2,364 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

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 12/04/04 Eastern Caribbean itinerary Background on my cruising experience. Twenty-four cruises of which sixteen have been on Carnival. This was my third cruise on RCI but my first seven-day RCI cruise and my first ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas 12/04/04 Eastern Caribbean itinerary Background on my cruising experience. Twenty-four cruises of which sixteen have been on Carnival. This was my third cruise on RCI but my first seven-day RCI cruise and my first Voyager class. You will find that throughout my review that I will make many comparisons to Carnival, as that is the line that I have cruised most. Pre Cruise - Arrived in Miami on Thursday 12/02 to enjoy some rest and relaxation before the cruise. For me there is no better place to cruise out of than Miami. The city has the feel that gets the juices flowing for a Caribbean cruise and to recharge your batteries plus the views of sailing out of Government Cut is outstanding. We stayed at the Biscayne Bay Marriott which IMO has some of the best views of the port. Always ask for a bay view room. The hotel was booked full as the Virginia Tech football team and fans were staying at this location for the big game against the Hurricanes. Needless to say there was a lot of partying going on in the lounges. The hotel is just a short ride over to Bayside Marketplace by taxi or one could use the Metro Mover, which has a station just across the street from the hotel. Another relaxing thing to do is take one of the boat rides offered at Bayside of the Miami area. The ride lasts about one and a half-hours and the cost was $16.00 per person. Embarkation - I have to say that I have had much better embarkations but most of this was not the fault of RCI as immigration has new procedures in place as a trial in Miami. All passengers must now be cleared through immigration as they disembark the ship, which can hold up the next cruise as it did ours. The Navigator did not clear on the 4th until approx. 12:30. My problem with RCI was one lady that was identified according to her name badge as a team leader but really did not have her act together at all. I almost put her on the edge of being rude also. Since we were booked in a suite we were able to use the special check-in room. I believe it is called the Chairman's Club or something like that but it was very very crowded and the late ship clearance did not help matters at all. RCI needs to make some adjustments on that issue if the late ship clearance matter does not correct itself. Fellow passengers - I would say that we had a great group of passengers on this sailing. It was a good mix going from young to old. I would guess that we had around 150-200 kids on board and they were all very well behaved. It seems that RCI does a great job in keeping them entertained, as I did not see them running around the ship at all. I also noticed that most people on here adhered to the dress code each day. A nice change. Ship - What can I say about this ship but "WOW." The pictures that I had seen prior to the cruise did not do this ship justice. She is something else. Unlike anything that I have ever cruised on before. What I liked about this ship was the subdued interior. It is soothing but stimulating in a good way. It does not scream back at you like most of the Carnival ships that I have been cruised. The Royal Promenade was awesome. The heartbeat of the ship. There was always something going on and I had read on this board that RCI does not go late into the night with their entertainment. That was not the case on this cruise. I have been on Carnival ships where the sidewalks were rolled up by eleven or so. I know a lot has to do with the passenger make up for each particular week but the different lounge venues were going strong and late into the night. The ship was clean in all areas. For a ship that is two years old she looked as though she has just arrived from the shipyard. I always saw cleaning going on throughout the ship both inside and out. It is obvious to me that RCI does work hard to keep their ships in great shape. I also think that Captain Bang and his crew take great pride in the Navigator and it shows. Again this is not the case with Carnival or at least what I have experienced on my cruises with them. They need to work harder on keeping their ships in better condition. Cabin - We were booked into cabin #1694, which is a Junior Suite located on deck ten aft. The balcony alone is reason to book this location on the ship. I would estimate the balcony measured somewhere around 15 x 15 and was completely covered to keep out bad weather. If you are a sun worshiper then this is not the cabin for you. There is some metal framework that one sees when looking out but it did not take away from the view at all. There was three chaise lounge chairs along with two straight chairs and a dining table on the balcony. When looking down, one looks directly upon the cabin balconies on decks eight and nine. They have no privacy at all. I could not see myself booking one of those at all. I would compare this cabin between a category eleven and twelve suite on Carnival. The room itself was about the same size as a category twelve on Carnival but the bathroom was about the size of a category eleven. There is more than enough room to move around comfortably. The room has a nice sofa that makes into a full size bed and also a chair and ottoman. Also more than enough storage room in the cabin. The TV was a little disappointing that they do not get the major networks like Carnival. They do get ESPN International, CNN and several other stations. They also showed Sunday afternoon, Sunday night and Monday night football in the cabins. Food - I have cruised enough that I no longer enjoy the regiment of having to be at dinner at a certain time so I did not eat in the formal dining room once. I cannot tell you how the food was in this area. We chose to eat at the Windjammer each night with the exception of one night at Johnny Rocket's. I found the breakfast to be along the line of other cruise lines. Your staple of eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. I have yet to find a cruise line that does a good breakfast buffet. It was good but nothing to rave about. Lunch in the Windjammer was good and the choices were very good. This is one area that I felt that Carnival had improved upon with the addition of their Spirit class of ships and RCI matches them in every way. Dinner was also very good in the Windjammer. This is one area where I noticed a huge difference between Carnival and RCI. On Carnival, if one chooses to dine in their casual "Seaview Bistro," one may feel that they are being punished for not eating in the main dining room, as the selections are not good at all. On RCI, you had the choice of Jade for Asian food or the Windjammer, which gave many selections to choose from. Many of the items offered here were the same items being offered in the main dining room. I must also give kudos to RCI for making the dress code in the Windjammer stricter than other lines. No bathing attire, bare feet and one must wear a shirt. Nothing like trying to eat lunch with someone walking in from the pool dripping wet without shoes and shirt. Kind of takes away one's appetite to see a hairy shirtless man leaning over the buffets to get his food. RCI's pizza needs some work. Carnival wins here hand down. It was edible but did not make you want to go back for more. Johnny Rocket's was great and yes I did notice a difference in the quality of the burgers in JR's compared to the Windjammer. Much more juicy and fresh. The onion rings were great. There is a $3.95 cover charge, which includes your food, and drinks are extra. I found that the cover charge had not hurt JR's business. We ate there three times for lunch and once for dinner. Great apple pie too. Also for the ones that get hungry at the odd times of the day or night, the ship has food available almost around the clock on the Promenade deck at the Cafe Promenade. They have small sandwiches, pizza and desserts such as cookies and pie. There is a Ben and Jerry's next door along with Seattle's Best coffee. Room Service - Used room service twice for breakfast. Both times I made the order out and placed on the door the night before. You can also order room service for breakfast and snacks on your TV. One can get hot breakfast items such as omelets, eggs, bacon and sausage delivered to your cabin. Again not something that Carnival offers. You let room service know what thirty-minute time frame you would like your ordered delivered. They will call prior to delivery to make sure that you are ready. Worked like a charm both times. I did not use them any other time but you can also have hamburgers, cheeseburgers and pizza delivered. Dinner can be ordered between seven and nine in the evening. The dinner menu is shown on your TV and has pretty much the same items as what is being served in the main dining room from what I was told. No lobster though. Entertainment - I found the entertainment to be on par with what I have experienced on Carnival. Both of the major production shows "Now