602 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

I've been cruising on Royal Caribbean for about 12 years now, and have loved every single cruise. The latest was out of Galveston to the Western Caribbean and while the ship does have some fantastic amenities, I was a little ... Read More
I've been cruising on Royal Caribbean for about 12 years now, and have loved every single cruise. The latest was out of Galveston to the Western Caribbean and while the ship does have some fantastic amenities, I was a little disappointed in the level of attention the crew gives the passengers now. I am accustomed to being able to sit just about anywhere on the ship, on deck by the pool or in the theatre waiting for a show to begin, and having someone come by carrying a tray of interesting tropical drinks already made-up to choose from or to take and bring you your drink order. This cruise, they pushed the drink package really hard on the first day, so I purchased one only to find they now have instead of 10 or so waiters walking around the deck at any given time, just one or two, leaving you to have to go to the bar and wait in line and then only one or two of the bars would be open, and only one or two bartenders making drinks. This really put a damper on the fun times. The drink package is really very expensive and in order to get your money's worth, you really have to drink a lot. I just can't drink that much. I'll never get another drink package again unless the prices come down drastically. Also, there were no headliners in the theatre this time around, but the entertainment was well performed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My frame of reference for this cruise was a cruise in 2013 on Norwegian Pearl to Alaska. Right off the bat the first thing I can tell you was the Service on RC didn't seem anywhere near the level we got on Norwegian. It did get better ... Read More
My frame of reference for this cruise was a cruise in 2013 on Norwegian Pearl to Alaska. Right off the bat the first thing I can tell you was the Service on RC didn't seem anywhere near the level we got on Norwegian. It did get better as the week went on and there were parts of five star service mixed with zero stars along the way. Perhaps thats a reflection overall of management but staff on Norwegian just seemed happy. Staff on RC for the most part did not. Embarkation: An absolute nightmare in Galveston. Waited in line 2 hours with 4 kids. They clearly did not have enough staff and the entry was not attended and we counted 100s of folks that would skip the line when they were not looking. It was chaotic to even figure out if you were in the right line until you made it inside the building. My suggestion is to skip the "assigned" time they give you and either come early or late. Once on board: not enough staff to help direct you. Apparently they were handing out lanyards for the kids but only on Promenade deck. By time we got there it was drill time so they told us to come back afterwards only there was nobody there and nobody seemed to know if they would return. Ended up having to pay $7 for 4 lanyards, two of which broke two days in. They should have notified us at check in where to take care of the kids stuff right away. FYI being your own lanyards for your kids sea passes. Luggage: Actually I was shocked how quickly most of the luggage was by our door. That is with exception of my husband's. We kept asking and kept being told of they will deliver it by 7. by 9:15pm when it still had not shown up we got a call that he had to go down to Deck 1 to retrieve it. When he got there they were rude and insisted that he had an iron in his luggage. He had absolutely nothing in there and proved it to them. There was a retired general that apparently was in the same situation and he gave them an earful. Get better scanners. We had another member of our family's luggage also detained for no reason. Drink packages: I was basically sent on a wild goose chase to order drink packages for the kids. They didn't appear to have stations set up like the Norwegian did right away that made sign up easy. I asked multiple people and got a different answer every time I asked. Finally waited in line at the bar and signed up at the bar after holding up other people in line wanting drinks. Trying just to get a bottle of water was difficult. The bar tenders at multiple bars were rude if you were not there to order mixed drinks. I paid $19/day for the upgraded drink package and you should not have to wander around trying to find water. The best places I did find was at Starbucks when I would get my morning coffee, or the windjammer bar BUT having to sign a zero pay receipt every single time was annoying. We paid for the drink package so it would be easier. It would be nice to have at least a machine or little kiosk dedicated to drink package so you could get a soda or bottle of water more easily. I finally started tipping the Starbucks guy extra so that they would allow more than one bottle. Unless you drink a specialty coffee, the fresh squeezed OJ and a smoothie ever day of your trip the package may not be worth it. I didn't drink much soda but did have coffee and OJ everyday and tried to get my two bottles of water a day. Food: Windjammer-this place like any of the common free eating spaces was packed and the food seemed to try to be too much to everyone. I would have preferred the staples each day like the salad bar but a theme for each day like Italian pasta bar or Mexican day. Often times hard to find a seat. When asked about Gluten free options like bread even though there was a sign they seemed to have no clue. They needed more obvious choices for GF. There didn't seem to be any other options for casual breakfast and dinner. On the Norwegian we had several different places that we could go. I don't think I saw them set up lunch ever on the pool deck like we had with our previous cruise. We had main dining room every evening. Again my issue was mainly with GF options especially for dessert. A staple should be a flourless chocolate cake which was available every day on the Norwegian Pearl. The creme brûlée ended up being the go to for this trip but the rest of desserts labeled GF were really not very good at all. For entrees it as easier and I stuck mostly to fish which for the most part was pretty good. Our wait staff- two of the three were phenomenal and one was horrible. We would fight over who got the good waiter's table every evening (we had a family group of 25). The same horrible waiter at end of the week kept insisting that we give the staff high marks and told us that if we didn't it would reflect poorly on the other two. Not wanting the other two to suffer we agreed to give them the best marks but its ridiculous that we were not able to evaluate him separately from the other to. He really had no business dealing with people, and he certainly had a lot of gall to insist that we give him high marks. Izumi- by far the best meal of the trip. Service was outstanding and so was the food and the view. Wish I had discovered before the last night! They did run out of edamame though so we didn't get any. Thought that was a bit weird. Food in the Cafe on the Promenade was nothing that was GF for me but the kids enjoyed picking up snacks. All in all for that many people they needed more options for breakfast and dinner to spread the people out from the Windjammer. Ship: The ship is beautiful and probably is the best part of the trip. I loved the open Promenade. You don't feel like you are always on a ship and feels like you have space to move if you need it. Norwegian Pearl was very compartmentalized and claustrophobic at times. RC has done a great job in designing their ships. There was plenty for the kids to do from putt putt, climbing wall, ping pong, arcade. They didn't have any interest in the kids program because they didn't have the best experience on Norwegian with that. I think RC probably does a better job with the kids program from what I could tell and I wish they would have given it a try. I loved the big screen TV by he pool but they were still showing Christmas movies for some reason even though we were two weeks into January. The best show was the comedy show which was high caliber entertainment. Never could figure out how to get tickets to the skating show although the kids would have loved it. They did ice skate and had a good time. The other salute to broadway show we saw was pretty bad with exception of the lead singer. I have seen better hight school productions. The other comedy show was pretty decent. Overall the entertainment was better than the Norwegian. Rooms: I thought the room (balcony) was really nice and a little bigger than what we experienced with Norwegian. The AC never really could figure out how to work right and it was a little stuffy and you can't really just open the door on the balcony without creating a wind tunnel. Plenty of room though for our two suitcases and to put all my clothes away. I also thought the shower was really nice. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperative leaving the Gulf of Mexico and we had 10 foot swells the first day at sea. Not a lot to see on the Balcony except waves crashing! The bed vibrated for two days which made it difficult to sleep. Also the pillows were so flat. Ended up with a backache every day I think from the bed. We had the kids across the hall in an interior four bunk room and they had a decent amount of space for them to retreat to. Our room attendant was really nice and one of the few on the ship with good customer service. Leaving the Ship: Again another total disaster. Not enough staff to help regulate the lines. We showed up at our appointed time and ended up waiting on a pile of luggage for over an hour just to get off the ship. People were cutting in lines again and we had folks that came off the elevator 45 minutes after we did disembark the same time we did. They have got to figure out a better system for this! Customs in Galveston was actually a breeze and for one was happy when the pushy non us citizens got a bit of Karma and had to wait in the longer non citizens lines. Earlier they had basically shoved one of my kids out of the way to get off the ship. People say Americans are rude but my experience was the opposite on this trip. Maybe Texans are just more friendly, polite and follow the rules. All this being said we are giving RC another shot in September with Allure of the Seas in Europe. I do love their ships and hoping for a better level of customer service next time.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our overall experience was good, but the cruise was a bit underwhelming. Getting from the airport in Houston to the cruise terminal takes about 1.5 hours and is very expensive ($150-200 one way). This added a lot to our budget ... Read More
Our overall experience was good, but the cruise was a bit underwhelming. Getting from the airport in Houston to the cruise terminal takes about 1.5 hours and is very expensive ($150-200 one way). This added a lot to our budget unexpectedly. There were long line ups at embarkation even though the cruise line tried to stagger visitor arrival. We had a nice aft balcony cabin (we booked a guarantee room), and a great cabin steward. We had spectacular service in the main dining room. Food overall was good, but we found food at the Windjammer buffet was routine. Overall service was slow there and tables not cleared quickly enough and it closed from 3-5 pm. Coke cards were pretty pricey at $150. The food at the Chophouse and Giovanni's was very good, worth the price. The design of the ship with the central "street" was good for getting everyone together. Music was good with live bands playing somewhere all night. Entertainment was some of the best we have seen, with high quality production shows, a parade, a 70's dance night, an ice spectacular on the skating rink, late-night comedians and The Quest, a hysterical audience participation show you won't believe. The ship has a free Flowrider, rock wall and mini-putt. The ship was clean and never felt crowded. There were always deck chairs available and the adults-only pool area was tranquil and calm. Disembarkation went smoothly as did the transfer back to the airport. In summary, it was a good cruise, but we felt that the cruise line was cutting back a bit (limited dining hours, no toilettries, etc). Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Navigator of the Seas, December 21 – 28, 2014 Route: Seven day cruise: Galveston-Cozumel-George Town-Falmouth-Galveston. 1. General Comments: A pleasant Christmas cruise. We are regular cruisers and were last on this ship in August. ... Read More
