2,355 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Background Information Wife and I are both attorneys and fairly well traveled for work and leisure. However we are both first time cruisers, so we read a great deal on internet to ensure we understood options before traveling. We chose ... Read More
Background Information Wife and I are both attorneys and fairly well traveled for work and leisure. However we are both first time cruisers, so we read a great deal on internet to ensure we understood options before traveling. We chose the Royal Caribbean Voyager class "Navigator of the Seas" because of the newness and descriptions of the ship, the size of the ship, variety of options, and convenience of the port of embarkation. Took this Western Caribbean cruise in February 2005 to celebrate my fortieth birthday with my parents, wife and 1 and 2 year old kids. Note, at end of the subject areas discussed below, I will rate the category on a five star scale, low-to-high, to summarize our review. I will also try to include some information on prices. Travel To Port of Embarkation We flew to Miami the afternoon of the day before our cruise. Recommend this if there is any possibility of inclement weather. Scheduled Super Shuttle to take all 6 of us (four adults and two kids) to Port next morning - van arrived promptly and total was $55 which I thought a good deal as we might have needed three taxis (lots of luggage and kid paraphernalia) instead. Check in process at the Port of Miami left things to be desired. The port authority facility was nice enough, and RC had welcome ice water and lemonade once you made it inside, but outside at noon there was a HUGE line and very little direction about why or when one might expect to be checked in - no apparent RC staff and not well informed, contract security who weren't eager to be informative or helpful. If you have babies or elderly or handicapped persons in your party, ask them if you can skip the line. We did, and, although we received lots of conflicting instructions, were eventually moved forward a bit. Travel to port, four stars; port of embarkation facility, five stars; outside facility, only two. Hotel Info (if any) Bid on Priceline for three star hotel in Miami and received Holiday Inn in Coral Gables for about $50.00 - nothing fancy but two queen beds 15 minutes from Port difficult to beat. Free breakfast for kids included too. My parents left their car (they live on west coast of Florida) at hotel for whole week - a surface lot but no problem as long as arranged and paid in advance with hotel desk the morning of departure - cheaper than parking at Port (only $6.99 at this hotel per day) and no line to drop of car - have heard line for garage at Port can be congested so this is something to consider too. Three stars, but certainly convenient and cheap. Stateroom We booked adjoining (connecting door) "D1" balcony staterooms on Deck 8 (rooms 8218 and 8220). These cabins had sliding glass doors to the balconies. Balconies were adequately sized for two adults but crowded for all four of us plus kids - we could fit and we had breakfast every day with room service out there but we wish we could open partition between the two balconies to make more room. The balcony partition between staterooms had a locking key mechanism, but our steward said captain precluded opening after some of the partitions blew off the ship in the wind once upon a time. Room itself was very nice - neat wood wall units include desk and plenty of cubby holes, drawers and shelves to stash stuff. Also had couches steward could turn into second queen sized bed if needed and large glass coffee tables in sitting area. Sufficient room in front of bed(s) even when couch is converted also for passing along length of the room (rooms are something like 180 sf each). Bathrooms had neat showers with no curtain (nice curving clear doors) and hand-held or fixed European style shower heads. Again mirrored cabinet and more storage in bathrooms. Rooms also included an adequate closet (not a walk in though) with shelves and bars for sufficient storage and hangers - walk in closets would have been nicer but you only get those with "suites" on this ship. Underneath space below main bed had plenty of space to stow lots of luggage along with the life vests in the room, so no reason not to completely unpack for the week. We asked steward to clean out minibars and they acted as small refrigerators during our trip, great for keeping kids cartons of milk, etc. Must say carpet looked a little worn after 3 plus years of engagement of this particular ship, but not a real detractment from overall high quality of stateroom. We gave our steward a $50.00 bill the first day and promised more at the end, but it may have been unnecessary as he seemed very eager to please and satisfy every request we made. One special thing I asked him to do on the first day is to borrow four terry robes from the suites for our use and he did this too, so maybe that initial tip helped him bend the rules for that request. Four and one-half stars for the staterooms. Ship Info A beautiful ship - lots of well thought and creative use of hardwoods, marble, glass, granite and steel - not glitzy use of mirrors and neon (except as expected in casino and in some entertainment areas). Overall a very classy and appealing ship. Glass elevators are very efficient and, covering 15 decks, stunning. Dining room is beautiful - almost too fancy but the easy informality of staff makes it not stuffy. Theaters are amazing - often easy to forget you are actually on a ship they are so large and technologically sophisticated. Deck 4 has an exterior wide walkway where you can actually circumnavigate the entire ship. Reminded our group the most of classic look of an oceanliner with the lifeboats above and wide decking for a stroll. Took me three days to figure out how to get to the true fore most section of the bow on this deck, however. The trick is either up the steps at the front of deck 4 or out unmarked doors from the sides of the Ixtapa lounge on deck 5. Very worth seeing however esp at night b/c it's the only place they don't light so can view stars from the helipad there (no kidding) and stand at the very front of the vessel for photos. Deck 5 inside has guest services and the Royal Promenade - a several hundred foot long "street" inside the ship with a four story atrium they say 1000 feet long and flanked by a "centrum" on either end of the vessel showing nearly 12 stories uninterrupted vertical space! A perfume duty free shop, a liquor duty free, a (mostly women's clothes) boutique, a logo clothes and paraphernalia and general store make up the shops. Add to that the promenade cafe, a euro style coffee and cake cafe that also hands out pizza and small sandwiches various times. There is also a cappuccino bar and Ben and Jerry's there, these both for a fee. Also, along the promenade are a wine bar in cooperation with Mondavi and other vintners, and a "two poets" singing bar. Elsewhere on the ship are the Bolero bar, with latin music often live, a champagne bar, a Johnny Rockets hamburger diner with waiters and waitresses that entertain as well as serve (small cover charge of I think around $6.00), a neat Schooner bar with nautical theme, wood, and grand piano, a cigar bar (odd there was no flat screen or other tvs in the cigar bar but very nicely done with lots of wood and leather). Also, at the top of the ship is a stunning Jazz bar (Crown lounge) and a Golf themed sports bar adjacent to a quiet game and cards room. The ship also has an internet room, a library, a chapel at the very top of the ship, and a large business center for conferences. There is a movie theater and an ice rink (stand in line for tickets, get there early not too bad a wait - only one in party has to go tickets are free). There is a jogging track on deck 12 - 5 laps to the mile, a separate roller blade track, full court basket ball court (doubles as a volley ball court), and of course a rock wall. There are at least a half dozen hot tubs and I think 4 sea water pools. One complaint is especially in the evening many of the pools and hot tubs were either drained or chained off for cleaning - RC could perform these necessary tasks after midnight or so to accommodate those guests who enjoy after dinner swimming/hot tub would be a nice improvement, but we didn't see that during our cruise. The ship also has a beautiful spa, but a bit expensive for the services! There is a neat "peek a boo" bridge, where during certain hours you can look down through glass to the captains chair on the bridge and see some more detailed navigational maps. Check ship details on the internet if you are interested in reading more, lots of data out there on these "Voyager-class" ships by name. One disappointment was there were no ship tours, which we heard were discontinued in favor of a for purchase only video in the ship shops due to a slip and fall lawsuit from tour of the kitchen at one time. Five stars for the ship itself. Dining A lot of conflicting information on the internet is listed about dining on cruise ships and on RC and/or this ship in particular. Our family found the food in the main dining room similar to the food of a widely attended business gathering or wedding at an upscale (Hilton, Hyatt, maybe Westin-type) hotel. The menus were new every day and you could request and receive basically anything on the menu you wanted. Best of all, no prices! Appetizers, entrees, and desserts were all normally good, although a few things were outstanding (lobster bisque, for example) and a few things were not so good (no specific memory, though). Also the staff was willing to puree vegetables or deliver extra cartons of milk for the kids. We didn't have lunch in the main dining room, except once, and were surprised the lunches were almost as elaborate as the dinners (and open seating so a bit more casual) if you have the stamina for such large meals twice in one day. We brought our own wine, storing one bottle in each suitcase, and had no problem getting it on the ship (alcohol is prohibited, but an exception of two bottles of wine per stateroom for special wines not on the RC winelist on the website is the official policy). Also, our waiter seemed to have discretion to waive and did waive the $12.50 corkage fee every night - we gave him a $50.00 bill the first night and promised more at the end of the cruise so this tip may have influenced his decision as well as helped along the good service we experienced overall. The Windjammer buffet cafe, however, we had a much more negative impression of - if you want very basic hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, this is fine. But the Jade Asian buffet and other food was mediocre at best, and often times inedible at all - lots of room for improvement here is our view. Windjammer is fine for breakfast, but we skipped it most of the time anyhow because the two or three times we visited we found it overcrowded and not so good, esp. compared with the good main dining room food and the free room service. The latter we used 5/7 days for breakfast - nice not to have to leave the room! Also used room service to order cheese and cracker plates in the afternoon, for no extra charge (though use of individually wrapped Saltines with high end fruit and cheeses was a bit odd). My parents went to Johnny Rockets and liked it - noted the burgers were a lot better than Windjammer's. Also, we ate in Chops and in Portofino, the two upgrade cover charge ($25 per person), restaurants on this ship, managed respectively by a husband and wife team who met on this ship. My father had the porterhouse at Chops and that looked only ok, but I had the aged filet and have to say even though I don't like this cut of meat as much as others, it was the best steak I've ever had. We also enjoyed the Italian food at Portofinos - so many courses you will be stuffed before you leave. Everyone liked everything there very much, except my mother commented the tuna was oversalted. The desserts at both restaurants were striking in their presentation to say the least. Reservations are recommended and pleasantly available and we thought this a well worth splurge. Hotel guest relations (purser desk) arranged in cabin babysitter for our kids, $12/hr for two, who were both falling asleep by the time we left for our reservations at 8pm. Overall, the food on this ship is not "gourmet," or "five star," but it is much better than the most critical reviews we read suggest, and very enjoyable especially in the beautiful main dining room. Overall, four stars for food in the main dining room; four and one-half stars if counting only the upscale cover charge restaurants; but only two stars if counting only Windjammer buffet. Activities We don't have as much to comment on here. My wife played bingo once and said she enjoyed that. We skipped the art auction, although it did include free champagne. We wish there were more lectures on various topics, such as astronomy, geography of the cruise route, or even politics or culture, but not much of that was offered as far as we could tell. We participated in a sock hop 50s dance which was fun (and televised on the closed circuit ship tv station, over and over...). We did not make it to the rock wall, golf simulator, roller blade track, or ice skating. Would have liked to try all of these, but never found the time, esp. with the kids in tow. Everyone used and really liked the ship's gym - new and neat equipment, and never overcrowded. Also, I did jog three nights at sunset on the track and even with the need to dodge errant lounge chairs entirely surrounding the track, as well as the occasional slow abreast walkers or group of tipsy passengers, still found the runs refreshing (pure air, stunning views (deck 12)) and you can easily get in 3 or 4 miles without boredom or dismay at obstacles setting in. Five stars if only reviewing the athletic options, but three stars for cultural/educational activities, so four stars for activities overall. Children's Clubs We toured them, but our kids were 1 and 2 and did not meet the 3 year-old-and-potty-trained eligibility requirement. Since these services are included in the price of the cruise, varied for age groups, and supervised by trained staff, I would think they are a very strong selling point for families cruising with children of the right age. The facilities are beautiful and staffed to provide a more educationally and recreationally enhanced than for the regular passengers on the cruise. Five stars for children's clubs, but we couldn't use them! Service The service on this cruise was very good except for three criticisms I had. First the good - the dining room staff, head waiter, waiter, assistant waiter, and the cabin staff, mainly you see your steward - were just great. Above and beyond the call in all respects, charming, knowledgeable and helpful, eager to please, and you definitely don't get the impression they are only in it for the expectation of a tip. Now the bad, or at least the not so good: (1) The purser's desk was understaffed (several unmanned spots), and often surprisingly rude, such as when I asked to break two $20 dollar bills for 40 one dollar bills to help with haggling and tipping for on shore the next day. The reply I received is "Sir if I give you 40 ones, then there won't be enough for everyone else." On a cruise where literally thousands of dollars are being taken in per stateroom per week, at the main purser's desk this answer was simply absurd. Generally, the purser staff should be trained to make a guest problem "theirs" to solve, but that clearly was not the case. Long lines, and generally unhelpful staff there was the problem. We also stopped there to ask various informational questions and received little helpful information or assistance finding answers. Finally we defaulted to asking our stateroom steward our questions and for help, and questions were answered and problems solved without delay. (2) In ports, there should be at least some RC staffing either on the dock or where the tenders land, depending on the type of access to the port, with no objective to do anything but answer guest questions, hand out maps, and make sure everyone is all set for their shore day. On a ship where crew/passenger ratio is approaching 1:2, it should be no problem to stand a half dozen or so staff outside the ship to ensure any last minute questions or orientation information is disseminated without the need for a guest to return inside the ship. In Labadee, for example, there was no staff to explain you could hire help getting situated for a nominal tip, or forgo that and pull your chairs and stuff yourself. I guess it might be sort of obvious, but the non-RC helpers on the beach there were very eager to put you in a place of their choosing before you had your bearings, understood the various options and types of beach areas available, etc. A small amount of staffing would have helped a lot here. Also, in ports where tender vessels are used, RC staff should ride with the tenders to ensure guests with any special needs are taken care of rather than relying on the (we found surly) local contract crew of the tender vessels themselves. We had a stroller, and found we would have had a real problem boarding and disembarking these tender vessels, but for the kindness of fellow passengers, and passengers should not have to fill a staff function out of pity for other guests. The tender crew were simply uninterested in helping in any way! (3) As mentioned above in the Port of Embarkation section, the RC staff outside the Miami Port Authority facility was non-existent, and given there was a line that snaked for several hundred feet, initial concerns could have been allayed with a minimal staffing effort here too. These exceptions aside, four stars for service - RC has it down very well for staffing the cabin and the dining room! Entertainment We found the entertainment very good. We went to three shows and found them all excellent, at least considering what they were. First there was a broadway review. The theater itself was stunning and the quality of the cast and singing and accompanying music was akin to a traveling company for a major broadway show. Slightly smaller scale, but still enjoyable and easy to forget (actually hard to remember) you are actually in the middle of the sea! Same true for the Ice Skating show - incredible to think where you are and a very enjoyable presentation on technical and artistic grounds. Both these shows are also very "kid friendly" at least if one is inclined to go for the earlier seating before tiredness sets in. Finally, we also went to the headline entertainment show -- mid-week on our cruise they flew in "The Platters" who were exactly as we'd seen on TV - no advance reservation of ticket required to our shock as the show was excellent and completely free (or included in the price of the cruise, should I say...)! 4 stars for entertainment. We skipped the comedy show, a bit of which we caught on the closed circuit ship stateroom TV - raunchy and not funny at all. Four and one-half stars for entertainment. Shore Excursions We paid and took two shore excursions through RC. "Land-and-Sea" tour in the Caymans and Beach Horseback Riding in Ocho Rios. First the Caymans tour -- $58/person, children three or younger free, we thought was a decent deal. Might have been able to find something on our own slightly cheaper, but the glass bottom "submarine" in the "Sea" portion of the tour was truly exceptional - a beautiful vessel that although never truly going under water, is completely enclosed from the light above the water, beautifully appointed with polished wood, and not over crowded with plenty of viewing space to offer an incredible look at the coral reefs below. Sad part of the tour was the "Land" side as most of Grand Cayman is devastated by the hurricane last summer, really devastated, for miles and miles, including the entire length of the famed Seven Mile beach. Hell at the end of that stretch really is as billed - a painful tourist trap of a couple of trailers stitched together in a supposed attraction. Turtle farm was neat, but also damaged by the storms and not as ecological or pretty as one might expect until you learn is the principal reason for the sea turtle farm is to raise them for food. A great 4 hour tour and worth the money we thought. Jamaica "Beach Horseback Riding" was also, we thought at $89 per person, a good value. You get a land ride and then a plunge into the sea at the end, bareback if you dare or on a little nylon mini-saddle they swap on at the end. The land ride starts at a polo club and the horses are really nice, not flea bitten looking at all. Strange selection process of matching riders to horses, however, strangely reminiscent of picking junior high school sports teams, as the staff asks nothing of your riding experience, instead directing each guest to a horse one by one, appearing to judge the appropriateness of the match based on physical appearance alone. The land ride crosses a long coastal area, that was formerly a sugar plantation now cleared into a pretty dairy farm. The final mile before reaching the beach rides through a beautiful "tunnel" of pink flowered trees, and lazy cows on verdant green fields to the sides, with a turquoise sea light at the end. When you reach the beach, there is a half hour delay while the staff swaps the saddles. Then everyone gets to experience "horsy jet skiing" - or at least that's the best way to describe riding a horse that is either bounding up and down in slightly too deep sea, or even swimming full throttle trying to get to a point where a footing can be regained. Might have been able to book this independently, but doubt it would have been much cheaper once taxis to and from polo grounds had been factored in. Four stars. Disembarkation Achingly slow. Staff blamed federal officials, but not really fair in a fee for service port facility where staffing level by US Customs and Border Protection probably ultimately depends on the fee RC is willing to pay. Three stars. Summary Six people, four adults, two kids, for a full week, flights, cruise, meals, drinks, taxes, tips, and all port activities included, for under $9,000 (counting every dollar spent, for any purpose including light shopping). We thought this was a good deal. May try other ships or cruise lines or non-Caribbean itineraries, but not because we didn't find this one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of our lives. Four stars! Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
This review will not be extremely detailed simply because most other reviews tend to cover all of that. Instead I'm just here to express my opinion of our latest vacation with Royal Caribbean on Navigator of the Seas. This was my ... Read More
