. Very Hot. Went into town and visited many shops. Back on board ship by lunch time. Too hot to walk around. Enjoyed a quiet day by the pool. Everyone was out touring St. Thomas. San Juan -- Enjoyed the day. Read in a previous review for the same cruise date that people were begging and many were very poor. Yes there were unfortunate people around in San Juan, but you find this in many other of the islands. Walked around San Juan and visited many shops. Back on board by lunch time. Ship was leaving San Juan by 2 p.m. Labadee -- A bit disappointed with this property. Water was dirty and many jelly fish around. Could have been from all the churning in the ocean from the hurricanes a few weeks before. Day at Sea Arrive in Miami -- Leaving the ship took a while. One of the crew members gave out the same color tag to almost all of the ship! So needless to say we were on board for a while. Once we got off to claim our luggage, we stayed around the luggage area for another hour and a half. RCI couldn't find a piece of our luggage. Can't say they were much help. We were getting ready to leave for our flight when lo and behold it appeared! The shows were great. The ice show is a must. The variety shows and comedians were also good. All in all the trip was a plus. Would do it again. Booked another cruise for 10/05 on the newly refurbished and extended Enchantment of the Seas. Looking forward to the trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
The Western Caribbean on the Navigator of the Seas 11/27/04 ~ 12/4/04- what a way to spend our 33rd wedding anniversary. I will only go over some of the highlights of a fantastic cruise. Some of Our Meet and Mingle group met early and it ... Read More
The Western Caribbean on the Navigator of the Seas 11/27/04 ~ 12/4/04- what a way to spend our 33rd wedding anniversary. I will only go over some of the highlights of a fantastic cruise. Some of Our Meet and Mingle group met early and it was fun. Captain Bang and his wife were a pleasure to meet and my wife even won the RCI mouse (which is now on my computer). The ship -- This was our first RCI cruise and the first time on something as large as the Voyager class. The ship is an absolute marvel. I do not feel that you can truly see this beautiful ship in only a week. I can understand why people do repeat sails on her. The E1 balcony cabin was a pleasant surprise. Even with three adults in the room it never felt crowded. We had standard balcony rooms on the Coral Princess and it seemed like there was more room even with the small sofa and coffee table. I also liked the Navigator's shower much better. It had a rounded sliding door vs. the shower curtain (that seemed to have cling appeal, if you know what I mean). The food -- The dining room food was excellent and very good in the Windjammer. The coffee is a brand called Seattle's Best and is pretty strong for my taste. It took me a couple of days to find the right mix of cream and sugar (I normally drink it black). If you do not go to the main dinning you are missing a great experience. Our waiter (from Turkey) and assistant waiter (from Malaysia) were a joy. The highlight of the formal evenings were all of the serving staff singing in chorus. They deserved the standing ovations and provided such memories that you cannot help but smile. The nightly menu provided new experiences and opportunities to expand my tastes. Entertainment -- Ken Rush was the cruise director and proved to be a good host. The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers were outstanding. And do not miss the ice show. You can see that a lot of effort was made to provide a high level of performance. Also of note was the musical performance by Las Vegas' Glenn Smith on day 2. Great!! Summary -- The cruise was extremely comfortable and relaxing. The weather clear and calm, the ports of call were all exciting and offered new adventures (especially Grand Cayman). We will definitely be sailing on RCI again.  Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
My husband and I are in our mid 30's and were looking for a relaxing week without our two small children. It was our anniversary so we really just wanted to hang out with each other. This trip was just what the doctor ordered. It was ... Read More
My husband and I are in our mid 30's and were looking for a relaxing week without our two small children. It was our anniversary so we really just wanted to hang out with each other. This trip was just what the doctor ordered. It was fun and relaxing. Lots of naps, lots of lazy fun. With that in mind, here is my mini review.... Embarkation: The worst part of the whole week. We got to the pier at 12:00 and had to wait outside in the heat for 1 hour before we got into the building. Once inside the building, we had to wait a short time before getting on. Cabin: We had a room on the 6th floor with balcony midship. It was absolutely the perfect location. I would recommend this floor midship we were close to both elevators, the promenade, etc. It was wonderful. The balcony was the best. Definitely worth the extra money. We hung out in the room way more due to it. Nice