Sail Date: January 2011
The ship was impressive. The staff was very friendly and helpful. I encountered two problems but they will not prevent me from cruising again. Both problems happened on day one. The first problem was found under my bed. My ... Read More
The ship was impressive. The staff was very friendly and helpful. I encountered two problems but they will not prevent me from cruising again. Both problems happened on day one. The first problem was found under my bed. My roomie checked under the beds and there was a bag and a pack of cigarettes under mine! I immediately called housekeeping and the steward appeared very quickly. We were also visited by the supervisor who assured us that the room would receive a thorough cleaning again. (I believe the person in charge of sweeping did not run the sweeper under my bed) Our assigned dinner time was 6:00p.m. The waitstaff was friendly and professional our head waiter, very attentive. However there was an "issue" in the kitchen and dinner service was painfully slow. Once dinner arrived I was not disappointed with the food. Throughout the cruise I tried new dishes and foods at dinner that I would not normally eat. The aged beef was the only meal I did not care for. I may have ordered too "done". The service for the remainder of the cruise was perfect. I am a bit of an event planner on my job. I understand "stuff" happens. I judge how one overcomes "stuff" so it doesn't happen again. Our steward kept our room spotless and dinner service improved tremendously. I rate this cruise a solid 4. I can't give it a 5 or 5+ because this is my first cruise. I do plan to cruise again and will compare the next one with this one. I will admit I can see myself becoming a cruise fan. For this cruise I decided to be a morning person. This was tip I received from reading reviews from the expert cruisers on this website. I used the gym and walked the track during the sunrise. Great sight and I managed to not gain any weight! The gym was well equipped. It tends to become crowed as the day progresses. If you can get up early and go. You can always take a nap later! My roommate and I opted for the massage special on the day we docked. This was another tip I used from this site! When we decided what we wanted to do, 8:00am was the only appointment that fit our schedule. (Bonus for being early morning people) The special included a glass of champagne. We had to ask for our glass. They were a little surprised that we wanted champagne at 9:00am, but hey we are on vacation and according to our internal clock, it was noon. There we were, 9:00am sitting on a very empty deck, overlooking the island and toasting our day. The majority of folks were already off the boat for excursions or eating. I should mention toward the end of the massage you could hear the staff setting up the deck chairs. It sounded like the circus was in town and I was experiencing march of the elephants. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
First a little background on me: I'm a Cleveland native, live in Miami. I've been on 6 cruises now, all with RCI (Royal Caribbean Intl), 3 Navigator of the Seas, 1 Adventure of the Seas, 1 Explorer of the Seas, 1 Liberty of the ... Read More
First a little background on me: I'm a Cleveland native, live in Miami. I've been on 6 cruises now, all with RCI (Royal Caribbean Intl), 3 Navigator of the Seas, 1 Adventure of the Seas, 1 Explorer of the Seas, 1 Liberty of the Seas. I've cruised starting from 2001-2010 and am 25. With that stated short of the bingo's and arts and crafts I've experienced a good deal of what many of RCI's ships offer (short of Oasis' and Allure's new offerings) One thing I can tell you off the bat is, even after being 8 years old, Navigator of the Seas is NO SLOUCH! There were some area's I could see some very slight wear, but there are many places with much more wear and tear than this ship! The public spaces for the most part are just as immaculate as they were the first of my three times on this ship. And for anyone who thought that all of RCI's best talent was transferred to Allure and Oasis, your DEAD WRONG. You can obviously see some of the people aren't as good as the lofty standard I've come to expect from RCI but there were a couple others that were way way way better than any other's I've experienced on RCI or anywhere else in the world for that matter! The transportation to the port royally sucks if you dont either A: take Royal's transfers or B: stay at a local hotel offering a shuttle. As a local I had to take a shuttle to FLL to take a shuttle (my mom stayed at a such hotel) to the port. Local shuttle services do not go from home's or hotel's to the seaport only airport. It wasn't fun! However if you do your research and book a hotel with a shuttle you shouldn't have problems. Also I HIGHLY RECOMMEND FLYING IN A DAY IN ADVANCE!!! This is for multiple reasons, first if your flight is late or delayed a day you have a planned buffer to protect you. Second if luggage is lost by the airline. Usually the time lost or late luggage is delivered in the late afternoon or evening hours. If you arrive the day before, you have a chance to get your bags before shipping out. If you arrive the same day, well not so much. I work for a major hotel in Miami and have worked for RCI as a port agent and have seen it FAR TOO MUCH!!! Transportation by taxi in either city isn't expensive for short distances. However dont take the cheaper flight to Miami for Port Everglades or to Fort Lauderdale for Port of Miami. Taxi's to the respective areas cost 70-100 USD based on traffic! Embarkation: smooth! Actually very smooth! They caught me by surprise! The last time I sailed out of Port Everglades I absolutely hated it. Port Everglades is finally coming into its own as RCI, Holland America, and Carnival are beginning to base more of their ships there vs Port of Miami. The day we left there were 5 megaships (2 RCI, 1 Holland America, 1 Celebrity, 1 Carnival) in port. Traffic in the port flowed well. Clearance to enter the port likewise flowed well no bottleneck. The buildings now seem to resemble terminals more than just converted warehouses (the feeling I felt before). The feeling still is there but they are so much more efficient with it its not as bad. I'm a Platinum member with them now so I had priority check-in. Really didn't need it. I arrived around 12:30 and while all the agents were occupied when I stepped up, there weren't lines. As usual lines bottlenecked around the seapass machines as some cards didn't work and people stopped to bicker about what to do. Even this did flow ok still. Activities: I found plenty to do. At first I was slightly bored in port. In port on embark day there's not much to do until after the mandatory muster drill. All the shops are closed same as the casino in a port. Some bars are open same as windjammer. Otherwise no real coordinated activities. So I made a phone call and BS'd a bit while I was still in port and able to get a cell tower not belonging to RCI's $7 + p/minute network. I also went to find if the Auburn SCarolina game or Oregon Oregon State game was going to be shown. This is where I met hands down the best bartender I have ever had. He was patient and non confrontational with the drunks and demanding people in the bar. He was kind and remembered my name from night 1 and forward plus what I drank. One of the bartenders in the Dungeon (dance club) also remembered my drink every night. After embarkation all the fun begins when the ship sets sail. The shows are still excellent. Now thats not to say they are all perfect. I still find show's I'm not enthused over but I'm sure there's people who don't like what I liked and thats what the hospitality business is about. Trying to find things that please all of the masses even if it cant be done all at once (which it usually cant). There were plenty of activities for all types of people. There were sports activities, gaming activities, children activities, trivia, music trivia, karyoke, etc. Its hard to be bored once the ship has left the first port! Dining: This is one area I was somewhat disappointed about. In the past I found that I enjoyed the food from the Windjammer and Main Dining Room (MDR). I found that the Windjammer was lacking in taste compared to MDR. Also I was less than thrilled with the service in Windjammer all day and the MDR for breakfast. Evening service as usual was above average which of course is par for RCI. Shore excursions: I've been to cozumel 3 times now. I've done the ATV jungle and the Jeep experience. First I'd like to say for the ATV jungle tour, if you're not an adventurous person wanting to learn something new, not somewhat in shape/athletic, or experienced with ATV's this isnt for you. The first one I did was somewhat challenging but the one I did this time was very challenging. I had others who did ATV's many more times than I who said the same. It was fun but I imagine for the lady who was struggling along (even thats putting it gently) it wasnt fun for her and probably was a waste of money (80 USD). If your in shape and down for some adventure its fun to learn and experience. Lastly for the ATV one the ATV's are semi-automatic, meaning there's no clutch but you still shift up and down. For the Jeep experience (last year '09) the Jeeps are MANUAL! If you cannot drive a manual transmission (stick shift) either find someone who does or you might not wish to go. The course isn't super super challenging but some parts can be. The better your 'driver' the softer the ride. I recommend someone who has experience in stop and go traffic on a stick take the wheel as there is much shifting up and down and quick reflexes will be needed. Both excursions were a great time for me, but you should plan in advance by reading BEFORE you get to the ship. DO NOT BOOK BEFORE ENTERING THE SHIP (unless you've done that exact excursion before) Your first day will usually be an 'At Sea' day. That day usually the excursion desk is busy with people booking for the next port. However the embarkation day usually there's a few hours it'll be open. There'll be modest lines but most excursions wont be sold out! Book what you want on that day. If you book in advance and misunderstand you're not getting anything. If you talk to them on the ship there's still the chance you get squat but there's a larger chance they'll have compassion and do something if they remembered you asked them questions and maybe they made a mistake (it happens we're all human). I found they are completely willing to take time (within reason, dont milk it they have 3k + to deal with) and explain their experience with the tour and what they've seen and experienced to help you book. Lastly, be smart with excursions. I recommend sticking with the cruise line. If something happens on their tour and you don't return in time, RCI will help in someway otherwise you're out on your own if you found your own tour operator. Stateroom: The cabin was great. If you have a D1 cabin 1388 is a pretty good choice. Balcony is definitely larger than average due to its position at the rear of the ship. The cabin (perhaps I'm wrong but I dont think so) also felt larger than the average. Downside, you're at the opposite end of the ship from the Metropolis theatre and nightclub. Positive your one deck from the windjammer for breakfast and lunch, one deck from open air deck 11 for sun lounging and pool swimming, 3 decks from the sports court, 4 decks from sports bar. This basically means you can walk to most of the public areas on the stairs when those elevators back up (which they will) Entertainment: Entertainment was spectacular this trip. Like I said it comes and goes because they want to please as many as possible which will always leave some people unpleased. We had a guy named Finest Hanson who was great! He was a voice impersonator singer. And to tell ya the truth he had it nailed for many of the people he impersonated. He did NSync, Elvis, Ray Charles, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Rocky, and many others. About 1 hours worth of songs and maybe 10 min of talking. He was amusing as well. I always sit in the row thats interrupted by the sound board because its one of the best seats in the theatre. I kept looking at the sound board because I'm a skeptic. I believe the worst before the best. And I couldnt find any place in which it looked like something was being played for him to lipsync with. I think he's the real deal and if he's not he's pretty damn close and really damn good! The late night comic was good too, of course not for all. If your not cool with R rated comedy dont go, you'll probably be offended. For the rest, the guy was good, I only wish I remembered the name. Of course there's the Quest which is amusing. Overall I rate this voyage: 8.5/10 I'll be putting up compasses of my trip soon on the boards so if you're interested look for those. Along with some pictures. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2010
Hello, hola, buenas noches, good evening. I'm not good at introductions, so I'll start things off with a disclaimer: I am 17, so this review will not include extensive information on the Casnio, nightclubs, bars, spas, or other ... Read More
Hello, hola, buenas noches, good evening. I'm not good at introductions, so I'll start things off with a disclaimer: I am 17, so this review will not include extensive information on the Casnio, nightclubs, bars, spas, or other adult hot spots on the ship. This review is unique because it's through the eyes of a teen, which is not common. Having said that, let's get to the review! Background: This is my fourth cruise and my second with Royal Caribbean. My previous cruises were on the Carnival Fascination, Majesty of the Seas, and Carnival Imagination in that order. All of those ships are considered small by today's standards, and I am skipping the middle size ships and going right up to the megaships (unless Oasis and Allure now push the Voyager class down a level). Either way, this is my first cruise on a ship larger than 80,000 GT. I am on this cruise with my 14 year old sister (this is her second cruise, her first was the Majesty) and with my mom (almost a cruise virgin. I say "almost" because her only other cruise was almost 30 years ago on NCL, and times have changed greatly). We booked this cruise back in March and have been waiting patiently ever since. Embarkation: I live in Plantation, Florida, so the port is only a half an hour car drive away. We left the house around 11:35 in the morning (driven by my grandmother so we wouldn't need to park in the garage) and we arrived at Port Everglades close to the top of the hour. After passing through a couple long car lines, we arrived at the Navigator of the Seas's pier at 12:10. By 12:35 we were walking on the ship. Much quicker than my other recent cruises, but with those we arrived much closer to the call time. The point is, the earlier you come, the quicker you get on the ship. The Room: I would like to use a quote from one of the ship's comedians, Billy Garan, who I will talk about more later. His opening joke was "By now you've realized those pictures of your room were taken with a wide angle lens." We had a standard balcony stateroom, which seems like it would be on the low end of decent space for two people, but it was tiny for three. The bathroom was also tiny, but the little space was efficient. My mom and sister took the two twin beds, and I was on the sofa bed. However, it is a step up from Hotel sofa beds, as it comes with a very nice set of sheets and is not on a bouncy spring mattress. On the third night we slept without air conditioning, it was only the next day we realized that the balcony door was just slightly open, which automatically shuts down the room's AC. The Ship: Centrums and Promenade: Everything on the ship revolves around the two massive lobbies and the football field of food and shopping that lies between. While it did seem a bit wider in the pictures, the Royal Promenade was no disappointment. It was the heart of the ship (literally. It had a giant expanding ball in the center that changed colors and size during the evening. Like a pumping heart). The Promenade was home to the Promenade Cafe (Ill talk about that magical place later), The Two Poets Pub (home to nightly live music from guitarist Rob McNay. I sat in on some of his shows, they were alright, not my music preference), Vintages (complete with a classic car), and the RCI logo show. Towards the back of the deck are the guest relations desk and the Champagne Bar, but I don't know if they are considered part of the promenade. I had a great conversation with the bartender of the Bar one night prior to one of the production shows. The two Centrums run up the sides of the Promenade. The Aft Centrum has eight elevators, four of which are glass facing the promenade. Four of the elevators run up to the Viking Crown Lounge. The Forward Centrum has six elevators, two which are glass. The Aft Centrum is the larger of the two, and includes access to the dining room(s), casino, Boleros, Studio B, and the photo gallery. The Forward Centrum provides access to the Metropolis Theater and The Schooner Bar. Many of these places will be discussed later in more detail. The Theater: Seating 1,359 people, the Metropolis Theater is the heart of the ship's entertainment. It housed 2 production shows, 2 comedians, and a Motown group, all of which I will talk about later. It's not as classy aesthetically as some of the other theaters in the Voyager Class, but it is a little more energetic. In many of the pictures, you can see the giant lights on the theater's ceiling, but it's not generally known that they are actually used and change color during the shows. The theater is very beautiful, and in a moderately good condition. Some of the seats had bottom's falling off, and some of the wood bars need to be treated. There is a pit for the band on the front of the stage, but it wasn't used in any of the shows I saw. As for the seating, there are ground level seats, slightly elevated seats in the back of the first floor, and balcony seats. There are some obstructed views due to the pillars supporting the balconies, but there are not many of them. I took a backstage tour of the theater on the last day of the cruise, which was very interesting. This is what I learned: Each show takes one month to program the lights for. The backstage is 2 floors, the bottom floor houses the sets and costumes for that day's shows. The second floor (only access are very steep steps) acts as a storage place for costumes not being used that day. All the singers are live during the shows, but they do have pre-recorded tracks that they use in case a microphone is broken or one of the singers is sick. Studio B: Home of Ice Dancin' (will be discussed later, yada yada yada) and The Quest, Studio B was a fun part of the ship. Although it is an ice rink, it is not freezing cold. I was fine watching the ice show in a shirt and shorts, and I live in Florida, home of heat. It seats 900, and was not full for any of the events. I would say it was about 75% full for The Quest, and just a little more populated for each of the ice shows. A good amount of seats have obstructed views thanks to the many support beams in the room. Ixtapa Lounge: This is the secondary lounge on the ship. I only went in there a couple times, mainly when they had the Nintendo Wii set up and for Karaoke. It seats about 350 people, but I never saw it near capacity. The lounge was in a generally good condition. Screening Room: I honestly did not expect this makeshift movie theater to be as packed as it was at times. It sits 60, but I often found people sitting on the floor or watching from outside because the room was filled. The room shows one movie a day, and repeats the movie every three hours. On our cruise, the movies were "Iron Man 2", "Knight and Day", "Clash of the Titans", "Shrek 4", and "Twilight: Eclipse". Many of these movies were constantly replaying on the TVs in the staterooms. The Dining Rooms: The three (or one, depending on how you view the structure) rooms are beautiful and elegant. The room's red carpet is in great condition and contrasts well with the gold pillars and bright table cloths and the chandelier. My family was seated on the first floor, close to the center of the room. The first floor of the room seats about 900 people, with the second and third floors seating 540 each. Windjammer and Jade: First and foremost, I don't see how Jade stands on its own as a restaurant. For breakfast and lunch, it is just an extension of the Windjammer, and it's just a single counter (one on each side of the Windjammer) serving Sushi and other Asian food at dinner. I guess the counter just gets its own name so RCI can claim that it's another "free" eatery on the ship. Just a minor nitpick though. The real problem here is that there was a lack of tables, at least during lunch. It was hard to find a place to sit and eat, and many people were competition to get an open table before the crew had a chance to clean it up. Long lines were a rarity here though. In fact, the only time I saw long lines were at the morning omelet stations, and that is fairly understandable. The Plaza Bar, in front of both Jade and the Windjammer, was very pretty. It had a miniature waterfall running down it's back wall. Overall, very clean and organized, if a little short on the tables. The Viking Crown Lounge: This is the only aspect of the ship that I found lacking as compared to my cruise on the Majesty of the Seas. On that ship, the VCL had a full 360 degree view, a full circle lounge, providing great views in all directions. The VLC on the Navigator still has a decent view, but I still missed the full observation of the Majesty. Anyways, Navigator's VLC was home to the Cosmopolitan Club, which housed live music nightly. On one side of the VLC were the Seven Hearts card room, Cloud Nine, and