2,352 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We did RCL's New Year's Trip RT out of New Orleans. We live in the area right now, so we drove to the port. We have left out of 3 other ports including 1 outside the US and this port was the worst the leave out of. It took us a ... Read More
We did RCL's New Year's Trip RT out of New Orleans. We live in the area right now, so we drove to the port. We have left out of 3 other ports including 1 outside the US and this port was the worst the leave out of. It took us a long time to get to the parking lot, we then had to wait in a very long line (even as Gold members), and it took nearly 1.5 hours just to get on the ship. We spoke with other travelers who have experienced other ports and shared the same frustration at embarkation in NOLA. It seemed they had much fewer guest service people checking everyone in, since we sailed thru security rather quickly (once we got to that point!). The ship was decked out in holiday regalia. We absolutely hate the holidays and often try to escape to a non-christian country to avoid the cold, Christmas caroling, and what not. We were pleased that even though the ship was dressed to impress for the holidays, we did not hear any Christmas music and it was toned down the further we got into the cruise. The 3rd night, the main dining room was free of Christmas stuff entirely, and by the end of the trip the only item left visible was the tree in the Promenade. We were so grateful for that!All our days at sea were crappy weather. I know the cruise lines cannot do anything about this. They moved the majority of events from the outside into the inside or cancelled them all together. We never had a lack of something to do onboard, but would have appreciated 1 day sitting by the pool, but alas it was beautiful once we were down in the Caribbean! Our cruise directors were hilarious, personable, and we had a great time on 70's night, NYE party, and a few sail away parties camped out in the outdoor hot tubs watching the sunset. We did go see several of the shows, the Platters brought down the house! Not a dry eye in the place! The juggler was okay, the comedian was mostly funny (we were both sober, so maybe some alcohol helped). Formal nights were fun and orderly. I took 1 of the photography classes while onboard and the staff down there were wonderful. Two of the photographers were very gifted and we bought all the photos these 2 took, with the rest being rather lack luster. We really enjoy the portraits as they are framed fun memories of our adventures. The people onboard were by far the friendliest we have encountered. We met many people from all over the US. I met a fellow photographer onboard and we spent an hour on the pool deck showing me how to work my new fancy camera. We met another couple NYE night in Boleros bar near midnight and had great conversation, laughs and dancing. The celebrations on the Promenade were fun to be had by all and even though it was insanely crowded and loud, people were still nice and willing. We tolerate the Windjammer when we are too tired or don't want to think about where to round up food. (Isn't the point of a cruise to not think for a week?). Some things in the Windjammer were good, others awful, you just kind of learned what to avoid. The hand santizer guy at the Windjammer won employee of the month for his insane amount of enthusiasm in the morning getting everyone to sanitize their hands. He was awesome to wake up to every morning! We buy the soda package on these cruises and between him and the caffeine, you were moving in the morning! We did eat at Johnny Rockets 1 day for lunch, we didn't need to eat anything till our 8pm dinner and even then we weren't really hungry. Johnny Rockets is so much fun, loud, and food is good for diner food. Love the cheese fries and chocolate milk shakes. I would eat there every day just for those two things, but I would have gained 10 pounds on a weeklong cruise doing that! Lol. We also ate at Chops Grille on NYE night. We had a 6:30pm seating, and the place was empty when we got there with a few couples wandering in by 8pm when we rolled ourselves out of there. Our steaks were good, dessert phenonmenal, and we even got funky hats for NYE celebrations later. Our waitress was nice but not super informative. The very first time we had Chops on an RCL line (Serenade of the Seas in 8/09), we got "the steak talk" from our waiter. They went over the kinds of cuts, how best to cook them, etc. We have not been able to get "the steak talk" since then, and only for that reason would not rate it as the best Chops experience we have had. I would have enjoyed more interaction with our server, the host was very friendly and pleasant and spoke with us several times throughout our meal.Now the main dining room. We had the best waiter we have ever had on any ship, ever. Volcun (seriously, that's his name), was happy, energetic, happy to talk to us, polite, joked with us, and overall just a wonderful person. We never wanted for anything. We were in a back room from the main dining room, which we were initially upset about, but he more than made up for it. After we found out that RCL no longer does the Caribbean dance through the main dining room with the waiters dressed in kitchen accutreman, it didn't matter we were not in the main dining room. Our table only had 1 other couple at it, and they too helped make dinner very enjoyable each evening. We had so much fun talking to them and learning about each other. We made friends with them, and took them to the airport when we