431 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

The ship is an engineering marvel. From the moment we approached the vessel from the pier, I was awestruck by its enormity. It is very impressive. Having spent the better part of a twenty year career working as a Hospitality and ... Read More
The ship is an engineering marvel. From the moment we approached the vessel from the pier, I was awestruck by its enormity. It is very impressive. Having spent the better part of a twenty year career working as a Hospitality and Marketing Professional, I suppose I understand better than most that facilities do not an experience make. The facilities (ship) are simply the canvas upon which the memories can be painted through rich and engaging experiences facilitated by caring service professionals. Although my background includes some of the most recognizable luxury brands, I also realize that expert service is not the exclusive domain of the luxury brand. High quality service can forever embellish a memory and more importantly drive the highest levels of customer satisfaction. When that happens, loyal customers are created. Unfortunately that service component was noticeably poor on our recent cruise. From the lack of warm and friendly staff to the gratuity driven smiles on the final day, it is clear that the culture aboard this particular ship is or has become oblivious to the opportunity to enrich the passenger experience through service. Let me explain with one example: we encountered a problem shortly after embarking. Our luggage did not arrive in our guestrooms and by 8pm there was still no sign of the luggage. When we went to the Guest Relations Desk the agent seemed unconcerned and simply told us that luggage was still being delivered so we went to dinner. Immediately after dinner we checked our rooms and still no luggage so we went back to the desk, 3 of our 4 pieces were located on the landing near the front desk so I carried them to our rooms. The fourth was still absent. The guest relations agent again seemed unconcerned while entering the data into the computer for the lost piece. I advised the agent that we had been upgraded upon arrival so that perhaps it would be helpful to check the previously assigned room. I won't share any more of the details but suffice it to say that by mid-morning the next day and no less than five trips to the guest relations desk, the piece had still not been delivered. After my third strong suggestion that they pickup the phone and ask housekeeping to check the previously assigned room, voila the missing piece was found. A guest relations computer was incapable of finding my luggage, but a simple call to housekeeping found it in 5 minutes. While missing luggage happens for whatever reason, the service breakdown and the lack of ownership to solve my problem by the guest relations staff was most evident. By the way nobody ever apologized or indicated that they would solve the problem. The simplest and often most effective problem resolution action, the apology, was never offered. Nor was there any "management" contact with us until we initiated the request. This lack of caring and lack of involvement by management was not isolated to our problem with luggage. Throughout the entire cruise, I don't recall any of the ships management staff ever greeting me, smiling at me, acknowledging my presence or simply wishing me Happy Holidays. It was as if I was passing strangers in an office building. A service culture is established in two ways, from the top down and secondly from the type of people recruited for the most important guest contact areas. If the ship's management are noticeably absent and unaware or uninvolved in guest problems, then the front line staff will not recognize the importance of resolving problems to the guest's satisfaction. As a result nobody "owned" my problem that is nobody took it upon themselves to ensure my problem was resolved to my satisfaction. In other words, my problem became a data entry into shipboard computer system. The computer became responsible for solving my problem, not the people who could actually solve it. Only after we became agitated and insistent did the simple actions occur that ultimately solved my problem. Secondly, if the people recruited for the most important guest contact areas lack warm and caring attitudes then problems escalate and dissatisfaction skyrockets. Unfortunately the missing luggage was not our only problem. But in every case the poor service response was consistent. However, we were not going to allow service issues to interfere with our experience so we assumed that we would essentially have to work around the issues and enjoy ourselves, which we did. In the end, a chance to create loyal customers is lost and billions of dollars spent on engineering marvels is devalued. Million dollar ad campaigns do not create loyal customers but are the only option when customers fail to repeat. I recall listening to the Captain's speech during his reception when he gave out some simple statistics on the guests aboard. He mentioned the number of repeating guests. I did a quick calculation of the repeating guests as a percentage of total guests. As an expert, I can tell you that it was very low. In conclusion I'd say that bigger is indeed not always better. While Royal Caribbean may be experts at building gigantic vessels, they could take some lessons from a bed & breakfast. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Embarkation- there werent any signs when we pulled into the terminal and we could see the ship but didn't know how to get there. There were no signs. Had to be directed to it. Once we parked (sat in the car for an hour waiting to get ... Read More
Embarkation- there werent any signs when we pulled into the terminal and we could see the ship but didn't know how to get there. There were no signs. Had to be directed to it. Once we parked (sat in the car for an hour waiting to get in the parking section) we were on the ship in 20 minutes. Cabin- very nice but you can tell the ship is showing her age and needs some updating. The room was perfect but our balcony wasnt that clean, I was almost afraid to walk out onto it barefoot. There were pieces of hair all over the balcony when we first walked onto it. Our stateroom attendant was very nice and helpful. There was one day where we didn't get any wash rags and couldn't find him, he never answered our calls but we made do. Once we found him (the next day) he immediately gave us some. Entertainment- Awful. We walked out of 3 of the 4 shows within 10-15 minutes into them and we didnt even bother going to the Farewell show. There was a Motown group from Vegas on the ship called Spectrum who were supposedly voted the best in Vegas for 5 years straight. Did not see how. One of the lead singers in the RCI show cast had one of the most obnoxious voices. For those of you in the younger crowd, she reminded me of Fantasia Barrino(the American Idol winner a few years back) on crack. The cruise director and activities manager were very funny though. The comedian on board, Rick Corso, was pretty funny but it was the same old comedian routine, i.e. "I'm divorced, viagra is my best friend, I'm from New Jersey, blah, blah, blah" and lots of cursing. Food- The Windjammer on this ship is in vast need of improvement. The food in there tasted like it had been wrapped in packages and microwaved when needed. The main dining room was fine, the wait staff were slow at times but overall ok. Johnny Rockets was great as usual and we tried Choppes Grill for the first time which was fantastic...their crab/shrimp cakes are a piece of heaven! Disembarkation....we chose to carry off our own bags so we were told to meet in Studio B on Deck 3 by 6:30am, this was the first time we had ever done this as we are Diamond members and usually get off at 7-7:30am. At 6:30am everyone was told to go up to Deck 4 to get off and we got upstairs only to run face to face with a huge line that had already formed before we even got up there. We were sandwiched in with that line and the people behind us on the stairs and everybody in the line was yelling at us to get in the back and of course it was so packed we couldn't move and ended up being one of the first off the ship with everyone mumbling their disappointment behind us. Why meet on Deck 3 when you have to go back up to Deck 4? RCL needs to review this procedure. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Made my own arrangements to travel to Spain - Monarch from Luton, then 3 nights at the Sol Aloha Puerto Sol at Torremolinos. Took a taxi from Torremolinos direct to the Port (35 Euro) arriving at the terminal around 13:00 Hrs. ... Read More
Made my own arrangements to travel to Spain - Monarch from Luton, then 3 nights at the Sol Aloha Puerto Sol at Torremolinos. Took a taxi from Torremolinos direct to the Port (35 Euro) arriving at the terminal around 13:00 Hrs. Confusion rained - caused primarily by the port police insisting on the Taxi drivers depositing their passengers at the opposite end of the terminal from where the end of the queue was. Mind you the queue moved well, and the check in was equally quick - 35 minutes from joining the queue to exiting the terminal. So to the ship herself. Cabin was a good size, mid ship starboard, and was available on arrival. Went up on deck for a drink, to them main pool bar, not well stocked, offered a Bud special at the princely sum of $6:00 including service. Still there are other bars. Next to the Windjammer, good layout and although busy found a table with little effort. Next was lifeboat drill - in a word a total shambles, it was made clear in announcements that no one was to take their Cabin lifejackets to the drill. There was the usual - old fashioned line up in front of the muster station (lifeboat on the promenade deck) and to end the session, a very quick display of how to put a lifejacket on) - a lot of people appeared confused. RCI needs to review this. And so to the Dining arrangements - We choose on this trip - My Time Dinning, and were allocated the Top Tier of the Resturant area - Swan Lake on Deck 5. To avail of this we had to pay our gratuities up front. My expectation in this area was that we could request a size of table when we went for Dinner, not quite so. The emphasis on board was to pre book you meal time - wipes out the My Time loose arrangement, and the Head Waiter appeared to assume that as a couple we wanted a table for 2. So on 3 nights we sat on our own, with only on the last night were we able to sit at a table for 10. Apart from that the service was excellent, and the food choice good, quality was on the whole good. On the 3rd night we decided to eat at Chops Grill. RCI need to review this one however. The first table we were shown to was a corner table with booth seating around 2 sides - I rejected this. Service was good but not over powering. The speel given by the staff was aimed at the American Market - Mid West US Beef the 'best in the world' - I doubt if Irish and Scottish farmers would agree with that one. The cost was $25:00 each - Value for money - yes. Again given that the majority of passengers 2000 + from the UK the constant American theme waines somewhat, perhaps RCI needs to consider some European Cuts - i.e. Sirloin. One weird pratcice was that you were asked to cut your steak to check that it was cooked to your liking. Now to the bad news - the RCI smoking policy - You couldn't smoke in gerneral public areas, but you could do in most bars. So the 2 Poets Bar / part of the Schooner Bar, the 19th Hole, and the Wine Bar were all key smoking areas, thus we were totally drenched in cigarette smoke each night. The shows were again quite American in theme, albeit with virtually no US passengers to be scene. Excursions were very expensive in comparison with P&O, so we did our own thing in Tenerife and Madeira. In Madeira a $10:00 charge was made for a shuttle bus into Funchal - we walked. Transfers in Malaga were also expensive $12 to the station, and $26 to the airport, we took a taxi to the station, and train to the airport 14:50 euro against $52. The cabin stewart was very good, and maintained the cabin very well. The entertainment overall was mediocre, although the singer in the 2 Poets - Ian Miller was excellent. To his credit the Cruise Director arranged a Rememberance Day service in the Metropolis Threater - and I reckon over 600 attended. Would I sail with RCI again, I doubt it very much, unless RCI make the operation more European, certainly the smoking policy is vdery much out of line with European values. Back to P&O at least you known were you stand. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Last year we sailed on the RCI's Independence of the Seas for 2 weeks as a family and had a fabulous time. This year was our Silver Wedding Anniversary and my wife and I decided it would be a nice treat to get away and get pampered ... Read More
Last year we sailed on the RCI's Independence of the Seas for 2 weeks as a family and had a fabulous time. This year was our Silver Wedding Anniversary and my wife and I decided it would be a nice treat to get away and get pampered for a few days so this cruise seemed ideal. We booked through Thomas Cook and they were unable to offer us port transfers. We flew from Belfast to Malaga queued for 45 minutes for our baggage then queued again for a taxi to the port, none of which was RCI's fault. We arrived at the port at 11.50am, to scenes of utter chaos. There were thousands of Spanish people shouting & pushing. There did not seem to be anyone directing with any sort of cohesion and discipline at broken down complete. There was 1 young woman giving out the stateroom tickets for your baggage, which you then had to abandon and hope they arrived at your stateroom. Inside the port terminal more chaos the barriers which were supposed to control the throngs in an orderly fashion had been collapsed and hundreds of people again Spanish were queue jumping and when challenged just shrugged there shoulders or shouted something in their native tongue. Anyhow to move the story on it took us 3 hours! to board the ship, We later heard that even the staff issuing the sea passes were on their first day of work and were totally overwhelmed. Very poor training RCI!. On board we went to the windjammer and had to stand to eat. Our dining time was 6.00 but we wanted to change to 8.30. When we went to speak to the head waiter of our dinig room guess what another bloody queue! In the end we didn't change and were later told that the Spanish were given the priority of dining at 8.30, probably because of the siesta they take in the afternoon I can only assume. Anyhow they did us a favour, we met lovely people from Scotland and Dublin at our dining table. The waiters and stateroom attendant were excellent, and this helped to make the cruise a bit more enjoyable. We also enjoyed the shows and other entertainment, although again the spanish were loud arrogant and aggresive throughout. We will sail again with RCI though never from Malaga!! overall I could only give this cruise a rating of 5/10. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We travelled on a 5 day cruise from Malaga to Corsica and Toulon.This was our third cruise,previous cruises being with NCL again in the Western Mediterranean. We arrived at the port in good time but were faced with a time of around 1 hour ... Read More
We travelled on a 5 day cruise from Malaga to Corsica and Toulon.This was our third cruise,previous cruises being with NCL again in the Western Mediterranean. We arrived at the port in good time but were faced with a time of around 1 hour to do the necessary parerwork etc On board the ship first inpressions were good,a larger ship than the NCL,s GEM with more facilities on offer such as rock climbing, in line skating,ice ring etc. On arrival on the Ship we went to the Windjammer.There were 6 of us and it was impossible to sit together.Cruise ships need to get this problem sorted out.They reckon to be 4/5 star establishments but where else do you have to fight to get a table to sit down and eat a meal.The best way to solve the problem would be to restrict the numbers in the buffet at any one time and somehow encourage people to leave once they have eaten. The windjammer was a problem at every breakfast sitting and on the 2 days at sea. Now on to the food which can be summed up in three words SAME,SAME,SAME. The Main Dining room had very little variation on the menu and it took around an hour and a half to have a 3 couse meal.By the time it came to coffee you were sick of hanging around waiting.The waiters were good but the problem was with the kitchen.I had a steak on 3 seperate occasions which was always served with mashed potato.Have they not heard of fries!!!!!!!!!!!!! . You could go in the self service restaurant in the evening but again the food on offer never varied so i have to say do not expect good food it is just plain mediocre food. Now on to the facilites offered.if you read the brochure it promises rock climbing etc etc swimming pools ,skating etc.what it does not tell you is that the water is freezing in the pool and nearly all the facilities have very limited time openings The good point on the cruise was the room which was larger than NCL with more space for clothes etc Now on to the worst part of the cruise which was having to cruise with 1800 ignorant,bad mannered,chain smoking Spanish who stood around in groups of around 20 to 30 so you could not even get past them on the boat.What a disaster!!!!!!!!!! To sum it up you can get good deals but think about the bad points such as who you have to sail with ,visiting crap ports such as Toulon and corsica and wrestling to get a seat to eat breakfast Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
BOARDING We have been cruising for over 15 years and recently have noticed the steady deterioration of the shipboard experience. Our guess is that if you've never cruised before you would not know the difference but RCCL is going the ... Read More