and Forever" and "All Access" were very good. RCI uses four singers in their shows and it gives a little more variety overall to the show IMHO. I do like the theatre on this ship. No bad sight lines and poles that got in the way. Felt more open too. The comedian Darrell Joyce that I saw was really good and did a great late night show also. One of the headliners during the week was the "Knudsen" brothers. Again an awesome act. My favorite spot on the ship was the Two Poets Pub. One person in that bar was awesome. Her name is Opal who is from the Ocho Rios area of Jamaica. She was great. Funny and really knows how to take care of her customers. She looks just like the comedian Wanda Sykes. The piano person in the Schooner bar did a great job at impersonating a bad lounge singer. Man was he bad. Not sure how anyone could sit in there and listen to him for any great length of time. The ship holds two parades on the Promenade deck. The first is a Bon Voyage theme and the second one was a Mardi Gras theme. I only saw the first one and it was great. They also had two of the production singers do a small concert on the Promenade deck one evening to summertime songs and again very well done. To me there was always something going on at some place and time. Not sure how anyone could be bored on this ship. I did not go to the skating shows as I refuse to stand in line to wait for tickets to be given out. Karaoke was held in the Ixtapa lounge and was well attended. The Viking Crown's Cosmopolitan club is a great place to enjoy a pre dinner drink. Ali the bartender makes some great drinks. This is also a jazz lounge in the evening. Cruise Director - Our cruise director was James Andrews. He was not the best that I have seen but one of the most enthusiastic. I saw him out and about the ship more than I have seen any other CD. I found that he is not one of those CDs who likes to pat himself on the back and only come out to do the shows in the evening. He does get involved in what is going on with his crew. Bar Service - In one word -- Outstanding!!! The quality of drinks was better than I have ever had on any other ship. They are not stingy with the alcohol at all. Service was great in all bar areas inside the ship and out. Crew - Ok, this is where I noticed the major difference between Carnival and RCI. The service that we received on this ship regardless of the location was nothing short of excellent. Our room steward introduced herself on the first day and kept the room spotless the entire time. Any request was met with a smile and taken care of. The cabin was always made up after returning from breakfast. Every crew member that we encountered smiled and spoke and they seemed genuine in their response. The crew in JR's and the Windjammer were very attentive. The crew at the Guest Relations desk could give training to some other cruise lines about how to treat their guests. I just cannot praise the crew enough on this ship. I think that it starts with the Captain and works it way down. Disembarkation - Not bad but a definite change with the Immigration rules. The evening prior to your departure you will receive information regarding the disembarkation process. I like that RCI lets you know what time to expect your color luggage tags to be called. We were off of the ship at around 8:00 and were the fourth color to be called. Once off of the ship is where the hang up occurs. In Miami, Immigration is testing a new procedure where everyone must now stop at one of the six desks set up to clear. You will form two lines once off of the ship. They did not separate U.S citizens from non-U.S citizens either. This can hold up the process as non U.S citizens have to be fingerprinted and photographed in addition to showing the proper identification. It took about twenty minutes to stand and clear Immigration once off of the ship. I spoke to someone with RCI and they are trying to get more agents to help clear the ship faster. Six agents for 3400-3500 people can take some time. This is why the embarkation for the next group of cruisers is being held up. Again, not the fault of any cruise line. Their hands are tied on this issue. I guess if it makes us a safer country then the wait is not that bad. In closing my review, I have to say that this cruise ranks at the top of my list as the overall experience was nothing short of outstanding. This was the first time that I did not feel like I was being nickel and dimed to death by constant announcements for inch of gold, Bingo and art auctions. Sure they were available for the ones who wanted to participate but they were not being shoved in my face. No Bingo and lottery tickets being sold before the shows at night. RCI actually makes it feel like a night out. I also liked the fact that the ship was not littered with photo stations causing major traffic jams. This is what I have grown to dislike about Carnival. In your face and constant hands out for money on board. I rebooked the same ship again while on board for the same week next December due to the fact that I liked this one so much. I will still go back to Carnival every once in a while but my main focus will now be with RCI. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
DAY 1 -- SAILED FROM MIAMI 12/11/2004 - 12/18/2004. We are a couple in our early 40's and we traveled with another couple in the same age bracket from Minnesota. We arrived in Miami on Thursday, Dec 9, 2004 in the afternoon. We ... Read More
DAY 1 -- SAILED FROM MIAMI 12/11/2004 - 12/18/2004. We are a couple in our early 40's and we traveled with another couple in the same age bracket from Minnesota. We arrived in Miami on Thursday, Dec 9, 2004 in the afternoon. We stayed at a friends house on Thursday and then we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott-Miami Beach Oceanfront on Friday night. Very Nice Hotel. Checked out the area and South Beach -- was not all that impressed. SAT., DEC 11, 2004 -- We arrived at the pier at approximately 12:30 p.m. No wait at all (I had read other very recent reviews from other members that said they arrived and had to wait 1 hour to get in). However we were on the ship by 1:00 p.m. -- very very smooth. What a wonderful ship. WOW!!!! This ship is the very largest that we have ever been on. Two years ago we went on the RCI Radiance of the Seas (what a charming boat she is also -- actually liked it better) leaving from San Juan to the Eastern Caribbean. This is lots larger & very much wider. Absolutely Splendid! We had lunch at the Windjammer (very good). The rest of the day we got ourselves acquainted with the ship. We had dinner in the dinning room in which the food was always VERY GOOD. Went to the show TJ McCormack, comedy and Kristian Kristoff, juggler. Good Show. Slept Very Good. DAY 2, SUNDAY DEC 12, 2004, Day AT SEA -- Had breakfast in our room. We watched some competitions, played Bingo (my husband won $190, and tried our luck in the casino. Had dinner in the dining room and as always VERY GOOD. Did not go to show heard it was good though. We did check out the "Karaoke Idol Search." That was fun. Slept Even Better. DAY 3, MONDAY DEC. 13, 2004 LABADEE, HISPANOLA -- Had breakfast in the Windjammer. It was GREAT. Tendered in and I was scared of the 3000+ people to be tendered. There was a line both ways but went fast and organized. They had very large tender ferries. Kind of impressed. We were also worried that the were going to be 3000+ people let off on some waterfront property and that is was going to be very crowded. We did not sign up for the exploration to go to a private beach. But when we got there we got a great spot next to the water kind of shady opposite the ship. Then we moved back to the ship side of the island and went swimming. Both were wonderful and not that crowded. BBQ was GOOD. I had a massage -- OOH SO wonderful -- THESE SHIPS ALWAYS HAVE THE GREATEST MASSAGES. Had dinner in the dining room and as always VERY GOOD. Did not go to show. Just hung out (there are so many places to just hang out). Slept Great Again. DAY 4, TUESDAY DEC 14, 2004 OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA -- Had breakfast in the dining room -- GREAT. What a Super Beautiful Island. I was very impressed with Jamaica. I would go back and stay at least in Ocho Rios. I would like to visit Negril and Montego Bay. Get out and enjoy the island. We grabbed a cab from Mr. Cool. He was a super guy and we felt comfortable with him. He took us around and then we went to the "Bob Marley" place. It is about 50 miles away. Our friends like his music. We did not know much about it, but his music just fits the island so well that we were now MARLEYED. Then we went back to the pier area and shopped a bit and went to the ship. We had dinner in the dining room again and as always it was VERY GOOD. Did not go to the show. We did go to the "Love & Marriage Show" and as always it was funny. We checked out the "Mardi Gras Parade" in the Promenade. We went to the buffet by the pool. It looked great but we were not hungry. Slept Great As Always. DAY 5, WEDNESDAY DEC 15, 2004 GRAND CAYMAN -- Can't remember where we had breakfast but it was always great. We had a shore excursion scheduled for today "Cockatoo Catamaran." It was canceled because it was very windy this day. WOW, this area was totally wrecked from the storms in Sept. They also dumped WAY WAY too many people from cruise ships in a pretty small area of higher buck shopping. I believe there were 5-6 ships in this port. We got a taxi and went to "Hell." What a tourist trap...skip it. Actually, I probably would skip the entire port and stay on the ship! Then we went back to the ship. Had dinner in the dining room as always. OOH VERY GOOD. Did not go to the show. We were going to go to "Win a Cruise Bingo" but we got there too late. Tried our luck at the casino. Went to bed and slept one more wonderful night. DAY 6, THURSDAY DEC 16, 2004 COZUMEL, MEXICO -- Last Stop.....