602 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

I have sailed on other Royal Caribbean cruise ship and as far as I am concerned they just can't be beat. I did find the food on this ship, in the dining room, was not as good as other Royal Caribbean ships I have sailed on. An ... Read More
I have sailed on other Royal Caribbean cruise ship and as far as I am concerned they just can't be beat. I did find the food on this ship, in the dining room, was not as good as other Royal Caribbean ships I have sailed on. An example is a shrimp and pasta main entree that I ordered. I was so disappointed when I got it. It contained no shrimp, not even shrimp flavor. The choices were as bad as those on Carnival ships I have sailed on. The service was excellent, as is the usual with Royal Caribbean ships. My grandson, who is 4 years old (his 3rd cruise) really enjoyed the children's activities and constantly wanted to be with the group. My 13 year old grandson had the time of his life. This was his first cruise. We were with a group, and everyone, with the exception of my children (who have sailed before), had never sailed on Royal Caribbean before. But after cruising on this ship they vowed to go Royal Caribbean all the time. Everyone said they really enjoyed the entertainment that was on this ship. The entire group joined the Crown and Anchor society while on board, but what made me feel real good, being the group leader, was that each one of them said they saw why I brag on Royal Caribbean so Much. The Navigator of the Seas only improvement that I see needed is the food in the main dining room at night. KEEP UP THE EXCELLENT WORK ROYAL CARIBBEAN. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
Navigator of the Seas - Western Caribbean Sail Date: 2004 12 11 Remember that each review is a representation of personal experiences and our likes and dislikes may not be yours. This was our 6th cruise and 2nd with RCI. The ship is ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas - Western Caribbean Sail Date: 2004 12 11 Remember that each review is a representation of personal experiences and our likes and dislikes may not be yours. This was our 6th cruise and 2nd with RCI. The ship is the most fascinating ship we have seen to date. The ship is beautiful from the outside and inside and really smooth sailing. Who would imagine a mall like The Promenade that is 4 decks high with a pub, coffee shop and various shops. The service on the ship was excellent! Nothing more to say! The food was good to very good. There is a good selection of items on the menu for dinner. One night at dinner we causally mentioned to our waiter that we like Indian cuisine. Right then and there, he arranged an Indian entrEe to be prepared for us for the next evening. The meal was very good. Now that is service. We had our breakfast and lunch on deck 11 buffet. Plenty of choices, you will not go hungry. The entertainment was excellent! The main theater shows, ice show, bands, parades in the Promenade were all excellent. One area for improvement will be the availability of fluids. On the sun decks, you can only get bar service. Many other ships have lemonade, ice tea and water available from self serve fountains. On the Navigator you need to go the to deck 11 buffet to get free lemonade and ice tea. Also, if you asked for ice tea or lemonade outside of the dinning room or buffet, a charge would apply. Disappointing for RCI to penny-pinch like that! Our excursion in Cozumel to the mainland was not a good experience. The ferry to the mainland and back was rough and made some passengers seasick. The trip is about 35-50 minutes long with about 500 passengers depending on which ferry was used. On the return, depending on which excursion was booked you were dropped off in downtown Cozumel and then at your expense, take a taxi to the ship. Others had to wait for the 6:00 p.m. ferry to Cozumel then transfer to another ferry which took us to the ship. The ship was to leave at 7:00 p.m. but waited until we arrived at 7:15 p.m. Thank goodness the excursion was booked with the ship otherwise, the ship would have left us behind! And last but not least the Cruise Critic group. What a great group of new friends! As the group was more than 25, RCI arranged a gathering for us where we had a chance to meet everyone and also meet the captain. Great vacation, fantastic ship, made new friends and booked the Mariner Of The Seas for May 2005! Simon & Toni - simon_toni@hotmail.com Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
Embarkation was a breeze, was at the port at 11 am and on the ship by 11:30. Our stateroom was ready so we were able to drop our carry on's in the stateroom and change. Up to the Windjammer for lunch and to the pool. Unfortunately, ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze, was at the port at 11 am and on the ship by 11:30. Our stateroom was ready so we were able to drop our carry on's in the stateroom and change. Up to the Windjammer for lunch and to the pool. Unfortunately, our cross bookings with friends was not followed thru and we were originally scheduled for different floors and different tables in the dining room. maitre d's showed a poor attitude and it became difficult to sit together until I had a long conversation with the customer service representative. The ship is lovely, clean and it great shape. First night the show is at 8 p.m. for both seatings and dinner for the late seating is at 9 p.m. The Parade is at 11 p.m. down the Promenade. Chops dinner was wonderful..a great evening to go in the Caribbean night in the dining room....unless you like Jamaican style food. Sea day (Sunday), great weather and a lovely day to relax and drink in the warm sunshine. Labadee (Monday) again another warm sunny day. Lunch was nice on the beach.. in several locations. Most of the ship is closed while the ship is there, including the Windjammer and Cafe Promenade,so is you want to stay on board only the dining room is open for lunch. This was the first formal night and the night of the Captain;'s welcome aboard party. App 80% of the cruisers adhered to the dress code. Jamaica (Tuesday), went on the horseback riding excursions, we rode for while and then rode bareback in the ocean. A good time was had by all. We went into town for awhile, cab fare is 6 round-trip per person, but there are now enough shops where the ship docks to make this unnecessary. We had a lovely dinner in Chops. Grand Cayman (Wed.). Friends went swimming with the stingrays, as we had done this the last time we were there, we walked around town and went back to the ship. There were 4 other ships tendering along with ours. Tendering was not a problems and very easy to get on and off the ships. Grand Cayman is still showing some of the effects of the hurricane, especially on some of thee back streets you can still see some of the destruction and rebuilding is still going on. This was also the second formal night, and the night Lobster is served for dinner. It is also the night they have the Grand Buffet. Found that only 50-60% adhered to the dress code with people showing up in jeans and shorts for dinner in the dining room. Cozumel (Thurs). We were one of 8 ships in Port that day. Went swimming with the dolphins and had a great time. We took a taxi downtown and did some shopping (cost in 6 each way for the taxi....not pp) and went back to relax on the ship. Quest was played that night along with Rockin thru the Decades in Studio B. Sea Day (Friday). Just lounged around the solarium pool and in the Hot Tub relaxing. Farewell show is at 7 p.m. that night and had a relaxing diner with friends, who remembered our anniversary and had a cake for us that night. This week was President's week with a lot of families and children on board(was told there were 1100 children, who for the most part where very well behaved) However, suggested dress code was not at all adhered to with people showing up Formal night or any night for that matter in jeans and shorts to the Main dining room and this was true of the adults also. We had 3 different comics that where excellent, along with the singer who sang the theme from the TV show "Happy Days" The RCI singers and dancers and shows were very weak. Disembarking was very easy with just a short wait thru customs, we left the ship at around 8:30, and was in a taxi on our way to the Ft Lauderdale airport by 9:15. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
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
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
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
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
This was a good cruise that could have been great with a few changes. EMBARKATION was pretty good, but mainly because we had a suite, and got to go through the special "suite line". No problems getting our luggage or getting to ... Read More
This was a good cruise that could have been great with a few changes. EMBARKATION was pretty good, but mainly because we had a suite, and got to go through the special "suite line". No problems getting our luggage or getting to our room. ROOM: Now...onto our room. We paid twice as much as many people to get an Aft Junior Suite. We were on deck 6. This was a complete and total waste of money. Do not get an aft balcony!!!! We basically had a balcony railing which was proceeded by about 20 feet of aft decking. We could not see the water from our balcony. We could not even take pictures because there were all sorts of wiring, support structures and flags. The room itself was nice, but was fairly noisy with engine noise, and had a shimmy from the engine/rutter. The bathroom was roomy and the walk-in closet was nice. We barely used the couch and chair area, and barely used the balcony for obvious reasons. There were pretty decent and new movies available on the TV. We enjoyed the ship weather channel which showed our location at all times (and showed hurricane Gamma trailing us!). Beds were comfortable, and had good reading lights. Do not use any drinks (soda) from the mini bar! They were $4.00 each - they were $1.25 on an Alaskan cruise I took in July 2005 on the same line. FOOD: Food in the dining room was pretty good. Nothing special. It was the exact same menu as Serenade of the Seas from July. Windjammer food is mediocre. Breakfast in the Windjammer was especially bad, and never changed. We ate breakfast in the dining room once, but my husband was pretty unhappy with having to sit with other people (we don't even talk to one another at breakfast). Our dinner table was set for six, but we only had one other couple the entire time. They were quite nice, but it would have been better to have more people to carry the conversation. We were on our honeymoon, and sometimes we just wanted to be alone. The first night, we were seated over 1/2 an hour late, and then ignored for another 20 minutes. The steak that is always available as an alternate selection is better than a lot of the steak they served as a main entree. My husband was quite annoyed by the constant waiter dances, and the fact that we and our culinary needs would be ignored for a good 29 minutes every time they did one. Our waiter was okay - not great. The head waiter only showed his face for trite conversation and his tip at the end. Note from my husband: Anyone who tends toward a problem with constipation, please take a fiber supplement. The food has NO FIBER. He is a Doctor, and recommends starting the supplement a week or two before leaving. Yes, he was bound up! Talk to your doctor prior to the trip. Oh, and if you go to Jamaica, go to Breezes resort and get the Jerk Chicken....it was to die for!!!! If you are into the shows, the first seating would be better (we are not). We went to the ice skating show, and thoroughly enjoyed the "hula-hoop girl." PORTS: Not much to say - it rained a lot!!! HAITI: It poured down rain. Once it stopped raining we decided to go over for lunch, and waited 1/2 an hour for a tender. Once we got there, no one was serving food. Avoid the market if you don't want to be harassed!!! The beach is beautiful. JAMAICA: It rained again. We went to Breezes and had a blast. Good food and good drinks. The bus ride to get there was pretty long (about 40 min). GRAND CAYMAN: It didn't rain, but was very windy. Very beautiful beaches with good and fine sand. We went to 7-mile beach (took a cab) for very little money. We had a really nice time. The water is very clear and beautiful. BAHAMAS: Our best day for weather. We took a carriage ride around town, and walked to a nearby beach. The town is clean and safe. Other people we talked to recommended Paradise Island. Our dinner companions recommend: Swimming with Stingrays in Cayman; Duns River Falls in Jamaica and Waverunner on Haiti. They did begin to voice some concerns about what they had spent toward the end of the trip. We were highly annoyed by the ship photographers who would block the gangways when we attempted to disembark at the ports. Very irritating!!!! SHIP: It's very beautiful and clean. We were unhappy one night with the situation with the hot tubs - there were 5 total, and all were closed but the two smallest (for "Cleaning" - no one was cleaning). The two remaining open were packed full with about 20 teenagers in each. We did enjoy the hot tubs in the solarium during the day, but we did have poor weather and heavy winds. To get some private time, go to the highest deck behind the bar which was deserted (even when everything was full). We very much enjoyed the art auctions, but spend almost $1,000. DISEMBARKATION: We easily made our 11:00 AM flight. We were to the airport in time to try to get onto a 9:30 flight, but it was full. We flew out of Fort Lauderdale. Overall we had a good time - not a great time. Next time we would opt for a 4-day cruise. We were ready to go home by Tuesday. Recommended if you can get a good deal or a bargain price!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
Sailed in November of 2005 with my husband and 2 year old son. My Mom and Dad and my brother and his fiance. First of all the ship was beautiful. It was not worn down at all. Even our cabin was quite clean (and cleaner than most hotel ... Read More
Sailed in November of 2005 with my husband and 2 year old son. My Mom and Dad and my brother and his fiance. First of all the ship was beautiful. It was not worn down at all. Even our cabin was quite clean (and cleaner than most hotel rooms I've stayed at. My husband, son and I stayed in a Junior Suite, which was quite large. The closet was so big you could have fit another bed in it. My Mom and Brother stayed in a Superior Oceanview Room (with balcony). Was large enough for 2, but with our 2 year old we needed a little extra room for him to run around. It was great having a balcony. Ordered coffee in our room every morning and drank it on the balcony. So I have to say that the accommodations from everyone's perspective were just terrific. We were assigned a lovely oceanview table in the main dining room. The wait staff couldn't do more for us. As a matter of fact everyone on the ship was most accommodating. I've seen mixed reviews about the food. All I can say is that I never had a bad meal. Every meal was at least good and sometimes incredible. It is usually the luck of the draw on what you order. The great thing is that if you don't like what you ordered. Just order something else. They don't care. You could order 5 entrees if you want. We also ate at Johnny Rockets 1 day which was quite good and Chops Grille which was excellent. Never made it up to experience the midnight buffet. We actually got to look at it one night, but we thought it was mainly for show. Every dessert I had on the ship was truly outstanding (So whatever you do, don't miss dessert!) The only negatives we experienced were embarkation/debarkation. Both took forever. We almost missed our flight going home. At embarkation we were there very early with hundreds of other folks. My advice is to embark later. We saw people coming on board at 5:00 p.m. (no hassles). Also the ship is quite crowded and this is most noticeable at the pool area. Fighting for chairs a spot in the pool or hot tub. Just isn't my idea of fun. On the days you are at sea it is the worst because no one has anywhere else to go. I was feeling a bit trapped. When we got to Labadee it was the same thing on the island because everyone got off the boat and was fighting for chairs on the beach. It was too much for us so we got back on the ship and enjoyed a nice quiet day on the ship. Lunch in the main dining room that day was superb (better than what they were serving on the beach). And I got to relax at an empty pool. The other days you were in port, weren't bad at all because everyone leaves the ship and does their own thing. I think the excursion they had to offer were terrific. We enjoyed Dunn's Rivers Falls, and the Sting Ray Adventure. In Cozumel we hooked up with a cab driver that took us to timeshare place where we listened to a 60 minute presentation (said no at the end) and got to stay, eat and drink there all day for free. Probably the worst thing about the cruise is that it is not kid friendly for kids under 3 years of age. All of the kids programs are for kids 3 and up so my husband and I never got to share any time alone. We were always chasing after our 2 year old. Except a couple of evening when we hired a babysitter and went out to the lounges for a drink. (Stay away from the Cigar club! It was way too smokey. We enjoyed the cosmopolitan club where there was live music every night. The shops on board were nice and had some good sales going on different days of the week. You can usually get your best deals the last day of the cruise. All in all we had a great time, but wouldn't take another cruise until my son was at least 3 years old, so Mommy and Daddy could get some down time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