The 19th Hole Golf Bar, in which I watched the Steelers obliterate the Raiders. For some reason, Cloud Nine had a "Diamonds Event" sign outside of it the entire cruise, I don't know why though. The sports bar was packed during game nights on the cruise, and when games weren't on, the TVs were showing either ESPN highlights or FOX News. The lounge was generally clean, though the carpet was looking rugged in some areas. Adventure Ocean: The kid and teen programs took up a large part of the ship (at least in comparison with my previous cruises). All the separate rooms were adjoined by one of the largest arcades I had ever seen. As a teen, I was a frequent visitor to The Living Room and Fuel, the two teen lounges on the ship. The first of the two is where we played video games and trivia, while the second lounge was our dance club at night. While I did not spend much time in them, the rooms for the younger age groups were very spacious, although the carpets were looking stained and worn. Sports Deck: Behind the Viking Crown Lounge lies the sports deck, the biggest and best one on any ship I have been on yet. Immediately behind the VLC is RCI's signature rock wall, which I was surprised to see was not used as much as it was on the Majesty. It's not just used for normal climbing though. There were various "speed climbing" contests held throughout the cruise that were fun to watch. In front of the rock wall are two ping pong tables, placed carefully so the strong winds would not affect the game. One deck below was the full basketball court. I don't know what material it was built from, but it held up very well after some constant raining during our stay in Cozumel. It doubled as a dodge ball court for multiple tournaments during the cruise. Furthest back on the sports deck was a miniature golf course. Even though it is open 24 hours, it is best to play it during the morning or early afternoon, because it becomes difficult as the winds pick up later in the day and night. Finally, there is an inline skating track, but it was considerably small and underused. Pool Deck: What would a ship be without the pool deck? Overlooked by the Viking Crown Lounge, the Navigator's pool deck features two pools, side by side, with two hot tubs. For some reason, it was common for one of the pools to be closed at any given time, though both were open during the afternoon. The deck was clean, and not very slippery. Be sure to get your towels early, or else you will face long lines at the Towel Exchange Desk. Loose them, and it will cost you $20 each. Chairs were easy to come by, especially if you are a Crown and Anchor member, in which prime stadium seating chairs are roped off for you by the Pool and Sky bars. During the day, live music can be heard, or if the band isn't playing, modern pop music through speakers. The pool deck was home to a pool party and buffet on the third night from 11:30 PM through 1:00 AM, but more on that later. The pools themselves were never very crowded. Solarium: This enclosed adult's only space was a mixed bag. While it was in good condition, it was always very packed. Go early to get a chair. Additionally, while children were kept out of the area, it didn't solve the "noise" problem of the main pool deck. Many adults in the Solarium, mainly college kids or those in their young twenties, were loud and disruptive, if only for brief amounts of time. The Solarium was Italian themed, which was elegant and pretty. On the fourth night, the Solarium became Club 20, an adults only club, so I don't know what it was like, but there were many multi colored lights and it looked like fun. Schooner Bar: Full of smoke and the carpet was getting worn out. Had entertainment nightly from Don Alexander, a very talented singer/pianist (more later, yada) and trivia contests. Also, full of smoke, it deserves mentioning twice. Casino: Surprisingly, not as full of smoke as the Schooner Bar, at least in the couple seconds I spent by the glitzy entrance. Cruise Director Simeon Baker: At first, I didn't know what to expect from the cruise director. Obviously, being a Voyager Class ship, he would have more material to work with than previous cruise directors I have watched. My first impression of Simeon was that he was a bit off, but as the cruise went by I realized that it was because he had much more of a personality than my previous CDs. If you are wondering if my opening line to this review (Hello, hola, buenas noches, good evening) came from, its from Simeon. That is how he opened every show in the theater. It was weird at first, but it grew on me (and the rest of the cruisers) throughout the five days, and by the time the cruise was over, we were repeating each of those greetings after he said them. Simeon was very spirited during the cruise, but he contained his excitement properly so he was not just a flying ball of hyperactivity like my CD was last summer on Carnival. He also went the extra mile to entertain the guests. I don't know if this is an RCI standard, but on day four when we were leaving the ship to go to Cozumel, Simeon (who is bald, the kind with the shiny head) wore a short pink Lady Gaga type wig, glasses, and danced on deck one to remind us that that night was 70s night. One of my favorite things he did throughout the cruise was make a "special announcement" after every show time in the theater. For example, one of his announcements was "If someone lost a diamond encrusted 18 carat gold watch, the time is 8:01). The last thing we saw before walking in Mexico was our cruise director dancing, and it was clear he was having fun. He was a very friendly individual, and I spoke to him multiple times throughout the ship. In fact, during an elevator ride with him, he told me that his brother is a cruise director for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Matt Baker anyone? Teen Program: This was a mixed bag for me, which was a disappointment because this was (incredibly likely, barring a miracle) my last cruise as a teen (by cruise line standards, aka 17 and under). It had every reason to be great. There were organized activities, two great teen clubs, and a lot of interested teens. The main problem however was the person in charge of my age group (not giving names). I know RCI likes to hire an international crew, but the head of the teen program is probably a job best served by an American. The problem with the teen consoler on my cruise was that she didn't understand what American teens are like. She tried to control our language, she wanted us to dance apart from each other, and she didn't know how to make activities appeal to our group. The worst part was when someone spread a rumor that she was drinking in a bar one night, so instead of playing Capture the Flag like was on the schedule during day four, she called us all into The Living Room and gave us a 30 minute speech about how she doesn't drink and was afraid the rumor would hurt her job. Just not something you want to talk with teens who want to play games. I agree that the rumor should not have been started, but don't interrupt the entire schedule to make a point of it to all of us. On vacation. Anyways, the activities themselves were very fun and the teens were really into it. RCI's teen program has always been better than the one on Carnival. On my Carnival cruise last summer, the teen club was only open (doors unlocked) when there was a scheduled activity in there. Additionally, the type of teens on the Navigator (and RCI in general) are just generally nicer than ones on Carnival. On the Navigator, we were welcome to come and go as we pleased. Activities ranged from Dodgeball to nightly dances to poker. I didn't spend much time with the teen program as I thought I would (too busy eating at Cafe Promenade), but I did enjoy the time I had, even though it needs a better person in charge. I don't think not being allowed in the teen program will hurt me on future cruises, because many of the activities offered in the teen program (casino games, Nintendo Wii, dodgeball, speed climbing, etc) are already offered to adults. Entertainment: All Access (Production Show): There are three production shows on the Navigator of the Seas. The two that were preformed on our cruise were "All Access" and "Ballroom Fever". The third show, "Now and Forever", is supposed to be inspired by Broadway music and tunes. "Ballroom Fever" was themed around ballroom dancing, something that didn't interest me, so I skipped it. "All Access", which I did see, is a collection of rock songs from the 70s. Of all the production shows I have seen on any cruise, this was the most bland. That is not to say it was bad, but it just wasn't very special. One of my biggest gripes was the set, or more specifically, the lack of variety. On other RCI and Carnival shows, there are constantly changing backdrops and props rotating throughout the show. All Access's set consisted of an elevated bandstand, flashing LED lights in the background, and a lot of bars. There were also a couple of ladders that moved in from the sides of the stage, but nothing colorful or unique. Additionally, while the singers were good (more on them later), none of them had a voice for Rock and Roll. Their voices were not edgy enough to sing classic 70s song. Listening to "We Will Rock You" by Queen (the show's opening song) was difficult, because the lyrics should not sound smooth and pretty, they should sound gritty. The dancers were very talented, but the cerography for the show was nothing new. The entire package was just very bland compared to the shows I saw last summer on Carnival, and my favorite cruise production show, "Boogie Wonderland" on the Majesty of the Seas. The RCI Singers and Dancers: All four singers had talent, there is no doubt, but there is only one that left an impression on me, Michael (don't know his last name). Not only was he a great singer, but he also had a fantastic stage presence, and the way he carried himself was very loose and relaxed. He seemed to be having more fun than the other singers, and he also had the best chemistry with the other singers and dancers. The dancers were also talented, though they did not have the best material. During the backstage tour I took of the theater, I met some of the dancers, one of which is 19. He told me he auditioned over video. I think he said he was one of the youngest dancers in the entire fleet. Billy Garan (Headlining Comedian): Billy, who was the performer on our welcome aboard show, was a very interesting comedian. Interesting because there were times when he was really funny, but other times when I was wondering why RCI hired him. His opening joke ("By now you've realized those pictures of your room were taken with a wide angle lens") was funny, but holding up a giant cardboard cut out of Stewie's (from Family Guy) head and repeating the name "Lois" really quickly isn't funny at all. It's annoying actually. Billy was also a good impressionist, but he didn't use them in a comedic purpose (except for one about the TV show CSI). It was more like him doing impressions just so we know he can. His adult show was a bit of an improvement, but when he got to the impressions again, his show started to die out. He capped his performance off with an incredible boring "every TV movie acted out in 5 minutes", which had a lot of potential, but came off as corny and a waste of time. Levent (Headlining Comedian/Magician): Levent, the performer on our farewell show, on the other hand was fantastic. He was very funny, incorporating humor into magic (or vice versa) much better than many others have tried. He had humor for kids and adults alike. It is clear he was a comedian first and a magician second, as every "magic trick" he did, save for a couple serious ones scattered throughout the show, were accompanied by comedy. For example, he put a bottle of wine into a paper bag, and "turned" it into a fake bunny, which he proceeded to take a sip from the top of. Another great moment was when he made a cane disappear from inside a newspaper (tribute to Houdini), and then walked around the stage without being able to bend one knee, and kicking the cane out loudly offstage. My favorite joke from him came from when he wanted the audience to vote on what his last trick should be, either sucking a potted plant up the nose or juggling two balls. The audience voted for the potted plant up the nose one, and Levent said that the juggling won by electoral vote. He called it democracy in action. I call it funny. Spectrum (Headliner Musicians): Preforming on the third night, Spectrum is a Motown music cover group who performed in the theater. They were fantastic, and collectively were much better singers than any of the RCI Singers and Dancers, save for Michael. Spectrum comes from Las Vegas, and has been doing shows on RCI ships for a while now. Each of the four members took turns singing songs, all successfully. Having been born in 1993, there were many songs I did not know, but the ones I did know were performed beautifully. Highlights included their versions of "Soul Man" and "Stand By Me", which got the most applause from the audience, all earned. Royal Promenade Parades: There were two parades on the Royal Promenade during the cruise. The "Welcome Aboard" parade on the first night (which seems to have replaced an ocean themed parade) and a "Mardi Gras" parade on the final night. Both were very entertaining, if a bit bland. The first one focused on the crew and where they came from. Many different cultures were introduced on the bridge in the Promenade. Additionally, the ship's staff was split into their individual groups (Cooks, Casino, Stewards, etc.) and carried banners throughout the promenade. The second parade had the RCI Singers singing (duh) as the rest of the ship's entertainers (Dancers, Ice Skaters, Cruise Director's Staff, etc.) danced in Mardi Gras type outfits. Both parades were about 15 minutes long, which is a good length. Any longer and they would have become repetitive. The only problem is that if you are not in the Promenade a couple minutes before the parade starts, you won't get a good view. The promenade is roped off literally seconds before the parade begins, and once you're behind the rope, you are pretty much trapped for the duration. Ice Dancin' (Ice Show): Does it need to be said? It has been repeated so many times on this entire forum. I know you know it, I know I know it, but I will say it anyways: WOW. This show is spectacular, a surprising delight. Even with all the buildup and hype from reading about it on here, I was not prepared for the triple spins and backflips that powered this wonderful performance. See it. That is all that really needs to be said. I saw it twice. The show is preformed four times on the cruise, twice on the two sea days, at 3:00 and 5:00 PM. The guest act was a hoola hooper, who was very talented. I don't have her name with me right now, but when I get it I will post it. Don Alexander: Don was the piano player and singer at the Schooner Bar during our cruise. He began on the ship during the end of its Mediterranean season back in September, and seems like he will be on it for the foreseeable future, which is good, because he is very talented. Every night (I believe, not positive) he played music and sung along in the Schooner Bar, which attracted big audiences. On the first night he played a tribute show to both Elton John and Billy Joel, and on the last night he took requests. I know he was playing on the other nights, but I don't know what the playlists were. Either way, this man was very good, and he earns bonus points for surviving all the smoke in the Schooner Bar. Rob McNay: He was the guitarist in the Two Poets Pub. He played on pretty much the same schedule as Don, but Rob was far less interesting. Rob played guitar with prerecorded music in the background. I don't know if he sang or not. Either way, he did not garner much of an audience. Various Bands and Orchestra: The Navigator of the Seas Orchestra was talented, as all of the main ship orchestras are. At night (don't know if it was multiple or only the last one) they played Jazz music in the Viking Crown Lounge. There was a separate music group that played regularly Boleros, called the "Latin Express Trio", and they were talented. When they were playing, there were many people dancing on the floor. They knew their audience well. I don't know which group played at night normally in the VLC, but they played good slow background music in case you wanted to relax. Finally, the pool band played live music throughout the day. I didn't spend much time listening to them, but what I heard was good. They played a lot of tropical themed music. The Love and Marriage Game Show: This is one of the main reasons I love cruising. This show is always entertaining, because even though the questions might always be the same (which thankfully, they have changed since my last RCI cruise, as I feared they would be the same), the best aspect of the show is how the contestants react to and answer the questions. On this cruise, the players were a couple married for 20 days, a 2 year old married couple, and one married for 36 years. The 2 year couple were the funniest (and the winners). They were very comfortable with giving out information, and you could tell they were partiers. Simeon Baker was very entertaining during this, and seemed prepared for many scenarios with the contestants, such as when one revealed he had a bad farting habit. Overall, this part of the cruise did not disappoint at all, and I would recommend it to all. Well, not children. The Quest: Also fun and entertaining and not recommended for children comes The Quest, RCI's wild "adult" game show, as they advertised it. Just like the Love and Marriage show, the real fun here is how the audience reacts to the specific quests. I don't know if all cruise directors follow the same questions and do the same things, but I could tell that Simeon had a lot of fun here, especially when at the end, he removed his shirt to reveal he was wearing a bra, and led 11 men also wearing bras (part of the last quest) through Studio B like they were in a fashion show. Nighttime Deck Party: Sorry I don't remember the name at the moment (I don't have access to my compasses right now), but on night four from 11:30 PM to 1:00 AM, the Navigator had its midnight pool party. On the sidelines they had a great buffet, featuring many meats, appetizers, an ice cream bar, pork, and deserts. In the middle of the deck they had the main party, which strangely was not hosted by Simeon. Instead it was hosted by activities director Darren. The pre-party consisted of an ice carving demonstration, which was very cool to witness. The party itself started off with a lot of dancing songs (like the Cha Cha Slide) by the pool. After about 30 minutes or so, around midnight, they cleared the floor and set up a table with various bar tools. Everyone knew what was going to happen and got the best view possible. The bartenders were going to put on a show. The best views were gone quickly, so hurry up when you see they are getting ready for this. About four bartenders put on a presentation for us all individually, making their own signature drink with as many tricks as possible, and they proceeded to give the drinks they made out to audience members for free. After this I decided to go to sleep. I wanted to be rested well for my last day on the ship. Poolside Games: In the early afternoon of the second day of the cruise was the traditional belly flop competition, and the crowd was really into it. The contestants were also having fun, with some signing themselves up under funny nicknames (some which humorously reflect on that persons weight), and others doing funny dances or movements before jumping into the pool. In the end, the person who earned the most applause was actually a woman, who might have actually had the biggest splash of all the competitors. And no, she was not overweight. This was very fun to watch. The second poolside game I watched was the Mr. Sexy Legs competition. Again, very funny to watch. In fact, I am sure some of the belly floppers participated in this as well. Some people have no shame in making fun of themself for entertainment. All the more power to them. Mr. Sexy Legs was also very entertaining. Other poolside games included Mrs. Biceps and the Poolside Olympics, both of those I unfortunately missed out on. Food: Overview: Before I get to talking about the individual eateries on the ship and what they serve, I want to discuss the food overall. It was a very mixed bag, depending on what you ate, where, and when. When originally planning the review, I knew I was going to compare this food to that on my Carnival cruise from last summer, but I didn't think I would need to compare it to the food from my cruise on the Majesty. Even both they are both RCI ships, there are noticeable differences between the food quality. Pizza: I included this as its own category for a few reasons: For starters, pizza is one of the most important food products on a ship. Secondly, I need to compare it to both Carnival's pizza and the Majesty's pizza. Finally, because Pizza is served on multiple parts of the Navigator. Many say that Carnival has the best pizza at sea, but I disagree. I believe the best pizza belongs to RCI. Or more specifically, the Sorrentos pizza found on the Freedom and Oasis class ships, as well as the Majesty. Sorrento's is a land based pizza restaurant, like Johnny Rockets, so it's food is of a higher quality than the normal cruise line food. The difference is, Sorrento's is free on the ships that it is on, and is much better than Carnival's pizza, and that of the Navigator's. As for the Navigator's pizza itself, it's quality differed depending on where you received it. The pizza in the Windjammer was disgusting on the first and only time I tried it (lunch on embarkation day). It had very little sauce, and the cheese didn't taste