(about now you start feeling like your vacation has gone way too fast.. Our friends love to shop in Mexico for Bling Bling. We shopped most of the day. Not nearly enough time to see the area and shop. Had to be back at the ship. Would love to visit longer one day. Looked very nice. We had a authentic taco at a stand on one of the side streets, I can't remember where but it was GREAT. Then we had dinner at "Shrimp Bucket." We had gone to one in Mazatlan and it was good but this one was not that good. Did not go to dinner in the dining room but went later in the evening to the Windjammer. It was GREAT. I don't think I mentioned before but the Cafe Promenade has the GREATEST little sandwiches and cookies that I ever saw, and did I mention coffee? WOW IT'S THE GREATEST. We were late but saw most of the show "Paul Boland." He was GREAT. Tried our luck in the casino, hung out and went to bed and slept one more wonderful night. I am now loving to go to bed and sleep so wonderfully. DAY 7, FRIDAY DEC 17, 2004, DAY AT SEA -- Oh How Very Sad....All Good Things Must Come To An End. We had breakfast in our room and as always it was GREAT. We went to Bingo in the a.m. and p.m. The jackpot was like $5200 and was won in the p.m. on Friday. My husband won about $250. There were wonderful pot sizes on this ship. Packed some in the afternoon. Went to dinner in the dining room -- as always it was VERY GOOD. Went to the show, Glenn Hirsh, comedy and Kristian Kristoff, juggler. Very, very good show. We went to the Final Karaoke Idol. This was also very, very good. Tried our luck at the casino, my husband also won $125 and went back to our room to pack some more. Went to bed about 1:00 a.m. Even though it was short the sleep was what I had grown to expect. DAY 8, MIAMI -- We had scheduled a shore excursion to go to "Everglades Safari Tour" therefore we had grey luggage tags that means 2nd off after suites. We had to meet by 7:30 a.m. We had breakfast in the Windjammer -- it was GREAT. Getting off was just as smooth as getting on. At the end of the excursion we were dropped off at the airport. We flew out at 4:00 p.m. This was a wonderful ship. I can't believe they are introducing one in 2006 that is 90 feet longer. WOW. The staff was generally very good. Room was very nice size. Our shower, however, leaked through the gasket for most of the week. They did change it about mid week but then the drain started slowing way down. By Sat a.m. we had to take an RV shower or fear that the water would now probably reach the carpet. I would recommend this ship to anyone, but expect that there are times that you feel the 3000+ people. At its size there are bound to be times you might feel like there are a lot of people -- like pictures on formal nights! I did enjoy the smaller number of people on the Radiance of the Seas and the Eastern Caribbean much better. For some reason there are almost NO public trash cans. I found this annoying. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
Navigator of the Seas - Western Caribbean Sail Date: 2004 12 11 Remember that each review is a representation of personal experiences and our likes and dislikes may not be yours. This was our 6th cruise and 2nd with RCI. The ship is ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas - Western Caribbean Sail Date: 2004 12 11 Remember that each review is a representation of personal experiences and our likes and dislikes may not be yours. This was our 6th cruise and 2nd with RCI. The ship is the most fascinating ship we have seen to date. The ship is beautiful from the outside and inside and really smooth sailing. Who would imagine a mall like The Promenade that is 4 decks high with a pub, coffee shop and various shops. The service on the ship was excellent! Nothing more to say! The food was good to very good. There is a good selection of items on the menu for dinner. One night at dinner we causally mentioned to our waiter that we like Indian cuisine. Right then and there, he arranged an Indian entrEe to be prepared for us for the next evening. The meal was very good. Now that is service. We had our breakfast and lunch on deck 11 buffet. Plenty of choices, you will not go hungry. The entertainment was excellent! The main theater shows, ice show, bands, parades in the Promenade were all excellent. One area for improvement will be the availability of fluids. On the sun decks, you can only get bar service. Many other ships have lemonade, ice tea and water available from self serve fountains. On the Navigator you need to go the to deck 11 buffet to get free lemonade and ice tea. Also, if you asked for ice tea or lemonade outside of the dinning room or buffet, a charge would apply. Disappointing for RCI to penny-pinch like that! Our excursion in Cozumel to the mainland was not a good experience. The ferry to the mainland and back was rough and made some passengers seasick. The trip is about 35-50 minutes long with about 500 passengers depending on which ferry was used. On the return, depending on which excursion was booked you were dropped off in downtown Cozumel and then at your expense, take a taxi to the ship. Others had to wait for the 6:00 p.m. ferry to Cozumel then transfer to another ferry which took us to the ship. The ship was to leave at 7:00 p.m. but waited until we arrived at 7:15 p.m. Thank goodness the excursion was booked with the ship otherwise, the ship would have left us behind! And last but not least the Cruise Critic group. What a great group of new friends! As the group was more than 25, RCI arranged a gathering for us where we had a chance to meet everyone and also meet the captain. Great vacation, fantastic ship, made new friends and booked the Mariner Of The Seas for May 2005! Simon & Toni - simon_toni@hotmail.com Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
Bottom line - We loved our trip! We came down the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Worked out fine - not deluxe of course, but clean and well located. Bayside marketplace is good for a little shopping, etc. Cafe con ... Read More
Bottom line - We loved our trip! We came down the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami. Worked out fine - not deluxe of course, but clean and well located. Bayside marketplace is good for a little shopping, etc. Cafe con Leche makes great sandwiches, etc. Embarkation was fine - went quickly and our cabin was ready at noon when we came on board. Our cabin steward Shurma was the BEST! She was on her way home before coming back to get on to the Freedom of the Seas. So if you sail that ship and end up with Shurma - you're in for a treat! We had an inside cabin - 8337. Great location. Near aft elevators and stairwell - easy access to the Promenade and Deck 11 - where we spent most of our time. Our asst waiter Daniel and waiter Suresh were a wonderful team. They read us well and were quick to meet all of our needs without being over the top. We were sad to leave them. Other ship highlights - BOLEROS!!!!!! That was our nightly hangout and general meeting place. Great latin band for salsa and meringue. The bar staff, Adrian, Stephen and Leonardo were so much fun and the drinks were tasty! Definitely stop by there on a regular basis! The cruise director was Ken Rush - great guy. Friendly and funny, but not too much. You felt like he was a genuine guy and a great host. His staff is great too - Abe, Paul and Scalley made all of the trivia and scavenger hunt activities a lot of fun. Definitely attend - you'll meet some great people and have a lot of fun. As far as ports go - First stop, Labadee. This is the private beach in Haiti. Very green and lush. Nice beaches, though very rocky. When I read about the need for water shoes from other reviews, I thought that the reviewer may be a bit wimpy - boy was I wrong! I ended up wearing my flip flops in the water - definitely need them! I would say this is an OK stop - not great, but not bad either Ocho Rios - This was our second time to Jamaica, but first for my mom and niece so we wanted to go to the falls. We ended up using Island Charters for a Catamaran trip to the falls. Great choice. It was a nice alternative to driving there. After boarding the catamaran, we picked up a group from Sandals and went back to the bay area near the ship to make a snorkeling. Now i was pretty skeptical because I wondered what kind of snorkeling there would be a stone's throw from where our ship was docked - but I was pleasantly surprised! We saw some great coral and a variety of fish and the water was nice and calm. We spent about 