First let me just say that this was my fourth cruise and DH's third cruise. We have been on Carnival and RCCL in the past and I've sailed an old line called Commodore back in the late '80s. DH is 37 and I am 36. We have no ... Read More
First let me just say that this was my fourth cruise and DH's third cruise. We have been on Carnival and RCCL in the past and I've sailed an old line called Commodore back in the late '80s. DH is 37 and I am 36. We have no children. I am disabled (wheelchair) so we always get a wheelchair accessible cabin. Embarkation: Slower than last year when we got on Explorer. This time there was some type of slowdown due to Customs so we wound up waiting awhile to board the ship. Also, last year, they moved my husband and I to another line due to the wheelchair. It was a special lower desk that was specially done for wheelchairs. This time we weren't moved and I barely could see over the desk to talk to the agent once we got to the front of the line. Not sure why they weren't using the other desk at all. Cabin: 7600 is a handicapped accessible cabin and seemed slightly bigger than 7604 on Explorer. It seemed wider, but that could have been my imagination. The cabin is very nice. One word of caution, the sliding door to the balcony has this strange little platform that has to drop down in order to wheel out of the room. It doesn't drop on it's own so you do have to push it with your foot or something else in order to get outside. My husband who is not handicapped nearly tripped over the little metal thing several times. It seems more dangerous than anything else. The bathroom is great for a wheelchair, plenty of room to turn around and maneuver. Ship: Very beautiful, however, I do think the artwork on Explorer was better. However, I really do think this ship is a bit prettier than Explorer in the long run. The Promenade is always hopping and is really an amazing marvel of ship building. It really does feel like you are sitting on a street in Paris or something while you are actually in the middle of the ocean. WindJammer is also much nicer on this ship. I love the way the stations are set up. It made getting around much easier. One word of caution for wheelchair users: the carpet on these ships is very hard to wheel on. I'm not sure what the issue is but it can be a real bear to push the chair on and I recommend if you have to cross the ship from end to end to do it on a level that doesn't have the carpet -- Promenade, Pool deck, Sun Deck, etc. That made it a lot easier for me and I'm used to pushing my chair a lot. This carpet is just not good wheelchair carpet. Staff: Mainly wonderful. I really enjoyed our stateroom attendant, Martin. He was always around (when does that poor guy sleep???) and seemed to really want our stay to be wonderful. The waiter in the dining room was nice, however I never felt as connected to him as I have with waiters in the past. Not sure if that was just a personality issue or something else. The excursions people are not terribly helpful. They really have no clue about accessibility and tours and make very little effort (on the ship or via the 800 number) to find information out about tours. They also give a lot of conflicting information. Someone needs to seriously work on getting accessible tour information with RCCL. If I lived in Miami, I'd be applying to work for them as an accessibility mentor. They need it. Food: Okay. Not wonderful but not horrible either. I really think the food last year on Explorer was better. But I didn't gain a lot of weight this time so maybe it is a good thing the food wasn't that spectacular. Chops and Portofino was wonderful. I wouldn't hesitate to spend the $$ and go there again. And I recommend both places equally, however, the hubby recommends Portofino higher. We got the Wine and Dine package for 5 days (Platinum) and really enjoyed it. It's a great way to get wine if you aren't a total wine snob. We aren't and we had a good time picking out different wines. Islands: Labadee is nice, pretty and has a nice beach wheelchair service to get handicapped people to and from the beach. It's a beach... nothing more. Other than that, I wasn't impressed with any of the islands. I will not be sailing Western Caribbean again anytime soon. I really enjoy eastern better, and find the islands more accessible. Disembarkation: Okay. Slow but okay. Not nearly as bad as Carnival however. That was a horrid way to end a trip. This was just kind of slow. All in all, it's a beautiful ship and I wouldn't hesitate to sail RCCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
My husband and I just got back from our Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Navigator of the seas. This was our third sailing with RCCL and our first cruise aboard a Voyager class ship. The cruise left from the pier at Miami, Fl. The ... Read More
My husband and I just got back from our Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Navigator of the seas. This was our third sailing with RCCL and our first cruise aboard a Voyager class ship. The cruise left from the pier at Miami, Fl. The check in process ran rather smooth as we had already registered online before we left. They separate the lines by cabin deck. They issue your seapass and then you are on your way to board the ship. They take your picture before you board. Our cabin was 9620 which was a balcony stateroom which was situated at a great location which is just at the top of the stairs and behind the lifts. We were unable to have access to our staterooms before 1pm but we stopped by to drop off our bags because we were sick of lugging them around. You never had to worry about food because it really was everywhere. We were a bit let down by this cruise as it is very apparent that RCCL is cutting some quality corners. The food was not as good. The menu not as exotic. For example they use to have a chef prepare your omelette to order right in front of you. You could tell them to put in more of this or that and control the amount of oil they use. You still could get a cooked to order omelette but you had no control over it. They just weren't as good. The Johnny Rockets onboard is really a joke. They charge a $3.95 cover charge just to eat at a burger joint. The food is included but any beverage you get aside from the water you must pay for and it has a 15% gratuity. On the other ships we were on there was a burger place in that same location that was open late so you could always get burgers and other types of sandwiches and iced tea which is still FREE. So late night you don't have the option of a free place to go for drinks. There basically isn't anywhere you can get and iced tea after 9pm when the Windjammer closes. Unless you order room service which is a pain because you are out doing things. At no time is there any shortage of booze pushers. So if you like to drink you will have no problem finding anything because they cater to this sort of thing because it makes them big money. I'd hate to see some of the tabs at the end of the cruise! Since RCCL started charging $20 for a lost towel there is no longer a problem of people saving deck chairs. They come around and remove belongings if the person is gone more than a half hour and you could feel free to do the same. There are plenty of large hot tubs on this ship. There are two in the solarium that kids under 16 can not be in, same for the pool. So if you are looking to escape the kids on board than that is the place for you. The activities on board were way less than I have ever seen before! This was odd because the ship is larger so I expected more activities. they didn't have many exercise classes and many of them they did have like spinning and Fitball all had a $10 charge. There were not many opportunities to earn shipshape dollars. You can earn these dollars with activities and cash them in on t shirts and other swag... there just wasn't many ways to earn them. The spa, as usual, was great. they have many services to choose from and the two massages and facial I had were great. they do try to sell you very expensive products but you don't need to buy them. One benefit is if you do you won't pay tax. The gym is full of great equipment. I was in there quite a bit and I never saw anybody waiting for a bike or elliptical. They have weights and machines and you could get a personal trainer if you wanted. Our dinner seating was the main seating which was at 6pm. We sat at a large table. Our table mates were wonderful people probably the best we ever had the chance to meet! The dinner selections were okay. There wasn't anything real exciting except for the lobster on the second formal night and yes you can ask for as many as you want. You could eat lobster till you pop if you want. You could ask on the first night to be served shrimp cocktail each night of the cruise and they will do it for you. The waiters as usual are excellent! I saw a little too much pasta on the menu. Heck you can make that at home for pennies a serving. I just expected more than the average fare. The best dessert they could ever make in my opinion is the flourless chocolate cake and they had it all right but in a tiny portion the size of a silver dollar! What a cut back. My husband and I and our friends that we were traveling with were celebrating our anniversaries. When we made the reservation for the cruise over a year ago I told them this and we wanted to celebrate each of the formal nights. On previous cruises they gave you a small cake and sang happy anniversary to you. We were informed on the cruise that they don't do that anymore unless you pay $8 a cake. What a let down. The nickle and diming was really a pain. We didn't eat in the chops grille or the Portofino's because they charge a $20 pp cover fee. The shows were very good but our table mates were on this ship last year and they said they were exactly the same so they don't change them around too much. The ice show was a pleasant surprise to me. I didn't expect much of it but it was really very good. Our cabin attendant was very good! He made sure we had ice in the ice bucket and our bed was turned down and we had some nice towel animals. The ports of call were very nice except for the private island Labadee. I will make sure whatever cruises we take in the future don't include this stop. RCCL bills this as it's private island. It really isn't an island. It is the tip of Haiti and is walled off from the rest of the island. There is a beach and water sports to do. The sports are all for a fee. They expect you to go ashore because they pretty much shut the ship down. They serve a bbq lunch on the island and the Windjammer is closed. The BBQ is basically hamburgers and hot dogs. They have a market there with locals selling their wares but they are very pushy so be prepared. We heard many people say they didn't buy anything because they were just pushed too much and wanted to get away. We did the kayak tour offered and it was great fun. We did land on a beach as part of the tour and we were not warned in advance that the people that were helping us ashore were not cruise crew but they were locals who wanted to sell us things. They all had matching shirts like the crew. They pull you by the arm and tell you "I helped you, now you help me". It would have been nice to be forewarned. We didn't have any cash on us anyway since we were doing this excursion and were on the "private island" we thought the seapass (which is your ID and payment form) would be enough. Jamaica was probably the best port. I had been there years ago and didn't expect much but it was the highlight of the cruise. We did a biking trip with Chukka Cove. I highly recommend them. the guides were friendly, knowledgeable and funny. Cozumel was just okay. since it was hit so hard from the hurricane they are rebuilding. Shopping was good there. Grand Cayman was good too. the snorkeling was the best that I ever experienced. We did feel like we were being nickled and dimed a bit with cover charges for this and that which was a draw back but it was still a good value. Hopefully the cruise lines will do more to bring back what they have been phasing out. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
Great ship with lots of great things to discover and explore. First we found out that RCI's fast check-in with online pre-registration only is fast if you are American. As Europeans after regular check-in we had to wait about 40 ... Read More
Great ship with lots of great things to discover and explore. First we found out that RCI's fast check-in with online pre-registration only is fast if you are American. As Europeans after regular check-in we had to wait about 40 minutes to pass some homeland security thing (haven't seen this on our last US-based cruise with Norwegian Dawn last summer). Cabin was spacious and in good shape (deck seven superior balcony forward). Actually not to much room for the luggage and clothes. Bathroom was spacious too but way to few space for a women's toilet bag. Cabin steward was extremely forgetful (I only got an ashtray for the balcony after asking THREE times) - she also messed some toilet things of my partner. But at least the cabin was always very clean. Otherwise service was really great and most of the food exceeded my expectations ("how can they cook meals for some 4000 guests without to much precooking?") Best buffet I saw on a large ship until now. So far a great cruise... but: Tendering is really LOUSY! In Georgetown it took us 45 minutes to tender (without waiting time in the theater and no rough sea). This was ridiculous. On the ship itself you never noticed to much that there are so many people on board. But while tendering you always were reminded of the ships size. The shore excursions were mediocre at best. One even was cancelled without telling us in advance (of course 100% refunded). The really bad thing was that RCI decided not to call Labadee (our first "port"). Because of the election in Haiti. But why RCI only came up with this in the late afternoon the day before? It was known since weeks by then that the elections will be on that date and that these elections go with a certain risk (at least a read this in a international newspaper some 5 odor 6 weeks before and the also read some risk analysis that all warned to go to Haiti right before or after the elections. Those guys at RCI do not seem to read newspapers or simply ignored the actual risk status several agencies had declared. RCI had lousy case management in this respect. Great ship, great crew, great cruise but in those short moments mentioned above the people in charge on the Navigator reminded me of a Dinosaur: very big with extremely small brain. But as I think this was a singular event I look forward to cruise with RCI again (as soon as I will loose that new kilograms around my belly). Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