BOARDING We have been cruising for over 15 years and recently have noticed the steady deterioration of the shipboard experience. Our guess is that if you've never cruised before you would not know the difference but RCCL is going the way of the airline industry. Don't get us wrong. We still had a pretty good time on our latest cruise but it could have been lots better. Royal Caribbean seems to be cutting costs at the expense of it's customers everywhere they can. Boarding in Civitiveccia was organized and fast, perhaps because we are "Platinum" members and did not have to wait on the long check-in line. The shuttle bus transfer to ship however was chaotic. There was no staff present to organize boarding the buses or to assist loading luggage on to the bus for those who needed it. When we boarded the ship there was no staff around to guide passengers to their cabins. Maybe they were on their break. Cutbacks were evident everywhere. There were no serving trays in any of the buffets making it necessary to make several trips from table to food. The menu has shrunk from 4 courses to 3. Worst of all, and get this, no more chocolates on the pillow at night. At least they still do the animal towel thing. I'd rather have the chocolates. THE SHIP For an older ship, the Navigator was very clean but showing some minor signs of it's age like most of us. We liked the layout of the ship however being on deck 3 we had to go up to a higher deck and come back down as this deck does not go through the ship from bow to stern. Smoking was a major problem for us. Having a mostly European clientele, the non smoking thing has not quite caught on as much as it has in the U.S.. There are far too many smoking areas and even the non-smoking areas are not respected. At least the cabins are now considered non-smoking and have signs stating so. DINING We did anytime dining and found it to be very convenient to our schedule. The wait staff was polite but not particularly warm or friendly, in general. The food was good, not great, with very limited meatless choices on the menu. Most vegetarian dishes were Indian so if you are not a fan of Indian food, you are in trouble. The buffets were typical of most cruises we've been on. PORTS The ports included Messina, Athens, Kusadasi and Crete. We passed on the ships tours as they did not seem to be a good value. Our favorite site was Ephesus where we booked a private tour online before we left home. We also enjoyed a visit to Taourmina from Messina. We did that on our own using a public bus. Crete was a washout as it poured all day but we took in a museum and did some shopping. Rome was, well what can I say,...Rome. Either you love it or hate it. We loved it. We also did a trip down the Amalfi Coast after the cruise and we highly recommend it. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES Entertainment was hit and miss. There was a Celene Dion impersonator who was fantastic. There was also a "Beattles" group who were pretty good. The production numbers were terrible and we walked out of two of them before they ended. The ice show was very good even though we had seen a similar show on a previous cruise. The shipboard activities have totally gone down hill. There is no longer any organized "Shipshape" program where one can earn T-shirts and the like. Most activities seemed to be income producing classes for spa treatments or casino lessons. SUMMARY All in all, we had a good time which could have been a great time if RCCL had not cut back on the very things that have made cruising such a fun experience in the past. From the tacky plastic deck chairs with no leg rests on the promenade deck to the decline in food quality, Royal Caribbean seems to be shooting itself in the foot by discouraging loyal customers from looking forward to that next great cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
My wife and I took an anniversary cruise from Civvetivechia, Italy along with 3700 people for the at capacity RCCL Mediterrainian Cruise. The food was cafeteria grade in both the dining room and the windjammer buffet. The lines and crowd ... Read More
My wife and I took an anniversary cruise from Civvetivechia, Italy along with 3700 people for the at capacity RCCL Mediterrainian Cruise. The food was cafeteria grade in both the dining room and the windjammer buffet. The lines and crowd were so large when dining in the buffet for breakfast and lunch that tables were not available, many people had to stand and eat or wait 15-20 min to find an available table. We tried ordering room service twine and it was even worse-limited selection and poor quality. The entertainment was sub par and included variety shows, C rated "lounge style" singers, a man riding a uni-cycle, a violinest, an ice skating show. The cruise hosts were upbeat, informative and entertaining. The interior of the cruise and rooms was moderate, the ship was built in 2002 (seven yrs old and needs a complete remodel). The best part of the cruise in my opinion were the ports. Ephesius, Sicily, Turkey & Crete were amazing. However, more than the poor food quality and over-crowdedness of the ship this review was heavily influenced on the fellow passengers. 75% of them were pushy, rude Italians that continuisly skipped in line for shows, at buffet lines & getting on and off the ship. And their kids were loud, obnoxious ignoring the ship rules and the cruise staff never once spoke up to enforce the ships rules. For sure the cruises from Europe ports need alot of improvement. If we consider another from this area it would be on a higher tier cruise line like Celebrity X or MSC Splendia where the caliber of fellow passengers is most likely better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
This was our 4th cruise with RCL, so we knew what the standards should have been and we were definitely disappointed when they were way below the norm. -         The Standard and quality of food served was very poor in the dining ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with RCL, so we knew what the standards should have been and we were definitely disappointed when they were way below the norm. -         The Standard and quality of food served was very poor in the dining room. The windjammer was like going to a feeding trough. The fact that lunches are now buffet style is sad. -         The entertainment was very poor and poorly presented. It looked more like rehearsals for a show than a quality show. Normally, RCL shows are packed and you can hardly get a seat. These shows started off half full and then emptied before the shows were finished. The ICE show was excellent and well presented. -         The boarding process in Citavecchia was disgraceful. We went to the trouble of registering online to expedite the boarding process and it made no difference. Everyone was just huddled into the same line, no matter what. When we finally got to the desk the agent didn't seem to know what she was doing and could not find our cards to use on board. We stood there for about 20 minutes while she walked up and down looking in boxes.  -         We also took the time to order the soda package for our children online. Guess what, that was a waste of time also. Everyone who bought it when they got on, got their cups straight away. Our cups were supposed to be in the room. Never happened. In fact I ended up being sent to SEVEN different locations to get them. Everyone just pointed me somewhere else. I finally went to the guest services desk and asked them to get them. They made a call to get them sent to the room. Guess what, they never got there. I finally found a place where my children could get the cups. -         Docking at Ville Franche.............. Disorganized and chaotic. We were supposed to disembark at around 8am. At 10am there is still no sign that we were being allowed to get off. Announcement made that local officials would not permit us off. No indication why!  11am, same announcements......Finally 1pm allowed to get off. It was obvious to me and my husband that someone had to be sick on the ship, yet no one told us anything. When we got to the tender boats it was like being herded like cattle onto the boat. The tenders had to wait one at a time to dock! This port is obviously not equipped to handle the volume of people off these cruise ships. The return back to the boat was disgraceful. Once again we were herded like cattle into a line in extremely high temperatures to stand and wait for a tender. It was like being in Disney world waiting to get on a ride. The lines were extremely long. Once again this was due to the fact that the tenders could only get in one at a time and also the lack of boats. By the way, we finally got a letter in our room later to say someone was confined to their room because of flu symptoms.  Oh, yes we were harassed in Palma by TV crews looking for information about the supposed Swine flu issue on board.- The Miniature golf/sports area needs renovation. -         The towels in our room were supposed to be white, but had actually turned grey! -         The Bathroom smelled horrible. I had to buy a stick up air freshener in France! -         We used to praise Royal Caribbean for being the best. We even met first time cruisers on the way to the cruise and we were telling them how great it was going to be and that they would be impressed. Well, we met them on the way back also and they were terribly disappointed. They had a similar experience to ours. We had dinner with another family at our table each night and they have cruised Princess Cruise lines and many others. They said they would never cruise Royal Caribbean again! -         We were also disappointed, because we paid so much for a quality cruise and we were told that just weeks before the cruise that Royal Caribbean sold a significant amount of cheap rooms to local Italians, just to fill the ship. That is obviously why the short cuts were made with food and entertainment on the ship to adjust for the cheaply sold slots. There were 2000 Italian people on the ship and they were extremely rude and impolite.  Pushing onto elevators, onto shuttle buses, skipping lines, filling their bags with food from the buffet, standing up on top of you in elevators and buses, even though there was ample space. Don't get me wrong, I have many good Italian friends, but they act nothing like the cruisers on the RCL ship and looking at other reviews, others have had the same experience. I am European myself. So this is not an American bias. We all know the economy is bad. I can understand that they are trying to cut back. But they have sacrificed their reputation for the sake of saving a dollar, yet are still charging me and others a lot to cruise. So many cheap seats may have been sold to locals, but RCL lost the confidence of their repeat customers. They have to weigh up the benefits of keeping their standards versus selling cheap.  Selling cheap and reducing their standards just did serious damage to their reputation with people from different parts of the world, not just Americans. We used to rave about the food, entertainment and service. Unfortunately, all of their short cuts may have just reduced their standards to PARTY BOAT, Not luxury cruise.  Value for money - Absolutely not. Quality - Absolutely not A cruise line that is above the rest - Absolutely not I think we'll be trying another cruise line next.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We began our holiday with 24hrs in Barcelona, which is a favourite city of mine.....Stayed at the Hotel Jazz which has a great location, few minutes walk from Catalunya Square with all its transport links...The fountains of Montjuic with ... Read More
We began our holiday with 24hrs in Barcelona, which is a favourite city of mine.....Stayed at the Hotel Jazz which has a great location, few minutes walk from Catalunya Square with all its transport links...The fountains of Montjuic with their light and music show (from 9.00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) were fantantastic and the next morning we used the funicular and cable car to get back to Montjuic for panoramic views of the city, and to check that the Navigator was waiting for us. We taxied from hotel to port at 2.30, and only had a short wait before checking in and boarding....We had booked quite late and all the outside cabins had been taken, so had chosen one which overlooked the Royal Parade....It was OK, but I did miss natural light, and forgot a few times to pull the curtains when getting changed, so potentially scared other passengers. I am not keen on dining particually early or late, so opted for My Time Dining, which was being trialled on the Navigatior.  Clearly the staff were struggling a bit with the technology (handy backup of pencil with very large rubber attached to it by a rubber band) but having said that we would like to eat at 8.00 with others, it was a great success, and as the main show was at 9.45, we were always able to catch that too...The food was OK, I had been on the Azamara earlier in the year, where the food had been exceptional, and I guess it is a little unfair to compare the two, although the total cost for the Azamara was only slightly more then the Navigator. Good to have a choice of Bars...although what has happened to the pre dinner nibbles?...do RCI not realise that nuts and crisps encourage their customers to drink more??? Managed to miss the better shows (Beatles and pseudo Elton John) and managed to sit through a dreadful Magic act (I think he thought he was a comedian...) and a Broadway show with songs I had not heard before. Good crowd around the Poker table (although it would have been so much better had it been non-smoking all the time rather then just sea days) and good to have a proper dealer unlike the video machine on Azamara. Spa OK - thought treatments had increased in price considerably, didn't seem very busy, so perhaps a correlation there. Biggest whinge - disembarcation - We had planned to get port shuttle, then catch train into Rome...however the queue for the shuttle was enormous, and only seemingly served by 2 busses...Waited for 30 minutes without moving, then found a bus going to central Rome so paid 50 Euros each for the trip.....there was meant to be a RCI rep at the stop to help passengers with onward transportation...didn't see anyone.  As Civatecchia is home port for RCI they really do need to use more influence to ensure smoother transportation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Just off the boat of our second RCCL cruise, and still not impressed with Royal Caribbean. This was a company cruise, which I earned for free but had to buy DH in on and we had an oceanview balcony cabin (9542 is literally two steps from ... Read More
Just off the boat of our second RCCL cruise, and still not impressed with Royal Caribbean. This was a company cruise, which I earned for free but had to buy DH in on and we had an oceanview balcony cabin (9542 is literally two steps from the forward port staircase-so nice!) Was not impressed with my first RCCL trip four years ago, but as a now experienced cruiser I felt I could be fair and give the company another shot. Embarkation was a breeze; we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale at 10:55 and took a company chartered bus to port, arriving around noon. No waiting, walked right on board the ship! Only one quick picture on boarding, and they swipe your seapass card to keep track of your photos (more on that later!) Headed up to Windjammer for lunch. Here I was surprised that the quality of food has gone down since my last RCCL cruise. I was very disappointed with the choices (hamburgers, hot dogs, a few mystery stews, etc.) and indeedthis was served every day! No difference in food choices-this was the menu every day of the cruise. The frozen yogurt stand, however, was yummy and provided some very interesting shaped ice cream that had us laughing quite a bit. Our cabin opened as promised at 1pm, and our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Putting everything away proved a bit challenging as the closet shelves face the interior of the closetand are difficult to get to. DH frequently knocked over the hanging clothes to get to the shelves (there is no door to the shelves; they are basically tucked in the corner of the closet.) I suppose if you lived out of your suitcase this would not bother you, but as I like to unpack this was odd. Bed was comfortable; bathroom adequate and the shower is the size of a phonebooth only circularno shower curtains just a tube in the corner. Hubby at 6'2" and 200lbs found it a tight fit! Nice counter space; one medicine cabinet (two cabinets at desk - so plenty of space.) Huge spaces under bed easily fit our suitcases. Very late departure (rumors ran that someone was removed by the police) and we had late seating for dinner with our company. Food in the main dining room was ok-standard Red Lobster fare-was rather disappointed that the quality was down from the prior cruise. Had one outstanding salad out of the three meals in the dining room (Orange Carpaccio?) Easily got reservations for Portofino and Chops for the fourth and fifth nights with no difficulties. OUTSTANDING DIFFERENCE in the quality of the food! Portofino was divinethe $20 upcharge was well worth itattentive service and food that truly was excellent. Chops was very good (not quite as good as Portofino, but still much better than the main dining room) but the $25 upcharged seemed a bit high for what you get (we are steak lovers and while the steaks were good, they were midgrade quality.) Two sea days-absolutely ridiculous on a five night to have two days at sea. I am not a sun worshipper, and found my balcony to be a very pleasant place to read. Ship offerings during these days were quite limited during the day, and I did find myself bored (this is my sixth cruise and this is quite rare for me. I love to do the silly challenges and scavenger hunts and classesthey simply offered very, very few!) Spa- wait a day to see the specials had the "happy hour" 25 min back massage with mini facial and foot massage and that was divine (ask for Tommy) and well worth the cost. Couples massage later in the week was good, but we discovered they charge you more to have massages as a couple ($30!) and thought that rather silly. Thankfully we had the coupon book for crown & anchor society members and got 10% off. Gym - hubby used it daily and liked it alot. He's a dedicated health nut and it filled his needs adequately. The jogging track was impossible to use after 10am, but nice before that time. Activities - the back of the boat has the rock wall, inline skating, etc. Times were limited and long lines were the norm. Teenagers essentially took over that area. Johnny Rockets - $4.95 upcharge plus you pay separate for drinks-food was great for burgers/shakes/etc and it is all you can eat. We ate there once for free with coupon and went back again to avoid Windjammer. Shows - Ice Dancin' was fun - loved the guest performer Larissa. Nightly shows were ok; magician was hysterical (Chad Chesnick) and we missed the Quest. Video reviews of the Quest and friends reviews assured me that I probably would NOT have been comfortable even watching...if you don't like watching people make fools of themselves, this is not for you! Room Service - Well, prepare to wait. If you ask for breakfast at a certain time it either comes on the nose or twenty minutes after the thirty minute window ended. They typically bring more food than you request, BUT the coffee is much better. Surprisingly, the scrambled eggs onboard are tasty (but the bacon you wonder if its really from a pig-ugh) We ordered it twice (as did friends) and they always brought danishes even though we never requested them. Pubs, bars and cafe - cafe food was ok, coffee bar was greatly lacking, and they ran out of Ben & Jerry's ice cream the second port day (so the second sea day there was none!) Schooner's piano bar was THE place to be. Oddly, they had alot of smoking lounges all over the ship, and some of the bars were smoke free. Nice to sing along in the piano bar without inhaling smoke. Crew- all extremely friendly, but not very helpful! Kind of funny to have them all smiles (then again, I am a smiley person) but unable to help you with little requests (like, I'd like a cup of soup instead of a bowl of soup - nope, can't do it!) Photos - very few stations to have photos meant long lines. Loved that they swiped your card and you could look at all photos on a kiosk later for review, but not all photos were there (they'd print some, and those weren't on the kiosk, and others wereit was weird) and some would not enlarge for review. Shops - standard jewelry, general store, logo. Prices for booze and jewelry were competitive with onshore prices. Actually bought rings for each other as anniversary gifts on the second sea day after not finding anything on shore we liked. Disembarkation - an absolute DELIGHT! Picked up tags for express departure the night before, went down to our lounge and as we got off the elevator were told to stay on and go to disembark! Back up a deck, walked right off ship. The ramp to the dock was funny as my luggage was pulling me (at 62 lbs this was funny-I could barely keep up with it :-) Very quickly through customs, back on company bus and at airport by 8:45. Overall, I was disappointed with the food and lack of things to do on sea days. I love to cruise and really enjoy meeting new people and meeting the crew; this trip was a nice break but I was surprised how often I was bored! When I look at the cost of just buying in hubby, I do not feel we got our money's worth. I highly question the practice of less port days (a growing trend) and will only travel on RCCL again if the my company insists on it it's not my first choice. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