30 minutes there and then went to the falls. Beautiful arrival at the foot of the falls and even though it was raining - everyone had a great time. Some in our group did the actual climb and the rest walked up the side and got in the falls along the way for some swimming and great pictures. The ride back was sunny and filled w/ beer, rum punch and water. I highly recommend this trip! Grand Cayman - We used Nativeway for the second time to go to Stingray City. We love them - great service - our ship tendered a bit late, but they still got us out there. We ran out of film on our underwater camera - and they had one for us. My mom and niece and husband hadn't been to Stingray City before. My husband had a great time - my mom was nervous, but enjoyed it (for a short time!) and my niece would not let go - though she did get in the water, so I was proud of her! We never usually buy the pictures or DVD's of the excursions, however, the VIP photo service photographer took GREAT shots of our experience. I recommend that you take a look at the photos they take before you make your decision. We spent about 55 bucks on about 8 pictures. Nassau - This was the replacement for Cozumel and is not one of our favorites. However, we tried to have an open mind. We were only in port from 11 to 6, so we got on the public bus to Cable Beach ($1) and took a ride out to the Wyndam. They are very liberal about cruise ship passengers using their pool and beach facilities as long as you are purchasing food and beverages. The beach was surprisingly better than I had anticipated and the vendors and staff were very friendly. The pool was freezing though! But it had a nice water slide. We purchased some necklaces from the ladies on the beach and my niece got her hair braided - $2 per braid. There were parasailing operators there as well - very nice guys - $50 for 10 minutes. We didn't go, but if I went back - I'd use them. We went back into port via cab - 5 bucks per person - much shorter ride back. Did a bit of shopping - they've really cleaned up the downtown area - a lot nicer then when we were there before. We loved the Navigator and were surprised that we didn't feel more crowded. Never had an issue around the pool finding seating - great service - nice food - loved the experience! Read Less
I guess I will start from the beginning. Embarkation: This process was quite painless. It probably took us an hour at the most all together. It moved quickly. We were on the ship by 2:00 or so and had plenty of time to explore and have ... Read More
I guess I will start from the beginning. Embarkation: This process was quite painless. It probably took us an hour at the most all together. It moved quickly. We were on the ship by 2:00 or so and had plenty of time to explore and have something to eat. San Juan, Puerto Rico: San Juan was probably one of the most beautiful ports to pull into. You have an awesome view of San Cristobal Fort. We didn't do a whole lot here. We walked around old San Juan for a little bit and we toured San Cristobal Fort. It started to rain so we went back to the ship. St. Thomas: We took the Turtle Cove Excursion. It was wonderful. The people who run the Doubloon were great. We were able to see a few Green Sea Turtles as well as some fish. The weather was great that day. St. Maarten: St. Maarten will always be my favorite port. We have been on vacation there for a whole week before. I can't say enough good things about it. The weather was great, the island is beautiful, and the people are friendly. We just did some shopping and had lunch at the Barefoot Terrace. Nassau, Bahamas: This was a let down for me. Maybe it was because it was cold, I'm not sure. The people were not that friendly and overall it just didn't impress me very much. Frankly, I could do without this port. The ship: What can you say except -- BEAUTIFUL!!! We had the main sitting in the Nutcracker dining room. This was the most beautiful dining room I've seen. The food was wonderful both in the main dining room and in the Windjammer. I have no complaints. Our head waiter, waiter and assistant waiter were great. They made our dinners quite enjoyable. There was so much to do on this ship. I climbed the rock wall and we played miniature golf. I didn't even get to enjoy all the ship had to offer. I would not cruise in January again only because of the weather. The seas were rough and the days at sea were overcast and very windy. We usually cruise in April or May and the weather is always perfect. Royal Caribbean's staff never lets me down. Everyone was friendly and always greeted us. They would always ask us how we were enjoying our vacation. I would recommend this ship to anyone and everyone. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
Nights in Miami Prior -- We stayed 2 nights at The Hyatt Regency. A little worn out for a Hyatt. We got a 50% discount so it wasn't bad for the price we paid, however I would have been very disappointed if I paid the $225 rack rate. ... Read More
Nights in Miami Prior -- We stayed 2 nights at The Hyatt Regency. A little worn out for a Hyatt. We got a 50% discount so it wasn't bad for the price we paid, however I would have been very disappointed if I paid the $225 rack rate. Embarkation and Disembarkation -- We had an easy time. Was the fastest I have ever experienced. We were on the Mariner the previous year and found this ship to be almost identical. Our suite was perfect for the three of us with lots of closet space. Food -- Dining room fare was a little bit below average as it had been on the Mariner as well. Chops and Portofino were both excellent!!! Entertainment -- Comedian and Piano Player were Yuck ... Other shows better and all other lounges were great! Ports -- We had great weather all days. Did Dunns River Falls for the first time and had a blast. Visited "Sea Grape" beach in Grand Cayman and loved it, but also visited "Paradise" beach in Cozumel and thought this place was great. Highly recommend! Kid's Clubs -- My son is eleven and we couldn't get him out of the Kid's Club -- he raves that it is better than Disney's. Final Note -- We had the best time -- traveled with friends and family which added to the cruise. RCI is a great line for EVERYONE to have a great time. The ship is so much FUN and there is always action to be found. We sailed previously on other lines, but found that at 10 p.m. it was "dead" on board. We switched to RCI last year and we will continue to cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
OVERVIEW: My partner and I have recently returned from an Atlantis Events gay charter cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's "Navigator of the Seas". This was our second cruise with Atlantis, our first one being in March of 2003 on ... Read More
OVERVIEW: My partner and I have recently returned from an Atlantis Events gay charter cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's "Navigator of the Seas". This was our second cruise with Atlantis, our first one being in March of 2003 on Norwegian Cruise Lines "Norwegian Sky" - now renamed the "Pride of Aloha" and working out of Hawaii. In comparison there were many similar things and many different things. Keeping in mind that this was a charter cruise by Atlantis Events our experience aboard the Navigator of the Seas would be different than your usual sailing. EMBARKATION: Our arrival at the pier and the time it took to get on the ship was extremely quick and efficient. It only took about 20 minutes from the time we arrived at the pier to embarking the ship. THE SHIP ITSELF: Royal Caribbean's "Navigator of the Seas" Absolutely Incredible! We knew that this was one of the largest cruise ships in the world and we had read much about it and seen other peoples photos of it prior to sailing, but once you are at the pier yourself and look up and see how massive it really is and then get aboard to explore it for yourself, you are totally amazed. It is said by Royal Caribbean that if you stood this ship on its end that it would be as tall as the Empire State Building. There are so many areas of this ship that it literally takes you several days to see it all. There are so many venues to go to and it is absolutely breathtaking to see what Royal Caribbean has done in designing and building these ships. There is so much attention to details. The 8.5 million dollars of artwork alone throughout this ship is incredible. I took so many rolls of film of the ship itself as I thought it was so magnificent. You would think that with roughly 3200 passengers and 1100 crew that there would be too many people at times, but we never felt this way whatsoever. We never even encountered any problems finding deck chairs around any of the pools/hot tubs. There are so many places on this ship to see, from the main Promenade in the middle of the ship which stretches as long as two football fields, to the Casino, the Dungeon bar, the Spa facility, the pools and the various hot tubs, the gym, the saunas and steam rooms, to the outdoor mini-putt, the rock climbing wall, running track, volleyball courts, and the many beautiful lounges, bars and dining rooms throughout this amazing ship - it is all yours to get out there and discover. ITINERARY / PORTS OF CALL: As