disembarked. Again, total blast for the dining room. The food on average was ok. I feel the quality and most certainly the proportions have declined. But if we didn't like something, our waiter quickly brought us something else. We would order different desserts and our waiter would bring us everything on the list just to truly each night since we had an 8 person table with only 4 people at it. I was very unhappy to find out RCL no longer prints the Gratuity Coupons to go into your envelopes on the last night onboard. We have always prepaid gratuities and If we got special attention we would throw some extra cash in there. We always enjoyed passing around the envelopes on the last night, but since we got ho-hum service from everyone except our waiter, he was the only one who got additional cash. I asked the guest services desk if the employees are told who did pre-paid gratuities, and she said no. So we wrote on our envelopes that we did not put cash in "We prepaid your tip and RCL will not print a coupon". So we were rather disappointed at that. Knowing that in the future, we will not prepay our gratuities and do strictly cash for everyone. I don't know if that was RCL's goal or not, but that is what it resulted in.Please DO NOT book excursions through Royal in Grand Cayman. We routinely buy excursions thru the cruise line and pay the higher price largely for the "idiot factor" of not having to think or worry on our trip. Grand cayman is beautiful, civilized, and the port is built to have ample opportunity to get a tour from a vendor there on site or even take a taxi to a local beach w/o a fuss. Our guide here was half an hour late, literally read road signs of local businesses to us for our tour, then rushed us through places to get back on schedule because the boat left at 3pm. Our travel agent warned us against doing a cruise ship sponsored trip and she was totally right. We loved Grand Cayman and cannot wait to go back and "do it right". In Jamaica (our first port day on New Years Day), we signed up to do Dunn River's Falls and Green Grotto Caves. First off, that was a mistake to sign up for 2 very physical activites right after New Years night. We don't drink, but we were still up late and had to be off the ship by 8am for this tour. We were dragging all day. Dunn River's Fall was ok, not sure I would do it again. The perpetual hounding to buy something got very old very quickly. The Green Grotto caves were very neat to see. In Cozumel we chose to go mudding in a dune buggy to the Jade Caverns. Fun, but again not what we expected. We spent a lot of time broken down and only got about 5 minutes at the caverns. They try for these corny photo ops holding an alligator, next to parrots and hawks and the like, but they are far from good photos. Half of them didn't even show up on the screen at the end of the tour anyway. I believe it was termed an X-rails adventure. Bring a bandana, wrap around sunglasses, towel, and a change of clothes. You will get COATED in mud (which is what we wanted). We would do this tour again if given the chance. The facility was nice, the people friendly, and they provided taxis back to the pier (about a 10 minute drive). The pier in cozumel is great for shopping. We went back to the ship, grabbed a quick shower, and went back off to go have lunch at Senor Frogs along the water at the pier. I recommend Senor Frogs! Fun party atmosphere, all their drinks come in tall obnoxious plastic glasses, and the food was really good. I bought a tanzanite ring from Tanzanite International on the pier here, they love to haggle, so never pay the first price they say!After Cozumel we cruised back to New Orleans. We had a wonderful trip even though the weather was awful (cloudy, 70 knot winds on deck, all outdoor activities this day were cancelled including the dodge ball tournament we were looking forward to watching). Next year the ship will be something else and it will go to different ports out of NOLA. We are seriously considering doing another New Years trip out of this city, and would happily return to this port to do more in the future once we are platinum or higher guests because they got on very quickly. The people onboard this cruise were super friendly and we had a great time doing a wide variety of activities! Our room attendant was good, not great, but he did his job. We enjoy inside rooms because they get totally dark, have always been very quiet for us, and we are hardly in the room if we are awake! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We so looked forward to cruising over the New Years. One of the big selling features of this boat was the golf simulator for my husband. Well it was broken. They had no idea when it would be fixed. We absolutley loved our dinner staff! ... Read More