to drink our bottle of champagne (easily snuck it on) during sail away. The shower did have doors (not curtains). There was plenty of closet space and drawers for the two overpackers that we are. Food: Great. We were on the 4th floor dining room and got a table for 2 (it was our anniversary). The 4th floor was so pretty. The food was very good. Ports of call: Labadee: We waited until about 11 to get on a tender. There was no wait and we went to the island to hang out and have lunch. The island was lovely. Jamaica: We hooked up with a private tour with Peat Taylor. He is the best. It was only $30 a person for a huge new bus and only 6 people. He showed us around the island and then dropped us off at the falls. We climbed the falls. It was excellent. Island Village shopping center (right next to the pier) was very nice. We really did not experience any of the high pressure sales that we had heard about. Grand Cayman: There were 5 or 6 mega ships there (I thought that they were only allowing 2 a day) . They are back in business. Shops were open. Beaches and diving was open. Everything was fine near the port. I would not venture off on your own there though. The island was really destroyed by the hurricane. They were very happy to see people there spending money. Cozumel: Gorgeous. We just got off and shopped for silver and mexican "junk". It was nice. The ship's shopping guide said to go into town for the best deals but the deals on the pier were just as good. The Ship itself: This was our first voyager class trip. The ship was absolutely more amazing that I expected. Wonderful, clean, interesting areas, great art. The promenade was awesome. The crew of the ship were warm and friendly. The ice show was great. If you are booked to go anytime soon, you are in for a fabulous week. Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
Here are some thoughts on our Xmas & New Year's cruise on the Navigator of the Seas -- departed Miami on Friday 12/24/04 for 9 nights. In summary, we (my wife & I plus our son, who turned 9 on the cruise) had a fantastic time. ... Read More
Here are some thoughts on our Xmas & New Year's cruise on the Navigator of the Seas -- departed Miami on Friday 12/24/04 for 9 nights. In summary, we (my wife & I plus our son, who turned 9 on the cruise) had a fantastic time. This won't be a comprehensive review but I wanted to share some experiences that may be valuable to future cruisers. OUTBOUND FLIGHT -- When people discuss flying to the cruise port a day early, they have usually been discussing the risks of missing the ship. Our story adds the risk of cruising without luggage. We arrived in Miami at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening (12/23) on US Airways on flights from Washington National via Charlotte. None of our six bags managed to make the trip with us. (Before I get questions about why 6 bags, we did have snorkel equipment with us and both Xmas and birthday presents for our son....) We were assured by US Airways that our bags would arrive on the next flight and be delivered to our hotel that night. OVERNIGHT -- We stayed at the Holiday Inn -- Port of Miami: convenient to the port and to the Bayside Marketplace -- we had an enjoyable late dinner there. But we were disappointed that they failed to provide a Non-Smoking room as booked. DEPARTURE -- What was planned as a relaxing morning and early arrival at the pier, changed dramatically when we discovered that no bags had been delivered to the hotel as promised..... So I headed to the airport while my wife and son headed over to Macy's (Burdines) ready to start a major shopping expedition. When I got to the airport I found 3 of our bags had arrived too late at night to be delivered to the hotel. Of course that only got us our snorkel equipment and shoes -- so with visions of dressing for 9 nights in RCI logo shirts, my wife got to work. Then at about 11 a.m. two more bags arrived -- apparently they had taken a trip to Raleigh.... That only left me to dress. Just before I was going to leave the airport, US Airways told me that my suitcase had been flown to Miami on American Airlines and they sent someone to track it down on the other side of the airport. But I was not alone, there were a number of ships departing Miami that day and people were arriving on the Friday morning on various airlines without their bags. I don't know how they fared with only a few hours before their ship sailed.... If our bags had not arrived I was told that they could not have been sent on to Haiti (Labadee was our first port of call) and would have joined us in Jamaica -- 4 days into the cruise -- if they were found. From the airport, I took the RCI bus to the port (much easier to let them put the luggage on a truck and not to have to handle it again -- and cheaper than the cab fare @ $11.00). There I met a relieved (but not relaxed) wife and son. She praised the staff in Macy's who were extremely helpful. ADVICE: Make sure you have fully charged mobile phones available for emergencies -- and do travel the day before.... Check-in was relatively uneventful but we boarded too late for lunch -- luckily