This review will not be extremely detailed simply because most other reviews tend to cover all of that. Instead I'm just here to express my opinion of our latest vacation with Royal Caribbean on Navigator of the Seas. This was my 12th cruise with Royal Caribbean -- and once again they keep me coming back! (Granted, I've never cruised with any other cruise line so I have no base for comparison.) This ship was absolutely GORGEOUS. Her beauty is unmatched, and as I'm certain other members have said in previous reviews, she towers over all other cruise ships in port. Just breathtaking! Our ports of call were Labadee, Haiti; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel. Our vacation was like a family reunion of sorts: myself and husband, along with extended family members from all over the U.S., including three toddlers and two infants. To me the Navigator of the Seas was not a surprise because my husband and I had taken a Southern Caribbean cruise on the Adventure of the Seas (also a Voyager Class ship) back in June of 2003 for our honeymoon. To the rest of the family, however, this type of ship -- with its incredible city street-like Promenade -- was unfamiliar and brand new. To make a long story short, no one denied the ship was incredible, but at the end of the cruise most of my family agreed they liked the traditional interior layout of Royal Caribbean ships (such as those of the Radiance Class that have a central atrium and no Promenade). I will first mention the negatives of the ship. Please note that none of these following negative factors would deter us (nor should deter others) from sailing on the Navigator (or any Voyager Class ship) again. These are simply to bring awareness and to present our own personal opinions. This vacation was top-notch and we miss the Navigator already! (Just returned today.) Negatives: 1. Getting on and off the ship in Miami. I'm still not certain why, and it may very well not be RCI's fault, but this time around it was quite time-consuming to board and disembark from the ship on the first and last day. We waited over an hour (which was longer than most of the other times I'd experienced) to board the ship, and it could have possibly been longer but our Diamond status helped to get us on a bit quicker at the end of embarkation. Getting off the ship took over an hour, too. After we finally got off, we stood for another 20 minutes in the line to go through Customs. An RCI representative informed us that Customs was an hour late in arriving, which is what caused the delay. Nonetheless it was frustrating. However, there were absolutely no problems getting our luggage on or off the ship, and all disembarkation and embarkation at the ports went smoothly. 2. Lack of upgrade opportunity. Before we even left Miami on the first day, my family and I went to Guest Relations to try and place our names on some sort of waiting list for a room upgrade. On last year's Radiance of the Seas we were swiftly placed on a waiting list (despite the ship being packed to capacity) and we were upgraded from an Interior room to one with a balcony! We didn't necessarily expect an upgrade, but appreciated the staff marking our names down and keeping us in mind. A woman whose name I cannot recall was extremely unhelpful (almost to the point of snubbing us) at Guest Relations, explaining to us the ship was full and there was no such waiting list. I suppose it just confused me why other RCI ships would allow this and they did not. I usually do not do this, but even interjected that we are Diamond members (but that did nothing to help our situation). Needless to say we were not given an upgrade. Once again, however, this did not hurt the enjoyment of our vacation. 3. The Windjammer was often overcrowded. Yes, the Windjammer is usually crowded and understandably it's a buffet, but it seemed noticeably overcrowded this time around -- often with absolutely nowhere to sit. (This was not always the case, however.) One complaint my family had was that they did not like that you could not eat in the open air in the Windjammer (like you could on Radiance of the Seas.) Now for the GOOD!... Positives: 1. The food. Like most reviews tend to note, the food is average to very good (depending on the meal, etc.) However, my mom (ever the food critic) noticed the food was better on this ship. She also said she had heard somewhere that the Navigator of the Seas was being used as a "test ship" to try out different types of food than the other ships -- an attempt by RCI to "up" the standards of it's so-so cuisine. We all agreed that the food was almost always above average and we particularly enjoyed the unique flavor of Jade (located in the Windjammer). We often commented that we seemed to enjoy the food a bit better on this ship than on others in the past. In my opinion, taking one night out from the Windjammer or Dining Room to eat at either Portofino's or Chops Grille is WELL worth the $25 pp charge. The food is OUTSTANDING. We skipped "Caribbean Night" in the Coppelia Dining Room and ate at Portofino's. The food, service and view were absolutely wonderful! My sister and husband ate at Chops one evening as well and insisted it was even better than Portofino's -- absolutely incredible. 2. The ship. As mentioned earlier this ship is an absolute marvel - inside and out. As always with RC ships, she was in outstanding shape -- always kept clean and looking brand new. Our exterior room on deck 3 was just fine (although we could never seem to get the shipboard announcements heard in our room -- but that was minor). The Navigator has $8.5 million worth of artwork on board and it shows! There is gorgeous art wherever you look -- on the stairwells, in the staterooms, in the dining rooms... even in the elevators. I'm not sure what else I can say except that you will be blown away. 3. The service. With the exception of the one lady at the Guest Relations desk, we had nothing but exceptional service -- as we have very much come to expect of RCI. They ALWAYS have fantastic service! A great example of this would be mid-way through the cruise when an assistant waiter accidentally knocked over my glass of red wine - straight onto my white skirt (gasp!). Aside from being extremely apologetic and rushing to get me a new chair, club soda and a new bottle of wine, the head waiter came quickly to apologize and asked that he give me a voucher to have my clothes dry cleaned. The following evenings he continued to come over and ask me if the stain came out. Unfortunately it did not and I filed a property damage report at the Guest Relations desk. They ended up giving me $35 for it and credited it to our SeaPass account. (The skirt was worth $69, which I had written down, but I only paid $20 for it at an outlet store so I didn't complain that I only received half of the valued amount ... plus it was an accident, of course). Regardless, the situation was handled very nicely. I cannot comment too much on the shows because I only went to a few, but they're always fun to attend after dinner. The singer at the Two Poets Pub was fantastic -- worth seeing! I also had a Swedish full body massage at the spa which was fantastic, though I always question whether it's really worth $120 (not incl. gratuity). They did try and sell me one of their products but I politely told them I'd think about it (which meant I wasn't interested). I strongly suggest having a spa treatment done while docked at a port, as they usually offer some sort of discount. And be sure to book your spa treatment within the first day 'cause time slots fill up very quickly. As another side note, this ship does NOT have children's pools, although the two main adult pools (not including the Solarium pool) have shallow areas where supervised children can frolic in the water. My sister used Adventure Ocean a few times with my 3-year-old niece and she loved it. This is all I can think of for now, but anyone is more than welcome to e-mail me if they have any other questions (karenlhope@hotmail.com). To sum up this vacation (and my final thought of this review) ... this is once again a vacation of a lifetime. RCI always keeps us coming back! We have booked our next cruise for the same time next year in balcony rooms on RC's Serenade of the Seas (Southern Caribbean). We can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
This was my second cruise and also second in the Voyager class of RC. My first cruise was on Adventure to the Southern Caribbean in 2003. On that cruise I went with my wife and her whole family including our then two year old daughter, 8 ... Read More
This was my second cruise and also second in the Voyager class of RC. My first cruise was on Adventure to the Southern Caribbean in 2003. On that cruise I went with my wife and her whole family including our then two year old daughter, 8 of us in all. Even with the restraints of sailing with a child who was too young for Adventure Ocean we had the time of our lives and couldn't wait to go on a cruise with our friends sans kids (we now have a four and a 1 year old). My friends and I did a lot of research on the boat and the islands that we were going to and and as they had also sailed before on Voyager we all knew what to expect and what we did or did not want to do. We all set out with the expectation that we could do all or nothing. That's the greatest thing about a cruise, all of them I assume. Travel and Embarkation. Just a week before the cruise and after having read some horror stories from some other reviews, I purchased some insurance through the website where we booked the cruise. This was definitely a safety net but turned out totally unnecessary. I was most concerned about a snowstorm at home and the airlines losing our baggage. Our flight was early, we were met promptly at the baggage claim by RC, and our transfer went very smoothly as well. Once at the pier I could not say enough good things about RC. We had a bit of a wait at the metal detectors but I think we all expect that these days. Once through there we went to check in. The line for the floor that we were on was a bit long and a RC rep moved us to a shorter one and then when we got to the front of that line they made sure that all of the lines and people were moving as quickly as possible. From sidewalk to ship took about 25 minutes. Cabin. We had a Deluxe Balcony Stateroom on our first cruise and due to availability had a Superior Balcony Stateroom this time. If the room was a little bit bigger or different it was hard to tell. Otherwise it was exactly as we expected and remembered. Having the balcony is outstanding. I would not go any other way if at all possible. Our Stateroom attendant was good but did not go out of his way. We asked for some extra hangers on the first night and never got them and called and asked for our pool towels back after he took them and were angrily told that they did not have any for us. Room Service is a great benefit that I imagine most cruisers do not take full advantage of. We ordered at least coffee and OJ by one the various ordering methods every morning and it was fantastic to have coffee ready right when you wake up and enjoy it on the balcony with the waves going by or while you are pulling into port(I am an early riser).In addition to the usual towel exchange policy, If you want your sheets exchanged, pull them off in the morning before they make up your room otherwise they just remake the bed with the same sheets. Food. I am not sure what they did but the food seemed 10 times better than my experience on the Adventure. Whether it was the staff or the company or just me I am not sure but the main dining room at dinner in particular was much better. The appetizer selection and quality seemed especially better. On my first cruise I found myself ordering two entrees on a few occasions because I was still hungry , but this time I never felt the need to have to do that. We did not ever find the need to go to the pay restaurants for dinner as the experience in the main dining room was plenty fulfilling. We did eat at Johnny Rockets a few times and had coupons from our Crown and Anchor book which offset the $4 charge. It was worth it and a good value and the food was what we expected. Activities. As I said before you can do everything or nothing. The Activities staff did a good job of letting you know what was going on without annoying you. We spent the first sea day sunning in the Solarium which is a great escape from the hustle and bustle and children in the main pool area. If on the other hand you want the excitement it is not for you. Of course there is always something going on for everyone rain or shine. We tried out bingo once and were one of the many people to leave disappointed. One lady won two of the five cards! Islands. We decided from the beginning to not fill our time off the boat with excursions We had all done that on our respective first cruises and wanted to go off on our own. Obviously the Company would much rather you either stay in town or go on an excursion, that way they know that you will make it back to the ship. Well, we made it back fine and had a great time making our own excursions. On San Juan we just put on our walking shoes and shopped in Old San Juan and then to El Morro. The fort was much better than anything that I had read. It is just a self guided walking tour but very fun and educational and many good pictures. Buy a kite in town before you go. In St. Thomas we took a cab to Coki Beach after a little shopping. Coki was fabulous for snorkeling but not the best for cleanliness and surroundings. You are hounded from the second you arrive by various vendors and they don't go away. But that is to be expected in many of these ports. In St. Maarten we rented a car with the intention of going to the French capital of Marigot and also visiting a beach. Well on the way we stopped at Orient beach. After Coki the day before this beach was outstanding. Very few vendors and the ones that there were were very polite. The surroundings were clean and sanitary good restaurants to choose from. We also rented some wave boards and waverunners while we were there which was a blast. We spent so much time other that we did not get to Marigot. Renting a car was not a problem at all and cost the four of us about as much as cab fare and we were free to go where we pleased. The cars are available right at the pier so you have no need to take a taxi or the water taxi into town. In Nassau we were supposed to have our one excursion of the trip. We were going to do a beach day at a local resort and have access to all of the amenities. However, the weather was not good and RC refunded it for us. We decided instead to take a taxi to Paradise Island and tour Atlantis. Atlantis is very nice and I am sure very expensive as well. Debarkation. This process did not go as well as the embarkation. However credit once again to RC. The reason for the delay was Customs and Immigration not RC. They made us as comfortable as possible and also came out midmorning with coffee and treats to make our wait better. Do not go to one of the theatres to wait for announcements. They tell you to wait in there because they want to clean up for the next cruise. Instead pick a spot in one of the interior bars or on the Promenade, you will be much happier. Overall. Everything that I expected it would be and more. I can't wait until both of my girls are old enough for the Adventure Ocean program and we can all go together. I did not go into the Promenade much but you can certainly learn more in other reviews. I will definitely return again to RC as soon as we can save the money. I am looking forward to trying other islands and other ships in the years to come. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
I would like to start by saying that this was our first cruise, and after this cruise I can't wait to go on another one. This ship was absolutely amazing. There was so much to do and the entire staff on the ship was wonderful. Our ... Read More
I would like to start by saying that this was our first cruise, and after this cruise I can't wait to go on another one. This ship was absolutely amazing. There was so much to do and the entire staff on the ship was wonderful. Our stateroom attendant was exceptional. The room was taken care of at least twice a day. I had read reviews that the food wasn't that great on our ship but we had nothing but great food. The dining room staff really made the dining experience pleasurable. They really made you feel pampered and special. We took our two boys, ages 14 and 12 on the cruise and they are ready to go back. The Adventure Ocean staff was excellent and the teen lounge they said was great. There was a special area just for teens, no adults so they could hang out with new friends and we knew they were safe. They were able to enjoy themselves and meet new people while we could do the same and not have to worry about them. The ports of call were beautiful. Our favorite would have to be the Cayman Islands. Jamaica, Cozumel and Labadee were beautiful as well. We had booked our own excursions on-line and saved money over what the cruise line offered. In Jamaica we booked with Peat Taylor for a tour of Dunn's River Falls followed by a tour of Ocho Rios and then tubing on the White River. Peat and his son Oneil were amazing and I would highly recommend them. In Grand Cayman we booked a tour with Captain Bryan for Stingray City. Great tour as well. Cozumel we did the Sea Lion Swim and that was incredible. We just took a taxi to Chankanaab Park, only $10 from the pier. All in all this was the most amazing vacation. The only problem we had was the last day of the cruise, immigration came in and held up disembarkation. We were supposed to be off the boat around 10:30 and never got off until 12:30 so we missed our flight and ended up getting home around 6 hours later than scheduled. This was not Royal Caribbean's fault and it delayed them as well. The only other thing I might consider doing differently is scheduling my own flight. It was the kids' first flying experience and Royal Caribbean had booked the air and we were all separated on the flight down. I wasn't too happy with that but luckily some people switched seats and we weren't too far apart. I highly recommend Royal Caribbean cruise lines and especially the Navigator of the Seas. You won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
I'd have to say that this cruise was a success, and that by-and-large I was happy with the entire package. That said, I have my reservations about cruising on this size ship again, and with Royal Caribbean specifically. Everything was ... Read More
I'd have to say that this cruise was a success, and that by-and-large I was happy with the entire package. That said, I have my reservations about cruising on this size ship again, and with Royal Caribbean specifically. Everything was fine, nothing blew me away, some things were disastrous. Embarkation - A hardcore full on disaster. Arrived port 1030, got on board ship somewhere between 1330-1400. Normally this is not so much the line's fault as customs, but in this instance it was all RCCL. 7 crew members were caught smuggling drugs into the country and thus the ship was FOREVER getting cleared. RCCL herded us into various chaotic holding areas as this time drug on. I hear that around 1300 some people were given juice, and light snacks, but I personally saw none of this. I sat, with cattle, and starved as breakfast was a LONG time since. Stateroom - Deluxe Ocean View Room, Starboard, slightly aft, 7306. No complaints here at all. Loved the central location, being just a few decks above Royal Promenade, a mere 4 decks directly above the dining hall proved invaluable in skipping the dreaded "wait for the elevator". Room was by no means spacious, but was modern, quiet, well-equipped with storage space. Balcony was very nice, private, and spacious, and equipped with two chairs, and a small table. Television was a little un-reliable but I never watch on a cruise anyway, so no issue there. The seapass account was nearly impossible to view on the TV 3-4 minute wait when it DID come up, which was totally hit or miss, and the folio was not updated until day five, which I thought was a little ridiculous. Public Rooms - This was a highlight. The entire public area of this ship is A+. Truly breath-taking art collection on board, literally everywhere you look is something exquisite. Royal Promenade is awe-inspiring, as are the two atriums at either end. Other highlights: Cosmopolitan Lounge, Two Poets Pub, Champagne Bar, and the connoisseur Club. Dining - This was one of the low-lites I'm sorry to say. The Dining Room itself is a treasure. I was on main floor, Deck 3, Nutcracker. The food was quite obviously mass-produced. I don't mind that it was mass food, since there were over 3,000 guests on board, but I do mind that it was so painfully impersonal. Things that should have been hard and caramelized were soft, and soggy. There was very little to no possibility of having anything seasoned to your specific taste, or getting anything off menu. Sadly, I'd have to say this food was far below what you'd expect at any medium rated restaurant. The classic "MMmmmm" never came close to escaping my mouth. The food was similar to what you'd find at a slightly low quality chain I guess. TGI Friday's like perhaps. None of it was horrid, but some of it was close, while nothing really came close to grand. The menu was quite unimaginative, and limited. Nothing positive I can say about this. Our waiter was a total failure. No personality, night seven I was still sir, never got to know my name, never asked, never once made eye contact. When taking my order he mumbled, and seemed annoyed and displeased when I'd have say two starters instead of one. EVERY day I got a fruit bowl instead of a salad. Days 5 and 6 he brought me salad for some unknown reason, and only brought the fruit when asked. Quite possibly one of the least friendly waiters of my life, but for 7 nights in a row. It was not for lack of trying, he was not slacking, just very shy, and with no personality. Due to this, I blame not him, but RCCL for putting him in a position he was clearly not comfortable with. I asked out Ass't waiter if our waiter was new one night, to which he replied "nooooo, sir, very senior." SIGH! The aforementioned Ass't waiter was A+. He was fast with the bread, attentive to the drinks, funny, engageable, and had a fabulous memory. Head Waiters was pleasant, and fine. Nothing great, or horrid. Aside from that the food on the ship was relatively all over the place. The buffet Windjammer IMO was the best food option on the ship. Excellent, in every way. Johnny Rockets was the biggest ripoff on the ship. $3.95 on your seapass all you can eat, 'cept for your shakes which of course are also $3.95 and just happen to be what Johnny Rockets are known for. I dropped $13 on the place, but could have had the same meal for free in the Windjammer. Cafe Promenade was the spot for late night diners, and was fine, but not impressive at all. Room Service was often earlier than ordered, or later than ordered but when you got it, was quite nice. However, one night my order never arrived. I ordered, waited an hour, called back to be told there was no order for me, replaced order, waited another hour got nothing, called back and cancelled and was told again no order was in for me? Not sure what happened there. Entertainment - gets a passing grade, though not much more. In the main theatre one show was SUPER, two were good, one was decent, and another was so bad I left in the middle. I skipped one altogether as I wanted to just hang out. Shipboard activities were well varied and from what I saw very well organized. Had only good times, not a single negative here. RCCL personnel - ran the gamut from great, to awful. I was treated like a king, and like a piece of trash. Mostly in between of course. All in all, the good outweighed the bad. Shore excursions - Labadee I opted to just hang out and do whatever. Did some climbing exploring in the Dragons's Head area, swam a bit, etc. Did not really prefer this port, but can't really say anything bad about it either. Good place to relax and be unfettered. Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Did the Dunn's River Falls/Dolphin Cove combo. Dunn's river was great, took a boat from the pier to the beach where the falls end. Climbed up apart from the guides with just the wife and myself. Great fun. Dolphin's Cove is a total waste. Lame excuse for a zoo where uninterested guides take you on a walk and show you birds, snakes, and coffee. Then, they say "look, here are dolphins" in this cage, aren't they funny? Worst experience in a port ever. Never, ever again. My advice is to skip the excursions, take a taxi to the falls and have a blast. George Town - Scheduled Rays and Reef Combo but as usual they cancelled as the water was "a tad choppy" and apparently the 6 year olds they had booked stood a strong chance of drowning. Anyway, found a divemaster on our own, and did the Rays and Reef anyway. Good clean fun here, Rays are a trip. George Town itself has no soul, no personality other than being a place of commerce. Generally a place to avoid I'd say. Cozumel - Tulum Express. Focus on express. Here are the ruins, look, pretty, now, see them in the rear view mirror? Just too quick. Aside from that I did enjoy myself. Great tour guides, very interested in providing good experience, and very gracious and kind. As I say, some great, some ok, some bad, some awful. I think I'll give it a grade of C+. Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