Navigator of the Seas, December 21 – 28, 2014 Route: Seven day cruise: Galveston-Cozumel-George Town-Falmouth-Galveston. 1. General Comments: A pleasant Christmas cruise. We are regular cruisers and were last on this ship in August. Purpose of this cruise was to just RELAX. We booked a junior suite on the ninth deck. Details below. We also used “My Time Dining,” and it worked despite a hiccup (below). The entire top level of the three level dining room was for this type of dining. We had the same wait staff for the entire week. Ordering “gifts” on the RCL website for the cruise were hit-and-miss. First, orders cannot be made totally on-line. You look at the website and either phone an 800 number, or print off an order form and fax it to RCL. Our order for a bottle of champagne to be served in the dining room on a specific day worked perfectly. Our order for a two-foot tall Christmas tree from the flower section of the website went no-where. In my first phone call, the clerk could not bring up the item on her computer screen. She finally gave up and told me to try later. In my second call a few days later, a different clerk was able to bring up the tree on his screen, but then he put me on hold. On his return, he told me the tree was “sold out.” Our cruise agent was equally unsuccessful to make an order. Our assumption is that the little tree was not available in Galveston, and RCL just did not want to admit that it could not supply it. 2. Embarking: We left our Galveston hotel at 10:30. Despite detour traffic throughout downtown due to a walk/race in progress, dropping my wife and bags at the terminal, parking the car, taking a shuttle, getting through security, and checking in, we were on board around 12:15 and in our cabin by 1pm. Suitcases appeared at our door before 2pm. 3. The Navigator of the Seas: The junior suite is the way to go. Plenty of space, and plenty of storage space, including a walk-in closet. Suitcases fit well under the bed. A tub shower in the bathroom. The cabin has a small safe and a small refrigerator (never used it). There is a TV that receives movies, CNN (International only), ESPN, shipboard activities, and other channels. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are very few announcements on the PA system. While you get a daily planner, there is no newspaper. You have to get your news from the TV. It takes a while to get a handle on what is where on the ship. Maps and interactive “help” panels are at each elevator lobby. There is a large children/teens area and programs for them. 4. Meals: Food in the Windjammer buffet - which almost everyone uses for breakfast and lunch - is good. There are plenty of choices at both meals, and you can eat as much or as little as you want. It is a bit hurried, though, and not a place for a slow meal. The dining room’s food was good but not imaginative. The Christmas turkey dinner was fine, but certainly nothing special. We only used the dining room for dinner, although it is available with open seating at breakfast and lunch. Food portions are of respectable size, and if you don’t try to eat all the courses everyday, you should not do bad weight-wise. Wine steward duties were handled by our assistant waiter. This meant having to tell him what we wanted by the item number on the wine menu. Arranging My Time Dining on-line was a pain. For the longest time, the dining page on the RCL website did not work. The website posted an apology; even our cruise agent was only told that there were “computer problems.” Only on December 10 was our agent able to get My Time Dining time for us – 6:30 – as our requested time of 7PM was not available (!). We were advised to try to change the time after boarding. We did, and the staff person handling the times very quickly and efficiently adjusted our reservations to the closer time of 7:15. That this could not be handled on-line remains a puzzle. We had made reservations on-line for the Izumi specialty restaurant. A very pleasant meal with good tempura and sushi. There are other food outlets around the ship as well as a goodly number of bars including a pub, and a wine shop. You cannot go hungry or thirsty. 5. Dressing for meals: For this seven day trip it was two formal, and all the rest casual. Formal attire for men appears to be defined by age: seniors are in tuxes or suits; next generation is in jackets and maybe a tie; youngest generation is in pants, shirt, and tennies. Maybe it’s time for RCL to drop the “formal” category. 6. Fellow Passengers: As this was a Christmas cruise, the ship was full (over 3,500 passengers). There were many large multi-generation family groups, both from the US and Latin America. There were a few announcements reminding parents they were responsible for their children’s behavior, indicating there were some issues. 7. Shore Excursions: A word of advice: make your shore excursion reservations on-line! Otherwise you will either have to use the not-so-user-friendly on board TV system to make your reservations or stand in line at the excursion counter. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don’t need the ship’s tour office. RCL’s tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through RCL, you have support when there is a problem, eg, the ship will wait for you if the tour is delayed. As the captain announced, “Be on time. If you are not, you will be able to take that rare photo of the departing ship.” As we have been to these ports before, we only poked around the pier areas and otherwise enjoyed the quiet ship. We were six ships in Cozumel, and we were another six ships anchored at George Town. George Town was especially crowded with cruise passengers. We were the only ship in Falmouth. 8. Shipboard entertainment: The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes including the surf rider, the rock climbing wall and the ice skating rink. We did not see any of the shows. The casino was of good size and the payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship’s photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. There are various venues for night owls. Sing-alongs with Phil Anderson in the Schooner Bar are always popular with C&W fans. The former separate library and card room are now merged into one, resulting in many card and domino games being played and very few books on the shelves. Want to read on this ship? Bring your own material. 9. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts (for cabin steward, waiter, asst waiter, and head waiter). The amounts are charged to your shipboard account, and the tips are taken care of electronically with the staff. If you use My Time Dining, you will be billed the full tip amount when you book your cruise. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings you room service. Your bar bill automatically adds 15 percent. 10. Settling of Accounts: During your cruise, anything you purchase on board is punched into a computer; you sign one copy of the ticket and you receive a copy. You can track your account on the ship’s TV channel. On Sunday morning you receive a paper final statement of your account. 11. Disembarking: On Saturday you will receive luggage tags with numbers. You also receive a sheet of paper telling when that number will be called for disembarking and where you have to be waiting in order to hear the announcement when your number can leave the ship. Your bags have to be out by 11PM, breakfast is early, and you have to be out of your cabin by around 8:30 and in your designated waiting area. Again, you will only hear the announcements in the waiting areas. This cruise turned out to have the fastest disembarkation we have ever gone through in Galveston. We left our departure waiting lounge at 8:40 (20 minutes early) and were out of the customs and immigration hall with our bags at 9:20. We drove out of the parking lot at 9:35. Texas Taxes: After going through immigration and customs, we did stop at the Texas TABC table to declare our one bottle of booze. We paid $3.75 ($3 administrative fee and 75 cents tax), received a tax sticker for the bottle and were on our way. 12. If anyone has questions, send me an e-mail at LTC519@satx.rr.com. Fred Groth San Antonio, TX   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our second cruise out of Galveston. If you are not from Texas this port is very expensive to go through. We live in Indiana, we flew into IAH airport. Getting to the Galveston terminal from IAH is very expensive. After checking ... Read More
This was our second cruise out of Galveston. If you are not from Texas this port is very expensive to go through. We live in Indiana, we flew into IAH airport. Getting to the Galveston terminal from IAH is very expensive. After checking all of the options, we rented a car and had to pay to leave it at the terminal, cost for all was approximately $300. The shuttle and limos were the same amount. The Diamond Club on the Navigator is the best we have experienced during our short time of being Diamond Club members. The staff was wonderful! The bartender makes the best lemon drop martinis!! The appetizers were delicious. Having three drinks added to our sea pass card every day was a new experience for us. These drinks could be used in most places on the ship during the hours of 4:30 pm to 8 pm. Very nice! We enjoyed the people we met in the diamond lounge area, we usually stayed there until dinner. The food in the dining room was probably the best we have had on a cruise for a while. We were going to take our daughter and son-in-law to one of the specialty restaurants, but our kids said the food was so good in the dining room, why spend the extra money. The wait staff in all of the food areas were very friendly and efficient. The windjammer on the first day was a crazy place. My advice would be to avoid the place on the first day. We weren't traveling with children, so this is probably why the windjammer wouldn't be our choice. For the same reason, we chose to have breakfast in the main dining room each morning. Disembarkation was an ugly disaster!! The lines were very long and slow. This was a very disappointing way to end our trip. Galveston really needs to get their act together. Waiting in line for 2 hours was way past reasonable.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
It seems RCI is lowering their standards to compete with other lines. Having cruise multiple times with Royal I and my traveling companions were disappointed with the main dining room menu selection. For example there was a time when Royal ... Read More
It seems RCI is lowering their standards to compete with other lines. Having cruise multiple times with Royal I and my traveling companions were disappointed with the main dining room menu selection. For example there was a time when Royal had a surf and turf night and other specialties in the main dining room, no more. This has now been added as an extra with the extra cost. We ate in the specialty restaurant, Chops, a couple of nights and it was excellent as usual. But I don't appreciate being directed to eat there by the lack of choice in the main dining room menu to eat at the specialty restaurants. The wait staff on the pool deck was practically non-existent for most of the cruise. Royal's crew members were using the passenger elevators and Royal Promenade for moving luggage carriers during peak hours. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Nicely redone Public Areas and Rooms - a lot more inside cabins added - which makes me wonder if Royal Caribbean is now trying to compete with Carnival? Note we were very comfortable in our cabins. Food in the Restaurants and Windjammer ... Read More