there are snacks (choice of 3 sandwiches, cookies, cakes, pizza) available 24/7 in the Promenade Cafe. CREW -- Captain: Rick Sullivan; Cruise Director: James Andrews CABIN -- Category E with balcony on the Deck 8 (8266) was fine for the 3 of us -- sufficient storage space for all the things we brought along. Well looked after by our cabin team. Only complaint was that announcements could not be heard in the room -- only emergency messages (lifeboat drill etc) were broadcast and so one didn't know, for example, when tendering had begun unless one propped the door open (the announcements were made in the corridors). INTERNET -- Used the in-room Internet service but thought it was a bit expensive at $150.00 for the 9 days (I believe it is normally $100.00 for 7 days). Connection was dial-up speed but was always available. WiFi was available on the ship in some locations (not cabins) at the same cost as the RCI computers on the 8th floor. MEET & MINGLE -- Although we had 26 signed up and RCI had posted the day/time on their website, no one on the Navigator was notified. But we met anyway! Amazing story from a honeymoon couple who were snowed in at Cincinnati Airport and had been told they wouldn't get a flight to Miami until after the ship left. So they drove 20 hours overnight to make it to the cruise.... SHIPBOARD LIFE -- Even with 3 days at sea, many more things to do than there was time to do them. Mini-golf was a bit windy. Son enjoyed kid's club -- mainly in the evening with Late Night ($5/hour after 10 p.m.) very popular. Casino was not too unkind to me.... FOOD -- Food was good in the main dining room, with special menus on Xmas Day and New Year's Eve. We dined in Portofinos one night and avoided the Caribbean night menu. ADVICE: Book tables early in the specialty restaurants -- they were quickly filled (we were lucky to get a cancellation). ENTERTAINMENT -- Headliners included Charo (on New Year's Eve) and Mickey Dolenz (ex Monkeys). As everyone says, the Ice Show is not to be missed. ADVICE: Do go early to get ice show tickets if you have a preference for seeing a specific show. PORTS -- Everything went according to our revised itinerary (originally we were going to Belize but that was changed to Costa Maya about 3 months ago): Labadee -- relaxing day on the beach (personally preferred it to Coco Cay). Jamaica -- Dunns River Falls and Margaritaville -- what more can one want.... Grand Cayman -- windy so all water excursions were cancelled. I received an email from Captain Marvin's advising this the night before we arrived but people on the ship weren't told until that morning. Cozumel -- Paradise Beach -- very busy but great fun. Costa Maya -- relaxed beach but shopping more expensive than Cozumel. DEPARTURE -- Unlike US airports, Green Card holders had to enter the US with non-citizens. The worst part of the cruise was trying to get a taxi to the airport.... Absolute chaos. Really wish we had booked a bus transfer -- even though a cab was only $21 plus tip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
This was our first RCI cruise. We have been on several other cruise lines but decided that we wanted to give this one a try. I had heard mixed reviews about almost everything as usual. My best friend and her fiance were getting married ... Read More
This was our first RCI cruise. We have been on several other cruise lines but decided that we wanted to give this one a try. I had heard mixed reviews about almost everything as usual. My best friend and her fiance were getting married on St. Thomas so this was a group affair. We arrived in Miami on Friday and played tourist for the night and following morning. We spent the night at the Omni Colonnade in Coral Gables. This was a very beautiful and elegant hotel. Embarkation looked like it was going to be a mess when we got to the port. We were early but there was still a line outside the building. We were approached by an RCI employee who took us and the remainder of the wedding party directly on the ship. We were able to bypass all of the lines and the waiting. This was a blessing for us as we had to carry the wedding dress and tux onboard ourselves. We were able to go directly to our cabins to drop off our things. The cabin was very nice. We had a superior oceanview stateroom. I found this cabin to be roomy enough for the 2 of us with plenty of storage space. The balcony was great. I loved the privacy and the unobstructed view. Our room stewards were named Randolph and Denton. They were great and took good care of us. The rooms were always clean and had fresh ice in the ice bucket and were fully stocked. The ship itself.....WOW! Very impressive and beautiful. The Royal Promenade was great and the parades that they held there were a lot of fun to watch. We did not try the rock climbing wall as it was too windy on the days that we were free to do so. The mini golf course was fun but challenging with the breezes. We enjoyed the Solarium pool and the quietness that it offered. The bar staff was incredible and very helpful. The drinks themselves were great! No skimping there. The onboard activities were many and