We decided to splash out on an Owner's Suite for this crossing and paid a significant premium for the privilege. Perhaps I should say up front that we had a really good time aboard Navigator, despite the somewhat critical comments ... Read More
We decided to splash out on an Owner's Suite for this crossing and paid a significant premium for the privilege. Perhaps I should say up front that we had a really good time aboard Navigator, despite the somewhat critical comments that will follow! For us, the lesson was that if one wants a cruising experience commensurate with an investment of some $6000, then Navigator (and RCI) is not the appropriate choice. For a fraction of what we paid, we could have had just as good a time in comfortable balcony accommodations. Check in was effortless, and very efficient. We were very impressed that RCI was able to process almost 3000 passengers without long delays. Arriving on board, there was no assistance offered in finding our suite; neither were any welcome drinks offered. The ship is beautiful, and well maintained. Despite its size, it is easy to "navigate" one's way around without getting lost. Our suite, the Fiji Suite, was nicely appointed, and really spacious. There is enough closet and packing space for a household! The bathroom was stocked with premium toiletries, and a bowl of fresh fruit was awaiting us on the dining table. A bottle of complimentary mineral water was placed on the bar counter. Neither the fruit nor the water were replaced during the duration of the 12 day cruise, and on one afternoon, we received a cheese plate that was available from the room service menu. We received an access card for the small concierge lounge on Deck 9, and an invitation to the daily complimentary cocktails and snacks in the Ixtapa Lounge on Deck 5. This was the sum total of the privileges we received for booking an Owner's Suite. Our greatest disappointment was the level of indifference with which we were treated. We most certainly did not wish to be fawned upon, but some personal interaction with senior crew members would have been welcome. The "concierge service" throughout the cruise was lacking. One one occasion, we entertained guests in our suite, and asked the concierge to arrange some snacks (from the complimentary room service menu). We were informed that this would cost $350, despite the fact that we ordered wine and drinks from the ship's bar! Eventually we called room service ourselves, and our order was delivered at no charge! The concierge, Xavier, seemed disinterested and not inclined to make any effort - maybe fatigue from a season of cruising in the Mediterranean. Food...The food was of a reasonable standard (but not remarkable), in both the Windjammer Cafe and the dining room. We never had difficulty finding a table in the Windjammer during breakfast and lunch. The lunchtime menu and made-to-order salads in the dining room were excellent - perhaps the best meals we had on board. Dinner menus were somewhat repetitive in the dining room, but the food was palatable. Our waiter and assistant waiter (Glennifer and Serdar) were excellent,and were willing to go to great lengths to please. The Head Waiter, Ashton, was also wonderful. Standards have slipped, though - but quite understandable given the massive global food price increases over recent times. Getting tea and coffee outside Windjammer opening hours was a challenge and an irritation - getting early morning coffee meant a trek to Deck 5 (if we did not make our own in the suite). The star of our cruise was the bar waiter in the Ixtapa Lounge, Mark Lyttleton, who is a shining example of outstanding service. Activities and entertainment...We saw all three production shows, which were good. The highlight, though, was the special performance of "Ice Dancin'", the ice show, for Platinum and Diamond Crown & Anchor members. Wow! It was great. We enjoyed the gym facilities. Other activities were quite low-key, and influenced by the awful weather conditions across the Atlantic. (For "operational reasons" RCI decided to change our route from what was originally advertised when we booked, and the more northerly route resulted in a cold and windy crossing). We found the Cruise Director and his Assistant to be rather indifferent, and the daily video clips advertising activities on board to be reminiscent of a Butlins Holiday Camp (UK members will know what I mean). The activities staff didn't show much initiative or innovation in tailoring activities in the light of the bad weather. On a positive note, The ship's master, Captain Bang, was visible around the ship throughout the crossing (including in the gym), and communicated regularly. It would have been good if his officers had followed his example. During the cruise, it transpired that our rather bumpy ride was exacerbated by the fact that one of the two stabilizer sets on the ship was out of action. The motion caused one of the large closet doors in our suite to come off its hinges, and we were kept awake on several nights with drawers banging. In conclusion: we had a very enjoyable 12 days, but mainly due to the company of great people, and the hard work of a few outstanding crew members. It was most certainly not value for money, and although I steadfastly refrain from making comparisons with other cruise lines, RCI's premium category services are very poor indeed, by any standards. It lacks finesse and attention to detail, despite pricing that compares with premium cruise lines. Maybe a mid-priced balcony cabin in future, but never again a suite! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We flew from Ireland into Barcelona the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Continental Palacette a hotel frequented by many cruisers. I would recommend this hotel. We had a family of 4 (2 children) and there are not many ... Read More
We flew from Ireland into Barcelona the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Continental Palacette a hotel frequented by many cruisers. I would recommend this hotel. We had a family of 4 (2 children) and there are not many hotels which can accommodate 4 in a room. Now it was a tight fit, but it was fine. An added bonus was meeting a fellow cruiser the night before and then bumping into them over the next 11 days. Our only RCI experience had been the previous Nov. on Brilliance of the Seas in the med. So i was really looking forward to experiencing the bigger ship the Navigator. We arrived that the port at 11.30am, checked in quickly and had about a 20 minute wait till we could board at 12pm. Our room a GS was the same as on Brilliance however it was larger. We had a camp bed for our second son and on the Brilliance he slept in the bar area...a tight fit. In the Navigator cabin 1278 there was enough room for him to sleep next to the sofa bed. It really was a nice space for a family of 4. As we walked to our cabin our cabin attendant from Brilliance last year, Josephine called out to us. We were delighted to see her as she was brilliant. Unfortunately we missed having her by only a few cabins and instead our attendant this time was not particularly friendly, only called us by our names on the last day, left someone else's excursion tickets in our room, left the compass in spanish instead of english, and a few other things of this nature which while aren't bad, i expect more when i am paying a lot of money for a suite. We noticed on the whole that the service was no where near as good on the Navigator. The welcomes weren't as friendly, and we were unlucky again in having a waiter who really had no personality and the assistant had to be called over by us whenever we wanted bread or water.........something that i have been assured by many people you just shouldn't have to do. so after 3 nights in the dining room we tried the windjammer for Formal night (we don't dress up). we found the service if not the food so much better in the windjammer that we didn't return to the dining room for the rest of the cruise. the staff there were so attentive i was really surprised. I do have a few complaints about the windjammer at breakfast and lunch, just in terms of the space and how difficult it was to find a seat at times something i never experienced on the Brilliance. As for room service, it seems the menu is different on Navigator? I recall on Brilliance being able to get anything that was being served in the dining room. On Navigator it was cheese plate, fruit plate and hot dog and hamburger. Now i could be wrong and maybe you could still ask for meals but it didn't say it on the menu. a huge disappointment. On the whole the food was really only just average for me. I didn't see many shows on the Navigator however i did see both ice shows. I thoroughly enjoyed them though i was surprised how many times a few of the skaters fell. however, it was enjoyable and i would recommend them to anyone. My boys loved Adventure Ocean. Despite being mid term break there were not that many kids on board so the age groups 6 - 8 and 9 - 11 were combined. this was great as i have a 6 & 9 yr old and they enjoyed being together. they made great friends however the program didn't seem to be any different than last year which i thought could get really boring if you are lucky enough to cruise more than once a year. i was really looking forward to the Promenade and thats one of the reasons i chose the Navigator this time. I was so disappointed. the shopping was pathetic and i couldn't find anything to buy. I thought that the shops on Brilliance which shouldn't be the case at all. The other thing was i realized that i missed the light and glass of the Brilliance. Navigator felt too enclosed for us. Now this isn't to say i wouldn't go on her again, i would. I just thought i would like it better. We chose this itinerary as it had 4 sea days as opposed to our cruise last year which was really port intensive. the problem was this time that some of the port we only had about 5 hours, so it was quite rushed. Palma de Mallorca was nice, an easy stroll around town. Unfortunately Sardinia had a tornado, which came completely out of the blue, so we were unable to disembark and instead had an extra sea day. Athens was hot and busy. There was a lots of ships in port that day and all seemed to be at the Acropolis. Istanbul the first day was a disaster as it rained very heavily. I was ill and unable to take the tour but my dh arrived back on the ship soaking wet and freezing. We had till 2pm on the Monday and we headed for the Grand Bazaar. An absolute highlight of the cruise. We loved it and had a really fun morning and i would highly recommend a cruise with Istanbul as a port. Lastly was Malta and a lovely 26 degrees sun and sightseeing. As a final comment the last day was really rocky and it was a shame as a lot of the ship, including staff were sick. thankfully we were fine although our cabin was midship so maybe that helped. The final night was very quiet and both the windjammer and dining room was pretty empty. On the whole we still really enjoyed the cruise but maybe that was more about the holiday itself than the service and food etc that i expected would make the holiday great. Not as good as the Brilliance. While i wouldn't rule out another of the bigger ships, i am not sure i would race back to the Navigator in a hurry. Wasn't bad.....just not outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
My wife and I sailed on Navigator of the Seas for a 10 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise 10 October 2008. She is disabled, with limited mobility. She uses a scooter or manual wheelchair outside our home, and can walk about 15-20 yards on ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on Navigator of the Seas for a 10 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise 10 October 2008. She is disabled, with limited mobility. She uses a scooter or manual wheelchair outside our home, and can walk about 15-20 yards on crutches when required. This was her fourth cruise. Two years ago, we were on the Splendour of the Seas for a similar cruise - 7 days Eastern Med. The weather was absolutely horrid on that one, so we decided to do a virtual repeat, This time the weather cooperated! I'll first review from the point of view of the disabled cruiser, and follow with general comments. We booked cabin 7600 - an "accessible" cabin. It's not possible to book these cabins online, so our travel agent books for us. Apparently there is a procedure for agents to follow to allow booking of these cabins, but I have no idea of what it might be. Once the booking number is assigned, all Internet activity (ordering Gifts and Gear, online check in, etc.) is fine. The infrastructure and facilities of NOS are wonderful: The cabin is 1-1/2 size and allows for wheelchair or scooter to turn around easily inside. The bathroom is roll-in, no lip at the floor, and there is an extra set of drains in the floor to prevent water running all over the cabin. The roll-in shower has easily accessible low controls. However, the shower bench supplied had no rubber tips at the feet, which enabled it to slide around. My wife's solution was to place a towel on the floor under the bench, which kept it dry enough to be safe. The toilet seat height and bars are fine. The door to the balcony has a small shallow ramp covering the door track, which automatically raised and lowered itself (by simple gravity, not any kind of fancy thing) allowing roll-in balcony access. Of course, the balcony is a bit small for any maneuvering of a chair, but is adequate for use. The closet is equipped with an ingenious mechanism so the cross rod for hanging clothing can be used either at standard height, or with a simple pull on a handle, by a wheelchair user sitting down. The in-room safe is at a good height. Of course, the higher shelves (closet and above the TV set) are out of reach for a wheelchair user, but there was adequate space at a low level. There are two problems in the cabin. There is no full-length mirror, so a chair user can not see how they look when dressing. The controls for the air conditioning are too high for a seated person. The public areas we frequented are well suited to the disabled. All doors were either automatic electric eye (for everyone's convenience) or, in the case of doors to the restrooms and the "wheelchair" stalls, buttons are provided which are at the correct location and level for the wheelchair user. The Windjammer is problematical in that most of the tables are impossible to reach in a wheelchair. Some lines "reserve" a few tables at the entrance to each section (a sign on the table "This table reserved for the disabled") which we mentioned to the Windjammer manager. The casino slot area is OK, but the tables are too close to the wall (or low railing) for a chair to maneuver, although if one could get to the table in a chair, the height is OK. My wife played the first night on her scooter, but caused so much congestion that on succeeding casino visits, she parked the scooter near the door and walked to the table (we are avid casino players). The Nutcracker Dining room (3rd deck) is unsuitable for chair users. All the chair users in our seating parked their chairs at the entrance, and walked to their table. I believe that the upper levels have better accessibility. The Metropole Theater has good facilities. A row of movable chairs is set in back of the last row, and the staff will gladly remove one so the scooter or wheelchair fits right in, and their friends sit with them. The location of these seats is OK - sound and view are fine. The shows we saw were well done and we enjoyed them. As many of the public areas are carpeted, making using a manual chair more difficult, this trip my wife (as I mentioned above, she is a regular scooter user) rented a scooter. As directed on the RCI website, she contacted the Special Services department, which emailed addresses of two companies which provide this service. Our travel agent contacted both of them, and returned to us with a set of prices from each. Since my wife is a large lady, we chose on the basis of what the offered weight capacity was, rather than simply on price. We chose "Special Needs at Sea" which quoted $425 for the ten days for a scooter of suitable capacity. As promised, the scooter was in our cabin before we arrived (at a little after 2 PM) and we simply left it in the cabin when we disembarked. The charger worked