This is my second cruise. It was me, my fiancE and two other couples; Berna & Max, and Liz & Jeff. This was Berna & Max's 4th cruise and Liz & Jeff's 1st cruise. John and I went down to Florida early. We arrived ... Read More
This is my second cruise. It was me, my fiancE and two other couples; Berna & Max, and Liz & Jeff. This was Berna & Max's 4th cruise and Liz & Jeff's 1st cruise. John and I went down to Florida early. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Wednesday the 2nd, rented a convertible Mustang and visited with some friends. On Thursday, we drove down to Miami to meet up with Berna & Max. We stayed at the Holiday Inn in South Beach. We just wanted something on the beach that was cheap. It actually wasn't all that bad...it had the basic amenities. That night we went to Mangoes and the Clevelander in South Beach. Loads of fun...loads of drinks! Nothing like starting the vacation off early. Berna and Max went to the Everglades on Friday and unfortunately lost their new digital camera somewhere. They went out and bought a new one. Ouch, that hurts! At least it wasn't at the end of the cruise where they would have lost all of their memories. Saturday, March 5, 2005 Departure partly cloudy 90, sunrise 6:40am, sunset 6:25pm Drink of the day - Pina Colada, Martini of the day - Butterscotchtini We took a taxi from the hotel around 10:45 and arrived at the Port of Miami within 20-30 minutes. The baggage handlers took our luggage on trolleys to the ship, but not before we gave them a tip of course...we wanted to make sure our luggage got to our rooms! We were told to go to Gate G to board the Navigator of the Seas. At Gate G, we were told to go to Gate F because that gate was only for the boarding of the Junior League of Women...whoever they were. So, off we went. We waited in line, showed our papers, etc. and were sent upstairs to wait in a longer line. The wait was about 2 hrs., due to supposedly, an immigration/customs backup. It was frustrating, but we didn't mind...we were on vacation!! They supplied water and lemonade. We read our books, walked around, talked to people, and people watched. As boarding time got nearer, we saw the Junior League of Women board the ship. Apparently, they were just on for the afternoon to take part in a meeting and luncheon. As we waited, platters of sandwiches and cookies were put out for us (probably the Junior League of Women's leftovers). They were swiped up within seconds!! Anyone who was not in the very near vicinity of that table arrived to find only crumbs left. Since this was my second cruise on the voyager class of ships, I knew what to expect. We decided to skip the "Welcome Aboard" picture. We just wanted to get to the nearest bar! We stopped at Boleros on Deck 4. Here we met Adrienne and Maurice, the bartenders for the week. We also met Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-ya), the waitress. They were all very cool and fun. They immediately got us into vacation mode, serving up rum runners, beer, and mojitos! Adrienne made a little heart out of the straw paper and put it on my straw. John got a seahorse. They gave us a bunch of bar games to work on...little puzzles using straws and stirrers. We met up with our 3rd couple here, Liz and Jeff, the first-timers. They were amazed at how large the ship was. We also met some fellow cruisers while imbibing, Gerry, a travel agent, and Mario, who was on his 99th cruise!! Berna and Max left to go to Schooners because they found out that a bartender they met on their last cruise, Roger from Jamaica, was working there. They were so psyched. They said he was awesome! Liz and I decided to check out the spa. We ended up taking a tour and signing ourselves up for the couples massage. I told John about it and he didn't want to do it because a man would be doing the massage. John and I went back up to change the appointment and ended up being chosen as volunteers to receive a free treatment. They needed people as volunteers to demonstrate treatments being done as cruisers came through for the spa tour. I received the cellulite treatment and John got a facial. The cellulite treatment was relaxing. They put cream all over your legs and stomach and then hooked electrodes up to you. I don't believe that it really works, but hey, it was free! John and I ended up signing up for individual full body massages with facials for the next day. He was ok with that because a woman was going to be doing the massaging. The required muster took place around 5ish. It was a little late due to our delayed embarkation. It didn't take long and was pretty well organized. We were in a Promenade Stateroom on Deck 8, Room 8305, near The Library. Our stateroom had a large bowed window that overlooked The Promenade. We had three pieces of luggage but only two had been delivered. We found our stateroom attendant, Patrick, who was from Jamaica, and he said he would take care of it. He came back minutes later with our last piece of luggage. Ya mon! We had chosen the main seating for dinner, at 6:00pm. Unfortunately, we missed it the first night because we were volunteering at the spa. We ate at the Windjammer, which had everything you would ever want to eat. Tonight's specialty was Thai food. 8:00pm - Welcome Aboard show - The Metropolis Theatre. Decks 3, 4. Comedy show with Eric Lyden, guest starring Duo Donnert. Sunday, March 6, 2005 AT SEA - mixed sunshine & cloud, 80, sunrise 6:32am, sunset 6:09pm Drink of the day - Bay Breeze, Martini of the day - Cosmopolitan We had breakfast in the Windjammer, Deck 11. Everyday, for lunch and dinner, the Windjammer has a huge buffet. You should be able to find something you like to eat here. We spent the day at the pool with the Calypso Band, the Rhythm Explosion. 12:30pm - "Mr. Sexy Legs contest". John missed it this year because we were having our massages. There are many activities going on throughout the day: juggling classes, movies in the screening room, wine tasting, auctions, ice skating, trivia, and bingo. 6:00pm Captain's Gala Dinner. We had a group picture taken of the 6 of us. We were sat at a table for eight. We had a table on the Swan Lake floor, way in the back on the right, near the window, #556. We got to meet our tablemates, since we missed dinner the night before. Kathy and Chuck were from Ohio and were very nice. We warned them that when we were all together we might get a little crazy. I had the Sea Bass and it was very good. The shot of the night was a French Kiss. Berna and I split a bottle of Pinot Grigio. Waiter: Omar from Honduras Head Waiter: Gianni from Italy Asst. Waiter: Wilson from Philippines Bartender: Eartha from Jamaica 9:00pm - Headliner Showtime starring "A Man of 1000 Voices" Paul Boland and featuring Marlise at the Metropolis Theatre. We didn't make this show, but I heard it was great! 11:00pm Karaoke Idol- Ixtapa Lounge - This was setup like American Idol. 4 judges (John was chosen to be one) They were only taking 12 contestants. So, I signed up for the fun of it. I didn't know that the winners would be competing for the championships on Friday. I sang "Livin' La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin. I was shaking my hips, dancing and having a good time. I only do it for fun; I don't think I can really sing. Anyway, I guess Kyle, the MC, took off his coat and was boogying down behind me!! The crowd was really into it. 12:15am Late Night Adult Comedy with Eric Lyden Monday, March 7, 2005 LABADEE, HISPANIOLA - partly cloudy 83, sunrise 6:00am, sunset 5:52pm Drink of the day - Fuzzy Naval, Martini of the day - Melontini We arrived at 8:00am and the tendering process began at 8:30am. We got out as soon as we could. Once we got to the island, we walked straight ahead to the other side of the island. There were hired people to set up chairs for you. Make sure you have money on you to tip them! We only had a $10 bill. We set up on this beach and then realized that it was way too wavy to float on our mats and very rocky. We then started to drag our chairs to the 2nd beach on the side where the ship was docked. They don't want you to make lines in the sand, so the helpers grabbed our chairs and carried them over for us. This beach was much calmer and sandy. It was a small beach, nice and quaint. It did get a little crowded, but that didn't bother us. John and I did the wave runner tour at noon. It was great. Four stops are made along the tour and an explanation of the island and culture is given. On one of the stops, 4 men in canoes rowed up to us to and tried to sell us stuff. Max had done the tour at 10:00am and bought a conch shell for $10. The Haitians only make about $200 a year! It is a very poor country. Labadee Village has about 2000 residents, mainly because Royal Caribbean created many jobs for them there. After the tour, we lazed out on the beach. We had rented beach mats, but really didn't use them. We also snorkeled with our own equipment...though you will need to rent a flotation vest for $6. The water was pretty cold and it was kind of cloudy out. Make sure to have a Labadoozee or Coco Loco drink! When we returned from Labadee, we went to the Bingo game which was at 4:00pm. I didn't win and I also lost $5 in the slots. I'm not a big gambler as you can see. Since we had been on a cruise before and were members of the Crown & Anchor club, we received a book of discount coupons which was pretty cool. There were coupons for the casino, 2 for 1 drinks, Ben & Jerry's, 10% off on spa treatments, pictures, 10 free internet minutes and lots more! It was Italian night in the dining room. Berna and I used the buy 1 bottle of wine; get the 2nd at 10% off coupon from our books. I had the caprese salad, scallop risotto, chicken marsala, and tiramisu for dessert. It was all very good. Chuck got the lamb shank, but didn't like it, so he opted for the chicken marsala. That is the beauty of dinner, you can try everything and have as many dinners as you'd like! We had received an invitation to go to the Crown & Anchor party this night, but we decided to pass. They have an open bar and you meet the Captain. Maybe on our next cruise we will go. 10:15pm - Battle of the Sexes - Which is stronger, men or women? - Ixtapa Lounge men had to sit on one side and the women on the other. This was fun, but couldn't really get involved because of the large number of people. The Headliner show was titled the Beatlemaniacs. They were very good. They sang a montage of Beatles songs and changed their outfits and hair throughout to go with the era of tunes. We ended the night at the Dungeon which was having a Traffic Light Party. All single people received a green ribbon and married or hitched people received a red ribbon. We just watched...it was pretty funny. Hopefully, there were some matches made! My Sea Pass wouldn't open my door when I got back to the room. I went down to the front desk to get a new one. Make sure you don't have your Sea Pass near any magnets, or this will happen! Tuesday, March 8, 2005 OCHOS RIOS, JAMAICA - partly cloudy 85, sunrise 6:28am, sunset 6:08pm Drink of the day - Caribbean Cocktail, Martini of the day - Appletini I woke up and did a 2.5 mile walk on the ship's track and then hit the Windjammer for breakfast. Berna and I were doing the Swim with the Dolphins and Dunn's River excursion. It was very organized. Once you got off the ship, there were signs directing you where to go. We got on the shuttle, which ran all day between the venues. We went to Dunn's River Falls first. Berna had done this already, so she was just going to watch and wait. The guides seemed very unorganized; no one knew who to go with. We were guided down a hill to a shack where you can rent water shoes. One couple didn't have cash and credit cards weren't accepted, so the guide sent them to the ATM back at the entrance (which I found out later, didn't work!). We were just about to start the climb and there were a couple of guys with backpacks. The guide told them they should put them in a locker. We had to wait for them while they locked up their belongings, which was frustrating. It was very neat to see this waterfall, but I have to say I was very disappointed with the climb. There was too much stopping and waiting and it was very crowded. Just about every excursion included a trip here, so I figured it might be. The people in my group were all over the place. I didn't know that you could climb up the falls without a guide. I would have done that. I just wanted to climb it! I ended up getting off half way up. It was taking way too long. I'm glad I did what I did though. When you exit, go back the way you came out if you want to skip the pushy vendor area. We caught the shuttle to Dolphin Cove. We had about 40 minutes to kill before it started, so I got my hair braided. It cost $25 to have half my head done; 10 braids. Berna got 5 little braids done in Labadee and it cost her $20, so I think I got a deal. Swimming with the dolphins was very cool. I wish we had a longer time in the water with them. We had our pictures taken with the dolphin kissing us. That was pretty cool. After the dolphin tour we took the shuttle to Margaritaville where we were meeting everyone else. Liz and Jeff had been there for a long time. It was crazy packed! They were having a "Miss Margaritaville" contest on stage when we go there. Jeff called the "shot" guy over so I could have one. They have you tip your head back and pour it right in your mouth! We ordered lunch because we were starving! We had cheeseburgers and they were really good, though the service was terribly slow. Margaritaville has a big tube slide that empties into a pool! The pool has a bar with stools in the pool too. On the way back to the ship we stopped in the liquor store and bought some Overproof Rum, 63% alcohol! Ouch! They were having a special; 3 bottles for $20. Alcohol is SO cheap here! We did dinner at Johnny Rockets because we had a coupon for it. I got a BLT because I wasn't all that hungry. If you go, get a burger. The onion rings were awesome!! We then did drinks at the Schooner bar (piano man, Richie Swan rocks!) and then back to Boleros (Latin Dance music with Rumba Express). 10:30pm - The Love & Marriage game. This show was hysterical! It is based on the Newlywed show. They had a couple who just got married, 10 hrs. under their belt, and another couple that were together for 25 years. Then they had auditions for the middle couple. They got a doozy of a couple, that is for sure! They really made the show humorous though. We went to the Ice Dancing show. We had missed it the other night. 11:45pm - Dancing under the stars, poolside. Big buffet, glowing drinks, lots of dancing and partying. Wednesday, March 9, 2005 GRAND CAYMAN, BVI - partly cloudy 82, sunrise 6;38am, sunset 6:33pm Drink of the day - Mai Tai, Martini of the day - Hazelnut We arrived at 8:00am and tendering started at 8:30am. We were one of the first groups off because we were doing the Stingray adventure. We took a van to the stingray boat. The driver told us all about the devastation that hurricane Ivan caused which hit in October of 2004. The devastation was awful. All of the vegetation was destroyed by the sea water and roofs were ripped off of houses and hotels. A lot of rebuilding had been done, but it isn't as pretty as an island as it once was. When we got to the dock, the driver pointed out a cement dock that had been thrown hundreds of yards from the water, along with some boats. The power of a hurricane is unbelievable. It was a 30 minute boat ride out to the stingray area. There could see tons of them swimming around. We had our own snorkel gear, so we were the first ones in the water. You could actually stand up in the water…it was only waist high. It was so neat to see these creatures. My first reaction was to scream. You had to get used to them. They have no teeth and won't hurt you…just don't grab their tail. We were given squid to feed the stingrays. They would just "suck" it out of your hand like a big vacuum cleaner! They kept taking the food out of my hand and then knocking me over! Our guide grabbed one that didn't have a stinger and let us pet it and hold it for pictures. This was one of my favorite excursions, though again, I wish we could have spent more time with them. After the stingrays, we decided to go shopping. We went to Tortugas to buy some rum cakes to bring home. John wanted to use his traveler's checks…but he had forgotten his ID. So, we borrowed money from Liz and Jeff. John headed back to the ship to get his ID and said he would meet us in an hour at the Harley shop. There were a lot of shops to poke in and out of, but after a while they all looked the same. I did buy a framed picture of a stingray and a t-shirt. John never made it back to the island. Apparently, the seas got really rough and they weren't letting anyone come back over! He had my sea pass so I was freaking out wondering how I was going to get on the ship. I had no form of ID whatsoever on me! I went to talk to the Royal Caribbean person and he said it wouldn't be a problem, just explain everything to security. They asked me a few questions, and I was all set, thankfully! The waters were really rough now though. The tender boat was all over the place! It took almost 45 minutes to get to the ship. They had us waiting out in the middle of the harbor while they tried to position the ship to block the wind. What an adventure it was getting off the tender. The gangway was all over the place. We all made it on safely, but I think there might have been some sick people. When Berna & Max did this cruise last year, the ship did not stop at Grand Cayman because of rough seas. Luckily, we did this time, but their stingray tour got cancelled. They are destined to not see Grand Cayman! That night, the ship was rocking a lot! I have never experienced this before. 6:00pm Chef's Dinner - This was the 2nd formal dinner. Lobster night! Yum! We went to the Wild & Haines juggling show that night. It was pretty good. I was exhausted so I went to bed. John ended up staying out and didn't get home until 3:30am!! 11:30pm-12:15am - Gala Buffett open for viewing and picture taking. Don't miss at least seeing this! 12:30am-1:30am - Gala Buffett open for eating! Thursday, March 10, 2005 COZUMEL, MEXICO - partly cloudy 80, sunrise 6:58am, sunset 6:54pm This port is one hour behind, but don't turn your watch back or you will miss the ship out of port! Drink of the day - Sex on the Beach, Martini of the day - Dirty Martini We arrived at 10:00am. All of us were going on the Fury Catamaran, snorkel-beach-party-boat at 2:00pm. We decided to take a taxi into town and shop for a while. There was a long line for the taxis, but it went quickly. I bought some silver; a ring and a bracelet. Liz bought some diamond earrings. On the way back to the boat we grabbed a bite and some drinks at Senor Frogs. Pretty neat place…not as crazy as Carlos & Charlie's though, at least in the day. One of the waiters offered me 4 shots for my Livestrong Lance Armstrong cancer bracelet. I guess they can't get them there. So, I gave it to him. I had more at home. We went back to the ship to prepare for our excursion. The catamaran was right at the dock. We took it out only a little ways out, you could still see the ship. I didn't see too much here. Some fish, a little stingray. There were some scuba divers under us checking things out, so that was kind of cool. We were here maybe 30-45 minutes. Then we get on the catamaran and the party began. Superior beer and margaritas for everyone! They bring you to their private beach for an hour, where you can use floaty mats, play volleyball, take part in the open bar or you can buy lunch. It was pretty cool! We got a big volleyball game going where we nicknamed everyone. There was Corona, Blue, Gator, Kill Phil, and Philly. We drank A LOT here!! We didn't want leave. They brought us back to the dock and we ran over to Senor Frogs for one more drink…like we needed it!! John ended up leaving our snorkel equipment there by accident…someone got lucky! Oh well! John and I had been put on the waiting list at Portifinos the day before for tonight's dinner. We stopped in to see if we could get in. They said if we wanted to eat right at that moment we could. So, we ate. I was pretty drunk and it probably wasn't the best idea to eat here. The appetizers, bread with artichoke, mushroom and sauce dips, and salad were all great. I though my meal of lobster, shrimp and salmon was too salty. John got a chicken dish that he said was excellent. I've only heard good things about this place. I went to bed after dinner, I was wiped out! I ended up waking up at midnight and went out to find everyone. They were in the Dungeon. I somehow managed to stay up for another hour and hang out. John didn't get home until 5am!! He is a nut! Friday, March 11, 2005 AT SEA - partly cloudy 83, sunrise 6:51am, sunset 6:33pm Drink of the day - Bahama Mama, Martini of the day - Lemontini Got up at 8am and got a chair at the pool. They don't let you save chairs, so don't try. They took all these towels off of chairs that were there for a while with no people in them. Played Winner-take-all-Bingo at 10:30 because this was the last day for the big money! If it wasn't won in the morning, they would have the last one in the afternoon. In the afternoon, they had a big pool volleyball game set up for cruisers to compete in against "Team Navigator". Jeff entered and his team beat Team Navigator! Team Navigator hadn't lost in over a month. We had an appointment at 1pm to book our next cruise. We booked our cruise on the Freedom for 9/10/06. We bought $84 worth of our pictures from the week. 6:00pm Feast of Nations Dinner. Don't miss the last dinner. You are able to see your tablemates and waiters for the last time. Also, tips are given out on this night. We gave Eartha, our bartender, a tip even though you aren't required. We also made the rounds and gave Roger, the Schooner bartender, a Red Sox hat and gave Maurice a big tip for the week. Your entire set of luggage had to be put out by midnight, so we went back to the room to finish packing and fill out my customs form. Make sure to fill out the Guest Satisfaction Survey. Saturday, March 12, 2005 HOME We were all very sad that we had to leave the ship. We were up at 7:00 to get ready. Since all of our bags had to be out the night before, we were left with our carry-ons. Make sure you prepare wisely the night before so you aren't left with a ridiculous amount of stuff to put in your carry-on. We had to go to the Metropolis theatre to wait to get off the ship. Disembarking was a breeze. We got right off the ship around 8am, got our luggage and were on the bus that would transfer us to Ft. Lauderdale airport. Make sure to have a porter take your luggage. They will get you to the appropriate place you need to be to get where you are going…and don't forget to tip them! We got to the airport around 10:00am. Our flight wasn't until 3:30pm. We couldn't check our luggage until 4 hours before the flight. So, we just sat down and waited. We met some people that were on the Princess Cruise line and Carnival. Once we could check our luggage, we went and grabbed lunch at Chili's. Miscellaneous: *We met lots of people on this trip: Pittsburgh, Ken from NH, Dane-the Blue Cross/Blue Shield person who was on a free trip w/ her company, Doris & Shirley from Alaska, Ashley w/ the 69 braids, the Walpole boys, Gerry and Mario. *I was very impressed with all the people who worked on the ship. All of them were very friendly and helpful. * Make sure you have a little card in a slot on the back of your door that says "do not disturb" and "make up room". You put this in the key slot to let the stateroom attendant know what to do with your room. Again, we had problems with people stealing ours!! * I liked Grand Cayman and Cozumel the best out of all the islands. * One of the TV stations highlights the day’s events, information about the islands, and replays of the ship shows. You can also see your Sea Pass balance. Another station shows you the position of the ship and its course. * There are many things going on during the week from seminars to movies to basketballs. Get out there! * No need to bring your own beach towels. They are supplied and you can exchange them every day for new ones. * Love the towel animals! * We learned that the workers are on the ship for six months at a time and then get two months vacation. * Many of them are from Jamaica on this ship because it allows them to visit family while in port. * Pre-paid gratuities now allow you to charge the tips to your Sea Pass which is convenient. * You are advised to not drink the water in Mexico. Watch for holes in the ice. It means that they were made with filtered water. * Royal Caribbean discourages you from renting scooters or mopeds in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. There was one woman who got in an accident in Cozumel. * I liked the fact that this cruise went Saturday to Saturday, allowing Sunday for some recovery. Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
