431 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Let me explain the title of my review. The ship just came out of dry dock for renovations. This was a 4 day cruise to Cozumel, the 7 day cruises started after we got back. I felt this short cruise was to make sure everything was up to par ... Read More
Let me explain the title of my review. The ship just came out of dry dock for renovations. This was a 4 day cruise to Cozumel, the 7 day cruises started after we got back. I felt this short cruise was to make sure everything was up to par and any remaining issues from the renovations could be addressed. I'll start with the positives. Our experience with the MDR staff was great, we had an exceptional waiter and asst. waiter. The food was adequate but not great. The Windjammer food selection was also adequate. . The Royal Promenade was over crowded, noisy and had a strong cigarette order coming up from the casino. The live music being played was so loud you could not sit at any of the venues to enjoy a beverage and carry on a conversation. RCI implemented a new photo processing system that was no way tested fully. There were many unhappy guests attempting to find and purchase their onboard photos. There were many people on board that should have waited for a few weeks to join the spring break cruises. The hot tubs in the Solarium were overtaken by loud obnoxious guests. We returned to Galveston to find out the port was closed due the extreme sea fog. Things like this happen at this time of the year and understood. The Captain did keep us informed of the situation with regular updates. As the morning turned into early afternoon, the passengers who decided to walk off of the ship with their luggage migrated to deck four to wait. There were people blocking the stairways and getting around was difficult. Once we were able to dock, there was nothing orderly about getting off of the ship. It appeared there was no plan for getting everyone off of the ship. It was pretty much a free for all, with passengers coming up and down the stairways and elevators. There were several passengers in need of wheelchairs that were forgotten. This was our 5th RCI cruise and it did not meet the expectations we had from previous cruises.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean. We have cruised quite a lot, but more on cruise lines that have fewer guest. Our last cruise was on oceania which I can not compare to the navagator. That being said, I can say that the ship is ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean. We have cruised quite a lot, but more on cruise lines that have fewer guest. Our last cruise was on oceania which I can not compare to the navagator. That being said, I can say that the ship is beautiful, the service was great, and the food was good. The winjammer was ok, but not as good as celebrities buffet. The main dinning was better. I enjoyed the promenade for quick snacks and coffee, no lines. The entertainment on my cruise was outstanding, I think it's the best I have ever had. They flew in the texas tenors for one night. I heard people say that this was one of the best shows ever. They they also had a great acrobatics act who h had a standing ovation. The negative was during embarkation, it was foggy out, and they left people out lime a heard of cattle, could of been a danger if something happened. They need a better process for fog problems. Also we ate at chops, it was a waist of money you pay $35. More and then they want to charge you more for addition items. What I had I could not chew. The main dinning room had better meals. Outside of that a Smooth cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
I just got back from the Dec. 15 crusie from Galveston to Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. Last year I was on the Navigator to Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Cozumel, and I loved it--the food was great, and the service was impeccable. To begin, ... Read More
I just got back from the Dec. 15 crusie from Galveston to Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. Last year I was on the Navigator to Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Cozumel, and I loved it--the food was great, and the service was impeccable. To begin, embarkation took almost TWO HOURS! I was exhausted, my feet were killing me, and I was starving (didn't get lunch until almost 3:00pm). This year, I got the sense that everyone was "waiting for dry dock," which happens next month. Basically, the ship is short-staffed, because a lot of employees left early for their vacation due to dry dock. I also found the restaurant staff to, in general, be sloppy and inattentive, and they were not particularly friendly. The food on this cruise was fair to poor. My general sense is that everyone is mentally checked out, due to upcoming dry dock. I did have another excellent stateroom attendant. I liked my room, but it really needs to be overhauled. Next month it goes into dry dock, where they will put in new carpeting, upholstery, cabinets, etc. The bed was unbelievably hard and uncomfortable--my stateroom attendant put 6 comfortor covers on top of the bed for me, and that helped, but I can't understand why they bought such hard beds. I did like the ability to leave your sliding-glass door open all night (on Holland American, they made it difficult to prop the balcony door open), and I slept with the door open every night. My stateroom attendant did an excellent job keeping the room spotless twice a day. I am sure that if you cruise after the ship is revamped, you will have a much better experience, and the ship will be beautiful.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We love cruising and we love Royal Caribbean but we did not love our experience on Navigator of the Seas! Embarkation at Civitavecchia was straight forward and efficient, as was disembarkation at Barcelona, any problems we encountered ... Read More
We love cruising and we love Royal Caribbean but we did not love our experience on Navigator of the Seas! Embarkation at Civitavecchia was straight forward and efficient, as was disembarkation at Barcelona, any problems we encountered were in between. We had the soda package but most of the fountain soda machines were broken and the bars were serving soft drinks from large bottles meaning they were warm and had no carbonation unless you were lucky to get the first glass from the bottle! When we complained about it we were treated really badly as apparently we should have complained sooner - we were giving them a chance to fix it. I think there was a staff corridor above our cabin and it was so noisy from the sounds of trolleys being rolled up and down, day and night. We can sleep through pretty much anything but this was a pain in the neck. We had one sea day and were looking forward to lunch in the MDR but when we got there they were closing even though there was still over an hour to go according to the Cruise Compass. Food in the Windjammer wasn't as good as other cruises - it was lukewarm at best. Overall we were actually happy to leave the cruise - a first for us :( Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We enjoyed the ports, Messina, Athens, Kusadasi and Crete. We did independent tours this time instead of using the ship's and really enjoyed it. This seems to be the way to go, we read Cruise Critic for recommendations for the tours! ... Read More
We enjoyed the ports, Messina, Athens, Kusadasi and Crete. We did independent tours this time instead of using the ship's and really enjoyed it. This seems to be the way to go, we read Cruise Critic for recommendations for the tours! This was our first cruise on R.C. and we were disappointed. Past cruises have been on Carnival, NCL, and Celebrity. We had a balcony stateroom which was very nice. This is an older ship, but the dining room and lounges, etc. were lovely. Lots of beautiful wood. The service at bars was great, we especially liked one right outside the casino and had a great young bartender from Portugal. Service in the dining room was also good, but the food left a lot to be desired. No special nights with lobster and filet mignon on R.C. You could purchase it every night for an extra $30.00 per person. Other cruise lines, we've always looked forward to this on formal nights. The buffet on deck was just o.k. Not many choices there either for all three meals. We usually eat in the dining room most nights on cruises, but because we didn't like the choices on R.C., we ate on deck more. To me, the whole dining experience with other passengers and being waited on in the dining room makes the cruise. We saw several shows. Our favorite was the ice show, it was outstanding!! Disembarkation was orderly and went smoothly, no problems locating our bags. We probably won't cruise Royal Caribbean again just because of the food. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was our first cruise and we had mixed emotions about it. We really did not like the dining arrangements, in fact we disliked them so much, had we known what it would have been like, we possibly would not have booked the cruise. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we had mixed emotions about it. We really did not like the dining arrangements, in fact we disliked them so much, had we known what it would have been like, we possibly would not have booked the cruise. We chose the late sitting (9pm) which was fine but we had to share a table of 10 with other people we did not really like/have anything in common with and when I asked if we could have a table of 2 was told nothing was available. We ate at the table only twice for dinner and had the remainder of our meals at the Windjammer which was always horrendously busy albeit the food was very good and plenty of choice. Another thing I did not like was that it was just so busy. It was practically impossible to get a table at the Windjammer and the sunbeds were chained together so no room or privacy which I did not like at all. I did not like the constant tipping either as whilst the service was OK it was nothing spectacular. The positives however were:- Check in and embarkation surprisingly quick and amazingly well organised Transfers to and from airport excellent We had a internal room with no windows which was very small but everything fitted in it. I found it strange not having a window/view but the bed was surprisingly comfortable and we had the most amazing sleeps due to the pitch darkness and how peaceful the room was. The main areas of the ship were very lavish and clean The food was great The trips we did were brilliant and we enjoyed the places we visited (Sicily, Athens, Kusadasi, Chania). We got a very cheap deal on the cruise Negatives as above:- The dining arrangements were just not our thing We had no idea where anything was We were given no information about the captains table/drinks party There were just too many people on board for my liking and everywhere we went was just too busy and I found it all a bit claustrophobic The spa was ridiculously expensive so never booked any treatments   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We jumped off the Ruby Princess in Civitivecchia after doing a wonderful 14 day Transatlantic and boarded the Navigator. We expected to be able to get onboard drop our things and walk around the town for a bit. When we arrived around 10 ... Read More
We jumped off the Ruby Princess in Civitivecchia after doing a wonderful 14 day Transatlantic and boarded the Navigator. We expected to be able to get onboard drop our things and walk around the town for a bit. When we arrived around 10 after taking the port shuttle from the Ruby to the main gate and then catching another shuttle from the gate to the Navigator, things at the Navigator appeared pretty hectic and disorganized. At leastThree people told us different things about where to go to wait. We eventually linked up with others who were waiting to board and were advised by staff that boarding would begin about 10:30. It began closer to 11:30 and we were assigned group 7. It did not matter. The staff had very little coordination or control so embarcation was pretty messy. This was repeated at the end of the cruise when we reported to our assigned area only to find no ship staff and only word of mouth from fellow passengers about the process. When we boarded we found all of the corridor doors to the cabins secured. We were advised that we would not be able to access the cabin until 1pm. Had we known that in advance we would have checked all of our luggage in and not be left hauling the carry ons around.The ship is very attractive. The main street atrium is a concourse lined with food, drink and shopping. It gives a grand appearance and gave us the prospect of relaxing in the Irish pub listening to music over a pint, and in the wine bar chatting with new found friends. Unfortunately we later found many of the venues to be heavily used by smokers. We meandered around the ship trying to orient ourselves and eventually found ourselves in the Windjammer cafe, a large food court. It is a very large very open buffet dining area that winds around the front of the ship. It reminded us of a college cafeteria. It lived up to that as the week progressed. The tables were squeezed together, the food was blah and repetitious, it looked worn out and everything was self service, except for bussing your table.The unfriendly staff were pretty good at making sure you didn't graze at your table too long as fellow passengers waited for a seat. (what a difference from the cheery welcome, efficient service and sense of being made to feel comfortable and recognized as a guest that we experienced on the Ruby, even in that buffet). The experienced wait staff in the restaurant weren't too much better. While they smiled and tried to remember your name they couldn't remember your order, whether they had already served you your appetizer or in what order things should be served. Every night was a new experience. The food was generally lukewarm and so so except for the eggplant parm stack and the rack of lamb which were outstanding. The dining room however was gorgeous. Our room was spacious with a full size couch and more than adequate storage space, but like another reviewer the room had a strong musty smell which we just could not get rid of. and The smokers on the surrounding balconies limited our use of the balcony.We loved the ports, Messina, Kusadasi, Athens and Crete but the ship left a lot to be desired. The extravagant appearances of the public venues the good entertainment just did not overcome the poor service and mediocre food and smoke. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