perfectly, fully recharging overnight. In general (but see below for a BAD exception) the staff is great. They - especially the staff in the Windjammer - were an immense help. Getting on ad off ship at ports of call was handled well (those little gangplanks are DANGEROUS for wheelchairs). Our waiter in the main dining room took charge of my wife's crutches as soon as we reached the table. The headwaiter staff managed all the wheelchairs and provided us with a roll-in parking spot at the entrance to the dining room each night. We're nor club hoppers or pub frequenters, and spent most nights in the casino. In the places where we usually spent time - theater, Boleros, casino - the bar waiters got to know us and our preferences quickly. But not all is rosy. Our practice has always been to not book any excursions until the Excursion Desk can see and talk to my wife face to face. They said that the first two ports, Messina and Thessaloniki had nothing suitable. For Istanbul, they booked us on "Easy Istanbul" which was presented as being suitable for wheelchair users, and for Malta, a tour that was listed as a coach only tour. Since we had booked tours on previous cruises (not with RCI) which were advertised like "Easy Istanbul", we expected a wheelchair van with lift. At the departure area, we saw a regular tour bus, with six steps up to the seats. Another two couples who also had booked, turned away immediately - one was a woman in a chair who could not walk at all, and another a gentleman who used a walker but with great difficulty. My wife has limited ability and can sometimes manage a short flight of steps. We asked the tour guide if there would be much walking, and were told there would not be. At the first stop, she stayed on the bus. The second stop was to be a long one, so we got off, and got her chair from underneath. The guide started walking - over a rough cobblestoned area, and walked and walked. Well, we just stopped, sat down in a cafe, and had a cup of coffee while the group went to wherever they went. The next stop was the Blue Mosque - high point of the tour. At the entrance to the Mosque there is a good size flight of steps. My wife went to ask the guide if she could use the chair once she was at the top, and while asking, the bus driver pulled away with her chair still underneath! Istanbul traffic being what it is, we were not able to get the chair back at that moment, so again, we sat and waited for the tour to go through the Mosque. Upon our return to the ship, we immediately contacted the Excursions Desk as soon as it opened. Our point was that the tour had been misrepresented to us. We spoke with the manager of the department who was quite apologetic, but insisted that she always emphasizes to her staff to correctly determine what is in each tour and sell it accordingly. To us, it seemed not enough "emphasis." She agreed that the tour we booked for Malta (but not yet taken) was not suitable and immediately refunded our money for it. We demanded a refund for the "Easy Istanbul." That she had to put through her authority chain. It took almost 72 hours (and prodding on our part) to get the refund for that one. But nothing could make up for the frustration and humiliation my wife went through on that disastrous tour. Now, for our critique of the cruise disability aside. First and foremost, it is abundantly clear that Royal Caribbean is cutting corners wherever it can. Dining in the Main Dining Room (we always opt for second seating) has degenerated to a less than good experience. Until we complained several times, the food was often brought out cold when it needed to be hot. A three course (used to be four) took over an hour and a half a number of times (why?????). The main courses offered have sunk in both number and variety, to say nothing of quality. Of eight items offered, generally two were pasta, two were fish, two were beef (and I will put a bet on the fact that "black Angus sirloin" here was nothing but a buzz-word) one was a variable, and one was some kind of vegetarian something or other. A shrimp main dish my wife ordered consisted of TWO shrimp! A "shrimp ravioli" main course didn't have a single solid piece of shrimp in it - truth in advertising would require it to be labeled "shrimp flavor ravioli". A main dish called "turkey" was in fact a few slices of deli-style turkey roll. Admittedly, we all mourn the loss of lobster tails for one dinner, but the depth that the food has sunk to is simply unacceptable. In the course of the ten days, we had dinner in the Windjammer twice. Once the "special offering of the day" was Mongolian Grill. FINALLY a decent dinner! The other time, it was chicken Marsala. Somewhat overblown, and of course PASTA. Sigh. Our table mates had occasion to eat at Portofino one evening, and said it was good. But why should we have to pay $40 for the two of us to get a decent dinner? I would be happy if RCI increased the price of the cruise by that 40 dollars and gave us a decent dinner every night! And... the coffee is atrocious. As my wife and I are rather heavy smokers, we were concerned about the smoking policy on this cruise. RCI no longer permits smoking in the cabins, but the balcony where smoking is permitted, served us well. The few public areas where smoking is permitted are, except for the starboard side of the pool deck, small and usually inconveniently located. In Boleros, the area has room for no more than 20 seats. The Schooner Bar's "designated area" is only a couple of tables, and is off in a corner where it isn't possible to see what is going on. The casino now has a "No smoking on formal nights" policy. While we understand the policy of giving non-smokers their time in the casino, we would have liked it better if one of the two nights in question was moved to a non-formal night, so that we could enjoy gaming on a formal night. Corner-cutting was obvious in many other places. Boleros, a very busy place, had only two bar people and they worked the entire evening without a break. One of them told my wife that they no longer actually mix drinks, but use prepared mixes for bloody marys and that kind of drink. Many of the staff, while very friendly and eager, simply looked overworked all the time. Since we are night owls, not getting to sleep until after 2 AM, it is our habit to order a small amount of room-service breakfast to keep us until we can have a "brunch" at Windjammer. One day we ordered it for 9-9:30 AM. At 9:45 I looked outside the room and saw that the order slip - placed before the required 3 AM - was still hanging on the door handle. Sigh. We ordered two items from Gifts and Gear and were badly disappointed. The "Non alcoholic grape juice cheese and crackers" contained two small jars of strange flavored jam, a package of Melba Toast and a wedge of..... PARMESAN cheese! The "chocolate covered strawberries" was nothing more than some packets of standards like chocolate coated raisins, coated peanuts, and so forth. Two years ago, these items were delivered as advertised and as expected. There are areas on the ship that need some work. The railings on the balconies need a sanding/varnish very badly. Other areas look a little threadbare. An occasional foul odor here and there lead to a conclusion that the sanitary system is not 100 percent right. In sum, not a very pleasant cruise experience. The most disappointing thing is that just two years ago, we did a very similar cruise with Royal Caribbean and loved it. What has happened in such a short time? It saddens me to think that Royal Caribbean is playing to the "McDonalds is my kind of place" level. If that is a conscious business decision, I hope that the increased patronage they will get, combined with the lowered cost from their point of view, is enough to offset what they will lose. My wife and I will now look elsewhere when choosing a cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
I'm still swaying and my head is till swimming from a most distressing last couple of days on board a Navigator of the Seas without fully operational stabilizers. The Med was rough between Valletta and Barcelona on the final leg of ... Read More
I'm still swaying and my head is till swimming from a most distressing last couple of days on board a Navigator of the Seas without fully operational stabilizers. The Med was rough between Valletta and Barcelona on the final leg of our cruise and, sadly, took its toll on a number of guests. I can't recall a more unpleasant and prolonged experience and am still suffering nearly 48 hours later. Trying to pack suitcases in those conditions was an absolute nightmare. But what about the cruise overall? These are first impressions and my views may moderate over time of course - we only got back last night. Well, Navigator is a lovely ship of course and impressions were generally positive. However, whilst I wouldn't have had a word to say against Brilliance of the Seas last year, this year's cruise had a number of negatives: The weather - clearly nothing RCI could have done about this but there were three particularly bad days. There was actually a tornado in Cagliari, which flipped over a bus quay-side before our eyes and meant that we were unable to disembark there at all, reducing our stops from five to four. Similarly, the first day in Turkey was horrendous. An absolute torrent of rain came down and excursions should most definitely have been cancelled there too but I guess RCI stood to lose too much money so they went ahead and were a total farce. Firstly, we learned a day before arrival that a marathon was taking place in the city so traffic was very restricted. As a consequence, with no prior warning our excursion tour bus stopped some distance from the focal point of the tour and we were all then traipsed around on foot in the torrential rain by our arrogant and disinterested guide Selma for about five hours. My four year-old daughter and elderly mother in law really suffered in these dreadful conditions. To compound matters, Selma wasn't interested in ensuring everyone could keep pace, just in getting her job done and picking up her pay check no doubt. We had booked another excursion ashore in Istanbul that evening but with the rain not abating we attempted to cancel. However, RCI would not allow us to do so. Their inflexibility in such extreme circumstances would certainly make me think twice about sailing with them again. My wife and I even attempted to brave the deluge to avoid wasting a considerable sum of money all together but could only get a hundred yards or so from the ship, despite umbrellas, before we were completely drenched again and had to turn back. We should most certainly have been offered refunds by RCI and will be complaining formally. The last day at sea we endured very rough seas and here the lack of functioning stabilizers really came home to roost. It was a most unpleasant experience and surely RCI should compensate travellers for such a critical malfunction. As usual, the food was terrific and the service - at least from the room attendant and all waiting staff - was excellent. On the down side, Navigator was too smoky - nine of the bars and lounges permitted smoking, which meant that you could smell smoke when strolling along the Royal Promenade - not what you expect on board ship, and surely not sensible from a health and safety perspective. I'm sure there weren't that many smokers on board but it only takes one in a bar.... Smoking was also allowed starboard side on deck so, as there wasn't as much open space on Navigator as there was on Brilliance, it was always apparent. Anyway, it's not an insurmountable problem but if you're a non-smoker, stay out of those bars and remain portside! On the plus side, the ship looked good - maybe cabin carpets in need of replacement or a deep clean but otherwise everywhere looked first class, as usual. The Adventure Ocean "kids club" was again excellent and my daughter loved it. Even the lack of a designated kids' pool and water slide was no problem. The pool facilities were just fine. I was a little surprised about the whole Royal Promenade experience. It just seemed an unnecessary gimmick to me, one which the Oasis of the Seas will be taking to even greater extremes it seems with its Central Park tree lined area. The Promenade looked good, certainly, but I didn't notice any greater shopping choice than on Brilliance. The coffee bar was nice and well used, but seemed to be the only place cruisers could help themselves to a coffee (except on the final morning when the coffee machine wasn't working). As I recall, Brilliance has a few such refreshment stations in strategic deck locations. Despite being a bigger ship overall, the impression I got was that the facilities on Navigator of the Seas catered for no more than on the smaller Brilliance of the Seas, with the consequence that at peak times on Navigator it was very difficult to get a seat in the Windjammer/Jade buffet dining areas. Further pluses on our Eastern Med cruise - the Mallorca stop was nice, Athens a great experience and Malta a pleasant surprise. In conclusion, RCI clearly cannot be held responsible for bad weather but in my opinion they could certainly do more to compensate customers for the limitations this imposed on services offered and for the lack of stabilizing functionality on board. Just off for another lie down.... Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Our first trip to Europe was very exciting! We had planned for months and really anticipated a wonderful adventure.We have sailed 3 times with Celebrity.This was our first experience with Royal Caribbean. Embarkation in Barcelona was a ... Read More
Our first trip to Europe was very exciting! We had planned for months and really anticipated a wonderful adventure.We have sailed 3 times with Celebrity.This was our first experience with Royal Caribbean. Embarkation in Barcelona was a breeze! We transferred from the airport and checked in very quickly. Lunch in the Windjammer Restaurant was disappointing but our cabin was ready at 1 pm and we were delighted to be able to take a nap before the life boat drill. The Swan Lake Dining room was lovely and our waiter Wilson was very efficient. Most meals were quite good but very limited in variety.We avoided the Windjammer and had breakfast and lunch in the dining room as often as possible. We had lunch one day at Johnny Rocket's- great burgers and shakes and lots of fun, too. The Portofino restaurant was very special. We went for dinner at sunset and enjoyed sailing along the Turkish coast as well as a delicious dinner. The food and staff were both fantastic. Excursions were not as well organized as those we've done with Celebrity.The excursions were not as long as advertised. The booklet described 5 hour trips that were closer to 4 hours. The guides were excellent but rushed.The guide in Malta was so pressed for time she only allowed 10 minutes to use restrooms! There were dozens of tour buses and only 2 bathrooms! We spent 20 minutes in Mdina and everyone on the trip felt frustrated by the lack of time. The ship was only in port from 11:00am till 5p. Since the next day was a sea day, why did we need to rush? No one had any explanation. Many guests had booked two half day tours in Istanbul. The day before, we were notified that the tour had been changed to 10 hours on Sunday.The Grand Bazaar was to be a highlight but it is closed on Sunday. More very long lines at the excursion desk to make changes and find half days tours. For us, ten hours was just too long a day. The excursion staff was very patient and helpful but so many passengers had to make changes. It seemed as if Royal Caribbean should have advocated for their guests with the tour operator. Entertainment was a very mixed bag. The Beatle Maniacs were great fun, Jackie Scott was delightful, the Motown Show was terrific, the ice shows were just amazing! The Elton John show was just a disaster! We really missed the early evening music performances that Celebrity did so well. Disembarkation was fine and well organized on the ship. The parking lot was a whole different world. We sat on a full bus from 7a till 7:45a waiting for "permission" to leave for the airport!It seemed as if no one was really in charge and each time a problem developed, 6 people got together and nothing got done. As a result of this delay, the check in lines at the airport were huge! We stood in line for 2 hours and had to run to get through security to make our 10:30a flight from Barcelona to Paris. We sadly missed several amenities that Celebrity had always offered.There were no Christian religious services available on the ship.No guest lectures,no bathrobes in the rooms, no welcome glass of champagne, and a badly stocked library. I think we're "one and done" with Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
This was the fifth cruise for us - forty something experienced travelers. We have always found cruising to be the best way to see a lot and yet not have to think all that much! After all - it IS vacation! We've sailed previously on ... Read More