like cheese. On the other hand, the pizza served in the Promenade Cafe (which is baked there, so it is entirely separate from the Windjammer pizza makers), was a big improvement. It was about as good as the pizza on my Carnival cruise last summer. They have plain and pepperoni available almost all the time, with a flavor of the day as well. Even better than the pizza though were the miniature calzones at the Cafe. When I was on Carnival, they were made by request, but on the Navigator, they had a big plate of them, almost always full, and they were very good. I believe I ate more calzones than any other individual food item on the ship. Cafe Promenade: Normally you would expect the Windjammer or the Dining Rooms to be first, rather than this little Cafe, since they are more important, but I am writing about this first because the Cafe Promenade is the place I visited the most during the cruise. Open 24 hours a day, the Cafe always has treats for you. In the morning, they had breakfast pastries such as doughnuts, bread rolls, muffins, and danishes. After around 11:00 AM, they served pizzas and calzones, and continued to do so until around 2:00 AM the next morning. Also after 11:00 AM is when they served their signature cookies and cakes. Additionally, Seattle's Best Coffee, both regular and decaf, was available free all 24 hours. I made sure to visit the Cafe every morning for breakfast items. They served miniature challah rolls every morning, and I couldn't stop eating them, I loved them so much. The danishes were also tasty, if a little stale. I already talked about the pizza products, so I will move on to the cookies and cakes, which is what the Cafe is known for. The cookies they had were not always fresh (as in hard and crunchy rather than soft), but they were tasty. From what I observed, Chocolate Chip and Triple Chocolate Chunk were some of the favorites. Other flavors included Mudslide and Toffee, with what I think had Heath bar pieces in it. Overall, the Cafe Promenade was my favorite eatery on the ship, and I don't know how I will be able to live without it. Not just on other ships, but on land. I need my daily cookies and calzones. Main Dining Room: Even though I already mentioned it, the Main Dining Room looks fantastic. I just wish that the food was of the same quality. Not that the food was bad, but it just wasn't very special. I ate in the dining room on three of the nights, and had a good meal, but nothing that I miss. On the first night, I had an Alfredo linguini with mushrooms. The Alfredo sauce was not very flavorful. I could tell it was there because of its creamy texture, but it didn't add much to the flavor. Same with the mushrooms. The pasta itself was good, but it's not really anything you can mess up. On night two, I had a shrimp cocktail appetizer, which was pretty good, and the Filet of Beef, ordered medium rare. Filling and better than the linguini (in terms of amount of flavor), but it still did not have a very big impact. I skipped the room for nights three and four, and returned on night five, the last of the cruise. On that night, I had a Ceaser Salad for an appetizer, which was dry and flavorless. I had two entrEes that night, a New York Strip Steak, which was better than I expected, and Turkey, which was mixed: The white meat was dry and dull, but the dark meat was juicy and tender. I ate breakfast in here on disembarkation day, and it was very good. The food was timely, and well prepared. I had buttermilk pancakes, and tried my sister's French Toast, both of which were better than I was expecting. Overall, the food here was good, but nothing special, and met my expectations, except for the Ceaser Salad, which was a joke. Despite the quality of the food however, it was always plated excellently. Windjammer: The Lido Buffet was comparable to the dining room. It is a much better choice for lunch and for a breakfast on the go but with a drop in the quality of the food. I only had breakfast once in the Windjammer, on the second day (first morning) on the ship. I had a French toast, and it seemed like a solid triangle of egg yolk. After that, I ate in the Cafe Promenade for breakfast. If you do choose to go to the Windjammer for breakfast, expect long lines, especially at the omelet station. Thankfully, they have premade omelets available for those who hate waiting and are willing to sacrifice custom omelets. I generally came in here for lunch, in which they always served various meats and pastas. I tried a burger one day, and found it very lacking, which is to be expected. Why offer a good burger for free when you have Johnny Rockets? The hotdogs were good though, it's hard to mess those up. I would say the Windjammer was best during lunch. For dinner, they served the same general choices that they had in the dining room, but they were not as fresh. Johnny Rockets: I love hamburgers. A lot. I knew I would be going to Johnny Rockets at one point on my cruise, and I decided to go on day three, after coming back from Georgetown, Grand Cayman. It was never incredibly busy, and the food doesn't take too long to get to you. I ordered the St. Lewis burger, with Swiss cheese and bacon, and ate it quickly. I ordered a second burger (I love hamburgers. A lot.), this time a standard original (plain with regular condiments) and ate it as well. And if that was not enough, I ordered the Royal Caribbean Oreo Sunday, which is 2 or 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream with Oreos and chocolate syrup, and ate it (although I knew I shouldn't, as I was already feeling full from the burgers), and it was delicious, as were the burgers. They are always fresh and cooked to order. And seeing how it was $4.95 for all of the food together (the cover charge covers everything except for milkshakes, which cost $4.50, and Floats, which cost $3.95), it was a great value. Soda Package: I don't know how much this cost, but it was defiantly worth it. I had more soda in a day than I normally would have in 2-3 weeks, but hey, it's a cruise. If you are a huge soda drinker, get this, because not only do you get access to all the soda you want, but you also get a special colorful plastic bottle that is yours to keep. I love soda, and did not have the package on my previous 2 cruises. There is so much temptation on the Navigator, so many places where you can buy soda, and it's hard to resist. I believe a single soda can on the Navigator costs $2.25, and the card is about $6 or $7 a day (much less for kids), so if you plan on having at least 3 cans of soda a day, buy the card, or the bills will add up quickly. Crew Service: Overview: For the most part, the service on the ship was very quick and efficient. I didn't know what to expect from the crew, since the Navigator was very recently back from its Mediterranean season, and I have read reports of low crew morale and efficiency on the cruise following a major home port change. Nevertheless, the crew was always enthusiastic and happy. Room Service (not food): I want to talk about the room's cleaning and service staff first because they were the only group that we had a problem with. On the second day of the cruise, our room was not cleaned until around 8:00 PM. We were calling the front desk every few hours throughout the afternoon to have someone clean the room and make the beds (its hard to type this without sounding like an ignorant selfish brat, but this is what cruising is like lol). We saw the cabin crew cleaning the other rooms early in the day, but for some reason ours was skipped. Anyways, it was fixed up by the time we were done with dinner. Otherwise, the crew was great. Dining Room: The staff here was fantastic. Unfortunately I do not remember the names of the waiter for my table and the other crew members who served us, but they were all great. They were more than happy to accommodate my eating (I have a big appetite, on or off a ship). The crew also had a great memory, as I ordered a Sprite on the first night, and they gave me one without me needing to ask on the other nights. They even brought one on the two nights I skipped. My only complaint would be that the food was a little slow on the second night. It took about half an hour for the main dishes to be served after the appetizer. I'm not sure if it was intentional though since it was formal night. However, its normally much quicker on cruises, and when you have second seating, getting the main dish after 9:00 PM just doesn't feel right. Bars and the Cafe: The service at the Promenade Cafe and the other bars on the ship were also very quick. For drinks, it was as simple as taking out my soda card and telling them what you want. It was a bit slow at the Cafe Promenade though because of the lines. When picking up a snack from the Cafe, it might take you longer for you to decide what you want than for the server to give it to you. There are multiple bars in both Studio B and the Metropolis Theater, each with multiple bartenders. I would recommend you go directly to them for a drink before a show, because the servers who walk the ground are hard to come by, especially if you are in anything but an aisle seat. Conclusion: Wow, what a cruise. It might sound like I found this cruise average, but it was huge improvement over my previous cruises because there was simply so much more stuff to do. The Promenade became my home. I think the only way you can't enjoy this cruise if you've been on the Oasis class. Every morning, on this cruise and my two other recent ones, I made my schedule for the day either the previous night or that morning with the compasses, but for the first time, I couldn't decide what to do. Teen dodgeball tournament or Battle of the Sexes? Soccer or trivia? Ice skating or the Love and Marriage Game Show? There are so many things to do on this ship, you will never be bored. As my last cruise as a teen, I was surprised that I did not participate in the teen activates as much as I wanted to, but I am now actually happy for that. This was my first cruise where I was given enough freedom to do what I wanted, and I took all those liberties. This is a great ship, and I had a great cruise. Of all the cruises I have been on, this is my favorite, followed by the Majesty of the Seas, and the Carnival Imagination and the Carnival Fascination. Thank you for reading this incredibly long review, and you can look forward to another one whenever I sail again. Ports: Georgetown, Grand Cayman: When we were at Grand Cayman, my mom and sister dragged me on to what I like to call the "Ooh, lets buy this" excursion. For two hours, I moved from clothing store to perfume store, just waiting to get back onto the ship. If you're a collector of Hard Rock Cafe pins, there is one very close to the port. I am sure there is a lot to do here; we just didn't do much of it. For me, the highlight was trying a coconut rum cake. Delicious. I wish I bought some in the port. If for some reason you forget to do so, they sell them on the ship in the Logo store. Cozumel, Mexico: We spent our time in Mexico down by the San Francisco beach. There are many fun things to do, including a very big water fun zone section including water trampolines, inflatable slides, and a giant rock wall type inflatable structure. It cost about 12 dollars, but was worth it. There I met people from the other ships in port, and had a very fun game of "push each other off the trampoline" with kids on the Carnival ships also in port. The water itself was very salty compared to the waters here in South Florida. The food we ordered from one the bars/restaurants was good, but pricy and low in serving size. Seeing how it's a tourist destination, I would expect that. Also, the roads were very bumpy, it's worth mentioning. Disembarkation: Even though my mom wanted to get home as early as possible, my sister and I wanted to spend the most time on the ship we could, so we took the latest disembarkation time, 10:15 in the morning. Until then, I spent my time at the Cafe Promenade, saying good bye to each product. Individually. And tastefully. They called our luggage tag to leave at around 10:00 AM, after which the process was very simple. We filled out our customs cards before disembarking, so that was an easy process, and since we were among the last leaving the ship, it was not hard to find our luggage. Overall, disembarkation was a quick and painless process, which was still negated by the pain of having to leave the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
I am a 63 year old professional who traveled with her 12 year old granddaughter. GD's first cruise, my seventh, second TA. We spent four days before the cruise in Rome. We stayed at the Hotel Melia Antica which is actually in a suburb ... Read More
I am a 63 year old professional who traveled with her 12 year old granddaughter. GD's first cruise, my seventh, second TA. We spent four days before the cruise in Rome. We stayed at the Hotel Melia Antica which is actually in a suburb of Rome. The hotel shuttle bus took us into the Vatican City every day and picked us up. We had Roma passes which were wonderful-all the public transportation and entry into Museums and other attractions either free or half price. I would recommend the Roma pass.Transfer from the hotel was smooth and so was embarkation. Cabin wasn't ready yet so we went to the Windjammer and found that it was too crowded--this was consistent through out the cruise, not enough spaces and too many people. Jade section was disappointing most of the time but when they hit it right they did an excellent job, just not consistent. Our ocean view cabin was spacious and clean and our room steward was excellent. Lots of storage space and I really appreciated the sliding doors on the shower as opposed to the curtains. The cabin was surprisingly quiet given we were down the corridor from the Dungeon bar. We had two days of high seas during the trip and the movement in the cabin was very minimal, a very smooth voyage. We did not take any of the ship's excursions in any of the ports because most places had tourists in mind with hop-on/hop-off buses and excellent public transportation. We did not get off the ship in France because of the troubles. My GD very much enjoyed the teen center and loved the counselor, Fabi from Brazil. There weren't that many children on board and the teen center kept her busy and happy. She made friends, played games, watched movies and was generally in teen heaven. Initially I was concerned that the adult pool, the Solarium, did not have a cover but the weather cooperated and I was in the pool a lot. It was wonderfully warm, all the pools were. The hot tubs weren't that hot, though. I was disappointed that the library was so meager (glad I had my Kindle), the slow internet connection, no passenger laundry (getting clothes clean was hideously expensive), the morning stretch class was excellent but too crowded and getting into the ice skating show was very poorly done. The dining room (we had my time dining, the only way to go) food and service were on a par with every other cruise I've been on. Ordered room service a couple of times and they were prompt and always got our order correct and the menu wasn't extensive but was surely adequate. I really enjoyed the cafe promenade for early morning coffee before the GD got up and loved the space in the very front of deck 5 on the helipad where you could watch the sea at all times and the stars at night. We also enjoyed the miniature golf and the movie theater. GD enjoyed the basket ball and volley ball,rock climbing wall and ice skating. Went to the spa once and enjoyed the service but not the sales pitch. Appreciated the sauna and steam room, also. This is a great ship if you are traveling with kids. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Only my third RCL cruise and a transatlantic at that. Remember, I'm a Princess fan. For the plus side, you can't beat the coffee on RCL. Seattle's Best is wonderful and always available. Good for me. The Trek acrossed the ... Read More
Only my third RCL cruise and a transatlantic at that. Remember, I'm a Princess fan. For the plus side, you can't beat the coffee on RCL. Seattle's Best is wonderful and always available. Good for me. The Trek acrossed the Atlantic for Make a Wish was really fantastic. The Captain was so personable and available, he was everywhere. I guess being so young helped with that. The best Captain that I have encountered. The food was very good and we had "My Time Dining". That was OK. My cabin was lovely. I don't get this much space on Princess. The shower was a treat and the sofa area was very nice. Now for the negative. They treat you like a child about bringing a bottle of wine onboard. We're in countries where the wine in so wonderful and you can not bring a bottle back to the ship, even with paying corkage. Ridiculous. I would have been happy to pay to open a bottle at dinner to share with friends. No laundry area!! Oh my. We're on a 14 day crossing and have been in Europe before the cruise. Not good. I did a bag of wash and fold and they were not wearable. On a Princess cruise, I have free laundry, but others have the ability to go to a coin laundry or to press something on an ironing board with a real iron. Please. I used a coupon to get internet and it was still expensive, but it did work well. Good enough there. RCL does a good job with Cruise Critic meet and greet. They have something set up and give gifts and snacks and drinks. Princess leaves it up to us and has an open bar if you want to purchase a drink. Since we all bring our own wine onboard, we don't care. I must comment on the dining room lunch. They had a salad bar where you chose all the veggies and meat or sea food and they chopped and dressed it to your taste. Fantastic!!! Must only be on sea days, but I loved it. I enjoyed the cruise and the weather was lovely. Disembarkation was a nightmare. I don't want to talk about it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
We have been on many cruises but had never before experienced the thrill of a transatlantic voyage. I was afraid 7 days at sea would be a bit boring, but this was not the case at all. I enjoyed every minute - including the extra hour we ... Read More
We have been on many cruises but had never before experienced the thrill of a transatlantic voyage. I was afraid 7 days at sea would be a bit boring, but this was not the case at all. I enjoyed every minute - including the extra hour we had most days due to the time change! The Navigator of the Seas is a beautiful ship and the service was top notch throughout. Captain Patrick was the most personable I have every encountered, even walking around the dining room to say hello to everyone during dinner one night. We enjoyed the food in the dining room and never felt we had to go to the specialty restaurants. Also the food in the Windjammer was very good with many choices available for lunch. There was usually somewhere to sit, as long as you didn't mind sharing someone's table. We always do this and most people are happy to share if you ask. You get to meet more people that way. There was a great variety of entertainment and surely something to please every taste. The ice show was spectacular although we did have to line up 45 minutes in advance to be assured of getting seats. Which brings me to my one complaint about the ship. For 3000 passengers, many of the public rooms seem too small. We never could get into the movie (which only seats about 100 people) even though we went there 30 minutes before each show. If you wanted to play trivia in the Schooner bar, you had to go at least 45 minutes early to get a seat. And if you wanted to hear the piano player there after the show, you had to stand at least until the first set was over. Many people were also closed out of the lectures in the conference rooms due to lack of seats. Even the showroom, which seems huge, filled up rapidly for the early dinner show and we had to go there directly from dinner every night and wait 45 minuted for the show to start. The only other problem was the disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale, which was terrible. The long slow walk from the ship to the baggage area led to chaos in the baggage room and too few customs agents. However I don't know if this was the fault of Royal Caribbean, the customs officers or port authorities. We did have a wonderful time and I would not hesitate to sail on the Navigator again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
So we had 3 weeks booked and we had decided we were going to Italy, my girlfriend began mentioning going to visit Greece as well so we began looking at ferries and whatnot. Turns out they can be rather complicated. Not sure how we decided, ... Read More