Nicely redone Public Areas and Rooms - a lot more inside cabins added - which makes me wonder if Royal Caribbean is now trying to compete with Carnival? Note we were very comfortable in our cabins. Food in the Restaurants and Windjammer were a mixed bag - I have found on Princess and Norwegian lines the food was better. Surprised that the Windjammer dining closed early every night - even when we had ports of call - only option then was the cafe on the Promenade - deserts across the board were some of the most lacking along with many of the entrees. Coffee and soups were either good or watered down. Had a smoked chicken appetizer that was sensational. Surprised there weren't more classes - given that it was a holiday cruise - would have been nice to be able to tour the kitchen or have a gingerbread challenge or even pottery painting. Thought I might try the scuba as a first experience but was told that it was an internet pre-register only - no exceptions. Should note there was plenty of holiday music. Got a lot of exercise walking on the track on the top and outside on lower decks, took the stairs, did the flow rider and while I didnt use it - seemed to be a very nice gym. Actually lost weight this cruise - no extra pounds. Entertainment was ok to really good - We enjoyed in particular the Ice Dancin, Broadway, and TheseGuys shows. The Photo Manager and the woman handling all of the omelette requests in the Wind Jammer were really good as were other staff - never saw a feedback from (even asked at guest services who referred me to the after cruise evaluation) - later my wife came across something as we were disembarking we could have used. The one thing that surprised us most - was the spirit of I cant do it. As two examples Waiters who said they had no ability to impact food temperature or specific requests "officially" - for some may have been trying to increase a tip - but for others it was different such as in the Wind Jammer. Guest Services suggested the best way to get something was to go to Captains reception and ask one of the officers - requests were to tour the kitchen or possibility of a pastry class.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We just completed the the Carib loop on the Navigator of the Seas and our general opinion was that the ship is definitely up to the usual RC standards. The food on the cruise was quite good and of very fresh character. The staff was ... Read More
We just completed the the Carib loop on the Navigator of the Seas and our general opinion was that the ship is definitely up to the usual RC standards. The food on the cruise was quite good and of very fresh character. The staff was polite and helpful and ship in general was exceptionally clean. Our cabin was well outfitted and everything therein worked well. There were very few complaints in our group and certainly no major problems. The Navigator has undergone a recent refurbishment, and while the ship basically looks new, it is from a generation where RC was still refining the layout designs. One obvious flaw is layout of the Solarium (our usual adult refuge) where the cross deck traffic goes right through the semi private area. So while kids are excluded from this area there are the occasional noisy group that pass through on their way to the central pool area. Another minor glitch is the abismal onboard internet. With a towering cost in excess of $200 for a one week access it is only slightly faster than dial-up, so get ready for emails with attachments that won't open and super slow searches. Other than the minor issues we would certainly recommend the Navigator as a great place to spend a vacation!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Hubby and I have been trying out different cruise lines to see which ones we liked best and find things on everyone we like!! The Navigator was no different we enjoyed ourselves. Especially like the entertainment in the piano bar along ... Read More
Hubby and I have been trying out different cruise lines to see which ones we liked best and find things on everyone we like!! The Navigator was no different we enjoyed ourselves. Especially like the entertainment in the piano bar along with the attentiveness of the bartenders there. Rooms are nice a little larger than some. Bathrooms a little smaller but they work even the shower that reminded me of a old telephone booth or something... Embarkment was very poor. At least 3 very long slow lines it took about 3 hrs totally unacceptable. Thankfully getting off was a breeze. All in all we had fun Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our third cruise. The second with Royal. We chose it because the ship had just been refurbished and the itinerary was to ports that we hadn't visited before. We flew in to Houston and took the transfer to the port. Bus ride ... Read More
This was our third cruise. The second with Royal. We chose it because the ship had just been refurbished and the itinerary was to ports that we hadn't visited before. We flew in to Houston and took the transfer to the port. Bus ride is about an hour depending on traffic. Embarkation process was very smooth and efficient. The ship is an attractive vessel. It's well laid out and easy to navigate. There were a few problems on the ship. The elevators get very crowded and slow during busy times. The Royal Promenade is a gathering place for shops, bars and onboard activities. It's almost impossible to get through this area during sales, raffles and other activities. During the final sale it reminded me of scenes from Black Friday shopping. The crew was generally friendly and helpful. Although this is the first cruise that we have been on where some crew members don't greet passengers as they pass. In some cases they didn't return greetings. The food was average. The service in the main dining room was excellent. We were on My Time Dining and our waiters, Elias and Agnelo were terrific. We did have an unpleasant experience in Chops Grille. We arrived early and apologized. Another couple came up behind us. The host said, "Please step to the side so I can seat people who have the 'correct' reservations." The other couple happened to have the same reservation time that we did, so he had to seat us. He chose a table right in front of the food distribution area. It was very hot and noisy. (Almost like we were being punished for coming early.) Our waiter was kind enough to move us to a table that wasn't as noisy or hot. My filet was tasteless. All in all, an unpleasant experience. We did ship sponsored shore excursions in both the Caymans and Jamaica. In the Caymans we took a catamaran, the Cockatoo, to Stingray City and got in the water with stingrays. It was a great experience. The crew was great. In Jamaica, we rafted down the Martha Brae River. It was also a very enjoyable trip until the raft captain showed us "hand carved" Calabasas shells that he had for sale. We declined and the rest of the trip was a little frosty. Strangely, every raft captain has identical carvings. Entertainment on the ship was great. We really enjoyed the Ice Dancing show. A minor point that was an irritant to us is the inflexibility of the photo staff. We had out picture taken boarding and at a couple of ports. When we went to purchase the photos, we found that unless you buy the expensive package, you are extremely limited in terms of what is available. For example, the boarding photo is only available in 8x10. we didn't want a photo that size so we couldn't buy it. Disembarkation was as smooth as boarding. This was our first and last cruise out of Galveston. As the Cruise Critic review states, most of the passengers are from Texas. Most of them seem to drive to the port. Flying in to Houston and busing to Galveston is just not convenient. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Service was excellent everywhere. The crew goes out of their way to be friendly ad accommodating. The ship itself is amazing and beautifully maintained. If you are a drinker, make sure and buy "UP" - the Ultimate Package. All ... Read More
Service was excellent everywhere. The crew goes out of their way to be friendly ad accommodating. The ship itself is amazing and beautifully maintained. If you are a drinker, make sure and buy "UP" - the Ultimate Package. All premium alcohol is included, as is Starbucks coffee. At $9-11 USD per drink, you don't have to be a lush to get value from this package. Now the weaknesses: 1. Internet. Horribly slow and grotesquely expensive. If you need Internet, buy the unlimited package. I bought two one hour packages and wasted my money. It can take 15 minutes to log on ad just download some email. 2. Restrooms. They didn't build enough in the public areas. Usually lines in both men's and woemn's. 3. Food in the dining rooms. It is just "OK," nothing special, and feels mass-produced as it is. I actualy found the food in the coffee shop (next to Starbucks) to be the most consistent. The sushi bar is also excellent (but it is a la carte.) 4. Itinerary. I have been on many cruises and generally stay on the ship now. That is especially true in Roatan, Belize and Cozumel -- all not worth the time unless you are going on a tour to do something you like. Otherwise, nothing worth seeing in these places. Overall, I would rate the experience "good," but always leave cruises wondering why I didn't just find a 4 or 5-star all-inclusive and spend less time traveling and more time relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This is a quick recap of our 2nd consecutive Thanksgiving Cruise on the Navigator. We submitted a review of the previous cruise here: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=245331 We had such a good time that ... Read More
This is a quick recap of our 2nd consecutive Thanksgiving Cruise on the Navigator. We submitted a review of the previous cruise here: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=245331 We had such a good time that we decided to do a repeat and invite extended family to join us. In many, many respects our shipboard experience could not have been more similar, including the mediocre weather and the missed call at Grand Cayman as a result. Both were great experiences: the shows, the enthusiastic staff, the dining and the lounge entertainment were equally wonderful. What made this experience different for us was travelling with extended family, changes made to the Navigator during recent refurb and our choice of shore excursions. The opportunity to get together with family was a plus for us, while the changes made to Navigator had overwhelming negative impact. Our shore excursions were very different this time around as they were geared to accommodate ages 15 to 75. First the positives: Having a year to get used to Galveston, the NOTS crew were no longer discombobulated as they were on their first cruise of the season last year, but a broken gangway (one of 2) delayed our embarkation and debark. Our wait staff was awesome: Glen & and assistant waiter Jioa doted over us and made every family dinner an event. The AMD was always present and made sure all of the special dietary requirements of DM were met by presenting her with tomorrow’s menu a day ahead of time so that her meals could be specially prepared. In preparation for China sailings, RCCL has been hiring from China, selecting special crew members such as Jioa who was ALWAYS there at exactly the right time with a gracious smile and whatever we needed. Again, the crew made the most of the opportunity to make Thanksgiving at Sea special when the Cayman call was wiped out, including NFL games on the new Big Screen at the pool. The new flow rider ran flawlessly and was never over crowded. DW thought the removal of the coffee table from the cabin was the biggest improvement as it felt much less cluttered. Perhaps the biggest plus was that we paid $850 less for our two cabins (a D3 balcony and an OV guarantee) – and we booked with almost the exact same lead time (6 weeks out) - and last time kiddos had an inside and this time they had a gigantic window in one of the new cabins on Deck 3. One could argue that the extra capacity installed during the recent refurb (along with NCL and Princess coming to Houston) made this possible, but the extra passengers made the pools, windjammer and promenade feel over-crowded. As to the negatives, one of the two biggies was the plumbing. Both of our cabins had “Bathroom issues.” RCCL defenders will always say it’s something the passengers did – but we had the same issues on two different floors and I doubt that our bathroom “habits” have changed since our last cruise. Most noticeably, several of the public restrooms had a commode or urinal out of order. 