This was the fifth cruise for us - forty something experienced travelers. We have always found cruising to be the best way to see a lot and yet not have to think all that much! After all - it IS vacation! We've sailed previously on Carnival (Bahamas, Eastern & Western Caribbean) and Norwegian (Alaska). Both of us have been to Europe before, as well, but this was the first time for Italy, Spain and France. We booked RCI because we have been hearing the "buzz' for years about their superior service and cuisine. Quite frankly, neither of us were very impressed....but actually comparatively disappointed, which I will describe in detail in a bit. On a positive note, we simply fell in love with Barcelona. Since having previous nail biting experiences with delayed flights which almost made us miss our ship, we decided to go one day early and stay two days after the cruise. The airport was easy to navigate and we took the Aerobus for only four Euro each. We got off a couple of blocks from our hotel and managed our luggage quite easily. Thanks to the many good comments on the boards, we elected to stay at the Apsis Atrium Palace Hotel. The room was beautiful and modern. The hotel was within walking distance from La Rambla, but without the noise. The staff was wonderful! For the price, it was an excellent four star experience. If you find some time in Barcelona, don't miss La Rambla (but not on Sundays - a lot is closed!), La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi/Picasso works, and the waterfront. Thanks to the clean up it got for the Olympics, the city is in great shape. We also spent a beautiful day in Monserrat - unbelievable views, a stunning basilica, clean facilities, very cool cable cars and funiculars (trains that go pretty much straight up the mountainside), etc. We are NYC shopaholics, so we found many trendy boutiques and local craftsmen, as well as the usual pricey designer shops and street vendors. You can use the subway (Metro), bus system, and trains with the same multi-ride ticket. Taxis don't cruise, but your hotel will be happy to call one for you. We had our fill of paella, tapas, and sangria - trying out different spots each meal. We're also quiet infatuated with cafe con leche. We always felt safe and the locals treated us magnificently. I'm pretty decent at Spanish, but the language of the city is Catalan. No one seemed to mind or make too much fun of us when our sentences ended up a conglomeration of all the languages we had encountered. It was also great fun to be their on the night Spain won the Euro 2008 Cup in soccer. Such pride and celebration!! I would go back to Barcelona in a heartbeat and it is now my second favorite city of all I have visited. We took a cab to the pier at around noon. We found the luggage tagging rather disorganized and chaotic. Each other cruise line had sent us our colored luggage tags in advance, but RCI made you bring the info with you and you have to wait in line for a porter to tag you up. There weren't really lines, but a big clump of people trying to get to the same one man with the tags. We discovered very quickly that there seems to be no respect for lines in Europe. It's a survival of the fittest (or rudest) mentality, so it seemed. We refused to toss away our manners and just made a pact to relax and take our time throughout the week, as I don't go on vacation to push and shove. Just a personal pet peeve. I was also quite disgusted at the lack of any sort of interest in deodorant in a great number of our fellow cruisers. We're Americans, so the body odor thing took some getting used to. Apparently, it is quite okay to cover a stench with Armani and call it a day. The ship was clean and our stateroom was very nice. The bed was large, with plenty of nice pillows and linens. Our attendant was excellent, and she always slipped in and out by learning our schedule. We didn't get a single towel animal, though! We felt like little kids in our disappointment, but it's something we just found to be a cute cruising tradition. Might have had something to do with the yellowish brown stains that afflicted most of the towels that were circulating. The entire staff was efficient enough, but there seemed to be a general lack of friendliness. On past cruises, all of the staff we encountered bothered to learn our names and always greeted us with a smile. I honestly don't even think there was anyone who actually welcomed us aboard the Navigator! We are real foodies, so we just like to eat and experiment. In all honesty, we felt we had much better experiences on both Carnival and Norwegian. The Windjammer/Jade buffets had more limited hours that we expected. There were often no seats, as a lot of the passengers just stayed at the tables to talk or look out the windows long after eating, despite the continued requests over the public address that they not do that. There is not a lot of enclosed deck space on this ship, as the cabins are higher up and the public spaces on the lower decks. If you don't want to sit at the pool area, there aren't many good places to just sit and relax on deck without hogging up dining space. We ate four dinners in the main dining room, which for us was Swan Lake. The dining room is comprised of three levels and we were on the top. Without belaboring the point, our previous cruises have had much more interesting dining room entertainment. In the Swan Lake, you missed the singing/dancing of the wait staff, as it most always took place on the lowest level. We didn't want to stand along the railing and block other diners. The menus seemed to lack creativity in both taste and presentation. If there is an RCI representative reading this --- the drink stations simply have to go. The waiters pour out trays full of iced tea, lemonade and fruit punch and they all sit there while the ice melts in them. Plus, if the buffet was closed, there were no beverages to be had unless you ordered at the bar or got room service. We have been spoiled by the 24/7 beverages, ice cream (at NO CHARGE), pizza stations, and magnificently presented midnight buffets on Carnival and Norwegian. Your only choices after 9:30 p.m. were some small sandwiches, limited desserts, and very bland pizza in the cafe on the promenade. Seriously, the other cruise lines have you beaten - hands down! The shows were average, at best. We are both in the entertainment business, but not so highbrow as to expect Broadway or a high ticket tour. There was just downright off-key singing, laughable juggling, stale jokes, and ice skaters who spent the majority of time on their bums. Once again, RCI just didn't measure up. We pretty much tried all of the ship's activities. They're overrated, but at least give you something to do. There aren't enough hours for the guests to get a chance to climb the rock wall, the ice skating rink is miniscule, who can mini-golf on a ship???, and the stores have the same tired merchandise that you would expect. There was hardly anyone in the casino - my guess is that the odds are pretty crappy (pun intended!). There was a nightclub called The Dungeon, which was completely empty every time we passed. We did hear the sing-a-long pianist was brilliantly hysterical, but we never made it there in time. We visited Cannes, Florence/Pisa, and Rome. Being first time visitors there, we opted for ship's shore excursions (except in Cannes, which is quite walkable) this first time to avoid the worry about transportation and being late back to the ship. There was quite a bit of grumbling when they announced that everyone needed tickets for the free tender boats in France, and that preferential times would be given to those holding RCI excursions. A lot of people who made private arrangements found their time quite limited. One couple at our dinner table obediently waited their turn only to be told that there were no more tickets available to go ashore! The excursions were overpriced for what we got ($100 per person for what amounted to transportation and guided narration). On the Florence excursion the charter bus had a broken air conditioning system and a very high maintenance family which managed to annoy the other fifty passengers from the start. Be aware, the Livorno port does not allow pedestrian traffic, so RCI makes you purchase a shuttle ticket just to leave the port. Seems to me they could provide that service free of charge. Rome was absolutely wonderful. If you've ever studied in school with Cliff's Notes, then you know what it's like to cram all the sights into a short ten hour shore time. Our tour guide thought it was a great idea to establish the Vatican entrance as our meeting point after our free time, which made it quite a hike there and back if you wanted to see the Trevi Fountain or the Pantheon. We made it, but we pretty much jogged the whole way and crammed in a speed lunch. At least we got a good overview of the sights we'd like to see when we return on our own. It is a magical city. Cruising is still the best value for the dollar. Either it is losing its luster with cost cutting measures or RCI isn't all it's stacked up to be. My advice to the cruise lines: charge us a little more and provide the little things for free; stop pushing the shore shopping that gives you a kickback; smile a little; and finally, don't kick us off the ship at the crack of dawn. We know you need time to clean, so make embarkation a little later. We won't probably give RCI another chance. I know there are true believers out there and you are entitled to keep your loyalties. I will spend my money where I have the most fun, feel I am treated well, and get the best food! Happy Sailings! Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
We're your average mid-40's married couple. Although this was our first cruise, we have travelled extensively and stayed in resorts and fine hotels the world over. Overall the ship itself was very impressive. EVerything is ... Read More
We're your average mid-40's married couple. Although this was our first cruise, we have travelled extensively and stayed in resorts and fine hotels the world over. Overall the ship itself was very impressive. EVerything is fresh and new, clean and well maintained. Public spaces are spacious and tastefully decorated. Our cabin, an outside suite with balcony, was lovely. Having the bed right beside the patio door feels like sleeping on the beach. The sitting area was quite sufficient. Lots of closet and drawer space. Bathroom was nice, clean, efficient. No toiletries are provided, but we always bring our own everywhere anyway. The wall-to-wall, patio doors were great - really brought the outside in to the room. The one problem we had inside our stateroom was in fact outside our stateroom - noise. Yes, it's March and the kids are on March break, but their right to party stops where it interferes with our right to quiet enjoyment of our own holiday. These spoiled brats have no concept of basic consideration. All day they yell up and down the corridors as they come and go, as if they were the only people on the planet. During the day, one can almost put up with it because, after all, it's daytime. But this goes on into the night. Hooting and hollering as they return stone drunk from the bars and parties, including the most vile language and profanities. The ship's Client Services and the security people did make an effort to control them - I could hear the security guards out there at 3am trying to shut them down - but they would practically have to stand there in the hall permanently as hall monitors telling the children how to behave in order to maintain any reasonable quietness, which they apparently did not have enough staff to do. So, instead, you're woken at 2am by a group of drunken boors, you call security, the kids go into their rooms, security arrives, it's too late, you're awake now, they go away, then a half hour later the whole thing starts again. This kind of thing unfortunately spills into daytime life onboard as well. Groups of half-naked drunken hooligans roam freely around the ship, rough-housing in the elevators, shouting sexual profanities and giggling like adolescents at the looks from older ladies within ear shot. They show up to dinner in the formal dining room in sandals, shorts and t-shirts. The elevator smells of vomit after the previous night's partying, there are bottles of beer standing on railings throughout the ship....It really ruins the atmosphere, turning what should be a nice, civilized experience into a constant scene from Animal House. Sure, the ship has a code of conduct and they'll be glad to enforce it when you complain, but you're not there to spend your week playing policeman or to make enemies of your neighbors. What the Navigator of the Seas needs during these times is extra staff, specifically security staff, to keep things under control. They also need to limit alcohol sales to obviously drunken customers. We will undoubtedly cruise again, but never with Royal Caribbean in the month of March unless they come up with a comprehensive plan to keep things civilized. All this was really too bad, because otherwise the ship itself was fabulous. The dining room is breathtakingly beautiful and elegant. Tables were spaciously arranged. Piano accompaniment during dinner was lovely. Our waiter and assistant waiter were wonderfully pleasant, friendly, attentive and helpful. (It might not hurt that I tip well) The food was very very good, with a number of selections changing every night while some standards remained each day. Our waiter accommodated each of our little food idiosyncrasies with a smile. Our cabin was cleaned twice a day, which is largely sufficient. Personally I'd feel odd about having someone in there more often than that. Our cabin steward was friendly and did a good job. The casual restaurant that's open continuously, the Windjammer, is frankly a bit of a circus. Often crowded and busy, the staff seemed a little harried in there. Like going to a shopping mall food court. Jostle for your food, then stand around looking for a seat to come free somewhere. Of course it was much less so if you ate at off-hours and we enjoyed some time lounging by the panoramic rear windows in off-hours watching our last port of call recede. One of the hidden gems of the ship are the musicians playing in the many little bars. We stopped to listen to some talented guitar players and keyboardists in these quiet hideaways. There are two pool areas - the Solarium, a smallish neo-Roman style area, and then there's "the party place", a large terraced forum with two pools, band-stand and two bars. This second area was basically a sea of 20-something humanity and over-amplified obnoxious music most of the time, which left only the smaller area suitable for adults. This meant deck chairs were often in short supply in the adult area. Again, too bad, because it's a beautiful spot. We caught the main show in the Metropolitan theatre most nights. It's not Broadway, but it's actually quite good considering this is small-venue entertainment. Music/dance reviews, comedians, etc. - all good fun. The theatre itself is also quite attractive and comfortable, with good views from most seats. You can even take drinks in with you, so we enjoyed our after-dinner tea with the show. Shore Excursions We took the excursion to the Tulum Mayan ruins at Cozumel. Perfectly good service - a ferry boat and a bus trip with a guide. The guide was informative, the bus was a nice coach with air. The site is extraordinary for anyone who likes that sort of thing. And a big bonus - there is a beautiful sandy beach at the foot of the ruins where you can take a dip to cool off - so take a bathing suit. At Belize we took the bus tour to the Xunantunich Mayan ruins. Bus was again a coach with air - although a little more run down than the previous, and it reeked of some kind of cleaner. The guide was very informative and talked most of the time. He had a good knowledge of the history of the site. The site is extraordinary. We've taken some big adventures on our own, but were glad to have been on a tour group for this one - the poverty you pass on the road is quite distressing, not to mention the crime that must exist when you see that many shops in the regular part of Belize City have steel bars on the window and they serve people through the bars. On the other hand - contrary to warnings we read about malaria inland, there was not a single mosquito at the site. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
This was our seventh cruise so needless to say we love cruising.One time before on RCCL, NCL, Princess, Holland America and Carnival and a wonderful ship the Royal Majesty (bought out by a larger ship). We have moved from Jacksonville ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise so needless to say we love cruising.One time before on RCCL, NCL, Princess, Holland America and Carnival and a wonderful ship the Royal Majesty (bought out by a larger ship). We have moved from Jacksonville Florida to Texas so cruising is not as easy as it used to be when we could just get in the car and drive to south Florida, but still we were very excited and did not mind the airline trip. We flew in one day early and stayed at the Springhill Suites in Dania Fl. They provided free transportation to the port in Ft Lauderdale which was only three miles away. Very accommodating to their cruising guests and a very nice hotel. Check in for the ship was very easy,in fact,I believe it was one of the best check-in we have had. We were on board around 11:30 am and lunch was being served in the Windjammer Buffet. Rooms were not ready until 1:oopm. This was a special cruise because my brother and his wife from Stockbridge Ga, who had never been on a cruise, or out of the USA for that matter. We were to have adjoining cabins both with a balcony. We found out long ago that it is well worth the money to get a cabin with a balcony ,toward the middle of the ship, half way up. Our first disappointment... there was no door that made them adjoining rooms and the balcony door between the rooms, we were told, could not be opened because it might be a hazard. We had planned this trip for 7 months and we were excited that my brother and his wife could experience what we had always talked about and how wonderful it would be and about how good the food would be and were told the rooms were adjoining. The stateroom, from the first day to the last was very warm. In fact, the entire ship was very warm. We overheard several people talking about how warm the ship was and thought that the cooling must be broken. In the public rooms like Studio B and the clubs and dining rooms, and with lots of people, it became very hot,very quick. Smoking was a real problem as well. We avoided the Casino because of the cigarette and cigar smoke. It was not pleasant. The cabins were" No Smoking" but was permitted on the balcony. Several times we could smell the smoke from other balconies while we were trying to enjoy sitting out. So let me start now by saying they lost one of our bags and we did not get it until 10:00pm. How hard could it be to get the luggage to the stateroom? The bags were clearly marked. It was all of our hangup clothes so we had to eat that night in the same clothes we had worn all day. Our cabin steward came by(we never saw her again the entire trip) and introduced herself to us, and said that she would not be on duty that night...so no towel animal...something we had told my brother they would have everynight. Amenities in the stateroom were "nada"...not even a bottle of lotion !! It is a good thing we brought our shampoo. Every other cruise we have been on we always have had very nice creams and shampoos. All the mirrors in the stateroom had streaks and I had to take a towel and try and clean them. We NEVER had ice in the ice bucket when we needed it...it was always water. Once we did call our stateroom attendant to try and get ice but the phone call to her went unanswered so we called room service and were told they would handle it. Exactly one hour later we got the ice..we are not exactly sure who it was from, but it was NOT from our room attendant. The towel animals came only one time and my brother and his wife only one time as well. The food was very Golden Corral--ish....our waiter in the formal dining room was not personable at all. The assistant waiter did a much better job and was very pleasant and friendly. His name was Julio and we enjoyed him very much. I don't think our head waiter ever smiled and we decided he was burned out and needed to go get another job. We were all expecting Lobster on formal night. My brother had never had Lobster so this was going to be an event Well guess what....NO LOBSTER...and when we asked about it the head waiter insulted our intelligence by telling us that there is a shortage of Lobsters...we did not buy it.There was no special dessert presentation and one of the entrees in the formal dining room, and I do believe it was on formal night, was Chili... While on our excursion in Grand Cayman we met some people who were there on NCL and ask them about Lobster and they said that yes they had Lobster on Super Bowl Sunday night. The service in the Windjammer was better than the dining room we had been assigned to. We always looked for Romeo in the Windjammer...he was so pleasant and accommodating. The shore excursions were fine. We took the city and shopping highlights tour that included a drive through a rain forest, the ruins and Dunns River Falls. However our tour started 20 minutes late...No Problem Mon. The entertainment left something to be desired compared to other ships we had been on. The one bright spot was the entertainer they had that was a one man show. He was great. Everyone enjoyed him. The last night of the cruise should have been something special but we had to sit through a juggler and the cruise director barking for everyone to buy the $40.00 cruise highlights DVD...and even had to sit through part of the DVD...that was it. Nothing special like we had hoped for. I think it all boils down to the fact that bigger is NOT better. With 3100 people and only a crew of about 1200. the service goes out the window, or I should say....OUT THE PORTHOLE! What happened to all the things that come with a cruise.The midnight buffets, the pizza.? They had Ben and Jerrys but you had to pay for it. We tried to make reservations at the speciality restaurant Chops, but were told they had filled up all of their reservations on the first day of the cruise. My brother, not ever having been on a cruise before, said he was not impressed and would think twice about sailing with Royal Caribbean again and for sure not on a ship with so many people you could not find a chair to sun in at the pool and they had two pools. As for my husband and I, we may be snobbish cruisers but we do know good service, great food and a friendly crew and this ship just does not have it. We will stick to NCL ,Holland America, Crystal or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