We so looked forward to cruising over the New Years. One of the big selling features of this boat was the golf simulator for my husband. Well it was broken. They had no idea when it would be fixed. We absolutley loved our dinner staff! Carolina, Galen, Custudio and Rohan. Top notch! Sincerely lovely people. My husband bought the alcohol package and was frustrated because he couldn't get the same drinks at different bars. They didn't know how to make them, or didn't have the right ingredients. My kids loved the Windjammer. The guy doing the "sanitize sanitize" dance was a little too much for me before my coffee, but an effective addition to ensure that extra layer of contamination safety. So Id rather he keep up his good work. There were some big issues with language barrier, which suprised me because Id think most of the workers would know just a little English. Our excursions were wonderful! In all honesty I think some of our disappointments were our travel agents fault. She misrepresented the boat. My kids were expecting the Flo Rida, Zip Lining, and a big outdoor screen. She also did not give us accurate info about the general weather in New Orleans which effected the beginning of our trip in a huge way. I honestly felt like I had to really seek out the kids programs, and pry for information. My kids request Carnival next time. The Navigator could clearly use a little sprucing up. If I could take our dinner staff with us, I'd agree. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We took this cruise as a graduation trip for my daughter before she heads off to college. We had done the Western Mediterranean cuise two years ago. We started our first night in Rome, arriving a day early. Booked a hotel through RCL ... Read More
We took this cruise as a graduation trip for my daughter before she heads off to college. We had done the Western Mediterranean cuise two years ago. We started our first night in Rome, arriving a day early. Booked a hotel through RCL because I couldn't figure out where to stay -- to many choices. The hop on, hop off bus was not a good experience. Perhaps we were too tired or too hot. RCL port transfer got us to the ship a little slower and later than I would have prefered but we did miss the crowds. Pick up was 1 pm from the hotel but we had to make an additional hotel pick up. Our first port was Messina. We took the ship transfer to Touramina. We had the option to take a cab for $120 with the driver to wait 2 hours. The ship tour was 3 hours. What we were not told was that a lot of stores close from 1 to 4. We were in Touramina from 12 to 4. Most stores were very expensive. We did not have time to visit the Greek theater because my kids wanted to shop first. Messina was our least favorite port. In Athens we had a private tour through Nikos Loukas of privategreecetours. Manos was very friendly and knowlegable. He took us to the major ruins and gave us background history. We also saw some modern day sites. He took us to a handmade sandle shop. Definitely worth the money. Our next stop was Kusadasi and Ephesus. Definitely everyones favorite port. Booked a private tour through Ekol travel. Our guide was Alex. He took us through Ephesus, Sirince village, and a rug and leather factory. I would recommend a private tour in this port. Prices were good.Euros, US dollars or Turkish liras accepted every where. Our last port was Chania, Crete, Greece. Had no idea what to expect. Take the city bus for 1.50 Euro each way to the city center. The beach is a 15 minute walk. Behind the old market is a wonderful shopping bazar. Not hassled but found leather and jewerly to buy. Better than I expected. Give yourself enough time to get back. Several people arrived back at the port late. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Hope this helps others in their trip planning. Just came back from our June sailing. It was a great cruise, we (family of four) did not want it to end, it was our first time in Europe. Arrived in Rome (FCO) at noon on Friday, and took ... Read More
Hope this helps others in their trip planning. Just came back from our June sailing. It was a great cruise, we (family of four) did not want it to end, it was our first time in Europe. Arrived in Rome (FCO) at noon on Friday, and took the pre-arranged shuttle from the B&B (1 km north of the Vatican) we were staying at for 37 euros. On the Friday afternoon, walked to the Vatican (had pre-purchased Vatican Museums tickets online from the Vatican website before leaving). Visited the Vatican museums, very nice 2-hour tour, the guide spoke English but with a strong accent. Exited the Sistine Chapel using the right doors at the back for the shortcut to St.Peters Basilica. Then purchased the 5 euro tickets to climb up the 550 stairs of the St.Peters Basilica, to the top of the dome, great views on the city from there. Then walked back down to visit the Basilica. On the Saturday, took the Hop-on Hop-off bus to the Colosseum. We had pre-purchased the hop-on hop-off bus tickets for Rome and Messina. In hindsight, I would have taken the subway/metro or just taken a taxi and have them stop a few minutes at key spots (eg. Trevi fountain, etc) on the way to the Colosseum. Purchased the ticket for a group tour (25 euro pp) from a salesman in front of the Colosseum, it also included a guided tour of the Forum. The Colosseum guide again spoke English with a strong accent, she had a bit of trouble finding the right English words/phrases. The guide for the Forum was great, his name was James (from England I believe, and his accent was not a problem, he was doing this for free as advertising for his new business offering Vatican tours). Took a taxi on the Sunday to the Termini station, and then a train to the port of Civitavecchia at 9 euro, and then walked to the port (note there are stairs at the Civit. train station) A good website for newbies to Rome is www.roninrome.com, includes lots of info on getting around and using trains, etc. On the Monday, we took the hop-on hop-off bus tour of Messina (CitySightseeing, pre-purchased with a 25% voucher/discount coupon from moneysupermarket.com) We felt that we needed an down day after visiting Rome, and did not bother to book a more pricey excursion. Visited the 2 churches near the port (Cathedral of Messina (Duomo), and Annunziata dei Catalani Church), both churches are 2 meters below street level since