Check-in at 2pm went smooth, all our forms were pre-filled online. The terminal was spacious, so there was a bit of walking involved, but the lines were not overly long and cookies and lemonade were available to ease the wait. This was a ... Read More
Check-in at 2pm went smooth, all our forms were pre-filled online. The terminal was spacious, so there was a bit of walking involved, but the lines were not overly long and cookies and lemonade were available to ease the wait. This was a preview of things to come, as this was the main drink available throughout the cruise. After a short wait at the busy elevators, we were at our cabins by 3pm and the luggage started to arrive. Most of it almost immediately, and the last one later on that evening. We headed to the Windjammer for a buffet snack before venturing onto the deck for a great view of Miami during our departure. Jade is basically the first part of the buffet, which continues as Windjammer just ahead and has slightly different choices, in somewhat oriental style. It offers sushi after 6:30 pm, but mainly California rolls, the only fish available is salmon and that is in low supply. The Windjammer is perfectly positioned on deck 11 at the back of the ship, offering a beautiful view. The buffet has many great choices, from hot dogs to breaded fish and pasta. After a week the selection starts to feel the same, though, as it is mainly the sauces that change. The omni present ribs were a real treat. The drinks available without additional charge were water, lemonade, fruit punch iced tea and, of course, coffee and tea. Orange juice was available at breakfast. This made the pop card redundant, especially at over $40 per person. Another thing that makes the Windjammer an ideal place to eat is its location on the same deck and adjacent to the pool. The pool area. There was a live Caribbean band playing during much of the day. It was definitely one of the best caribbean bands I have ever heard. Too bad the music did not last into the evening. The speakers were turned real high, so we caught refuge on the upper decks. I was glad to discover that there were some very quiet spots on the uppermost deck for sun tanning. That is unless the announcement came on. Everyone has very suddenly realized just how efficient the speaker overhead is when the announcer yelled  Its Bingo time!. The crew hasnt pick up on this problem yet. Dinner was at the main dining room which spans three floors. We were very lucky to have a table right by the window. The staff and their service was impeccable and the food was a real culinary experience, with a different theme every day. The piano accompaniment added an elegant touch. The desserts were really hard to choose from, so very often we had to try more than one. The shuffle is not to be missed, as was the low fat berry mouse. Dont discount the low fat options as just an alternative, they often top the other desserts. Aside from about four main selections, there always were about five alternative ones. The pastas were just amazing, whether as a main selection or as an alternative. I found the cabins to be fairly small but efficient. If we didnt have to pay full price for the baby, we would have likely reserved a window cabin. I dont understand the logic of charging full price for a little child which eats practically nothing and uses no services, yet seniors do get a discount. I think that this is one thing that may keep us away from more cruises, unless we can find a company which is more forthcoming in accommodating infants. The Promenade on deck five is the center of the ship, analogous to a center square of a town. Here one can visit the wine bar, the cafe or the Two Poets Pub. The customer services and the Champagne bar are also here, at he back of the deck. It is also a convenient walkway to take over the fourth and third deck, which are split in half by Studio B (deck 3) and the Casino (deck 4). Decks three and four have entrances to the theater and the Dungeon at one end and dining room at the other. In order to walk to the theater from the dining room, one has to push throughout the crowded casino on deck four or bypass tea studio B on deck three, so going through the Promenade on deck five is definitely a more pleasant option. Cafe Promenade. After the Windjammer closes around 9pm, this is pretty much the only place to get snacks. The fare consists of two or three types of sandwiches and as many types of sweets, not counting the cookies. There is a self serve coffee and tea station and water available. I have periodically ventured here to get milk for the baby, but they do run out of the small cartons of milk and only on one occasion did they actually have regular milk, the rest of the time we either remembered to get milk at breakfast and store it in our cabins fridge or she had to be content with skim milk. The Two Poets Pub. Very nicely decorated, not very large, yet not often crowded. Drinks are around $5 (beer) and up. Note that your bill already includes a 15% gratuity, which is easily overlooked, as there is a line for additional gratuity where the usual space for gratuity is found. Great music, unfortunately very loud and I dont have a particularly low threshold for loud music. The theatre. Come early to get good seats. The view is great from wherever you sit, unless you get obstruction by a post. Whether on the balcony or in front of the stage, the view is perfect. I highly recommend to go to all the shows, as every one is in a different style and every one is memorable. The Schooner Bar is a nice place to sit down and listen to some piano music favourites, such as the Piano Man. To my surprise, it is also a smoking area, so if you are squeamish about smoke, you may want to choose a different venue. I had no idea that the ship had public areas where smoking was allowed. Living in Canada, I really lost the tolerance for smoke, so this was a bit of a culture shock. The Dungeon is just an amazingly designed night club. I would give it five stars for design and worth visiting just for that. Most of the day it is unused, though, and the party gets started very late. Once it is going, the lighting is great and the music not too bad either. Going there two nights in a row, I was suspicious that the music was prerecorded. The Boleros was the only place where one could dance to Latin music, so the small dance floor (in front of the piano) was always very crowded. I always equal Caribbean cruise with dancing to Latin or Caribbean music at night on the deck. It was very disappointing to have that opportunity only once during the whole week. The rest of the time the deck was deserted after dinner, although the pool bar was open late on a few occasions, but without dance music. The ice show was truly memorable. The hockey themed piece was different, but nothing special. Probably just an introduction to the rest of the show, which was truly world class. The difficulty of the jumps and figures presented by the skaters was amazing, especially since the rink is fairly small. It was a beautifully choreographed, highly challenging and gracefully and professionally presented performance. I would definitely rate it 10/10. SUMMARY: Great things: " Babysitting, available very last minute, $8 an hour. " Kid activities (if your child is 3 and up). " Food, both dinner and Windjammer buffet  hats down to the cooks. " The design of the dining room, the Dungeon, the theatre, and the elevator area, just to name a few. " The staff, with no exceptions. " The caribbean band on deck and the shows. Not so great: " Entertainment on the Promenade, often it consisted of kids parade from the childcare programme. Quite small for the main Mardi Gras parade also. " There was no caribbean music in the evenings! " Breakfast in the main dining room wasn't anything special, basically the same things available in Windjammer, but you had to wait for the food to be brought out to you. We only did this once. From my experience on Carnival, if you ate breakfast in the dining room, you could have treats such as bananas in cream. In short, something more suited to the five star setting. Hence I rated the dining as 4, 5+ for dinner, 3 for the breakfast/lunch in dining room. " Midnight snacks only available at the Bolero and other sit down venues, beside the cafe, which only offers three types of sandwiches, some pizza and three types of light desserts. There was coffee and tea available, as well as water, but that was about it. I missed the midnight buffet or crepe bar that are available at other cruise ships. " Planning for the teens. Some events were planned ½ hour before the all aboard call, which would be fine if there were other things going on later. Unfortunately the only salsa class was planned this way, as were a few other events, which were not repeated at any other time. Planning of such events could use a review. " The idea of a pop card. It just comes across as penny pinching. Everyone knows that it costs about $.10 a fountain pop. I dont drink pop, so I couldnt care less, but I would have appreciated other juice beside lemonade to be available. The iced tea was ok if one added the lemonade into it. Water was available in the cafe or as long as the windjammer was open, maybe having it by the ice cream machine on pool deck would have been nice. You can bring on board whatever RC doesnt supply, such as diet Coke, so next time I would bring a case of non-concentrate juice. " Boleros being the only latin spot in the evening and being very, very crowded. " Ridiculously expensive photos and a great waste of paper by printing and posting photos not so many people bought. I only bought two, at $10 each and even that I think I wasted too much money. If they were $5 each, I would have bought a lot more. Than for $20. Maybe they could be made available on the internet so that people could browse through them after they come home and order them for about $5 each, or 5 for $20. That would be advancing this service into the 21st century. " Midnight buffet on Thursday was a great waste of food, most people were either too tired or too full to eat. Maybe a smaller, earlier one, would have been better. Just awful: Internet. (rating 2/10  just because it does exists). I tried to get on using my outlook, but just trying to get it working cost me $6 (.50C per minute) and I wasnt able to send any email, it never worked. There was no one who would have instructions for outlook users, especially if one is using a Mac. The only way to send an email would be to prewrite it on word and paste it in once at webmail. Just logging into webmail took some time, so the time waste that one paid $.50/min for was considerable. Better option was to go on the internet at one of the ports, if you had time to spare. Maybe they could have a happy hour after 11pm, when the internet cafe was deserted. On a second thought, it was deserted most of the time. Suggestion: make a booklet, available at the cafe, with instructions for different programs such as outlook (and recent versions) on how to log on, not forgetting Mac users, the most avid computer users of all. If you have a computer specialist on board who cannot do this with his eyes closed, maybe its time to replace him. Excursion planning. Someone didnt do their homework. With so many people on board and with visiting the same port every second week, you would think that they would have a bit more info about the ports and get some discounts, beside shopping that is. I guess they get kick backs for sending cruisers to stores, so why bother focusing on trips. I found the excursions overpriced and the shore excursion people peddling trips that they knew were bad, yet admitted to it when they realized that I did my homework and checked the cruise critic website beforehand. If RC is trying to cater to active people, they have to realize that this is a group which is not that interested in shopping. Tip: Bring a walkie-talkie. That is the only way you can keep in touch if you have a group. Other than that you can let others know that you will periodically retrieve your phone messages, which they can leave on your cabin phone. There are a number of places around the ship where phones are located. Bring a guide to the caribbean for self guided excursions. There are plenty of taxis waiting at each pier to take you to your destination. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
This was our first cruise and overall we had a great time. The Navigator of the Seas is a beautiful, elegant ship with a great captain (loved Captain Sullivan's announcements from the bridge) and crew. We had a spacious, comfortable ... Read More
This was our first cruise and overall we had a great time. The Navigator of the Seas is a beautiful, elegant ship with a great captain (loved Captain Sullivan's announcements from the bridge) and crew. We had a spacious, comfortable balcony cabinmuch larger and more comfortable than I imagined and Deck 6 was just fine even though it was one of the lowest decks with balcony cabins. We never heard any noise from surrounding cabins, although we did hear spring breakers making noise in the hallway. The entertainment was wonderful, especially the ice-skating show, comedian John Joseph, and the games (Love and Marriage and The Quest). The service in the dining room was great. On the down side: 1. We were nickeled and dimed to death--we spent over $1000 for shore excursions, wine in dining room, drinks, tips, and other incidentals. The beach chairs on the RCCL-owned island of Labadee weren't even free! The extra charges were really outrageous! 2. Tendering was horrendous. We waited over 45 minutes for a 600-passenger tender to be unloaded after our port of call in Cozumel, and a drunk spring breaker threw up all over the top deck while we were waiting. I wouldn't recommend going on RCCL to the Western Caribbean until dock in Cozumel is rebuilt because tenders are required everywhere except Jamaica. BTW, we saw passengers on a Celebrity cruise ship that was docked nearby being rapidly unloaded with attendant using tongs to hand them cool washcloths as they disembarked! 3. The ship was overrun with kids of all ages. Spring break in our area had ended two weeks earlier, but there were tons of kids from the Midwest and South. 4. We were RUSHED off the ship on the last day. We had been told that our group, based on the color tag given for our luggage, would disembark at 8 a.m., but at 7 a.m., they began calling for our group to disembark. We were given the bum's rush in the dining room that morning and then stood in a long line to go through immigration. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
Dont Stay at the Airport Hilton: We flew from Salt Lake to Miami the night before the cruise and stayed at the Airport Hilton. We waited for a long time for the shuttle to the hotel and even longer to check in because there was only one ... Read More