Unfortunately, escaping the cold doesn't mean escaping to paradise. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale the night before and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn and Suites. Good price, close proximity to the port. Arrived at the port around ... Read More
Unfortunately, escaping the cold doesn't mean escaping to paradise. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale the night before and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn and Suites. Good price, close proximity to the port. Arrived at the port around 11:30, and was on the ship by 11:45. No problem 'mon. Once on board, we were stunned. The ship was beautiful, tastefully designed, and for a ship of that size, easy to navigate. It was nice to know this would be my home for 5 days. Some furniture was worn, and the ship deserves a dry dock soon. Still, these minor problems did not bother us. It didn't take long for the real problems to start. We arrived at our stateroom and were welcomed by a nasty sewage-like odor. Granted, the ship is six years old, but I want my room to smell as clean as it looks. I don't thing that is an extravagant request. It wasn't the toilet that smelled, I think it was the carpet, another sign that the ship needs refurbishment and new carpets. When we asked guest relations to help us with this situation, we were simply told "There is nothing we can do." Really? We are guests on your ship and you cannot help us with a minor problem? This was not the only time we received less-than-helpful help from guest relations. Later in the cruise, my father's glasses broke and asked guest relations if there was a jeweler's screwdriver and/or glasses repair kit onboard. "No" is the answer he received. That's it. How can you relate to your guests with these answers. What was worse was, my father walked to one of the shops and they had a screwdriver. He fixed it (free of charge) and then told my father that they sold repair kits for glasses in the gift shop. Well, I think if this nice man knew this information, the people at guest relations should too. The room itself, other than the odor, was nice and clean. It was small, especially for three people, but that was expected. I found that our steward did his job, but I didn't see him ever after his initial greeting, which I found interesting especially since on all my other cruises I saw my stewards constantly. Do stewards on these larger ships clean more rooms? Okay, on to food. I ate well and I ate a lot, but I was very underwhelmed to say the least. The dining room food was average at best, and a downgrade from the food I had on the Radiance this past summer. Was it just this ship, or the company as a whole? Whatever it was, it was disappointing. The menu consisted of a steak everyday, and than other exotic fish and meats. It was very hard to find something different. Needless to say, I had steak 3 of 5 nights. On a funny note - on the last night, I wanted EVERY starter, entree, and dessert... is this their technique to make a last impression on guests so that they think the food is 'delicious'. Food in the Windjammer on the last night was great the last night too. The Windjammer on the other days was average buffet. Great burgers and good lemonade! Still most of the food in the dining room and Windjammer was tasteless. I also didn't understand the difference between Jade and the Windjammer... the food looked the same... Jade did not seem Asian Fusion. One last thing on the dining room... there was NO LOBSTER. I don't care for lobster but my family was upset. I don't know how they try to justify it, but we are still paying proportional prices for this shorter cruise, and we deserve proportional quality food. On a positive note, our waitstaff was amazing! Rodel from the Philippines and Calvert from St. Vincent - both were really sweet; I love getting to know them and learning about their lives. They love to share too, especially when their other table treat them like servants. One thing I must say about RCCL staff, is that they are great (besides guest relations). The Cruise director staff, waitstaff, stewards, and especially the casino staff were outstanding. I had the greatest time in the casino despite losing, so that says a lot!! At Sea: This day was nice an relaxing...after we got chairs! There are signs all over saying saving chairs is not allowed. But of course, people still do it. I think RCCL staff need to enforce these rules more. 3500 people want to lay out, and something needs to be done about this. Ocho Rios: Is it saying something when the highlight of a cruise vacation is off the ship? We booked an independent tour going to Dunn's Falls and White River tubing. Our tour guide was so great and personal. From 10am-4pm, I feel like I really saw a good chunk of Jamaica. I never felt that way about a port before. If you are looking for information about Ocho Rios tours, message me. Grand Cayman: Just went to 7-mile beach since we have been there before. It was nice and relaxing. Entertainment: I would say the entertainment was awful on day 4. There was hardly anything planned aside from a show at night. I am not even going get started on the Royal Caribbean singers & dancers (aside from the singer, Penny, I think, they were subpar to say the least. Does the cruise director really believe what he says when he says "They are amazing and are so happy to be here," because they looked bored out of their minds on all occasions I watched them. We are not 6 year old campers, I don't think we need to be told obvious lies to make us happy ;). I wish the shows had more energy. However, I say now that the entertainment was average because of the ice show "ICE DANCIN'" What amazing talent! So intriguing and amazing! I recommend it to anyone. Seats were first come first served, we got there 15 minutes before showtime and got great seats. This is a must for everyone. Disembarkation: Way to leave a last impression Royal Caribbean! We opted for express checkout by bringing our own luggage. Well, is it really express when others get off first? They never checked the express tickets, so the gangway was crowded with people who didn't know there were specific times to leave. That wasn't even the problem. They asked all guests with express tickets to meet at the Metropolis Theater (Deck 3 forward). After lugging our bags with us from our stateroom down to the theater (which took a good 30 minutes because of the useless elevators*) we are told that to exit the ship we must proceed to the gangway on Deck 1 Aft. This would seem easy, but Deck 3 does not go all the way through. So we had to take the elevators back up to Deck 5, walk aft, then take the elevators down to deck 1. Again with a good 1000 people all trying to exit the ship at that time elevators were beyond packed. Why have everyone wait in a completely useless public room?? At least put us in Studio B which is Deck 3 Aft so that all we have to do is go down 2 decks. Absurd. *Elevators all cruise were worthless. They have many elevators but at each end of the ship there is a bank port and a bank starboard. So, although there are 8 HUGE elevators on one end, at any given time you are only waiting for 4. Take the stairs, the exercise is better anyway. Well, I am sunburned and tired, proof of a successful vacation. However, I could have done this anywhere warm, and this cruise was not worth it. Was it just that the duration of the cruise was too short? Was this just a fluke voyage? Did we just bump into the wrong people? I don't know. However, we had a beyond amazing experience on the Radiance this summer, so we are willing to give RCCL another try. We may want to stay away from these larger ships though, which is a shame because I liked a lot of what the Navigator offered, and the Promenade was neat. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
BACKGROUND: This was our 3rd cruise. The first was on Majesty of the Seas (Loved her), and our 2nd one was on Norwegian Dawn (loved her as well), and now this was our 3rd. If she would have been our first..... she most likely would have ... Read More
BACKGROUND: This was our 3rd cruise. The first was on Majesty of the Seas (Loved her), and our 2nd one was on Norwegian Dawn (loved her as well), and now this was our 3rd. If she would have been our first..... she most likely would have been our last as well. I would have thought the bigger the better, which is so far from the truth that it's pathetic. Bigger means better service.... absolutely not. Bigger means more entertainment..... no way. Bigger means better food..... better think again. EMBARKATION: This was probably the best thing about the cruise was the fact that we were on the ship within 15 minutes after getting in line to board the ship. Had our welcome aboard picture taken, stepped inside the ship, got that WOW feeling from the beauty of the ship, and from then on, it was down hill. DAY #1: We left Fort Lauderdale at 5:00pm. One good thing about RCCLs ships is that you barely know you're moving, but unfortunately we were in our room when the ship pulled out, so we seen Fort Lauderdale in our "rear view mirrors" by the time we got back out on deck. We spent this first day browsing the ship, and taking pictures. Navigator is definitely a beautiful ship, but we've found that looks are not everything when it comes to a cruise. It takes many other things to make a cruise complete. We stayed up for the late night parade (around 11:30pm), which lasted all of 15 minutes. I have to give RCCL credit on their beds. They have the most comfortable beds. (even though I broke out in a rash on the back of my neck). STATEROOMS: Before I get to day 2.... let's discuss the Stateroom. By the 2nd day, I had a rash all over the upper part of my back and the entire back of my neck. (I'm home now and the rash is gone). We didn't get a towel animal until the 3rd night, and I think that was only because I asked for one. We didn't get nightly mints the last 2 nights at all, nor was our bed folded down. Our heater/air conditioning didn't work in our room the first 2 days we were onboard. We were never addressed by name by our stateroom attendant. (maybe it was because he couldn't pronounce it, even though our room attendants on our last 2 cruises didn't seem to have a problem). I would NEVER EVER NEVER stay in another interior cabin. When I asked what it was like to be in an interior room and was told it's like walking into a walk-in closet and turning off the light and shutting the door, that was explained to me perfectly. It was like a dungeon. And being there was no natural light at all, I believe our bodies dealt with the situation as if it was night time every day in that room. It became the room from hell by the 4th night, because by that night I was sick as a dog. To the point, that I stayed in the room from 6:00pm on the 4th night, until we got off the ship, the morning of the 6th day. And then I prayed that I'd make it home on the 3 hour bus ride. DAY #2: This ship has a lot of WOW factors. The promenade alone is amazing. This was the day that I mentioned to our stateroom attendant that our fridge wasn't keeping things cold, and was told that it really wasn't a fridge, and more like a cooler to keep candies or chocolate that was inside of it from melting. Surely wasn't like any cooler we've ever owned. And even if we would have purchased sodas from it, we never had any ice in our bucket in our room. It was always water when we took a look. It's 72 degrees today and very windy. We're about 18 nautical miles from Cuba, headed to Cozumel, Mexico. Too windy to play shuffleboard or miniature golf. We purchased our Welcome Aboard photos for $19.95. You get one 5 x 7 and one 8 x 10. If I would have thought of bringing my Crown & Anchor coupon from my booklet that we got as being past cruisers, I could have received a free photo of the ship. I purchased 2 towel animals (sold at the logo souvenir shop in the gift store onboard) for my daughter and granddaughter). They're really cute. About the size of a beanie baby, and sold for $7.50 each. Also bought a pen for $3.50 with a cruise ship that floats inside. We also purchased our "Navigator of the Seas" ship model last night for $25.00 and a few t-shirts. I sat out on the starboard side of the ship for 1 1/2 hours and only seen 2 people sit down. It felt like I had the entire ship to myself. Would never have known that there were over 3,000 people on this cruise. MEALS: Before I get to day 3, lets discuss the meals. We're not into formal dining, so we always go for the buffet on our cruises. Therefore, the only places we ate on this cruise was Windjammers and the Promenade Cafe. Windjammers................ We were not very pleased with the food at Windjammers on NOS. Don't know how this could be, but Majesty had better food. One morning I got french toast, that was so hard that only the interior section of it, was eatable. And then even that didn't taste very good. Scrambled eggs were very bland. One thing that was very upsetting for me, was that no cold ice tea was served at breakfast. Everything was pre-made with the ice already in it, and then you just picked up what you wanted. There was apple juice, orange juice, milk, and water for breakfast. Milk was in the little cartons. Don't even think of bringing milk back to your room because the coolers in the room wouldn't have kept them cold enough to drink later. I was not impressed with the food at Windjammers at all. Promenade Cafe................ We liked eating here for lunch or a quick snack. The ham sandwiches made with croissant bread was very good. The round-like sandwiches though, had bread that was so tough, that it was almost impossible to bite into it. The cheesecake was very good. Cookies were good too. DAY 3: Okay.... the morning started off as a total joke. We had a shore excursion in Cozumel to visit the Ruins. The shore excursion was 5 1/2 hours from the time we left the ship until the time we returned. We had received a voice message on our phone in our stateroom the night before that said that Windjammers was going to open at 6:30am instead of 7:00am to allow those that had early shore excursions to be able to eat breakfast before we left for our shore excursions. We thought this was a nice gesture. However, that was until we got to level #11, got off the elevator and noticed that a huge crowd at 6:35am was waiting for Windjammers to open, only to be told that they were not aware that they were suppose to open early, and therefore would not be opening until 7:00am. That's when a herd of people bombarded the stairs and the elevators to go down to level 5 to go to the Promenade Cafe to get something to eat before leaving the ship. We got a banana and a Chocolate covered doughnut. The doughnut was awful. And for me to say that a doughnut is awful, then it had to be pretty bad. ;) We met at the Metropolis Theater at 7:15 to leave for our shore excursion. (still hungry obviously) Shore Excursion....TULUM MAYAN RUINS EXPRESS: The ferry ride to get to the bus was a nightmare. We were watching people get sick. I found that if you watch the Mexican videos that they have on a large screen in the front of the ferry, then you didn't feel as dizzy. You're sitting inside this ferry, and the windows were covered with sea salt and it was difficult to see out of them, so you felt enclosed. I think this was the reason people were feeling sick. The ferry was a 30 minute miserable ride. We then boarded a bus, and spent another hour getting there. You can not get up close to the ruins because they are roped off. We finally split off from the tour guide, otherwise, we wouldn't have seen everything. He was a talker, and when we noticed that 1/2 of our group was missing, that's when we realized that people were leaving the group a little at a time to go off on their own. We had a scheduled time to be back at the bus, so I was unsure of why we were walking around with the tour guide to begin with. It wasn't like you could get lost in this place. This excursion involves a lot of walking. I mean a lot. If you need to use the restroom, use the one near the ruins before the long walk back to the marketplace area. The ones at the marketplace cost to use. We purchased a post card and when asked what it cost and was told $7.00, my husband about went into cardiac arrest. (It was 70 cents in U.S. money). When we got back to the bus, we were given what they called a "boxed" lunch. We had purchased a hot dog for $1.50 right before entering the bus. There was a Subway there, but it was packed, and we wouldn't have had enough time to eat before boarding the bus. Truthfully, you could have brought your sub on the bus. Our boxed lunch consisted of a chocolate chip cookie, a blueberry muffin, a Sun capri fruit drink in a pouch, and Dole fruit in a cup, and Tuna in a pouch that you make with mayonnaise and relish, and crackers. Everything is pre-sealed. If you don't like the smell of tuna, don't take this excursion because our entire bus smelled of a large tuna by the time everyone opened their boxed lunches. When we arrived back in town, the bus does not take you back to the ship. You have to pay $6.00 per taxi to get back to the dock. Back on ship..... Our captain specifically told us before we left the ship that we were to stay on ship time. Mexico is 1 hour behind us. So when we were told to be back on the ship at 4:30, that meant 4:30 ship time. However, about 9 people were not back on the ship at that time. And fortunately for some of the passengers, our captain kept the ship there until around 5:10pm waiting for people. As we pulled away from the dock, we noticed a "Pilot" boat pulling up to the dock. My husband said then that he thought that people were getting on it to be brought to our ship. Indeed he was correct. Our ship stopped, to allow the pilot boat to pull up next to us, so 2 people could get on the ship that had missed it. By this time it was 5:30pm. We're figuring that these were people that used their cell phones to keep track of time, and what they weren't aware of, was the fact that the cell phones changed time with Mexico time, so when it said 4:30 on their cell phones, it was really 5:30 ship time. Our captain was highly upset and made it a point to announce that tomorrow he would not wait 1 single minute for anyone. That he had to pull out on time in order to reach the U.S. at the correct time. DAY #4: This is one thing that I don't understand about NOS entertainment. They line up all the entertainment on nights that everyone has to get up the next morning and go on shore excursions bright and early. Parades are at 11:45pm, when we have to get up at 6:00am to get prepared to go on a shore excursion. I had called the front desk the night before to ask if Windjammers were going to be open for breakfast at 6:30am, and was told 'Oh sure, they were open at 6:30 before". I was like "Oh, no they weren't." They had even put on our Cruise Compass Newsletter that Windjammers would be open at 6:30am this time. But were they open at 6:30am? Absolutely not. They opened the doors at 6:40am. This might seem minor, and would be if you had no plans, but Windjammers is at the Aft of this ship, and where we meet for shore excursions is at the Forward section of this ship. Not that it really mattered, because the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing on this cruise, and we were 30 minutes late leaving for shore excursions to begin with this particular morning. Was later told it was because the tender boats lined up on one side of the ship and then they discovered that the waves rocking up against the ship caused problems for tendering and they had to move the tender boats to the opposite side of the ship. Now here we are, meeting at the Forward part of the ship, and now having to walk the steps from level 4 down to level 1, (or maybe it was level 2.... don't remember exactly), and then walk from the forward section of the ship to the Aft section where we had just came from to get on the tender boats. Please remember to wear your walking shoes on this ship. And bring a pair of extra legs if you have them, because your first set is going to feel like hell by the time you're ready to go home. Shore Excursion........ THE MAYAN RUINS OF XUNANTUNICH & MARIMBA LUNCH: After a short (about 15 minute) tender ride to shore, be ready to sit for 2 hours on a bus. Our bus driver was determined to keep his bus smelling pretty, by spraying some sort of red colored freshener throughout the bus. Kinda smelled like cinnamon. Made several people on our bus start coughing and sneezing though. Me included. We went through 5 Eco Systems getting to these ruins. Don't even bother to style your hair or get prim and pretty for this excursion, because the weather alone, will put a monkey wrench into those plans. Once we got to the hand-cranked ferry, the bus stayed behind, and we all got on the ferry by foot, and went across this small river. When we got to the other side, we all piled in several mini vans to go up a large hill to the visitors center. Then, we got out of the mini vans, and walked up this large hill (will put the burn in your leg muscles by the time you reach the top), where we could use the restrooms and waited for the remainder of our tour to arrive. The ruins here are amazing, but the trip to get to them is exhausting. Took tons of pictures, and on our way to return to the ship, we stopped to eat at a restaurant. We had an outdoor lunch that consisted of grilled chicken, brown rice and kidney beans, cole slaw, and some plantation fruit thing. Not many people ate the fruit. The rice and chicken was good. The bottled sodas weren't very cold though. Neither was the bottle of water that was offered to us when we got off the bus to go to the ruins earlier that day. After our meal, we had a 1 hr, and 40 minute drive back to the tender boats. Seemed like a ride that took forever. Last tender boat was suppose to be at 3:15pm, however, we got back at 3:30pm, and even after we got to the ship, and changed from regular shoes to flip flops in our room, and went back out on deck 4 to look around, we noticed another 5 tender boats coming in, and by this time, it was around 4:30pm. So much for the captain saying that he wasn't going to wait 1 minute. This is the best reason for making sure you book your shore excursions through the cruiseline. If your shore excursion arrives late to get you back to the ship, the ship has to wait for you. RCCL really needs to better plan their days on this cruise ship. Now we've got thousands of people returning from their shore excursions, and there's no place to eat except Johnny Rockets. Windjammers conveniently closed while everyone was returning from shore, no dining rooms were open, and unless you wanted to go to the Promenade Cafe, that left only Johnny Rockets as a place to eat. And note that even though ice tea is free on the ship, you have to pay for it at Johnny Rockets. There is no dancing at this Johnny Rockets like you see on Majesty of the Seas or the other smaller RCCL ships. Maybe it was because they were so busy due to the fact that there weren't many places to eat and everyone was starving. REMAINDER OF CRUISE WENT TOTALLY DOWNHILL FROM HERE...... Went to our room around 6:00pm, and I started feeling soooooo sick. Almost like someone had run over me with a truck. Every single muscle in my body was aching. Then I got this horrible cough that made me feel like someone had kicked me in the ribs. My husband and I called it an early night and figured we just needed some rest from the exhausting day. DAY #5: This day was pretty simple for me. I just laid in bed, sick all day, and prayed that I'd see the next day to get off the ship and get home. DISEMBARKATION: Another horror story. We got off around 9:00am, because we knew that our bus wasn't going to arrive until 10:30am. Took us 40 minutes to disembark the ship, and then the one and only soda machine that we seen was broken due to someone trying to stick some sort of plastic card where the dollar bills go in the machine at. So, we sat at the port until 11:00am (bus was late) with nothing to drink. And here I was sick to boot to begin with. SUMMARY: If NOS would have been our first cruise, most likely she would have been out last. Either that, or I would have never booked another RCCL cruise. I will never cruise on NOS again. Going to stick with the ships that range from 840 - 980 feet long. Anything larger I will definitely stay away from. Will never book another interior cabin. Might even consider taking a can of Lysol on my next cruise. It's now been 3 days since we returned from our cruise, and I'm still sick. Still have the cough, but at least the muscle aches have pretty much gone away. But now my husband is getting sick, and my daughter that didn't even go on the cruise with us is starting to cough. I would not recommend NOS to any of my friends. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
My husband and I cruised on the Navigator to Cozumel from 12/27-12/31. We had an outside cabin on the 10th floor. The room was lovely as was the woman who was our attendant. The bed and shower were excellent! The room was immaculate as was ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Navigator to Cozumel from 12/27-12/31. We had an outside cabin on the 10th floor. The room was lovely as was the woman who was our attendant. The bed and shower were excellent! The room was immaculate as was the ship in general. As the other reviewer said this is not the week for couples cruising. Many families, lots and lots of kids, crowded. The boat is too big with not enough to do. Interestingly, (this was our 4th cruise. We have done Disney, NCL and RC before)we cruised with Kieran, the cruise director on NCL to Alaska and the whole experience on NCL seemed nicer and more personal. The Navigator experience was just too impersonal and a bit boring. There is just not enough to do for middle aged cruisers. This will be our last cruise unless we do the med and I am not sure I will even cruise then. I guess this is the challenge of the cruise industry, trying to keep it new and interesting. The comedian was terrible however the ice show was first rate. The food at Windjammer was so-so. The bacon and the eggs at breakfast were inedible. The main dining room for dinner was much better. And what's with the drinks? After the Windjammer closed at 10 or so, there was a cafe where you could get food 24/7 but you had to pay to get a drink and I'm not even much of a drinker. That was weird and chintzy. We took a day trip snorkeling on Cozumel which included lunch and beach activities at a local beach club. The beach club lunch was ok but not what I expected particularly by american standards. The crew of the snorkel boat was wonderful as was the snorkeling. Iridescent blue fish! The water is sooo beautiful and the sun was shiny even though the forecast had called for rain. There were a few little oddities such as having to tip the people taking your luggage at the port. There also were not enough lounge chairs by the adult pool and people tried reserving them despite signs saying not to. But the point is that the boat was just too crowded and I hate being herded or crowded on vacation. I get enough of that back in NY. There were also no little tables between loungers to hold a book or drink or food. What's that about? They just crowded as many loungers as humanly possible into the space so I was lounging as close to strangers as to my husband. Only the loungers by the railings were sort of off to themselves but never available and still no tables. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Please excuse the length of this review. As background info, my wife and I are recently retired and in our mid 50's. This was our 7th cruise, with the 1st two on Carnival, and the last 4 on Princess (Grand, Golden, Caribbean, and ... Read More
Please excuse the length of this review. As background info, my wife and I are recently retired and in our mid 50's. This was our 7th cruise, with the 1st two on Carnival, and the last 4 on Princess (Grand, Golden, Caribbean, and Diamond). We do enjoy the freedom of Anytime Dining on Princess, but have heard from many other people how much they enjoy RCCL, so thought we would give it a try. The Princess ships were large, but have more of a small ship feel with lots of different public areas, and we wanted to experience a Mariner class ship with the Royal Promenade and expansive centrum areas. We also used this trip to visit family and friends in Florida, and didn't have time for a full week cruise, so this 4 night cruise on Dec. 13th on the Navigator with 2 full days at sea seemed like the perfect opportunity to experience RCCL and the Navigator. I would also like to say that we try to be objective. We understand not everything is going to be perfect, and have always strived to make the best of things. We hate to hear people complain about every little thing. If you can't have a good time on a cruise, then shame on you. But it was natural for us to make comparisons between our past experiences and this cruise. We tried to point them out, both the positive and the negative. Embarkation = A- Arrived at Park N Fly lot and caught shuttle to port just before noon. Embarkation was quick and efficient, and we were eating lunch in the Windjammer by 12:30. Very smooth, except for the delivery of our luggage to room. We had early dinner seating, and luggage had not yet arrived to room by 4:15pm. We walked down hall and found a stack of luggage piled up near a crew elevator, and saw our bag on the bottom of the pile, so went ahead and took it to our room. No big deal. Overall 1st Impression of Ship = A- A beautiful ship. Get the real "WOW" factor when you first see the tall fore and aft centrums with the Royal Promenade between them. Hard to believe you are on a ship as it is so large and expansive. Has features we are not used to, such as rock climbing wall and ice skating rink. Hallways are just a bit wider also it seemed. Very nice. We did miss having access to a self-service laundry to press clothes, which is available on Princess but not on RCCL. Very nice overall. Cabin = A- The balcony cabin (8304) was laid out nicely, and has a small sofa we usually don't have in balcony room on Princess. Bathroom, while still small, seemed just a little larger than what we are used to. Shower has rounded glass door, which makes it seem roomier. Has shampoo dispenser in shower, but shampoo not very good. Only real complaint with room was there was no plug outlet on side of room where bed is. I sleep with CPAP machine, and had to run extension cord across floor to only available plugs in room. Otherwise, very happy with room. Adequate storage. Muster Drill = D Here Princess definitely outshines RCCL (and Carnival). Princess seems to have many more lounges and public areas in which to gather people together (all air conditioned). You carry your life vest to your muster area, and are then given instructions on how to put it on, so you put it on, and then take it off and are free to go. RCCL insists that you wear your life vest from your room (very uncomfortable), and wear this hot bulky vest and stand like cramped sardines out on the hot deck. Then you even have to stand there and listen to announcements about other things from the Captain not related to the drill. Very uncomfortable. Lots of people sweating and complaining. Some people at our dinner table said they were inside for their drill, but very crowded and people pushing each other. They didn't like their experience either. Room Steward = A+ Our room steward Charles was very good. Always very timely in making up our room shortly after we left or while we were away. We never came back and found our room not done yet. Had to ask him to refill shampoo dispenser, but as soon as I asked him he was there in 20 seconds. Very happy with his service. Also got towel animals a couple nights, which we got on Carnival but never on Princess. Nice touch. Food and Dining Facilities = Varied Grades Windjammer Buffet = B Layout of buffet much better than on Princess. Food selections either seemed to be very good or mediocre. But you could always find something to eat. Fruit and desserts were usually available, but quality poor. We LOVE fresh pineapple usually, but when they had it, it was not at all ripe or sweet. Some deserts looked great, but lacked flavor. They really didn't know what real cheesecake was, and I had a piece of pecan pie that was absolutely tasteless. But all in all I was actually happier with the buffet than the selections in the dining room. In fact the 3rd night we ate in the Windjammer because the menu in the dining room had nothing on it that looked good. Had juices in morning, and ice tea, lemonade, ice water, and fruit juice available after breakfast. Note: Windjammer is open most of day and evening (closes short time between meals), but closes for good from 9pm until breakfast. When Windjammer is closed, there is no place to get a cold beverage such as iced tea or ice water anywhere on the ship except from room service (or maybe request water at bar). This seemed very strange to us, as you could always get coffee or hot tea. Buffet closing at 9pm seemed early to us, especially since people were still eating in dining room. Buffet on Princess is open 24 hours, so could always get cold drinks, etc. But Princess did not offer anything besides coffee(which was not very good), hot tea, or ice water and ice tea. Princess did also not offer soft serve ice cream or yogurt as offered on RCCL. But it was not available on RCCL when buffet closed, and quality was more like ice milk. Thought we would partake of this more often, but quality of ice cream poor, so skipped it. Jade (Asian Fusion Restaurant next to Windjammer) = C Didn't eat there. We had to pass this to get to Windjammer, and always looked to see if there was anything interesting, but never saw anything that looked appetizing. Coppelia Dining Room = D+ The selections in the dining room left much to be desired. We ALWAYS eat dinners in the dining room, but skipped the 3rd night because there was nothing on the menu that looked good, and we had been so disappointed in food (and service) the 1st 2 nights. Service seemed slow, and selections very poor. Formal night got Filet of Beef, which waiter said was like Filet Mignon, but when received it was slices of beef that quite honestly weren't as good as the carved beef I got the day boarding for lunch in the Windjammer. Everyone at our table complained about the food most nights. And about the service. I heard that people say the service with Anytime Dining isn't as good because you don't always have the same wait staff, but except for 1 meal in the last 4 cruises, that service was far superior to what we got on this cruise. There was no lobster, which I knew would be the case from reading posts, but the menu was truly just mediocre in the dining room. Turkey was on the menu every night. Someone must have ordered way too many turkeys for Thanksgiving, and