23 cruises (including 1 on the Navigator and 4 on her sisters), and this has never happened to us: yet we had it happen 7 times in two cabins including 3 calls from one of the brand new cabins. It would be very difficult to convince me that anything but the extra “butts” were at the root of the problem. I also sincerely doubt that they added any extra bar staff to accommodate the extra passengers after the refurb. It’s also true that more beverage packages are being purchased and it sure seems like RCCL is trying to limit consumption on these packages by limiting service. I gave up trying to get seated service at the casino and the pool and I was not alone. The bars at these areas were SWAMPED – at one point I waited 20 minutes at the bar to get a beer I already paid for! I very much enjoy a glass of wine with my bread and appetizer but did not even see our bar servere until the entrée was served the first two nights. I complained to the Maiter’d and he saw to it to some degree, but even then it was not up to par. This was also an area where my parents were disappointed. They haven’t cruised in 12 years but go to Atlantic City frequently. I put considerable effort in to prepping them for the fact that they would have to pay for drinks in the casino, but they were not pleased at all to have to leave their machine to fetch (and pay for) their own drink at the bar. Fortunately the machines they left did not “hit” while they were waiting, sometimes for as long as 10 to 15 minutes to be served at the bar (and they were not on a package). They also felt the machines were “tight” - but that could just be luck – and the comps are quite pitiful by comparison (a key chain vs a free resort hotel night for the same level of play). We also missed the Dungeon that was replaced by cabins and a Mexican restaurant as well as the back nine of mini-golf course that is was supposed to be where the in-line skating used to be (at least according to the deck plans). No problem with the extra cabins around the Spa, especially since it created more deck space on deck 13 forward: Unsolicited suggestion for RCCL, move the solarium for adults up there and turn the existing solarium in to something for the kiddos as the main pool area was completely over-run. With just two port calls and Grandparents in tow, it was difficult to come up with something that was right for everyone. I feel like we nailed it with Chuka at Falmouth and Chukakannab in Cozumel. Chukka was a jungle mountain resort, with a very lazy river tube ride, zip lines and a nice uncrowded pool. We bought a resort day pass on the dock (that was charged to my sea pass) that included transport and then paid for what we wanted at the resort as we went. Saved a bundle vs the prices on the ship. We had not been to Chukakannab in over 10 years and boy has it grown. Botanical Gardens, sea lion shows and walk in snorkeling for all and Scuba for DS and I, Manatee touch for DW and DD. Just took a cab and paid $22/pp to get in so all could do what they wanted from there. HUGE shout out to the woman at the information desk who recommended Jerry at Booth #3 for scuba. DS and I had never done this and (after a very good, 20 minute orientation) enjoyed our own private experience for over an hour under water that included caves, lobsters and thousands of fish we never would have seen while snorkeling. Just $60/pp (plus a very well deserved tip) to start what might be a very expensive hobby. Too bad Grand Cayman got washed out as we had a nice private charter scheduled for that day. Other random stuff: Pre Cruise we all rendezvoused at the Hampton Inn at the Hobby airport, I flew in from work in Cali, Grandparents and Uncle from NY, and DW and the kids drove up from the border. I originally intended to shuttle everyone to and from there (two 1.5 hr round trips) but in the end I burned some National comp days to park a second car at the pier. Parking rates have gone up due to new surcharges at the pier, but EZ cruise lets you pay less if you walk (after dropping bags at the pier). I love Texas and am proud to call it our home, but they are getting intrusive with what they expect while the ship is in Texas waters (no imported beers served, photo shop closed at 11pm Saturday) plus the duty table on the pier…. None of this is consistent with the business friendly mindset that has allowed Texas to prosper. In summary, we had a great time (even though DS did not win free cruise bingo like he did last time) and feel very blessed to have the opportunity to repeat and share a great experience with our extended family; However, in our opinion, the Navigator is not as good as she was before her $80 million dollar refurb. We’ll wait for a different ship before we cruise RCCL out of Galveston again.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Galveston isn't a hard port to navigate, but it wasn't the easiest one either. The ship is older, but after a refurbish, it looks good. We didn't plan to do much this trip, as we just wanted a getaway, so we didn't do ... Read More
Galveston isn't a hard port to navigate, but it wasn't the easiest one either. The ship is older, but after a refurbish, it looks good. We didn't plan to do much this trip, as we just wanted a getaway, so we didn't do most of the activities. The ice skating show was good, even though I don't like ice skating. Food was average, but plentiful. No midnight buffets and windjammer isn't open late were turnoffs, but didn't ruin anything for us. Giovanni's had good food, but not worth the extra money. Tablemates made dinner fun in the main dining room, but the service and food was just average. We went to Little French Key in Roatan and that was a great place to go for the day. We will definitely go back there again. We used Belize Exotic Adventures in Belize to visit the Baboon Sanctuary and Altun Ha. I would also definitely recommend this company. We only wandered in Cozumel, as we have been there plenty of times. Having 3 sea days was great and never had a problem finding a place to sit. The pool attendants kept taking towels from vacant chairs, which was great. Royal did a good job enforcing their policy of no saving chairs, at least from what we saw. This was a good cruise, but it didn't "WOW" us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Departed Nov 16th for the 7 night cruise, This was the one with the Roatan Honduras, Playa Maya and Cozumel itinerary. Embarkation and parking was a nightmare, worst I have ever seen. Clearly boarding 2 ships is more that Galveston can ... Read More
Departed Nov 16th for the 7 night cruise, This was the one with the Roatan Honduras, Playa Maya and Cozumel itinerary. Embarkation and parking was a nightmare, worst I have ever seen. Clearly boarding 2 ships is more that Galveston can handle. I used port parking and I had prepaid but it was still a traffic jam. I suggest using an off site parking lot, that transports you to the pier, they can get you in and out faster than the port lot. It was raining and we had to stand out in the rain waiting for a shuttle to take us to the ship. Once onboard the ship was nice, and the staff and passengers were friendly, but clearly RCI has cut back on crew and wait staff, getting a drink when we got onboard was impossible and we couldn't find a seat in the windjammer.. We booked this cruise only 1 week before sailing and since its only a 9 hour drive we set out Saturday drove to Houston and got at the port at noon on Sunday. We got our cruise for $298.00 each and had an outside room on Deck 3, We usually have a balcony room but for the price we thought we would "rough" it. The stateroom was of normal size, and layout and actually very convenient. Cant complain about the room or price. This was my first time out of Galveston but I have noticed the price of these cruises are very affordable. This was also my first time to use " my time dining", and I found it very convenient. we had the same waiter every night and seemed to get faster service than those with an assigned time. The food was good but nothing special for a cruise. Windjammer always very busy, and we dined one night in Chops, it was great but had to spring for another 30 bucks each. I would generally say food was a little below what I expected. My wife enjoyed a spa day, I visited the steam room daily, unfortunately it rained on our sea days and only had 2 generally nice days all week, Cant blame that on the cruise, but I heard those who bought balcony rooms complain they couldn't even go out (guess it made my cheap room an even better value.) We did have some extremely good staff at the Boleros Tequila Bar. The cruise directors staff were nice but not out of the ordinary and the entertainment below normal, the special entertainment was better than the onboard folks. Special mention does however go to the Ice Skating crew for a great show. The singer in Schooner bar was so bad I couldn't stand to get a drink there. Decent shopping, nice ship, but nothing special (except Boleros bar and ice skating)!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was the first cruise for my whole family (myself, husband, MIL, and 2 children ages 10 and 8). We flew into IAH and took Galveston Shuttle which was a large SUV to the port. It was a nice vehicle but the driver never said a word to ... Read More