So all in all a good cruise with all the typical good service from RCCL. Quick notes are that they really have very limited support for kids under 3 on most of the boats below the Oasis class. We were limited to $20/hour child care in ... Read More
So all in all a good cruise with all the typical good service from RCCL. Quick notes are that they really have very limited support for kids under 3 on most of the boats below the Oasis class. We were limited to $20/hour child care in our state room and 2-3 1 hour periods with a kid's staff member in the tot room. The also had bags of lender toys which was good but our tot got board with them and the hour play periods after about a week. To be fair there were no other kids under 2 for her to play with and the staff were very friendly but we were spoiled by our 7 day experience on Oasis when they not only had child care for $9/hr in a designated Royal baby's room but a 24 hour play room as well. Taking care out our tot in our room prevented us from enjoying our room childless. It was good we got a Grand suite or out tot would have had no place to run at all! The Weather in April was only warm enough to swim 1 or 2 days so that wasn't available for our tot either. Nor was there a pool with more than and inch of water for tots. So we spent a lot of time in our room or going with out tot back and forth to the few areas that were interesting to her. This was relaxing but it didnt allow much time for many of the other activities on the ship. We are fairly experience cruisers so we didn't feel we missed too much but it would have been nice to get out a bit more. The word from the crew is that the ship is due for dry dock which will address its getting older plan, During they dry dock they are supposed to update the child area. Recommendations: 1. Until updated you can get better service for kids under 6 on other boats and kids below 3 should avoid this ship. 2. Transatlantic cruises are populated by the traditional older set. Go if you enjoy just chilling out and meeting other seasoned travelers. 3. Get a bigger cabin on the long trips. It may sound obvious but the importance will hit you quickly especially if you have a kid in the room with you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Review of Navigator of the Seas, Transatlantic voyage April 6 through 21. 15 days, with stops in the Azores, Toulon, and Livorno on the way to Rome. Embarkation: The cruise port in New Orleans is very close to downtown and the ... Read More
Review of Navigator of the Seas, Transatlantic voyage April 6 through 21. 15 days, with stops in the Azores, Toulon, and Livorno on the way to Rome. Embarkation: The cruise port in New Orleans is very close to downtown and the French Quarter. Access is very narrow, but we arrived early enough that there were no crowds. Our baggage was collected immediately. The baggage handler asked for a tip (which I was prepared to pay) before he actually handled all of the bags. (I tipped $5, for which he took the bags from the taxi and put them in a nearby cage to be rolled onto the ship.) Check-in was relatively quick. We waited a short time in line, entertained by a couple complaining that Florence and Rome had not been located near enough to the ports. I observed that it was very inconsiderate of Romulus and Remus, but that went way over their heads. The actual check in process with the staff was as fast as I have ever seen. There were airline-like security checks. We had purchased two bottles of wine, but security did not care. We could have brought two bottles in each bag. Security did check one of our bags quickly because my laptop charger and some other electronics were in there. That was about 15 seconds. I also had an extension cord and a Belkin cube tap so I could have extra outlets for charging. There has been some commentary about cruise ship restrictions on these things, but security here did not care. We boarded the ship in short order. Having arrived just after 11, the cabins were not yet ready, so we toured the shop a bit, found a table in the pool area, and had lunch from the Windjammer. Cabin At 1, the cabins were ready and we went to see our cabin and drop our carry-on bags. We had a junior suite, no. 1394. This is an aft cabin, so it has a slightly different configuration from standard junior suites, and it has a very large balcony. The room itself was very nice and spacious. Our suitcases went under the beds, which had been pushed together per our request. The bath, with its tub, was also very nice. The cabin has a walk in closet, but one difference between this and others we have had is that the closet is long and narrow, and while there is a clothes hanger running much of the length of the closet, towards the aft end the closet is narrower than the hangers. Nevertheless, with clothes for a 3+ week trip, we had plenty of storage space. The room has a stocked refrigerator, which we emptied and used for our wine, etc. There are few outlets, but with my Belkin cube tap and with a universal adapter for the European outlet, I had enough power outlets for a laptop, camera battery chargers, Kindle chargers, etc. Given the proliferation of devices which need charging, The Belkin cube tap (which includes a surge protector) is a necessity. The balcony is large and had two loungers, two chairs and a table. It has somewhat of an obstructed view because of the ship superstructure in the back. It is fully covered by the Windjammer. On the Navigator, the Windjammer is enclosed, so our dreams of dropping food from the Windjammer to waiting arms below were dashed. Because the balcony is enclosed, it had no wind whatsoever. On the other hand, if you want to sun yourself (not generally our thing), on an Eastbound TA the balcony is in the shade until late in the afternoon. We did not find the walk to and from the cabin difficult. We tend to walk everywhere and use the steps as much as possible. Our cabin steward was Reynaldo. The cabin was always clean and bed made promptly. We requested ice and we had a fresh ice bucket twice a day. The cabin comes with towels for two, but with trips to the gym and pools, we needed more, and after one request, the towel rack was always stuffed with towels. We had robes. Towel animals appeared from time to time. Baggage Delivery Despite having checked in early, our bags did not arrive quickly. We had been told that as suite guests our bags would be promptly delivered, but only two of our 3 checked bags arrived by 4 p.m., the nominal sail time. At that time we did the muster drill, and from the deck we could see my wife's bag still in a cage on the dock. Along with lots of other stuff. The ship sailed about an hour late, with the excuse that there was more to load than for its typical 1 week voyages. (Hadn't anyone figured this out?) My wife's suitcase arrived around 7 p.m.; others in our area were delivered after 9 p.m. Supervisors came around inquiring what was missing; they were suitably apologetic and kept offering the canned excuse that there was a lot to load given the 15 day voyage. Since the length of the voyage was a running excuse, let me note that the Navigator sailed with just over 2900 guests for its approximately 3800 beds. Transatlantic sailings don't attract children, and there were a lot of singles on the ship. Let's move on to the ship. Spa and Exercise Facilities There is an exercise area, indoor Jacuzzi and gender specific saunas and steam rooms. The indoor Jacuzzi was nice, and large to even swim short laps. Given that it was sometimes cool outdoors, this was a nice touch. However, on a couple of occasions it was not heated enough. The paint was peeling. (Navigator is going into dry dock for refurbishment.) The men's sauna and steam room were OK, although on one day neither was very hot as some system failed, they cooled off, and had to be started from scratch. The men's room has lockers, and to get keys you need to go upstairs to the spa check in. Some of the lockers are not for the height challenged (they are over 7 feet off the ground) and on multiple occasions after getting a key, you find that someone has put stuff into that locker without securing a key. (Just clothes.) More trips up and down the stairs, but exercise in any form is welcome. HOWEVER, the ladies steam room was closed. Broken. According to the spa staff, they expected to have it fixed in a day or two. It wasn't. Then the story was that it would be fixed in the Azores. It wasn't. We ran into several couples who were double platinum or whatever who had sailed the Navigator on its Caribbean route earlier in the year, who reported the steam room was out of commission then. When my wife asked the staff, saying it's never going to be fixed, they agreed, and said it would not be fixed until dry dock, but they had been told to say that a fix was imminent. The Navigator does not have a thermal suite, so there are no co-ed steam rooms and saunas. Outdoor Pools There were always adequate deck chairs. The weather was not hot, so there were not a lot of swimmers or sun seekers. The outdoor running track was adequate. Often one of the outdoor pools was closed for maintenance. Dining Let's move on to meals. Given our balcony, we had breakfast in the room most mornings. Service was generally good, with the meal arriving at or before the ordered time. We were able to order things not on the pre-printed menu (like lox to go with the bagels.) HOWEVER, when in port at Toulon, delivery was way late. For us and lots of people. On a morning when it makes a difference. I don't recall the precise times, but if we had asked for 7 to 7:30 delivery, it arrived at 7:45 a.m. After several calls. And incomplete although that was quickly remedied. (I had called to make sure they had our order; if they didn't, I would have simply gone to Windjammer.) A supervisor called us that evening to confirm that the problem had been resolved to our satisfaction (it had) but again offered the excuse that the kitchen was not prepared for as many people who ordered room service on a port day. Like that had never occurred before. And, on a ship traveling 900 light from capacity. We tended to eat lunch in the dining room, opting for the large table option. You meet interesting people that way. The dining room offers a salad bar where you pick what you want and the staff makes up the salad. Uniformly good. There are also a few buffet items; we tried a few and were not impressed. There is also a menu which changes somewhat daily. Those choices tended to be good. HOWEVER, the dining room opened at noon. If you arrived at noon, and promptly ordered, telling the waiter you had something planned at 1 or 1:30 (a class, exercise, walking group, etc.) it was impossible to get out before 1, and usually not before 1:15 p.m. Not the waiter's fault. The main courses are simply not ready. (Yes, I know, I should have gone to Windjammer if I'm time pressed.) Dinner was in the main dining room late seating. We had a table for six, which is good for conversation. Our table mates were diverse, which is something we enjoy on cruises. One couple was German and Austrian, living in Canada for many years. The other couple was Puerto Rican, living in South Carolina for many years. Both of the husbands were engineers. One of the great things about cruising is meeting people with entirely different life experiences and views. Our wait staff, Gezik and Neal, were great. My wife likes lemon with her water, and a plate of lemon slices arrived as we were seated every night. When she has Caesar salad, she prefers it without cheese, and that's how it came. We had a 12 bottle wine package. Whatever we selected was always in stock. Our leftover wine was stored or we took it with us. If we stored it Neal had it back for dinner the next day. We knew the wine selection in advance and it was good. The menu included about six regular items (salmon, strip steak) and about six rotating items. My wife likes salmon, but after three attempts gave up as the salmon had no taste. The way it is prepared is that after lunch it is seared on both sides to seal it, and stored in the kitchen until dinner, when it is baked. (No open flames in the kitchen.) It is not marinated in anything, ever. Sauces are sometimes offered, but they did not help. The salmon was not seasoned, either. Eventually, on a fifteen day cruise, the menu got repetitive and boring. That goes for appetizers, dinners and desserts. The kitchen did make us some souffle's on request, but, alas, our tablemates did not want a souffle every night. There was only one lobster night, and