Dont Stay at the Airport Hilton: We flew from Salt Lake to Miami the night before the cruise and stayed at the Airport Hilton. We waited for a long time for the shuttle to the hotel and even longer to check in because there was only one person working at the registration desk. Our room was nothing special and much less than you would expect from a Hilton hotel. In the morning, the lobby was crowded with people waiting for shuttles to take them to various cruise lines. Like many of the other guests, we had booked a shuttle to the pier with the concierge for $10 per person. It was total chaos with people and luggage everywhere. Nobody knew where to wait. Since this Hilton caters to so many cruisers and books shuttles for them, they should have signs along the curb indicating where people should line up for Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and the other cruise lines, but there was no signage and nobody directing the confused throngs. We later learned that people who stayed at the Marriott and other hotels near the airport didnt have this problem. Check in On-Line: We had checked in on-line and printed our Sea Passes. Once we arrived at the pier, check-in went very smoothly and we were soon on-board and enjoying ourselves. Cabins: We had a balcony stateroom and it was great. I expected it to be very small, but it was quite spacious with a large desk; mini-fridge; queen bed (two twins pushed together); sitting area with couch, chair, and coffee table; nice bathroom with good shower; and a long, private balcony. It was decorated nicely with light and bright colors. Our stateroom attendant was great and our room was always made up while we were at breakfast and turned down while we were at dinner. Meals: The food was very good and our waiters in the dining room were wonderful and attentive. At each meal, there were many tempting appetizers, soups & salads, and entrees on the menu. The Windjammer and Jade Cafe offered many choices for breakfast. Ship Design: The Navigator is a spectacular ship, both inside and out. Entertainment: Loved the nightly shows and audience participation games. Shore Excursions: I would recommend booking your own shore excursions to save money. In every port, you will find guides and tours at the end of the dock. We used Peat Taylor in Jamaica and had a private tour of the island. Negatives: We mistakenly booked our cruise during spring break (it was over in our part of the country), and the ship was absolutely overrun with teenagers and kids. I realized that this might be a problem when the main topic of conversation on the Roll Call board for our cruise was how many kids everyone was bringing. Kids were everywhere and many of them were neither properly chaperoned nor well-behaved. A drunken teen vomited all over the top deck of the tender from Cozumel and staggered off the tender still holding his big bulbous drink glass. Tendering was terrible. Jamaica was the only port with a pier and passengers took tenders to Labadee, Grand Caymans, and Cozumel. The tenders took forever, especially disembarking because security had to check IDs and scan of the carry-ons before allowing passengers back on the ship. It took us nearly an hour to disembark from a 600-passenger tender in Cozumel (the one where the kid threw up). We were quite envious when we saw passengers boarding a Celebrity ship that was in port with us being handed chilled washcloths by an attendant with tongs. Be prepared for hidden costs. Dont think this is an all-inclusive vacation. You will be charged for shore excursions, alcohol, food & beverage at certain venues on the ship, photos (every day you will have many photo ops and the photos are expensive), and even beach chairs on the RCCL-owned island of Labadee. It really adds up! Disembarkation was rushed. The last night we were given color-coded luggage tags that supposedly indicated when we would be called to disembark. We were told that our group would be called at 8:00 a.m. and our stateroom attendant told us that it was very important for us to vacate the cabin on time because the rooms would have to be prepared for the next group of passengers. They began calling our group more than an hour early. We were rushed through breakfast and felt hurried to disembark. Then, we waited in a long line to go through immigration. It was an unpleasant end to what was generally a very nice vacation. Despite these negatives, the Navigator of the Seas is a beautiful ship and we had a very good time. Don Shulas Hotel and Golf Resort: We stayed here for one night upon our return. It was wonderful. Because we were booted off the ship so early, we arrived around 10:00 a.m. and we were very tired. We worried that they might make us wait if our room wasnt ready, but we were immediately given a room. It was well-furnished, cool, had black-out drapes, and the bed was really comfy with a pillow-top and fluffy duvet. We took a 4-hour nap before venturing out to explore Miami Lakes. This hotel also had a good internet connection and an excellent restaurant in the hotel. Its about 15 minutes from the airport, but Super Shuttle runs to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
We traveled on the Navigator of the Seas at the beginning of May for a 7 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We embarked in Miami without any problems. There were no lineups and we sailed through without a hitch. Our inside cabin was ... Read More
We traveled on the Navigator of the Seas at the beginning of May for a 7 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We embarked in Miami without any problems. There were no lineups and we sailed through without a hitch. Our inside cabin was very small but clean and efficient. We had 2 single beds and 2 top bunks to accommodate 4 adults. The ship is large with a centre promenade, many restaurants, bars and shops. The fitness club was first class. The theatre and ice skating rinks were superb (on a small scale). We chose the first dining seating time. We were treated cordially and the food was five star rating. The buffet style Windjammer had an abundant variety of excellent food for those who did not wish to dine in the main dining room. There was a 24 hour Promenade Cafe for snacking at any time. On board the activities ranged from water sports, bingo, Karaoke, dancing and movie watching. There was just about every activity for any taste. We found the service excellent, from the room attendants to the dining room captains. Service is their forte! We were totally impressed with the entertainment. The cruise director Graham was very humorous. The shows were first class. We were thrilled with The Platters show. The final evening they do a synapses of the week which is video taped for purchase. Our first stop Puerto Rico was disappointing. They had a bit of a political problem regarding the budget therefore their tourist sites were closed except for the fort We did a walking tour of old San Juan which has many cobblestone streets. It is a lovely city. St. Thomas and St. Maarten are very picturesque and also wonderful for snorkeling and shopping. We were not impressed with Nassau as it appears very congested in the city area. In each island we did an island tour with a local tour guide so we did get to see much of each island. Upon our arrival in Miami we had to wait awhile to disembark as they did not have enough US custom officials on duty at the time. Finally 4 more arrived and the line moved swiftly along. We found our tour guide and boarded a bus back to catch our flight in Fort Lauderdale. We would travel with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines again. We were treated royally! Hats off to Ed our waiter, Raja our assistant waiter and Paul the head waiter. Kudos to Bernadette our 9th floor attendant. They all did a marvelous job. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
Introduction This was my and teen sons first cruise, my wife and daughters 3rd. Theyre previous ones had been with Carnival. My only other shipboard experience was aboard a Navy vessel many years ago which wasnt as pleasant as this ... Read More
Introduction This was my and teen sons first cruise, my wife and daughters 3rd. Theyre previous ones had been with Carnival. My only other shipboard experience was aboard a Navy vessel many years ago which wasnt as pleasant as this one. Overall I would give this ship and staff a good to excellent rating. Pre-cruise The RC internet site worked fine for registering/confirming, but didnt work for 2 weeks prior to cruise for selecting excursions. We finally called up RC and they acknowledged the site was experiencing problems, and registered us for the excursions. So, if you run into problems, dont waste time on the website, just call them to reserve the excursions. Boarding and deboarding: Registering/confirming over the internet saves about 15 minutes of processing at the port of Miami. Boarding took about 30 min at 12:30 pm. The first thing I recommend you do on-board is purchase a soda package for EACH person in your party. They only sell the package on the first day, and I believe only at the Windjammer Restaurant on Deck 11. This can easily save a family of four at least $100 because buying the drinks ala carte is $1.65 (including 15% tip) each and the package is only $24 /pp. When you buy the package, they issue you a sticker that goes on your Seapass (ID Card) and a RC travel bottle. Upon boarding, you should go up to Windjammer which is a beautiful windowed restaurant at aft end of the ship, with something for everyone. Deboarding is not so organised. It took over 2 hours to get off the ship due to congestion on deck 4 with a line wrapping around itself getting backed up due to some wise guys/veterans trying to merge in line at the stairways rather than walking to end of it, and crew mates sending us into the port where Customs/Immigration computers were going real slow. Stateroom -- We were all in balconied staterooms on deck 8 forward, starboard side. The room was ample sized with a queen bed, sofa (not a sleep sofa), decent sized closet with extra blankets and pillows, shelves and enough hangars for all we brought plus built in chest of drawers. The head was small, with a round shower stall that was so small it was difficult to retrieve a bar of soap falling to the floor (there was just not enough room there, and Im not a heavy weight by any means). Throughout the week we had mechanical problems - our stateroom toilets (and by the looks of it, all over the ship) wouldnt flush for hours multiple days which RC apologised for mid-cruise  all the staterooms on our deck, perhaps all decks, received a letter asking us not to throw garbage, towels, etc. down the toilets. There was a musty smell several days resulting in replacement of our air conditioning terminal filters, and the hot water came out yellow a couple of days. Deck 8 was perfect for us as the elevators were almost always filled to capacity or just running slow, 3 decks up to the pool, gym, and Windjammer on 11, 3 decks down to the Promenade with a 24/7 cafe, shops, lounges. Deck 8 aft also had the Internet cafe. Food/Dining -- The food was better than average, the service excellent in the dining room. We were in a group of 14 with 2 seniors, 6 mid aged adults, 3 twenties, 1 drinking teen, and 2 pre-teens. The wait staff was just great. We were on deck 4 first seating (6 pm) which was requested by the seniors, and meant off-ship excursions had to be cut short (so dont take the first seating if you can). Wines were expensive. A $10 retail Australian Shiraz, which we would find for about $20-25 in a restaurant in Boston was $29-34 on ship. The service in the Windjammer was also excellent, and the food selection and quality was excellent. We took breakfasts and lunches in the Windjammer. We had one lunch in Johnny Rockets  same greasy stuff and indigestion as back home  and several times grabbed some coffee, pizza or desserts (all included) in the Cafe Promenade. Im in health care profession and I must say that I saw very good hygiene (gloves and hats) worn by all food handling workers, and none in our party had food-borne pathogen type illness on board. Excursions -- We strongly recommend the St. Maarten beach tour  it takes you on a short air conditioned bus ride from the marina on the Dutch side to a great beach on the French side. You get to spend a good 4 hours at the beach, relaxing, watersports. It includes lunch, your own padded chaise lounge (extra $3 for an umbrella and we recommend that), and lunch (the mahi-mahi wasnt that good, chicken or ribs were) with wine or beer. It was really nice. We strongly dont recommend the Virgin Islands St. John beach Snorkel tour  until they replace the ferry boat operator  Island Girl. Leaving the St. Thomas marina, one of the crew mates casually said that there may be some water spray to us on the lower deck. Some water spray turned out to be 10-12 foot seas (we checked the marine forecast on the radio later once we recovered) which totally immersed the bow, immersing everything and everyone. In addition to the excursion cost, we lost 2 cell phones and 1 camera which were in cases but still saltwater logged. Once at St. John (45 min ferry), we took a open air bus (20 more min) to the beach, and basically had about 1 hour in an AVERAGE coral reef area before the Island Girl crew told us to head for the showers. Our bus driver from the beach fell asleep three times (we had to slap the window between coach and driver to wake him) for the slow ride back. The ride stopped without warning due to a July 4th parade, and we had to walk the rest of the way back. The boat operators did absolutely nothing to ease congestion on the upper deck of the ferry  or give out water  particularly since we just had to walk back or sit up there in intense heat with the top deck overloaded. They did mention tips 23 times on the way back to the Navigator. RC  if you read this, you would do future East Caribbean passengers well to either eliminate the tour or get a more responsible organised operator. On-board activities -- The adults stuck by the Solarium pool and bar which by signage was adult only, however the pool squad inconsistently enforced it. All the pools are salt water, all chlorinated, all clean and well maintained. Our trip included an abundance of kids pre-teen and teen. Most of the pre-teen were in the Sea Adventure program  a sort of day and evening camp for kids  also  by their account  excellent with a lot of activities and several friendly counselors. The same counselors offered babysitting until 1 am most evenings which was also a nice break for the parents. A few of us used the gym. Theres a rush for machines from 8-9 am but it tapers off after that. The machines are in good condition, excellent nautilus training machines, weights, etc. They also have well attended classes (there was a yoga class in progress during one of my sessions). The gym is forward on deck 11, plenty of windows so you have an excellent view during your workout. The only negatives  the booming music and no fm audio/headsets for the many tvs. The evening shows, while not spectacular (as they seemed on the Carnival line according to the wife), were tasteful, and entertaining. The visiting headliners, including a comedic magician, I gotta go do laundry and comedian Troy Thurgill were also good. The cruise director, Graham Seymour, was funny, and had two excellent shows  an after midnight adult comedy show, and was the MC for a contest/show billed as adults only called Quest. When he saw how many kids were at the show, which is basically an adult oriented scavenger hunt and see how much he can embarrass the contestants, he must have toned it down because I didnt see anyone walk out. It was a hoot and suffice it to say that many a male contestant were wearing female undergarments for the first time in front of their families! We hung out at the Solarium bar during the day  well run by Hugh  and the Schooner and Cosmopolitan bars at night. The Cosmo bar is on aft deck 14  and many nights had this 4 piece jazz/dance band which was excellent. The Schooner bar had piano and Dan the Man but he wasnt to us. Were into piano bars with sing-a-longs, songbooks, requesting songs. Dan wasnt into that. There was a rock band Rock the Boat playing Doobies, Earth Wind and Fire, very well versed  most of the time at poolside. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS August 26, 2006 sailing Eastern Caribbean My wife and I have sailed six voyages with Royal Caribbean and two with competitors. This is the third time we have taken this exact trip as regards the point of call. We ... Read More
NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS August 26, 2006 sailing Eastern Caribbean My wife and I have sailed six voyages with Royal Caribbean and two with competitors. This is the third time we have taken this exact trip as regards the point of call. We have sailed the sister ships of Navigator, the Explorer and the Adventure. We were fully prepared for the beauty and elegance of this class of ship. For this voyage we booked a Grand Suite, as we had one on a previous trip, it is now hard to step down, even though any balcony cabin is quite sufficient and fine. Embarkation in Miami was slower than normal, but we did arrive later than usual. The lines were long at 2PM and a bit confused. We did clear the lines and were aboard in slightly less than one hour. I would recommend being earlier or even after 3PM for a more efficient check in. Our suite was wonderful, well appointed and fully operational, other than the fact that we never heard the daily announcement in the room. The room attendant was very attentive and efficient as we checked in as well as throughout the voyage. We found Jennifer in the Concierge lounge very helpful in planning our side excursions and beneficial in making dinner and ice show plans. We were assigned second seating, as we had requested for the dining room. In that this was the first vacation we had been able to arrange for 2 years, we felt that we should enjoy every minute. We found the dining table and discovered, as we have experienced before that the table companions had nothing in common with us and we opted to dine at Portifino's and Chops for the remainder of the cruise. The reasonable additional charge for quality dining and not an eating event is well worth it. Miss Sasha and Miss Monica made the Chops experience quite memorable. We found Johnny Rockets an enjoyable break from the crowds. The offering of excursions on the eastern Caribbean route is quite broad. The St. Thomas excursion for the underwater BOB was clearly one of the best side trips we have ever taken. The beach trip in St. Martaan on the other hand was clearly one of the worst. The Navigator is a beautiful ship and Captain B.s comments at our Meet and Mingle I believe to be correct, that this is a Happy Ship. Debarkation was very slow. The new security requirement of fingerprinting non-US citizens does slow down the process. We had a good cruise experience; one, which I believe, will prepare us for the next adventure. Smooth Sailing Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
Haven't been on RC since 1995. What a nice change. Loved the Navigator. Had a promenade room which was great for watching the parade as well as fellow cruisers. Embarkation - quick and easy since we were platinum members because of ... Read More
Haven't been on RC since 1995. What a nice change. Loved the Navigator. Had a promenade room which was great for watching the parade as well as fellow cruisers. Embarkation - quick and easy since we were platinum members because of frequent cruises on Celebrity. Cabin - Much larger than I remember those on the Sovereign of the Seas. Space was well used and lots of cubbies for storage. Had a love seat and window seat in cabin and bed was very comfortable. Entertainment - a little disappointing. Too many production shows. Food - very good overall. Loved the Cafe Promenade where we had coffee and pastries. Open 24 hours a day. Ice Show - incredible. I am still amazed they would put on such a fabulous show on such a small rink. Captain Sullivan - what a nice man. He came to our meet and mingle and I saw him walking the promenade and stopping to talk to passengers. Loved that I could understand him when he made his announcement. Music and Dancing - it would have been nice to enjoy a venue each evening where we could go listen and dance to some easy listening type music. This ship is geared for families and for what I could see, it does the job well. What I hated - long lines for disembarking, eating in the Windjammer and waiting for elevators. To Royal Caribbean's credit - just about every staff member on the ship was smiling. If they were as happy as they appeared, RC must treat them well. Would I go back on the Navigator - absolutely. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
We arrived a day early at stayed at the Hotel Intercontinental, which was very pleasant and close to the Bayside Marketplace. Embarkation was pleasant as we were Platinum members and had only a very short wait to get on board. Our cabin ... Read More
We arrived a day early at stayed at the Hotel Intercontinental, which was very pleasant and close to the Bayside Marketplace. Embarkation was pleasant as we were Platinum members and had only a very short wait to get on board. Our cabin was an E1 aft-balcony and was ample in space. The aft balcony was fabulous and we spent much time out there. They had slightly upgraded bedding, but not as nice as what we had on Carnival earlier this year. Our comforter seemed to be the old bedspread covered in nice sheeting. After 7 days, the mattress (even with pillowtop mattress cover) was very hard and stiff. I missed the little toiletries you also get from Carnival as all you get from RCCL is a bar of soap and a "mystery" soap dispenser in the shower. We did get a few bug bites and asked our cabin steward to change our sheets close to the end of the cruise and it seemed to stop the bites from occurring. The first sea day it rained all day and the insides of the ship were full of people. We still had a nice time in the Promenade area and played trivia, bingo, etc. We tend to feel the "crowds" more on the Voyager-class ships, but love the ice rink and all the activity. The Promenade cafe is always a great place to go for pizza, sandwiches, and those wonderful RCCL cookies. Free self-serve frozen yogurt is available and was only so-so, but we had a few cones while enjoying the Solarium pool. Shows were excellent and we met Bowzer from Sha-Na-Na and it was one of the highlights of the cruise. Captain Sullivan came to our meet and mingle and was one of the best captains we've ever sailed with! What an absolute treat it was to meet and speak with him! We stayed on the ship in San Juan and had a really relaxing day enjoying the ships pool and hot tubs - I recommend to always pick a port and stay on the ship to feel like you have the ship all to yourself. St. Thomas we took the ship's tour to St. John's Trunk Bay and had an absolutely wonderful time - Trunk Bay is our favorite place in all of the Caribbean - so pristine and beautiful! We would have liked more beach time there. We took the tour as it uses the express shuttle to St. John right from where the Navigator was docked rather than taking a cab ourselves to the ferry to get to the island. St. Martin we took another ship's tour and snorkeled off a boat. I had thought it would be a catamaran (but it wasn't) as it was a bumpy ride and the waves were a bit choppy. We were experienced snorkelers and had a great time, but we were travelling with some friends who were not as experienced as we were and they had some trouble with the waves, etc. Nassau we just got off the ship and shopped around. The ship left around sunset and we got some of the most beautiful pictures as we departed the port. In Miami, we took yet another ship's tour and went to the Everglades. Our only complaint was having to carry off our own luggage completely off the ship to take the tour at 6:30 a.m.(we are not good morning people). We felt more like we were virtually "thrown off the ship and take your luggage with you." Not pampered at all and a long walk from the aft of the ship to the bow and then completely off the ship to the busses. With late dinner the night before, we didn't get much sleep and I was groggy the entire day. The tour itself was really fun and interesting, though, and disembarkation was very fast. All in all, Navigator is a beautiful ship with a wonderful Captain and crew - we would definitely sail her again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
HOTEL INFO We arrived in Miami a day earlier. We'd done this last year as the travel agency had recommended it, and found it was a nice idea. It gave us time to relax, as well as allow for any problems. Catherine, my girlfriend had ... Read More
HOTEL INFO We arrived in Miami a day earlier. We'd done this last year as the travel agency had recommended it, and found it was a nice idea. It gave us time to relax, as well as allow for any problems. Catherine, my girlfriend had called ahead to the hotel and they had reserved a room for us before the normal check-in. It was a lovely surprise when they did this, they had done this because we are Priority Club members. We went straight to our room on one of the top floors, which gave us a wonderful view. Bayside marketplace was directly across the street from us, so we had a view of that, as well as a great vantage point for the Port of Miami and the city. We stayed at Holiday Inn again, only this time closer in town. Last time we had stayed in South Beach and found it a bit remote. The hotel seemed nicer than the other one, better kept even though it's the same hotel and room rate. Getting our luggage into the hotel was a little effort. The front doors are not automatic and the only luggage-friendly entrance is a small ramp off on the left-most side. You have to prop open a door to use it. Other doors are the center revolving doors and another singular door on the right, which offers a step. Considering all the people staying there and most of them being travelers, it could have been better handled. We found it to be comfortable and the room spacious. It was not five-star, but it was a better location and offered us the convenience of being in the center of the city and all it offered. Internet services in the room were good and we had no problem with the connection. Catherine encountered a couple problems with Guest Services while there. The vending machines were broken on our floor, and they never fixed them while we were there. We only stayed one day, but she had to call a few times for things - one of them being the vending machine. A few of the washtowels in the bathroom were soiled and yet were overlooked by the room attendant. Room service as well offered a very meager offering. You can only order it when the restaurant is open - for dinner or lunch. So basically having just gotten off our plane we had to seek out nourishment on our own. And we were both very hungry until then, sating ourselves on a few snacks we had packed and then taking a nap until we felt like venturing out. We later found out that a majority of the people staying there were fellow cruisers just like us. People from Carnival and other Royal Caribbean trekkers were doing the same thing we were, checking in a day early to collect their senses for a bit and explore before getting on the ship the next day. Steve visited Bayside marketplace a lot while we were there. He enjoyed the entertainment and loved it. When it got dark, the place seemed to really come alive, with concerts and other events. Steve discovered there was an outdoor movie theatre there, which was playing current releases. Apocalypto was playing on a massive plasma screen. Bayside Park was really nice, filled with shops and restaurants. It was an outdoor mall by the water. In addition to the restaurants within the marketplace, there was Hard Rock Cafe and other places to eat. Steve wants to visit it again, and considering that the hotel is right across the street we would probably book there again. The only downside to Bayside is it got a bit loud at night if it was really busy. For this reason another hotel (of the many in this general area) may be a better idea if you have children, depending on the time of year. TRAVEL TO PORT OF EMBARKATION The next day we got all our luggage together and trudged out to find a cab. These were not hard to find, and we only waited a few moments before hailing one to the port. The cabs were very efficient we found, and most of the drivers we had were very friendly. Many travelers are also cruisers, so they make sure you get to the port on time. Steve really appreciated that. So even though many other people were heading to the port, we didn't have to fight for a cab or deal with traffic. We checked out early and got to the Port of Miami about 11 am. Even though the ship does not leave dock until 5 pm, there were plenty of other people who opted to be early. The cruise line had no problem with boarding people that early, and are used to it. I would guess that ¼ of the travelers onboard were early boarders. These are regular cruisers who know that being early is the way to go. We handed off our luggage to a porter and went inside with our carry-ons. After getting in line, we didn't have to wait long before heading into the terminal. They're pretty efficient at getting everyone through safely. We went through a security check, and then inside for the main check-in process. We had done our check-in online, so all we had to do was get our picture taken and go to the counter for our seapasses. They gave us this, along with another little sheet of paper with some information on it and a map of the ship. This was new, and it had some pre-boarding information like, no irons are allowed onboard and other FAQ's. Together with waiting in lines and doing all this before actually stepping onboard the ship was probably another hour till we were on deck. After we ate lunch, we went straight to our stateroom to get settled. We got all our bags right away. Services in our stateroom was good as usual. They're extremely fast in cleaning your room and seem to know when you leave and when you're there, for we never saw them. That's supposed to be the sign of a good stateroom attendant. They operated on clockwork, they were a tightly run machine. Considering all the work that must be done on all floors, we very rarely ever saw the staff and they were non-intrusive. Our personal attendant was extremely pleasant and seemed to care about our stay being comfortable and adequate. She always asked me how our day was and greeted us, asking if everything was okay in our room. She was in my mind one of our best attendants so far. There was a small problem with our safe when we first got there and they fixed it in a jiffy. Another small problem we had was the shower door wasn't sealing and leaked onto the floor, but they fixed that promptly too. Our attendant had suggested what the problem was with it and had maintenance repair it, which it was the next time we came to our room. I have to admit that I was a slob since we're on vacation, but every time I came back things were put into neat piles! Kinda made things easier for me! There are no laundering centers aboard this ship. We had a few items that needed to be ironed or cleaned, and they were very efficient about doing this. Steve needed his jacket pressed for formal night, and he put it out in the morning and they brought it back to him - that afternoon. He was thrilled. I used this service more than him and they did a professional job with it. I had one issue with a silk shirt that seemed to have water stains on it, but I cannot be sure that it was their fault or if it was there already. This was very minor. We had a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom. I believe last time we had an upgraded room for that one was a bit larger than this one. At any rate, they design the rooms very well and have little cubbies and drawers everywhere so they are practically-minded and make efficient use of space. Me and Steve both shared closet space, and yet we had plenty of room to stow our souvenirs and shoes and everything. I found it to be very well organized. As with last time, they was RCTV in our stateroom. This is an interactive directory offered by the cruise line, where you can order shore excursions, check your account, and other things. It was a bit different this time because we couldn't order room service or wine. I didn't like this. Along with RCTV, there are a few channels offered with the regular channels where you can find out about things onboard and see taped events onboard. These are helpful and it's fun to see events you may have missed onboard. Every stateroom has a phone and you can use it as an alarm clock by setting a wake-up call on your phone. No one calls you it just rings to wake you up. So if you forgot your travel alarm, this is great! We never used this though because I used my Palm Pilot and it's pretty loud! Whenever we booked a reservation in one of the specialty restaurants, they called us ahead of time to remind us of our appointment. This is nice because you can't always keep track of these things when you're on vacation. Steve did not like the balcony as much as he did on the Voyager. He felt it lacked the privacy that it did last time. Navigator has more glass on the exterior of the ship, and the balconies are larger. I didn't see much of a difference in terms of size, and I felt it was private. But I agree that it did not have the same privacy as our old stateroom. The glass exposes the balcony much more. It opens it up so you have a full view, but it really doesn't make much of a difference aside from you see water. The only time it matters is when you're at a port. I felt you can see fine the way the balconies were last time. There's also a connecting door to our neighbor that's not