This was the first cruise for my whole family (myself, husband, MIL, and 2 children ages 10 and 8). We flew into IAH and took Galveston Shuttle which was a large SUV to the port. It was a nice vehicle but the driver never said a word to us. Once we arrived it looked confusing and people were everywhere, so we just grabbed our luggage and went to the nearest porter to drop it off. I don't think the people standing around realized you could do it, but I wasn't going to stand around in the heat (we're from Seattle and were already melting!) And even though our check in time was still an hour away, they let us go right in. People were standing around waiting, but if you went up to ask, they let you in. We got checked in fairly quickly. Total time from curb to ship was maybe 30 minutes. We were very impressed with the ship. It was beautiful. The one thing we also were impressed with is that all the staff were so nice to everyone. The food was good most of the time. We would have breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer (if not in port) and dinner in the Sapphire main dining room. Loved the chilled soup appetizers for dinner. Our servers for table 615- Rodrigo and Virgel were awesome! They would do brain teasers with the kids and brought them extra food-making sure they didn't go hungry! We loved playing mini golf, getting some great deals shopping on the last day at sea, and the Ice Dancing show. Views from the Cosmopolitan Club on deck 14 are spectacular and don't miss going out on the peek-a-boo bridge (out of the Solarium on deck 11) and seeing the "bridge" where they drive the ship! We had a few complaints. One was the elevators. Too bad they didn't have any mid-ship, especially since my MIL who is 70 had a hard time getting around the ship sometimes. They only have them in forward and aft and there just isn't enough especially after shows, embarkation and around meal times. The elevators are slow and sometimes would just by-pass the floors. They are also hot and stuffy. And not that it's the cruise lines' fault, but some people were just so rude they would shove their way in front of you to get on the elevators before you could get to it (again, trying to get to an elevator with my 70 year old MIL) The bathrooms on Deck 11 by the restaurants smelled really bad. I don't think they ever changed the diaper pails in the women's restroom. It was bad all week long! And one thing that really annoyed us was on the last day we ordered room service for breakfast to be delivered between 0630 and 0700 since we had to disembark early for a shore excursion to the Houston Space Center- well at 0645 we get a call from room service saying that they don't deliver room service on the last day. It would of been nice to be told that ahead of time, like when we ordered! Or better yet, we shouldn't of been able to order at all! (We ordered on the tv) So we had to scramble to finish getting ready for the day and get something to eat before getting to our meeting place. Again as a first time cruiser, we didn't know this kind of info! Although the pools are small it didn't feel too crowded-probably because there wasn't too many kids on the ship, and the weather was quite windy our last two sea days. In fact the pools were closed the last sea day. Which brings me to the entertainment on the ship. We utilized the library. The games were ok and would be better if pieces weren't missing or mixed with other games. Also, young people would come in there and be loud and the tables were always messy. Too bad they don't have a "librarian" to help control some of that. Other than that I was kinda disappointed because I thought they had jewelry making and cooking classes and scrapbooking classes? I never saw any of that... As far as the ports go we loved Cozumel- went to Chankanaab for the dolphin encounter. definitely worth the money. We just wish we could of stayed there longer! Grand Cayman was ok. We didn't have any excursions. We took a taxi to Hell. They let us stay for 20 minutes but with that we barely had time to look at the rock formation, go into 1 of the stores and the post office. There is about 5 stores there and I was disappointed I didn't have time to go to the others. The taxi then took us to 7 Mile Beach. He tried to take us to a beach where we would of had to pay, even after we had agreed on our price and location, so be careful. Once we got to the beach we had a relaxing afternoon swimming and playing. Falmouth Jamaica was very hot. We also didn't do any excursions there. We walked around the port which was set up nicely. We didn't run into any pushy vendors (they were more pushy in Cozumel) and ended up with a lot of nice souvenirs. The only thing besides the heat I didn't like was Margaritaville- horribly way overpriced! Overall a wonderful first cruise experience as we didn't let the few bad things ruin all the many great things! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I was recently on the Navigator for a 7 day cruise with several family members. It was my first time on Royal Caribbean, and I was mostly happy with the experience. The ship is beautiful, much more elegant than the Magic, which is what I ... Read More
I was recently on the Navigator for a 7 day cruise with several family members. It was my first time on Royal Caribbean, and I was mostly happy with the experience. The ship is beautiful, much more elegant than the Magic, which is what I have cruised on previously. I spent a lot of time in the spa and solarium. Both are great, but I did miss the Thermal Suite that the Magic has. This was my first time in a balcony room, and I loved it. Our room was very pretty, again more elegant than Carnival. The ship seemed well maintained, kept very clean. The food was great, and the service excellent. There was no shortage of activities. This may be a small thing, but we only got towel animals 3 nights. Our group was all in the same area and none of the cabins got them more than that. Like I said, I know its a small thing, but I really missed getting a different towel animal each night. I don't know if this is standard for Royal, or if it was just our room steward. Also, I have to say that most of the shows were really bad. I just did not enjoy them, and most of those in our group of 16 didn't like them either. Another small thing is the gifts for winning contests. We won highlighters for a trivia contest. HIGHLIGHTERS. Really Royal, this is all you can spare? Again, it may seem silly, but we really loved our ship on a stick from Carnival. I feel like almost anything would have been better than highlighters. My list of complaints are minor. I would recommend anyone who is not sure to go ahead and check out Royal Caribbean. I think it really comes down to personal preference, and I can't really say anyting terrible about my experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My spouse, a couple of friends, and I just completed a 7-night cruise on the Navigator of the Seas leaving out of the Port of Galveston. Our cruise of the Western Caribbean included stops in Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel. The cruise ... Read More
My spouse, a couple of friends, and I just completed a 7-night cruise on the Navigator of the Seas leaving out of the Port of Galveston. Our cruise of the Western Caribbean included stops in Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel. The cruise began with a fairly smooth and easy embarkation process. The RCL embarkation staff were both friendly and helpful during the embarkation process. Once on board, we found our room which was a promenade stateroom. The room had a nice view of the promenade deck below and it was conveniently located near an elevator. Our room steward Juliette greeted us warmly as she did each day. Juliette was like a ray of sunshine each and every day and she did a wonderful job of keeping our cabin nice and tidy. One of favorite parts of cruising is the entertainment provided and I found the quality of the entertainment to be a mixed bag. We particularly liked the ice dancing show and the Motown tribute show. Both of these acts were better than many shows that I have seen in Las Vegas. The comedian and singer / impersonator were not up to the same standard as the other two entertainers by any means. I do have to compliment the Navigator of the Seas Orchestra as they were excellent musicians and always provided a quality musical contribution. Dining on the Navigator of the Seas was average at best. Our servers were quite good, but the food was forgettable. The "chef's choice" of vegetables always turned out to be mashed potatoes which lacked the variety that I was looking for. The coffee on the ship was extremely poor and I heard this sentiment echoed by numerous other guests as well. A change of coffee vendors is greatly needed. The shore excursions themselves were ok, but the amount of shore excursions offered was very limited compared to other cruise lines that I have traveled with to the same ports. For example, in Roatan, you could not take an excursion to Tabyana Beach. In Cozumel, you were not offered excursions to Passion Island or to the mainland (Playa del Carmen). When I compared the shore excursions that Carnival offered, I would have to estimate that RCL offered about 1/3 as many shore excursions. The cruise director was the best that I have encountered in my 14 cruises. He seemed like a real natural and he will hopefully remain a cruise director for some time to come. Disembarkation was painful, but that was not due to RCL, but rather due to the poor performance by the Port of Galveston. We had to wait over 2 hours in an extremely long line before we made it through to customs. Our experience in Galveston on a prior cruise was about as bad, so we are considering forgoing cruises out of Galveston in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Embarkation was quick, but the traffic to the terminal was very heavy, plan for delays in Galveston. It has been seven years since we sailed with RCL. We thought we would give them another try, we were still disappointed, we usually cruise ... Read More
Embarkation was quick, but the traffic to the terminal was very heavy, plan for delays in Galveston. It has been seven years since we sailed with RCL. We thought we would give them another try, we were still disappointed, we usually cruise on Norwegian or Carnival. Our cabin was clean and our steward Juliette was the best, we had one of the promenade cabins which was a nice roomy cabin, but the storage was less than adequate, we had anytime dining and quality of the food in the dining room was not as good as Norwegian or Carnival. The lobster was good on elegant night, as were the steaks but the desserts were nothing to get excited about. The buffet food was decent, seemd like it was rehashed leftovers from the main dining area with some fresh veg and fruit selections, the individual stations were very good with a selection of good breakfast items. For those of you who are gluten intolerant or celiac there was gluten free breads at the breakfast bread stations but not at night. Mitch Merucci is the best cruise director I have ever seen in all my 14 + cruises. The staff were very friendly, accommodating and when I lost my one and only Credit card and informed the front desk, security was able to locate it quickly, emergency averted in Cozumel. The wine bar was decent as was the pub, but there was not a sports bar or a theater for movie watching. The entertainment was quality, ice skaters and musicians were excellent, the Motown show was unbelievably good, but the comics were pretty terrible. I think we will go back to Carnival, princess or Norwegian cruise lines, which treat their return customers better, a robe for every guest, chocolates at bedtime, free drinks for return cruisers and a lounge for their club members who have been on many cruises with them in addition to upgrades and VIP treatment that can't be beat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This review is for the 31 August - 7 September cruise. Embarkation Just after 12:00 we arrived and parked at Galveston Park N’ Cruise (highly recommended!!!) across the street from the terminal and rolled our luggage across Harborside ... Read More