the selection was good. We went to some of the shows. we liked the ice show and thought that it was well done. Especially with the movement of the ship. The skaters did a great job. The 2 other shows, "All Access" and "Now and Forever," were good but nothing outstanding. I thought that they were your average cruise ship type of shows. I did enjoy them, though. I found Angela, the lead singer, a little lacking and preferred Kristin. We missed the Knudsen Brothers show but did catch Darrell Joyce and found him to be very funny. This ship provided many dining options. I have to say that we tried both alternative restaurants, Chops and Portofino, and were extremely impressed. The food and service were incredible in both and very much worth the $25 pp extra fee. We ate several times at Johnny Rockets and loved the staff there. They were so interactive. The food was always hot and fresh and of good quality. Again, worth the extra pp charge. We ate dinner in the dining room every night but 2. The food ranged from good to average. I think that there is room for improvement in this area. I found that the Tiramisu had a rubbery, marshmallow like texture which I didn't care for but I enjoyed the Creme Brulee. The prime rib was good but the steak just average. I liked the Windjammer Cafe for breakfast and lunch. I thought that there was a decent selection and the food was always hot. We also had sandwiches and pizza at the Cafe Promenade and found them to be very good. This was our usual lunch option. The spa was great and we used it several times. The hot rock massage is the best! We were disappointed when our newlywed friends were unable to have their Rasual treatment that was gifted to them because of mechanical failure and poor planning on the spa's part. All that was offered in return was a mini facial.  We found James, the cruise director to be the best! He was so energetic and interactive with the guests. I don't think that he ever sleeps. He kept us entertained for the entire trip. The variety of activities were endless. Our favorites were the Love & Marriage game as well as Quest. The lounges on board were great. We loved the Two Poets and were spoiled and entertained by Opal. She was the best. We also liked the Cosmopolitan Lounge. It was great to relax and sip a martini while looking out over an amazing view. All in all, We think that this was one of the best cruises that we have taken. I highly recommend RCI and the Navigator of the Seas. We met Capt. Bang and his wife and liked them both. The staff is incredible. No disappointments here! The disembarkation process at the end leaves a lot to be desired. They need to take lessons from the Disney Cruise Line there, but everything else was great! Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
Well were are back and rested. My family , my husband and three children , ages 14, 17 & 17, all went on the cruise. Everything ran very smoothly. Pre cruise: We flew in the day before the cruise left and stayed at the Holiday Inn ... Read More
Well were are back and rested. My family , my husband and three children , ages 14, 17 & 17, all went on the cruise. Everything ran very smoothly. Pre cruise: We flew in the day before the cruise left and stayed at the Holiday Inn port of Miami. The accommodations were nice and all we needed. There were five of us and it was nice that they had a room with two double beds and then a pull out bed. It was directly across from the Bayside Market -- a nice mall and good eating places. Embarkation: Our cabin was on the 10th floor and we waited maybe 20 minutes before they allowed us on the ship . We arrived at the port around 11:00. That seemed to be a good time. Once we were allowed to board it took us another 25 minutes to get checked in and to then get directly onto the ship ... It was all very streamlined. Cabin: We were in a balcony cabin 1532 in the front of the ship. It was wonderful to be able to stand on your balcony and watch as we came into and out of the different ports. I would recommend the balcony for sure ... We will never go again without one. My husband even slept out there on many nights ... Lots of room as far as storage and much more overall space in the room. The shower in the bathroom was nice with plenty of space for two adults and one child. Two women shared this room and we had plenty of room for all our girly things. Ship itself: It was wonderful ... huge and never feeling cramped or crowded ... the pool area was fine, the last day at sea we had a little problem getting a chair but that was our fault because we did not get there early enough to get a chair ... Kids: They enjoyed themselves very much ... The kid's areas are nice but they were mostly for meeting places not really to be in. Food: We were a little disappointed because they did not sit us at dinner with another family. It was just us five so there was no new interaction. We did miss that ... Food was ok but the service made up for the food ... Toward the end of the cruise the food started all tasting the same ... also the buffet was always the same ... midnight buffet was nice and the meal at the pool deck