that was a lobster tail. That night was also prime rib night, so RCI got to offer two higher cost items on the same menu to reduce demand. (And if you don't think that's true, take the all-access tour like I did.) I prefer lobster tail to lobster, but, interestingly, the headwaiter thought that lobster tail was simply the tail of a Maine lobster. It's not, and after we had this discussion, he came back one night as we were leaving and said that the executive chef had confirmed that lobster tail was a separate species of crustacean. Maine Lobster was available, at an increased charge. Food service on the ship, like all cruise ships, is getting more restricted. What we like to do, for example, is to have a snack on our balcony at 5 or so, along with whatever wine was left over from the last night. However, the Windjammer is now only open specific hours, and closes about 4:45 p.m. And at that time, hors d' ouerves are not out. At 6 there will be sushi (unlabeled), meats, cheeses, etc. There is the Promenade Cafe, which is always open, but its food choice is limited. The ship also has a Johnny Rockets as an extra charge restaurant. We refrained, since the extra charge approximates what we pay at home for Johnny Rockets. Unlike some ships, this Johnny Rockets was not open for breakfast. It was largely empty, as I suspect its clientele are typically from the teenager crowd, lacking on this trip. We went to Portofino once, for a murder mystery dinner. The show was great, and the food and service were excellent. We did not try Chops. We wholeheartedly recommend the fun of the murder mystery dinner. Coffee service was always available. The ship serves Seattle's Best, which is fine with us. Starbucks is available for an extra charge at the Promenade Cafe. Frozen yogurt was available at three different stations whenever we wanted it: chocolate, vanilla, sometimes strawberry, and a combination. The ship also offers Ben & Jerry's for an extra charge. We refrained. Food was also served for lunch in the Promenade. The displays were enticing. Health We, along with a great many other passengers, developed coughs. One member of our meet-and-mingle group developed pneumonia. RCI personnel constantly urged us to use Purell, which is available everywhere. RCI personnel cleaned things like the banisters regularly. Cruise Critic and Meet and Mingle We followed the roll call on Cruise Critic (about 5000 posts) and joined meet and mingle. Did the cabin crawl, slot pull, murder mystery dinner together, book cluib, walking tour. Other activities were organized, We organized one tour with folks we met on meet and mingle. All-Access Tour I took the All-Access tour, with about 10 other people. Cost is $150, although my sense was that I was the only one who paid. Good tour, well worth it. Toured the bridge, with the officers there explaining things. Then a visit to the engine control room, where the engineer on duty gave a 45 minute talk on how to run the ship. That ran over, annoying the environmental guy. Then on to waffles in the crew's quarters. Off to the kitchen, where we saw food storage and learned about ordering stuff, and learned that the chef had a budget per person per day for food. We saw the pictures of every arrangement of food for the staff to use to make up plates, although not all of the arrangements were going to be used on the cruise. We saw salmon being seared and stored, rolls being baked, shrimp cocktail being assembled. Then off to backstage in the theater, and finally a stop for champagne. Activities There was plenty to do on the multiple sea days. There is entertainment in the evening, ranging from singers, comedians, the Dungeon dance club, the ice show and production shows. The ice show was very good; we understand that the second time it was offered, given that the ship was rolling a bit, the performers missed a few cues, but got rave reviews from the crowd for their spunk. We entertained ourselves at trivia in two different groups. What kept us attending was our two groups, otherwise we would have dropped out. The questions were prepared and had been used multiple times before (sometimes repeated during the cruise), but every day there were answers which were wrong. Not close calls. The Great San Francisco Earthquake did not occur in 1908 but in 1906. Golda Meir is not the only Israeli prime minister born in Russia; there were 7. The country closest to where the Titanic sank was not Halifax, which, last I checked, was not a country, nor is it Nova Scotia, which is not a country but a Province of Canada. The staff member running trivia took Canada, Nova Scotia and Halifax as correct answers. Internet I bought the 500 minute internet package. RCI tells you that you need to go to a hot spot. The Solarium hot spot did not work. The internet center on 8 was fine, although as usual for this type of service with high usage everyone's connection slowed. I had a problem once where the connection would not disconnect and kept billing; guest services remedied it promptly. I was able to get a connection in our aft cabin twice. Telephone I have an Apple iPhone 5 and my wife a Blackberry Bold. Service was good for the first few days. (We were just using the phones for e-mail.) Then mine stopped working and my wife's was slow. Guest Services called Verizon, which reported a world-wide problem with the ship system. That lasted about 3 days. (Not an RCI problem.) Pricing We booked a year in advance, paid retail (about $3,800), and got an aft cabin, our first aft cabin. RCI tells cruisers to book early for best selection and price. (We also got a $250 shareholder's credit.) Until our final payment was due, pricing did not change. As soon as final payment was made, RCI began offering a special, book a balcony or better and get a free liquor package, valued at $1650. (We can't and won't drink that much.) Our agent tried to get this deal for us but was unsuccessful, even though a few people on Cruise Critic reported that they had persuaded RCI to extend the deal to them. I wrote to RCI; no response. Once on the ship, we met a number of people who received the free liquor package even though they did not meet the terms of the offer, including one fellow who got a single for $470, had the single supplement waived, and got the free liquor package. He showed up at dinner every next nicely lubricated. Disembarkation We left early in the morning to catch a train to Rome. We purchased a transfer from RCI from port to the train station because we wanted to make an early train. Getting our bags was as easy as it could be. About 17 people purchased this early transfer. 16 showed up on time. So what do you do if you are RCI? You hold the bus for the last guy, 20 minutes, inconveniencing the folks seeking to make the earliest train to Rome. No manner of requesting that we leave for the 10 minute trip to the train station made a difference. (We were less concerned as we were meeting our daughter in Roma Termini and had more room in our schedule.) Dings I wrote to Adam Goldstein about the liquor package offer. I'm still waiting for a response. It's been 3 months. My wife filed a comment card about the non-working women's steam room (and other matters) very early in the cruise. She was promised a response in 24 hours from guest services. She's still waiting. My wife was publicly insulted by a member of the cruise director's staff we had not seen before or after. When we saw Keith, the cruise director, later that day, the incident had already been reported to him by others, strangers to us. While Keith said he was "spoken to," my wife has yet to receive an apology. What's Next Next year's trip is booked. That cruise is about $10,000. It's not on RCI. Will we go on RCI again? Maybe. Right itinerary, right price, we might consider it. Biggest downside for me was the reduction in ports. Our 2012 RCI TA had 6 stops; this one had 3. Second biggest downside is the Grand Bazaar approach to pricing. Third biggest downside is the rude treatment by one employee for which RCI doesn't think it should apologize. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Don't get me wrong. It wasn't an absolute horror story cruise. But having tried other destinations with other cruiselines, this trip fell short for the dollar. My initial impression of RCI is that it's for the 18-30 ... Read More
Don't get me wrong. It wasn't an absolute horror story cruise. But having tried other destinations with other cruiselines, this trip fell short for the dollar. My initial impression of RCI is that it's for the 18-30 crowd. There were MANY highschool/college aged kids running around, as well as kids 6-16. Maybe not a family oriented at Carnival, but definitely not catering to the Celebrity cruiser. I have to say my favorite Cruise line to date has to be Princess. A big part of that has to do with the food and entertainment. With that being said... RCI Likes: -For the most part, staff was very friendly. Our stateroom attendant was exceptional. I also like the towel animals he folds and leaves on our bed. -Promenade area was BEAUTIFUL. -Live poker in the casino instead of utilizing those digital poker tables. -Initial boarding was quick and painless. They have that down to a science. -Beautiful art collection on display in hallways and stair cases. -Great gym facilities. RCI Dislikes: -Only a few swimming pools and hot tubs? Their competitors offer sometimes double the pools/tubs. -The live entertainment and movie screening room was a joke. -I was told balcony rooms had flat screen tv's? NOPE. -Carpets in hallways were super dated and old; reminded me of Vegas in the 80s. -The food was 1 step above cafeteria grade. Nothing seemed fresh. Being that this was my first cruise with RCI, I thought they observed other cruiseline's practice of picking up fresh/local foods from every port stop. NOT THE CASE. Everything tasted frozen fresh. -Soft drink package at $54. OUCH. And yes, automatic gratuities added. -When I'd go to the bars and ask for a soda with my prepaid card, the bartenders always gave me a dirty look because they're not making the additional sale, like he's doing me such a huge favor filling a cup up with ice n Coke. -Speaking of the sodas, they tasted horrible. I know these boats have purifiers on board, but they need to change the filters or something because the water they serve for teas, coffees, flavored water, etc, just tasted funky. And this water made the sodas out of the fountains taste funky too. -The cooking station staff in the buffet was hit or miss. One night, they will go out of their way to get you an ingredient you requested on your omelet that they didn't have sitting around. I asked for bananas in my crepe, and it wasn't at their station, though the fruit area was 8ft away, and the guy gave me an attitude that they don't offer it. That's what happens when gratuities are prepaid on these trips. -No 24 hour buffet? The buffet closes between meals, and relatively early (9pm) at night. So what happens if you have a hankering for desert at 10? SOL. Or go to their BS cafe for a limited selection of dried up cakes n cookies. -The excursions were a let down. Yes you can travel to the Mayan temples, no you cannot get within 10 feet of the temples. You can't get the coveted pic of you scaling the sides of the temple; probably something they should tell you before you book. I would have stayed in town and enjoyed the beach. Falmouth, OMG; imagine a slum, where a corporate entity (RCI) comes in, takes a beachhead, and drops a gated city block sized tourist trap full of their partner vendors (Diamonds Internationl, etc). Once you go outside that gated retail haven, you get mobbed by the locals. Not a very friendly town. I felt safer walking down the back alleys in Mexico at night than the main streets of Falmouth in broad daylight. I had a biggo angry local woman get in my face after I "no thank you'ed" her, screaming "I'm talking to you!" Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Let me preface this with we may be spoiled..... This was our 8th cruise all with RCC. This was the first one out of NOLA and we also brought along two other couples, one being first time cruisers. We are early 40's and love cruising. ... Read More