So we had 3 weeks booked and we had decided we were going to Italy, my girlfriend began mentioning going to visit Greece as well so we began looking at ferries and whatnot. Turns out they can be rather complicated. Not sure how we decided, but we began looking at cruises that would stop there. We found that the Navigator was going to not one but two ports there AND going on to Turkey then Egypt (both dream destinations). The price was confusing, as when we began looking, inside cabins were the same price as outside cabins, we dragged out feet and did not book right away, and the outside rooms went up by $1,000.00. Once the price jump happened we got our room right away before the price went up again. We headed to the port, then had to put up with way more people than there were buses for at the gate to the Civetavecchia Port. Royal Caribbean really needs to correct the shuttle bus situation, as it was a bad way to begin the cruise. We eventually made it to the disembarkation tent, then onto the boat. Wow it was big, being that I've never been on a cruise I was not sure what to expect, but this boat was bigger than aircraft carriers I have visited. The staff were all very friendly, the only ones who did not smile and greet us were the work men (there was ongoing work being done to resurface several areas, and wow did they ever make deck 4 smell like paint thinner). I would imagine the workers are not staff, because any of the rest of the staff went out of their way to greet you. The room we had was really tiny, but well laid out, it seemed there was a place for everything, even the bed was set up so you could put your luggage underneath. Our cabin attendant was nice, although on the first day of he cruise she left us the cruise compass (the daily what's going on guide) in Dutch because she saw we were from Canada lol. I can assure you I have never heard any Dutch spoken here, and once we assured her that we spoke perfect English the correct version of the compass was brought. The food onboard was good, we never went to the Main Dining Room because we preferred the relaxed atmosphere and dress code. The few times we looked at the menu offered we noticed it was almost the same as the buffet (the Windjammer). My biggest criticism of the buffet was that the food was almost the same every day for 12 days. We ordered room service a few times and it was always fast and hot. In all the food was very good, just not enough variety. We saw the shows a few nights in the Main Theatre and really enjoyed them (a Beatles Tribute, a Frankie Valli Tribute, etc) Enjoyed the ice show, but you really need to get to the rink early as it fills up fast. Took advantage of the adults only pool (oh my gosh it was cold!) and the hot tubs, both were nice, although with 3,000 people onboard you almost need more, things got very busy on sea days. The port selection was really good, although Messina is a bit of a waste of time (we didn't get there until 2:00, and all the stores were closed until 4:00) although some did do an excursion to Etna from there, so other than that I am not sure why we even ported there. In all though, this was our first cruise, and we both really enjoyed it and hope to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
The ship - just what you'd expect from RCI. Very good. No complaints. Plenty of loungers due to 'no reserving' policy working. Drink prices high - ave. $8 for a drink (though they were all doubles).Plus 15% added on as a ... Read More
The ship - just what you'd expect from RCI. Very good. No complaints. Plenty of loungers due to 'no reserving' policy working. Drink prices high - ave. $8 for a drink (though they were all doubles).Plus 15% added on as a tip! Not allowed to bring alcohol on board but we took a bottle of vodka in our case without a problem. Many people did. Plenty to do on ship, too much to do everything each day. A must see - the Ice Show. Gym is excellent and never too busy. Entertainment in main theatre at night was dire tho' - a classical violinist one night, a virtuoso concert pianist another 'production shows' no where near the standard I've seen from RCI in the past. All very talented people but not to my taste at all. Without exception, the crew were hard-working, courteous,and helpful. Activities staff (esp Carlos, Richard, Alison and Aubrey) were stars! Any activities involving them - go to! You're guaranteed fun! Abundance of food choices in Windjammer for breakfast and lunch. Everything very good and tasty. Busy in Windjammer at times but always got a table. Dining room menu - less choice than on previous cruises and definately slightly smaller portions, though the food was delicious. We were at 2nd sitting and felt the service was a bit slow. Note - most nighta the 'second meal sitting' theatre show took place before the sitting, not after, as was always the case in the past. Also, ask for 'medium/rare' steak and it will be raw! Went to Chops Grille - worth the 'cover charge' but take a drink in with you from one of the bars - $14 (+15% tip!) for the cheapest glass of wine in Chops Grille! As the ship was sailing from Rome, we knew there would be many Italians aboard and had read on review sites how rude they were. They were very, very, very rude. Never heard of queues and were constantly barging in front of you to get on lifts, get to seats, get to anywhere! Smoking in some of the bars and almost anywhere on the decks ('no smoking' area signs were not enforced)was really annoying. Messina - Ship docks literally 50 years from main road. Nothing to see in town Didn't do any tour. Only spent about 2 hours in Messina. Disembarking was orderly at the end of the cruise,with different cabins being alloted different times to leave - varied from 5.45 am to 10.45 am. If yours is too early, go to the Pursers desk and get a set of different colour-coded luggage labels ( the colour indicates the disembarkation time)to attach to your cases. Just make sure that you don't leave the ship too late to make your connections elsewhere! Overall, there is little to complain about with regards to the ship, the service, the food, the activities on board, and the ports of call. Only criticism is the high on-board prices, the pressure to 'tip' attendants too much (surely some of the high price we pay for the Cruise must go to the wages of these hard-working people without RCI putting pressure on US to pay them! I'd tip anyway, but not to the extent of the $240 RCI said we should!) I would cruise with RCI again, and would highly recommend this cruise for the ports of call alone. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
We were two 21 year old guys who decided to book a last minute cheap cruise from Rome. I read many reviews on this ship before we booked but not many were from the eyes of 18-20+ year olds, so I write this view baring in mind any 18-20+ ... Read More
We were two 21 year old guys who decided to book a last minute cheap cruise from Rome. I read many reviews on this ship before we booked but not many were from the eyes of 18-20+ year olds, so I write this view baring in mind any 18-20+ year olds. After sailing on the liberty of the seas in Decemeber, I knew all about this ship and what to expect, with it being almost identical to the Freedom class. Boarding the ship was very standard procedure taking about an hour. Whilst we waited for our cases we looked around the ship to see what it was all about. For an 8 year old ship there were hardly any signs that it was that old and at times I could not tell the difference between the voyager class and the freedom class. We got to our statroom (an inside twin) that was like any of ships inside cabins but maybe slightly smaller that that of the Ruby Princess that I went on the year before and the first thing I did was pick up the cruise planner to see what was on. Much to my amazement it was quite empty compared to what I had seen on the Liberty and a lot of the activities were for Italian speaking guests only. We carried on the day, as like most days, sitting around the pool and going to dinner at around 8pm on my time dining. This was good for us as we always wanted to eat at different times and it meant we could go to some shows that were not always practical to get to. The food was amazing as expected and it was actually better than I had on the Liberty. The windjammer was also good but the choices were slightly limited but cooked to a very high standard. The club was where we spent most of our time. It was called the dungeon and was exactly the same as the club on the Freedom class ships. It was actually very big and amazing and could easily pull off a top London club look. The music got good at around 1am am and drinks were of a ok price but maybe a bit to much to keep ordering. (compared to princess prices, they were almost double) As for the age group and nationalities on the ship, it mainly consisted of late 20's Italian couples and older English and American families. This meant the club ended up with quite a few English and American 18-20's as they came with families and a few less Italians although there were still a few. To summarise, the ship was amazing and definitly one to try but not from Rome. The cruise director Pietro was so annoying and we would go to shows late and leave early just so we didn't need to hear him going on and on about the smallest things for minutes on end. The food was amazing and for anyone from 18-20+ any voyager or freedom class ship should be the top choice, the nightlife is like no other company (I have been on Celebrity, NCL and Princess and they all go dead at 2am)and both times I have met a lot of people around my age. The activites were very minimal but maybe this was due to the language barrier between the 1400 Italian guests. I will probably stick with the Freedom class next time as they have a lot more on the planner which is a lot more fun. I was quite upset that this ship didn't have karaoke on at all and some of the shows wouldn't have even made it past one of the small lounges on some of the other cruises I have been on. Most of the time the Ixtapa lounge went unused and more shows could have been added. Still, we both had an amazing time and I would always go cruising again, just maybe from the UK or the states next time. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
My two grandsons and I flew by Alitalia (not the best airline, no food only a cold drink) to Rome. I cannot fault the RC staff at the airport, plenty of staff to meet and greet and as soon as we recovered our luggage there were plenty of ... Read More
My two grandsons and I flew by Alitalia (not the best airline, no food only a cold drink) to Rome. I cannot fault the RC staff at the airport, plenty of staff to meet and greet and as soon as we recovered our luggage there were plenty of porters to take it from us and the next time we saw it was in our stateroom. The boys case arrived quite promptly but I had to wait sometime for my suitcase but I expected this as there was over 3000 passengers. Had lunch in the buffet but the food wasn't too exciting although the boys liked the idea of unlimited self-service icecream. Ports of call were interesting and where RC really score is the teen club. My boys were able to join the 12 - 14 years and there was plenty for them to do, rock climbing, iceskating etc, in fact I only saw them at mealtimes. The iceshow was spectacular but the show put on by the singers and dancers was only average. There was a fairly good Italian singer and a good Elton John takeoff. The ship was very clean and all the crew very friendly and helpful. It was good value and if you have children they will thoroughly enjoy the cruise and for grownups who want some peace and quiet there was a solarium area with a pool, sunbeds and jacuzzi only for adults. If I was cruising just with my husband and no children I wouldn't particularly choose this line but for families it ticks all boxes. Go and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
We stayed at the Cicerone for one night before the cruise. We were supposed to be two nights, but one of our flights was cancelled so we were a day late getting to Rome. We were glad we had planned to get there early and had bought trip ... Read More
We stayed at the Cicerone for one night before the cruise. We were supposed to be two nights, but one of our flights was cancelled so we were a day late getting to Rome. We were glad we had planned to get there early and had bought trip insurance. We liked the location of the Cicerone. It is a short walk to the Vatican and other spots in Rome. We had booked the RC shuttle from Rome to Civitacchia. It was nice to be in an air-conditioned bus to take the 75 minute drive. The boarding process was smooth. There were lines, but they moved quickly. Our room was a typical inside room. We prefer inside rooms to avoid the sun in the morning when we want to sleep in. We did have a bit of a problem with loud noises from the room next to us. It was some sort of crew service room and we could hear a loud engine noise for a few minutes some nights as well as what sounded like a washing machine a couple of other nights. We travel with a white noise machine that helped, but the noise did wake us up. Our cabin attendant was great. She kept us supplied with the extra bath towel we had requested and the room was always made up. We booked the Beautiful Portofino excursion in Genoa. The one hour boat ride there was hot, but nice and the town itself was beautiful. The guide showed us around a bit and then we had time on our own which was nice. Then a boat ride back. We arrived back to the ship and looked around a bit at the port. There is not much there. We thought about the shuttle to Genoa, but decided to go back to the ship and cool off instead. In Toulon we booked the Sanary and Bandol excursion. They were two beautiful seaside towns and fun to see. We had time to just walk around on our own. We arrived back to the ship early enough to see more, but the dock is a bit away from the town and since it was so hot we decided to just walk around the port a bit. I think a shuttle would be needed if you wanted to see the town. Just a side note...we had booked this excursion before leaving home and it had said it would depart at 12:30pm, but it left at 7:30am. We were a bit disappointed to not be able to sleep in! We chose the City of Barcelona tour. It was a great way to see most of the city. They let us choose to be dropped off at the end of Las Ramblas instead of going back to the ship which was nice because it gave us the afternoon and evening to explore Barcelona on our own. We did catch the shuttle back to the ship. You could walk it, but it is across a bridge and depending on where your ship is docked, it could be quite a walk. For Palma de Mallorca our ship was docked very far from the city, so we took the shuttle. There were some ships parked closer, so where you are docked would depend on if you needed a shuttle or not. We explored the city on our own. It was very nice. We enjoyed the cathedral and seeing the shops. Sardinia provided a free shuttle from the port to town. There were shops across the street from where they drop you off. We walked a lot around town. It is important to know that much of the walking is up hill and when it is hot, it is a bit much! We enjoyed the ship itself. The food was good, however, we did not think it measured up to the food on Celebrity. The Windjammer was very busy and sometimes hard to find a seat. They have a Cafe Promenade that has small sandwiches, pizza and cookies all of the time. We had the main seating time in the Coppella dining room. Our waiter Noel and his assistant Christian were wonderful! Our water and wine glasses were always full and they were very accommodating of food requests. We did see parts of some of the shows. The shows did not seem to be well attended, and what we saw was good, but not spectacular. The ice show was good. We spent a couple of nights at the sing along with Henry Saxby in the Schooner Bar. He did a great job of keeping the people entertained and involved. Disembarkation was smooth. They give you a time to be in a designated spot and then tell you later in the instructions to be there 15 minutes early. They mean it! We were only about 13 minutes early and our group had already left. We had to hurry to catch up! We took the RC shuttle to the airport and it was a nice one for the hour ride. We loved this trip and would do it again. Our only thought was that if the same itinerary was offered by Celebrity we would choose them over RC. Celebrity just has some added touches that RC does not. Champagne when you first board, cold cloths when you arrive back to the ship in each port, robes in the rooms, lobster night, a nice tote bag, etc. and the food is better. The food on the RC was good, it is just that our experience has been the Celebrity is better. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
This was our third cruise with Royal Carribbean having previously taken a mini cruise from Miami and last year sailed on Independence from Southampton to the Canaries. We have also sailed a similar itinerary on Norwegian Gem. Of the three ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Royal Carribbean having previously taken a mini cruise from Miami and last year sailed on Independence from Southampton to the Canaries. We have also sailed a similar itinerary on Norwegian Gem. Of the three RCCI ships this was definately our favourite. To cover the main areas: Check in - We had flown from the UK to Rome airport where we arrived at 10.45am, left our luggage and got on a coach for a journey that took only 60 minutes. The arrivals tent at Cittivechia was certainly crowded but the process was efficient, troublefree and quick. By 1.30pm we were having lunch onboard. Cabin - We booked a very reasonable late deal and decided to settle for an inside cabin. This was more than adequate given that we spent very little time in it. It was scrupulously clean, the fixtures and fittings were in good condition, the bed was extremely comfortable, there is lots of storage and amazingly, the shower is really powerful. The only downside is that whatever time you wake up it is pitch black which can be a bit disorientating but the saving we made will make a healthy contribution towards another cruise! Dining - We don't like the idea of fixed seating so opted as we have before for My Time Dining in the Swan Lake dining room. The system works relatively well although there was on occasion some confusion as to whether you needed to make a reservation. However, the unflappable Head Waiter did manage to give us our preferred table for two by the window every evening. On the whole the food is unremarkable, I would describe it as ok quality mass catering. The fruit soups are delicious and some deserts are quite nice but the main courses were far from outstanding. The vegetarian and fish options were a bit disappointing. The service is friendly and the waiters greet you every evening like a long lost friend but the fact that we didn't sit with the same waiters every night did leave us in a quandry when it came to distributing the prepaid gratuities on the last night. We had breakfast every day in the Nutcracker thus avoiding the hustle and bustle of the Windjammer. You sit on large tables with whoever arrives at the same time, everything except fruit and granola is served and the hot selection is freshly prepared. I have to say that unfortunately, except for the last morning, the service was a bit surly but otherwise we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and met some lovely people. Lunch was taken in the Windjammer and on the whole we ate late, coming in after going ashore. As a result we never had a problem getting to the food or finding a table. Again, the food is nothing special and the choice for vegetarians is poor, luckily I like salad. At 3.30 the choice switches to High Tea and this is much better. There are hot deserts (for some reason none are served with lunch), do-it-yourself tacos and some nice humous and tuna dips. We also discovered that the oriental part of the buffet served in the evening includes freshly made Sushi which makes for a nice snack when you're feeling peckish at 6.30! I must also mention the mid-cruise midnight buffet. We had told some other guests that this would be a gastronomic highlight - sadly it turned out to be what appeared to be leftovers from the Windjammer. In summary what I would say is you will never starve and will probably find something you like plus if you do get hungry there are always sandwiches and cakes in the Promenade Cafe at all times of the day and night where there is also tea and (drinkable) coffee on tap. Entertainment - Not nearly as good as on the Independence. We watched all but one of the main shows (we missed out on a Celine Dion impersonator). The production shows were pleasant but lacked any cohesion. The speciality acts on the other nights were a very unusual modern string quartet (brilliant!), a shadow puppeteer (clever and unusual), los gauchos (another form of puppetry plus some comedy). Most surprisingly on nearly all nights the theatre was more than half empty which meant it suffered from a lack of atmosphere. One big gripe - on Wednesday when the ship was docked in Barcelona till 10pm there was no headline show, instead the main entertainment was the Germany v Spain World Cup match which took place that night. The ice show was entertaining and we did enjoy the adults only Quest show. We tended to dip into the other musical entertainment such as the Latin band and the pianist. The Jazz event in the lounge on the last night which featured the headline singers was marvelous. The passengers - There are around 3,500 multi-national passengers. As the cruise started in Rome obviously there were a lot of Italians, plus there were many Americans, Brits, other Europeans and Middle Eastern passengers. The school holidays had started in Europe and the US so there were quite a lot of children. Having read other reviews, I was a bit worried about the reported lack of queuing and bad behaviour, this was completely unfounded. The atmosphere aboard was terrific, we never saw one badly behaved child let alone an adult and we really enjoyed the chance to meet and chat with people from all over the world. Ports of Call - We took this holiday because we enjoy the overall cruising experience and have previously visited several of the ports. We therefore didn't take any organised trips but did have to use the shuttle buses from the ship to the towns. The cost for these is really extortionate. The highlight for us was without question Villefranche where the ship drops anchor and you go to shore on a tender. The view from the ship is breathtaking and we had a wonderful day in Nice for the cost of the 3.20euro return train fare. We also thoroughly enjoyed Barcelona and Palma. Genoa was just ok. The two hours we spent onshore in Sardinia was probably one hour too many. We loved the day at sea, had no trouble finding deck chairs on the quiet upper deck and really wished there had been one more at sea day - nothing beats lying in the sun, surrounded by the med and we were even treated to some dolphins swimming by at breakfast time. Checking out - We opted to pay $35 dollars each for late check out as our flights weren't until early evening. This was really worthwhile as we didn't have to leave the ship until 3.30pm for the transfer back to the airport. We had the whole deck almost to ourselves plus the extra lunch was included. There was a little hiccup as we couldn't shower and change in the gym as promised but we were given time in a cabin just before we left and I'll forgive them the error as instead of arriving home exhausted from a long day hanging around in the airport, in effect we had a whole extra relaxing day. I have to finish by saying that despite some criticism this was our favourite cruise to date and we would certainly sail on Navigator again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