was nice too. Shore excursions: San Juan was not very inviting. We went to Old San Juan and it was dirty and lots of homeless wondering around ... Didn't see anything that I would care to go back and see ... Someone said other parts of the city were better but I do not care to go back. St. Maarten was absolutely beautiful ... I would really like to go back there some day ... the kids liked it too ... the boys bought a diesel watch and they gave them a beer with it ... funny -- we had to take pictures of them holding their watches and their beers ... took a shore excursion called the Rhino Rider -- it was great ... the kids loved it and it was a great day for such a trip ... would recommend it to everyone wanting to get out there ... booked it through shoretrips.com. The only thing it did not include was transportation to the business. That cost about $20.00 each way ... kind of a bummer ... but this site had cheaper rate than the cruise line itself. Disembarkation: Went very, very fast ... We had requested early departure (which ended up being 7 a.m.) and it went very quickly ... The whole process took 15 minutes ... great. Overall feeling of the ship and Royal Car. was it was a wonderful and relaxing trip for ALL of us ... the whole thing is fairly expensive but we will probably not go again for a while -- kids in college and all but we cannot travel in the summer because of our business so this came at a very anticipated and needed time for all of us ... I would really say this ship has something for everyone. We left $ at the casino and loved every minute of it ... good times had by all..... Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
We sailed on Navigator of the Seas on Dec. 4-11. This was our second cruise, our first being 3 years ago on the Carnival Triumph. While we were very satisfied with Carnival, we thought the bigger RCI ships looked pretty neat. Overall, we ... Read More
We sailed on Navigator of the Seas on Dec. 4-11. This was our second cruise, our first being 3 years ago on the Carnival Triumph. While we were very satisfied with Carnival, we thought the bigger RCI ships looked pretty neat. Overall, we thought RCI was a notch above Carnival in many respects. We had a wonderful overall cruising experience and would definitely cruise with RCI again. Embarkation: We decided to fly into Miami the night before which we would highly recommend to anyone. We stayed at Sofitel (very nice hotel-we used Hotwire and got a room for $77) and then took a taxi to the pier (cost about $24 for 4 people). We met a very nice couple from England and split the tab. We got to the pier about 10:30 a.m. and were inside within minutes. We then went through the necessary procedures at the front desk; the first RCI person we ever met was extremely nice, a pattern for the week to come. We had to wait in line for about an hour after we got our cards, etc, because they didn't let the people on the boat until noon. Once they opened the doors though we were on within minutes. We went to our room (an interior room toward the aft of the ship) and found it to be acceptable. The room was set up much better than Carnival and had lots of mirrors which made it look big. We found out it also had a lot of storage space. We always think it's worth saving the money on getting a nicer room because you're hardly in it anyway. We then went to check out the deck. We sunned for a while and then took a run on the running track. A very nice track for the ship, but kind of was an obstacle course on later days when everyone was sunning. We found running on Deck 4 to be much easier even though the signs said to not run there. No one said anything to us, it was in the shade and much less crowded. Our first day was at sea and formal night. They had the first of the Broadway type shows at night which was fabulous!! We thoroughly enjoyed it. Also a plus was that they did not push Bingo before the shows like they did on Carnival, you could go to Bingo in a separate area on the ship if you wanted (we never did). 2nd day we stopped at San Juan. The ship stopped in the afternoon and in retrospect, this was the stop we probably should've arranged for a shore excursion. By the time we got off the ship and to the taxi, it was about 2:30 p.m., with San Juan being an hour ahead at 3:30 p.m. We had wanted to visit the Bacardi Rum Factory but found out that we wouldn't be able to make it there in time before it closed. We instead met a very nice family who we shared a taxi with to downtown and the fort ($3/per person each way). Downtown was nothing special although they did have a Walgreen's which was kind of nice. The Fort was neat and made up for the disappointment of the shopping. 