Let me preface this with we may be spoiled..... This was our 8th cruise all with RCC. This was the first one out of NOLA and we also brought along two other couples, one being first time cruisers. We are early 40's and love cruising. We have always chosen RCC because we have had great experiences. I honestly believe we are going to check out other cruise lines just to see what they offer. We arrived to NOLA by car on Friday, Feb 22nd. We had a stay and cruise package with Holiday Inn West Bank Tower and it was fine. We arrived to the port about noon and made it onto the ship within about 20 minutes. It was cold and drizzly outside. (Boo) Overall the cruise was fine. Not good, not bad. Let me try to explain...food was good, not great, not bad. Portofino was FANTASTIC and Peter was great. Chops was excellent and Marco was Spectacular. The Mud Pie was Amazing. These two experiences were worth the extra money and made us feel special. Marco and Peter made our sailing memorable. The shows were ok, not great. The singers and dancers were ehh ok, nothing memorable. Simona the cruise director was very forgettable. I believe she is Italian (not sure) but the game shows were not so funny due to the language barrier and lack of pizazz. The ice show was good, but not sure about the intro or how it ties to any kind of story. Overall the entertainment was disappointing. That is sort of how the whole cruise was. Nothing special. The entire cruise just lacked energy. I will say the sanitize, sanitize, sanitize guy in the Windjammer seemed happy and tried to entertain.... Every previous cruise had memorable experiences that made us feel like we were a part of something special. This cruise felt worn out and forgettable. The special touches like towel animals every night in your room has gone by the wayside. (We had 2 over the course of the cruise). You now must ask for ice and the one that still has me irked is the new ppd gratuity policy. We don't mind prepaying as we have every cruise, but now you get envelopes but no coupons to put in them. I went to the guest relations desk and asked for the coupons when I was told that coupons are no longer. I asked why the envelopes and was told for additional gratuities for the room attendant, and wait staff. I'm irked because it was so Very uncomfortable. Now you have nothing to hand your wait staff unless you "want" to give more. Not cool at all. So if we give extra we make others at our table feel cheap...if we don't give extra we feel cheap. AWKWARD. I am not against the ppd plan, just give us the coupons or DON'T give us the envelopes. Overall the cruise was bland and average. We want something more than that. That is the reason we chose RCC and have never strayed. I no longer feel that others would probably disappoint after returning today. I am left feeling like perhaps we should have tried another cruise line or even a different vacation all together. I'm just perplexed and disappointed. I feel like a customer, but not really a guest Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
First of all, the best part of this cruise was New Orleans. It was the first time in NOLA for my daughter and I. We got in a day before the cruise and instantly fell in love with New Orleans. The Navigator looks good, most aspects are ... Read More
First of all, the best part of this cruise was New Orleans. It was the first time in NOLA for my daughter and I. We got in a day before the cruise and instantly fell in love with New Orleans. The Navigator looks good, most aspects are the same that we experienced on Carnival Victory and Princess. They did not have an outdoor movie screen which limited outdoor interest for me. I read that they will do a rehab of this ship by next year. I had read several reviews of this ship before and noticed that a smell in the hallways was included on most. Our room was on the 6th floor, it was a balcony room and we did not notice a sight but noticeable mildew smell in the hallways. The thing that bothered me most about this cruise was the habit of walking to your cabin during the day or night and finding large bags that may have contained laundry in the hallway. There were also vacuum cleaners left in the hallway and a machine that looked like some sort of fan. I know that the room stewards have to get rid of dirty laundry and clean the rooms, but I have never seen up to twelve or more huge red bags lined up against the wall for hours a day. Everyone has seen the little carts that are used to replenish toilet paper, soap, clean towels etc..., but these items were frequently in the hallway and it looked so tacky and low class. I will be very surprised if no one else mentions this. The food was o.k., just o.k. The service was great, everyone worked very hard to please. The Windjammer's food was routine and boring, it never changed. The quality was so-so. The "Jade Restaurant" is a joke. I love Asian food and looked forward to some good Asian food. Most of the time the space in Jade was taken up with American type foods. Occasionally there would be some fried rice or stir fry that was poorly prepared. All in all, We still had a good time overall despite my criticisms. I would not say however that Royal Caribbean has consistently high standards. I know that Carnival has issues with their ships, but their rooms are larger, the entertainment was better, and I didn't feel nickel a dimmed for gratuities on an ice cream cone after you've already been charged an extra 15% for it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Four of us were on a "package" which was made up of 3 days in Memphis seeing Elvis (who alas had left the building), a day on Amtrack and 3 days in New Orleans all of which was superb, we all had a great time especially New ... Read More
Four of us were on a "package" which was made up of 3 days in Memphis seeing Elvis (who alas had left the building), a day on Amtrack and 3 days in New Orleans all of which was superb, we all had a great time especially New Orleans and boarded the ship for what was hopefully going to be our 2nd great week. The ship itself is superb, it is well laid out, clean, tidy and a joy to cruise on, the food in the Windjammer at Lunch was very good and you were never left wanting for choice - however :- Boat drill was done without lifejackets (a first) and the combination of a foreign accent and a bad tannoy system meant that anyone in B13 station would have gone down with the ship for lack of direction. The "Wine package" offered on the first night was done without telling you that there was a New Orleans sales tax added AND then 15% as well, if done on the 2nd night then you saved 8% plus a bit for the service. No transparency on this and when questioned the Sales tax was credited. The food in the main dining area was for the first 5 days poor and we took bets on whether there was actually a chef on board. One steak was so tough we invited the waiters to attempt to cut it while 4 days later another was rare on the inside and cindered on the outside. The last 2 days were much better although while the lamb shank was great it suffered from a lack of mint sauce. We were offered a kind of mint jelly but it somehow looked radio active in colour so we declined. As a "Gold" member we were invited to a special meeting done to maybe try to sell us more cruises. This consisted of 30 minutes listening to the band, a speech by an Eastern European Officer in maybe his own language and around 100 words from the Captain who then cleared off pronto, end of reception, all clear off ! Did it sell more cruises ? I doubt it. The Captain boasted that he had around 70 different nationalities on board the ship looking after us all which was good, however the fact they all spoke in what can be called "broken English" meant that on many occasions we hadn't a clue what many of them were saying and I doubt they did either when talking to each other. Finally, we did take part in some of the quiz times which were in the main good fun. Whatever you do do not believe the answers as some of them are wrong. Alas since 1912 everyone believed the Titanic sailed from Southampton however RCI seem to think it was Liverpool - maybe if it had then it would not have sank ! The ship was great, the ports of call were very good except Jamaica (which as one person said "if it sank without trace no-one would miss it")and overall the cruise was not bad. It is a pity that the running of the ship is so dysfunctional making lines like P&O and Cunard stand head and shoulders above this company. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This is a review of the Navigator of the Seas, sailing date December 1, 2012. It was just my wife and I. As a general statement I believe the crew on any given ship will make or break the entertainment value of the vacation. Boarding: ... Read More
This is a review of the Navigator of the Seas, sailing date December 1, 2012. It was just my wife and I. As a general statement I believe the crew on any given ship will make or break the entertainment value of the vacation. Boarding: We flew in the day before and spent the night at Harrah's New Orleans and had a great time. We took a cab with another couple that we met at the front door and we got taken for a ride ....literally....$30.00 to go 2 blocks!!! The ship had porters there to unload our luggage into the big carts and into the line we went.... Our bags were already tagged so it was a quick drop and go situation. The porters tagged your bags if you didn't already have them. Note that the Riverwalk access to the cruise ship walkway (it's still marked like that) is closed. The doors have a heavy chain and padlock on them. At this point organization took a vacation. We didn't know it at the time but a lot of the embarkation problems were related to the fact that the Navigator had just come in with the "NOROVIRUS infection" on board and that they were in the process of "fumigating" each and every public area on board.... It only took about 1 hour to get on board ship but because of the decontamination process we were not allowed to go to our stateroom until after 4:00PM... Once on board that is where the problems started. We headed to the Windjammer and instead of it being a regular buffet they had TWO (2) food servers next to each serving station to serve the guests as NOBODY was allowed to touch the food because of the virus. It took over one hour to make it through the buffet line and by the time you found a seat, the food was cold. We had this problem the WHOLE trip. Cold food....It was not until Friday, on the last day, that the guests were able to self service. Entertainment: Average at best Dining: The food and service in the Main dining room was fabulous and both Waiter (Rakesh) and Assistant Waiter (Americo) were phenomenal. Windjammer: the food was always cold. Room service: The food was decent and on time. Bar Service: Very good Soda Package: In my opinion, the soda package on the Navigator is a complete waste of money. I'm not sure I will ever buy the soda package on RCCL again because of this. Excursions: Our excursion to Dunn's River Falls in Falmouth Jamaica was very good and very well organized. NOROVIRUS: On day 3, I started getting a really bad head cold and by day 5 I was pretty run down. I went to sick bay and spoke to a nurse whose whole interest was whether or not I had a headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea....which were the published symptoms of Norovirus....I had none of the above other than a mild case of diarrhea.....she told me that I had two choices either to get the FREE Tylenol and Imodium to treat it as Norovirus infection or see a doctor for a $100.00 fee....Really??? I opted for the Imodium and Tylenol and was confined (quarantined) to my cabin for 24 hours. That was on Thursday at 11 AM and I was in the cabin for 24 hours....NO FUN!! The following day at 11:15AM the nurse called and asked me "how I felt?" and since I was feeling better she released me from the quarantine and I was free to go anywhere on the ship. ...Out of courtesy for other passengers and our table mates, I decided to abstain from going to the dining room or to the buffet and stuck to room service. Disembarkation: It was very well organized and we were off the ship within 30 minutes. Note: We have now been home for a week and I still have yet to hear from RCCL. No emails or not even a letter asking "How I was doing or whether I was dead or alive?" It was our third cruise with RCCL but it will be a long time before I go on another one... A very disappointed cruiser! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Background on me: Experience cruiser with over 20 cruises on a variety of lines and I have never been on a bad cruise. I am male, 50, traveling with spouse and two boys ages 14 and 12. We have sailed out of New Orleans many times (we ... Read More
Background on me: Experience cruiser with over 20 cruises on a variety of lines and I have never been on a bad cruise. I am male, 50, traveling with spouse and two boys ages 14 and 12. We have sailed out of New Orleans many times (we live in NO) and find the best time to get to the port is about 11:00 AM. This year we arrived about 11:20 and were in the Windjammer by 12. Also if you are a past cruiser register with the Crown and Anchor program by RC, there is another line for C&A members and it is much shorter than general boarding. My brother arrived at the Port about 1:00 and it took him over two hours to get on the ship. Alcohol tip here, if you want to bring extra wine on the ship. Just put two bottles in your carry on, but have your spouse go through another security line with another two bottles in their carry on. We got four bottles of wine on board, but could have brought much more, no one pays any attention in security to who is with who, just don't put more than two bottles in each bag. Also, we brought two case of water on board that we checked at the pier and both made it to our cabins. I met someone on board who paid $88 for the "water package" this seems pretty high to me for water. Also did not buy the new drink package as it is just way to expensive considering all adults in one cabin have to purchase this package. A big problem at the pier is many people do not have luggage tags and this takes the Porters about 2 minutes per bag to tag causing a back up. RC may be saving money by not sending these luggage tags (I know you can print them) but it is adding much delay to the boarding process. If you are arriving by cab your driver will simply drop you off at the curb, if you are driving you will be parking in the Whale lot, just ask and an officer will direct you. You can also have your luggage taken here and it is just about a five minute walk to the ship. Parking is about $112 for the week paid in advance. Having sailed on the Voyager last year (and loved it) I found this ship, The NOS to be just as beautiful. We had an outside balcony on deck 8 and the room was clean and your typical cruising cabin. However, my boys ages 14 and 12 had an inside cabin