they survived the devastating earthquakes, which levelled nearby buildings and were rebuilt on top of the rubble. We could have taken a taxi for much cheaper to visit the Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re. For the Tuesday (day at sea), make sure to grab a patio chair after breakfast, otherwise you'll be out of luck. For the Wednesday, we had reserved a tour with ephesusshuttle.com ($76pp for 4 persons, tour 4 including the terrace house), you only have to pay after the tour is done, the shopping at Ephesus is not the best. For those who want to buy souvenirs or do some shopping, the best prices can be found near the port of Kusadasi, if you cross the street there are lots of shops crammed together on the street incline. For the Thursday I visited Athens on my own, my wife and teens took the cruise ship excursion, since they were concerned it would be too hot. (they took the Bus tour of Athens + Plaka shopping at $59pp, the cheaper $39pp Bus tour of Athens was sold out), the cruise ship docked at terminal B (south east part of the port, and the furthest from the metro station) Before doing Athens on my own, I had downloaded the free MP3 audio tours from Rick Steves (http://www.ricksteves.com/news/audio-tours.htm) and saved them on my smart phone. I took the free shuttle to cruise terminal A, then walked down (you can also take the 843 or 859 bus, since it is a good mile) to the Piraeus metro station, and took the metro to the Thissio station (if you take the bus/metro (combined ticket is 1.40 euros, good for 90 minutes), don't forget to validate your ticket) From the Thissio station, walked to the Ancient Agora and purchased a 12 euro ticket (which also includes access to the Acropolis, Dionysus Theatre, Acropolis museum, etc), After the Agora, I made my way to the Aeropagus (Mars hill) where the Apostle Paul preached, and then on to the Acropolis, the Dionysus Theatre, Hadrian's Arch, the Temple of Zeus, and then walked to the Olympic stadium, and then back through the park to the Syntagma metro station, and back to the cruise port via the blue line metro to Monastiraki and the green line to Piraeus, and then took the 843 or 859 bus to the cruise terminal A, and the free shuttle to the cruise ship (at cruise terminal B). For those who want to shop, the Plaka is located between the Acropolis and the Monastiraki station. On the Friday, the ship docks at Souda (there is nothing to do or see there), we took the 3 euro return bus trip to Chania, and then walked to the water front, (some other cruisers we met were going to take a taxi to the Chrisi Akti beach which is apparently nice) we visited the Maritime museum (3 euro pp) but was disapointed that there was no english explanations or signs, after some shopping, we took the glass bottom boat tour with some snorkeling (25 euro for 3 persons) with http://www.captainnickchania.com/, there was nothing spectacular with the fish you see, but it was nice to refresh in the Mediterranean sea, and still well worth the price. There was one shop that was selling nice baseball style caps for 6 euros near Captain Nick's boat. On the Saturday, another day at sea, make sure you get a chair after breaky. Registered for the adult soccer tournament, but they only had 2 balls left, and they soon went over the side of the ship, so did not get to play. After deboarding the ship, we took the reserved shuttle (www.romashuttle.com) back to FCO airport (we had found another family of 4 on this board to share the shuttle with before the cruise). Btw, tried to get some euros from the ATM on the ship, that machine hardly ever works, it worked once out of about 10 attempts to withdraw (2 cruises now with RCCL that the ATM is almost useless), your best bet is probably an ATM on shore. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was a bargain opportunity trip, that was booked with no prior preference for doing another TranAtlantic. Saw the deal- booked it. :) This was cruise #72, and 4th TranAtlantic. This itinerery is not my preference, but my husband ... Read More
This was a bargain opportunity trip, that was booked with no prior preference for doing another TranAtlantic. Saw the deal- booked it. :) This was cruise #72, and 4th TranAtlantic. This itinerery is not my preference, but my husband prefers it. We spent 4 days prior in Rome, which is always a wonderful touring city. We took a CC arranged bus transfer, since my husband has some mobility issues which worked out excellent. In the past I have taken the cheap train. Embarkment was with a short wait and very organized. I had a large on board credit- that I was able to use, by getting the "My Time" dining on the ship. IF you want this at booking, you have to prepay the tips. This feature is not as well run as other lines. We were "tracked" into a time, at the same table for the most part. It certainly is not "freestyle. They keep you with the same wait staff, and hence the continued policy of individual tipping. It doesn't work well, in my opinion. But, food was good and survice was excellent, despite the appearance of being short staffed and looking overworked, which is another issue, I was conflicted about. I went to only a few shows, which were all good. We are Diamond, and with this status pretty ordinary- it was always over crowded at the events. In my opinion, it should be only open to those members and not extra "guests" that is sometimes complained about. The booking agent, included a very nice cocktail party and dinner for two, which we used in Chops. The wasted food, due to the too large portions, should