This review is for the 31 August - 7 September cruise. Embarkation Just after 12:00 we arrived and parked at Galveston Park N’ Cruise (highly recommended!!!) across the street from the terminal and rolled our luggage across Harborside Drive to the luggage drop off. We already had our luggage tagged, so while I expected just to drop it off, there was a porter there with his hand out. WTF? It took 45 minutes to clear security! Emerald / Diamond / Platinum guests (which we are) had their own line / metal detector, and there were 3 other lines / metal detectors for the other passengers. Noted that regular lines moved twice as fast as the “special” line for the most loyal passengers. FAIL! Once past the mess at security, check-in was very prompt / pleasant, requiring only about 5 minutes. We boarded the ship just after 13:00 and were able to proceed directly to our stateroom. Stateroom We tried one of the “Virtual Balcony” staterooms that were added earlier this year. We ended up enjoying it much more than we thought that we would. It’s basically a vary large HDTV stood up on edge. The image shown is from an aft-facing camera from the stern of the ship. This is the only view available. There is a remote control that is for power on/off, volume up/down, mute. At night we left the system on as we drifted off to the white noise of the sea. Very restful. Entertainment We found the Ice Show very nice and definitely worth attending. Note that you have to have a free ticket to attend one of the 4 shows offered. Those tickets are distributed on both embarkation day and the first sea day. On Saturday the featured entertainer was Chad Chesmark. He is a comedy magician and mentalist. His magic show was good, but the late night mentalist show was absolutely amazing. If you are fortunate enough to have him onboard, by all means attend his shows. Dining Overall the food in the Windjammer was good, and dinner in the main dining room was very good. We opted for the My Time Dining option, and we never a problem being promptly seated when we were ready to dine. We did go to Johnny Rockets while in Falmouth, and it was also very good (especially the apple pie). Thursday was my wife’s birthday, so we celebrated it at the Italian specialty restaurant, Giovanni’s Table. The service charge was $20 / person. The food was quite good and $20 seemed like fair value. Service was a little inconsistent, as the venue was understaffed. On sea days, you can have lunch at Giovanni’s Table for $15. Ports Cozumel We were the only ship in town, so we really had the attention of the vendors. The cab drivers were like hungry sharks circling us as we walked about town. Had lunch at Pancho’s Backyard. OMG, the margaritas! Grand Cayman We love Grand Cayman, but were disappointed that we were only there from 10:30 - 17:15 (last tender). We had an enjoyable snorkel at Eden Rock ($14 for equipment rental). Our last visit was 2 years ago, and we noted that a number of jewelry shops had closed down. Falmouth We looked forward to our first visit of this port, but were very disappointed. Royal built a very nice pier / shops, but just outside of the protective fencing were hoards of harassing people and shanty towns. Your best option here is to take one of the ship’s tours to Ocho Rios or Montego Bay. Likes I really like how Royal does photography compared to say, Carnival. Rather than printing every photo and placing them in photo display kiosks that clog up hallways as people stumble to find the needle in the haystack that is their photo, Royal asks for your stateroom number and digitally associates this with your photo. To see / order your photos, you simply slide your room key to see if you want them. No waste, minimal crowding. This is how photography should be on-board. The “Captain’s Corner” on the last sea day was very interesting / informative. The Norwegian captain - Frank Martinson - was very likable and professional. Learned some interesting things about the ship. Dislikes Yet again I didn’t visit the casino because of cigarette smoke. Not even one smoke-free night like on Princess. Past guest party for Emerald / Diamond / Platinum members. It was held in a too-small venue (Star Lounge). Drinks were few and far between and hors d’oeuvres were only a wistful dream. We really started to feel beat down by the incessant bombardment to buy things onboard. Spa treatments / drink packages / specialty restaurants / yoga classes / surfing lessons - ENOUGH ALREADY!!! I half expected a crew member to accost me in the pool trying to get me to buy some beads, just like the locals do in Progresso. We just want to relax on vacation not go thru a timeshare-like hard sell. That is what we are trying to get away from. Tipping - WOW envelope. This was left in the room the final sea day. The idea is that you give an extra gratuity a crew member who has “Wowed” you with their service. Our stateroom attendant conspicuously placed his business card on top of this envelope. Needless to say, I wasn’t “Wowed” by this action and he didn’t receive anything above and beyond the prepaid gratuities. I am also annoyed that drinks / restaurants have a line item for an “additional tip” even though a 15% gratuity is already included in the bill. Sorry, but I’m not going to be shamed or extorted to tip excessively.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Over the past 30 years, we've taken about 15 cruises, mostly on Royal Caribbean. However, we haven't sailed on RCI in about 5 years. The Navigator is the largest ship we've sailed on to date, and so we had very high ... Read More
Over the past 30 years, we've taken about 15 cruises, mostly on Royal Caribbean. However, we haven't sailed on RCI in about 5 years. The Navigator is the largest ship we've sailed on to date, and so we had very high expectations. Our itinerary was Roatan, Belize and Cozumel out of Galveston, and we brought along my son and his family of 5. We did not set out to find disappointments or limitations, but they did arise. However, none of them kept us from having a great time with our family, and we're glad we went. I just want to outline some of them here, so that others can be prepared. Note: all rooms are non-smoking, AND all balconies are non-smoking as well. Nice! Elevators were usually available, except at peak times. Speaking of muster, you no longer have to arrive with your life vest. Yay! It's still a really long, slow and hot process. Boo! There are numerous hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the ship, and there was never a shortage of staff disinfecting railings and doorknobs. You saw them everywhere. We were required to use hand sanitizer before entering the dining rooms. The attention to keeping germs from spreading was comforting. We opted for two Grand Suites, side-by-side, which were really great. Lots of room, lots of storage, nice big balconies (we had them open the partition between our balcony and my son's), huge bathroom, flat screen TV, refrigerator, I could go on and on. Lights in the closets would have been nice, but no big deal. However, the king mattress was by far the most HORRIBLE mattress we've ever slept on ANYWHERE in our travels. Having dropped a serious chunk of change to travel suite style, we could not believe how awful the mattress was. Very thin, very hard, very lumpy. It actually hurt my hips to sleep on my side. We didn't get one decent night's sleep the entire week. The mattress in the sleeper sofa was actually better. In looking back, I suppose we could have asked for another mattress, and will do so next time this ever comes up. And don't be fooled that because you're in a suite and paying higher tips, you'll get better cabin steward service. That wasn't the case for us. It wasn't bad service, just not what we expected, based on what's written on the website. However, by staying in a suite, you do get LOTS of perks that we enjoyed again and again, in particular the concierge lounge and priority debarkation, but even that still takes a few hours. We waited in a special lounge until we were called to get in line, but the concierge didn't give us any directions. He just said "time to go" and then disappeared, so a lot of people were confused about where the line actually was. Just keep in mind that debarkation is inherently long and slow, no matter what, so patience is key. Also, priority embarkation doesn't seem like a perk because it also takes a long time, but at the end of the day, it still takes less time than it does for other folks. Recommendation: arrive really early, ahead of the crowds. The food in the dining room was good, although the selections weren't as plentiful as they used to be. There is no midnight buffet any longer. There are no more "theme nights" in the dining room, so no more decorations or dancing with the wait staff, fun stuff like that. But our wait staff was exceptionally good, which made dinner enjoyable each night. The food in the Windjammer was the same over and over, as usual, and not particularly hot. But even with 7 of us, we never really had a problem finding a table that fit all of us comfortably. There are several ice cream stations on board, which the grandkids took advantage of....many times! Never did try room service, but as suite guests, you get a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. By having access to the concierge lounge, we could get coffee/tea/snacks 24/7, continental breakfast in the morning, cookies and desserts in the afternoon, and hors d'oerves and open bar in the evenings before dinner. We received two special invitations to cocktails and meet-and-greets with the captain and crew, but both times they fell right in the middle of our early dining time. Didn't understand that at all, and we were pretty disappointed at such obvious bad planning. There is a beautiful promenade deck, but very few shops, and all of the merchandise, especially jewelry, is high end, so not very affordable. Very few souvenirs for the children. Booze prices were not much better than we get at Spec's here in Austin. The "$10 merchandise night" offerings were nothing more than really cheap, poorly made items, and the experience was pure chaos. My advice? Don't go to that! Evening shows were mediocre at best, and many of them were held out in the open on the promenade deck, not the theater. ??? We had all looked so forward to good shows each night. Seems RCI is saving those for the megaships. Lots of bingo each day, but it's now really expensive, and the payouts aren't that great. Pools were usually crowded, as was miniature golf, no big surprise here. Don't know about the rock wall or the Flowrider. Plenty of places by the pool to catch some rays, or hang out in relative peace in the Solarium. Not very many poolside games, though, just mostly music, but they often used live bands, which was nice. There's a reserved area of seating and a bar for suite guests. That was great. Photo gallery is now high tech, and you'll pay the price. Like as much as $40 per 8x10, if you purchase less than 10 photos. Process of viewing, ordering and picking up is pretty slick, though. My advice: go for the photos settings with the white and/or black backgrounds. Those are usually a lot better than the cheesy backgrounds. Casino is very smokey, even on the non-smoking side, so be prepared for that. You win often enough to play for a while, but don't expect to come home with your money! There are plentiful shore excursion offerings, unless you're traveling with small children. Most of the excursions have a height limit. As a result, we had to opt for the beach breaks and shopping, but we still had lots of fun. Because we traveled with family, and our grandkids had never cruised before, this was a special trip for us and we had a good time. Cruising is a great way to travel, and we'll keep on doing it for as long as we can! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Just a preface to this review: It has been almost three years since we have cruised RCCL’s Navigator OTS, and our first time on this ship out of Galveston. There sure have been some noticeable changes! This was a summertime cruise and ... Read More