This was the second cruise we have taken. Overall it was a great time, and I would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone. We booked a Junior Suite, which was a good value compared to similar suites I've seen on other cruises. The ... Read More
This was the second cruise we have taken. Overall it was a great time, and I would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone. We booked a Junior Suite, which was a good value compared to similar suites I've seen on other cruises. The extra room was worth every penny we spent on it. I can honestly say that I have spent nights in hotel rooms that were smaller. And, now that I've had a room with a balcony, I will never settle for less. I read quite a bit about this cruise before we left. Most reviews gave the food mediocre marks. I was hoping that people were just being picky and that the food would be better than our previous cruise experience. However, I have to say that I agree completely with the middling marks on food. You definitely won't go hungry on this ship, as food seems to be served around the clock in various locations. But, if you're looking for fine cuisine, believe me, you're not going to find it in the main dining seating. Our meals ranged from somewhat above average (of all things, I thought one of the chicken dishes was quite good) to barely edible (think of everything bad you can say about a steak, and that would describe the NY strip steak). For the most part the food was not great, not bad, just ok. Our waiter was very good, and probably could be qualified to work in a better place. The assistant waiter was kind of a disaster. But everyone on the wait staff tries so hard, it's difficult to give them poor marks. Let's just say that the assistant waiter was a disaster in a very endearing way ... an adorable disaster. If there is one thing I wish they would stop doing is the entertainment routine during dinner. On some nights, they will have a song or dance routine where all of the wait staff try to "entertain" the dinner guests. Clearly, none of the wait staff enjoyed the forced singing and dancing. I, for one, found it forced and uncomfortable to watch and was just glad when it ended. The Western Caribbean itinerary, overall was good. The first stop at Labadee is basically just a day at the beach. There are not too many activities, but we were just glad to get off the boat after a day at sea. The beach is ok, but the water is only marginally swimmable. There are a lot of rocks, coral, and seaweed that prevent you from venturing very far into the water. With nearly everyone on the boat trying to access the beach, it gets a bit crowded. At mid-day, we took advantage of the lunch and checked out the market. It was very clear that one part of the market was probably owned by the cruise line, while the other part was made available to local merchants. If you see it, the difference will be unmistakable. In the local merchant building, there are more vendors than customers. And, considering how much they swarm around the customers to sell their merchandise, it's easy to see why most customers could be seen making a hasty escape from the building. My advice would be to skip the shopping experience. Spend a few hours on the beach, get lunch, then go back to the ship to get a good seat near the pool. There's really not a whole lot going on in Labadee. After reading all of the negative comments on Ocho Rios, Jamaica, I have to say that I found the island a pleasant surprise. Maybe my expectations were so low that I could not have been disappointed, but I had fun on this island and I would consider going back. My suspicion is that a small fraction of locals give the area a bad reputation. The reality we observed was that the people were helpful, honest, and friendly. Sure, the cab drivers could come across as a little aggressive, but they're just trying to make money from their only visible source of revenue: tourists. It's really the cruise lines that are taking advantage of passengers at this port of call. The prices of some of the shore tours was exorbitant. Most tours involve a trip to Dunn's River Falls in some way, and charge more than $50 per person. The falls are a five-minute cab ride from the dock. (It's actually walking distance from the dock where the Carnival ship was moored, and I'm betting they didn't mention that to their passengers.) We paid $20 (for two of us) for a cab to the falls, plus some other places. When I saw the falls, all I could see was a couple hundred people wading in the water, waiting for their turn to climb up. We skipped the hike, and I would recommend others do the same. Go find Margaritaville, and bring your beachwear. It's in a nice little complex with shops and bars. Margaritaville is right on the beach, so you can swim while you're there. It was a lot of fun. I found the online descriptions of Grand Cayman to be sadly inaccurate and understated. Make no mistake about it: This island was ravaged by hurricane Ivan. The evidence is everywhere you look, from trees stripped of all leaves, to building roofs still being rebuilt. The local economy is too strong to keep them down for long. But, they are probably at least a year away from being fully operational again. And, it's probably going to take many years for the foliage to recover. We first went to Stingray City. For the price, I'm not sure I recommend this experience. The cruise industry has really taken over travel to this spot by allowing access mostly via shore tours, and it's the local merchants that have really lost out. Swimming with these animals was fun, but I found the area to be a bit crowded and the experience to be a bit overrated. I'm not sure what a better activity would be on Grand Cayman, but the beach is probably a good option. Cozumel has to be one of my favorite Caribbean islands. I recommend skipping the whole downtown experience. It's like most other Caribbean islands you've seen, but with a more Mexican flavor. If you really want to see something nice, go snorkeling or diving. There are some great parks for this and you don't have to look very far. We also rented a jeep for a ride around the island. The views are unbelievable, and the beach side bars provide you with a view of paradise with a drink in your hand. I thought entertainment aboard the Navigator left a little to be desired. If you've ever cruised before, I can't imagine you'll be very impressed by the main shows. I realize they need to appeal to a wide audience, but I really wish everything wasn't so PG-rated. I mean, how many times do you need to see a "marriage game show" to realize they're really not all that funny? That being said, there is much more to do on-board than go to the main shows. There is "Ice Dancin'" if that is your thing, and a variety of bands playing at the numerous nightclubs on-board. My favorite was the jazz band at the Cosmopolitan Club. If you like jazz, or just music in general, it's a must-see. I really was never at a loss for things to do, but I think the main auditorium shows could have been better. Throughout the day, there are a lot of activities on the ship. I highly recommend the wine tastings. We attended two of them on our cruise. The first is for beginners. At only about $10 per person, it was an outstanding event. We sampled six wines that were of decent, but not great, quality (probably around $8-10 per bottle in a store). The best part of it was that I could ask all the dumb questions I wanted about various types of wine. The host was very attentive, knowledgeable, and seemed genuinely pleased that we took such an interest in her area of expertise. The second seating was for more refined wine aficionados. We sampled four wines of much greater quality (normally $18 per glass on-board, so probably about $30-$40 per bottle in a store), and the cost was about $18 per person. Again, we learned a lot. I emerged a little smarter about wine, and a quite a bit happier for the wine I drank. Here is what we found to be the worst part of the experience: disembarking. Whatever you do, do the best you can not to be in the last group to disembark. After we had to leave our stateroom at 8:00am, we waited ... and waited ... and waited ... until we finally made it through customs and the port terminal at nearly 2:00pm. I realize that it's not all Royal Caribbean's fault, but there has to be a better way of arranging for people to get off the boat. When we got to our luggage, we found our 4 bags spread out about as far as they could possibly be scattered in the terminal. But, we tried to look past this miserable experience and not let it color our opinions of an otherwise great week. Overall, I give this cruise a thumbs-up. The crew were professional and polite, the ship was gorgeous, clean and efficient, and we never really wanted for anything. You can be as busy as you want, or relax as much as you want. It's up to you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
My husband and I love the Navigator ship. We were never bored and had plenty to do. You do not have to take tenders with the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. All of the docks are within walking distance to most things and taxis are available ... Read More
My husband and I love the Navigator ship. We were never bored and had plenty to do. You do not have to take tenders with the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. All of the docks are within walking distance to most things and taxis are available to further locations. Pre-cruise -We stayed at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay the day before our cruise. It has a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, and other nice facilities. It is a wonderful hotel, but I heard that it will soon be turn into condos in June. We had dinner at Bayside Market. There are plenty of restaurants, hotels, and shops near Bayside. I recommend that you stay in Miami a day before you board your cruise. That way you will be well rested and could board the ship early. It cost about $19.00 for a taxi to the hotels near Bayside. $10.00 for a taxi to the port from Bayside area hotels. Embarkation-We left our hotel around 10:30. It takes only 10-15 minutes to get to the Miami port from Bayside area. TO AVOID LONG LINES GET TO THE PORT AROUND 10:30-11:30 AM! Any time after noon is very hectic. We gave our luggage to the porters and proceed to check in. It only took us about 15-20 minutes to board the ship. We had no problems at all. Get there early and you will not have problems. Also fill out all you documentations at home. Having documentations filled out and being early makes boarding very smooth. Day 1- Soon as we board we had lunch inside the WindJammer (buffet style). Our cabin was not ready until 1pm. After we had lunch, we toured the entire ship on our own. Touring the ship ahead of time helps. We went to our cabins. We took a nap and had ate dinner in the Swan Lake dining room. There was a Welcome show that evening. Day 2- Fun day at Sea. We just laid out on the deck and use the hot tub. Day 3-San Juan 2pm-10pm This was our favorite port. We toured Old San Juan on our own. Everything is within walking distance except for the beaches. If you are not athletic then take the free shuttle around Old San Juan. Walking is the best. Do not waste your time touring with the ship excursion. You could do more and see more on your own. We visited El Morro Fort, some churches, and Fort San Cristobal. There are museums, but the close on Mondays. It reminds you of Europe with the cobblestone streets and shops. If you like history, culture, and the beach then San Juan is perfect. You could even catch a taxi to the beach areas. Day 4- St. Thomas 8am-6pm We first use the pool. PORT DAYS ARE THE BEST FOR SWIMMING. After lunch we walk 25 minutes to downtown. Tour downtown and the shops. We didn't go to the beach, but take a taxi to the beach instead of the ship excursions. Day 5- St. Maarten 8am-5pm We walk 15 minutes to Great Bay beach which is near Philispburg or take the $3 per person water taxi there. It has nice facilities and restaurants along the beach. It isn't that crowded at this beach. After lunch we caught a $6 per person taxi to Orient Beach (nude) which is on the other side of the island. Orient Beach was very crowded and not as pretty as Great Bay. The water there was very choppy and the sand was dirty. Actually the nude side of the beach was very clean and the water was nicer. So we stayed near the nude side. We took a taxi back to the ship around 3pm. If you are looking for a European appeal in St. Martin, you will not find it. Philipsburg was too touristy for me. No culture at all. Day 6-Fun day at Sea -We just relaxed on the deck Day 7- Bahamas We walk to the British Hilton (yellow building) around the corner from Senor Frogs and the Straw Market to the beach. It cost to use the Hilton's private beach $15 per person or there is a public beach around the corner from the Hilton. Before we went to the beach we did a walking tour on our own of Downtown Bahamas. Day 8 Disembarkation- Was a bit longer, but not too long or hectic. If everyone will follow the rules this process will be a lot smoother. There are plenty of taxis at the port to take you to the airports. Depending on the ship shuttles to fill up and then take you may make you loose your flight. My Grades Food-Windjammer is equivalent to a TGI Friday's or Ruby Tuesday. It was better than most typical chain restaurants. It has the best variety of food, but it is still a buffet (B). Jade- Great Asian food, but about the same as a middle of the line Asian restaurant (C). Promenade Cafe' was great! Main Dining Room- It was great. Not spectacular, but great (B). Entertainment- Broadway shows were very excellent (A). Comedy was great(B). The other entertainment was great. I will give about a A- in entertainment. Lounges- Very Nice (A). Especially the Boleros. Music venues were good Public Facilities were always clean! TIPS FOR EASTERN CARIBBEAN: Take taxi tours instead ship excursions Take taxi to the quiet no touristy beaches Swimming on the ship during port days are the best. Swim in the morning and leave the ship after lunch or vice versa. The ship is quiet on port days. Cabins are very nice, but small so get a suite if you have more than 2 people! The only downfall is that the cruise line focuses too much on shopping in the ports instead the arts, cultural, and history of the islands. So if you hate shopping or touristy things, then stay on the ship or go to a quiet beach. The same shopping stores exist at every port. All the ports are also too touristy and Americanized except for Old San Juan. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
Pre-Cruise: Flew in the day before and stayed at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay, soon to be torn down for condos. Got it for $66 on Priceline. No complaints. Took a cab the next morning to Bayside. Found nowhere to buy water or booze. ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: Flew in the day before and stayed at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay, soon to be torn down for condos. Got it for $66 on Priceline. No complaints. Took a cab the next morning to Bayside. Found nowhere to buy water or booze. Embarkation: Very quick, got to the port at noon, no lines at all. Fastest ever -- our 13th cruise. Cabin: Had an inside on deck 10 near the elevator -- handicapped so larger than most. I had cabin envy though seeing the suites nearby. Had trouble getting enough towels every day, my DH had to go find them even after telling the steward first thing we wanted plenty of towels. I recommend getting a few towels from the spa and using these to go ashore. The Ship: Having been on Caribbean Princess, Diamond Princess, Grand Princess, CCL Spirit and Pride I have to say this was the prettiest ship. The design is outstanding for the size, adequate seating for dinner, at the pool (there are many side decks and upper decks and aft deck chairs), and for shows. We only had 300 kids so they were few and far between. They made an effort to have a behavior code about rudeness, cursing, etc., I was impressed. The ship was very clean as well. There are lots of stores and activities. I thought the shopping dude and his wife were good and not pushy. Ken Rush was OK as a CD. Entertainment: Pretty good in general and much better than on other cruises. The exception is the pool band which always sounded like it was warming up. Food: The one area that could use improvement. For example, the lunch in the dining room was the same each day. The buffet hours need to be extended beyond 9 p.m. The variety and quality could use improvement. On the plus side, except for the first day the buffet was never a mad house. The dining room is very nice and open, the service was good. The menu was surprisingly dull. Our tablemates were from a medical conference my husband was attending. The Casino: No luck for me, quit early. The pools: They are kept very cold, I got in on the last day. The fitness center: Very good, always able to get a treadmill. Excursion dude: Not very informative about alternatives to excursions. On other ships, I have been able to get info on transportation and beaches. The Ports: Had a great time mostly at the beach. In San Juan, we went to the Bacardi Rum factory which was a good choice because it rained and the people who went downtown had to come back. In St. Thomas we went to Sapphire Beach, just beautiful. We shopped in the afternoon and went up the gondola late afternoon for pictures. In St. Maarten we went to Orient Beach, our second time there. We had a great beach day. In Nassau, we went to the Wyndham, but if you haven't been to Atlantis go there instead. We got off the boat as soon as it docked each time. We came back in STT and SXM and showered, ate lunch and went back out to shop. Last Day: Went to the everglades, we had a flight back to LA at 4:00. We were at the airport at 12:00 anyway. It was a fun day. All in all, a great cruise. It is one of the only ships I can see cruising on for a second time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
Second cruise on this line. Was very disappointed in the dress code in the dining room. One "gentlemen" wore a muscle shirt, sweatshirt shorts, and a ball cap!!! Many in there with hats on, jeans, and sneakers. Dress code needs ... Read More
Second cruise on this line. Was very disappointed in the dress code in the dining room. One "gentlemen" wore a muscle shirt, sweatshirt shorts, and a ball cap!!! Many in there with hats on, jeans, and sneakers. Dress code needs to be addressed. Also, food was nothing to right home about. It was almost the exact same menu as the Western cruise in 2004. Dining room entertainment by the waitstaff was unimpressive. Our waitstaff, MaryJane and Agnes were exceptional!!!! However, this ship is beautiful. It has a great program for teenagers. The ship also stressed the behavior of children in theaters and other public areas. Can't say enough about the bartenders in Two Poets Pub on the Promenade. Shout out to Dane, Lenore, and Jocelyn!!!! Was a problem day of embarkment. We arrived to check in at 12:15 which was a breeze. However, we had to stand in line for another hour plus to get on ship. Cruise Line stated there was a problem of clearing people off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
This is a long review, but tried to be informative. Embarkation and onboard: This went pretty smoothly. I had researched this trip, excursions, etc. quite extensively for months before selecting anything. As it was a holiday weekend, and ... Read More