with a view of the Promenade deck. This was a very nice feature and the noise never woke anyone up or keep them awake. We choose two cabins over one because we felt the extra bathroom was better than just upgrading to a suite. The extra bathroom and extra cabin IMO is the way to go for families if you can. Once again the ship is clean and very beautiful, but I won't sail this class of ship again, having sailed on the VOS last year, this seemed like the same exact ship from last year and I discovered what I like is exploring and learning a new ship on my cruises. The food in the dining room is some bad, some good, some excellent. Ask you waiter, he knows what is good. We ate in Chops one night and thought is was a waste of money. The filet in Chops was excellent, but everything else (the sides) was also available at some time in the MDR. Also, on most nights the food in the Windjammer is the same exact food being served in the MDR. Breakfast is the same EVERY day and gets very boring toward the end of the cruise. Never ate breakfast in MDR but they have nice lunches in the MDR and the Tuttie salad bar is outstanding. I really miss the fact that the VOS and NOS have no grill around the pool. I just love the smell of those hamburgers grilling as I lounge around the pool. Both my kids had fun and enjoyed the teen programs. However, we won't sail again on a ship unless it has a better pool area. This ship only has two small pools with hot tubs, no slides or other H2O areas for the kids to play. The shows were really bad and your typical cruise ship shows, however the ice show was very nice and is the only must see show of the week. I think RC could do a better job of giving out tickets rather than making you go wait in line for them on your first sea day. The lounges really stink of smoke and were kind of boring, not much going on in them. Found a great new place to go on Couzmel called Paradise beach, a great place and found for the kids with tons of stuff to do. Also, do Dunns River falls in Falmouth, it was outstanding. Overall a good ship and a great time, if you have questions just ask. PG Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My wife and I took the RCCL Navigator on the 14-day Transatlantic back from the Mediterranean to New Orleans. A couple of weeks earlier, we had cruised the Norwegian Spirit on a Grand Mediterranean circuit (reviewed separately on Cruise ... Read More
My wife and I took the RCCL Navigator on the 14-day Transatlantic back from the Mediterranean to New Orleans. A couple of weeks earlier, we had cruised the Norwegian Spirit on a Grand Mediterranean circuit (reviewed separately on Cruise Critic). So my evaluation of the Navigator below contains several comparisons to our Norwegian Spirit trip (generally, we thought our experience on the Spirit was superior to our experience on the Navigator). The embarkation experience on to the Navigator was fine. We have learned to arrive for our cruise vacations later rather than earlier, and so after we got to the Barcelona cruise terminal at 2 PM it only took us half an hour to get on board the ship. Our interior cabin, 8183, was fine (as discussed below). Food is an important part of a cruise vacation, particularly when you have a lot of sea days as we did on the Navigator Transatlantic. Unfortunately, our food and beverage experience on the Navigator started out poorly and did not improve much. A rather long discussion of the food follows. We had a traditional dinner seating arrangement, and we and most of our six tablemates had problems with our food on the first night. The woman to our left ordered the sea bass, and did not like the way it was cooked. Myself, the fellow across from me, and the woman to his left all ordered the prime rib. Their two orders were not delivered up cooked as they had requested, and so they switched orders, but were still not happy -- the man said the meat had "no flavor" (and I concurred with this). Several persons at the table ordered the sweet and sour shrimp soup, and then joked that there was no discernible shrimp in their bowls. My wife had the spaghetti, and said that was OK. But I am thinking, is spaghetti the best they can do for dinner?? At breakfast the next morning, I did not see much on the Navigator that looked appetizing. I like hot food for breakfast if I can get it. The scrambled eggs did not look good, little clumps of egg, so I skipped those. I like biscuits and sausage gravy, so I tried that. The biscuits were doughy, not flaky. The gravy was thin, and the the meat consisted of a few sausage links that had been hastily (and sloppily) sliced into the gravy. Good sausage gravy (like I had on the Norwegian Spirit cruise just a couple of weeks previous) is thick and well seasoned and the sausage is well crumbled and mixed into the gravy. I also like Oatmeal, but the Navigator's oatmeal was thin and watery, again, unlike the Norwegian Spirit Oatmeal which was nice and thick. Our dining experience the rest of our Navigator trip was hit and miss, with a few more misses than hits. I tried the top sirlion (the steak option available every night), but it was dry and chewey, again, unlike the Spirit, where the steak option they made available every evening was tender and flavorful. Another example was a lobster bisque on the Navigator that was thin and tasteless. And those dishes that were "hits" were not really outstanding, just decent. Example: The escargot. I love escargot, but the Navigator's escargot -- served only one night -- was not superior (unlike what we had on the Spirit) -- it was just, say, a cut above ordinary. We like curry and other Indian food, and the buffet at the Navigator had some of that every day. Again, though, it was not as good as on the Spirit. Also, the Navigator put out some Indian bread (i.e., crispy Papadum) on only one day of the cruise, unlike the Spirit, which put out both Naan and Papadum EVERY day on the buffet. Interestingly, the Navigator's buffet had good potatoes: The fries were usually hot; the breakfast hash browns (think McDonalds style) were usually hot and crispy; and the mashed potatoes were creamy and made from scratch. I had the mashed potatoes at almost every lunch. But do you see a pattern here (good spaghetti and good potatoes??). The desserts on the Navigator were also hit and miss -- usually there were one or two a night that were pretty good, but figuring out which ones were going to be good in advance was difficult. And some of the desserts were inexplicably bad -- like the tiramasu on Italian Night by the Navigator's Italian head chef. The tiramasu tasted like it was made with gelatin. Uch, no one at the table could eat it. My wife said I should also say something about the layout of the Windjammer (the Navigator's buffet). The Windjammer almost always had a crowded feel, like you had to weave back and forth to avoid bumping into someone when stalking your food or looking for a table. In comparison, we never had this "crowded" feeling when dining in the Spirit's buffet. Also, while the Navigator's buffet seating area was almost entirely inside, the Spirit buffet seating was a 50/50 split of inside and covered outside (with views off the stern), and that was nice, because we like to eat outside. Of course, the Navigator does have two specialty restaurants, the Portofino (Italian at $20 cover per person) and Choppes Grill (Steak at $30 cover per person). These prices were higher than the corresponding Italian and Steak specialty restaurants on the Spirit ($10 and $25, respectively). We did not try the Choppes Grill, but did eat at the Portofino in conjunction with a Mystery Dinner theatre presentation (discussed below). The Portofino food was nice: good starters, and some tasty and tender beef. The Navigator also what I call a "half" specialty restaurant -- a diner called Johnny Rockets. I say "half" because the diner serves basic food -- hamburgers, hot dogs, onion rings, and fries, all for a relatively small charge ($5 per person, beverages extra). The hamburgers and hot dogs at Rockets were fresh, hot, and tasty -- and we paid the extra money and ate lunch at Rockets often. Unfortunately, that also tells you a lot about what we thought of the "free" lunch food in the buffet. Anyways, enough discussion of the food!! Unfortunately, there were some other less than satisfactory aspects of our Transatlantic on the Navigator. For example, we found the Navigator's alcohol policies to be irritating, both with regard to alcohol brought on the ship and alcohol sold on the ship. First, Navigator appears to have a strict policy against bringing any alcohol onto the ship and into your cabin, either at embarkation or at any port stop. I say "appears," because we heard from some fellow passengers that they were able to sneek alcohol on board, while other passengers said they tried but were caught and their liquor confiscated until the end of the voyage. We asked our headwaiter about bringing wine from off the ship and into your cabin, and she said that you could bring a couple of wine bottles into your cabin, but that the Navigator would charge you a $25 corkage fee at the time you brought it on to the ship regardless of whether you drank it in your cabin or in the restaurant. This Navigator policy about bringing alcohol from off the ship compares unfavorably with the Norwegian policy. For example, we bought four bottles of wine in the duty free shop in Barcelona before we boarded the Norwegian Spirit, and Norwegian let us bring the bottles on board and into our cabin free of charge, and charged us a $15 corkage fee only if we brought our wine into the dining room. Second, we also found that Navigator's wine prices were higher than Norwegian's, including: 1) when purchased as part of a wine package, 2) when purchased by the individual bottle, and 3) when purchased by the glass. We also found that individual mixed drinks (e.g, rum and coke) were slightly higher on the Navigator than on the Norwegian ship. We like to have a couple of mixed drinks before dinner, and the Norwegian Spirit had a nice 2 for 1 special during happy hour in Henry's Pub, but the Navigator had no nice drink specials like this. Our mixed drinks on the Navigator also seemed to be watered down a bit. The end result was that we bought less alcohol, but at a higher total price, aboard the Navigator than aboard the Spirit. And, at least in my mind, this affects how much you enjoy your cruise. The Navigator did offer a periodic "fill the bag" laundry special, like on the Spirit. My wife really likes these specials. For $25, they will do all the laundry in the bag for you. Interestingly, the Navigator had limits on what type of clothing you could put in the bag, only permitting underclothes, socks, T-shirts, and swimwear. The Spirit had no such limits. Again, the kudos got the Spirit over the Navigator. And at the end of our cruise disembarkation in New Orleans was irritating -- extremely slow, with a lot of standing in line. We were supposed to get off the ship at 7:30 AM, but stood in line on the ship for awhile, then got off at about 9 AM, stood in line some more, and finally cleared customs at about 10:05 AM. The customer service reps went around saying they were short of customs agents, and that they were trying to hunt down more customs agents, but I think this should have been better coordinated in advance by Royal Caribbean with the US Customs Service. In any event, we have only had two bad disembarkation experiences on our six cruises -- but both were on our Royal Caribbean cruises. Not good, not good for Royal Caribbean. OK, yes, I can say some good things about our cruise and the Navigator. Our inside cabin was nice: pleasantly decorated, well-maintained, and fairly roomy as these cabins go. The shower had good hot water and good water pressure. The hair drier worked very well. The soundproofing was very good -- we heard almost no noises from adjoining cabins or the hallway. The crew of the Navigator was generally pleasant and helpful, including our room steward and our dining wait staff. I know the staff works hard, and we appreciated it -- and we tipped all of our waiters at above the recommended amount. The port calls, although limited, were all nice, particularly on the European side (Tenerife, Malaga, and Cartegena). All three towns are excellent walking towns, and the ship docks fairly close to the town in each of them. We did the hop-on hop-off bus in Tenerife, and I would recommend it. It was always pretty easy to find a comfortable chair to sit in somewhere -- The Navigator has a lot of chairs, and I think more of the comfy type chairs than the Norwegian Spirit did. I like to play Poker, and poker on the Navigator was a rip-off, but not quite the rip-off that it was on the Norwegian Spirit (i.e., the Navigator limited the 10% house rake to a maximum of $15 a hand, unlike the $25 max per hand on the Spirit). The Navigator did have some enrichment classes, more than the Spirit did, but I found the woman who gave the enrichment presentations on the Navigator to be repetitive and dull. As for the evening entertainment, we have been on enough cruise ships now to get kind of blase about the performances -- there is usually very little that you can remember a few days afterwards. On the plus side, we found the Ice Dancing show on the Navigator to be very well choreographed and very entertaining. The acting for the Mystery Dinner theatre was amateurish, but the overall production was fun -- and its fun was enhanced by the fact that unlimited wine was included in the base price ($49 per person if purchased in advance). On the down side, we occasionally like to see a movie. Other cruise lines show movies in a large theatre, or sometimes at night under the stars. Not the Navigator. Instead, they have a tiny "screening room," which filled up quickly the two times we went. Also, the movie selection in your cabin was very limited, unless you wanted to do "pay per view" at $12 (or more) a pop. In sum, it is hard to give the Navigator a glowing recommendation. In fairness, I have to note that our cruise fare was very cheap -- less than $50 per person per day. It seems obvious, then, that Royal Caribbean is trying to make up for that cheap fare by reducing costs (e.g., for food) and upcharging for certain extras (e.g., alcohol). If you are looking for inexpensive travel, and are willing to sacrifice on the quality of food and perhaps also on your alcohol consumption, you might find this sort of transatlantic cruise acceptable. In the future, though, we will look to cruise with another line (like Norwegian), even if we have to pay more cruise fare in dollars per day. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I would like to preface this brief review by totally agreeing with the more detailed review by Petersonfcu, whom took the next cruise of Navigator from Barcelona to New Orleans. Our opinions as to the food and liquor policy echo their ... Read More