be addressed perhaps? The ports were good and I toured independently in each. Livorno, I had a rental car, which I did require dock assistance getting back to the ship. :) The port area is NOT well marked. In Toulon, I went with a CC organized tour, which was excellent. In Barcelona- taking the city bus was superior to the ship bus. It dropped off right at the Christopher Columbus statue for half the price. :) The Hop on Hop off bus gives a great overview, which I've done before. I have never made the Azores due to weather/route cancellations. I have two more TranAtlantics booked next year- maybe. :) The 8 sea days, had me pretty bored, but the cruise overall certainly was very enjoyable anyway. The value of this sailing was excellent, but I would not have considered it, if it had not been. Disembarkment also went very smoothly. I had no problem getting a cab and making my 11:15am flight. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We went on Royal Caribbean's 7 night Eastern Mediterranean cruise leaving out of Civitavecchia and stopping in Sicily, Athens, Turkey and Crete. I was impressed with the efficiency of the check in process which went very fast. ... Read More
We went on Royal Caribbean's 7 night Eastern Mediterranean cruise leaving out of Civitavecchia and stopping in Sicily, Athens, Turkey and Crete. I was impressed with the efficiency of the check in process which went very fast. I believe we were in our room in about 30 minutes after arrival. I wasn't crazy about having to hand in my passport (only applicable for non-EU passport holders) but the passports were returned quite promptly on the last night of the cruise without any problem. We had an interior stateroom on deck 7. Our room was fine. Nothing spectacular, but it was clean and the bed was comfortable enough which was good. The bathroom is small, but functional. No clocks in the room, so bring a travel clock if you feel you need one. We ate at the Windjammer each morning for breakfast and the dining room each night for dinner. We didn't pay to upgrade to any of the other restaurants. I found the Windjammer to be ok. Its not top of the line gourmet, but hey its a buffet, so you have to take that into consideration. I thought it was fine as there were plenty of choices of different foods. Coffee, hot tea, iced tea, lemondade, water and a fruit flavored water are free. The coffee was not so great, although they do serve Seattle's Best, which is usually good. But, wonderful coffee awaits you at each port, thankfully. The dining room was also fine for dinner. We had an 8:30 dinner time and always had a nice time at dinner. Luckily we liked our table mates that we were assigned, so it was a pleasant experience. The food was ok, nothing reminiscient of the restaurants we have in NYC, but it was fine and sometimes very good. Our waitstaff was very good. No complaints there. I usually had a glass of wine which began at around $8. A gratuity is automatically applied to each drink purchase and charged to your Sea Pass account. We thought the price was reasonable in relation to our typical NYC prices. As far as the ports: The first stop, Messina, Sicily, was nice. We did not book a shore excursion but rather elected to just walk around the town which was very easily done from the port. We also took a short bus tour which picked up in the center near the old church which has a clocktower show at noon where various statues on the church move and appear to dance around. My husband thought it was corny but I thought it was cute. After the show we took the bus tour for 15 euros which was quite short and just ok. The skies opened up and started to pour once we were on the open air bus, so maybe that put a damper on our experience. There is a shopping district that is walkable from the boat, just ask directions when getting off the boat if you want to do some shopping. And a word to the wise: don't be late getting back to the ship, if the sign says to be back at 5, then be back before 5, because that boat is pulling away at 5:01. No joke! Next, Athens, Greece. Most of Athens looked like buildings built in the 1960's or 70's that looked blah and without character and full of unsightly graffitti, but the Acropolis was incredible. We booked a shore excursion through the boat because it was just our luck that there was a transportation strike on our day of arrival thus any other type of transportation was not reliable and you would run the risk of missing the boat if you got caught up in traffic jams due to the strike. I heard that the boat won't leave you behind if their tour bus is late, so we opted for that route. I feel like we overpaid for our tour, but it provided a comfort level that we weren't going to get left behind if the strike caused problems. I wish Royal Caribbean was a little more reasonable when pricing their shore excursions, but they got us back to the boat without problem, so I can't really complain too much. We toured the Acropolis and would recommend doing that if you can walk up many stairs and over some rough terrain without much trouble. Its really great to be able to walk right up to the Acropolis sight and see it so closely. Next, Kusadasi, Turkey. We loved Turkey. We had so much fun shopping at all the shops right off the cruise terminal that we spent all day doing just that. If you are in the market for rug or a leather jacket, then this is the stop for you. I also saw some very good looking fake Louis Vuitton bags, with real leather handels,etc, but couldn't bring myself to buy a fake. All I did here was shop, so I can't offer any