This is a long review, but tried to be informative. Embarkation and onboard: This went pretty smoothly. I had researched this trip, excursions, etc. quite extensively for months before selecting anything. As it was a holiday weekend, and peak season for both cruise and air, we paid premium prices, and thus didn't want to leave too much to chance. We did decide a "redeye" flight would probably work, as we didn't want to also deal with hotels, shuttles, rental cars, etc. We arrived in Miami at 7am...unfortunately, our luggage did not. We still had plenty of time though, and were reunited with our suitcases by 8:30am. Had a light breakfast at airport cafe, then easily hailed a taxi van to carry the four of us (me, DH, 18 yo DS, 13 yo DD) and our mountain of luggage to the Port of Miami (flat rate of $21 plus tip for driver). Porters were waiting at curbside to collect our bags and take them to the ship. Our tipping philosophy is simple—if someone provides a service for a task we would rather not have to perform, especially with a pleasant attitude, we are quite happy to tip appropriately, and did so. We waited for about an hour in the terminal, the boarding process was painless, and we were having a buffet lunch in the Windjammer by 11:30. This was the ship's first trip after drydock, so no passengers leaving and cabins were ready upon boarding. The buffet wasn't crowded at that time, but does get quite congested by noon, and is VERY crowded every morning between 9 & 11:00. We are early risers and beat the rush most days. The dining room breakfast and lunch are less harried. Room service is another good option if you aren't a morning person, and actually want to sit and eat your meal while it is still warm. The food in the Windjammer/Jade is all right—not great, not terrible, with a decent selection. Husband and I have far different tastes than our teens, but we all found something to eat. We were in a balcony stateroom on deck eight, port side. No adjoining balcony to our right, so pretty good view and some extra deck room. Stateroom was decent-sized, although the first thing we did was move the little coffee table onto the deck to give us some walking room since we were four to the cabin. Was pleasantly surprised by the amount of space for clothes—lots of shelves and drawers. Was glad the shower had a door, rather than curtain. The junior suite wasn't available when we booked, but would definitely recommend upgrading if possible. Our stateroom attendant was Raul, and we had him clear out the contents of the mini-fridge the first evening. Our large suitcases fit under the bed quite nicely. Our suitcases didn't arrive outside our door until 15 min before dinner, but Raul told us the dress code is very relaxed on the first night. We wore dockers/Capris and nice shirts, as did most of the other diners on the first evening. Meals: Our dinners were very enjoyable. We are accustomed to fine dining, and were not disappointed by what we were served most evenings. The presentation was understated, but still pleasing and elegant. Some dishes were outstanding, others weren't so great, but easy to send back and request something more appealing. The recommendations given by wait staff were very good, and were usually right on target. One negative—while I realize lettuce is not to be properly served very cold, it was limp and slightly wilted most nights. Ironically, the wine list featured primarily mainstream wines from our native California. We had looked forward to experimenting a bit, but oh well. Our wait staff was superb! By the 2nd evening, our waiter (Gilberto from Costa Rica) and assistant waiter (Ruben from Chile) knew what beverages the kids liked, and had the drinks placed as we were laying our napkins across our laps. We couldn't have asked for better service! Although I had read several reviews stating the head waiter usually isn't a presence until the cruise nears its end, our head waiter (Claude from Belgium) introduced himself on the first evening, and came by our table nightly to chat and inquire how our meal suited. On the 2nd evening, he learned my DD enjoyed pasta dishes. He told us he had some "chef" training and liked to prepare Italian food. On the Venetian-themed night, he prepared a special spaghetti and meatball platter (not on the menu) for my youngest. This type of personal attention from most of the staff was present, and appreciated, throughout our cruise. We did take a more experienced cruiser's suggestion regarding tipping the recommended amount at the beginning of the voyage, with extra on the last night, appropriate to the services provided. Perhaps this was responsible for the wonderful treatment we received...whatever the reason, we felt absolutely pampered! While my husband and I are awake and ready to go by 6-7am, our teenagers are typical of others their age, and enjoy a later awakening. On most days, DH and I had a light breakfast and coffee at the Cafe Promenade on Deck 5—very quiet early in the AM. Some mornings, we ordered breakfast delivered by room service for the kids (order must be placed outside door by 3am). We didn't make reservations at either of the two specialty dining establishments, but heard from others on our sailing that they were worth the extra fee. We have a Johnny Rocket's in the city we reside, so did not visit that eatery while on board. Although we also enjoy a Ben & Jerry's within walking distance of our home, my DD did purchase a couple of scoops during the trip. Took another online suggestion, and ordered room service sandwiches the night before excursions that were scheduled to run into lunchtime. The only complaint I have regarding the food service on this trip was the woman who answered the phone/took room service orders. She was blatantly rude and argumentative on three separate calls. I don't think this was just our perception, as the smilingly apologetic response we received when we asked the room service waiter about the availability of a certain item the first day was "I am so sorry, I don't know...but don't worry or be afraid to call and ask--it's her job." We did note her behavior on the guest satisfaction survey turned in at the end of the voyage, in addition to all our positive experiences with the rest of the staff. Activities: What a variety of things to do on this ship! We enjoyed the well-outfitted gym (not very crowded from 6-8am) on several mornings. We played mini-golf a few times, although the wind makes for some interesting shots, it was fun. We all inline skate at home, but didn't try the track onboard. The guys played in a dodgeball tournament, winning "shipshape" dollars to exchange for merchandise. The youngest enjoyed the arcade--the games are pricey though. We wanted to climb the rock wall, but signups took place on the hour, and we were always busy doing something else at signup time. We enjoyed warm and mostly sunny weather all but the last day. The pools were smaller than our backyard one, but not too cold like I had read on some boards. They are saltwater and VERY crowded on at-sea days. Was easy to find a lounge chair if you didn't need to be close to the pools. While I enjoy the occasional pedicure or massage when not on vacation, just didn't feel the need to spend the money for spa treatments at sea, especially with so many other things to do. Ship is a cash-free system with everything charged to Seapass account (easy to check transactions on TV in room). Cashed traveler's checks at purser's desk or casino before shore trips (many local merchants accept credit cards as well). Shows: Having never been on a cruise, didn't have a comparison here, but did enjoy the production shows. The comedian one night, Nick Lewin, was very entertaining. The ice show is also a must see. The rink is small, but the performers still do the jumps and acrobatics they do in a larger venue. Ken Rush was the cruise director and did a great job. We didn't stay up for the welcome aboard parade on the first evening, but DS did and said it was worth watching. The theaters are comfortable and the timing worked out well for us most nights (we had main seating for dinner). PORTS Labadee: This was such a great stop. It is RC's private "island" (a peninsula) on Haiti. We were on the second tender and on the beach in short order. The beaches are lovely, but we tend to avoid crowds and went to the last ("hideaway") beach—just follow the signs. This is a very poor country, and while the lounge chairs/hammocks are free, the local staff rushes to position them and carry for you, hoping for a tip. The chairs are heavy and were carried quite a distance to the spot we desired, so didn't mind tipping for the service. The water was very clear at this beach, and snorkeling was okay—nothing spectacular. Saw some fish and a small octopus. RC requires that all snorkelers (even if you bring your own gear, as we did) wear an inflatable vest (it doesn't have to be inflated) for a $6 rental fee. Additional benefit of being away from the masses—this wasn't enforced where we were. The BBQ provided was okay, and we also had to try a "Labadoozie" beverage. There is a local market there with pretty aggressive salespeople. Bring lots of small bills if planning to shop--getting change can be a problem. On the way back to ship, passed the first beach and Aqua-park—looked very crowded, but everyone seemed to be having a good time. Ocho Rios: We didn't book anything through the ship. We had wanted to experience Dunn's River Falls without having to go with a group. Easily found a taxi (use ones with red plates), with "no problem Horace" as our driver. Don't remember how much the fare was, but was reasonable and we paid for round-trip transportation. A pick-up time and place were arranged and we paid the entrance fee to enter the recreation area. We were very disappointed as we were herded into groups and told everyone must climb with a guide. I like climbing, but just really hate not having my hands free when I do so. We attempted several times to separate from the group, but were actually told at one point, "you all look the same to me, so stay together, otherwise I won't know who to get tip from." There really wasn't an opportunity to just enjoy the beauty of the falls with two groups of 40-50 climbing simultaneously, and being pushed/pulled to "hurry." The final straw was when the guide repeatedly splashed water into my daughter's face (she wears contacts) because she wasn't moving fast enough for his liking. We exited the water at that point, with the guide trailing our steps, shouting "you tip me now." Wish I could say this was isolated behavior, but this attitude from the locals continued at almost every place we stopped. On a good note--the shops at the falls exit weren't as high-pressure as I had read. We went to several other shopping areas on the island and most had their merchandise priced higher than it is on the boardwalk shops of coastal CA (example--$20 or more for a modestly made baseball cap). When we haggled, we got comments like "why you so cheap, you can afford it." Must state, we were dressed simply in shorts, T-shirts, and flip-flops--no jewelry, nor name-brand accessories--so I was in no danger of being mistaken for Ms. Hilton! My daughter was looking for a spaghetti-strap sundress for Caribbean night at dinner. One shopkeeper pulled out a dress with sleeves and muttered, "why you need thin straps, this is better" along with personal insults directed at my child (which she thankfully did not hear). We might not be experienced cruisers, but we are not lacking in well-rounded travel experience with other cultures, so this was quite a shock as we had done nothing to warrant this behavior and verbal response. We are polite, friendly people who enjoy new experiences. We smile sincerely, frequently, and easily, and said "No, thank you" politely when offered something we weren't interested in. Those of Jamaican heritage I have met in the US have been warm and lovely people, so I was really amazed by the comments/attitude we had directed towards us so frequently during this stop. If we return, hopefully we will have a different experience. I have had both good and bad experiences in other places I love to frequently visit, so maybe we just had a run of bad luck/bad day here. Enjoyed the jerk and Red Stripe. Margaritaville was nice. Georgetown, Grand Cayman: Based on web reviews and my own email correspondence with them, I booked Stingray City and 2 other snorkel stops with Captain Marvin's. Sadly, DD woke up with high fever, so she and I stayed on the ship. My husband and son did go, and had a great time. There were only a dozen people onboard, and Captain Marvin was present on the boat—sharing lots of entertaining stories and info. They reported that the crew were very helpful, and they saw a 6-foot nurse shark, and green eel (coaxed out by crew member). The stingrays were apparently MUCH larger than those in the pet/feeding pools at Sea World, plentiful, and seemed to enjoy the attention. We were charged for only the two who participated. The guys did a little shopping before returning to the ship, and brought us back souvenirs. The prices on rum cakes were comparable to those onboard the Navigator (a dollar less on the island). All in all, an enjoyable day and one we (DD and I) were sorry to have missed. A side note—this was the more FORMAL night for dining. Daughter wasn't feeling up to dinner, but I adore lobster and was curious whether it would be served this night as it wasn't on the first formal evening. Called room service and asked what was available for dinner. The person who answered (not the rude woman) said, 'lobster, prime rib…there is a menu outside the dining rooms for a full selection.' We thought "great, we can still have lobster, and not have to leave our sick child in cabin." When I called to place order (by this time, too late to dress for dinner), the rude woman told us that the lobster was NEVER available by room service and NO ONE would have told us it was (in essence calling me a liar). Also, even though it was repeated back to me correctly, we had the wrong order delivered twice that evening. We finally had our ordered meal (with no lobster!) at 8:30pm. By that point, we just wanted to wrap up a bad night and start fresh the next AM. Cozumel: Loved this stop! Living where we do, are familiar with both language and culture. Don't mind working out prices with eager shopkeepers a bit, and this port was much cleaner than most of the border towns south of San Diego and Texas that I have visited. I had booked a three-stop snorkel/snuba tour with Mayan Paradise. They were waiting for us at the designated spot and had our names on a list. This is an important thing to keep in mind—the local tour operators want you on their boats, and so will tell you "yes, yes, this is boat you are looking for" (this happened to others on the same tour, and was attempted with us, but luckily we knew it wasn't our tour, and the others in our group quickly realized the same). The waters here are absolutely breath-taking, and the abundance and variety of marine life were fabulous! If you don't scuba, but want great experience, highly recommend the snuba option. Went down about 20 feet and saw large eel, pretty coral, and LOTS of fish. The guide took a family picture with his underwater digital and it was waiting for us via email when we arrived home (small fee). Crew were friendly and eager to please. Went to Chankanaab, Paraiso, Dzul Ha. Can also snorkel these locations from shore without paying for boat trip, if not interested in the Snuba portion. Good shopping, and remember to haggle—it's expected. Photos: Every evening at dinner (except the last night) there was offered portrait op, and also every time leaving the ship, in addition to the welcome aboard photo. Decent quality-$19.95 for 8X10. Copyright release is available from the photo contract company for online downloading, so easy to get reprints too. Debarkation: This was least favorite part of the trip. Had bags outside by midnight (remember to keep out something to wear for trip home). We had 1pm flight, so I think we had third color tags. Waited in theater for color to be called and were off the ship by 8am. Customs line was LONG and slow, but going through no problem. Collecting our baggage was another story. Took over an hour to get all our luggage. Most bags are black, red, or navy. We put our surname initial in white fabric paint on front of bag, and tied big yellow ribbons on handles. Unfortunately, lots of yellow (and red) ribbons on most of the black bags. American has a luggage/flight check-in at the port, so didn’t have to haul our bags to the airport with us. Overall, great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
Embarkation- We arrived at about 11:30 a.m. got into the ship at about 2:30 p.m. Royal Caribbean's part was very efficient and quick but with the new laws immigrations part takes forever there people still exiting the ship at 1:00 ... Read More
Embarkation- We arrived at about 11:30 a.m. got into the ship at about 2:30 p.m. Royal Caribbean's part was very efficient and quick but with the new laws immigrations part takes forever there people still exiting the ship at 1:00 p.m. nothing RCCL could do about it. Cabin- Spotless we had a balcony cabin on deck 7 it was just beautiful. Plenty of room for storage it had a safe,a small fridge but very adequate for our needs. You could get ESPN,cnn,tnt,cartoon network for the kids very good selection of channels and movies. Bathroom was roomy for a ship loved the sliding door vs shower curtain it gives you more room to move around. Ship- Huge!!! amazing the promenade is truly a sight to behold it hardly seems like you inside a ship. The ship is in immaculate condition very clean the use of marble,wood,and glass gives it a very classy and elegant feeling. Public rooms are spacious with plenty of options for everyone. Entertainment- First class the dancers,comedians and orchestra are all very talented group best i have ever had the pleasure to watch. Food- Average it needs improvement with the amount of people to feed in one sitting i understand the dive that quality has taken in cruise lines in general not just RCCL. Don't ge me wrong the food was never bad just not what it used to be. I had the pleasure of eating in the alternative dining restaurants Portofinos and Chops grill and was just blown away by the quality of the food and service truly worth the 20.00 surcharge. Pools- Were spacious plenty of chairs available at all times. The adult pool area is very nicely decorated in a variety of colors. Overall experience- I see my self returning to this ship. We had a memorable experience the crew is first class plenty of activities for kids and adults dancing,rock climbing,basketball,mini golf,shops,ice skating you name it this ship has it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
(The condensed version) Embarkation. A bit slower than in weeks past, according to the reviews that I read prior to leaving. It was about 2 hours from the time we checked in, until we were onboard, but this was not RCI's fault. It ... Read More
(The condensed version) Embarkation. A bit slower than in weeks past, according to the reviews that I read prior to leaving. It was about 2 hours from the time we checked in, until we were onboard, but this was not RCI's fault. It was due to Homeland Security. However, RCI got you through the check in process quickly. The ship, what needs to be said. It's beautiful, and well maintained. Having done extensive research on the ship, I was very familiar with all aspects of it, right down to the placement of the beds in our Junior Suite. Most of our luggage made it to the deck by 6:30 pm, except for one duffel bag, which had arrived about 7:30 pm. We were 2 women with lots of stuff, and found there to be more than enough room in the cabin for storage. The big bath, with a tub is really nice, and the walk-in closet is great for hiding the luggage, and storing clothing on the shelves. After visiting our cabin, we walked the pool deck, and just did some exploring around the ship, until the muster drill. After the drill, we pulled away from the dock to begin our long awaited vacation. Food We both found the food on the Navigator to be really very, very good, and the presentation to be excellent. I am a chef, but prefer mainstream meals, and while some of the selections were not what I had thought, they were really good. We dined in Portofino's on the 4th night, and we both had the Beef Tenderloin, and found it to be a generous portion, as well as very tasty. Dessert in Portofino's was excellent. Food in the Windjammer, for breakfast was good over all, but I did not care for the flavor of the bacon, so I chose the ham, which was excellent. Lunch in the Windjammer provided many choices, and Jade, while we did not eat there, always had interesting selections. There were many things to choose from in the Windjammer for lunch, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, pizza, and so much more. We did have breakfast in the dining room, and loved the service, and the food. We also had lunch a few times in the dining room as well. We also ate at Johnny Rocket's, but were not really that impressed with the food. The burger that we had in the dining room was actually better, and the french fries from the Windjammer were way better that Johnny Rockets. We did not eat at the Cafe Promenade, but I am sure the food there was consistent with the rest of the ship. Overall, we really liked the food. Was it true gourmet, no. But very good, considering the number of meals they are preparing per day. Also, don't miss the Gala Buffet, it is a sight to behold. There was also another midnight buffet, which we did not eat at, since we were still full from dinner. This one is on the pool deck, while the Gala, is in the Nutcracker Dining room. Staff Our dining room staff, and really, all the staff were top notch. We had late seating dinner, which worked out great for us. Except that we were never hungry for the late buffet's. Our cabin steward was Bobby, and he was very sweet, and on top of his game. He kept the fridge stocked, ice full, and towels were always replaced daily. We never had to ask for a thing, and his towel animals were the best! We tipped him before, during, and after the cruise. We had prepaid tips, but ended up tipping everyone who waited on us more on the last night. Ports San Juan, we were really not that interested in this port, but it did make for some nice photos. We did some walking around downtown, and headed back to the ship. We did not arrive in port until 2pm, so we did not want to venture too far, with a 10:00pm departure. St. Thomas, always a pleasure to be here. I find the downtown area to be very quaint, and colorful. Nice shops, and wonderful photo opportunities. We took the tram to the top of Paradise Point, which is $16.00, but well worth it, once you look down on the entire area of Charlotte Amalie, and the bay where the ships are docked. There are shops and a restaurant at the top, along with a lady who does exotic bird shows a couple of times per day, however, we missed them. St. Maarten, my favorite port. Don't miss Maho Beach if you go there. You will have to take a cab there, and that might take you some time to secure, but it's worth the effort, since you will be able to watch as the commercial planes are flying in right over your head. Truly an exciting event. The pier here is probably the best in the Caribbean as far as I am concerned. Clean, and beautiful. Nassau, well, Nassau is Nassau. There is a lot to do here, if you feel like spending the money, and the time. We didn't, so we just went to the Straw Market, then to Senior` Frogs for a cocktail, and some photo op's. All in all, a wonderful experience, and I have booked the Navigator again. My only regret is that my next visit to this beautiful ship is almost a year away, as I have booked for the same week next year. I think anyone would enjoy the Navigator. If not, I'm not sure what they would consider a great cruise and ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
My family and I went to the Western Caribbean on June 11th. We have cruised several times with Royal Caribbean. This was our first time on the Navigator. It was a beautiful and very clean ship. The service was great. I was very impressed ... Read More
My family and I went to the Western Caribbean on June 11th. We have cruised several times with Royal Caribbean. This was our first time on the Navigator. It was a beautiful and very clean ship. The service was great. I was very impressed with the quality of food in the Windjammer. It was much better than the Explorer and Voyager. There was an Asian buffet, Jade. Jade had excellent Asian and Indian entrees'. This is the first cruise we actually skipped a dinner in the main dining room! The greeter in the Windjammer was a lot of fun!! You'd have to see him for yourself to appreciate him. My family and I still tell each other "GOOD MORNING," the way he did!! We miss him a lot. We've been to the ports several times. This cruise was taken to enjoy the beautiful beaches. I'd honestly rather not go to Ocho Rios. A local asked me if I wanted to purchase drugs. That was near the ship too. We ate at Margaritaville and used the beach there. Too many peddlers harassed us. Labadee, Georgetown, and Cozumel are beautiful. The water is crystal clear. I wish I could live in Georgetown. Friendly people! There were numerous "quince" girls on our ship. Over 50 in all. Many were misbehaving. Running down the halls late at night. That was the only problem with the cruise. The week went by so quickly! I wish I could go again today. Many activities onboard. Don't miss The Quest!!! Enjoy!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