I would like to preface this brief review by totally agreeing with the more detailed review by Petersonfcu, whom took the next cruise of Navigator from Barcelona to New Orleans. Our opinions as to the food and liquor policy echo their experience. We had been on a number of RCCL cruises in years past (Monarch, Mariner, and Vision). In all previous cruises on RCCL ships the food was quite good to excellent. This cruise on Navigator subjected us to food that was barely "fair." I realize that most cruise lines in the "less expensive" categories have been cutting back on expenses for the past several years. But, this ship (can't speak about other RCCL ships, since it had been about three years since our previous cruise on the line) is not even providing food that is acceptable given our past experiences on RCCL and other lines. Most of our cruises for the past several years have been on Princess, mostly as RCCL has abandoned Los Angeles. In every way Princess has exceeded the experience we just had on Navigator. Things that we DID LIKE: (1) The room steward was great. No complaints at all. We did, however, wonder why the bed could not have been rotated 90 degrees so that both of us could walk to the bathroom without climbing over the corner of the bed. And, why should we need to put the glass coffee table in the closet to give us some walking space. (2) The pastries at the Cafe Promenade were pretty good, as was the coffee. Not nearly up to the level of Princess ships, however. Nor was pizza aboard the Navigator anything like that available on Princess. (2) Overall, the staff were fine. You find plenty of the lower-level restaurant people working in "robot mode," just going through the motions without any attempt at actually thinking about the passengers. But, in the main dining room, and elsewhere, the staff was about the same as on other ships we've been on. (3) The ice show. Great performance. (4) The main theater. Pretty good shows, for the most part. Not very well attended compared with other ships we've cruised on, for some unknown reason. (5) The cabin bathroom was pretty good compared with other ships that we've been on....particularly the shower. (6) The gym and locker rooms. Great facilities. The guy that lead the stretching class in the AM was very good. He actually seemed to be trying to help people. Usually the buff guys that lead these classes just go through the motions. Things that we Did NOT LIKE: (1) Food in the main dining room and the Windjammer. Pathetic stuff, for the most part. (2) The absolute "No Liquor Allowed" policy for anything brought on board. Princess wins hands down in that they allow you to bring essentially as much wine or champagne on board as you want. Also, prices for drinks and bottles of wine on Navigator were a total rip-off. Hence, we bought less. (3) No lotion in the cabin. (4) No laundromats available. You can wash you clothes at reasonable cost on Princess ships. That means you can pack smaller and lighter. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
My wife and I have just returned having cruised for a week in the Eastern Med on Navigator of the Sea's. I have to say that over all we enjoyed the cruise but there were a few things which I thought could have been better. ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned having cruised for a week in the Eastern Med on Navigator of the Sea's. I have to say that over all we enjoyed the cruise but there were a few things which I thought could have been better. Personally I thought the ship looked a bit tired, carpets and decor need a face lift. I was disappointed with the entertainment. Out of the seven night cruise only two of the shows that we viewed were in my opinion worth watching. On one of the nights they had what they called a visual comedian well sorry but I'm afraid I didn't get it, to be honest I felt sorry for the guy he pulled a few funny faces walked in a funny way and tried a bit of juggling dropping items two or three times. There was other entertainment on the ship in the various bars which consisted of various musicians playing piano or guitar in the background and of course the usual trivia quizzes. My big gripe with RCI is their drinks prices, they are extortionate, $14.95 for two Bacardi and coke is ridiculous. I took a bottle of still water from the mini bar in our room and was surprised to see that I had been charged a 15% gratuity, I served myself for goodness sake! This gratuity thing is a rip-off in my opinion. The ships crew do a fantastic job but RCI do not pay them a proper wage and put pressure on you the holiday cruiser to make up the shortfall. One last thing, when you recieve you final account check it very carefully I found that I was being charged $50 for two towels they said had not been returned I went to customer services and sorted the matter out easily enough but it should'nt have happened in the first place. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was my first ever cruise although some members of our party had cruised before. My state room on deck 7 had a balcony and was adequate for our 12 year old, my wife and I. Others in our party had a state room which overlooked the ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise although some members of our party had cruised before. My state room on deck 7 had a balcony and was adequate for our 12 year old, my wife and I. Others in our party had a state room which overlooked the central promenade, which was ok but the inside room without windows was dismal. Once on board the first call was for life boat drill which seemed quite chaotic, very hot and uncomfortable. The centre 'Royal Promenade' seems impressive to start with but you soon realise it's really just overpriced shops selling to captive clientele. When there are activities or shows this area becomes jam-packed and it is very difficult to see or enjoy anything unless you can grab one of the view points higher up. Outside the main 2 pool area is usually very crowded and noisy. There are 'fun' activities if you feel like dragging out your orange Speedos and dancing to Aga-do or entering the belly-flop competition (and no I'm not making this up). During our 'At Sea' day there were around 3000 passengers all vying for sun-beds and a dip in the tiny pools. There is an adults only area which has another tiny pool and a couple of hot tubs but don't think you can relax here either. On a positive note I found solace in the excellent gym and once I had my IPod plugged in I could watch the world go by with a view out of the windows. My son loved the Adventure Ocean no parents allowed teen hang out areas and would disappear for hours to 'hang-out'. Our first port was Messina (Sicily) where we joined the tour bus to Mount Etna and Taormina. Both good choices with a knowledgeable guide. Then on to Athens where we made our own way to the Acropolis and the Parliament building but we wouldn't choose to return here. Ephusus in Turkey was next but we chose the full on detailed guide and found the depth of information and the heat overwhelming, this was followed by a trip to a carpet shop, enough said. Finally we stopped in Souda Crete making our own way to Chania on the local bus which stops next to the ship. Unfortunately we were not in port long enough to fully enjoy this very pretty town. Back on board the Windjammer buffet restaurant has an impressive and well presented selection of food but was very busy with lots of families and a fair amount of pushing and shoving often difficult to find a table. We chose the Coppelia dining room and the assigned early (6 p.m.) sitting. The waiters were fantastic, attentive without being overpowering but the food was mediocre and sparse with little in the way of vegetables. We didn't try any of the other areas as they required extra payments. After dinner we had high hopes for the shows in the main theatre The Metropolis. What a disappointment, the shows here were awful and we were not the only ones to give up and walk out, far better was the Ice Dancing show in Studio B. There is the Casino Royal but this was full of cigarette smoke and slot machine noise. What a relief then to discover Schooners Bar and Phil Anderson on piano, great guy with charm and wit the only downside being the overpriced drinks, but that applied to everywhere onboard. We had a disabled passenger in our group and while everywhere was accessible we found pushing a wheelchair round difficult because of the number of people, especially trying to get into the lifts. Finally, we used the Guest Relations desk a couple of times and they were fine for taking bookings to things but when we approached them with a problem we were experiencing it seemed the default position was to deny any fault or blame on the part of the company. Our issue was resolved eventually but it took some persuading. Overall not a great experience and maybe not one I would wish to repeat. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We boarded the ship at Rome and embarkation was swift and efficient. There was a slight delay in being let into the staterooms but we were able to find our way around the ship and fight for a table at Windjammers. We had a de luxe outside ... Read More
We boarded the ship at Rome and embarkation was swift and efficient. There was a slight delay in being let into the staterooms but we were able to find our way around the ship and fight for a table at Windjammers. We had a de luxe outside cabin on deck 6 and found this to be very clean and comfortable. Mariner of the seas had experienced Novo Virus the week before and during our 12 night voyage 26 were taken ill at some stage. My wife suffered an upset tummy on the third night though this was swiftly dealt with by way of injection in sick bay. Even so, we had to cancel our excursion to Athens the following morning! Some of the blame for sickness must lie with the cooking on Mariner. Food in the restaurants was never piping hot and warm food gives rise to bacteria multiplying. In Top hat and tails the food was passable but breakfast in Rhapsody in Blue was far from satisfactory. On four separate occasions I ordered a soft boiled egg: two were delivered hard boiled! i sent them back only to receive 2 undercooked eggs but the 5th was just right. By day eight and without the benefit of an egg timer and complaints to waiters and Maitre d'hotel I finally resorted to Windjammer for self service breakfast! At dinner all passengers are advised that shorts and vests are not allowed yet several were allowed into Top Hat and tails in this dress without challenge. It is also clearly stated that sun beds are not to be reserved and that towells left longer that 1/2 an hour would be removed. needless to say this was copletely ignored and some beds were left unattended for up to 3 hours! Suggested tipping is quite extortionate. Cabin stewards are recommended to receive $10 per person per day:waitresses $3.50 per person per day. Let me put this in context: Over a 12 day voyage my wife and I would have been expected to pay $240 or £160. Would we have left this size tip to the room maid in any hotel? I think not! I have been told that Cunard charge just £40 in tips which is then divided between all staff. Personally I abhor tipping as it is demeaning to passengers and ship's staff. Another reviewer has commented on the high price of drinks and the 15% surcharge. I can only endorse his sentiments. Entertainment could have been better and proved a mixed bag but the Ice show was wonderful. Fortunately we met some wonderful people and enjoyed ourselves in spite of everything. Probably we will sail with Royal Caribbean again but it will not be in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Labadie Arrival at port - crowded, long waiting time. Staff - excellent (head waiter immediately changed our table when requested - other guests did not speak English. Room steward was our best ever. Ports ... Read More
Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Labadie Arrival at port - crowded, long waiting time. Staff - excellent (head waiter immediately changed our table when requested - other guests did not speak English. Room steward was our best ever. Ports - Grand Cayman - tender transfer organised and speedy. Ocho Rios - found private taxi driver outside the port, very good knowledge of the island and reasonable price (took us to fantastic jerk chicken restaurant). Labadie - pleasant day on the beach, bargained for purchases at the stalls (not in the main hall). Food on board - only average, often cold and not as good as other cruises. Biggest complaint - the people who put their towels on the deck chairs at 7.00 a.m. with staff watching and signs up saying it was not allowed. We found the shows overly noisy - not sure if the sound was turned up but we sat upstairs at the back and still couldn't stand it. Ice show was outstanding. Disembark - very well organised and speedy. Overall enjoyed the cruise and great value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was my first cruise. My husband and I spoke about taking one for a while. We actually booked the cruise a bare week before the date of departure to celebrate his 30th birthday. We booked a balcony room. Our overall experience was ... Read More
This was my first cruise. My husband and I spoke about taking one for a while. We actually booked the cruise a bare week before the date of departure to celebrate his 30th birthday. We booked a balcony room. Our overall experience was better than I expected. On Cruise Line Critic I got the impression that the food and customer service were sub par. Our first meal on the cruise did not leave me very hopeful. The lunch served in the Windjammer Cafe shortly before departure reminded me of school lunch. There were cold limp french fries and stale hot dog buns. I was much more impressed with the sit-down dining room. The food in the dining room was mid-level French style food. I did not realize that they completely change the menu every night. To do 10 different entrees and appetizers every night without a noticeable lack if quality was very impressive. Out waiter, Johannson, was a pleasure to have. We did have trouble with customer service. On our second day our tickets for our pre-booked excursions never showed up. We went to the front desk to inquire about it and they said they had no record of our excursions. Our credit card had been charged for them. They told us to rebook our excursions and if they ever found the reservations they would reimburse us for the ones we rebooked on board. There was no talk of reimbursement for excursions we missed because we could not rebook them. There was no apology. They also miraculously found our reservations late on the last night of the cruise when it was too late to do anything about it. I wish that they had had a pool large enough to swim laps in. Most of the hot tubs were very crowded. We did find a hot tub that was nearly deserted and we were happy to use that. I was annoyed that any time we wanted ice in the room, we had to bother someone to get it. Any time we tried to get ice over the phone we never got it. We only got it when we asked for it along with other room service orders. The last few days they started keeping ice in our room so that we wouldn't have to bother anyone. We didn't really partake in any of the on board entertainment, so I don't have an opinion about that. I wanted to take the cruise so that I could lay around on deck reading a book drinking a cocktail. The cruise was very good for that, especially on the last excursion day we had because we stayed on board and the boat was pretty deserted. I was disappointed that they did not have an alcohol package for drinks that were not wine. Our last port of call was very disappointing. It was Labadee, Haiti. We did not realize when we booked the trip that Labadee was a private peninsula owned by Royal Caribbean. It reminded us of Disney Land. Nothing there was "real". It was like an amusement park. Another couple on the cruise with us said that they walked to the far end of the peninsula and that there was a ten-foot high fence covered with barbed wire to keep the starving children on the other side of the fence. It was very sad. I enjoyed cruising enough to go again, but my husband and I don't want to use Royal Caribbean again. Next time we are supposed to have something, we are bringing documentation with us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Although the ship was beautiful and very clean and the crew could not have been more attentive and friendly, there were too many negatives with RCI. Embarkation wasn't too bad although Pier 29 really needs to be updated. We found ... Read More
Although the ship was beautiful and very clean and the crew could not have been more attentive and friendly, there were too many negatives with RCI. Embarkation wasn't too bad although Pier 29 really needs to be updated. We found it a bit strange that the luggage is taken by attendants outside as you pull up with your car. The weather was good but what happens when it rains? Would my luggage get wet? My husband had to drop us off with the luggage and then proceed to the parking garage with our rental which is not near terminal 29. He returned via shuttle about 15 minutes later. we went into the terminal and stood on a line for about 20 minutes or so until we were checked in. The ship is very nicely decorated and not at all offensive like the three Carnival ships we had previously been on. The colors are very appealing. The layout is good and access to the Windjammer right off of the main pool deck is very convenient. Unfortunately, the selection in the Windjammer was the same for breakfast and lunch for the entire cruise. They have several stations on either sides of the restaurant but most of the space is taken up by condiments for burgers and toppings for salads. We expected a better selection and daily variety like we had found on Carnival - Asian stir fry, Mexican, Tai and Indian stations, pasta bar etc. For such a large ship with so much real estate dedicated to the food, the selection was really poor. Although the food was never in short supply, it was either cold (pancakes, french toast, waffles)or too salty to eat. I ate peanut butter on a toasted bagel and oatmeal everyday. My children ate cereal. For lunch, it's the same thing. Too much area dedicated to hamburgers, hot dogs and toppings. Same thing every day. The staff in the Windjammer was super friendly and helpful but it does not make up for the lack of variety or the taste. Carnival has them beat hands down. Our cabin seemed to be the same size overall as the other ships we've been on but the storage on the Carnival ships is much better designed. We traveled with our two children and they slept on the pullout couch. When that is out, it is very tight and it is very difficult to walk around the cabin without asking someone to get out of the way or sit on a bed. We had the bunk beds with Carnival and that really gave us more space. Plus there are two huge drawers under the couch on Carnival that RCI doesn't have. The closets were fine but there are several wire shelves on the inside of the closet that is very difficult to access if your closet is full of hanging clothes. Carnival has a separate closet door for the shelves which is much better. The drawers by the desk are very small and worn. I lined mine with plastic shopping bags before I put anything in them. Our cabin steward was very sweet but everyday we had to ask her for something that she had forgotten when our room was made up. Dining Room - We had the late seating (8:30) and didn't finish eating until after 10. Didn't work work for us with the kids - not RCIs fault. The service was good but the food again was hit or miss. Some of it was pretty good, some of it was actually bad - too salty again, tough cut of steak, over/under cooked pasta. We ate once at the Windjammer for dinner because we just couldn't get excited about our dining experience and we actually enjoyed our meal more. The entertainment was good but not stellar. The juggler was funny and entertained the kids. The ice show was pretty impressive. The live music and dance numbers were good also but I have to be honest, the shows on Carnival were more like productions with better costumes and scenery. Rhythm Explosion by the pool, however, was awesome. We looked forward to them every day. Debarkation was absolutely awful. We had a time of 8:15 but sat in the ice rink freezing for two hours waiting. They blamed customs. The most insane thing was the announcement that everyone could get off of the ship at the same time. So like cattle, everyone moved in same direction toward the gangway. We were on deck 3 so we had to climb up a flight of stairs with carry on luggage. No one could use the elevators. Even seniors who had trouble moving their bags had to go up the stairs. Unacceptable. They were so late that they just wanted everyone off. We didn't get off until 10:30. The lines in customs were unbelievably long and to get to our luggage was ridiculous as it was placed along the lines of people waiting to go through customs. A horrible way to end a vacation. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise because the weather was fantastic and the ports were all beautiful. The crew was very attentive and friendly but again, not enough to make me want to cruise RCI again especially because you are paying a premuium. We know RCI has beautiful ships with lovely decor, and the Royal Promenad is impressive but the food was barely passable at best and for the price, we are willing to deal with the garishness of the Carnival ships. The shops are the same, the chair hogs will be there no matter what ship you're on, mother nature decides the weather and the ports are all gorgeous too. So for the value, we will probably stick with Carnival or try Celebrity next. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Pre-Cruise We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale one day ahead of the cruise. As we exited the baggage claim area at the airport we were approached by a man offering taxi service directly outside the door. He had some kind of taxi ID card, ... Read More
Pre-Cruise We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale one day ahead of the cruise. As we exited the baggage claim area at the airport we were approached by a man offering taxi service directly outside the door. He had some kind of taxi ID card, but no meter in his car, which was a very nice and expensive SUV. I think it was some kind of gypsy cab. The minimum taxi fare from the airport or the port is $10, and he took us to our hotel about three miles away for $18. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on 17th East Causeway, in a king room for $160. This hotel is quite nice and well-located for cruisers. I would rate it a 3-star. It has free Wi-Fi throughout and free computer internet access in the lobby, also a very nice free full breakfast. There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance. This hotel is within walking distance of the entrance to Port Everglades. I would not, however, recommend anyone with luggage try to walk into the port and then to a pier. It is quite a distance from the port entrance to most of the piers, over a mile in some cases. The hotel offers a pier shuttle for $8 per person, but we opted for a taxi which cost $12 to Pier 29, the farthest pier from the port entrance. Embarkation Royal Caribbean recommends cruisers arrive no earlier than 1:00 P. M. We arrived at the pier about 11:30 A. M. and were aboard by Noon after a very smooth process. The only holdup was caused by Royal's silly concerns about people bringing alcohol aboard. In order to reap the most revenue from their customers, they insist upon thoroughly checking every carry-on bag that appears to have liquids during the x-ray process. Our carry-ons and those of many others were hand searched by very poorly trained staff. They permitted our sodas through, and insisted on shaking bottles of sodas and water in other travelers' bags. They also broke a wheel off the bag of a person preceding me by mishandling the bag. Some people had liquor and beer taken, for return on the last night of the cruise. After rummaging through my stuff, the security person was unable to repack my back, which I had to do before I could move on to the actual embarkation process. I find this kind of niggling a real nuisance. There is no safety reasons for it, just greed. Once aboard ship we headed to the Windjammer buffet for lunch. As promised, the staterooms were opened to passengers promptly at 1:00 P. M. The Cabin We stayed in room 8550, a balcony cabin and a one-category upgrade to E1 from our E2 Guarantee. The cabin and balcony were smaller than expected. The 13 year-old decor seems quite dated, as does that of the hallways. The room appeared to have a hideabed, and it had a TV and a small refrigerator, which didn't cool well. There was plenty of storage. The balcony had a full roof overhead. The cabin was quite clean. The bathroom included a very tiny circular shower with curved doors. This shower is not meant for large people or those with any kind of movement restrictions. Only a small person could bend over in this shower. The balcony door was extremely hard to move and was unlubricated. It seemed to have a bend in the middle of it. Maintenance cleaned the track somewhat and showed us how to lean into the door to offset the bend in the door, making it a little less painful to open and close it. The stateroom was very well sound insulated. We never heard even a peep from any adjacent cabins. Our room was hot when we boarded, but cooled down fine the first night. The next day the temperature kept rising all day. The maintenance staff was able to fix the cooling and it worked fine thereafter. Our cabin steward, Valerio, was very pleasant and eager to please, but didn't seem to understand