My wife and I have been on several cruises with our kids and without. We have sailed with Princess, Disney, Carnival, Thompson and now Royal Caribbean. THE SHIP - Navigator of the seas is by far the largest ship we have been on. We ... Read More
My wife and I have been on several cruises with our kids and without. We have sailed with Princess, Disney, Carnival, Thompson and now Royal Caribbean. THE SHIP - Navigator of the seas is by far the largest ship we have been on. We were impressed. It had something for everyone. The kids loved the ice skating, in line skating, mini golf and the rock climbing. Mom and dad enjoyed the very large casino. The texas hold'em table was a pleasant surprise! At first we were worried that being on such a big ship with over 3,000 guests would feel crowded and we would have to wait in lines and the service would not be individual. This was not the case. In fact we were surprised at how easily things flowed and the lack of lines or waiting (rock wall included) The food was very good and the service was comparable to the other cruise lines if not better If there was one area where we were disappointed it was the entertainment. The shows were no where near the quality of the other ships. Fantastic large theater but 2nd rate shows. The only exception was the Ice skating show but it never changes for the various showings throughout the week. PORTS If you like ancient history and seeing cities of the "past," this is for you. Ephesus in Turkey was amazing as was the Acropolis, temple of Zeus, etc... We were less impressed with Sicily but overall the balance of sea days to ports and the ports themselves were very interesting. We would recommend the ship and ports to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
We're Diamond members on RC. We've cruised a lot, and I still find much value in these reviews. As I re-read this review, I realize I sound quite negative. Overall, we loved our trip, but I do feel I need to point out some issues ... Read More
We're Diamond members on RC. We've cruised a lot, and I still find much value in these reviews. As I re-read this review, I realize I sound quite negative. Overall, we loved our trip, but I do feel I need to point out some issues you may encounter. We would totally do this trip again. We LOVED it! But, here are some things to keep in mind. 1. Internet is terrible slow. I wasted 10 minutes.....a full 10 minutes, to open one email in yahoo. I gave up after that. $6.50 down the drain (65 cents per minutes is the on-board internet charge.) Don't expect to use the on-board internet to really get any work or any research done. It's painfully slow. I overheard one guy say out loud at the internet stations, "This is a scam. It's so slow, yet they charge 65 cents a minute. What a ripoff." I tried again during the day, when the internet area was less crowded. It was usable then. So, my recommendation would be to try to use it off-peak if you can. 2. I've cruised a lot over the years and I've noticed RC "nickel and diming" us more. It's not even close to an all-inclusive vacation. Charges for all-you-can-drink soda are extra. Internet is extra (most hotels have it at least free in the lobby), fresh squeezed orange juice is extra, parts of kids club costs extra. Each cruise, I see more and more ways for them to get money from us passengers. When I first started cruising 15 years ago, it was glamorous and everyone was treated like royalty. The waiters knew our name at dinner and knew our preferences after the first night. Not any more. Wait staff service is bad, no one even tries to learn your name, and every time I turn around, they want more money from us, and there is no raving about the service any more. Our first two nights in the dining room were terrible. We sat at a different table each night and had a different waiter each night. They were both equally bad. The third and following nights, we had the same table and waiter and the service got much better. But, those first two nights left a really bad taste in our mouth. (no pun intended) Windjammer service is terrible. The water station didn't have water at it the whole time we were there. I'd go up for three glasses and he'd only have one ready. 3. I think this was the lamest cruise director I ever saw. I do believe he had a harder job than a cruise director on a Caribbean ship, because he needed entertainment that transcended different languages. One night, it was a violinist...any language-speaker could enjoy that. The violinist was excellent...lively and lots of fun! But, if it was a comedian from the US, Italian and Spanish speakers probably wouldn't enjoy it. However, this guy just didn't seem to enjoy his job. He didn't smile much, didn't crack a lot of jokes, and didn't have a knack of getting the passengers psyched up for a future event. I've read other reviews where people said the same thing. 4. Excursions 4-1 Cinque Terre (Genoa) - booked through the ship. This was a great trip, but our tour guide was horrible. She had a heavy accent and a poor audio system that projected her voice. Between the two, it was hard to understand her. Plus, she didn't say much on the tour. We would overhear other guides talking, when ours was quiet, and we wished we were in their group. Our guide was just hard to understand and not as chatty about the area as we would have liked. Even so, I would recommend the Cinque Terre tour. I tried to find one privately and not do the ship's excursion, but I could not beat the ship's price. 4-2 Villefranche - did today on our own. Took the train from Villefranche to Monaco. Then the bus from the train station to the Prince's Palace in Monaco, and we toured that. Bus to train station, then train straight to Nice. In Nice, we did the flower market and a little beach time. Then train back to Villefranche. 4-3 Barcelone - did a bike tour with Fat Tires Barcelona. Booked this privatley, not through the ship. Much cheaper. See tripadvisor reviews for it. 4-4 Mallorca - did ship's excursion - Drach Caves and Pearl Factory. Caves portion was very interesting. You walk through the caves. It's not cold inside. You don't need long pants or sweaters as you would with most caves. There is no tour or signposts to guide the way. Just follow the path and use your own imagination. The pearls factory was a huge disappointment. It's just a big sales pitch. These are basically beads, that they call pearls. They are not real pearls. They are made of glass and then painted with a pearl-like finish. I tried to book this caves tour privately, but again couldn't work it out. 4-5 Sardinia - decided to do a beach excursion on our own to Poetto Beach, just a 10-minute drive from the port. Got off ship and asked where to get a taxi. Discovered that a group called Sina runs a shuttle bus every half-hour to the beach. Cost is 10EU. We took that and had a great beach day. Rented two beach chairs and an umbrella table for 15 EU. Water was warm and shallow...nice soft sand. Not rocky or heavy with shells. Got the Sina bus back to port with no issues. 5. Ship is getting shabby. Menus have leather covers and are worn and shabby. There are bits of mold in the showers. Not enough to be gross, but enough to notice that it's not sparkly clean. Sheets have stains on them. Again, not gross, but not as crisp and clean as I would expect. 6. Another ship issue...we wanted to do the family disco at 9:00pm. We arrived about 9:20 to find the place lit up, but totally quiet. No music. About 5 other families came in right after us, but no staff member was around. Finally, the bartender came in, and he was as confused as the rest of us as to why there was no music. He didn't offer to help or anything. I suggested he call someone to get the music going and he just sort of looked befuddled and didn't do anything. He just disappeared himself. My husband left the disco to find some help, then found out the dance part was supposedly "cancelled." Interesting, there was no sign indicating a cancellation, and the bartender didn't know it was cancelled either. RC really disappointed us on this one. Really low-class to have 25 people there wanting to participate and not a staff member in site for 30+ minutes. 7. Room service for breakfast on two days was great. Timely, food was warm. It's a great thing to do on a day you need to get off the ship early and want to have a faster breakfast than the dining room or windjammer would allow. 8. Formal nights - we had two. Very few men wore a tux. Ladies were typically dressed up. Men had suit coats on, but most didn't wear a tux. Some did though. If you have a tux and want to wear it, you won't feel too dressed up. All this being said, we had a great time. I just wanted to prepare someone who reads this for the issues we ran into. Have fun! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
OVERALL The Navigator is a beautiful ship. Her crew was very friendly and polite and we would gladly sail on her (and her sister ships) again. As context for this review, we sailed on the Ruby Princess - a similar-sized ship - just before ... Read More
OVERALL The Navigator is a beautiful ship. Her crew was very friendly and polite and we would gladly sail on her (and her sister ships) again. As context for this review, we sailed on the Ruby Princess - a similar-sized ship - just before this cruise, so we've included a few comparisons to that experience. SHIP LAYOUT & DECOR For anyone who has sailed on a Royal Caribbean ship before, the Navigator's layout will be familiar. In general, we found the layout intuitive and we were able to figure our way around within a day or two. We were on the Voyager of the Seas - a sister ship in the same class - two years ago, which probably helped. In particular, we appreciated the grandeur of spaces such as the Royal Promenade, the Dining Room (Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Swan Lake), and the Theater. There's definitely a wow factor to Royal Caribbean's design. Even the lounges and informal dining places had aspects that made us pause for a moment just to take a look, discuss, and even take a picture to show to family when we get back. When strolling down the Royal Promenade during a evening, look up. There is a piece of art that that expands and contracts every now and then. It was quite interesting to watch. We liked the intuitiveness of the layout and the dEcor in this ship better than the Ruby Princess. The prints along the stateroom hallways helped make an otherwise boring walk more interesting. Though the Navigator was bigger than the Ruby Princess, the walk from one side to the other felt a lot easier. The number of multi-story open spaces on the Navigator were also a welcome contrast to the cramped feeling we sometimes experienced on the Ruby. STATEROOM We had a stateroom at the very front of the ship on deck 7 and found that it had many benefits. First, it was great to see where the ship is headed when we're sailing and when docked, the ship was frequently facing an interesting part of the part. For example, we were greeted by a rainbow over Naples - much better than a view of another ship that's docked right next to us or a view of the terminal. Also, because the room is not the standard rectangular shape, the angled end with the window effectively gave us a little extra room. Just a few extra square feet or so, but it made a difference for our enjoyment. FOOD AND DINING Copellia Dining Room - The Navigator of the seas has one three level dining room that is themed after ballets. At the far end from the entrance, there is a beautiful grand staircase, which combined with the tasteful dEcor, beautiful chandeliers and piano playing in the background, made us feel like we were truly dining in style. The piano music is live. The pianist plays from a grand piano on a landing near the top of the grand staircase between the second and third decks. Unfortunately, the view of the piano was obscured from much of the dining room, so many guests didn't appreciate the live aspect. The service and friendly, though it can sometimes take a while, usually about an hour and a half to two hours for the whole service. Since we're on vacation, we weren't on a rush and allowed ourselves to just enjoy the traditional dining service as well as the excellent company of our tablemates. For a 12-day cruise, we found that there was good variety in the meals and that the food arrived hot. The food presentation wasn't as nice as our preceding Princess cruise, but the flavor was equally good. We do wish that Royal Caribbean would just serve the cold soups in a glass - we're fans of the cold soups, but it's really almost like having a smoothie. Windjammer & Jade Restaurant - In general, we liked the layout of this area. It made it easy to pick and choose. We were on the Voyager before, and the entrance to the buffet in the Navigator was significantly nicer. The glassed in, curved dining area in the aft of the ship made for a nice view as we were sailing or while in port. We rarely ate there, however, as we much preferred the other dining options. Chops Grille - We enjoyed dining in Chops Grille. The service was attentive, but not overwhelming. And they truly did have amazing steaks. The way the food is served is similar to Ruth Chris' Steakhouse, you order the meat and the sides are served to be shared. The 10 oz. filet was just delicious and was as tender and juicy as some kobE steaks that we've had before. You get to choose among three sauces, a bEarnaise, a peppercorn, and one other that I don't remember. We asked for a small dish of each and they were all good. One glaring omission was that there was no lobster option, which is common on most steakhouse specialty restaurants. However, we found the extra jumbo shrimp to be an even better option than lobster; the meat was sweeter and the three shrimp provided more meat than an average-sized lobster tail. The broccolini and mushrooms sides were both very good. We only went once so we didn't get to try the other options which were other cuts of steak and a free range chicken. Brasserie 30 - This is the dining room's lunch service and it was our favorite lunch option. The variety during lunch is not as extensive as dinner -- options here were repeated during the course of the cruise. However, the big reason to go here is the salad bar, which is set up in the middle of the dining room. Servers are stationed there to prepare a salad for you, and you get to pick from a variety of ingredients, including: greens (romaine, spinach, or spring mix), meats (prosciutto, chicken, shrimp, smoked salmon), cheeses, other veggies (carrots, asparagus, roasted bell peppers, onions, mushrooms) and of course, dressings. At no point was I disappointed with the resulting salad. While Royal Caribbean does not do a mid-afternoon tea time—a nice aspect of some cruises—we appreciated being able to sit after lunch and mingle in the dining room over an after-lunch tea. While servers prepped the empty tables around us for dinner, they also kept stopping by to refill our water or offer coffee so that we could finish lunch time conversations. However, if you were in a rush to get somewhere, just let the servers know and they can get you in, fed, and out in about 30 minutes or less. Cafe Promenade - The cafe that's right on the forward end of the Royal Promenade is a nice way to get a snack or a quick meal if you're trying to get out. For breakfast, the it has fruits (usually oranges, apples, and kiwi), donuts, muffins, apple strudels, raisin bread, and various rolls. For lunch, it serves pizza, empanadas, sandwiches, fruits (same as breakfast), and a variety of desserts. Our favorites here were the empanadas, kiwi, and the scones. The best aspect of the cafe is the location in the center of the ship. It's a great place to see friendly faces any time of the day or night and serves as a prime social spot. FITNESS CENTER The fitness center had a good number of machines and rarely felt crowded. Also, unlike the Ruby, it had plenty of lockers for people to use. Two improvements would help quite a bit, though: (1) The weight machines could use a little greasing. The movement was not horrible, but the machines were not moving as smoothly as they could; and (2) The hours of operation should have been modified to accommodate the itinerary. We usually enjoy spending time the sauna or jacuzzi after the gym. Our itinerary was port-heavy, though, and the sauna and jacuzzi were only open from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM, so we did not end up using them at all. An extra couple of hours on both ends would have been very helpful, especially since after a long day of walking, it would have been nice to be able to relax in the sauna or go in the hot tub without having to be outside. ENTERTAINMENT AND ENRICHMENT Production Shows - production shows are one of our favorites aspects of cruising and we have yet to be disappointed with a Royal Caribbean show. We had seen one of the shows before ("All Access" must be popular among the fleet) but just having it performed by a different group was still very enjoyable. Ice Show - the ice show is definitely worth seeing. It's amazing how this group of 10 individuals do a choreographed routine that includes jumps, spins, and flips on a moving ship. The show is almost always packed, so arrive early (at least 30 minutes early) to get a good seat. Enrichment Programs - there were more enrichment program options on this ship than most Royal Caribbean ships we've been on—but were nonetheless disappointing. Aside from the towel folding, napkin folding, and fruit carving demonstrations, the main enrichment options were port information and some basic language classes. The port information is a bit of a joke—a sales pitch to funnel you toward partner companies on shore. The language class (Italian) was good for teaching people some basic words (months, days of the week, et al.), but impractical. We think people would have benefitted more from useful phrases such "where is the..." (dovE), "I'd like..." (vorrei) or "How much..." (cuanto costa). Let's face it, how often are we really going to be asking about the day of the week while in Rome? To give them credit, they did teach "buongiorno", "ciao", and "grazie" in one class. COMMUNICATION We were generally satisfied with the internet access available on the ship. The cost was 65 cents per minute, but there were packages that made it cheaper. Perhaps it was because we largely used it very late at night or when most people were away because we're at port, but we didn't have too much trouble using the internet. For those just checking e-mail, it was helpful to use outlook, if your computer has it, to access and send via gmail. This allowed us to draft e-mails and notes in advance (without being logged in). For receiving, we would just do the send and receive, and then read e-mails after we were logged off. This made it possible to go through e-mails with just being logged on for 2-3 minutes. For those who are members of the Crown & Anchor Society, it was nice to get $5 of free internet as a gold member through the Ultimate Value booklet. Just bring the coupon to the customer relations desk. HEALTH Unfortunately, during the cruise, there was an outbreak of the norovirus (enough that the Captain wrote a letter that was distributed to all passengers). The outbreak happened soon after Egypt, which we've heard is not uncommon. However, the ship's policy for sanitizing hands was not particularly sensible if the purpose was to limit getting other people sick. For example, at the Windjammer, a handful of staff were specifically assigned to greet and enforce passengers using the hand-sanitizer—only at the front door. It was not uncommon, though, to see people sneeze, cough, or pick something off the floor with no sanitizer or sink to be found near the buffet or dining area. It's also unclear why hand sanitization is required to enter here, but not at buffets hosted by the captain or in the dining rooms. PORTS OF CALL Ports of call for this trip included Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Piraeus (Athens), Kusadasi (Ephesus), Alexandria, and Messina. Below are select ports where we have some tips for travelers wishing to go on their own (our usual way of touring ports): Naples - It's possible to get to Pompeii on your own. Take a shuttle or a cab from the port to the train station for the Circumvesuviana Train. (We walked it, but it took 40 minutes.) A cab should cost about 12 euros. The train ride to Pompeii takes about 50 minutes. Herculaneum is only 30. Look for brown signs that say Scavi Pompeii or Scavi Ercolaneo depending on which one you're looking for. Kusadasi - If you're not interested in Ephesus, at least get off the ship and enjoy the bazaar that is just outside. Expect to haggle for a good price. Prices are largely posted in Euros, but you can also pay in Turkish liras. The exchange rate provided by shops is largely 2 lirasi for 1 euro. This overinflates the Lira since it's really about 2 Liras for $1 U.S. Dollar (as of May 2010), so