they were still trying to get rid of it 3 weeks later. No prime rib, beef wellington, etc. Wife got Tiger shrimp 1st night, and they were much smaller than used to and still in the shell. Tirimusu and one chocolate dessert my wife got were good, but most others were only so-so. Room Service = A- Ordered room service 2 mornings, and one evening (still hungry after dinner due to poor food in dining room). Food arrived timely and as ordered. Pizza was actually better than you get on ship. (But raspberry cheesecake isn't really true cheesecake). Cafe Promenade = C+ Good coffee (Seattle's Best) and hot teas always available. Some of the sandwiches and desserts looked fabulous, but taste paled in comparison. Had a chocolate covered donut that looked wonderful, and so my wife and I split one since we had previously had breakfast. We each took one bite, and then looked at each other in amazement because there was no taste. Couldn't taste the chocolate or the donut. We only ate the one bite. Cookies were usually pretty good though. Pizza there not very good. Optional Pay Restaurants Johnny Rockets = B+ Ate lunch there one day. It has a cover charge of $3.95/person, which is reasonable. Includes appetizers (fries/onion rings), burgers, and dessert. Drinks are extra. Staff was friendly and food pretty good, but all in all it's just another burger joint. We did not eat at Portofino's or Chops, so didn't rate. Entertainment = C If not for the Ice Show, rating would be a D. Ice show was excellent. Rest of entertainment very lacking. Only a 4 night cruise and the 3rd night the theater was dark. Nothing going on. Lots of people complaining about the lack of things to do or entertainment. We went to the Ixtapa Lounge where there was a band playing. The band was talented, but they had the music playing so loud you couldn't stand to be in there. There was one couple dancing (must have been deaf), and us. We left after 30 seconds because it hurt our ears. Sad, because we usually love to go see different groups playing and have a drink. There was so little going on one afternoon we actually went to their little small movie theater, the Screening Room, to see a movie. The theater was full when the movie started. Very sad when there should be something much more entertaining to do on such a beautiful ship. Port of Call and Excursions = Unrated Ship went to Cozumel, which we have been to, so weren't off ship very long. We mainly wanted to experience and explore the ship, so port of call was not important to us. Did not participate in any excursions. Sports Deck = A Although we did not rock climb or inline skate or play basketball, the ship provides more than adequate opportunities to play. Pool Areas = B Was a lot of activity in the pool area, but this ship had a small pool near the spa area, and then 2 pools side by side on deck 11. Pools are saltwater, and we like the fresh water pools on Princess better. The Princess ships also had more pools (4), and they were spread out more. The two main pools on Princess are separated (and fancier), with one being the really active pool with games, etc., and one being more laid back or having the Movies Under the Stars screen. Also have an adult only pool on back of Princess ships. Have to give the nod to Princess here. Hot tubs on Navigator are bigger than on Princess though. Royal Promenade = B+ Spectacular seeing for the 1st time. They have parades and other forms of entertainment there, and it gets terribly crowded. Very impressive, but after a day or two it's ho-hum and a place to avoid when main activities are going on there. OVERALL IMPRESSION Did we enjoy our cruise? Absolutely! But after the "WOW" factor of the Royal Promenade and size of the ship wears off, it boils down to service and activities and the food. We came off the ship almost embarrassed that we were complaining to ourselves. But everyone we came into contact with was complaining also. There was a couple we rode back to the parking lot with in the shuttle that have been on 86 cruises, mostly on RCCL. She said that this cruise was horrible, and not a good representation of what a RCCL cruise is like. I can believe that, because there wasn't much on this cruise to make me want to take another one, even though we had a good time. But it could have been SO MUCH BETTER!!!! That's what is so sad. The husband of this couple said that the Navigator just returned from Europe, and you really shouldn't take one of the 1st 2 or 3 cruises after a ship returns from Europe. But the Navigator started back out of Ft. Lauderdale Nov. 18th, almost a full month before our trip started. That should have been plenty of time to get back into the "groove". And over and over I kept hearing about it being bad because it was a "short" cruise. To me that is no excuse. I can understand that maybe they don't want to serve lobster on cruises of only 4 nights. But the menus were average at best. And service, outside of our room steward, was just average as well. And the entertainment (except for the Ice Show) was lower than average. Many people, like us, take a shorter cruise to test out a cruise line. RCCL is not going to get many converts if they offer service and food and entertainment comparable to what we had, unless they have never been on anything else to compare it to. They announced the last night in the dining room that the Navigator ranked 1st in their fleet of 21 ships in Food quality and service. Our whole table gasped, and noted we were glad we weren't on a ship that ranked anywhere near the bottom. Would I cruise on RCCL again? Yes, but only if I got a really good deal. I can't believe that their normal cruise would be like this. They wouldn't still be in business. But we were very disappointed. I've heard people complain about Carnival, and it's been about 3 years since I was on one of their ships, but I was happier after getting off a Carnival ship in an inside room than getting off the Navigator of The Seas (a much bigger and prettier ship) with a balcony. How sad. Come on RCCL. I know you have to be better than that. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
I know I am delayed in writing this review, but since I am planning a new cruise, I started reflecting back on this cruise (my last one) and debating whether I want to stick with RCCL or try a new line. I am a platinum member and have ... Read More
I know I am delayed in writing this review, but since I am planning a new cruise, I started reflecting back on this cruise (my last one) and debating whether I want to stick with RCCL or try a new line. I am a platinum member and have sailed on the Enchantment (twice), the Jewel, the Explorer and lastly, the Navigator. I have loved my RCCL cruises in the past but was disappointed with the Navigator in a lot of ways. We flew into Ft.Lauderdale and boarded the ship the morning of the cruise. Everything went smoothly with that. The ship is beautiful just like the Explorer (sister ship) which we had previously sailed on. But that's where it ends. We feel like RCCL is slipping in a lot of ways such as the entertainment, the service, the food, adding more and more extra charges, etc. I usually love the evening shows in the theater, but the shows were horrible on the Navigator. We went to the first night's show and got up and left after the first 10 mins. I don't think there was much improvement in the shows the remainder of nights from what I could see. On the past cruises I've been on, I've seen some awesome shows such as comedians that made me laugh so hard I cried. I've seen great productions from the singers and dancers, and great shows from visiting performers like a Beatles group which was on the Explorer. Also, the cruise director on the Navigator seemed to always be MIA. His staff who were always out by the pool didn't seem to really be enjoying what they were doing and were more annoying that entertaining. We were spoiled on our first ever cruise aboard the Enchantment when Matt Baker was the BEST CRUISE DIRECTOR ever!!! He was awesome in every way and put 100 percent into everything he did. He was always mingling and speaking with the guests even though he must have been so tired and just wanted to take a break. The guy was full of life and personality and was so funny and entertaining. One of the reasons we went back on the Enchantment was because of him and sadly he was not there anymore. We haven't come across any other cruise director that's been anywhere close to him since then. We did,however,enjoy the band playing out by the pool. We thought they were very good and we always sat close and sang along the good ole Bob Marley songs with a tropical drink in our hand. The only other entertainment we enjoyed was the band in the Bolero Lounge. We love latin music and salsa dancing so that's pretty much where we hung out every night. We probably would have been bored to death had it not been for that. It seems that for such a huge ship, there's not that much going on at night. I did spend some time in the casino and won a thousand dollars on a slot machine. Our stops were Belize and Cozumel. We've been to both of them several times so we didn't do anything special. We took the ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen and walked around since we love that town. We have vacationed there for the past three years at an all inclusive resort. So we just had a good lunch and hit a few shops and Senor Frogs. Our experience in the dining room was okay. Our waiter was nice and accommodating but he was quiet. Most waiters we've had in the past have been very friendly, enthusiastic, and had a good sense of humor. I guess the poor guy was just shy. That's okay, at least he wasn't a jerk. Now for the thing that I missed after the meal is the "Loving Cups.' They did not offer these on this cruise. I don't know why because we had to pay extra for them so I wouldn't think it would be to cut costs. I always looked forward to them. They tasted so good and we got to keep the different colored little shot glasses as souvenirs. I have quite a few of them from past cruises. The food was just okay on this cruise, nothing spectacular. I just wonder if Royal Caribbean is expanding too much and too fast. It seems they are constantly building new ships that are getting bigger and bigger, not necessarily better. I feel they can't hire enough properly trained good people to put on all their vessels. And the passengers are going to suffer the consequences and already are. Crown and Anchor doesn't mean anything anymore other that a coupon booklet in your stateroom. You're just a number in a huge crowd. I may switch to a smaller cruise line with smaller more intimate ships even if I have to pay more. It will be worth it to be treated as a valued customer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
We travelled to Southampton on the Friday evening and stayed at the Holiday Inn. Car parking/luggage drop off was long winded even though RCI stated 'please do not arrive before 2 p.m.'. We arrived at 1.15 and it took 45 mins to ... Read More
We travelled to Southampton on the Friday evening and stayed at the Holiday Inn. Car parking/luggage drop off was long winded even though RCI stated 'please do not arrive before 2 p.m.'. We arrived at 1.15 and it took 45 mins to drop off cases and get a parking space (even though we advised disabled driver the allocated spaces are 'normal' size). This means the less mobile traveller has to be able to walk to rear of vehicle. We took advantage of the online checkin which speeded up getting on board however we had to wait for assistance as the ramps to the ship are quite steep and we had a manual chair. By the time we got on board it was nearly 3.30 so we were able to go to our suite on the ninth deck. We had paid a bit more for a suite as opposed to the balcony cabin we would normally have chosen and this was to prove its worth as our suite became a haven from the crowded public places. We booked the 6.30 sitting and just as well since on average it was around 8.15 by the time coffee was served. The food was good but not fantastic (compared with Celebrity and P&O). The first evening we tried the Chef's Special 'Alaskan Herb Crusted Cod' - this was a great piece of fish on a bed of rice with a full spring onion on top and nothing else! By day three we eventually got a portion of veg/pots with the main courses although one night these consisted of mushy peas and garlic mushrooms!?! Despite the fact they knew my husband used a wheelchair our table was on the front of one of the balcony and therefore involved us having to ask people to move to get past. On other cruises we have been allocated a table near the entrance or on the main 'floor' so this situation has never arisen before. When I asked about an easier location I was told there were no suitable tables available to move to even though several tables near to the entrance were never used during the entire trip. My husband has never experienced seasickness (his seventh cruise) until this trip. He wasn't actually sick ... when I went to the Windjammer I found that a large number of passengers were 'not well'. Smaller ships are definitely better from this aspect because we have experienced a force seven crossing the Med in a ship half the size of this one with no ill effect although we had to hold onto the rails. There are two major problems with RCI - they allow smoking virtually everywhere except the food areas. Even though they are in Europe where most public spaces are smoke free, you will have to endure a smoke haze and stale smoke. Why can't they at least have the Promenade smoke free as there are several other bars throughout the ship that smokers could use. If not then their literature should at least include a warning. Secondly even though it was not yet school holidays those children on board were allowed to 'run wild'. They were allowed to run around bar areas, the casino, the theatre etc; they played in the lifts, the library and people who hoped to have breakfast in their cabin (including us) found the menus had disappeared or every item on them was ticked so either you didn't get breakfast or you had a trolley full of food you didn't want. I found it disturbing that they were allowed to play machines in the casino (in Vegas you can't even enter a casino if you are under 21) and when I spoke to the staff I was told they couldn't do anything in case the parents made a complaint against them! The staff were friendly. The food adequate in the restaurant, better in the Windjammer but at these prices why should you have to serve yourself! Nearly everyone complained about the toast - basically its rock hard because the bread is very thinly sliced, its made early morning and put in a warming oven until the waiter brings it to the table by which time it is only suitable for use if you are having pate. The fruit juices are also limited orange, tomato, V8, cranberry and PRUNE! On all our other cruises there have been buses provided free of charge to the local town centre but RCI charge $4.95 per person each way. Not a big problem if you know in advance, but with the number of stops on a 14 day cruise this can make a hole in your spending. Would we take another cruise? Definitely but its back to Celebrity or P&O as the prices are virtually the same but they are five star and this is three star. However if you are a smoker it will be heaven. If you have children and want to let them 'do their own thing' then you will have a wonderful time. Bigger is not better. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
Entered Southampton dock gate 8 at 2.45 dropped of luggage parked car on board by 3.20. I think they started embarkation about noon or even before. Long stay car parking you enter by dock gate 8 other pax enter by dock gate 10 but if you ... Read More
Entered Southampton dock gate 8 at 2.45 dropped of luggage parked car on board by 3.20. I think they started embarkation about noon or even before. Long stay car parking you enter by dock gate 8 other pax enter by dock gate 10 but if you walk to cruise terminal and quite a few people did then they would only let you in through dock gate 8 met someone who had to walk from gate 10 to 8 they were not happy. At end of cruise everyone leaves by gate 10. Cannot say it was the best cruise I'd been on mainly because everywhere was so crowded, I expect the ship was designed for the sun so when pax are not on deck the bars and the Windjammer cafe crowded. Cruise did not get off to a smooth start, cabin steward did not put a copy of Cruise Compass in cabin so had no idea of time for muster or evening entertainment. I eventually met the cabin steward about 7pm ask if I could have a copy of the Cruise Compass he then informs me he wants to `do` the room, found this a bit strange as I was going to get ready for Dinner, shower etc. On the second day he also wanted to do the room at about 7, I then realized he thought I was on first sitting explained this was not the case and no more problems. Thought muster quick and smooth. Dinner first night I had requested a table for 8 or 10 but ended up on one for 4 but only me and an elderly couple explained to head waiter and was transferred second night to a table for 10, pleasant enough people. Bfast/lunch Windjammer busy few seats but no real queuing good choice of food but had to hunt around for my selection, oh and to run out of Baked Beans for Bfast on last two days, unforgivable. Being a solo cruiser Lunch turned into musical chairs, starter on one table go for main my starter plates cleared someone in seat so found another, go for sweet same again, then coffee same again, you have to laugh. Didn't enjoy dinners in the Dining room table companions were OK I suppose, but service was oh so slow. Went to Windjammers last 3 nights what a difference to Bfast/lunch such a relaxed atmosphere and no one took my seat, I also though more choice and potatoes & vegetables, in the Dining room our table virtually had to beg for veg, could not believe first night had the chicken breast came with sauce and ONE piece of Broccoli. Thought that all the food was tasty and really enjoyed the ham cheese and tomato croissants in the Cafe Promenade. The incident at Stavanger..... Got off early when I came back they had to move the ship a few feet forward so a short wait no problem but I had just entered the ship loud crash and the gangway fell to the ground behind me luckily no one injured especially me. Enjoyed the experience of a big ship but think 3000+ pax too many for me. Left ship 8.30 on time very smooth operation, found luggage but took a while as was light blue which was far end row but row not marked. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

Find a Navigator of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click