completely sealed at the floor. So if your neighbor has their light on, you can see it and they can be somewhat intrusive. By leaning over just a little bit, you could see your neighbor so Steve didn't feel altogether comfortable with that. We did enjoy the upgraded bedding in the room. We found it to be more than accommodating. Steve slept al through the night and napped easily on it. We found it to be more comfortable than our bed at home, so this was great. It's a nice comfort when you're traveling afar. There was a pillowtop and duvet cover and it was like sleeping on a cloud. For this cruise, I had purchased the internet wi-fi package. I chose it because I thought I could use it in my stateroom. After all, it's that way in hotels. It would seem elementary. However, I could not use it in my stateroom. I never once got a connection from it and it irked me to no end. I needed it for some business that I had to finish onboard and I could not take full advantage of it. The only service that's offered in your stateroom in terms of internet is dial-up service, which is well behind the times by today's standards. If I had chosen dial-up, I could have used it but I probably could not use my webcam to communicate with others. I had bought a webcam earlier for one reason that I could use it on vacation, but this of course didn't become a possibility because the file transfer rate for dial-up with video services would have created a very poor connection, probably not one that supports video conferencing. Someone mentioned that they thought they say a network port in the room, but we didn't explore this. It may not have worked anyway since we did not have a wi-fi signal. SERVICE Customer Service Altogether, service onboard was great. We found it however, not at the same exemplary level as Voyager. We sailed on Voyager last time and it was also our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. So it's our initial impression of Royal Caribbean. Navigator seemed to have a quieter feel than Voyager, even though it is a newer ship and also in the Voyager class. Service was not bad, everyone was friendly and such. But people were not as "on top" and out to do the best of Gold Anchor service as they seemed to be on Voyager. It seemed more relaxed. I don't know if anyone else felt this way. There were a few people who really stood out to us as ones who offered above-average service. In the dining room, the head waiter was extra attentive to me as a vegetarian making sure I had items I was satisfied with on the menu. He even had a meal specially prepared for me that he suggested. He had it custom-prepared and then, when we were not there at dining room to enjoy it, had it delivered to my stateroom for me. He seemed very dedicated, and we appreciated it. What he did was not anything extraordinary, he offered us service. But he did it professionally and made sure we were satisfied, and that's what good service is supposed to be. Another person was the attendant in the Connoisseur's Club (aka Cigar Bar) and she was very pleasant and personable and made sure we were comfortable while we were there, whether or not we bought anything or not. She seemed to make us feel "at home", like we were guests and not customers. And that made all the difference in the world. She was professional and did her job well, with a personal touch that made us remember her. Other Services I was very disappointed with the internet service offered onboard. As I mentioned before, I used the wi-fi package and found it to be a waste of money just as I did on our last cruise. Except, for our last cruise I found it to be a waste of money because we did not use it. This time, I really did need it as I needed to complete some business while I was on vacation. I encountered service interruptions every time I tried to use it! I don't know if anyone else encountered problems. Someone else that I spoke with said they did not. My boyfriend Steve works in networking, in IT as a tech and he thought it was poor also and disappointed. There's a few reasons why I was disappointed. Not only because of the service problems. I was limited to wi-fi service areas onboard for using the internet, which was on certain decks in certain areas on those decks. I found the best signal to be on the top decks of the ship, probably because it's where it's most receptive. I went there most of the time. The other place was on Deck 5, which was available anywhere on that level. The only thing is, I could not plug in my laptop on Deck 5. My battery ran out if I used it anywhere else I wasn't able to plug it in. Because I was doing work, I wanted to find somewhere quiet to work. So this was a bit of a problem for me because I had to do that in areas that were designated "hotspots". I found the entire experience frustrating and sub-standard. Many times I found myself using it until my battery ran out and then calling it quits. I couldn't plug it in the Cigar Bar because for some reason, there was European outlets there. And not everywhere had outlets. Another thing I found was I couldn't find service in all the hotspot areas. The signal was either poor or failed at times. So even though it's a hotspot and I'm paying for it, I couldn't take advantage of it. Many times I found myself roaming about the ship trying to find a place with a good signal before actually getting any work done. Things would have been much easier for me, if I could have just been able to do work in the privacy and convenience of my stateroom. Our room was on Deck 7. On this floor was also the library, and directly above that the Internet Cafe. You would think I should be able to use the internet in the cafe. But it is not a hotspot. I would have really liked to just plug in my laptop somewhere in the cafe and do my work there on one of the comfy chairs. But I could not. I could have access to internet there of course, but I wanted to use my laptop since all my work was on it. So many times I found myself going to Deck 12 and using the wi-fi there. The lounge was fairly quiet there during the day, and I could plug it in and smoke. So I ended up using it there. At about the third day onboard after I had been using it, I had a real problem getting on and when I called Guest Services they told me there were limited licenses and I had to keep trying. Essentially, the max number of people were using it and it would not allow anyone else (ergo, me) to use it. So I had to wait. Apparently, there are limited resources at sea and so it was not the way service is on mainland, as it is on the normal basis. After a while of this, Steve told me to go to Guest Services personally and see if there was a problem with my account. We ended up just closing it and re-registering. Guess what? Good as new, and I was able to keep using it until our last day onboard. I still was not able to successfully do all the work I needed it do. It would have been better if the whole ship had wi-fi, I thought we were in the age where that could be possible but apparently that's a primary focus of the cruise line. It is not geared towards working professionals - thought it should consider them. I did not have to use the printer, but if I did I would have encountered more problems. I would have been limited to the internet cafe. I didn't even see one in the Conference Center. I was disappointed with photo services onboard. We took pictures on formal nights, and they were good. But we didn't like the posing they put us into and some of the photos didn't turn out good. I guess they took so many pictures they had to be mindful of time and could not be as focused on good photos as in an individual photo session. I think it would have been better if they had screens set up where you can see your photo before it's taken so you can be sure your photo will turn out good. This is minor really, but it would have helped. Another thing that I was disappointed with in terms of the photos is photo services in the Photo Gallery seemed minimal. They sold cameras in there, that was nice. But it would have been better if they had full photo and video services available there. They offer nothing for video. I think it would have been convenient if people could edit videos they'd taken while they were on vacation, perhaps have a couple stations where people can work. There's no file transfer or conversions. No way to set up a personal snapshot of your vacation with photo or video. They offered something called "Cruise in Review" which they were pushing, but it has nothing to do with you and seemed to be a waste of time. Basically, you are limited to what they take and what you can buy. If this is the case however, they should offer us some flexibility in this aspect. You could not have your photos (taken by cruise staff) burned to a CD. I thought this was silly. We just had to buy them individually - and there was no group packages available - where you could save money by buying more than 1. For this reason I thought it would have been better if you could see your photos before you have them taken, seeing as how you're limited to photos taken onboard. Me and Steve did buy some 5x7's - but all we are going to do with them is scan them into our computer and edit them. The excuse they gave us for not being able to have them put to a CD is copyright protection of the photos by the photographers. Even though - they are our photos. I thought this was very silly. We took part in Formal Night, and loved this. But we didn't buy all of them. It can be costly buying them individually, and we ended up paying a pretty penny for just the few photos that we ended up bringing home. I heard a few people complaining about the prices while we were there. I think it should be more advanced, considering all that Royal Caribbean is able to offer us. Last time we cruised I paid over $100 for photos. So we bought some photos, and later saw that there was a stupid logo and number on the photograph on the bottom. So even if we had ended up framing them they were destroyed. But other than these two mishaps, we enjoyed our service onboard. ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT This time around, we didn't see any of the shows that were offered nightly or go see the musicians performing at various venues. But I heard them at times when they were rehearsing during the day and when I was out doing work. They were fantastic. Unfortunately, because I was engaged with my work we didn't take advantage of the entertainment too much. But we did take part in some onboard activities. Me and Steve participated in the "Battle of the Sexes" game show, and played Bingo together. It was fun, and seemed well organized. It wasn't shoddy or unprofessional. And we had a great time. We had fun playing bingo. The first time we didn't win, but it was fun. Steve later went back and played, and he won $257! So that was a boost. I watched a couple of movies onboard. It was a very small theater, but the movies were good and we enjoyed them. There was a couple onboard who we dined with and they won a lot of money in the casino playing Blackjack. Steve used the casino last time and won some money. The only time we used the casino this time was playing a few games on the slots. FITNESS/SPA I didn't take advantage of the fitness room or spa while I was onboard, but Steve had a spa treatment and really enjoyed it. He had a calf and ankle massage and pedicure, and he thought they did a really good job and it was exactly what he was needed. DINING ROOM SERVICE As with last time, I wasn’t impressed with room service. Seeing as how we couldn’t order room service through RCTV, the only way to check the menu for the day is to call Room Service from your phone. The menu for room service is advertised every day, at Guest Services on the Promenade Deck. I fail to see how this does anyone any good unless they are on the Promenade Deck. There aren’t many items for breakfast that you can order. There’s a slip you can fill out to put out on your door the night before for breakfast. But seeing as how I’m a vegetarian, I cannot have sausage or like omelettes so I would prefer pancakes or fruit. I wanted french toast and waffles too. But when I asked, they can only provide pancakes. When they arrived, there was two sad little mini-pancakes on my plate with no garnish either. I am the sort of person who wants a giant pile of pancakes drowned in syrup – so this did not please me very much. It seems to me, you should be able to order everything in your stateroom that’s being served in the dining room. I was led to believe this from our last cruise, but I seem to be mistaken. Room Service is completely separate. This is their way of rationing foods onboard I guess. I used room service a little bit, but wasn’t really impressed. They’re fast with bringing it you and everything, but I was disappointed. I would have liked to enjoy breakfasts in bed and stuff like that, but it’s not that flexible. DINING ROOM We enjoyed service in the dining room and have no complaints. In the morning, it’s open seating and more about efficiency than a dining experience. At night, it’s different. More relaxed and you have the same wait staff. It’s a bit more personal. We had early sitting for dinner, and all the food was good. Steve had lobster and enjoyed it so much he had second helpings. We had chosen a table for two when we booked our cruise, but they sat us at a regular table. Steve decided not to make an issue of this so we didn’t pursue it, and ate at a larger table. We purchased the wine package this time, and really enjoyed it. We had the five bottle package, from the Diamond Selection. So every night we enjoyed a different bottle, and we can enjoy it anywhere not just in the dining room. If we didn’t finish our bottle in the dining room one night, they held onto it for us so we could enjoy it the next time. I enjoyed the food no problem, but would have enjoyed the personal table we’d desired. What also seemed different is they didn’t have a separate vegetarian menu that they had on Voyager. The regular dining menu had vegetarian options on it, but after I inquired about the vegetarian menu they said they didn’t have it. The waiter then referred me to the head waiter to see about choosing items for me, which is why he had pre-arranged a meal for me that time. This wasn’t that big a deal for me. I enjoyed the food. For breakfast, we ate in the dining room because I thought it was better than the room service options. SPECIALTY DINING We dined at both Chops Grille and Portofino’s while we were onboard. But even though I am a vegetarian, I enjoyed Chops Grille more than Portofino’s the Italian restaurant. Steve also felt the same. He said the Filet Mignon he enjoyed in there was the best he’s had. I had vegetables and pasta. The grilled vegetables were so tender and delicate, the grill is just wonderful. They said it’s just a regular gas grill – but it seemed to be something special to me! The vegetables were marinated, and Steve loved his salad with the hearts of palm. It’s always nice to eat something new and you know you are somewhere special when you are asking about how it’s made or what a vegetable is. We marveled at something new and it was a pleasurable experience for us. We only ate there once but have a nice memory from it. They were professional and very efficient. I had a Crème Brulee dessert which I loved and Steve had it again and loved it too. It was five star dining, we will both agree with that. But aside from that, it was flavorful and a terrific meal. There was no tiny plates or any snootiness. We would dine there again if we have the chance. We ate at Portofino’s but thought it was not the same as the way we enjoyed it on Voyager. We enjoyed ourselves, but it lacked the special feeling that should go along with dining in one of the specialty restaurants. We didn’t have the great service we had from our last server, so it was us doing what we did last time hoping for the same thing but we didn’t enjoy it the same. So it wasn’t as special because we’re already done it. We knew what to expect, and were eating the same meal. CAFÉ DINING Again, we felt the service was great in Windjammers. Everyone is willing to help you and there is something for everyone to eat. I went up there one day for breakfast at 11:30 and there was still lots of pancakes and stuff to eat. They’re extremely efficient. When