some of our requests, despite our giving them to him in writing. He said he was unable to remove the mini-bar stuff, so we moved it to one of the closets. He did provide extra pillows and an eggcrate pad for the mattress, which was quite comfortable once the pad was installed. He was very diligent about working around our schedule to make sure our room was kept clean and well-stocked. Muster Drill The muster drill was held before the ship set sail and everyone was required to attend. Due to the recent Costa cruise ship accident the passengers seemed to pay very close attention to the information without the usual talking and goofing around. Passengers were shown how to use life jackets, but were not required to put one on. The Ship Overall this is a very nice ship, with a good design for the common areas, especially the Royal Promenade, or Centrum, which is several stories high and covers the center of the ship for quite a distance. This Centrum features a music party starting at 10 P. M. on some nights. The is really good fun and is very entertaining. The noise and commotion cannot be heard in the outside cabins. But, those inside cabins which face this area should expect to enjoy this spectacle when it is happening. The commons areas are very beautiful, well maintained, and do not look dated. Some parts of it are hard to navigate due to the design, but overall it works well. There is no outdoor movie screen, which was fine with me, as I find this feature to be too noisy and distracting. The large gym includes a great deal of cardio equipment, weight machines and many free weights. It was bright and well-lit and kept very clean. There are walking and running areas on the ship, and provisions for almost every type of sport or exercise, including rock climbing, inline skating and ice skating (skates & helmets provided). The Internet Cafe has no one attending it at most times, doesn't work well, and sometimes doesn't work at all. Various pricing plans are available. Cruise Critic Meet & Greet The Cruise Critic Meet & Greet was kind of fun during the first sea day. Some of the stuff was kind of silly, but about what we expected, and it distracted us from worrying whether or not my tux would be repaired in time for the evening's dinner. The Food The food is good, but nothing special. Serving sizes in the Main Dining Rooms are on the small side. We had traditional fixed-time dining and had requested a table for eight. On the first night our assigned table, as well as several nearby tables, was occupied by a large tour group. We were then moved to a large table at the entrance to the dining room without tablemates. The next and following nights we were seated at a table for eight with charming tablemates. The wait staff was friendly and quite attentive to our needs during the balance of the cruise. The casual dining is on the Lido deck. Inside is the buffet which consisted of a large variety of food of all types and ethnic regions available, with few repetitions. There is also outside a pizzeria and a grill with hamburgers and so forth. All of this food was good, and served at the proper temperature, but again, not excellent. If you want a Heineken beer, you won't find it on Princess. Unlike the rest of the world they don't sell it, so bring your own in your main luggage. The Casino The casino is equipped with all of the usual games. There were a couple of welcome nights when the casino was smoke-free. Otherwise it was very smoky, which seemed to spread to other parts of the Promenade Deck. Captain's Reception Crown & Anchor Society members (previous cruisers on RCI) were invited to a reception which took place in the ice arena studio. Staff were introduced and pitches were made for future cruises and excursions. Complimentary munchies and bad drinks were served. If you want a beer or a decent drink, it is "not available" unless you insist upon it, at which point it will become "available". Cozumel The ship docks at a newer pier, near nothing of interest, about two miles ($7 cab fare) from the center of Cozumel, where the tender pier and the bulk of the stores are located. We saw no evidence of past years' hurricane damage. Several empty storefronts in the downtown made it appear that the commerce formerly located downtown is starting to migrate toward the new cruise docks. And, there is a Senior Frog's 1/2 tiki bar, some snorkel and dive shops, and some souvenir stores adjacent to the pier inside an enclave which appears to be owned by the cruise lines. We taxied into the main area and purchased a few items and returned to the ship. As always, the same items for sale in the oceanfront stores are offered for much less a few steps down the side streets. Grand Cayman Our stop in Grand Cayman was scheduled for 11 A. M. to 6 P. M. Grand Cayman is a tendering port, and the tendering was slowed considerably by ocean swells. Passengers not signed up for a shore excursion must report to a lounge and get tender tickets, on a first-come, first-served basis. We were given tickets for tender number 12. The tender numbers are called in order, but the announcements can only be heard in the public areas, not in the cabins. We finally got aboard a tender at 1:45 P. M. for the ten-minute ride to the pier. RCI tenders dock at the new tender pier, where the line can profit from the many shops in the pier enclave. The other cruise lines still tender to the other, older, dock which is about a quarter-mile away and across the main street from the bulk of the tourist-oriented shops. From the RCI dock the short walk to the main shopping area is very hot and crowded and fraught with traffic dangers for the unwary tourist. It's best to keep one's head up and pay attention and remember that vehicles drive on the left side of the road. There were five shiploads of cruisers in Grand Cayman during our stay, making for big crowding in the dockside areas. It was very not, as it always seems to be there. The heat coupled with the crowding seemed to put a lot of cruisers in distress. The other lines had many passengers standing in burning sun as they waited in line to return to their ships. We had a very short wait to get a return tender as many cruisers were still coming ashore on tenders due to the earlier delay of the tendering queue. Falmouth, Jamaica This is a new stop for cruise ships, which dock at a two-ship dock built by RCI. It is a beautiful setting in a shallow bay adjacent to an old and quite typically run down Jamaican town. The RCI complex is not quite completely finished, but consists of a large complex of stores, ranging from high-end jewelry to local wood carvings and other craft items. Other shops are still being built. The shop personnel are not supposed to badger the cruisers in the fashion that is typical throughout Jamaica, but they manage to do so nevertheless. The prices inside the gated area are much, much higher than in the town which is directly across the street from pier entrance. There were a lot of police and security people in the old city, along with many merchants, hawkers and runners, all competing for the same customers. Here the Jamaican full court press is very much in evidence. We had a good time interacting with all of these people. For safety reasons, however, I wouldn't advise wandering more than about three blocks in any direction from the RCI entrance. I saw an armed police motorcycle escorting one of the tour trolleys, which seems like a great idea, given past tourist problems in Jamaica. In the days preceding our stop several ships had been diverted to Montego Bay due to high winds. Given the shallow nature of this bay cruisers should anticipate this might be happen with some frequency. While at Falmouth ice skating sessions were available at several times during the day. Labadee, Haiti Having been to Haiti years ago, and seeing it go further downhill in the meantime, my expectations for this port were very low. Labadee, however, is gem of a new port and was the highlight of our cruise. Haiti is a very poor and troubled country and RCI has done a nice job of shielding its cruisers from the poverty, crime and corruption. RCI has leased a peninsula of land which is surrounded by a fence on one side and water on the others. It is totally isolated from the rest of Haiti. Cruisers are not permitted to leave the enclosed area, and Haitians who are not working in the area are not permitted inside the fenced off area. The setting is very pretty in a rather shallow harbor. Many "excursions" are offered, all within the confines of the tourist area. These "excursions" are more in the nature of land and water based activities which one would expect at a park with a beach. There are plenty of restrooms, and a free tram which travels from one end of the area to the other end. RCI provides on-shore meals. There is a lot of shopping activity available in Labadee, with a focus on wood, metal and cloth crafts and artwork. Near the dock there are shops in cement block-type buildings. Further into the port is where the breezes die off, the heat goes up, and the shopping fun really begins, with a lengthy flea market with dozens of open-air huts. All prices are, of course, negotiable, and the sellers seem to ask at least 75% more than they are willing to accept. The star of the show in Labadee is the 2600 foot zipline. The $85 charge includes instruction on a short practice zipline on the ground and transportation up the mountain in open-air trucks and Land Rovers. People of all ages, at least some of whom were in their 80s, seemed to really enjoy it. There is a weight limit of 250 pounds, which is reduced when winds are a factor. This ride takes about least an hour, but only 30 seconds or so involves the actual descent. At the end of the ride passengers are slowed by springs in a somewhat abrupt fashion, and must hang from or pull themselves up by their shoulders for a brief moment. This might prevent people with certain conditions from participating. Other than that, it looks like great fun for one and all. Gratuities The RCI system for gratuities is a hybrid in that passengers can choose to have the ship produce vouchers in set amounts per day for the room steward and the wait staff. The vouchers are then charged to the onboard account of the passenger. Instead of the ship distributing the amounts to the staff, the cruisers are tasked with getting the vouchers to the employees. Disembarking & Heading Home A very good system is used for disembarking. RCI assigns a time for you to leave the ship which is based on the information you provide about your travel connections. If you don't like this time, you can select a different time. You can leave even earlier if you are able to wheel and carry all of your bags without assistance, in which case you do not put any bags outside your cabin on your last night aboard. We opted for a 7:45 A. M. debarking. We were directed to the gangway at 7:50 A. M., collected our bags from the customs area and were in a taxi enroute to the airport at 8: 05 A. M. The taxi meter read $15.30 at the airport. Air Tran had a foul up in their check in process, causing us to drag our bags back downstairs to a one-person desk for checking in. Overall Great fun for a winter getaway. Nice ship, well kept in the common areas and in need of cabins and stateroom areas redecorating. So-so food. Two good new ports. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
My husband and I just returned from the 1/8/12 sailing of the Navigator. We are RCCL diamond members and it has been about two years since we sailed on RCCL, electing to do more Celebrity and Princess cruises. The ship was in good ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the 1/8/12 sailing of the Navigator. We are RCCL diamond members and it has been about two years since we sailed on RCCL, electing to do more Celebrity and Princess cruises. The ship was in good shape--we sailed on it three times before. The crew was great and everyone was friendly and provided excellent service. Our big issue was with the food, especially in the Nutcracker dining room. The food quality was fair to poor at best. The presentation of the food was bad as well--they just slapped it on our plate. One night featured an iceberg wedge salad--ours came with the outside leaves brown and soggy--actually rotten. These salads passed by the person who made them, the chef who inspects them and our waiter. We got the normal apology from the head waiter. Crab Cake appetizer--avoid it. After sending ours away, we learned these are cooked on shore and heated up--they were awful and everyone around us seemed to think so. Dry meat, even when ordered medium rare, was the standard fare for the week. The food quality and taste was much better in the Windjammer buffet. We chose to eat the last four nights in Portofino and Chops...Great service and food and really good wine selection. Lucky for us we can afford this option. It seems that as RCCL builds bigger ships--the food quality has gone done. Nighttime entertainment--they basically had one event per evening and we are late dinner people who hate those pre-dinner shows. They did have an innovative new game developed by a crew member called, "If you know it, Dance it." It was a hoot and we hope to see this spread to other RCCL ships. The audience had a blast. While any cruise is a good cruise, this one was average at best. We won't book on RCCL for a while and will stick to the higher end options of Celebrity and our other favorite lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
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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