we found it slightly cheaper to buy using Liras. This was one of our favorite ports because the people were so friendly. If you're not interesting in buying anything, just say so and you can expect a friendly conversation not related to buying stuff (most of the time). While, here try a hamman, a traditional Turkish bath, complete with a big hairy Turk. There is one just near the Mosque closest to the ship that accepts both men and women - cost is $20 dollars or $15 euro for the bath, with an extra 8 euros if you want a massage (about 15 minutes). Expect to spend about an hour inside. Rhodes - Rhodes is another port where it's easy to just go on your own. The old town is just on the other side of the wall from the port. This part has lots of souvenir shops and little boutiques. If you feel like a beach day, you can go to Faliraki beach by taxi for about 15 euros. At Faliraki, there are also shops, that unlike the ones in the old town, will focus on things for the beach like towels, pareos, and sandals. Alexandria - Most people in Alexandria go shopping at night when it's cool so the markets that cater to locals are open at that time. For a taste of Egyptian culture, go out after it gets dark, but be careful when crossing roads. Expect that for the first three or four blocks, that people will pester you—a lot—offering things such as souvenirs, drugs, and even prostitutes. Just say no and thank you (or "shakran") and keep walking. They'll leave you alone after you're a few blocks into town. We stayed in the crowded parts and you'll notice women in veils leading toddlers as they go shopping even very late at night (we were out at 1AM). Although we stayed safe—even while carrying a big camera around to take photos—we are two guys in our early 30s. Others might want to keep pockets empty or leave items (large cameras, jewelry, etc.) behind that might draw extra attention. Most cruisers will likely stand out as a foreigner no matter what. For souvenirs, there are shops right in front of the port - however, expect to pay double what you would pay outside the port. As examples: the 10 pack of large papyrus bookmarks were only $1 at Qaitbey Fort, while it was $2 (with haggling) at the Port ($4 without haggling at some places); the 10 pack of portcards were $1 at the Sphinx and $2 at the Port, and the keffiyeh (the men's headcover) at the Sphinx was available for $1-$2 while it was $5 at the Port. GLBT Friendliness One disappointment about Royal Caribbean is that it doesn't post GLBT get-togethers on the Cruise Compass (although it will post it for Friends of Bill W, veterans, red hatters, and others). By comparison, Princess posted the GLBT get-togethers in its Princess Patters and had a member of the cruise director's staff to host. We ended up posting on the bulletin board and got a group that got together every other day in the Champagne bar. This cruise was part of our honeymoon. We received an invitation to attend the honeymoon event and the ship staff treated us like other couples. During the cruise, though, we found two other male-male couples celebrating their honeymoon, who were not invited to the honeymooner event like we were. One couple was quite surprised not have been invited since they even paid extra for the honeymoon package with the decorations, champagne, etc. The rest of the passengers on the cruise were also very friendly. The passengers attending the Love & Marriage Game show cheered loudly for us to participate relative to most other honeymoon couples, but another honeymoon couple edged us out with their dancing skills. SUMMARY We had a great honeymoon on the Navigator and thought the experience faired well relative to both our trip that immediately preceded it on the Ruby Princess, as well as a previous trip on the Voyager. The layout and food were especially enjoyable, while the enrichment activities, jacuzzi/sauna hours, and GLBT-friendliness could be improved with relatively little effort by RCL. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
This is a fabulous itinerary. We loved all the ports and it was so nice to be in a group with so many different nationalities. We were very lucky with the weather so the cruising days were a delight. We really loved some of the ... Read More
This is a fabulous itinerary. We loved all the ports and it was so nice to be in a group with so many different nationalities. We were very lucky with the weather so the cruising days were a delight. We really loved some of the entertainment and some left us cold but that's to be expected with so many people speaking so many languages to cater for. The ice show was wonderful and there was no need to get tickets in advance which I really appreciated. We had sailed earlier in the year on Independence of the Seas which is much newer so we were a bit spoiled. Navigator is a bit dated in comparison and showing signs of wear in some of the public areas. That was not so in our cabin, however, which was delightful. Again we were spoiled a bit by the excellence of the crew on Independence so we didn't feel this group quite came up to the same level. Nothing specific but just things like recognising you or remembering what you would like to drink and like serving your pre-dinner drink halfway through the main course. This was their first time doing the Egypt stop and they didn't do their usually excellent job with the passports and visas. For example when we went to collect the passport after waiting in a long line mine wasn't stamped. We were told it would be delivered to the cabin so I waited there an hour and a half before phoning guest relations and being told I had to collect it. That spoiled a large part of the evening's entertainment. I would definitely recommend this itinerary!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
This will be a two part review, actually three part. The first part is my review from April 2009 which was the trans-Atlantic on the NOS in April 2009 which goes into detail about the ship. You can read this by clicking ... Read More
This will be a two part review, actually three part. The first part is my review from April 2009 which was the trans-Atlantic on the NOS in April 2009 which goes into detail about the ship. You can read this by clicking http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=55529. This review will be an "update" on the ship and the ports of call. I will do the B2B Med separately. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale rather than Miami as it was cheaper and "bags fly free." Transport from FLL to our hotel, the Miami Marriott Biscayne, was $15 each with SAS (http://ridesas.com). I got the hotel on Priceline for $65 a night. That evening we rode the free monorail (or whatever it is called) to Bayside for a pre-cruise dinner with a group at Bubba Gumps. The monorail station is just a couple of blocks from the hotel. The next day, we took a cab to the port--$11 with tip. Embarkation was as fast as you could walk. Our cabin was an E1, Deck 7, port, forward near the elevators and stairs which is our preference. Our cabin steward was Lily who is probably the best we have ever had. I gave her my "punch list," namely remove things from the mini-bar, deliver two Compass' each night, keep my soft-sided six-pack cooler full of ice, and try to get me an egg crate. She was not successful with the egg crate but did put a blanket under the sheet to try and soften the bed a little because I find beds on Royal Caribbean are harder than I prefer. After lunch, I went to the library to try and get a book since I left mine at home. The library was as sorry as before and picked clean before I got there. However, one of the return book boxes does not have a lock and I got another couple of books later in the cruise by "dumpster diving." Good news on the muster drill. Because of our cabin location, our muster station was the Ixtapa Lounge, and we didn't have to take our life jackets and we could sit. The ship is in pretty good shape considering its age. Hall carpets are pretty worn. Elevators have not improved--still slow, indicator lights not working on a few so you depended on listening to the dings (one ding up, two dings down). Only problem was sometimes, you heard a ding but by the time you figured out which elevator it was, it had left. We, also, learned that the elevators on the starboard side midship were a little quicker than on the port side because only the port side midship elevators go to Deck 14. This requires more stops taking longer to make a "round trip." One elevator was out of order the entire cruise. Upholstery was worn in the public rooms. I wish I could say the food has improved. Steaks were still tough with the exception of the filet. Menus were the same as the trans-Atlantics the previous couple of years. It appeared to me that they have cut back on selections in the Windjammer but there was still plenty of food. They opened a separate dining room for Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Suites for breakfast which was very nice. You were seated as you came in and your order taken—did not have to wait for the table to fill. I think the ratio of servers to guests was higher, because it seemed to go faster than in the MDR. They have changed the breakfast menu with a "special" every day. No eggs benedict but they would get them for you if you asked. Specialty coffee was available gratis in the Diamond breakfast room. On the last day of the first half of our B2B, we were curtly told that the Diamond dining room was only available for suite passengers and escorted to the regular dining room even though there were only four people in it with several servers standing around picking their fingernails. We ate one meal in Chops and it was outstanding—so much food, so little time and "stomach" room (lol). Note: Ask for a table away from the greeting desk. Noise from the WJ filters through the thin wall. We requested a large table at late seating. We asked for late seating because the past couple of times they have moved the early seating up from 6:00 p.m. to 5:30 which is too early particularly if they move the clocks up at noon rather than at night which has also happened on the past couple of cruises. We were assigned an eight top by the window. They did move the seatings up, so our late seating was at 8:00 rather than 8:30. On our last few cruises, there have always been a couple of seats that were never occupied but assigned.. Again, we had Mr. and Mrs. Nobody at our table. Looking around, it was not unusual to see a table set for several but only one or two couples there. More and more people are opting for the WJ rather than the dining room. Our window seat did offer us a couple of nice sunset views. Our waiter and assistant waiter were very personable and capable. We wish we could have had them on the B2B, too. They had little tent signs in the WJ asking you to please release your table when you finished eating. On the previous TA they had the same thing only it said if you wanted to play cards, etc., to go to the Swan dining room. This time the sign did not say that so several tables were tied up with people playing cards or games. People are getting wise to the high entry fees and low pay outs in Bingo. They canceled the game one day when not enough people bought in to make the profit margin the ship wanted. The next day they only played one game, cover all, and guaranteed $100 prize money. They did not have hand-held electronic thingees so it was a more level playing field. I think it was $32. On the day they only had one game, they only charged $22. We are big trivia players. They had a progressive trivia game in the Ixtapa Lounge. Plenty of room for the teams of six. The host used power point which eliminated dealing with foreign accents, repeating of questions, and Power Point allowed visual questions which added to the variety and type of trivia questions which could be asked. The regular trivia games were held two or three times a day in the Schooner Bar which doesn't come close to accommodating all those that want to participate. You needed to get there at least half an hour early to get a seat, or, in some cases, standing room. Most of the evening games were musical. Prizes were not good. We gave most of ours away if we won How many luggage tags, pens, magnets do you need? They roped off the first three rows of the balcony in the main showroom for the suites. If they weren't filled when the show was about to begin (and they weren't most of the time), they lowered the ropes for everyone. People "in the know" would line up behind the ropes when they could see the seats weren't nearly filled. If you do this, go for the third row rather than the first two because the bar in front of the balcony can partially obstruct your view of the stage. We never had any problem getting balcony seats the few times we went and only once ran into a chair saver. The televisions were not flat screen and the programming was the pits. While they had movies for free (pay per view was available) you couldn't find out what they were or when they would be shown. It was catch as catch can. Same movies were shown over and over again. If you came into it in the middle, you could maybe catch the first part later. Ozzie and Harriet were back. The news programming was the same thing, repeats several days old in some instances, with only a little ticker running across the bottom with anything current. Forget about sports although I did catch the last two minutes of the final playoff game between the Thunder and the Lakers that was shown in a re-run at 8:00 a.m. Oh how I miss the daily news recap they took away. About the time change—an evil necessity on trnas-Atlantics. This time they moved the clocks up at 3:00 a.m. rather than noon which had been the case on our two previous eastbound TA's. The bar servers weren't real happy with losing an hours worth of tips when it was moved up at noon. I figure the ship losing an hour of "prime time" selling things to the passengers factored in to the decision, too. The losers were the crew that lost an hour's sleep every night. This cruise had a little different itinerary than our previous trans-Atlantics. Our first port was Tenerife, Canary Islands, which we have been to several times. We took public transportation to a delightful little town called La Laguna about half an hour away. It was Sunday so not much open but we enjoyed getting away from the hustle and bustle and on terra firma after a week at sea. Next port was Barcelona. We have been there several times so we opted for a ship's tour to Montserrat. I do not like ship's tours but couldn't find any takers for a private tour. This tour reminded me why I don't like ship's tours. A drive through Barcelona pointing out some sights (but not La Familia) and a pretty drive up to Montserrat which a good tour guide. Once there, however, time was very limited. The guide led us to the church and pointed out features along the way. The "highlight" at the church is a black Madonna. However, to get close to it was a long line (estimated time half an hour) so there wasn't time to do that. They said in the description you could opt to ride a funicular to the very top, but, again, not enough time. They, also, had a museum but—you guess it—not enough time to really give it its due. We should have taken the advice of several people on cruise critic and done it on our own. Much cheaper and we would have had time to do everything. I just get nervous when we get more than 30 miles out of town on my own for fear I won't get back to the ship on time. In Villefranche, I arranged a private tour for eight of us with Revelation Tours. It included a stop at the market in Nice, then on to St. Paul de Vence where we had time for lunch and to stroll the quaint streets and really nice shops—not your tacky souvenir stands. From there to Monte Carlo and Monaco and finally Eze. Our driver was excellent, spoke English fluently, and gave us a wonderful tour. The best part is the price was about half of what the ship wanted and we saw a lot more than any of the ship's tours offered. We paid 125 euros (approx. $156) a couple. The ship wanted prices of $159 per person and up depending on the tour and none went to all five places that we did. The last port was Livorno which was a jumping off place for tours to Florence and Pisa. Having been to both places and ready for a rest after the long day before, we did not plan anything other than to walk around the village, stretch our legs, and maybe find an internet cafe. Worked out well because the weather was not good—chilly and rainy. So, we got our shuttle tickets refunded and enjoyed having a sea day in port. Finally, into Rome or, more accurately, Civitavecchia, the port. There had been a great deal of anxiety among the passengers toward the end of the cruise because of the volcano fall out from Iceland. People had no idea whether their flights were going or not, delayed or not. The television reports were more "doom and gloom" than anything positive. The on-board internet connection was their usual slower than molasses in January if you didn't get thrown off just about the time you got to where you wanted to go. On the good side, most were staying in Rome or environs for a few days giving them a chance to work things out rather than arriving at the airport and finding their flight not going and hotel rooms not available. A friend of ours who had a flexible schedule inquired about continuing on the ship only to find that the price for an inside was half again what he paid for his balcony coming over. We were very glad that we had 12 days more on the ship which, hopefully, would give the volcano time to straighten things out. Note: the ship wanted $91 per person to get to the airport, he went with a group that arranged transport for $23. The group was formed while on the cruise so it wasn't a situation of having to book it out way ahead of time. While others were scrambling around, we took our dirty clothes to a laundramat in town and did wash, located an internet cafe, and hit an ATM. The weather was off and on drizzle. Other notes: On Sea days they had lectures on digital photography and genealogy. Unfortunately, the venues assigned were too small to accommodate all those that wanted to attend. Also, the timing was bad—late afternoon—which made it difficult for those that had early seating on formal nights. They, also, had a lady doing silhouettes for FREE. Really free, no little discrete sign saying "gratuities would be appreciated." Again, venue not really good and a lot of takers so not everyone could be accommodated that would like to have been. We ended up having to put our name on a list to be taken care of the following day. It was a nice souvenir to take home with us. I will continue the B2B portion in a separate review. Any questions, our e-mail address is whitlock@alumni.utexas.net. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
We flew to Rome three days prior to our 12-day cruise on the Navigator of the Seas (April 24). This was not enough time...it should be at least a week. Rome is a magnificent city with much to offer. We will most definitely go back. We took ... Read More
We flew to Rome three days prior to our 12-day cruise on the Navigator of the Seas (April 24). This was not enough time...it should be at least a week. Rome is a magnificent city with much to offer. We will most definitely go back. We took the Termini train to Civitavecchia, Italy, which is about 45 minutes northwest of Rome. That was a very pleasant trip. After we arrived, it took about a 20 minute walk to reach the port (walked to port entrance then RCCL bus took us to the ship check-in). Our first port of call was Naples, Greece. There was graffiti and rubbish everywhere downtown. The graffiti was also on the monuments. So sad to see this. We visited the Pompei ruins (RCCL excursion) and the ruins were absolutely fascinating and very clean. Our tour guide was exceptional. The second port was Rhodes, Greece. We walked into town as it was just a short distance from the ship. What a beautifully clean city! It is inside castle walls, which was amazing! The local vendors were very friendly and not pushy at all. We had a Greek lunch at a local restaurant and enjoyed the atmosphere. This is the place to get souvenirs, liquor, jewelry, etc. The third port was Athens, Greece. What a disappointment! We took an excursion to the Acropolis and National Archealogical Museum (PR08). The tour left at 1 pm and the museum and Acropolis closed at 3 pm. We had 15 minutes at the Acropolis and 30 minutes at the museum. We still don't understand why the tour took place since it took 1 1/2 hours to get to the museum as traffic was bad because of the strikes. This was not enough time to see anything! Don't waste your time and money ($75 each) on this one. I heard the 8 am excursion was terrific! I filed a complaint with RCCL and they said there was nothing they could do about it. Fortunately, our tour guide filled in most of the downtime on the bus with lots of very significant information about the country and its government. Next was Kusadasi, Turkey. We took a bus to Ephesus and saw the statue of the Virgin Mary, the ruins of Ephesos, and Efes Museum. What an amazing place. There is so much history here and it is so beautiful. Our guide was very informative. Our last stop was the carpet factory, which I don't suggest unless you are planning to buy a very beautiful, expensive carpet. Our final destination was Egypt. We arrived at Alexandria and took a tour bus to Cairo, which is about 2 1/2 hours west. We saw the Giza pyramids, the Sphinx, had a delicious lunch at a five-star hotel, then went to the National Egyptian Museum. Wow! We saw the real death mask of King Tut, his burial chambers and its contents. This was unbelieveable! I highly recommend this to everyone. Egypt is a very poor country with a rich history. It was a little disturbing seeing all the rubbish everywhere and laundry hanging from terraces. There was no windows or doors on the houses in some areas. The people are very aggressive here, but in a friendly way. Apparently, this is how they are and it is their way of life. Even though we had some problems, we really enjoyed the cruise. I actually rode a camel in Egypt. It is now checked off my bucket list. The first entertainers were the East Coast Boys. They were incredible! They were singing Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons music. Our balcony stateroom on the ship was very nice and our stateroom attendant couldn't have been nicer. Since we are Diamond members, we were invited to the Dungeon every day for pre-dinner drinks. Seriously, the Dungeon...a dreary, dark room with skeletons playing guitars. They could have chosen a more cheery place? Anyway, our bartender, Nicoli, was exceptional and remembered everyone's name and their drink preference. He was such a sweetheart! We also met some fascinating people from the United States. I highly suggest this cruise if you are game for an adventure! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Cruise Critic Review: Navigator of the Seas April 10, 2010 TransAtlantic : Miami to Rome Roger007 They say getting there is half the fun. I can't wait for the other half. Having had many TAs before (3 eastbound, 1 westbound) and 3 of ... Read More