Just a preface to this review: It has been almost three years since we have cruised RCCL’s Navigator OTS, and our first time on this ship out of Galveston. There sure have been some noticeable changes! This was a summertime cruise and the seas were glassy calm the entire trip. This was the Cozumel/Cayman/Jamaica itinerary which we had done two other times before. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ EMBARKATION: Galveston We used EZ-Cruise parking again. Their parking area appears quite secure and the staff is very nice. However, now the private cruise parking shuttles are relegated to the far-end of the drop-off area – a good 100 yards from the terminal. That is not so bad, but the porters do not walk that far for a tip. They can stay right around the terminal and do more, shorter trips for more income. There is no motivation for them to wall all the way down to the private shuttle drop-off area. If you over-pack (like we did!) you will have to haul your luggage to the terminal on your own. The lines were very, very long at embarkation. Luckily we skipped them as Suite guests. The front of the terminal seemed quite chaotic with baggage handlers yelling at each other. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ THE SHIP: Navigator OTS. We were in a junior-suite on Deck 10. This was quiet cabin with lots of room and a balcony. An unexpected change is that there is no longer a coffee table in front of the sofa. That leaves a lot of open floor space, and very little horizontal surface to use. When a room service tray is delivered, there is literally nowhere to put the tray! When asked, the staff explained that they had removed the coffee tables from the mini-suites because guests were putting them out on the balcony and they were rusting. I would imagine the sofa pillows have disappeared for similar reasons. The walk-in closet is very nice and provides plenty of shelving for moving in. The bath has a tub-shower. However, on our cruise, there was a sewage odor in the bathroom off and on for the entire trip. About 2 in ten flushes during the trip would not work (button was not functional). We were told this was due to clogged pipes somewhere in the vacuum system. This appeared to be an ongoing problem with the longest time between malfunctions being about 5 hours. Overall, the ship appeared well kept. The carpets were clean and common areas did not look worn. The elevator buttons were almost always sticky, but that was likely due to the large number of kids on board this summer cruise. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ DINING Dining attendance appeared down compared to several years ago even though ship was booked almost to capacity. We were at the 6:30 PM seating, and it appeared the dining was at around 60% of capacity on our 4th floor dining room each night. Attire is casual on all nights except formal nights. On formal nights, well over ½ the men are wearing just pants and a shirt (no tie). Some wear sport coats or suits, and a few wear a tux. The food portions have shrunk to the point that everyone at our table, and those tables around us, routinely ordered two or three of each course. It is Texas, but even we were leaving hungry with only one of each course! There are now only three courses served (appetizer, main, and dessert). The salad and appetizer have merged. On the positive side, the quality of the food is as good as or better than it ever has been. Dining Etiquette: Where dining used to be an event, it is simply another place to eat now. Continuously screaming kids banging the table throughout dinner is cute in the Windjammer, but this appears now to be acceptable in the dining room (and I like kids!) Dining Staff & Performance: To go along with the above, the dining staff has dropped their level of service considerably since we last cruised on this ship. It was not uncommon for the main course to take 80 minutes to be served after we were seated at 6:30 PM. Appetizer and Entrée selections were simply missed or randomly substituted with another item that was not ordered. Not once did a wait staff member drop by the table after the entrée was served to ensure everything was OK, offer ground pepper, grated parm, or ensure the food was prepared properly. The next dining staff visit was always with the dessert menu. One last item regarding staff is self-promotion. With obvious lackluster performance behind them, the dining room PA system blared out an invitation on one of the last nights for everyone to stand up and show our appreciation for the outstanding service we had received in the dining room. This included a comment that the last cruise did this, so we should, too. About ½ stood and most politely clapped for a few seconds. It was an awkward moment. Alcohol Add-Ons: No longer does the dining staff pressure-sell alcohol before, during, and after the meal. For us, this is a nice change. Even the hocking of fancy poolside drinks appeared to be quite subdued compared to prior cruises. Windjammer: The food and service in the Windjammer was actually as good as or better than the dining room. There were some service delays for omelets in the morning, and mad rushes at times when the Windjammer was about to close, but overall it was functioning well. Seating availability was tight at times, but the staff was very helpful in keeping up with clearing tables as they emptied. More than one fellow cruiser said it would be nice if there were someplace on the ship (other than the coffee shop) to get food 24/7 like on other cruise lines. When the Windjammer is closed, it can be pretty slim pickings for food around the Navigator OTS. +++++++++++++++++++++++++ STAFF With the near 100% implementation of auto-tipping (it is built-in to your cruise billing), staff members do not seem to be as focused on service. They will get the same tip no matter the service they provide. However, they do want you to fill out the “WOW” cards where you can drop a note to management about an outstanding staff member. We still provided an additional cash tip to some staff members who were especially outstanding – and that seemed to be truly appreciated. Based on our experiences, we found two bar staff members to be downright rude and angry (bad day on Deck 14?), cabin staff (and supporting staff) to be very competent and pleasant, and cuffed (higher ranking) personnel to be very polite and cordial. +++++++++++++++++++++++++ PORTS In Cozumel, we returned to Chakanaab for a beach day. After a 10 minute wait in the taxi line, we were at the beach in 15 minutes. We used the $2 coupon from the web to save on entrance fees. Snorkeling was good, but not awesome. Food (Guaco & chips) was good, but not awesome (chips were stale). The sand, sun, water, and service were great. We were early enough to get a palapa for shade and that made all the difference. In Cayman we returned to the Royal Palms. Beautiful sand, warm clear water, and great service. The food was very good. It is just a 5-10 minute taxi ride from the pier. The usual toys are available for rent. In Jamaica, we hired a private driver (working for Courtney Taylor) and visited Blue Hole and the Turtle River Falls. Everything went smooth and was without worries. A word of warning about shopping in the walled-off Falmouth cruise terminal area: We (along with everyone else) were rushing through the rain to pick up last minute gifts at our last port before boarding the ship. Some vendors were taking advantage of visitors with enhanced pricing and dubious change practices. In our case, we picked up a Tortuga item that (I later found) was priced 35% cheaper on the ship (my mistake). We purchased a run-of-the-mill t-shirt in this terminal area and it was USD $27.50. That’s OK – we liked the shirt. However, we paid with a USD $50 bill. The shop handed my wife back 12 $1 coins…Jamaican $1 coins. That would seem to a naïve tourist to be $12 change for a $27.50 purchase using a $50 bill. Right? Not so fast. We were rushing and I didn't realize until we got home that we just received less than 10 cents of USD change for a USD$27.50 purchase with a USD$50 bill! One Jamaican dollar coin is worth less than a penny in US money. Next time, we won’t accept change in Jamaican dollars thinking they are a US Dollar! Shame on us for our ignorance and shame on the vendor for taking advantage of rushing tourists. I expected more in this special RCCL-built shops area with badged employees. We had our guard down. +++++++++++++++++++++++++ DISEMBARKATION Getting off the ship went as smooth as could be. 25 minutes from ship to car. Porters are available in the terminal to help with navigating lines and bags. We were on the road by 10:00 AM. +++++++++++++++++++++++ SUMMARY Overall, we had a great cruise on the Navigator. The changes are fascinating to see as RCCL evolves. We now have different expectations for RCCL. Not bad, just different than three years ago. We would do the cruise again – but perhaps after school has started back up. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My wife and I booked this cruise in April and then started reading reviews about the Navigator on here. It seemed like every other review was very negative, so it was with a great deal of trepidation that we boarded the ship on 8/17 for 7 ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise in April and then started reading reviews about the Navigator on here. It seemed like every other review was very negative, so it was with a great deal of trepidation that we boarded the ship on 8/17 for 7 nights to the Western Caribbean. Some of the biggest complaints we had read were regarding the boarding process and the building that Royal Caribbean uses in Galveston. Compared to terminals that have been built in other places that are expressly built for cruise ships, this place is sub-standard. But I didn't see any massive lines that formed and none that stretched outside, which is fortunate because I have never felt humidity like I did in Galveston. My biggest complaint about the boarding process was that after people had completed their embarkation process, they were directed to an area with chairs. But after all the chairs were filled, many people just stood in front of the single door used to allow passengers to leave the building and board the ship. As the boarding process began and each group (Suites, Diamond Plus, Diamond, etc.) was called, you had to squeeze past a lot of people just to get to the door. It's not very well designed. We found the ship itself to be very-well maintained. I did find one men's room on Deck 11 to be slightly flooded on Day 1, but other than that, we were very pleased with the cleanliness aboard. We had a Junior Suite on Deck 10 and our cabin attendant, David, was very personable and efficient. We were happy to see the flat screen televisions in the cabins and the new video information boards on each deck proved to be invaluable in getting around the ship. This was my 30th cruise overall and 17th on a Royal Caribbean ship. I had noticed on recent cruises that the quality level of the food being served seemed to have fallen a bit. But, we had no complaints about the food served on the Navigator. Most of our dinners were in the Main Dining Room and we had My Time seating. The level of service in the MDR was very good, even though we had different servers each night. We did breakfast and lunch most days in the Windjammer and the food there was fine. I go in there knowing that they have to feed over 3500 people a day and it has to be a bit like an assembly line. but I thought everything was fresh and tasted good. It was very rare that you didn't get some kind of greeting when you passed a crew member in a hallway. I don't drink much so I didn't have much interaction with bar service so I can't honestly rate that. The cruise staff was OK. We've had better on other ships. We loved the new Diamond Club lounge that has been added to the Navigator. The staff there made you feel special whenever you entered and the room itself is very nice. One other complaint is the tendering process in Grand Cayman. It's ridiculous but I guess the government there has no intention of building permanent docks and the cruise lines want to continue going there so basically, "it is what it is". Lousy. But that little glitch aside, the cruise itself was good. We took advantage of a good on-board rate to book 2 weeks on the Adventure of the Seas next August. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I got a bit concerned when I read some reviews of NAVIGATOR here before my cruise because there were a number of negative reviews. My trip was nothing but great! Everything was very organized and efficient on sail day. I got to the ... Read More