Navigator of the Seas Review 6/25/2005 - 7/02/2005 Pre-Cruise -- The planning of this cruise actually started 2-years earlier while Mary and I were sailing on NCL's Dawn celebrating my 50th birthday. While on the Dawn, we agreed ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas Review 6/25/2005 - 7/02/2005 Pre-Cruise -- The planning of this cruise actually started 2-years earlier while Mary and I were sailing on NCL's Dawn celebrating my 50th birthday. While on the Dawn, we agreed that we would celebrate Mary's 50th with a cruise as well. From that point on, we were able to get 10 other friends to join us. Most of the others were also celebrating birthdays or anniversaries. Our group consisted of 12 people. Two flew down 2-days ahead, 6 flew in 1-day ahead and 4 people arrived the same day as the cruise. Our group of 6 flew Southwest from Islip (NY) to Fort Lauderdale, arriving on the 24th. The flight was terrific and we landed about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. We had arranged for a service to pick us up at FLL and drive us to the Holiday Inn-Port of Miami. After retrieving our luggage we waited about 20 minutes for the shuttle to arrive. We checked into the Holiday Inn-Port of Miami and asked for rooms facing the harbor. We were quickly accommodated with 3 rooms on the 10th Floor with a great view. The concierge arranged for next-day transfer to the Port ($5 pp) and we spent the afternoon and early evening at the Bayside Market area directly across the street. Check-In / Embarkation -- Before going to sleep, I took a photo of the port facility from our hotel widow. The next morning we awoke to a view of Navigator sitting majestically in Port. Our van arrived at 10:30 AM and we were at the terminal within 15 minutes. After depositing all the luggage with a porter, and showing our ID to security, we were allowed to immediately proceed to the 2nd floor to await scanning through the metal detectors and carry-on x-ray. About 30 minutes passed before all the wedding parties were allowed through followed by Gold-Diamond-Platinum Members. All other cruisers started through shortly thereafter. Check-In was a breeze as there was absolutely no wait at that point. Following check-in we moved to a boarding line and then had to wait about 30 minutes. RCL reps were handing out flyers indicating that the boarding delay was a result of some Immigration difficulties from the exiting cruise. It was good to see this type of communication between RCL and their passengers. Once we were cleared to go the line moved quickly. All in all, we were probably on board by 12-Noon. Announcements were being made stating that the cabins would not be available until 1:00 PM. Mary and I decided to head to the cabin anyway, to drop off the carry-on stuff, and found that it was ready. We then met up with the folks in our party and went to Windjammer for lunch. Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship, Pride of America, was in port and docked directly in front of us. P of A left Germany a couple of weeks earlier and was making its way down the east coast and will eventually end up at its home port in Hawaii. Cabin -- We had a starboard E-1 balcony cabin, mid-ship on Deck 8 (8290), and it was great. Our luggage stored nicely under the bed and there was plenty of closet and drawer space. The balcony (2 chairs and a small cocktail table) was a good size for 2 people and the cabin's small sofa was a fine place to rest after walking the ship each day. Our cabin attendant, Diana, was terrific. We actually saw very little of her, but she always kept the cabin in order with fresh towels, emptying waste containers and straightening things up. Each evening at turndown Diana was sure to leave a different towel animal, several of which wore Mary's sunglasses. Good thing we didn't leave other things out. No telling what they would have worn. We made sure that we gave her an additional gratuity above and beyond the suggested amount. We also left a note thanking her for all her hard work. We detected a foul odor (urine) coming from the carpet at the foot of the bed. I went down to the main desk and a rep was quick to arrange for carpet shampooing the next morning. They followed up with 2 phone calls and a visit to the cabin to make sure everything was fine. That's great customer service. We had brought a couple of 6-packs of water on board and stored them in the small fridge. The safe worked fine with the exception of 1 small problem. Midway through the week it would not lock. We called maintenance and a technician arrived quickly. Turns out the batteries were low. They were replaced and the problem was solved. One note....you must be present for the technician to work on the safe. They will not do it while you are out of the cabin. After a day or 2 we realized there was a speaker control knob at the base of the dresser mirror that allowed ship messages to be heard in the cabin. Better yet was the fact that there was constant music coming out of the speaker. We left it on high all week long. Dining Rooms / Food -- We requested the early seating (6 PM) with a table for 12. We were assigned to 2 tables of 6 in The Nutcracker, with each table being in front of a large round window. What a view! I spoke with the Maitre' D shortly after boarding to see if we could all be switched to 1 table without losing the view. He could not accommodate any move of that size within the dining room. Now, here's where they bent over backwards for us. Starting the 2nd night, they took a long folding table and placed it across both of the round tables, covered it with linens, and created one large table for all 12. It was so big that 2-3 more people could have joined us comfortably. Since each smaller table had a different waiter, the 2 waiters alternated nights to serve us from that point forward. We had Slama from Tunisia and Miller from Ocho Rios. We could not have been in better hands. They were both great at their jobs and enjoyed interacting with each of us. They also received gratuities above and beyond. The 3-tier dining room is truly spectacular to look at. Each level has its own name and slightly different tables and chairs to add to the separate identities. We started each day off with coffee on the cabin balcony. We also had breakfast brought in 2-3 times. It is so relaxing to have breakfast out on the balcony as we were arriving in the different ports. The room service breakfast menu seemed extensive compared to NCL (which was our only other cruise line experience). Windjammer had an easy-going buffet style breakfast while The Nutcracker served a more traditional formal breakfast. Breakfast seating in The Nutcracker was "open" so we were able to enjoy the company of different passengers each time we went there. Chops was well worth the $20 cover. We had a table for 10 and, as each course was served, 10 waiters would present the items ordered. One-on-one service can't be beat. We paid Johnny Rockets a visit for lunch on our last sea day. As advertised, the onion rings and shakes were delicious. The food throughout the ship was terrific. We're not picky eaters and were totally satisfied with all the menu items. I particularly enjoyed all the cold soups offered at dinner. We made sure that we didn't over do it as far as ordering multiple entrees. The only time I ordered a 2nd entrEe was on lobster night....I ordered a steak with the lobster....ala surf & turf. Royal Promenade -- We saw loads of pictures of The Royal Promenade prior to the cruise and, to make an understatement, "you have to see it to believe it." It contains duty free shops, a pub, wine bar, champagne bar and a cafe. When our sons went through our photos they thought they were looking at a mall that we stopped at before we boarded NOS. It's the heartbeat of the ship and we never grew tired of casually strolling up and down its path. The ship has 2 late night parades through the Royal Promenade. For you wine lovers, make sure you stop in Vintages (wine bar). You can order a "flight" of wines from various regions around the world. The samplings come with a platter of fruit and a small booklet that you could make notes about each wine tasted. Cafe Promenade was open 24 hours and constantly stocked with coffee, tasty small sandwiches, pizza, cookies and amazing deserts. Everything at Cafe Promenade is available at no charge. Entertainment -- The shows throughout the ship were terrific. The Metropolis Theater held Broadway type performances while the various house bands could be found in many of the lounges and bars. All the entertainers were top notch. The ice show should not be missed. Ken Rush was our Cruise Director and he just kept everyone happy. It seems like a tough job that he handled so effortlessly. This was his last cruise prior to his 2-month vacation. We also made a couple of appearances at the art auctions. No buys this time. Meet and Mingle -- There was a good showing of CC'ers that attended. Captain Bang also attended and it was nice to meet him. He was quite friendly and cordial and took the time to pose with many of us for photos. This was his last cruise before vacation. Question: Where does a cruise ship Captain go on vacation? Answer: On a 12-day Mediterranean cruise. Ports -- Labadee, Hispaniola We had not been to Labadee before and did not know what to expect aside from what was written by other cruisers. We were pleasantly surprised! The landscape, as we entered the cove/harbor, was terrific. The water was a beautiful blue-green color. There are plenty of lounge chairs all over the area and we chose to stay at the first beach area to the left of the tender dock. People really seemed to be enjoying the day at the beach. There is a Straw Market on the facility that is located back beyond the dock to the right side (near the lunch table area). The vendors were very aggressive, but there was no need to go through it unless you wanted something or were just "window" shopping. I picked up a straw hat for sun protection. You can really get a great shot of the ship from the beach. Ocho Rios, Jamaica -- We've been to Jamaica a few times but haven't seen Ocho Rios since the 70's. It really seems built up to accommodate the tourist industry. As expected it was warm and humid, but that would not be a deterrent to the day's excursion. We were going horseback riding that would include riding through the sea. We were really looking forward to the excursion since we don't normally ride horses. Not withstanding was the fact that riding horses in the water would come under the heading of a "once-in-a-lifetime-experience." After the excursion we returned to the ship to shower and change. We grabbed a quick bite at the Cafe Promenade and headed off ship to Margaritaville to do the t-shirt thing. Georgetown, Grand Cayman -- Today we would be visiting the stingrays again. We booked a charter directly with Captain Bryan through a Grand Cayman internet site. The total cost was $39 pp (including transportation from and to the dock), which saved us about $15 pp versus the RCL excursion. Captain Bryan's excursion included 3 stops while the ship's excursion had 2 snorkeling stops. Captain Bryan skippered the catamaran himself and there was a videographer (Jody) on board as well. Each stop was a great experience unto itself and we had a terrific time. We were returned to the tender dock about 30 minutes before the last tender. After a shower and change it was Cafe Promenade for a snack. We purchased the DVD ($55) that recorded scenes from all 3 snorkeling locations. We actually received it a week after the cruise and its 30 minutes long. Jody did a great job of editing and incorporating Caribbean music throughout the entire DVD. Cozumel, Mexico -- This was our last Port before heading back to Miami. We've been to Cozumel before and thoroughly love it. Today's excursion was clear kayaking and snorkeling. The tour representative met us at the dock and directed everyone to taxi cabs that would bring us to the beach resort where everything took place. The cab fares were included in the cost of the excursion. At the resort, our tour guide was a fellow named Bob who hailed from Texas. Bob's been in Cozumel about 5 years and enjoys what he is doing. The kayaks were more like canoes and made of clear fiberglass. After everyone was loaded into their 2-person craft, Bob took us out into the water to check out the sea life. We spent about 45 minutes in the kayaks and then we donned our snorkeling gear. It seemed like the snorkeling time was much longer and worth it more than the kayaking. We were in 25-30 feet of water most of the time and got to see some great underwater sights. After a quick shower and change we were provided with a refreshing fruit platter and coupons for 2 drinks each at the bar. Bob was a very likable guy and started giving out extra drink coupons to a few of us. When we were ready, Bob made sure that our cab took us back to the port. Back on board to a shower, change, snack.....then a cab ride into town for some shopping and a stop at Carlos and Charlie's. Disembarkation -- This went as smoothly as the embarkation. I forget our color code, but I believe it was the 3rd or 4th one scheduled. Regardless, it was called earlier than advertised. We moved quickly through Immigration. The wait for baggage took a bit....understandable with the 1000's of pieces of luggage that gets handled. Customs was as quick as saying "Good Morning...how are you today?" It probably took about 30 minutes from the calling of the color code to arriving at the curb to wait for the car rental shuttle. General -- The weather was spectacular throughout the entire cruise. Based on the time of year we expected it to be hot and humid all the time. We got that type of weather a couple of days but, all-in-all, the temps and sunshine could not have been better. To say the least, the ship is huge. I'm not sure if it was the ship itself, or the calm waters, but there were times that we didn't even realize we were sailing. One of our friends brought a medicine cabinet load of seasickness medication and, the ship was so steady in the water, she never used any of it. We found that the hot tub inside the Fitness Center on Deck 11 got minimal use, so that's where we preferred to go. The Solarium was for passengers 16 years and older. The Staff seemed to do a good job of enforcing that requirement. The best Mojito was served in the Boleros Lounge. Say hello to Dante and Armando if they haven't rotated to another lounge yet. Mary developed a thing for Chocolate Martinis. The ship's photographers were out and about with their cameras and displayed each day's batch of photos in the studio racks. We bought more photos on this cruise than in prior sailings and weren't taken back by the prices. Many of the shots were group photos so we often had them print several copies for all of us. Going on a cruise with a bunch of friends was a blast and we have plenty of photos and memories to share with each other. The best news is that we were still speaking with each other once the trip ended. It seems that when you are with a group there is a tendency to try and do everything together, all the time. While group time is important (sharing dinner together...going to shows) it can wear on you if you stay "tied to each other's hip" for 7 days. We recognized that this was happening from time-to-time and we all had the good sense to part ways when necessary. A couple of months before the cruise (during the winter) we had a pre-cruise dessert and cocktail party to get everyone excited about it. Now that its over, we're planning a reunion BBQ where we'll all bring CD copies of our digital photos for everyone to share. The only negative item to report is that the cruise ended after 7 days, and Mary forbade me to book another one for at least a year or so. We'll see about that !!!! Any other negatives were probably too small to remember. Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
My husband and I just returned from the Western Caribbean destination on the Navigator of the Seas from Miami. This was our 6th cruise and our first on RCCL. I like to write my review with a pos/neg attitude for it to my more concise. ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the Western Caribbean destination on the Navigator of the Seas from Miami. This was our 6th cruise and our first on RCCL. I like to write my review with a pos/neg attitude for it to my more concise. The positives: 1. What a gorgeous ship! It is truly magnificent. Not only was it beautiful but the staff kept it so clean. The dining room is something to behold with its 3 stories. 2. The most friendly staff that I have ever encountered. Everywhere you went, the staff would stop and say "Hello." The best was the greeter for breakfast at the Windjammer who always had an enthusiastic "Good Morning." You couldn't help but smile after seeing this guy. 3. Service was outstanding everywhere from the cabin steward (Kenneth) to our waiter (Edgardo) and his assistant (Arlene) at dinner. 4. The shows put on by the Navigator dancers were fantastic and not to be missed. The comedians were ok. Unfortunately we missed the ice show which everyone said was fantastic. 5. Bingo -- If you love bingo then this is your place to be. The prize money given out each day was unbelievable and the jackpot on Friday was $7900. You get a pack of 5 sets of cards (6) for only $35 so you get to play 5 different games. 6. Ports of call -- great ports except don't try to climb Dunn's River Falls unless you are pretty athletic. Found the locals in Labadee to be very aggressive in selling their wares but RCCL keeps them contained in the little market so they don't bother you on the beach. Our favorite place to go in Cozumel is Pancho's Backyard for lunch. Watch out for the killer margaritas! 7. Chops and Portofinos -- well worth the $20 extra you have to pay but make your reservations early such as when you board because they fill up quickly. 8. Balcony cabin was a nice size with plenty of closet space 9. Disembarking was the easiest that we have ever encountered. Make sure that you have filled out your customs form and have your passport or birth certificate ready and that will make it much easier for you. We used the RCCL bus transportation to and from the airport even though we arranged our own air travel and it was great! THE NEGATIVES: 1. Food in dining room and Windjammer is just ok. 2. Embarkation -- The port terminal is very organized but very long lines and considerable waiting time. I guess that just goes with the territory when you are trying to get 3500 passengers on board to sail at 5 p.m. 3. Shore excursion people aren't real helpful in planning your excursions. You must cancel at least 24 hours in order to get a refund and if someone in your party gets ill then they must go see the doctor and "bring a note" in order to get the refund. If the cruise director gave a shore excursion talk the first day then we missed it or didn't see it on the schedule. 4. Casino -- Only 1 blackjack and slots tournament and it was on the first day at sea. Not many blackjack tables and they were always very crowded. The dealers at the craps table were friendly though. 5. Beds are uncomfortable and the cabins are hot so bring a little travel fan if you like it to be cooler when you sleep. 6. Shopping on board was average, found the same stuff on other ships. OVERALL: This was an outstanding ship and cruise. A great one for families and there were many family reunions on board. Not many children running wild throughout the ship which was great. Apparently they have a great children's program on board. I hope you find this review to be helpful. I don't like to post my email address but if you have questions then post them on the message boards and I will try to answer them as best as I can. Happy Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
Embarkation - Port of Miami The weather was overcast and rainy. At 11:45 a.m. we turned in our car at the Alamo office at the Miami International Airport. The cool thing about Alamo is they let us choose our car from any model in the ... Read More