other details on any sightseeing here. Next, Crete. Crete was a cute, fun stop. You will need to take a public bus which comes directly to the cruise terminal and will take you into town. I think the cost is 3 euro each way. The walk to town would be too far, especially since this is a short stop withh the boat only staying until 2:30. The town has plenty of shops and places to stop and eat or get a coffee. As far as days at sea, we went to a couple of shows. The ice show was pretty good, they have some great skaters on board. The variety show got boring after awhile because the one I saw was just dancing, not really a "variety" but the dancers were good dancers, I have to give them that credit. We played bingo once, but only once as it was expensive to play. I think I paid $22 per card. All in all, I'd say this was a good cruise. The rooms are not brand new, but they are most importantly clean. Staff is very good and always helpful which makes for nice experience. I wasn't completely wowed over this cruise, but was quite satisfied with it. This is also my first cruise, so I think I had really high expectations and don't have anything to compare it to either. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
It was OK, my mom and I are both easy people and didn't encounter any bad experiences on board. However I don't think we will sail again anytime soon. When reading other reviews keep in mind you should do lots of research ... Read More
It was OK, my mom and I are both easy people and didn't encounter any bad experiences on board. However I don't think we will sail again anytime soon. When reading other reviews keep in mind you should do lots of research yourself. I noticed many are negative by surprises they could have avoided if only they did their research. Embarkation: Maybe I didn't do enough research in this area specifically, but I wished there was a sign with "Wait until your shuttle bus arrives here". Instead lots of ppl were like chicken without heads (as we were), and there was no one in the tourist information desk. As the result we, like lots of ppl, walked all the way to the wrong port under the Italian sun. Great when you just got off a sauna-train with the heat generated by human sweat. I made my luggage tags at home so this exchange went very smoothly. The porter didn't seem to expect any tips for the 2 seconds work. The check-in was OK too, though they should have used microphones when calling your number. The announcer was barely hear-able, not surprising in the cacophony of ppl. We waited there for 30min maximum. Inside we went straight to our room, and only a few minutes our luggage arrived, talk about good timing! Public rooms: They were maintained and never too crowded despite the 3000+ passengers (unless there was some special occasion). I don't think you can expect more than that, unless you're an unreasonable person like me. Cabin: It was small, but hey what do you expect of an interior cabin? Everything was placed very functionally and there were lots of drawers to get rid of our garbage in our luggage cases. If there is a next time I would go for a window, nothing beats some light in the morning when you wake up from a nightmare. Our cabin was located under the pool and while there was an oozing noise we're not sure whether it's because of the pool or something else. It didn't bother us much though, taking in account that my mom can fall asleep through the shows and me being able to sleep through her snores. There's no clock but you can set the alarm via the phone. Summarised: we got what we purchased and it was nice. Fitness and Recreation: The fitness had almost everything we needed, loved the water and towels on the side, and the cleaning tissues to wipe out the bodily fluids came in very handy too, we don't have that in our fitness centers! I only missed a skipping rope amidst the modern equipments. The sports desk was nice too, maybe they could have added more ping-pong tables, maybe ppl wouldn't have to wait that long. Enrichment: They tried their best I can give them that. But two concerns: the timing never seemed right, we would be ashore most of their lectures. Secondly they didn't seem very interesting. Rates: For drinks, they were standard prices, I didn't think they were overly expensive. Especially the ice-water, lemonade, coffee and tea were greatly priced. About Spa, we'd rather go to the real Spa, it's only a few hours further away from where we live, they're less expensive ashore. Why going all the way to a ship for a Spa-treatment is a mystery to me. The shore-excursions are overprices compared to private excursions, but it's a choice you make yourself whether you want to through the hassle of the alternatives. And let's not talk about the photos, I read they were expensive but $19.95 for a picture?! No thanks! RCL really are concerned about the environment(you know, with their suggestion of reusing our towels). I think the trees are thankful that they print out ALL the pictures taken. Of course they will keep the unsold pictures as a souvenir to their 3000+ passengers. I had a great time looking through the pics on deck 3 though, especially the ones taken with captain Eric. The poor man, it must have been hard retaining the same face for hours. But perhaps I am mistaken and it wasn't the flesh captain Eric but the carton one. RCL also organises Greek and Turkish Bazaars. They forgot to mention that the products were made in Israel and China respectively. Of course they're a bit more expensive than those found ashore. Food: Now I'm one of the easiest yet most