this was a charter cruise, it was a customized itinerary departing from Miami. Our first full day was spent at Sea. The second day we arrived early afternoon in San-Juan Puerto Rico. St. Maarten was the port of call for the next day, and then another day spent at sea, followed by Royal Caribbean's private destination - Labadee, and then one final day at sea before returning to Miami. San Juan: Our stop in San Juan was a short one, a late departure from Miami, and rough seas on our trip south, made our arrival in San Juan around 3:00 p.m. - a little later than was originally expected. We had an opportunity to walk around old San Juan and explore the beautiful cobblestone streets and all the old architecture, and visited an old cemetery right on the edge of the ocean. We made our way back to the ship for out dinner around 6:00 p.m. The ship then set sail for St. Maarten at around 10:00 p.m. St. Maarten: Our morning arrival into the port in St. Maarten sailed us right beside Cunard Cruise Lines "Queen Mary 2" - the largest cruise liner in the world. It was anchored out in the port harbor as it is simply so large that it can't actually dock in some ports of call. St. Maarten is one of the best "Duty Free" shopping islands in the Caribbean. After departing the ship we made our way via Water Taxi to Phillipsburg where we spent most of our morning doing jewelry shopping. After spending our hard earned cash we hurried back to the ship to get ready for our afternoon shore excursion - The Rhino Rider adventure. We traveled by bus to a small inlet where we were briefed on the afternoons activity. We then boarded our small inflatable type boats with 25 HP motors and set off through the harbor and out to the Ocean. Unfortunately our boat was a lemon, and we weren't able to keep up to everyone in our group. They replaced our boat and off we were again. The second boat we had was somewhat better, but we still weren't able to gain the same kind of speed as the rest of our group. We traveled along the coast line of St. Maarten to a place called "Shipwreck cove" where we had an opportunity to do some snorkeling, which was very enjoyable. Later we traveled over to another side of the island and stationed ourselves in the ocean right at the edge of the runway for the St. Maarten airport, where planes actually landed right above our heads - quite an incredible sight. We then made our way back to the Rhino Rider base. This excursion was not as much fun as we had expected as the boat we had didn't operate properly, and the ride on the ocean was really quite rough. Labadee: This is Royal Caribbean's private destination, a peninsula on the tip of Hispaniola, Haiti. This was by far one of the nicest stops of our cruise. We were the only Royal Caribbean ship in Labadee that day, and the private destination was totally ours for the entire day. You have to tender in from the ship at this port of call, but the tender boats are huge and carry several hundred passengers at a time. We didn't sign up for anything in Labadee, other than renting floating beach mats for the day. This place was really beautiful - the beaches were pristine, and there were lots of beach chairs, places to explore, and all of the food and drinks were brought off the ship and a huge BBQ lunch was prepared. There was a Haitian Market that was pretty high pressure sales, but you could really bargain with the vendors, and we came home with some really nice crafts, which we paid very reasonable prices for. If you weren't into the high pressure sales, there was a smaller area where set prices were available for similar kinds of items. OUR STATEROOM: We had booked a Deluxe Outside Stateroom with a Balcony on level 6 of the ship. Our stateroom was very nice and was large enough for the two of us. The room's amenities were good and we had enough room for all of our belongings. This stateroom was a very nice upgrade for us, as we had previously had an interior stateroom on our first cruise with NCL. Being able to go out onto your balcony to have breakfast or to watch as the ship pulled into our various ports of call was very nice. It was also very nice to sleep with the balcony door open listening to the ocean at night. DRINKS: Well the drinks on the ship were certainly not short of alcohol. One of the bar tenders actually joked with me a couple times "do you want it, unleaded, leaded or super leaded" The bar service and the quality of the drinks was really quite excellent, and if anything, sometimes they were a little on the strong side (not complaining) Of course we had a number of the "drinks of the day" and kept the souvenir glasses. We did purchase the soft drink package while on-board which gave us unlimited soft drinks. The cost for this was $48.30 US each.... I'm not sure if we really got our monies worth out of them - maybe we should have only got one pass and shared it. We did not "smuggle" any booze on board this time, but heard of others who did. Some people who purchased alcohol at duty free stores on some of the islands didn't have their purchases temporarily confiscated upon boarding, while others did. Those who had alcohol confiscated had them returned to them on their final day before disembarking the ship. DINING: As this was a charter cruise Atlantis Events made some changes to the manner in which the ship would normally operate. They changed the normal dining arrangements, whereby there was open seating at all meals throughout the cruise. When booking the cruise we had been previously assigned a dining time which we were able to ignore and were able to dine wherever and whenever we wanted during the times that the dining rooms were open - This was similar to NCL's Freestyle dining concept. Our opinion of the food itself and the table service on the Navigator of the Seas was less than that which we experienced on our NCL cruise. The overall food quality on this cruise was good and the desserts themselves were very good. The quality and quantity of the food on NCL seemed to be somewhat better, and the service at the tables was definitely better on NCL. We were unable to eat at either Portofinos, or Chops as they both booked up so quickly. They would start to accept reservations in person starting at 10:00 a.m. each day, and on many days the line up to make reservations started very early in the morning. We did hear from various people that the food and the table service in these areas were excellent, and well worth the additional $25.00 per person. One individual I spoke with said that his dining experience at Chops was probably one of the best meals he had ever had in his life. We did manage to eat at Johnny Rockets, and coming from Canada, we had never eaten at a Johnny Rockets before. It was really good, and we enjoyed the old fashioned "diner" experience. The nominal $3.95 surcharge for this restaurant was not a big deal. We could probably have eaten more than one hamburger though. I made up for it by having both a milkshake and a delicious desert. There were no formal dinner nights. The only stipulation which was made was that no tank tops or shorts were to be worn in the main dining rooms, or at any of the specialty restaurants. The open seating arrangements were a really nice way to meet new and different people each night. ENTERTAINMENT: Being a gay charter cruise, Atlantis Events brings on much of it's own entertainment, comedians, hypnotist, drag queens, entertainers, disc jockeys, sound systems, lighting, laser shows etc. Names such as Shann Carr, Jim David, Andre Kelley, Bruce McDonald, Edie, Miss Richfield, Matt Yee, Pam Ann, Rudy Galindo and Pamela Stanley were among many of the entertainers on this particular cruise. RCI did have some of its own entertainers on this sailing, but the majority of the entertainment was provided by Atlantis Events. In their usual tradition, Atlantis usually brings on board a "Star" entertainer, and on this particular cruise they had two main attractions - Mario Cantone (comedian) and Deborah Cox in concert. Both of these stars put on two shows in order for all guests to have an opportunity to see them as the venues were simply not large enough to seat all guests at one time. There were many different Theme Parties on this cruise - Dog-tag, Classic Disco, and Beach Ball afternoon T-dances, Mardi-Gras Party, Island Magic Party, and of course The White Party. Many of the late night parties lasted till the sun came up the following morning. The laser light shows at the parties which were held at night on the outdoor deck area were truly a sight to see. SPA SERVICES: Our word of advice for utilizing the spa services on a gay charter cruise - book early. The spa services on gay cruises are usually very popular and as such they don't start to accept bookings until after the pre-departure boat drill takes place at your original departure point. There was a HUGE lineup for people wanting to book Spa Services. We booked a couple's massage treatment which was quite nice. SHIP'S PHOTOGRAPHY: Royal Caribbean's ship photography department seemed to thoroughly enjoy capturing "The Largest Gay Cruise in History" in photographs for everyone. Not only did they take your usual welcome aboard pictures, the ports of call pictures, and the formal pose