Embarkation - Port of Miami The weather was overcast and rainy. At 11:45 a.m. we turned in our car at the Alamo office at the Miami International Airport. The cool thing about Alamo is they let us choose our car from any model in the category. We had a "full size" car, so we chose a white Chrysler PT Cruiser. We boarded the complimentary shuttle and they took us to the pier. We arrived at the pier at 12:1 p.m.. Gave a tip to the porter. We were in the security line by 12:05. We quickly passed through there and were in line for our Seapass cards by 12:15. We received our cards and were on the ship by 12:45 p.m. Onboard -- Night 1 Once onboard we went to out room, 6616 on the port side "hump." The first thing we did was reserve the "City Tour & Bacardi Factory Tour" for our stop in San Juan. More on the tour later. We went to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. I think I had a burger, fries and a couple pieces of fish. I also chose to purchase the unlimited Coke package for the week. One thing I noticed was that Diet Coke tastes different at every single bar! The Cafe Promenade was by far the worst. It was much too sweet, but unfortunately it was the most accessible so I usually ended up there for my refills. After lunch we took a guided tour of the Ship Shape Spa. The facilities were very nice! At the end of the tour we reserved a spot for the Couples' Massage class on Thursday at 1:15 p.m.. After the spa tour we went to the dining room and found our table, which was conveniently printed on our Seapass cards. We had table 280 in the Nutcracker dining room (Deck 3). We viewed the other levels, Copellia & Swan Lake. We agreed that the Nutcracker level was the prettiest. At 3:30 p.m. on the Promenade (deck 5) there was a raffle to win some shopping, excursions and artwork. We did not win anything. The muster drill started promptly at 4:30 p.m. Since our room was on deck 6 we only had to go down 2 floors and our station was right by the main exit. The whole process was very orderly, however the humidity from the rain made it quite uncomfortable. The drill was over by 4:45 p.m. I was impressed by how 3,500 passengers can be arranged and accounted for within 15 minutes. We took the life preservers back to the room and headed up to the sky deck for departure. We departed at 5:20 p.m.. By the time we returned to our room at 6:00 p.m. we had received all 4 of our bags. We unpacked and hung our clothes. There were plenty of hangers in the closet for our needs. The closet shelves held our shoes, t-shirts and shorts and we put our socks & underwear in the tiny drawers. We stowed our bags beneath the bed in spite of "bed bug" incidents on other ships. Our "Welcome Aboard Show" was at 8:00 p.m. with our dinner delayed until 9:00 p.m. this night only. The show featured 2 roller skaters who performed various tricks. Comedian Craig Carmean also performed a rated PG show. He was VERY funny. At dinner we met our tablemates. We only had a total of 6 people at a table for 8. We were never joined with a 4th couple the entire week. The first couple we met was Doug & Susan, who came from Dublin, Ireland. Doug was in a t-shirt and board shorts that evening because his luggage had been lost by British Airways for 6 days already. They promised to get it to him in San Juan, our first stop. The other couple we dined with this week was Anthony and Rosana. He is from Brooklyn and she's from Staten Island, NY. For dinner I had herb-crusted Atlantic Cod with mashed potatoes and Apple Pie ala mode. After dinner we attended the Bon Voyage parade on the Promenade deck. We ordered breakfast delivered to our room for the next morning. Sunday -- Day at Sea Breakfast was brought to our room at about 9:00 a.m. I had a ham & cheese omelet, croissant, bacon & OJ. We went up to the pool at 10:00 a.m. while many people were down in line for tickets to the Ice Show. We were able to get chairs in a good location on deck 12, overlooking the main pools. As a mater of fact, finding chairs was never a problem at any point throughout the entire cruise. I did witness many children in the hot tubs, some young enough to be wearing inflatable arm floats. Sometimes there were as many as 6 to 8 kids in the hot tubs. We returned to our room at noon, to find the invitation for the Cruise Critic meet & mingle, which had started at 11:30! We sprinted up to the Cosmopolitan Club. We were too late for the raffles but we got to meet several other members. For some reason everybody had imagined me as an older man in a cowboy hat! After the M&M we went to have lunch in the Nutcracker dining room with CC members Abear, Debbiescruising, Heather & Nick. I had the babyback ribs & a caramel sundae. From 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. we attended the art auction in the Ixtapa lounge. For sitting in the front row we were each given a bottle of free cheap champagne. My wife gave her bottle to a person next to us, and the auctioneer awarded us with a $500 piece of art just for her generosity! After a nap we got all dressed up for the first of 2 formal nights. Evidently all the women on the ship got some sort of memo that it was the night to wear black! Most everybody looked really nice but it's amazing what some people's idea of "formal" is. We attended the Captain's Gala on the Promenade deck and got more free champagne. At dinner I had the filet of beef with mashed potatoes & strawberry cheesecake. After dinner we attended the production show "Now & Forever" in the Metropolitan theater. At 12:15 a.m. comedian Craig Carmean returned with an "Adults Only" routine. It actually wasn't too offensive. He made fun of the "Ship Tips" commercials you see on the stateroom TV all day. He made up several of his own as well. My favorite was his one about the hair braids (dreadlocks) people get on shore. He said "The didn't even look good on Bo Derek, and they won't look good on you either!" His routine was mostly funny songs he had written about things he had been through. He also played "Stairway to Heaven" with the lyrics from "Gilligan's Island." Monday -- San Juan, Puerto Rico Got up and had breakfast in the Windjammer. There was a very funny greeter guy up there that reminded many of us of American Idol contestant William Hung. This guy was very loud and energetic as he welcomed us to the cafeteria. After breakfast I went to the climbing wall on the Sports Deck. There was no line, maybe because people did not want to climb in 22 knot winds! I accomplished the green route with no problems and then did the blue route which was much more of a challenge. Afterward we went to play mini golf on the Navigator Dunes course. Wind was also problematic for this event but it was still fun so that's all that mattered. It was my first time to play on a course with different kinds of turf, simulating fairway, rough and green. We went to the Schooner Bar for the contest called "Where in the World." Evidently I do not know as much about world geography as I thought. We went back to the Windjammer for lunch just we were pulling into the harbor at San Juan. We passed the El Morro fort on our port side so I ran out for some photos. We cleared Customs at 2:05 and were off the ship by 2:15. Excursion: City & Bacardi Factory Tour Henry our bus driver drove us from the port in a school bus while he narrated our way through town, repeating himself several times. I forget how many times he said Old San Juan has 7 Catholic Churches within 7 blocks. Anyway we got to the Bacardi place at 2:45 p.m.. We were given tickets for 2 free drinks featuring Bacardi rum. Our bus driver told us to be back at the bus at 4:30 so we would leave in time to make it to the fort before it closed at 5 p.m.. Sounded easy enough. Our tour began as a tram took us to another building featuring a sculpture with the Bacardi bat logo, a fountain and some murals of Christopher Columbus. We were given hand-held radios that let us punch in a number that corresponded with any item we would like to hear about. We were guided into a theater where we saw a film on the history of Bacardi and Puerto Rico. After that we saw other rooms with advertisements, different rum flavors, awards and a replica of what the factory might look like. I was disappointed that we were not given a tour of the actual Bacardi factory. I have toured the Budweiser brewery in Houston, TX and this one was a rip-off on comparison. Everyone made it back to the bus by 4:30 except some idiot stragglers who decided they would do whatever they wanted. Several of us were fuming mad by the time they boarded. Henry did nothing really to go find them and hurry them up. We left the factory 15 minutes late and drove back into town. On the way we passed the church where "The Flying Nun" was supposedly filmed but I have never seen the movie. We drive past the fort that was to be our final stop. Our driver took us downtown and gave us the option of getting off or staying on the bus back to the ship. We got off the bus downtown at about 5:15. There was not much to see except shops and the lighting was too bad for photography so we walked back after stopping for a drink. I would rate this excursion a 2 out of 10 because the factory "tour" is not a real factory tour, and because we were denied the stop we were most looking forward to. At dinner Monday night I had scallops for the appetizer. I had to ask our waiter Christian from the Philippines for a 2nd helping because they were so good, and he happily met my request. I had Tiger Shrimp for the entrEe and warm chocolate cake for dessert. Doug's luggage was delivered as promised by British Airways. Monday evening's show was the original "Drifters!" They were excellent and it was a real treat to see such legendary musicians perform for us. They still have all the talent they had when they lade their original recordings years ago. They performed many well known hits such as "Under the Boardwalk" and "Up on the Roof." Tuesday -- St. Thomas, USVI Woke up at 7:00 just as the local pilot boarded to guide our ship into port. Breakfast was delivered at 7:15. We had ordered ham & cheese omelets once again but this time they came with no ham! This would be the only incident of incorrect service we would encounter all week on the ship. We departed the ship at 8:15 a.m. and headed for the Paradise Point skyride, just a 10 minute walk from the pier. On the way we caught up with CC members Abear and Debbiescruising so we rode up the hill with them. We had only a short time to spend at the top because we had to meet our tablemates at the Cafe Promenade at 10:00 a.m. to share a ride to Magen's Bay. The view from the top at Paradise point really was beautiful, despite the cloudiness. On the way down it began to shower but had stopped by the time we reached she ship. We shared a taxi van to Magen's Bay with our tablemates for $7 a person. The ride took about 30 minutes to get around and over to the other side of the island. A funny moment occurred when the road was blocked by some tree cutters. A pickup truck was in the road so we went around him, then the truck driver came beside us and started yelling at our driver! They were talking so fast the only thing I could really understand was "I don't give a hell about you mon!" We called it Caribbean Road Rage. We made it to the beach before all of Godfrey's people arrived and crowded the place. We were able to secure a picnic table and good spot of sand near the end of the beach. It really was a beautiful place. I could only imagine how great it looks when the sun is out! The beach also has places to rent snorkel gear, bathrooms, showers and a bar/restaurant. We left the bay about 1:30 pm via an open truck/taxi like Godfrey uses. We were dropped off downtown near the Post Office. We shopped for an hour and bought 2 bottles of Cruzan rum. We put them in our backpack and they were not confiscated when we returned to the ship. We got back at 2:30, in time to lunch at the Windjammer. I tried the pizza, and it was okay. I give it about a 4 out of 10. Went back to deck 12 to lay out for about an hour then back to our stateroom for a nap. I woke up at 6:00 p.m. just in time to take pictures of the departure and the first real sunset we had seen after 3 days. At dinner I had the Lobster bisque for appetizer, and the entrEe was Seafood Pasta with scallops, shrimp and mussels. Banana cream pie was for dessert. The evening's event was the "Love & Marriage" game show. The three couples had some absolutely hilarious answers. One older gentleman was asked his wife's bra size and he just held out a cupped hand and said, "I don't know, how big is this?" The crowd just roared laughing! The same couple also admitted the strangest place they ever "made whoopee" was on the kitchen sink in their first apartment! After the game show we went to the Mardi Gras parade on the Promenade deck, then up to poolside for another dance party. This was also the night of the first late buffet but since we ate so late we did not eat anything. The coolest thing was a little bartending competition, where several bartenders showed how they mix drinks by juggling bottles and flipping shakers. It was very entertaining. Wednesday -- St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles  Excursion: America's Cup 12 Metre Regatta We were met dockside for our excursion and lead to a dock from where we would be tendered to out boats. My wife Liz was chosen as an honorary team captain and she chose my as her first teammate. The excursion leader actually divided up the rest of the teams. We found our that we would be racing only 2 boats that day, 1987 America's Cup winner, Stars & Stripes and a Canadian boat called True North which also ran in the 1987 race. A coin was flipped to decide who would be on which boat. 18 people were on each team. Our team was assigned to Stars & Stripes. I was given the role of "Primary Grinder" along with 3 other men and 4 women. Grinding proved to be quite grueling work and made my shoulders sore for the next day or so. The race was very close and we changed leads several times but our boat ended up losing by just a couple feet. It's amazing how precise maneuvers have to be while racing a sailboat. Onboard we were offered water, sodas & El Presidente beer, When the race was over out boat stayed out about another 30 minutes because the owner needed to film some promotional video. After we were tendered back to the excursion office we were given complimentary rum or fruit punch. I bought a Stars & Stripes hat and we each got a t-shirt. I highly recommend this excursion if you ever happen to be in St Maarten. About a 10-minute walk from the marina we made it to downtown. Philipsburg was definitely the most beautiful city we visited all week. There were the usually jewelry, clothing & liquor shops but the town seemed cleaner and better kept than San Juan and Charlotte Amalie. We were downtown and walked back to the ship in time for lunch at the Windjammer once again. We laid out on deck 12 for a couple hours and finally got some color for the first time all week. Tonight our show was before dinner, at 7:15 p.m.. It was another production show, called "All Access." Their entertainment staff onboard was really quite talented. My wife is a dance teacher and even she was impressed. Tonight at dinner was "Lobster Night" so naturally that is what I chose for my meal. Christian even brought another plate of tails without us having to ask for seconds. It was a good thing too, because by the time the waiter arrived with the melted butter, we had already nearly finished our first tails. The men at the table each had a 2nd tail. The lobster was also served with garlic-sautEed shrimp. We also found out that our tablemate Anthony proposed to Rosana at sunset that evening up by the bridge. At 10:45 p.m. after dinner was "The Quest" in Studio B (the Ice Rink). The place was filled to standing-room only. I know it's supposedly taboo to talk about the Quest, but I'll just say our Cruise Director, Ken Rush ended up dropping his pants. After the Quest we went to the Nutcracker dining room to view the Gala Buffet. There were many beautiful pieces of ice sculpture, dessert and breads. The edible foods were mostly desserts, cheeses & cocktail shrimp. Thursday -- At Sea Had breakfast in the Windjammer at 9:45 a.m., followed by "Win a Cruise Bingo" at 10:30 in the Metropolitan theater. We went ahead and had an early lunch at noon in the Nutcracker dining room. I had the fish & chips and cherry pie ala mode. At 1:15 p.m. we went to the couple's massage class in the spa. We were taught several massage strokes and practiced them on our partners. Included in the $49 per couple price was a bottle of massage oil to take home. We again went to lay out on deck this afternoon with our books from 3 to 5:00 p.m. We attended the 'Ice Dancin" show at 7:45 p.m. in Studio B. It turns out this was the final performance from this group of ice dancers. They had been on the ship for 6 months. They did a great job and she show was wonderfully entertaining. The only thing negative was they could never seen to get their turns synchronized. At dinner I opted out of the Chef's rack of lamb and chose the black angus steak, cooked medium. The steak, while tasty was cooked well-done. Other tablemates had the same complaint about over-cooked steaks at other points this week. I had the crab cake appetizer and Baked Alaska for dessert. Our evening show was 2 performances. The first was Dave & Dania, professional quick-change artists. They could somehow change an outfit in a matter of 5 seconds while behind a curtain. The 2nd performer was ventriloquist Brad Cummings, and he was okay. He and his dummy, a little lizard named Rex, kept commenting on the lack of enthusiasm from the audience. Friday -- Nassau, Bahamas This morning we had our first breakfast in the Nutcracker dining room. I had some delicious blueberry pancakes, bacon and OJ. At 10:00 a.m. we went to the Metropolis theater for a backstage tour. We were shown the costume & dressing areas for the performers. We also saw the stage and how they move props around. Finally we viewed the sound booth. Not a bad way to spend a ½ hour if you have nothing else to do. After passing the NCL Dawn on her way to sea, at 1:00 p.m. we docked at Nassau along side the Disney Wonder, Carnival Fantasy and a little old cruise ship called the Regal Empress. This marked the first time all week we had to share a port with other ships! We disembarked around 1:30 p.m. and headed to Senor Frog's where we had quesadillas. After lunch we walked around town for about an hour as it sprinkled off and on. The weather was cloudy and windy thanks to Tropical Storm Arlene over in the Gulf. We got back to the ship around 4:30 p.m. and began packing since we had just spent 4 days in Nassau last summer. Once again this evening, the show for our late dinner seating was before dinner. We were shown the farewell video and the performers came and did a musical number for us. Dinner was the "Feast of Nations." I had 2 shrimp cocktails, battered Mahi Mahi, and split the Brownie Madness & Key Lime Pie with my wife. After dinner I tipped our servers for their excellent work all week. We exchanged e-mail addresses with our friends at the table and said our goodbyes. We went back to the stateroom to finish packing and had our bags outside our door by 11:00 p.m. Saturday -- Disembarkation  We received white baggage tags to be among the first group off the ship. We had flight arrangements from Ft. Lauderdale on a 10:45 a.m. departure. We went down to breakfast in the Nutcracker for the last time. Just after we placed our order, at 6:45 a.m. our color was called to disembark. Since we weren't in that big a hurry, we stayed and ate breakfast. By the time we were done they had also called the Orange color to leave. We were off the ship at 7:25 a.m. and had our bags on the transfer bus to FLL by 7:40 a.m. The bus left for the airport at 8:10 and we arrived at FLL by 8:45 - 2 hours before our flight that many said was "too early." It can easily be done if everything goes smoothly. The ship The Navigator of the Seas is a beautiful ship. Everywhere we went for the first couple days we just said "wow." She had only been out of dry-dock for a week before we boarded. Captain Bang said Navigator got a 99 score on a health inspection the day of our sailing. Everything looked new and polished. I even smelled wood varnish a few times. I was impressed by how much beautiful art was placed on the ship just to please the passenger's eye. The public areas were all thoughtfully designed, and never felt crowded. The ride of the ship was silky smooth and we rarely felt any motion except between Nassau and Miami the final night due to the storm. The Staff Each staff member was always more than willing to accommodate any need or question we had. One day I even asked our stateroom attendant Bernadette to please clean the balcony windows and it was done by the time we returned. I think a great attendant is one you never see but who is always available. I had 5 shirts ironed and she had them returned to me by dinner the same day with no extra fee for same-day service. Our waiter, Christian was outstanding. Anecdotes I looked for the things that some CC members typically notice or complain about. I did see kids in the hot tubs. I never swam in the hot tubs for that reason. I encountered no children misbehaving without their parents, even thought there were 661 on board. Even the CD complimented the parents on the good behavior this week. I did notice several dress code "violations" including shorts and jeans in the dining room. It amused me how some women wear outfits that are much too small and tight for their figure. All in all it was the best vacation of my life. I would do it again in a second. I would like to thank everyone here who provided the wealth of information that helped make this cruise a success. Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
This was our first cruise on any line, and will likely not be our last. The ship is unbelievably awesome. As others have said, there is almost too much to do. The room, service and food was incredible. Coming home was a real ... Read More
This was our first cruise on any line, and will likely not be our last. The ship is unbelievably awesome. As others have said, there is almost too much to do. The room, service and food was incredible. Coming home was a real disappointment. We had a balcony suite, and being able to just lounge on the balcony felt so good, especially late in the evening, under the stars. Very peaceful, and a nice end to a busy day. Our dining room staff were wonderful as was our cabin attendant. I'll admit the dining room felt a bit large, especially the first night, since we were at a table for 10, and there were only 4 of us. We did have 3 other table mates for most of the rest of the cruise, and they were fun too. Try Chops Grille. Incredible beef and even better service than the main dining room. We were not thrilled with Windjammer, usually crowded at lunch, and since it is on deck 11 on the stern of the ship, it would tend to rock and roll a bit too much. The entertainment on board was first rate. The cruise director always kept us entertained and the shows were great. Our 17-year-old daughter always found something to do, and with her 18-year-old friend, they had a ball. We took advantage of the pre-sailing boarding documents and sea-pass, and that smoothed the embarkation. Some of the shore excursions could have been arranged better, and perhaps better explanation of what to expect. For instance, the Atlantis submarine cruise was fun, but you are packed in like sardines (excuse the pun) and my wife and I felt uncomfortable. Read Less
Sail Date July 2005
This was our first cruise and it was an incredible experience. We travelled with a little kid (4 yrs) but he loved the boat. We had a cabin with a balcony and it was very nice. Mayhap the bathroom could have been a bit bigger? The ship ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it was an incredible experience. We travelled with a little kid (4 yrs) but he loved the boat. We had a cabin with a balcony and it was very nice. Mayhap the bathroom could have been a bit bigger? The ship was nice and clean and well maintained. The food was just excellent. Plenty to choose from and lots of taste. We ate dinner not only in the big dining room but also tried the Windjammer buffet on two occasions. The shows were good and we went to see the ice-show and a concert in the theatre. There were plenty of activities on board and we didn't have time to try them all. A special mention to the staff and the guy taking care of our cabin: The level of service was superb. A downer when we left the ship: Some other guests decided that their farewell with this magnificent ship was to ruin the toilets. Very sad behaviour... Me and my wife have travelled a lot and are picky, but this cruise was an experience for a lifetime. We loved every second of it and it was actually sad to leave the ship. But we have started saving again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2005
Having been a passenger on five cruises (three with Royal Caribbean) can tend to set a person's expectations a little higher. It's not surprising that first time cruisers found this cruise to be the best thing since sliced bread, ... Read More
Having been a passenger on five cruises (three with Royal Caribbean) can tend to set a person's expectations a little higher. It's not surprising that first time cruisers found this cruise to be the best thing since sliced bread, but if this had been their forth or fifth cruise I'm fairly sure their review would have been more in line with reality. Embarkation: Check-in process was surprisingly fast. There ware two separate areas, one for people who had their Set Sail Pass, and those who did not. If you don't know what the Set Sail Pass is, please visit RCCL's Website and find out. Two members of our group did not have their Set Sail Pass with them, but we were all able to get checked in within minutes of each other. TIP: arrive at the terminal at 11:30 AM. Room: We had a category H outside stateroom facing the front of the ship. Great view of arrivals and departures into ports. A little disappointed that the room was no larger than other RCCL ships. With a ship that big they could have added a couple of feet to the rooms. Dining: Second dinner seating in the main dining room. Waiter, Anca, was absolutely wonderful. She was very friendly and attentive. The food as compared to other RCCL cruises was mediocre at best. The chef's special on one particular night was sirloin steak that was tougher than shoe leather. I overheard one guest say, "If that's the best the chef has, it's time to get a new chef." Deserts were a little blah. The Outback Steakhouse in Phoenix has better deserts that what we had on the Navigator. There could have been more choices for entrees and deserts, and the food needs to be turned up a notch. Very disappointed with the food. Two of the members of our group were unable to get the second dinner seating because they booked the cruise too late, so on the last night of the cruise we decided to eat at Chops. Big Mistake! For the $25 per person cover charge the service should have been much better. The food was excellent; however, it was downhill from there. We needed a search warrant to find the bar hostess. We waited 20 minutes to get our first drink and never saw her again until we were ready to leave. We asked for a bottle of wine when we first ordered our meal and 30 minutes later we still didn't have it. The appetizer plates stayed in front of us for at least 30 minutes after we finished. When the manager came by to ask us how everything was I told him what we thought about the service. The sad thing was he did absolutely nothing for us. He asked us if we wanted dessert to take with us! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Isn't dessert included in the price of the cruise????? Our reservation was 7:30 PM and by the time we left it was after 10:00 PM because the service was so bad. NEVER AGAIN will I pay a cover charge. The food should be that good in the main dining room. Why should you have to pay extra to get good food? Norwegian and Carnival don't charge extra for good food, and their cruises average $100 less than RCCL. Enough said on that. I could go on, but in summary, the ship is beautiful no doubt, and the public areas are nice. Entertainment was very good. The ice show is a must see, very well done. The comedians were very funny, and the Broadway-style shows were all good. I could write a book about the shore excursions, but let's just say they need improvement. Bacardi Rum factory tour--BUST. Save your money. Please feel free to email me any time. Both constructive and destructive criticism is welcome. Read Less