one of the pans is empty, they fill it up right away. I saw that many times. They keep things well stocked. We ate there mostly for lunch and sometimes at breakfast, for convenience. The food is as good as what’s in the dining room and it’s buffet style. There’s no rush. Even if it’s busy, because they are so efficient they clear off the tables very quickly and there was always somewhere to sit. Steve was disappointed with Jade’s, which was supposed to be this Asian-fusion bar they were advertising on the website, like it was a specialty restaurant. They had Asian items there, but I didn’t eat much of it even though I am a vegetarian it didn’t seem like there was much for me to eat. I had rice, and they offered soups but I didn’t have it. There was so much for me to eat in Windjammers and the adjacent Island Grill that I didn’t eat it too much. Someone said that at night they have sushi, but we always ate in the dining room. SHORE EXCURSIONS We did all our land excursions with Royal Caribbean. It seems like the shore excursions were better organized than last time. The only exception is Cozumel, our last port of call. FIRST PORT OF CALL – LABADEE, HAITI – HISPANOLIA At Labadee, we enjoyed the Waverunner Experience. We went through a brief information session, showing us the safety signals used on the watercraft and watched a safety video. It was my second time doing this tour and Steve’s first. The guide assigned us numbers based on our assumed driving speeds and experience level. Then we headed out to the pier for our tour. Once we got in the water, there was a person assigned to our tour that accompanied us in the water. He stayed behind to make sure there were no stragglers and assist if there was problems in the water, and rode along with us. I thought the guide with SeaTrek did a better job than the last time I did the tour (last year). Me and Steve really enjoyed ourselves and I found it easier to maneuver the craft than last time. It had become easier. There was another lady in our group who I switched numbers with because she was struggling. It seemed like women had a harder time with it than the men in the group, and I found that last time I did it. It requires a certain athletic ability to smoothly master, as you’re fighting the chop of the water and the muscle control of dominating the watercraft (making turns, stability, etc). My boyfriend Steve compared it to riding a horse. The faster you go, the more bumpy the ride can be. Our guide did give us some tips in the water. He said if we ride directly in the wake of the person before us, we glide over the surf of the water and can drive fast. Me and Steve drove at the top speeds. It is not difficult to maneuver yourself, but I would definitely recommend if you have teenagers who are doing it, that you accompany them. It requires certain driving responsibility, and you need to consider safety. Afterward, we had a lunch on the island that was offered by the cruise staff. There was lunches served at various points on the island and at the one we ate at, I had plenty of things to eat. I was very happy with this, as it offered more than the standard BBQ or burger type lunch. Labadee is always nice because it is Royal Caribbean’s private island, and they do a little extra there to make it hospitable. SECOND PORT OF CALL – OCHOS RIOS, JAMAICA We booked the “Ochos Rios Flavors” tour which gave us a tour of Shaw Park Gardens and the Ferngully as well as climbing Dunns Rivers Falls. Our tour “bus” was really a van, which was falling apart inside but seemed to still run pretty well. If someone is tall or something, they may find it uncomfortable. Shaw Park Gardens was lovely and our guide extremely pleasant. There was a videographer who took a visual portrait of our visit there. We ended up buying the DVD for $40. It was delivered to our stateroom that evening. I think I enjoyed Shaw Park Gardens more than Dunns Rivers Falls. It was my first time doing it and I was scared but my boyfriend said it’s a must-do so I acceded. The Falls were kind of slippery, aside from them being wet there was some moss or slime on the rocks. We both had water shoes but some others did not and had more trouble. There is an alternate bridge path which you can take if you don’t want to climb them, which is a solid wood staircase that simply provides you a safe vantage of the waterfall. There was a couple who stupidly brought their small infant with them on the tour. I was needless to say shocked by this and they provided a great disruption to us. Never mind that I was scared about walking up a waterfall, but there is a couple who put the whole group at risk! Thankfully the tour guides intercepted the kid but they were still taking pictures with the poor kid in the water and such. There are natural crevices and grooves in the rock which make it easy to do, and the current is not strong, flowing fairly gently over the rocks. Most of the rocks and surface terrain (mostly all natural rock of the mountain) is above the surface of the water, so it is all shallow but there are some points where you cannot see directly down to the rocks to find your footing. At these places, the current blurs your view and a lot of it is feeling your way around. The tour is based on a teamwork concept, everyone being responsible for the next person being safely pulled and guided along. But it’s easy to lose your footing so if you fall, the next person falls too! We can say we did it, but my boyfriend also commented that it was more slippery than the last time he did it. He struggled a bit as well getting up the falls. THIRD PORT OF CALL – GRAND CAYMANS, BWI We booked the Grand Cayman Highlights and Turtle Farm Tour. We missed our 9 am booking, but luckily were able to reschedule at port for the noon tour. Since we had some time to burn before then, we wandered around town and did some shopping. We found the best shopping directly at the port shops. I was looking for some t-shirts to buy for people, but a lot of them were the cookie-cutter ridiculous tourist shirts variety that we found in Ochos Rios. I had to search a while and didn’t buy much. The price for an item seemed to be pretty consistent for other shops we browsed at as well. At noon, we boarded a van that took us through town a bit, giving us some town history as we arrived at the town of Hell. It’s a travel van, just as in Ochos Rios, cramped but tolerable. We stopped at Seven Mile Beach for a 5 minute break where we could take some pictures. There was not much here but it gave us the opportunity to enjoy the sand a bit and stretch our legs before leaving for our next stop. Next we were going to Hell township. They stopped at the post office for us to send a postcard, and next door was a couple of shops. We were given 20 minutes here before our next stop. Behind this were the rocks that notoriously are the reason why the town is given the namesake of Hell. We took a couple of photos and then got on the van to our way to a Tortuga Rum Cake shop. We were supposed to be there for 10 minutes, but had to wait a little while because part of our tour was missing. The bus driver went looking for them, and then we continued on our journey. Our last stop was at a Turtle Farm. It was a new building, and me and Steve loved it. We took pictures with the turtles and saw them in the hatcheries, able to see them at all stages of development. It was really interesting. Me and Steve took our pictures holding a live green sea turtle, and treasure this as one of our moments on land. FOURTH PORT OF CALL – COZUMEL, MEXICO We took the Xel-Ha excursion, which was actually departing from Playa del Carmen. For this, they herded us all into the theatre to wait for the separate tours to leave. This was anyone going on Playa del Carmen tours, which was like 3 groups. We waited like 30 minutes or so, it wasn’t that painful but it was still arduous. Luckily, our ferry was departing directly from the ship, so that made it easy. It was a local water taxi, and we got to Playa del Carmen pretty quickly. We got off and waited a little while waiting for our tour guide. After everyone was ready to go, we had to walk like 10 or 15 minutes to this area where the tour bus was before we could leave for Xel-Ha. Walking on the cobblestone streets was not very comfortable, considering most people were just wearing sandals or water shoes. An elderly couple in our group complained about it. But the bus was parked in a lot closer in town. This was a bit of a pain. Our bus was pretty comfortable, actually a bus instead of a small van. More like a Greyhound or regular bus. I was grateful for it, and the AC was more powerful. The drive to Xel-Ha was like 45 minutes, on straight highway. We drove through the town of Playa del Carmen just a little bit before this, which is very small. They were telling us about how safe it is, and Steve mentioned how he might want to come back and visit. But it’s a poor area and looked pretty run down. I don’t. It was pretty calm though and quiet. Once we got to Xel-Ha, it’s a pretty big place. It was pretty clean and very cheery in atmosphere. The shops were nice and it was subdued which I like, noone really pushing you to buy anything. It was just a comfortable water park, and not nearly as loud or boisterous as somewhere you’d go to in the US. Everything was very relaxed with neatly groomed walks. In the background, you could hear music playing or water flowing. It was like a paradise. We didn’t have time to do all the things we’d like, as we spend a lot of time snorkeling. I rented a mask set that they had, and struggled with it a bit during this time. There was photogs in the water who took our picture, and they turned out really well. Snorkeling was nice, with beautiful lush varieties of fish. The water was neither warm nor cool generally, because the water was mixed by the dual flow of salt and fresh waters. The fresh waters being cool, and the salt waters warm. There was a Mayan cave that was off to one side, but we didn’t explore it because it ran so deep into the rock wall and I was afraid as I’m not an experienced snorkeler. But we got to see tons of fish. I wished they had more than just tropical fish but it was still beautiful and the best snorkeling we got to experience so far. I left Xel-Ha feeling very relaxed and kind of like I was at home, even home we were miles from it. We’d definitely go back. The only real drawback is that our actual time there is not the 8 hours that the tour lasts for, but a true 4 or 5 actually at the resort, since you have to account for traveling time. DISEMBARKATION We took part in the Early Departure and Baggage Valet service offered onboard by the cruise line. It was the first-time they offered it, and it was pretty cheap. Even though we booked late they still let us take advantage of it. I was grateful for that. We felt it made things a lot easier for us. It was pretty pain-free and took a lot of the work out of the equation for us. This service involved getting our boarding passes delivered directly to our stateroom, which bypassed a lot of the check-in needed at the airport. We put our bags outside our stateroom the final night onboard. The next morning, we grabbed a little breakfast in advance of our departure time. Once this came across, we really didn’t have much time to wait. They shuffled us all out in a pretty efficient and organized manner. Steve said it was “grossly efficient” and for an introductory service, they seemed to have it down pretty pat. I couldn’t find one of my bags on the carousel at the port terminal, but eventually found it and we headed out to our bus. We had made arrangements through our travel agency for the return transfer back to the airport. Therefore, we had everything taken care of and just had to sit back and relax. This aspect, of all the burden being taken off our shoulders, being handled by the cruise staff and already pre-handled; was a luxury we were much grateful for. Other people echoed our sentiments, so it will probably be more popular on future sailings. It was smooth sailing for the rest of the way back home. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
This was the first cruise for both my husband and me. We researched and studied, reading review after review, and talked to the "cruisers" we know. We finally decided on Royal Caribbean. A friend of ours recommended Mariner of ... Read More
This was the first cruise for both my husband and me. We researched and studied, reading review after review, and talked to the "cruisers" we know. We finally decided on Royal Caribbean. A friend of ours recommended Mariner of the Seas, but we ended up going with Navigator of the Seas. Our departure date was March 3 and we returned March 10, 2007. TRAVEL TO DEPARTURE PORT: We flew out of Knoxville, TN into Orlando, FL where we had about a two hour layover before flying to Miami. At the Miami airport, we had a little difficulty finding where we were supposed to go to collect our luggage, but after recognizing someone from our flight who also had a Royal Caribbean cruise, we followed them to the right area. We booked both our cruise and our flight through Royal Caribbean (via a travel agent), so our transfer was included. It was very smooth. We quickly located a person with a Royal Caribbean sign and were directed to our shuttle bus. After a quick ride to the Miami port, embarking the ship was quick and easy. THE SHIP: The Navigator is absolutely GORGEOUS! Her maiden voyage was December 14, 2002. The reason I know that is because that was also our wedding date. Anyway, we expected there to be evidence of some "wear and tear." There was none. This ship is immaculate---beautiful and CLEAN! The Royal Promenade is very neat. I love the idea of being able to shop while at sea! All three dining rooms were beautiful. The Centrum area is breathtaking! Everything about the ship was impressive---the casino, the Metropolis theater, the fact that there is an ice skating rink, the rock wall.... EVERYTHING. Our stateroom: We had a promenade stateroom, which wasn't quite as neat as I had expected it to be. Oh, it was nice enough and having the window to overlook the Royal Promenade is a great concept, but we just didn't enjoy it as much as we had thought. It probably would have helped to have been on a lower deck (we were on the highest deck--deck 8--that could have a promenade room). We were expecting the stateroom to be suffocatingly small, but it really wasn't. Yes, it's small, but not unbearable. The shower, on the other hand, was quite tricky. I had to try several different positions before I finally figured out how I could shave my legs in there! Our stateroom attendant: Our stateroom attendant was Jemini, a sweet little lady who did an outstanding job! She impressed us in that she remembered our names each and every time we passed her in the hall. Moreover, our stateroom was always immaculately clean, which is super important to us. This is the one vacation where I didn't constantly feel dirty. Dining options: Main dining room: We only went to the main dining room three times on the ship. The wait staff did an outstanding job and was super friendly. However, the food left a lot to be desired! We can't decide if it's just us, or if the food is really as mediocre as we think it is....Our tablemates always ranted and raved about how good it was, but we were rarely---if ever---impressed. We called it "rich people food," and being middle-classers from the South, we didn't care much for it. Options included things like escargot, lobster, duck, and pate. Even things that we thought could have been "safe" bets like steak or pasta always had some sort of weird sauce or side dish. Even the desserts were disappointing. Windjammer and Jade: We ate here most of the time. The dress code was casual and the food was buffet style. The food was abundant but again, mediocre. If you're more concerned with quantity than quality, you will probably be impressed. Nothing was particularly bad, but nothing was particularly good, either. Johnny Rockets: Here is the exception. The food is particularly good. You have to pay a $3.95 cover charge, but then you can order whatever you want EXCEPT for sodas or milkshakes. Those are extra. The burgers, fries, onion rings, hot dogs, Oreo sundaes, apple pies, and milk shakes are delicious! Portofino and Chops: We didn't eat at