pictures, but they really got into photographing everyone in their various costumes during the various theme parties. They were really creative and took lots of time with everyone wanting pictures. We purchased 3 pictures, and a couple of the ship itself. We purchased a "Cruise in Review" DVD of our cruise. It could have had a little more substance and more footage from our own cruise, but it wasn't too bad. At one of the ship's shops we also purchased a DVD copy of Royal Caribbean three hour documentary "The In-depth Story of How They Build The World's Largest Cruise Ships". This is a fascinating and informative documentary - well worth purchasing. DISEMBARKING: During the cruise, they ask you to complete the survey on your interactive television in your stateroom. They ask what time your flight leaves, and they use this information to issue you specific colored luggage tags. As our flight departed Miami after 3:00 that day, we were issued Lavender colored tags (one of the last ones to be called to depart the ship) On the day of departure they really want you out of your staterooms by 7:00 a.m. and they want you to wait in any of the Public Lounge areas until they call for departure by the luggage color tags. We had to wait until almost 10:30 a.m. before we were called to depart the ship. Once out of the ship itself, it took a fairly long time, to go through Customs as there were only a handful of immigration agents. If you go on a Royal Caribbean cruise and want to get of the ship early - make sure you advise them in the survey that your flight leaves before 11:30 a.m. and then you should get White luggage tags and you'll be able to depart early. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
First Things First. Thank you to the Captain for holding the ship. We were the second to last people on the ship. Cabin Stewards: We had two of them. Both very nice and efficient. I wrote a note telling them what I wanted done every day ... Read More
First Things First. Thank you to the Captain for holding the ship. We were the second to last people on the ship. Cabin Stewards: We had two of them. Both very nice and efficient. I wrote a note telling them what I wanted done every day (ex: extra towels, 2 cans of diet pop in the fridge everyday, extra pillows) and there was no problem, always done and one or the other would stop us in the hall when they saw us and ask if everything was to our liking. Waiters: Our head waiter was terrible. We did not tip him his .75 a day even. He caused not only the table waiters in our area to be edgy but one of them quit in the middle of the cruise! Our table waiter Harish is one of the best waiters around. My son is a 22 year old starvation machine and Harish always ordered extra pasta for him so he would get plenty to eat! Andrus our assistant waiter was funny and kept things moving until the end of our dinner then he was at our table telling us the funniest stories or tidbits of information. They both rank the highest on my list! With them I have to say our bar waiter Wayne was the greatest! Room: I love Junior Suites! Room was huge! Closets are walk-in (too bad we had no clothes). Balcony was twice the size of a regular balcony room. Thankfully, we had a suite so we had real shampoo and body wash and lotion from the spa. I somehow had packed my toiletries in my suitcase and not my carry on. Will always make sure that doesn't happen again. Guest Relations: Michelle the Chief Purser was the nicest lady I have ever met. We had a lot of trouble with some of the guest relations people, as I stated earlier we were late on the ship and our luggage did not make it on until 3 and a half days later. The first night we filed a claim and I spent an hour looking at pictures of luggage and describing the luggage for 5 people to one of the guest relations people. She told us it was in the computer and to enjoy the cruise, she also gave us a coupon for free tux rental and free evening attire for formal night. RC needs a lot of work on their formal attire. I walked out of the bathroom and my son said I looked like a street hooker. I told him thank you, it's not everyday someone my age gets to dress like that! Anyway, back to the subject... we were told to check in on Monday night to see if our luggage had been found and waiting for us in Jamaica, if we hadn't heard from them. My husband goes down to guest relations and asks and they look at him and told him. You never filed a claim so we're not even looking for it. He called me I called the other room with my mom and aunt and we all troop down to guest relations to retell them about our luggage. After we redescribe our luggage to them they looked at us and said don't worry about your luggage who needs luggage just enjoy the cruise. Yeah right. Thankfully, as mentioned above Michelle the Chief Purser straightened all of it out and our luggage was waiting for us in Jamaica. Ship: Big. The Royal Promenade was great! Sometimes you have to weave around to get to an area but overall very easy to navigate. Be prepared for a lot of walking. Whew! I am a big fan of the formal seating for dinner so I hope that never changes. The service at the Windjammer, Jade etc was very good. I thought the lines were a little long. They had several stations closed down during lunch time for some reason. So in consequence the buffets were really crowded. Scope it out before you get in line! Entertainment was pretty good. The singers and dancers were wonderful but the comedy was boring. I hate to admit it but I actually fell asleep during one of the comics routine. The strolling musicians were nice at the Promenade. The entertainer in the schooner bar was a little obnoxious but by the time you had a couple drinks you never noticed. Shore Excursions: Haiti was the best port just relax and soak up the sun. I am a Grand Cayman fan sad to see it hurt so badly. Love the Cockatoo catamaran. Jamaica I think gets a bad rap. Its touristy and has some poverty but where doesn't? I like Margaritaville! Cozumel I loved swimming with the dolphins and laying at the beach afterwards. All in all it was a very good cruise as far as the cruise itself went. I just love to cruise! I was very disappointed in how I was treated in regards to my luggage and I still haven't heard anything from RC. Not only did we have insurance (which we haven't heard back from) but I sent a letter to RC regarding the lack of customer service I received and haven't heard back yet. We shall see. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
Navigator of the Seas Review (Western Caribbean 1/22 - 1/29/05) with comparison to Caribbean Princess (6/04). PERSPECTIVE. My wife and I are in our early thirties and traveled with a group of 5 other relatives ranging in age from 30s to ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas Review (Western Caribbean 1/22 - 1/29/05) with comparison to Caribbean Princess (6/04). PERSPECTIVE. My wife and I are in our early thirties and traveled with a group of 5 other relatives ranging in age from 30s to 70s. We are infrequent cruisers (by necessity, not choice) but somehow managed to squeeze two cruises within 7 months. When planning these trips, we relied heavily on various cruise reviews and specifically sought comparisons of ships and cruise lines. We would like to return the favor and hope to make this a review of the Navigator of the Seas (NOS) with comparison to the Caribbean Princess (CP). DOWNTOWN MIAMI HYATT HOTEL. This was a decent hotel but not up to the standards of Hyatt Hotels in other locations (food in the bar was bad and the room was somewhat worn with prominent carpet stains). The staff was accommodating and we would stay there again for the $60.00 rate we obtained via Priceline (apparently others have obtained rooms through Priceline with even lower bids). The location of the hotel is convenient with easy access to and from the highway. Self parking appears not to be available and the valet cost is $20.00/night plus tips. The hotel is about a mile from the cruise terminals and is also near the Bayside Shopping/Restaurant complex that can be easily accessed via the free "people mover" elevated train. There were a lot of police in the vicinity, presumably for a reason, and it seemed like a place where traveling in a group at night might be prudent. HERTZ, AIRPORT AND DOWNTOWN LOCATIONS. We rented a minivan at the airport and returned it to the downtown location. Given our need for multiple trips from the airport to hotel and hotel to port, this was cost effective for us (three trips from airport to hotel and two trips from hotel to cruise terminal). The only difficulty was the downtown location that was small and understaffed for the large number of customers on Saturday morning. EMBARKATION. (NOS = A-, CP = A-). We arrived at approximately 12:00 noon and were on board within 30 minutes. Perhaps slightly better organization with Princess in Fort Lauderdale, but overall no significant difference. CABIN. (Configuration: NOS = B+, CP = B; Cleanliness: NOS = B-, CP = A-, Balcony: NOS = B, CP = A). Everyone in our party had a balcony cabin on deck 6. The room was generally clean and kept in good condition by the room steward. Some wear and tear was evident such as frayed