difficult to please eater. I eat everything (unless it aches the stomach), but it takes more to amaze me. The food on board was good, especially when you consider the quantity, but I rarely wanted seconds of the same dish. Food tastes great when they're hot, but when serving 3000+ passengers it's a hard feat to accomplish. My suggestion is installing a microwave for those who wish to use it. The food in the dining room was never hot as well, and it never surpassed the Windjammer. We decided to stay with the buffet after three nights in de MDR, takes less time and there's more choice. I also think the food was too American-oriented. Deserts flavours changed all the time, it it wasn't mango flavoured then it was shoe flavoured (just kidding!) but it never surpassed the ones in the supermarkets. The most horrible things in the Windjammer were the soft-ice and the cookies: they miss-named the ice-cream, it should have been called hard-ice! Cookies are all mushy, maybe they sopped it in the coffee for us but forgot to add the coffee favour. What I liked most were the bread with Mediterranean vegetables and the bruschetta (if there was mozzarella available). Both aren't meant to be eaten very warm so they were delicious. Also had my first American-style greasy hamburger of Johnny Rockets, the grease leaking through the packing paper looked so appetising, and the meat pats were thicker than I imagined! Big 5/5! Summarised: food, be it from the Windjammer of MDR, can be compared to chains like Lunch garden, but with more choice. Drinks: Cocktails weren't expensive at all, but I would have paid more with pleasure if they had more soul. Most were juice-mixes with ice and a shot of strong alcohol. I'll stick with the cocktails of a real cocktail bar. Entertainment: They did try their best here as well, but it didn't really spark my interest. I've seen better performances on YouTube, unless the professional guest performers were on the podium. The most horrible show was the musical though they sang and danced well. There was just no story in it. I suggest some theater, but it would probably be too apparent if someone snored. In the evenings there were only money-earning bars and a casino but that's OK, we had to get up early for the excursions anyway. Service: They were friendly and eager to please, which is the least what I expect from someone in the service industry. Most smiles were too forceful which lead me to think whether they're after the gratuities. A person behind a genuine-looking smile is probably also after some tips, but at least I wouldn't be so suspicious. Ah but don't take my words to heart, I'm just very very twisted. The state-room attendant and our waiters did a wonderful job. Shore excursions: Like mentioned before, they are overpriced. We took the Taormina on our own and Ancient Athens. We did get what was advertised so no biggies here. About the call of ports, though you can find souvenirs anywhere, you can re-find most of these products back in Chania(near Souda the last port of call) for a cheaper price. Value for money: We went on this cruise by special promotion so it was definitely worth our money, considering we had a nice place to sleep and never had to go hungry (There is 1 kg more of me now). I can recommend this cruise line for anyone who wants to have fun with friends, lover and family, or for those who wants to escape the stress of daily life. I can tell you this because I haven't been spying on ppl under my sun glasses for nothing! The reason why we won't be cruising anymore is that our personalities don't suit cruising. My mom can't understand English and isn't interested in history. I personally hate lazing around sun-sea-beach vacations. The places the ports do are overly commercialised and there's not much time to visit the more ethnic places. The 'grand' and 'exaggerating' display in shows, art displays ("Though worth $9 999, we will give you an amazing price of only $4 750!" ...sure they don't want to earn money)etc also ticked me off a bit, but it's also a fun thing to mock with later on. I don't regret going on this cruise because it's an additional experience. I loved walking on the lower decks(read empty) and feel the sea wind in my face. I liked reading a book while taking a sip of a bad cocktail and finding strange white objects floating on the sea. The sights of the rising and dawning sun in the sea were breathtakingly beautiful and definitely worth the '5.20am getting up and returning to bed half an hour later'-trip. I don't know what other first-time cruisers look for in a cruise, but to me those moments were the most memorable ones that you can only experience on a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Dad once asked me why I loved to travel so much. My answer was "there is so much world to see and so little time to see it". If I could describe the adventure that we experienced the past 20 plus days in a few words - it would be ... Read More