3rd day we stopped in St. Thomas. Beautiful island. We went down to the shopping area by taxi (again something like $6 per person each way) and picked up some rum for a fair price (we found it cheaper later at the pier in St. Maarten though). We also did the necessary hair braiding which took up most of our stop (we also found this probably was cheaper in Nassau but saved the hassling when on the next stops, they saw I already had braids!). Others we talked to went to Magen's Bay and said it was nice. As with all of these islands, we left feeling that we could definitely visit again and have more things to do. 4th day we stopped in St. Maarten. We took a taxi ($5/per person each way) to Orient Beach. There was a big spot to line up just outside the pier so it was very easy to do this on your own. On our first cruise we did some shore excursions and decided this time we'd save the money and go on our own. We generally found it to be much cheaper and much less structured. Orient Beach (clothing optional) was absolutely beautiful. We rented a jet ski for an hour and that was a really neat way to take in the island. We slept on the beach a while and returned to the pier. There were lots of little shops near the pier and this satisfied our shopping for the day (same stuff, different island, basically). We had the 2nd of the Broadway type shows this night (I think, the days run together) and this was as excellent as the first. Singers were amazing, sets and costumes were awesome. Very, very well done. 5th day was another relaxing day at sea. These days were wonderful and allowed us to take in the ship. Another formal night and this time we got tickets (free) to the ice show which was fabulous! Hard to believe something like that can be on a boat, this was definitely worth seeing. 6th day was Nassau and we had a lot of fun going to the Straw Market. That's our kind of shopping though, bargaining. We got some good deals and the necessary souvenirs, bought some more rum and then headed back to the ship. If you don't like being hassled, this might not be the place for you. We found out toward the end it was best to tell them how much money you had left and they'd get the price down to where you wanted it (we really only did have as much left as we told them, though). 7th day we were back in Miami. We had packed up the night before and waited around, sadly, for our colors to be called. It took about an hour after our colors were called to be completely through customs and off to the airport. Food: Was absolutely excellent the entire time. We never tried Chops or Portofino because the dining room food was so good. Even Windjammer was very good with their buffets (hard to believe they can cook so well for so many people). And the little cafe on the Promenade also had good food to snack on. We tried Ben and Jerry's, it was okay but not really worth the extra money. We also tried Johnny Rockets, same thing, good onion rings and sundaes, but not really worth the $3.95/per person cover charge when the other food was so good. The drinks were not too spendy and we found they were mixed very generously which made them worth their money. Service: Was very good as well. We found that we didn't get to know our waiters quite as well as the last cruise, but found the staff to generally be very attentive, helpful, courteous and making sure everyone was satisfied. Our stateroom attendants were excellent and provided the necessary towel entertainment each night. It was amazing how they could slip in and out 4-5 times a day and make sure everything was neat and clean. Made it hard to come home and pick up after ourselves again! Entertainment: Awesome. See comments above. We found this to be much better than Carnival. Also the games were very good and RCI gave away some nice gifts rather than the plastic gifts on Carnival. The cruise director, James Andrews, was very funny and very good at his job. We saw him around the ship all the time. The parades on the Promenade were also very neat, we thought it would've been neat to have one of the rooms that overlooked the Promenade for these. The mini golf was fun. We didn't experience the casino, Bingo, rock climbing wall, spa, gym or kid's programs so can't speak to those things. The kids did a fun program at the supper meal one night. We were amazed that all the kids seemed generally happy; maybe this was due to the fun stuff they had on board for the kids. We were happy to have left ours at home, however. Overall, we did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews before going on this cruise. Our overall impression is that the people that have so much to complain about really must have much higher expectations than we did or they are looking for things to complain about. When we sat down to think about it, we were hard pressed to think of anything to even complain about. It's all what you make of it and what your attitude is. RCI was awesome, the ship was just beautiful and very clean and we would definitely sail with RCI again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
December 11 - 18 2004 This was my third cruise and my wife's first. First time on RCI. Wanted to go on the biggest ship out there. Mid 30's and left the kids at home. Active couple. Purchased tickets through a company ... Read More