bed covering and a cigarette hole in our bedspread (not replaced for the duration of our stay). Compared to our balcony room on CP (Baja deck), the NOS cabin had much more seating space with a couch and a small coffee table. This came at the expense of less closet space on the NOS, but overall, this was a "sacrifice" we would gladly make. Seating in the CP cabin was limited to a single small chair. We did not spend much time in the cabin on either cruise, but it was sometimes nice to be able to sit next to one another on the NOS and do something such as review our digital photos. Thus overall, we liked the NOS configuration better. The balcony was another story since we found the tiny table on the NOS balcony to be inadequate for eating outside (contrast this to the larger and normal height table on the CP that made dining on the balcony a valued daily ritual). We also enjoyed what seemed to be more privacy on the CP balcony. Finally, we realize that the CP was a much newer ship and will thus have inherently less wear. Although we adjusted our expectations accordingly, we were disappointed by the cigarette burn in our bedspread not so much for the burn itself but because it is more emblematic of a cheap hotel than a supposedly fine cruise ship. DECKS & POOLS. (NOS = B-, CP = A-). Deck surface area and deck chairs seemed to be approximately equivalent with a slightly higher density of people on the CP. Although the NOS lacked the nice viewing platform on top of the bridge that we enjoyed on the CP, it had the advantage of a location that allowed viewing into the actual bridge itself. One other nice feature of the NOS was a far forward observation deck/helipad where it was possible to stand within approximately 12 inches of the forward-most point of the bow. I personally really liked this aspect of the ship and would have liked to have it available on the CP. With regard to the pools, the CP has the clear advantage due to: (1) freshwater, (2) 24-hour availability, (3) 2 adult pools (vs. one on NOS), (4) greater number of pools overall (4 on CP and 3 on NOS), and (5) the aft pool (no aft pool at all on NOS). The aft pool was one of our favorite locations on the CP. It was usually serene and afforded great views from an interesting location. In contrast, we believe that the aft portion of the NOS was squandered on a rarely used "teen" area and the sports deck. The rock wall was interesting but the miniature golf course was uninspired (although not as lame as the one on the CP) and the in-line skating track was smallish. In our opinion, greater utility for a greater number of passengers would be achieved by converting the sports and teen area into an aft adult pool. Though we are sure others will disagree. SHIP INTERIOR. (NOS = A--, CP = A-). We probably prefer the understated design elements of the CP but acknowledge that the open feeling on the NOS Royal Promenade was quite nice. We found the interior design on the CP to be more harmonious and less pop-culture oriented. While the NOS had its share of actual art work, our hallway also included U2 tour posters and a sculpture of musical instruments that was coming apart despite being located in a plexiglass case. ENTERTAINMENT. (NOS = B+, CP = B-). The NOS provided many entertainment options and things were more lively than on the CP. Several members of our group attended every evening show and thought they were quite good overall. Production quality of the stage and ice shows were well done for a cruise ship production and were clearly superior to the same activities on the CP. There was never a lack of entertainment activity and the ship was active into the night (more active than CP). The cruise director on the NOS was very energetic and did a good job. One unique activity on the CP that was not available on the NOS was the Movies Under the Stars (we really liked MUTS but admit that it is a hit or miss option since only two movies are shown and it would be possible to have only bad offerings). DINING ROOM. (NOS = A-, CP = A-). Overall, food quality on both the NOS and the CP was very good especially when expectations were tempered by the reality of feeding 3000 passengers. Definitely not 5-star cuisine, but in most cases good to very good quality. Presentation was somewhat better on the CP as was the variety of selections. Although this is comparing apples to oranges, service with traditional seating on the NOS (all seating is traditional) was much better than with anytime dining on the CP. BUFFETS. (NOS = C, CP = B+). We were very disappointed by the buffet on NOS. The hours were limited and the food was much less interesting than on the CP. The buffet food on the CP was superior in all aspects including, variety, presentation and quality. Although one can obtain cookies and small sandwiches on the indoor Royal Promenade of the NOS at all hours, this still did not come close to compensating for the lack of variety and limited hours of the main buffet (closed at 9 p.m.!!). JOHNNY ROCKETS. (NOS only = A-). We enjoyed the burgers and shakes and felt the $3.50 cover was only mildly annoying. The free burgers and hot dogs on the CP were smaller and more basic but were just fine. PRIVATE BEACH (RCI Labadee = B-, Princess Cays = B+). Both Labadee (Haiti) and Princess Cays (Eleuthera, Bahamas) offered a nice beach day at clean and well maintained private facilities . Labadee is larger and has more interesting topography (surrounded by forested mountains). In addition, Labadee occupies an entire small peninsula that includes a number of separated beaches facing different directions, with small regions of vegetation and rock in between. This lends itself to more opportunities for "exploration." In contrast, Princess Cays is essentially a couple of long beaches all facing the same direction on a flat island. Princess Cays has far superior snorkeling/sea life and much clearer water but Labadee offers the possibility of motorized water sports if you are willing to pay approx. $120.00 for playing follow-the-leader on a waverunner. We enjoyed Labadee until we found out that they require the use of a snorkel vest and then charge $6.00 apiece for the day's rental. The cost itself is not a problem but we object to being forced to rent something which we did not need nor want. This was especially annoying since swimmers were not required to have a vest despite going further out into the water. Picnic lunches were about the same at both locations with a small advantage to Princess. OCHO RIOS. We booked an independent tour with Ionie McBeam and were somewhat underwhelmed. We ended up visiting Coyaba Gardens, Fern Gulley and a shopping area. Overall, we felt that there was an undercurrent of hostility toward all tourists and that our presence was tolerated only to the extent that we emulated walking cash dispensers. The locals were by no means warm or welcoming and seemed always to be searching for an angle to obtain more money with a ready attitude of disdain for those visitors who failed to sufficiently comply. Coyaba was interesting and contained some beautiful flora. If you go, we would recommend getting there early to beat the crowds. The drive through fern gulley was interesting but there was nowhere to stop and walk around without being accosted by people selling something. It is hardly a peaceful botanical experience. Overall, this was by far our least favorite location in the Caribbean and would avoid another visit in the future (at least to Ocho Rios). GRAND CAYMAN. This seemed to be a great island with friendly locals working hard to re-build from the damage wrought by Hurricane Ivan. The vegetation on the island was obviously severely damage by the hurricane and some structures remain in a state of continuing repair. Nonetheless, we found our visit to be enjoyable and would consider a land-based vacation there in the future. We snorkeled at Eden Rock and were quite impressed. Even though the sea conditions were calm overall, we found the swimming to be moderately strenuous and were very happy that we rented swim fins and snorkel vests from the Eden Rock Dive Shop. The reef was some distance away and was not exactly teeming with fish but did have a good variety of sea life including barracuda. I also believe I caught a glimpse of an approx. 