Sail Date July 2005
We flew from England the night before the cruise and stayed at the Intercontinental Miami. The rooms at the Intercontinental are very spacious and we can highly recommend this hotel, however, the pool at the back was a bit small. We were ... Read More
We flew from England the night before the cruise and stayed at the Intercontinental Miami. The rooms at the Intercontinental are very spacious and we can highly recommend this hotel, however, the pool at the back was a bit small. We were picked up from the hotel at 12:30 and arrived at the port 5 minutes later. Our baggage was taken straight from the coach and we queued outside the terminal for about 30 mins. Once inside we queued before security for about another 30 minutes. It took us about 2 hours to board the ship, even though we had priority boarding through staying in a Grand Suite. The Ship -- We thought the ship was absolutely beautiful and I was happy to spend a few hours exploring on the first day. Of course, I stopped at the bars along the way for a glass of wine or two! Our Stateroom -- We were very impressed with the Grand Suite and were delighted with the amount of storage it had. The bathroom was lovely as we also benefited from a bath and two sinks. Our stateroom attendant, Marvin, was great he seemed to appear from nowhere every time we left the suite to greet us. He also left the children a variety of towel animals each night. Food -- We found the food in all areas of the ship excellent. We did visit Chops and had a great meal. Our waiters in the dining room were very chatty and each night made recommendations from the menu. They automatically asked us if we would like more lobster on the formal night. Entertainment -- We saw the ice show which was amazing and two of the shows in the theatre which we also thoroughly enjoyed. Concierge Lounge -- We absolutely loved the concierge lounge for pre-dinner drinks. Some mornings I popped in their for an early breakfast of bagels and fruit. Francois, the concierge, was very helpful and extremely funny. Kids Club -- My DD (aged 6) and DS (aged 11) both loved the kids clubs and they didn't want to leave. The ate with us on formal nights but for the rest of the time they would have an early dinner at the windjammer and then go off at 7 o'clock. Ports of Call -- Our favourite was Labadee we had a lovely day sitting in the sun. My DH and DS went out on a waverunner and thoroughly enjoyed this. Jamaica was our least favourite we found the locals to be too pushy and were quite glad when we got back on the ship - we did Duns River Falls and the Dolphin Encounter. We enjoyed our day at Grand Cayman and thoroughly enjoyed Stingray City. Cozumel was not what I expected, it seems to be very run down after the hurricane. However, we did have an enjoyable time at Playa Mia Beach Club. Overall -- This was our first cruise and we didn't know what to expect. My husband was so impressed that by the third day he had booked for next year for Southern Caribbean. The most outstanding feature of the cruise was their staff - everyone you met was extremely friendly and nothing was too much trouble. Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
We were able to get a D2 balcony since the agency we used messed up. We originally booked a E1. Got bumped to a E2 and called. They bumped us up from the 6th deck to the 9th and they paid the difference. My DH and I just returned from ... Read More
We were able to get a D2 balcony since the agency we used messed up. We originally booked a E1. Got bumped to a E2 and called. They bumped us up from the 6th deck to the 9th and they paid the difference. My DH and I just returned from our first cruise. We sailed on the Navigator of the Seas 8/27-9/3. Let me just start off by saying what an amazing time we had and we cannot wait to book another cruise with RCI. We were a little nervous about getting from Philly to Miami since Hurricane Katrina had made landfall the evening before we were to fly to Miami. We were able to fly out on Friday afternoon (our original flight). I believe we were one of the first flights to land at Miami International. On Saturday morning we took a cab from the Omni in Coral Gables to the Pier. Next time we will stay in South Beach closer to the Pier. There wasn't a line to check-in. After that we weren't sure what we had to do (we are first time cruisers), but after trying to hear the folks from RCI over the loud voices of the people in front of us (who didn't understand a request to be quiet for a moment) we took our picture and then we were escorted into the lounge area. We sat there for about 2.5 hours. Many around us complained but it was out of RCI control since the NOS made a late arrival due to the Hurricane. I personally would rather be sitting there for 2.5 hours right now then at work! Getting onto the actual ship was a breeze. We headed straight for the Windjammer and had lunch and the drink of the day. Then we headed to our cabin (balcony on the 9th deck) and did a happy dance. We walked around the ship til the Muster Drill. The drill was not what I expected at all. We just sat in the dining room with our life vests on and that was that. Painless. Then it was off to Deck 11 to watch us depart Miami. Our first port was Old San Juan: We walked to the El Morro Castle (Note to anyone who is going to do this). ). DO NOT PASS THE PINKISH CEMENT GATE. We did not go through the gate because we were too busy reading the signs about the protected cats and we ended up walking A LOT and didn't get anywhere - just into a dead end at the base of the castle . That evening, we did took a night walking tour(http://www.legendsofpr.com/nighttales.htm) with Debbie. and it was amazing and such a great way to see Old San Juan. It was just my husband and myself, and Debbie showed us so many beautiful buildings, art work and perfect places to take photos (she also took so many of my husband and myself). Which was nice, since on most vacations, couples don't get to take many photos together. We were able to get into closed buildings since Debbie seems to know so many people. It was really nice to walk around and really feel the city of Old San Juan, rather then being on a bus looking out tinted windows. I highly recommend this tour to anyone who really wants to see this great island. And if you are a history buff, this is perfect for you. My husband hasn't stopped talking about the things he has learned. The next day we sailed to St. Thomas: We took an excursion through RCI to Trunk Bay. All I can say is WOW. The water is so calm and clear and the beaches are so beautiful. The ride to Trunk Bay was an adventure. A small blow up boat with a motor hit our 50ft boat. Luckily, no one was hurt. The driver of the small rental said he "didn't see us." He obviously needs glasses. We took an open air "bus" to Trunk Bay. Man do they drive FAST and take corners quickly. But we made it alive. After the morning, we took the Sky Ride to Paradise Pt. That was expensive - $16 per person. But worth it. We ate lunch up there and had the famous Bushwhacker drink. We had two mixed drinks, 2 beers and lunch. The entire trip up to Paradise Pt and down cost about $80! Then we went to the shopping area (Havensight) and did a little looking and then had a beer-my husband is a huge fan now of the El Presidentia beer. It was good - I will admit. When we left we saw the BIGGEST iguana in the world. Then we got back onto the ship. Our next port was St. Maarten: I surprised my husband with the morning 's excursion. He had no clue til I handed the tickets to the gentleman waiting for us for the America's Cup Racing Regatta (again we booked through RCI). My husband exclaimed, "I don't need another cup of coffee, I am pumped." It was awesome. We were lucky enough to be on the team that got to race the actual '87 Stars and Stripes. Our crew was so nice, funny and laid back. After we WON and beat Canada II we kept sailing. After a while, we noticed St. Kitts was getting bigger so we headed back. We will definitely do that excursion again. That is the first thing we mention when people ask, "How was your cruise?" I HIGHLY recommend this. It is a chance of a lifetime. It is a lot of work, but you don't even think twice about it while you are sailing this beautiful boat. We headed back to their gift shop and spent $30 on the photo (SO WORTH IT) and bought some t-shirts for ourselves and for my parents. After hearing about this excursion my Mom wants a cruise for her bday next year and she definitely wants to do this excursion. Afterwards we headed back to the ship to freshen up and to eat lunch. After lunch we went to the shopping area, and I bought a great purse at this place called Murphy and Ney. It is an Italian company that makes the sails for the actual America's Cup boats. My purse has some sail material on it. It is awesome. We also sat outside of Holland Hotel (at the advice of some Cruise Critic folks) and had a El Presidenta beer and looked out at our ship and St. Kitts. We took the water taxi back. Just in my opinion: Tip the guys that are working to clean up the beach chairs. I saw so many people leave lunch wrappers etc...and just get up and go. We bought 2 beers/2 beach chairs for ro $10 from the Black Pearl Snack Stand. We were there for maybe an hour and tipped the guy. Again, just in my opinion, tip him a few bucks. The final port was Nassau but we opted to stay on the ship that day. We had the Solarium pool to ourselves for most of the day. When it started to get crowded we walked around. We did hit the gym a few days on board. Pretty wild to run on the treadmill on a moving ship. I sometimes read about how bad the customer service is on RCI but I would have to say just the opposite. One evening I couldn't find my necklace. Our great room attendant told us to report it to Guest Relations so we did. They sent up a security guard to give us another set of eyes. Well before he could make it up, I got a better view into the safe (which we looked in 5 times) and found it. From that day forth, guest relations called our room to see how our cruise was going. Something to note: On our last night (this happened to two of our tablemates) in the middle of the night, our door handle turned like someone was trying to get in. It scared the day lights out of me and my heart was racing and I didn't sleep that well. Not sure if it was teenagers or security. Oh, one hint to for the first time cruiser. DO NOT PLAY BINGO EVERY DAY. I did-DUMB IDEA. Wait til the win a cruise bingo, then play forth for the jackpot. The couple that won, that was their first time playing and they won over $7,000. I learned a lesson . My husband really enjoyed the art auctions and he purchased a great painting. We did eat at Johnny Rockets for my 30th bday. The staff there was so nice. Overall, we had a blast and cannot wait to cruise with RCI next summer. We had the best weather in the world. Calm seas and sunny days. We were very lucky. Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
We left Miami on time. The boarding process took about an hour. Our bags were checked at the curb with a nice tip and still not delivered until very late. We brought a carry on as I knew this could happen. The room was wonderful. Very ... Read More
We left Miami on time. The boarding process took about an hour. Our bags were checked at the curb with a nice tip and still not delivered until very late. We brought a carry on as I knew this could happen. The room was wonderful. Very clean with a nice desk,tv and plenty of drawers, hangers and closet space for the two of us. Luggage fit under bed. Balcony was divided with frosted glass so never really felt private. We used the chairs and table often to hang our clothes out to dry. Clothespins come in very handy for this. We had to remind our attendant to replace beach towels, but that is really our only complaint. I took a tip off the Cruise Critic page and had many of my clean clothes pressed for a very reasonable fee and then we were set for the week. Do this as soon as you board as it takes a day to get them back (fees are less for pressing only). We also used the daily wakeup calls instead of an alarm clock. This worked great. We liked watching some of the shows we missed on the RCL tv broadcast in the room. Food was good. We had the first seating and were so glad as 8:30 seemed quite late for dinner. Many people with kids had wished they had the earlier seating. We enjoyed the WindJammer, Main Dining room and The Cafe in the promenade for late nite pizza, cookies, cakes and subs. Soft serve ice cream was also available on another deck and in Windjammer. Never stood in any lines more than 2 people deep at buffet type places. The midnight buffet was a bit crazy. Many people skip the main food and headed to the desserts so that would be my tip. Get your sweets first and work backwards as they were depleted of many things by the time we arrived. Morning breakfast in main dining room was quick and good. Do not skip it in place of windjammer, it was wonderful to be served. Entertainment. We toured gym, spa and salon services. Very nice gym. Evening shows were fun. Ice show was a great show and "not to be missed" as we were told. Casino was also pretty generous to us. Played Bingo the last day and won at that too. The Promenade was fun to shop, stop at pubs or cafe or just people watch. Great central location. Wish I knew my makeup prices better as they looked to have good prices on perfume and makeup. You will not be bored, too much to do. My husband enjoyed the rockwall climbing. I am comparing this to Princess ships and must say the service and hospitality of crew were at a much higher level than on princess. We also felt the ship design and location of all shops and eateries were easier to access. We booked the Waverunners with RCL for their "Private Island". This was a fun excursion. All other excursions I booked from suggestions from cruise critic. Jamaica was with Phil Lafayette,...Grand Cayman stingrays and coral reefs with Soto cruises. We were 2 guides and 2 of us in Grand Caymans...Phil's tour was just plain fun. A fun group of people. Plus we had smaller groups and saved money. Thanks to everyone for suggesting them. Internet access was very poor and costly as it would take 4 minutes to get on at .50 a minute and then wait and wait and your bill went up and up. We enjoyed everything about this cruise and RCL. Actually only were able to spend our last day at sea on deck as our excursions took up a lot of our time. We did watch our ship rescue 11 people from a sinking boat on our way back to Florida. Finally, for the first timers, I might be one of the few to report on this but I did get seasick the first day at sea. No there were not rough seas, just a constant swaying in our 8th floor room. The hangers would click together, just that much ended up sending me to medical for an IV ($600.00) and Bonine pills which I took everyday there after as it was hard to miss out on that day at sea being sick. Next time I will take it before I leave so as to not miss out on a day of fun. Also make sure and find the front of the ship and enjoy the view from there. It is a bit tricky to locate but usually not crowded. Never felt crowded except when looking at pictures for sale before dinner. Just go back later, there will be no lines after the dinner hour. Wonderful ship and crew!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
Overall a great cruise! My last was in the mid eighties and there is now a world of difference. The Navigator is really a beautiful ship, comfortable and well maintained (I live in Florida and have been boating for over twenty years, so ... Read More
Overall a great cruise! My last was in the mid eighties and there is now a world of difference. The Navigator is really a beautiful ship, comfortable and well maintained (I live in Florida and have been boating for over twenty years, so I can really appreciate this ship). I booked my cruise online at the RCL website, overall very easy and my cost was probably the same as going through an agent. I drove to the port of Miami and parked in a covered garage directly across from the embarkation point ($12/day) and after about 2.5 hours later was on the ship eating a late lunch in the Windjammer (buffet restaurant of the ship). We set sail exactly at 5pm and this ship is so smooth you really have no sense of motion unless you are gazing out. Our room was a balcony which I believe was well worth the extra $350 or so person as opposed to an inside cabin. Having a porch with an ocean view certainly made the trip nicer. The next day at sea was spent exploring the Navigator and relaxing. Overall we thought the food was excellent and I personally enjoyed the casual buffet style of the Windjammer restaurant as opposed to the formality of the main dining room. I have read many complaints about the food though really cannot imagine someone not being able to find something they love to eat on this ship at about any time of the day. The first port was Labadee, Haiti. RCL usually refers to it as Labadee, Hispanola I guess so the stupid among us will not know we are visiting Haiti. Labadee is a small peninsula in the North of Haiti that is I assume leased by RCL and very well secured and isolated from what is probably "normal" Haiti. Basically a nice day at the beach with a barbecue picnic. The next stop was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I would not recommend venturing out too far on your own here. The people are very aggressive trying to sell you anything and everything and really make you uncomfortable just walking down the street. There is a market near the pier which is cordoned off from the locals and worth seeing if you want to do some shopping or drink a Jamaican beer. Grand Cayman was the next stop with beautiful waters and great diving/snorkeling otherwise not much to see. Next was Cozumel, a Mexican version of the Caymans with a nice shopping area at the foot of the pier. Last day was at sea and the next morning at the port of Miami. Disembarking seemed long. We docked around 7am and had breakfast onboard then we hurried up and waited. Finally got to my car (across the street) at 11 am. I did count about ten custom agents who had to check passports etc. for the whole lot of us (probably over 3000). Be prepared to spend some money on this cruise, sodas, alcoholic drinks, specialty restaurants, photos, excursions, tips, shopping, gambling and any other vices you may have are sure to lighten your wallet. But it will sure be fun! Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
We were on the Western Caribbean cruise on from September 3rd - 10th, 2005. Our first time on such a big ship and we quite enjoyed it; lots of things to do. We had perfect weather and it was hard to believe that just a week before such ... Read More
We were on the Western Caribbean cruise on from September 3rd - 10th, 2005. Our first time on such a big ship and we quite enjoyed it; lots of things to do. We had perfect weather and it was hard to believe that just a week before such a bad hurricane happened in the Gulf Coast and now there is other tropical storms brewing. We felt there were pros and cons with such a big ship, the pro we noticed the most was you hardly could feel any motion at all with this ship, not in the theatre or on the promenade or in the dining room. So when we were watching the delightful ice show and such, you had to remind yourself you were actually on a ship! Not like smaller Celebrity ships and the other RCI cruise that we have done. The biggest con for us, and why we wouldn't probably cruise on such a big ship again, was the embarkation and disembarkation. The embarkation was a nightmare, some of the staff there did not seem to have any idea which line we should be in and the biggest downside was there was nowhere for anybody to sit. Some people had arrived at the airport that morning and had been transferred to the terminal by RCI and had to wait outside for two hours in the sun, and that is before they went inside the building to be processed. If you are not an U.S. or Canadian citizen you have to have your picture taken twice which is where we became confused. Disembarkation looked like it also was going to be bad, we took our own luggage off and there were long lines with only four immigration officers in our section, and I know there were many, many people still on the ship. We do not wish to comment on ports of call, because where the ship goes does not matter to us, we just like cruising, although I will say we had a wonderful time swimming in Labadee, Haiti. We loved the food, the entertainment, the Royal Promenade, Johnny Rockets. All were first class and very enjoyable. Our only disappointment inside the ship was the fact that they didn't provide a free jug of iced water in your room. We had always had that on other cruises, and it was refreshed morning and evening. You could, however, buy bottled water out of your fridge (you have to pay for any goodie you consume from your fridge, so be warned!) which we chose not to do. To be fair to RCI, there were snacks, iced water and coffee and tea available 24 hours a day down on the fifth floor on the Promenade, but it still was a little more inconvenient than what we were previously used to. The dining room and cabin service was excellent and I believe that this is where most cruises excel. It is hard to come home to reality! I was disappointed when I went down to the pool the last evening to have a swim about 10:00 p.m. (one of the pools was always open 24 hours) and all the pools had been closed for cleaning. I wouldn't have minded so much but when I had asked earlier in the evening they had said that one of the pools would still be open. All in all I would recommend trying this size ship at least once, and particular if you have children who like things like basketball, rock climbing, mini golf and the like, your children will love it. Read Less
Sail Date September 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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