I got a bit concerned when I read some reviews of NAVIGATOR here before my cruise because there were a number of negative reviews. My trip was nothing but great! Everything was very organized and efficient on sail day. I got to the terminal building at 10:10 AM and they let us into the terminal building at 10:30 AM. They started boarding the ship at 11:00 AM. By 11:30 AM I was in the Windjammer (buffet) having lunch. We were able to go to our staterooms at 1:00 PM. Throughout the entire cruise, all of the crew members I had contact with were very polite and helpful. I found the food on Navigator to be very good. I especially liked the Windjammer buffet. I am an early riser, so I was there each morning for breakfast shortly after they opened. I never had to wait in line at the Windjammer. My Server in the main dining room was great. I enjoyed everything I ate on Navigator. I would have liked to see some different choices on the menus. This is not saying the food was not well prepared - just a matter of personal taste. The entertainment on the cruise was pretty amazing. Lots to see and do. Upon returning to Galveston, disembarking went very well. I chose to walk off in the morning with my luggage. I was given a time of 7:00 AM to be at a certain place on the ship with my luggage. I was off the ship and in my car heading towards Houston before 8:00 AM. I had a wonderful time and would not hesitate to sail on the Navigator of the Seas again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
First and foremost I am a Royal Caribbean fan. I have sailed on Freedom, Explorer, And Oasis. I have also sailed on Princess. The trip out of Galveston in August should by no means be reflective of my overall RCI experiences. With that ... Read More
First and foremost I am a Royal Caribbean fan. I have sailed on Freedom, Explorer, And Oasis. I have also sailed on Princess. The trip out of Galveston in August should by no means be reflective of my overall RCI experiences. With that said, I will never ever ever ever ever sail out of Galveston again until the port terminal is upgraded. Even with a preferred status (Platinum member) our embarkation was slow, disorganized, and more importantly - it set a negative tone for my three first-time sailing companions. I set the bar high in describing my previous sailing experiences but in retrospect, these experiences were always out of Ft Lauderdale and Miami. Florida has the terminals and the experience. Texas does not. The morning started with a 23.00 cab fare that should have been 13.00. The problem? One police officer directing traffic into the loading area. We sat and sat in the cab while one bus or car at a time was allowed through. Next came the disaster of baggage handling. Lines and confusion reigned. No direction, no calming influence of a competent staffer, no joy. Instead we were met with the ridiculousness of a Port employee trying to argue with a RCI agent who was unsuccessfully trying to get the port employee to use his head for something other than a hat-rack. All passengers were in a line with their bags dutifully near them. It seemed weird and so I asked the first available porter if he could take our bags. He gladly did so explaining that the system was entirely screwed up that day. Why we're we in line in the first place? Because everyone else was. I decided not to stay in the lemming line. After turning over our bags we proceeded to the cue to enter the terminal. Alas, another Port employee cueing us up incorrectly. The way the line was set, others realized they could cut in and did so, or inadvertently cut because of the way the line was configured. Thank goodness the security and registration lines were flowing. Once aboard the trip was typical RCI meaning fabulous and fun - with the exception of the Grand Cayman tendering debacle. Long lines but at least they moved. Overall, the trip was fun although I have noted some lapses in the manner in which the crew handled requests that couldn't be accommodated. There was too much "no" and not enough "unfortunately we must ..." Perhaps this is cultural in that I have noted fewer Filipino and Island staffers (who are noted for their hospitality and warmth) and more Eastern European staffers. Finally, RCI might want to revisit its' dining policies. I saw way too many unchallenged in the wear of hats, shorts, and booty shorts in the main dining area. I though we were supposed to be smart casual ... Even with these issues, I will gladly sail with RCI just not of Galveston. Especially since the Gulf was dirty, full of Oil Platforms, and crowded. By the way .... If you buy alcohol expect the saving to dwindle. Texas has their hands in your pocket as well. Leaving the terminal we were forced to pay a tax and given a tax stamp "to affix to your bottle if ever you take it out of the house" WHAT? I live in Washington State when and why would I take my bottle to any party in Texas? It was just a money grab plain and simple. I'd gladly pay the customs duty but the Texas two step wasn't a dance ... It was me getting out of there. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Route: Seven day cruise: Galveston-Roatan-Belize-Cozumel-Galveston. 1. General Comments: A pleasant cruise. We are regular cruisers and were last on this ship this past New Year. Purpose of this cruise was to just RELAX. We booked a ... Read More
Route: Seven day cruise: Galveston-Roatan-Belize-Cozumel-Galveston. 1. General Comments: A pleasant cruise. We are regular cruisers and were last on this ship this past New Year. Purpose of this cruise was to just RELAX. We booked a junior suite on the ninth deck. Details below. We also used “My Time Dining,” and it worked fine. The entire top level of the three level dining room was for this type of dining. We had the same wait staff for the entire week. 2. Embarking: We left our Galveston hotel at 11:00am. With dropping my wife and bags at the terminal, parking the car, taking a shuttle, getting through security, and checking in, we were on board by noon and in our cabin by 1pm. Suitcases, unfortunately, only appeared at 5pm. Texas Liquor Laws: When we boarded we saw signs at some of the bars detailing TABC regulations on the limited types of liquor that can be sold while in a Texas port. For full sales, you have to wait till the ship is 12 miles out. This meant 6:30 - two hours after departure. The Captain announced at muster drill that our departure was delayed from 4:30 to 7:30. We actually started moving at 7pm, so full sales were reset for 9pm. Due to these TABC rules, the only wine that could be served in the dining room at dinner was some white Zinfandel and a merlot. The poor wait staff was getting tired explaining the issue. 3. The Navigator of the Seas: The junior suite is the way to go. Plenty of space, and plenty of storage space, including a walk-in closet. Suitcases fit well under the bed. A tub shower in the bathroom. The cabin has a small safe and a small refrigerator (never used it). There is a TV that receives movies, CNN (International only), ESPN, shipboard activities, and other channels. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are very few announcements on the PA system. While you get a daily planner, there is no newspaper. You have to get your news from the TV. It takes a while to get a handle on what is where on the ship. Maps and interactive “help” panels are at each elevator lobby. There is a large children/teens area and programs for them. 4. Meals: Food in the Windjammer buffet - which almost everyone uses for breakfast and lunch - is good. There are plenty of choices at both meals, and you can eat as much or as little as you want. It is a bit hurried, though, and not a place for a slow meal. The dining room’s food was very good, well-prepared, and well-served. We only used it for dinner, although it is available with open seating at breakfast and lunch. Food portions are of respectable size, and if you don’t try to eat all the courses everyday, you should not do bad weight-wise. We had a knowledgeable wine steward. We had made reservations on-line for the Izumi specialty restaurant. Very good tempura and sushi. We also had dinner at Giovanni’s. Quality of food and service was very good. However, the food was too much and too rich. You will leave stuffed. There are other food outlets around the ship as well as a goodly number of bars including a pub, and a wine shop. You cannot go hungry or thirsty. 5. Dressing for meals: For this seven day trip it was two formal, and all the rest casual. Compared to other cruises, there was a definite decline in the number of men in tuxedos. The ladies, however, still dressed up. 6. Medical Emergency: On the second day out, the Captain announced that due to medical emergencies, we were stopping in Cozumel to offload two patients. Luckily there was an empty berth so this could be done via ambulances; we learned later that his alternative was to stop at Cancun and transfer the patients to a small boat. That he did not want. We all watched this story unfold; we were in and out of Cozumel in one hour. This side trip did not affect our arrival the following day in Roatan. 7. Shore Excursions: A word of advice: make your shore excursion reservations on-line! Otherwise you will either have to use the not-so-user-friendly on board TV system to make your reservations or stand in line at the excursion counter. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don’t need the ship’s tour office. RCL’s tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through RCL, you have support when there is a problem, eg, the ship will wait for you if the tour is delayed. As the captain announced, “we do not leave anyone behind. However, there are people who do not want to return to the ship on time.” As we have been to these ports before, we only took a city tour of Belize – a quick and easy way to see the place. As for Roatan and Cozumel, we just wandered around the shops in the pier areas. In Cozumel we were “only” three cruise ships – about 12,000 passengers – in town that day. We were docked next to the Allure. Always an impressive sight. 8. Shipboard entertainment: The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes including the surf rider, the rock climbing wall and the ice skating rink. We did not see any of the shows. The casino was of good size and the payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship’s photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. There are various venues for night owls. Sing-alongs with Phil Anderson in the Schooner Bar are always popular with C&W fans. 9. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts (for cabin steward, waiter, asst waiter, and head waiter). The amounts are charged to your shipboard account, and the tips are taken care of electronically with the staff. If you use My Time Dining, you will be billed the full tip amount when you book your cruise. If you use regular seating dining, you will be asked at some point by the Front Desk how you want to handle tips. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service breakfast. Your bar bill automatically adds 15 percent. 10. Settling of Accounts: During your cruise, anything you purchase on board is punched into a computer; you sign one copy of the ticket and you receive a copy. You can track your account on the ship’s TV channel. On Sunday morning you receive a paper final statement of your account. 11. Disembarking: On Saturday you will receive luggage tags with numbers. You also receive a sheet of paper telling when that number will be called for disembarking and where you have to be waiting in order to hear the announcement when your number can leave the ship. Your bags have to be out by 11PM, breakfast is early, and you have to be out of your cabin by around 8:30 and in your designated waiting area. Again, you will only hear the announcements in the waiting areas. This actually turned out to be one of our better experiences in Galveston. We left the lounge waiting area at 9:35 and were out of the terminal by 11:05. We took a shuttle to the parking lot, and we drove away at 11:20. Texas Taxes: After going through immigration and customs, we did stop at the Texas TABC table to declare our one bottle of cognac. We paid $3.75 ($3 administrative fee and 75 cents tax), received a sticker for the bottle and were on our way. 12. If anyone has questions, send me an e-mail at LTC519@satx.rr.com. Fred Groth San Antonio, TX   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
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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