either one of these, but we heard great things about Chops. PORTS OF CALL: Labadee, Haiti: We did a walking tour here, which ended up being one of our favorite excursions of the whole trip. It was only $15 each, and it was so interesting. We also parasailed. This was expensive ($79 each). It was fun, but it didn't seem quite worth the money as you're only up in the air for 4-6 minutes. My husband stepped on a sea urchin in the first 20 minutes of us playing in the ocean, so we highly recommend aqua shoes. Ocho Rios, Jamaica: We did the Dolphin Encounter/Dunn's River Falls combo excursion. The dolphin encounter was worth every penny! At Dunn's River Falls, we ended up not climbing because we didn't have proper shoes (again, aqua shoes), my husband's foot was still hurting from the sea urchin, and because it looked dangerous. We know our luck, so we would have inevitably fallen and broken some extremities. Jamaica is probably our least favorite of all the ports. The water just isn't as pretty here, and the locals will pester you to death to look at their stands and buy something. Georgetown, Grand Cayman: This was our favorite port. The water is absolutely gorgeous! We did the Highlights and Turtle Farm excursion. This was supposed to include a trip to Hell, the governor's mansion, a photo stop at Seven Mile Beach, a stop at the Rum Cakes center, and the Turtle Farm. Well, we did all those things, but each stop got an average of 15 - 20 minutes. The "photo stop" at Seven Mile Beach was just the driver pulling over for 3 minutes for you to take a picture through the bus window. We didn't even get to get out of the bus! We mainly booked this excursion for the Turtle Farm, and we ended up only getting 20 minutes to spend there. It definitely wasn't enough time for me. The Turtle Farm was really neat, and I would have loved to have gotten more time there. We had several hours of free time after this excursion was over, so we just walked the streets, exploring the shops. We really enjoyed that because the locals aren't constantly bothering you. We also had lunch at Margaritaville, which was WAY over-priced, but something you have to do at least once in your life. Cozumel, Mexico: Here we did the Tulum Mayan Ruins Express tour. Though the Ruins are fascinating, I wouldn't recommend this tour. It's a 6-½ hour tour, and you end up with only about an hour and a half at the Ruins. The rest of the time you spend on the ferry to and from Cozumel, and on the bus ride to and from the Ruins. The ferry ride is excruciating for anyone who tends to get seasick. The actual touring of the Ruins seemed very unorganized as you have several groups trying to work their way around the grounds at the same time, so you often get mixed up in the wrong group and/or your tour guide is competing to be heard over the tour guide standing just a few feet away. I wish we would have chosen a different excursion here or that we had chosen to simply make it a beach and shopping day. SUMMARY: In summary, we mostly enjoyed our trip. We experienced three major drawbacks: the food was disappointing; the constant tipping of everyone who does anything for you and gratuity automatically added onto your check; and the seemingly never-ending sea of rude, inconsiderate passengers on our ship. If we had it to do over again, we would book less excursions, choosing instead to have more leisurely days of lying on the beaches and working on our tans. The ship was as impressive as we had hoped. The Royal Caribbean crew and staff were outstanding. The Ice Dancin' Show is NOT to be missed as it is fabulous. Be prepared to spend a small fortune in photographs as everytime you turn around, a photographer wants to take your picture, and most of these will be too beautiful to turn down. All in all, we recommend cruising on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
Arriving at Miami day before and stayed at Airport, transfer to pier was via taxi (expensive!) The ship boarding process seemed to go smoothly until it was announced the members area was full so had to stand for about an hour in a large ... Read More
Arriving at Miami day before and stayed at Airport, transfer to pier was via taxi (expensive!) The ship boarding process seemed to go smoothly until it was announced the members area was full so had to stand for about an hour in a large (no seats area) Then once we ere to board the escalator a rather rude person shouts - GO BACK - okay it happens but what a time - did not help warm the heart to vacation, this could have been done better. Later in cruise was explained had "too-many" returnees. The meals were excellent, great variety, even had a night out at Portofino's and will do so again - beautiful 5Star service. Our room was constantly tidied up by "Doby the house elf" and I must admit we were sorry to miss Bermuda due to weather but thrilled with the Azores. That stop should be on every crossing -beautiful, the tour to the volcano was great, and plenty of shopping time with an easy navigation back to the ship. Cork: The whole town was out to greet our ship. We toured the Titanic museum. Brest France, the Maritime museum was very interesting and a well thought out tour - BUT The port really stinks - we had to walk a single file plank from the Life boat deck! Not Good. Arrival to Southampton - great last minute breakfast and luggage ready to go. Thank you Navigator Crew Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
This was 'The Navigator of the Seas' first 14 night cruise into the Mediterranean entitled 'Mediterranean Treasures' May 5 to May 19. Embarkation processing was efficient and smooth at Southampton. Our luggage was ... Read More
This was 'The Navigator of the Seas' first 14 night cruise into the Mediterranean entitled 'Mediterranean Treasures' May 5 to May 19. Embarkation processing was efficient and smooth at Southampton. Our luggage was being delivered to our cabin at the same time as we negotiated this vast ship to find our cabin! An excellent start. We did some unpacking and then decided to visit the Windjammer Restaurant for 'embarkation snacks'. An absolutely superb choice of hot/cold food for a first meal. In no way could the choice be called snacks. We then went on to meet our cabin steward who was excellent in every way. He had a great sense of humor, politeness and a genuine interest in us. This quality of service was maintained throughout the whole cruise. The first hiccup occurred at dinner in the main restaurants on the first night. We had asked for 2nd sitting at 8.30. There was a problem and we didn't get into the restaurant until 9.00 pm and the service after that was slow and very poor. We advise asking for 1st sitting at 6.00 pm. The efficiency of the service improved after the first night. The quality of the food in the evening restaurants was only just adequate. All meals are served 'plated up' and in a 'designer' presentation ie a little squiggle of gravy or sauce in a artistic fashion. Virtually no vegetables as the British would like. A lot of people abandoned the main restaurants and went for the Windjammer Buffet Restaurant on Deck 5. A huge choice of excellent food where you could mix and match, choose whatever you desired and go back for more. Overall, this is an amazing ship. Kept beautifully clean and hygienic. Pros: Very smooth cruising. You forget you are in the middle of an ocean. Nice cabins (recommend you pay the extra for a balcony). Superb choice of food in the Windjammer restaurant for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and even dinner. Brilliant ice show extravaganza. Not to be missed. Very helpful crew. Cons: Ship too crowded (3,200 passengers) for the space available. The American tipping culture. DON'T pay for tips in advance. DON'T allow your onboard account to be automatically debited for tips. Request a form from the Customer Services Desk to signify that you may tip as you please. The pathetic alcohol policy. You find a nice bottle of local wine in Barcelona or elsewhere that you would like to enjoy on your balcony. On getting back on board all baggage is X-rayed ( Good for safety and feeling of security). However, if your bottle of wine or spirits is spotted then it is confiscated until the last day of the cruise. There is an alarming group of heavyweights waiting to take and store your alcohol. All designed to make you spend more on board. Overall a good cruise experience but P & O do better for the British. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
Navigator 3 night cruise Southampton to Cork review We travelled down to Southampton on 1 June, the day before. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, about 10 minutes drive from the docks. We arrived at the dock at about 10.30 and were ... Read More
Navigator 3 night cruise Southampton to Cork review We travelled down to Southampton on 1 June, the day before. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, about 10 minutes drive from the docks. We arrived at the dock at about 10.30 and were guided to the car parking area. We dropped of our luggage (no tipping needed in Southampton) and walked to the terminal (less than 5 minutes walk). At that time it was, to say the least, still very quiet. There were no queues whatsoever, plenty of check in desks open. We had done the online check in so it all went very swiftly. We were told to go to the waiting area with a group 1 boarding ticket and that boarding would start at about 11.30. My sister and her husband and my parents had a bit more difficulty checking in. As this was a cruise within the EU, they didn't have a passport, just an ID card. The ladies at check in didn't quite know how to sort it out, but eventually managed. Cake, cookies and refreshments were provided in the waiting area. Boarding didn't start until 11.45, priority passengers got to on first, then it was our turn, group 1! We were onboard by midday! Cabins weren't available until 1pm, but we managed to drop of our hand luggage in the cabin straight away. Straight away we noticed something different about this cruise: where were all the Americans??? The only accents we heard were British ones, and we could tell by the drinks that were being ordered it was a distinctly British crowd. It felt a bit weird, not what we're used to. We had booked an inside cabin. This was our first 'real' inside cabin. We had a promenade cabin on one of our previous cruises. The cabin was tiny compared to the promenade cabin and balcony cabins! To get into bed, you had to sit at the end of it and just crawl up as there was no space to walk round the sides due to the desk and sofa being to close to it. Our cabin steward was Marlon, he was great! Provided us with bath robes and was really friendly (even checked with my husband if the birthday decorations were to our satisfaction). One thing was missing though from our room: the big blue binder with all the phone numbers, room service details, … We heard from other cruisers they didn't have one either. Still no idea why it wasn't there. The other disappointing thing was that there was no camera on the bow of the ship that was shown on the cabin tv. Inside passengers had no way of finding out what the weather was like outside (there was a cam on the promenade though). The new bedding is great, soooo soft. We slept wonderfully all 3 nights. The ship is very good condition. Throughout the cruise, small areas were cornered off for maintenance and a spot of painting. The covers on the loungers in the solarium had seen better days, but that's the only thing that wasn't in pristine condition. Due to UK licensing laws, the general store was closed throughout the cruise, which was a shame. We had dinner in the main dining room every night. The food was delicious, especially the fillet mignon and duck. They always asked if we wanted more of anything and were very fast in provided seconds. Service again was excellent and our head waiter was the best one we've ever had. One night, chilled strawberry bisque was one of the appetizers. I loved it so much I wanted it as a desert too, so our waiter quickly went to check if it hadn't been chucked out yet. Luckily it hadn't and he came back with 2 extra portions. 2 things however were seriously disappointing. The wine list! We don't know what happened, but it was just 1 piece of paper with a very very limited list, not what we're used to. We asked at reception why it was so limited and were told it was because when they're in Europe they can't always get hold of the same suppliers (or something along those lines) hence the limited list. Personally I find this hard to believe. The other thing that as different was that there was no salad course, it was just listed under appetizers. I'm sure we could have asked for it, but it was odd that it wasn't standard as usual. Entertainment seemed more limited than on longer cruises. We caught one of the production shows and really enjoyed it (it's the ballroom dancing one). We also went to see the ice show and as usual it was amazing! There were 2 parades, didn't completely watch them, but had fun. Didn't go to the captain's champagne reception, but heard it was very quiet compared to other cruises. We were still in port, so I guess a lot of people were still on shore. Arriving in Cobh. I think disembarkation started about 15 minutes late, not that it mattered too much for us as we were just planning a leisurely day in Cobh. The Cobh Maritime Music Festival happened to be on that weekend. There was a pipe band competition going on, which could be seen from the ship (great sailing into the harbor and being welcomed by pipe bands!). The weather was sunny and warm, and the atmosphere in Cobh was delightful and very welcoming. There were even posters in town that said: "Come see the great ocean liner". We just did a walking tour, vaguely based on the Titanic Heritage Trail. We walked all the way to the old cemetery (with the graves of the Lusitania victims) which is a lot further than they make you believe it is, but well worth the walk. Formal night: no shortage of champagne on the promenade. Even though this was a short cruise, it was nice to see that people had still made an effort to dress up properly. There was no midnight buffet on this cruise. This was my family’s first cruise and it would have been nice if they could have seen the grandeur of it all. We had 1 sea day. The weather in the morning was gorgeous and we just spent it being lazy on deck. There were a couple of chair hogs by the solarium pool, neatly folded towels with a book. I felt like removing them, but gave the benefit of the doubt. More than 2 hours later, the towels and books were still there. It wasn’t busy in the solarium, but I did feel that the crew should have discouraged people from chair hogging. Breakfast that day in the Windjammer was very busy as the dining room wasn’t serving breakfast that day. The dining room did have a brunch from 10.30 until 2pm. We had lunch at Johnny Rockets on the sea day. We did have to wait about 20 minutes for a table. I guess with it being a short cruise, a lot of people wanted to try it out. Disembarkation in Southampton was very efficient. We were allowed to stay in our cabins until 8am. According to our time sheet we were supposed to go off the ship at 8.30. Our color was actually called out at about 8am, but we stayed on a bit longer and left just after 9am. It’s nice that you don’t have to go through immigration, so it all went very smoothly. We all had a fantastic time, my sister and her husband were afraid it might not be their cup of tea, but wanted to give it go. They are now looking into doing a cruise to Norway, they were surprised they liked it a lot better than they expected. My parents too had a great time, but I’m not sure if they’ll venture on a cruise on their own. They don’t speak/understand English that well so it isn’t that easy for them. We loved being onboard again, but were disappointed that some of the usual things were missing (the wine list, salad course, midnight buffet, blue information folder in the cabin, …) and felt that because it was a short cruise they limited some of the services. Can’t wait to book another cruise (well, we have 2 booked as it is)! Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
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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