6-8 foot shark of some kind (probably a nurse shark that we had heard about from some scuba divers we spoke to on the shore). Following Eden Rock, we took a taxi to Sea Grape Beach (a subsection of 7-mile beach) and enjoyed the beautiful sand and water. Sea Grape is a public section of beach that has clean bathrooms, outdoor body/foot showers for removing sand and a small beach bar/restaurant. In addition there are numerous vendors on the beach who rent water equipment including wave runners. If you are pale like me, be advised that there is essentially no shade except for the umbrellas over the tables at the restaurant/bar. We liked this area but have to admit that we also do not have experience with other Cayman beaches to make a good comparison. COZUMEL. This was probably our favorite port of call on this trip and we wish that we could have spent 2 days here and skipped Ocho Rios altogether. We spent most of our day at Chankanaab State Park and were very pleased (well worth the $12.00 admission fee). The park was very well kept and offered diversions of man varieties including a sandy "beach" with ample shade from palm trees and thatched-roof umbrellas, good snorkeling directly offshore, a dolphin program, gardens and replica ruins. The beach itself is actually sand held in place by a retaining wall with natural rocks between the wall and the ocean. There are numerous access point to the ocean and the whole arrangement is aesthetically pleasing. Because of the rocky shoreline, there are many fish close to shore. The only complaint we have about Chankanaab are the unusual beach loungers that are hard plastic shells sitting directly on the sand with no elevation. Some members of our party did a discover scuba experience at El Clavado Dive Shop #3 with Miguel ($55.00 per person). Although the reef could have been healthier we did see a large tarpon, many smaller fish and some interesting underwater caves essentially filled with small fish. We also saw a large barracuda casually floating just below the swim platform surrounded by swimmers unaware of the toothy giant (some exaggeration for dramatic effect) just yards away. After Chankanaab, we traveled by taxi to the Los Cinco Soles shopping complex that includes Poncho's Backyard Restaurant. We had a late lunch at Poncho's and found the food to be very good (we will definitely return next time we are in Cozumel). The shopping at Los Cinco Soles was pleasant for the distinct lack of pushy sales people. They seem to have a good selection of liquor, jewelry, linen, "handcrafted" items and other trinkets. Again, we do not have much experience with other shopping opportunities in Cozumel and can thus offer no comparison, but it did seem like a nice place especially when compared to the surrounding shops. Cozumel was a great port and we hope to return some day for a longer stay. DISEMBARKATION. (NOS = B+, CP = B+). Disembarkation went fairly well with the exception of a relatively long line for customs/immigration. We liked the baggage carousels at the RCI terminal better than the large warehouse of the Princess terminal in Fort Lauderdale. Despite this difference, we do not believe the disembarkation experiences were much different for the two ships. MIAMI AIRPORT. In short, a crowded and disorganized disaster. Despite arriving at the airport 2 hours before our domestic flight on Continental, we encountered a check-in line that was much much longer than 2 hours. We spoke to an airline representative to see if there were provisions in place for people who would miss their flight because of the line, and he essentially said tough luck and to wait until it was our turn at the counter. In an act of desperation we tried checking in through one of the e-ticket kiosks located in their frequent flyer/first class area and it worked. We will avoid this airport in the future if possible and would gladly drive down from the Fort Lauderdale airport if feasible. NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS vs. CARIBBEAN PRINCESS. We do not think it would be possible to go wrong with either ship. The CP seemed like a calmer and slightly more refined experience. In contrast, the NOS had more activities and the employees were obviously forced into attempting to make things more lively. For instance, they have two parades on the Royal Promenade deck of the NOS complete with loud bass-heavy music, live singers and Mardi Gras-like costumes. I personally cringed at what I perceived to be the contrived and over-the-top nature of the whole event, but others in our group loved it. To each his own I suppose. Likewise the waiters in the dining room did a singing number on three nights. I liken the entire production to the type of forced and awkward signing routine done in some U.S. chain restaurants to "celebrate" birthdays. Again, some in our party liked it while others would have preferred a more dignified dining experience without the fanfare. Another noticeable difference between the two ships was the demeanor of the crew. We believe that the CP was understaffed (perhaps over-passengered) and as a result the crew was under too much pressure. This was manifest as a general weariness and a more neutral bordering on indifferent attitude. In contrast, the crew of the NOS seemed generally relaxed and were thus more friendly and interactive. The dining room food was comparable on both ships but the buffet on the CP was far far superior. The limited buffet on the NOS and the lack of a full size table on our balcony really limited one of our favorite activities from our cruise on the CP -- sitting out on the balcony and enjoying some fresh fruit and a small snack from the buffet. If we were to cruise again with a group, we would probably go with RCI due primarily to the greater variety of activities that would hopefully cater to all tastes and keep everyone entertained. If it were just my wife and myself, we would probably choose Princess again simply due to our preference for a more low-key atmosphere. Actually, a third and more likely option would be to try another line to see what else is out there. Happy sailings. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
Embarkation was a breeze, was at the port at 11 am and on the ship by 11:30. Our stateroom was ready so we were able to drop our carry on's in the stateroom and change. Up to the Windjammer for lunch and to the pool. Unfortunately, ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze, was at the port at 11 am and on the ship by 11:30. Our stateroom was ready so we were able to drop our carry on's in the stateroom and change. Up to the Windjammer for lunch and to the pool. Unfortunately, our cross bookings with friends was not followed thru and we were originally scheduled for different floors and different tables in the dining room. maitre d's showed a poor attitude and it became difficult to sit together until I had a long conversation with the customer service representative. The ship is lovely, clean and it great shape. First night the show is at 8 p.m. for both seatings and dinner for the late seating is at 9 p.m. The Parade is at 11 p.m. down the Promenade. Chops dinner was wonderful..a great evening to go in the Caribbean night in the dining room....unless you like Jamaican style food. Sea day (Sunday), great weather and a lovely day to relax and drink in the warm sunshine. Labadee (Monday) again another warm sunny day. Lunch was nice on the beach.. in several locations. Most of the ship is closed while the ship is there, including the Windjammer and Cafe Promenade,so is you want to stay on board only the dining room is open for lunch. This was the first formal night and the night of the Captain;'s welcome aboard party. App 80% of the cruisers adhered to the dress code. Jamaica (Tuesday), went on the horseback riding excursions, we rode for while and then rode bareback in the ocean. A good time was had by all. We went into town for awhile, cab fare is 6 round-trip per person, but there are now enough shops where the ship docks to make this unnecessary. We had a lovely dinner in Chops. Grand Cayman (Wed.). Friends went swimming with the stingrays, as we had done this the last time we were there, we walked around town and went back to the ship. There were 4 other ships tendering along with ours. Tendering was not a problems and very easy to get on and off the ships. Grand Cayman is still showing some of the effects of the hurricane, especially on some of thee back streets you can still see some of the destruction and rebuilding is still going on. This was also the second formal night, and the night Lobster is served for dinner. It is also the night they have the Grand Buffet. Found that only 50-60% adhered to the dress code with people showing up in jeans and shorts for dinner in the dining room. Cozumel (Thurs). We were one of 8 ships in Port that day. Went swimming with the dolphins and had a great time. We took a taxi downtown and did some shopping (cost in 6 each way for the taxi....not pp) and went back to relax on the ship. Quest was played that night along with Rockin thru the Decades in Studio B. Sea Day (Friday). Just lounged around the solarium pool and in the Hot Tub relaxing. Farewell show is at 7 p.m. that night and had a relaxing diner with friends, who remembered our anniversary and had a cake for us that night. This week was President's week with a lot of families and children on board(was told there were 1100 children, who for the most part where very well behaved) However, suggested dress code was not at all adhered to with people showing up Formal night or any night for that matter in jeans and shorts to the Main dining room and this was true of the adults also. We had 3 different comics that where excellent, along with the singer who sang the theme from the TV show "Happy Days" The RCI singers and dancers and shows were very weak. Disembarking was very easy with just a short wait thru customs, we left the ship at around 8:30, and was in a taxi on our way to the Ft Lauderdale airport by 9:15. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
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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