December 11 - 18 2004 This was my third cruise and my wife's first. First time on RCI. Wanted to go on the biggest ship out there. Mid 30's and left the kids at home. Active couple. Purchased tickets through a company recommended on on the discussion boards. We saved around $70 per person. This was before the new pricing so not sure if that is still the case. I used Travelocity to find the room and deck. You have to know what you want. Embarkation: We flew down in the morning from Atlanta. We picked up our bags at 11:40 and we were at our stateroom by 12:40. Skip the RCI transfer option and take a cab-it's $21 and is faster. When you get to the terminal you will stand in line according to your deck number. If possible try to get behind other US citizens checking in. It is faster. I used an expired passport and the wife used her birth certificate. No problems. Also at check-in you will be given your Sea Pass card. The size of a credit card, you will need to keep it with you at all times on and off the ship. Cash is used only at the Casino on the ship. Every drink, T-shirt, and excursion you purchase is charged to this card. Do yourself a favor and go by the Purser's desk as soon as you board and deposit some cash to your account. You'll be glad you did. We boarded the ship and went to our room. Deck 8 room 343. Great location, 3 decks up to pool and 4 down to dinning room. Very quiet area during our cruise. The ship had signs up requesting that people wait until 1 p.m. to enter their room but ours was ready for occupancy. No problem bringing on 6 airline size bottles of rum. Room: We went on this cruise to visit various ports and stay as busy as possible. The inside cabin worked great for us. It is very dark (good for napping) and there is no alarm clock. You can use the phone for wake up calls. Lots of room for storage, luggage fits under bed. There is a safe for your valuables and a small fridge that is stocked with expensive food. Have your attendant take it away so there is enough room to put your own purchases in there. Ship: What a beautiful ship. Loved the Promenade and the parties they would have there. Very clean. Shows were fun. We spent most of our time on the rock climbing wall, ice skating, rollerblading or soaking up the sun when we were on board. The rock climbing wall is open every day but it is weather dependent. Go to the beginner's rock climbing class on the first day. Jonathon and mates very helpful. Food: To be up front we did not go on the cruise for the food we were more interested in the ports to be visited. That said, I thought the food in the main dining room (we only ate there for dinner) was above average and the portions were just right. The Windjammer buffet is, well, a buffet. Trying to feed 3000 people a day does not lend itself to the most enjoyable food. Some people were surprised that the food they just ate at the dinning room the night before was now being served at the Windjammer. What else are they going to do with it. With the limitations that are placed on the Windjammer I think they did the best they could. The food was always hot and the service was good. Staff: Did not meet an unpleasant staff member. After the first night the Asst. waiter remembered that I like two sourdough rolls. Cabin steward made cute animals out of the towels every night during turndown. The monkey is the best. James Andrews, Cruise Director, is very funny and energetic. He knows how to get a room going. Ports: Visited the private island in Labadee. Go to the beach near dragon's tail for a little peace and quiet. We booked all of our excursions ourselves. If you are reading this board you will have no problem finding good guides. Visited Ocho Rios, and spent half the day with Phil Layfateee. Good guy and good value. Don't miss Margaritaville at the port. Onto the Cayman Islands. High winds and rough water canceled the RCI outing to Stingray City. We went on the Buccaneer and had no problems. In Cozumel did the 2-stop snorkel trip with Eagle Ray Divers and then went shopping and played mini-golf the rest of the time. I'll expand more in the proper sections. Always agree on a price of a taxi before you get in. Embarkation: They ask you to be out of your room by 8 a.m. You have the option of hanging out in the Studio B or the Metropolis lounge. The night before you will be given color-coded tags for your bags based on the time of your flight departure. Place them in the hallway the night before you leave. We were red because we had a 1:54 flight. They called our color about 10:30 and we headed aft to exit the ship. I did not see anyone verifying tag colors and I wonder if you could exit earlier. You would have to wait for your luggage though. Breezed through immigration with my expired passport. Took the wife an extra 30 seconds because she was using birth certificate. Baggage claim was a mess. There are 3 baggage claim areas. They told us ours would come in on 1 and it actually came in on 3. It doesn't hurt to look around. We were flying American and I had heard that they had a luggage check-in at the terminal. Was not able to find it. Another $21 back to the airport and we had our tickets and bags screened by noon. Then our flight was delayed an hour and a half. Welcome back to reality. Read Less
Sail Date December 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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