Cruise Critic Review: Navigator of the Seas April 10, 2010 TransAtlantic : Miami to Rome Roger007 They say getting there is half the fun. I can't wait for the other half. Having had many TAs before (3 eastbound, 1 westbound) and 3 of which on the NOS, we made reservations to arrive the day before. Booked a non-stop Indy-Miami AA flight that would arrive mid afternoon. Unfortunately the airlines did not cooperate. Our flight was over four hours late taking off from Miami. We decided to make other plans and changed flights to Indianapolis-DFW and DFW-Miami. Arrived DFW with plenty of time to spare and have a good dinner. Our second leg reminded us of Murphy as the pilot determined after all passengers were aboard and belted in that one engine was a quart low on oil. I guess the mechanic had to go to the store and buy some because it was over an hour later before we took off. Got to Miami after 10 (to find our luggage had preceded us on our original flight). Exhausted we found a home at Fairfield Airport South. Excellent lodging, friendly and accommodating staff and comfortable bed. Day One: After a moderate but filling continental breakfast, we boarded the 11am shuttle to the Port and the NOS. Embarkation took at most 15 minutes from bus to ship. Smooth. Since rooms were not yet opened, we lunched at the Windjammer. As usual, space was at a premium. A wide variety of food was available. Some have complained about the quality of the food. We found it satisfactory and quite acceptable. At 1pm we entered our rooms luggage. A major disappointment with RCI/NOS has been and continues to be the Wireless Internet Connection. It is costly (.65/minute regular cost) but I would not argue if the speed was commissurate with the cost. It took me three tries to get the online log in to finally work. Then when I did connect after 15 minutes of charges I managed to actually achieve about 3 minutes of work. Once I was disconnected three time due to "connection reset." Of course I never got anywhere but RCI charged me 10 minutes and $3 for the experience. Another time I waited (I timed it) nearly 8 minutes for a page to download. All this time the clock is running and RCI is getting my dough. This is either a SHAM or very poor technological control. Every time I return I fully expect RCI to have corrected this embarrassing condition. Every time I am disappointed. Every time I note this disappointment on my critique to RCI. Every time nothing happens. One time too many and I may not return. Certainly other lines have solved this technical problem and all else being equal, it might be a future deciding point between cruise lines. A second major disappointment is the new dining hours: 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm. As Goldilocks would have said: Too early and too late. So consequently, we ate at the Windjammer (and once at Chops). We really did not miss the main dining room: it was far quieter at the Windjammer, the food was just as good, the dining room attends were friendly, the buffet selection offered a wide array of choices and the dining timing were flexible. It is not unusual to gorge oneself on food on cruises and gain 10-15 pounds on a voyage, eating at the Windjammer allowed us to control portion sizes and not fall into the gain 10-15 category. My wife and I said this is one cruise where we might actually lose pounds; the typical four course meal (plus cheese plate) at the Main Dining room encourages stuffing oneself and we have decided against it. Other items. Trivia and Sail Away party were fun and well portrayed. The main performance was satisfactory—comedian and dance team were fine. The Sail-away parade late at night was well attended and energy and enthusiasm was quite noticeable. The 70's Party was fabulous and full of high energy passengers and staff. Day 2: As is our tradition, we had room service serve breakfast on our balcony every morning. Delivered was on time and correct. Started Matt's Ultimate Trivia in the morning. Our team fun but boy is it was competitive. I guess I must be like Ken Jennings and start preparing a year in advance. Cruise Critic's meet and mingle had to be moved several times each time to a larger room. Several hundred attended. I must give RCI credit, horsd'oeurves and champagne were served and some very nice door prizes and gifts given. This compares most favorably to previous M&M's we have been to. Disappointment 3: Last year on the NOS TA, in the Viking Lounge, each sea day had an international buffet with a chef preparing a country's specialty on different days (German, French, Spanish, Italian, etc). We really enjoyed the variety and the opportunity to taste test ethnic cuisines. This TA it was listed in the Compass we showed up and found out it was a typo. We guess they discontinued the practice due to cost constraints. Too bad. It was a great addition to the TA and others missed it as well. Disappointment 4: Customer service. I ventured to the Excursions to buy a Barcelona package. After 15 minutes in line I was told they were closing from 1 to 3. Why? I don't know. At least 5 staff were in the area. Were they all going to take lunch at the same time? Please somebody remind RCI that they are here to serve us at our convenience and not vice versa. Certainly splitting staff so some could go to lunch while others continue service clients is not too much to ask, especially during prime time periods like the afternoon. Guest Relations always had a line fifty feet back and staff were in the back room but no one ever came out to help. Heck of a way to run a railroad (or a cruise line). Loyalty (future ship cruises) were always packed and guests were turned away. Disappointment 5: It is the little things that count and which have disappeared. No mints at night on the pillow. No daily newspaper. Still the towel animals (Occasionally). Prizes have been downgraded to the point where plastic key chains and laminated luggage tags were first prizes being fought over by overly zealous passengers. I remember wine seminars for loyalty members; not on this cruise. Disappointment 6: The number of crew that had poor grasp of English and whose English was very difficult to understand was large. This is indicative or poor staffing practices. I have heard that RCI pulled the best and sent them to the Oasis of the Seas. RCI must understand that they do not have just one ship but twenty and they must provide adequate levels of quality to all ships. Disappointment 7: The Navigator of the Seas is a grand old ship and we have had many fine times on it. But She is starting to show her age. Carpet stains, rusty spots, paint chipping on patio furniture, wood paneling cracks in the Windjammer, lots of broken chairs swivels in the key lounges (Ixtapa, etc...). The wicker dinning chairs in the Windjammers legs are coming unraveled. What particularly irked me was the jogging track. She was worn in spots down to the core. She needs to be cleaned up to redeem her statelessness. The care you take shows and RCI's care of the NOS shows many oversights that weigh upon a customer's overall view. Disappointment 8: In all the times we have rounded the tip of Spain we have yet to pass by the Rock of Gibraltar during daylight hours. This trip was no exception. The Captain said it would be twilight during passage; 6am it was totally dark and the hundreds that showed up for the passage were extremely disappointed. Since it is a major tourist highlight, why can't RCI schedule passage during the daylight hours? That alone would be a major selling point. Disappointment 9: In the past several special events have been held in conjunction with the specialty restaurants, notably a murder mystery dinner theatre and a wine tasting dinner. These were not held this time. In the past these have added to the ambience of the ship and were solely missed. Disappointment 10: My time Dining was announced with huge fanfare by RCI. The first night we went and investigated and was not impressed. Discussions with other guests who used it proved we made the right decision not to use the service. True, you can dine at anytime and that flexibility has economic value. But the service is structured that once you sign up you must use it thereafter. Not only that but you are charged complete tips ($9 per person per meal) even if you skip a meal or two. The tips include the steward and he is included even if you do not use wine. Now I do have a degree in math and $18 in tips at a 15% tip rate means the dinner was being valued at $120. Even at 20 percent, it comes close to $100. The food is good but not that good! I did notice the Main Dining room was not even close to being occupied and many tables were empty. RCI must change its policy . Disappointment 11: We were platinum (to be diamond for our next cruise) and received a Platinum Cruise and Anchor booklet. We used two coupons (laundry and internet). Had to ask for the second because they only brought us one. Hardly anything of value (lots of 2 for 1 or 10% off but nothing free or special for their valued loyalty level customers). This is not the way to treat frequent cruisers and is not a method that will create goodwill and word of mouth from their most valued customers. Entertainment: We had a comedian, the RC singers and dancers three times, a comedian magician, singer, violinst. The ice shows. All in all we felt the entertainment was of high quality and the audience seemed to enjoy it. We saw the ice saw twice; it was the same show we saw in 2009 TA. Great show but should change it yearly instead of every 3 to 5 years. In addition, being a TA, numerous speakers were on board: an historian, a geneaologist, an astronomer. We found these delightful and educational. The typical art history lectures and auctions with free champagne were abundant, well frequented but few buyers were to be found for the multi-thousand dollar art works shown. The Icelandic volcano through a wrench into the featured performers, several could not get off the ship and several could not get onto the ship (at the Canary Islands). Fortunately the numbers balanced and those held over volunteered for extra performances which were outstanding. Typical ship fare (Battle of the Sexes, Majority Rules, Karaoke, Name that Lyrics, Love and Marriage, Family Feud) were held and with great audience participation. Always delightful and entertaining to see your fellow shipmates made fools of him/herself. I do wish that the Battle of the Sexes would revert back to the older Family Feud format instead of the Physical Childish challenges they had on this trip. Save that for the teens. At least have a modicum of mental challenge. Food: You can see the cost cutting here. Options were more limited than we had seen in the past. Quality was barely acceptable. Certainly quantity was available but presentation and style seemed to be lacking. My wife enjoyed the JADE Asian food selection and ate this dining section exclusively for lunch and dinner. I do wish the Windjammer opened at 6pm rather than 6:30 pm as the late opening collided several times with theatre productions. Shore excursions/Disembarking. We visited Canary Islands, Barcelona, French Riviera and Livorno (Florence) prior to our final stopping point at Civi (Rome) on April 24. Only Ville on the French Riviera was a tender stop; all others were docks. On and off for all the excursions were quite quick. Plus: Six hours of time changes occurred on this cruise. Rather than do so in the middle of the day (12 to 1 as in previous TAs), they occurred at night (3am). One less hour of sleep a night but at least the afternoon was not shortened and all activities could go on. Others were not so enamored with the change, such as the wait staff as they didn't have much time to between meal setups. As passengers we preferred the time change occurring between 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. Another plus: We had read about the Novovirus and getting sick on the ship. On our last year's TA, both my wife and I came down with horrible cases of the virus and it ruined our vacation. We took no chances and brought an arsenal of medicines this year. Surprisingly, the ship was very healthy. I saw and heard very little coughing or sneezing or any other flu symptoms. Hand Sanitizers were everywhere and it appeared what programs they had implemented worked very well. Kudos to: Matt Sole (Canada), Cruise Director; Richard Edward Activity Manager (Trinidad); Jorge Cutino (Mexico City), Activity Staff; Lauren Kalis (South Africa), Activity Staff; Vicki , Activity Staff were all in their own right entertaining, hilarious and got passengers involved when hosting an event. Diana Radu (Romania), front desk clerk was extremely helpful, patient, knowledgeable and a delight to talk to about world issues. Overall: We enjoy TransAtlantics—for the price you cannot beat what you get. But each year it is less and less dramatic as in previous years. Right now if I had to make a decision, I would hesitate and probably not sign up for another TA next year. RCI needs some new itineraries and ports. I probably would sign up if they had a Circumnavigate the British Isles but nothing is on the agenda for next year. A Eastern Seaboard Northern Atlantic might be a challenging adventure that would capture my attention. But how many Azores and Canary Islands can you take? What about a North Africa (Casablanca, Algiers, Tunisia) venture? RCI take note. Try some exotic ports to breath some fresh air into the TAs. All in all, even though I had more disappointments than pluses (being a veteran cruiser and TAer I am naturally more critical than a rookie would be), the cruise was excellent. Lots of R&R. Lots to do. Made a lot of new acquaintances. Last TA for a while until new Itineraries appear. However, looking at possible Trans Pacifics. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
This was our 7th RCCL cruise, and first as Platinum members of the Crown & Anchor program. Overall, we were expecting a bit more from this experience, but things have slipped a bit and/or disappeared just since last year. We selected ... Read More
This was our 7th RCCL cruise, and first as Platinum members of the Crown & Anchor program. Overall, we were expecting a bit more from this experience, but things have slipped a bit and/or disappeared just since last year. We selected the ship based on departure date and port as I teach at a college and have only one particular week available each Spring. We had been to Cozumel with our children several years ago, but never to Belize. We also like this cruise because of the two "at sea" days, giving us a chance to get some real R&R. Embarkation was about the easiest it has ever been. We now rent from Alamo as they have a free shuttle from Miami airport to the cruise terminal (we also visit various family members while in Florida). We arrived around 1:30 pm and were on the ship with no real hassle in about 30 minutes. Our bags did not arrive until after the Muster Drill, but otherwise without issue. One new and important difference: We were no longer required to march to the Muster Station wearing our life preservers. We were also in a lounge, as opposed to having to queue on deck, so that was a plus. We saw a demo of the life jackets, listened to the captain and were done. The first big disappointment was the Platinum coupon booklet. We don't gamble, so all the casino "free pulls" were out. The wine bottle coupon (BOGO 15% off on $50+ bottles) was out of our price range, but we did use the two BOGO glass of wine coupons. Johnny Rockets was a BOGO milkshake instead of providing the cover charge, so we didn't bother going this time. There was a BOGO 15% off wine flight at Vintages, but the only time we went in there, we sat for ten minutes and left as no one came to wait on our table. Oh, and no more chocolates on the pillow! The two 50% Seattle's Best coffee coupons got used and that was about it. We saw every production show, including the Ice Dancing, and while enjoyable, did not seem as inspired or full of energy as we have seen on other ships. Some of the same, tired songs you hear just about everywhere, no matter the tempo. The "All Access" show was very disconnected, using songs from so many genres, it had little flow. The singers and dancers were all quite talented. The opening headliner, a comedian, was somewhat funny, while the vocal impersonator two nights later was a good singer, but just OK at many of the voices. My favorite was Christopher James, the "hyper magic" boy who used the audience to great effect and did some cool tricks. There wasn't anyone I already knew, as on most previous RCCL cruises (last year was Bowzer from Sha-Na-Na!). We ate in the dining room three nights, and in the specialty restaurants the other two. Service was attentive and we enjoyed our table mates. The food, as everyone who cruises RCCL knows, was only average. The menu doesn't change much from year to year and the quality was about that of your average convention dinner. I am on a restricted diet this year, and did not really have any issues selecting dishes low in fat and cholesterol. You used to have to ask for the Indian food, as it is always prepared for the staff, but now it is on the menu more, and is quite good. The food at Portofino and Chops Grille was inventive, freshly made and tasted good. Nothing exceptional, but much better than the dining room. I tend to compare RCCL with Carnival, and Carnival has had better food but was lacking in entertainment. The food on RCCL has always been "good enough" with the perks and entertainment being much better, but now I might have to rethink that. We ordered Room Service just once on the morning we had an early excursion, but it did not arrive in time (7:30-8am slot requested). We called five minutes before time was up and were told it was on the way. They called again five minutes after with the same message, and we left at 8:15 so we could grab a crumb at the buffet before leaving the ship. We took advantage of some on-board activities. I prefer ships with the adults only Solarium for quiet relaxing on at-sea days, present on this ship. We had two good days with only a little hassle finding a good chair. My biggest complaint was that the Hot Tub never really got hot either day I used it! I enjoyed playing dodge ball on the Sports Deck with the younger guys, and I really enjoyed the exercise area. I only used the treadmill, and there was never an issue with broken down equipment or too long of a wait. I used some of the Nautilus weight machines, and everything was available and in good repair. The best part, saved for last, was our cabin. We were on the eighth deck with only other cabins above, below and around us. We were in the front of the ship off a center hallway, meaning people on both sides, behind us and across the hall, but it was quiet all the time. Vanessa, our attendant, did a wonderful job and was rarely ever seen. Also, no problem with any of the equipment or plumbing, and I do like the circular shower enclosure that cannot possible stick to you! The robes given to Platinum members were nice, too. We attended the C&A loyalty reception one evening, now restricted to Platinum and above (sorry, no more Gold people). It was very perfunctory with the department heads giving a brief overview while free drinks were served, with some appetizers off to the side. Mostly good, but nothing fancy. This was just one of several "opportunities" where it seemed like the staff seemed a bit less excited and the amenities were squeezed a bit in hopes of holding the line on pricing and/or helping the bottom line. Overall, it just wasn't as satisfying as previous ships or cruises on RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Overall, we are very pleased with our experience. The only down side was the fact there were 900+ 18-24 year old college students on the ship - - "Spring Breakers"... had we known from our travel agent, we would have booked a ... Read More
Overall, we are very pleased with our experience. The only down side was the fact there were 900+ 18-24 year old college students on the ship - - "Spring Breakers"... had we known from our travel agent, we would have booked a different week... but regardless, we were able to enjoy our time on the ship as well as Cozumel and Belize. For starters, boarding was relatively effortless. Everyone was friendly and helpful. We traveled with two other couples who had cruised a few times before and they had commented on how well it went compared to the other cruise lines they used previously. Every crew and staff member we encountered smiled and greeted us. The ship was very clean and welcoming and there was plenty to do and delicious food to eat while we were getting underway. As recommended by a crew member, we took the opportunity to explore the entire ship while waiting for our luggage to be delivered. The food was fantastic. The Windjammer buffet and the Promenade cafe offered quite a variety of good food. It was nice to be able to grab something quick any time of day and night. Breakfast offered many options. We opted for the sit down service in the Nutcracker dining room for the majority of our breakfasts. The service was great and the food was quite tasty! Lunch varied from day to day depending on the activities we were participating in and our hunger levels! We did have a chance to go to Johnny Rockets on our last day - so glad we did - yummy! We had four of our dinners in the Swan Lake dining room. We had first seating and had the most delightful waiter, Claudiu, and assistant waiter, Michael. The Head waiter was quite welcoming and visited our table each meal and Ian, the "booze man" was a lot of fun! The only down side to our dining experience was the location of our table - in the corner next to the service station and the window had a 'lovely' view of a lifeboat - we would have preferred a better table but the wait staff made the experience delightful. Formal night was especially fun! We chose to eat in Chops Grille for our fourth night and felt like we dined in a 5 star restaurant. The food, staff, atmosphere was top notch - well worth the additional fee. The bars were hopping! The bartenders certainly had there hands full dealing with all those college kids but they were still very attentive to the rest of us! The variety was endless and prices were reasonable! The service poolside was also good. Again, with hundreds of spring breakers capitalizing the decks, pools and jacuzzi, it was a lot for the crew to handle but they seemed to do a good job with it. (although we felt there were some guests who should have been cut off and there were MANY underage drinkers but its hard to control with a crowd that size...) and we noticed plenty of "security type" staff observing the crowd to ensure everyone's safety. Unfortunately, there was a tragic accident on the second to last night during a midnight dance party held in the Solarium. A college boy jumped into a closed pool that had been drained and netted off. He suffered severe head and spine injuries. The medical staff did their best to tend to him and quickly evacuated him to the closest hospital. It was a case of too much to drink and no common sense on the part of the young man. Hats off to the wonderful Cruise Directors, Simeon and Richard. They were extremely entertaining! Their morning show was "laugh out loud" funny and informative. The daily ship newsletter, the Compass, had so much information about the day's activities, port of call information, specials and shopping information. There was so much to do all day and all night. It was nice to see things offered for all the age groups and abilities. We were able to participate in quite a number of activities. Overall, departure was quite orderly and easy. There was a delay in getting back to port because of the diversion to get that young man to a hospital but the Captain had been very informative to all the guests and was able to get us back on track in relatively good time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
We flew into MIA and took the Royal Caribbean shuttle to the port. It was an amazingly seamless process and one that I would gladly repeat in the future. Embarkation was a breeze and before we knew it, we were on the ship having lunch. ... Read More
We flew into MIA and took the Royal Caribbean shuttle to the port. It was an amazingly seamless process and one that I would gladly repeat in the future. Embarkation was a breeze and before we knew it, we were on the ship having lunch. It didn't take me long on this ship before I realized that I was correct in guessing that there would be a lot of "spring breakers" on this cruise. There were large groups of college students everywhere. While their presence was definitely noticed, and things on the ship weren't as quiet as usual, I felt RCI did an excellent job of maintaining order. I witnessed bar tenders carding students multiple times and other rules were enforced. Unfortunately, there was a tragic accident involving a young man jumping into an empty pool at 3:30 in the morning on Thursday but that didn't seem to be anything that RCI could have prevented (there was netting on the pool to make it obvious it was closed). The ship is beautiful. There are so many fun things to do - whether you want to do something active like ice skate or rock climb or you want to catch a variety of shows, this ship has many options to choose from. The one dissapointment I had was in the food. Food in the windjammer was often cold and just not good (in my opinion, of course). We tried lunch in the dining room one day, and apart from the large salad bar, did not find it to be any better. Dinner in the main dining room at night was definitelya step up but I would only rate it as good - definitely not great. The staff on this ship is excellent. We received amazing service from everyone - from our room steward, to our wait staff to random people walking down the hall. They definitely went above and beyond! We had a hard time exercizing in the morning. We started out on the jogging track. I was going to walk and my husband was going to run. But, it was so crowded that he kept having to stop because of people in front of him. We tried the gym and every treadmill was taken. I suspect that this crowding of exercize space may have been due to spring break because I noticed that many of the people in these areas were very young. While there are some areas I would have liked to see improvement on, all in all it was a relaxing wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
We are first time cruisers (except the Grandmother) with two teenagers. We have tried many spring break experiences (mostly high end all inclusive or Ritz in Jamaica, Cayman Islands, etc.) Overall Impression: We were awed by the ship ... Read More
We are first time cruisers (except the Grandmother) with two teenagers. We have tried many spring break experiences (mostly high end all inclusive or Ritz in Jamaica, Cayman Islands, etc.) Overall Impression: We were awed by the ship itself. Our 14 year old son could not believe his eyes. The public spaces were beautiful and clean. I loved the fact that I would constantly see staff very inconspicuously walking around with tidy blue satchels out of which came cleaning supplies. The staff was consistently friendly, helpful, and kind. We were actually amazed at how happy they all seemed considering how very hard they work. Occasionally we felt that our stateroom attendant came on a bit strong—we couldn't go to our room without him flagging us down and of course we knew that he wanted to translate all of that attention to a big tip, but our room was certainly in tip top condition 100% of the time. While mostly an enjoyable experience, the drawback of this cruise was the guests; particularly the college students. We are not prissy, but couldn't help thinking that no one seems to have any manners any more--particularly the college students. It's one thing for kids to swear like sailors in front of one another—but did no one teach them to at least pretend they have manners in front of grown ups? There was a tragedy on board where a young man dove into an empty pool and had to be transferred to Cozumel and ultimately to Miami where his condition is uncertain. We witnessed a lot of drinking to excess. Cabin: We had a balcony room on the 9th deck, very well located (thanks to our travel agent—Laura—at Preferred Travel in Columbus GA) near a set of elevators (but not so near that sound was a problem). We thought that the rooms were very well appointed; the bed was large and very very comfortable with cozy white linens. My children had their own room, so we never felt crowded. We couldn't believe how much storage there was in the room; we didn't even use it all. The showers were hot and had plenty of pressure (quite a feat with 3500 people on board). We didn't use our balcony as much as I expected to, but we were certainly happy to have it. We were also surprised by how quiet the room was. Activities: While at first it seemed there was plenty to do on board, it quickly became apparent that people were a little bored and restless. Had the pools been larger and more inviting, we would have had a much better on board experience. We would have played Bingo, but at $20 per card, we chose not to. The Casino is great fun. Fortunately, the teen program was really terrific. I never expected that my teenagers would actually take part, but the crew member in charge had very clever activities planned. For example, one evening, the kids filmed each other doing various "dares" (such as pretending to interview people on the elevator) and then met to watch each other's films (from digital cameras). My kids thought this was hilarious. They had dances, dinners together, etc. and most of the day and evening, my teenagers were involved in those programs. My daughter won a teen manicure at one of the events. She was thrilled to get to experience the spa. Public Spaces: The fitness center was great with ample machines even at peak exercise times. The equipment was in good condition. As mentioned above, the pools and deck areas felt exceedingly crowded and often it was difficult to find chairs. We found the most pleasant place to perch was in the solarium by the windows, but these chairs were hard to come by unless you got up quite early. The hot tubs were nice and typically not too crowded. The Promenade Cafe was really a charming place to hang out and had the best coffee on board. Evening: The Ice Dancing Show was absolutely phenomenal. The quality of it felt much more professional than anything else we ever experienced on board—the costumes, choreography, everything. Just splendid. The rest of the evening shows were pretty disappointing, although in their defense, it is pretty difficult to entertain such a wide age range. There are certainly no shortage of attractive bars on board (8 or so different lounge venues). We're not big drinkers, so that didn't hold much appeal. Still, we were very impressed with the appearance of those areas. Pools: The pools were certainly our biggest disappointment. My children, never ever got into a pool. They were freezing cold, but that wasn't the problem. There is really only one pool that a teenager can use, and it is surprisingly small for a ship of this size. The pool was overrun with college students and it was intimidating for a teenager. Food and Dining: We really had no complaints with the food. The Windjammer food was certainly plentiful with an amazing variety of choices. Good salads, great breakfasts. It was always very crowded but seating was never a problem. At first I was offended by the hand sanitizers at the entrance, but quickly saw that it was a great idea. With so many hands using the serving spoons, I was glad all of those hands had used the sanitizers! We very much enjoyed the Dining Room experience. The service was impeccable. The appetizers were delicious (mushrooms with puff pastry, shrimp cocktail, yummy salads). The entrees and desserts were pretty good. Two nights, the wait staff would sing after dessert. We thought this was a cute touch, and very smart on RC's part to "humanize" the staff as much as possible in order to improve their tips. They work really really hard and deserved to be well compensated. If I had it to do over, I would definitely have done the My Time Dining. We had the 6:00 seating, and it just felt way too early. We were rarely hungry by that time. Yet the 8:30 would certainly have been too late. Everyone I spoke to about the My Time dining said that it worked well and that they didn't mind a bit paying the gratuities in advance. Excursions: We did the snorkeling in both Cozumel and Belize. I expected the snorkeling to be better in Belize than in Cozumel, but they were certainly similar. The coral was a bit better in Belize. All in all, a nice trip but we probably would not do another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
About us: My husband has cruised 5 times previously, all with Princess. Myself and my sons (12 and 10) have never cruised before this. Embarkation: We flew from Toronto to Miami on the day of embarkation - Feb 8th. We arranged our own ... Read More
About us: My husband has cruised 5 times previously, all with Princess. Myself and my sons (12 and 10) have never cruised before this. Embarkation: We flew from Toronto to Miami on the day of embarkation - Feb 8th. We arranged our own flights separate from the cruise, so we took a taxi from the airport to the Miami Port - $24 flat rate. At the port the lineup wasn't bad - we arrived at about 130pm and were on board checking out the ship by 230pm. Our room was ready but our luggage hadn't arrived so we went to Windjammers to get a bite to eat. It was packed! I guess everyone was doing the same thing! Food: We ate lunch at Windjammers Buffet every day except the day we went to Johnny Rockets. I'm not a fan of buffet, and the Windjammer buffet was just okay. I usually had a slice of roast (pork, turkey, beef) and a big salad. My kids and husband had burgers, fries, pizza, etc. Johnny Rockets was definitely worth the $40 for the 4 of us! I was just happy to not be eating Windjammer buffet. ? For breakfast, we always went to the dining room. I prefer to be served and the dining room breakfast menu was great. The food was very good. This is a good place to mention that the soda package is worth it, but the juice package is not. We didn't realize that they'd serve us juice (included) with breakfast, so we spent $30 on juice that wasn't necessary. Also, the water package really wasn't worth it either. We bought 12 bottles of Evian, but only used about 6, as the water in the dining room was fine to drink. Our dinners were excellent. We had early seatings (6pm) in Coppelia, table 475. Our servers, Richard, Marisha and Samuel (all from India) were fantastic. The food was great - the service was greater! We have no complaints about dinner, that's for sure. Well, actually, the shrimp scampi was a tiny portion one night, but Marisha quickly offered to bring me anything else that I'd like. However, I was so full anyway. The breads are excellent! Also, the midnight poolside buffet was great. Lastly, the Cafe Promenade was a great place to stop and get a coffee or tea, hot chocolate for the kids and a cookie or piece of cake or sandwich. No complaints about the food. I gained 3 pounds in 5 nights and I exercised a lot - so the food was good! Entertainment / Activities I thought the entertainment was very good. We saw the nightly show each night and it was decent. Some nights better than others, but overall, entertaining. There was always something to do for every age group, family, couples, singles - whatever! The cruise director, Simeon, was excellent. We rock climbed, played mini golf, visited the arcade, walked around, ate, enjoyed the pool and relaxed. Room: Our room, 9656, balcony on the 9th floor was nice, but a little small for 4 people. We were always shuffling around each other. Also, the carpet seemed quite worn and my son's dust allergies were definitely bothering him due to the carpet. But overall, it was okay. Ship: I've never been on a cruise ship before, so I was quite amazed! It was definitely like a giant floating hotel. The art and decoration was beautiful. The pools (2, right beside each other) were tiny - but no one was in them (except my sons) so I guess bigger pools aren't really needed. There were tons of loungers around the pool deck and above. Excursions: In Cozumel, we did the Stingray Encounter which was short but worth it. In Belize, although we tendered to the Pier, we did not have an excursion booked, so we just walked around a bit and then returned to the ship. I think better ports of call would have been preferred but all in all, it was fine, as I didn't really want to leave the ship too much anyway! Ocean Adventure Club: My sons went twice, once for 2 hours and once for 3 hours, but they would rather stay with us. The Club seemed like a lot of fun, though, and the staff were fantastic. My sons are 12 and 10, so my older son was bumped down and they were with the 9-11 group. Disembarkation / Miami: On the day of disembarkation, our flight did not leave Miami until late at night so we rented a car and drove to Everglades National Park. There is not a single car rental company on the Port, which is nuts. We had to pay $20 to get to Budget, and then paid $160 for one day (12 hours!) car rental. After the Everglades, we drove along South Beach and then walked along South Beach. We had lunch at Big Pink. It was very good. All in all, a great vacation. I would travel Royal Caribbean again, however, might want to try their new ship, the Oasis of the Seas. My husband was happy with RC, but said he'd like to show me a Princess cruise next - and just the two of us this time! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
This was a reasonably priced cruise and our first 5 night-er. We stayed overnight in Miami and got to the pier about 11:30 pm. Check in was fast. Although my husband gets priority boarding, it seems that on the last three cruises that ... Read More
This was a reasonably priced cruise and our first 5 night-er. We stayed overnight in Miami and got to the pier about 11:30 pm. Check in was fast. Although my husband gets priority boarding, it seems that on the last three cruises that means absolutely nothing. I had read the reviews that the Windjammer was crowded and I didn't want to go up there. But my husband did, and it wasn't that crowded and we had a pleasant lunch. The rooms were available at 1pm and our room had a bit extra space because it was on the bowed out part of the ship. But, around the bed there was a smell. Musty? My husband went to the desk and told them. All they did was spray. Later the cabin steward said his supervisor asked him to wipe down around the bed. What he wiped, I don't know. But, the smell persisted the entire cruise. Rm 8626. On the first night, the steward did turn the bed down, but didn't pick up towels. He did after that. Towel art a few nights, no chocolates on the pillow. (I think they stopped doing that). We did have RCCL robes, but they were in need of some darning. For dinner, we were in the "Nutcracker" dining room, table #342. It was a table for two and we had Luis (waiter) & Samuel (assistant waiter). They were both great! Our head waiter greeted everyone around us, but us. It was as though we were invisible to him. He did come over the third night. This is the only time we have ever been snubbed by the head waiter. When I mentioned it to Luis, he said the headwaiter was pretty busy with the other tables special needs diets. But, he made time for everyone else, even the folks that appeared to be using the 'my time dining'..... We had one dinner in Chops Grille and I would recommend this especially for couples. They pamper you/it feels intimate/and we enjoyed it very much. The first day out was a sea day and it was a bit cold. But, we found a place in the sun by the pool and warmed up and rested. Our second stop was Labadee and it was cloudy and overcast- but warm. We liked the new dock and just walking off the ship. We didn't put on our swimsuits, but just walked around. We had been here two years ago, and it has really changed. I think I preferred the way it was before, a bit more rustic. But, I can see the merits of the way it is now. They had numerous trams running so folks who couldn't do a lot of walking got to see it all, the new vendor huts were nice, and many people really enjoyed the zip line and roller coaster. The lunch was plain but good and we had a few beers at the bar while listening to the band and enjoying the scenery. The next stop was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It was sunny/pretty/warm. We put on our suits and walked to the fenced beach 5 min. away. You can see it from the ship. Entrance fee is $2.50 each and they stamp your hand so if you want to leave and shop and come back. A beach attendant approached us and to rent chairs it was $5 each. We did and he was also the beverage guy. There wasn't anyplace to eat or get a drink. You paid him and he would bring you a drink. Just outside the fence was shopping, but I don't enjoy shopping in Jamaica - they are too aggressive for me. So, we relaxed and enjoyed the water and beach day. We were going to walk to Jimmy Buffet's, but my bones seemed to have melted and I had enough strength to get myself back to the ship and lunch of course! The next day was a sea day, and it was very very very windy. We did use the hot tub, and still enjoyed our day. We really enjoyed the entertainment. The ice show was fabulous, the man of a 1,000 voices was hilarious. The RCCL singers and dancers shows are not my cup of tea, but my husband enjoys them, and they were very professionally done. We always tried to listen to the live bands before/after dinner. We enjoyed Studio 4 band and the Rosario Strings and we followed the Latin band around every night they preformed. I do miss the special treatment that loyal cruisers use to get. Such as; a lounge with drinks and H'ordorves, an onboard credit AND a cabin discount, the small gifts as a token of their appreciation. This is the first time that we have NOT booked another cruise while onboard. There wasn't an incentive to book it. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves/the ship/and the 5 night cruise. Read Less
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

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