Dad once asked me why I loved to travel so much. My answer was "there is so much world to see and so little time to see it". If I could describe the adventure that we experienced the past 20 plus days in a few words - it would be - TOTAL SENSORY OVERLOAD! MUSIC The music on the ship was live - not canned - and good, from acoustic guitar, to Latin, opera, broadway, etc. What a joy. We took a tango lesson - and danced the merenge almost every night at Boleros! Ole! PEOPLE We met people from all over the world - and they all loved to travel. Our dinner companions were a couple from Virginia (Bill and Lynne), a couple from Canada (David and Bonnie) and a lady our age traveling alone - who lived in Washington DC (Helen). The captain said ours was the liveliest table. Our waiter was wonderful as he talked of family and home. David told jokes and Dianne F even got him to tell some Ole and Lena jokes. Our days and nights were filled with warmth and laughter... There are others we met and saw on the ship that stand out in my mind - like the elderly couple I saw at dawn, holding hands and walking quietly together...or the young man traveling alone in a wheelchair who did not let his handicap stop him from living... I sat and talked with him many times - he full of warmth and smiles. Or the young girl traveling by herself who had pink hair, pink nails, pink purse and pink shoes and clothes - I nicknamed her Pinkie of course and we would meet and talk almost every day on deck. OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME Our ship was the Navigator of the Seas and after talking with many people - it seemed to be a favorite - because of the overall warmth of the staff and travelers. This ship offered lectures every day on various subjects - we went to one on the Straits of Gibraltar - and it was wonderful. They had an ice skating rink as well - which I tried - for five minutes! Unfortunately the skates were hockey skates and my ankles started screaming! The crossing from Fort Lauderdale to Tenerife, just off the west coast of northern Africa - was good. We did have a little rain and wind (35 mph) with approximately 15-20 ft seas - but it wasn't anything the Navigator could not handle. She was a big, big ship! It took us nine days to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Dianne F thought she might get bored - NOT!!!! There was so much to do and see every day, we couldn't do/see it all. Most nights we went to the stateroom early, tired but happy, intending to go to bed - but inevitably, we would stay up talking until midnight! Dianne went dancing one night with friends she had met, at a club called "The Dungeon" - and didn't come "home" till 1:00 in the morning! You go girl! PORTS OF CALL In Tenerife, our first port of call - we went to the top of Mount Teide - which is volcanic. The view was breathtaking and humbling. What a magnificent place. In Majorca we noodled through cobblestoned alleyways, up and down ancient staircases, got prints from a local artist for 4 euros (cheap), talked to Milo and Mom in the quiet beauty of an old Majorcan church.... In Ajaccio - we jumped on a tram that took us all over this small French island, along the beautiful coast and back again. We walked the streets that Napoleon walked as a boy - and while looking for an open bathroom found three wise old French women who pointed and said "NO TOILETTE - LE BUSH"!!!! Viva le France! There was a farewell party on deck that last night before Rome... sadly we said goodbye to all of the friends we had made and the wonderful staff who took such good care of us. Most, like us, were staying in Rome for awhile - or traveling to other exotic places. We were ready for the next chapter!! ROME We landed in Civitavecchia - which is the port to which all cruise ships must come. From there you can get to Rome a few different ways. You can take the boat excursion which would cost $91.00 per person, rent a cab at equal cost or take the train or bus for approx. 4 euros. We took the train! Picture us trundling our large suitcases over cobblestone streets to the train station. Then picture us slowly banging these suitcases up and down stairs trying to get to the right train before it left! Thankfully, some locals realized that if they were going to make their train on time they would have to pick up the back of our suitcases and push us up and down the stairs - which they did! And voilla! We made it! We got off where we were supposed to - the San Pietro station near the Vatican and took a cab to our B & B - ROMA VATICANA. (the weather in Rome was supposed to be a cool 65 degrees. NOT!! It was in the mid-80's and hotter than heck)! Our B & B was spartan and cheap - but the location was great. We spent first afternoon at St. Peter's Basilica - with our mouths wide open, looking at all of the beautiful art. We got to see the Beatification of Pope John Paul Exhibit there, which was wonderful. It rained a little but we did not care. We were in Rome. What did we do in Rome?? Everything. We got a Metro card which let us use the trains, subways, busses and trams - the whole while we were there. We visited every Piazza, Da Vinci Museum, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum, we got lost in the Borghese Gardens and best of all - we got to hear the arias sung from some of the major operas - at the Anglican Church near the Opera House. Amazing! -2- Dianne had young friends there in Rome that Milo and her met and spent time with while having an adventure on the Transiberian Railroad - and we managed to meet them in Trestevere on two occasions. The first time the four of us had dinner together in a wonderful restaurant near the Ponte Sisto and the second time they brought their two children with. Francesco and Julia - tre' bella!!! We spent five days and four nights in Rome and once again, the people we met along the way will stick in our memories... the ones who helped us navigate the trains, busses, streets and sites of this glorious city. My heart was full - but sad at leaving this ancient city. As I packed the last few things in my suitcase I heard the soft, plaintive sounds of a violin being played and went from room to room trying to find where it was coming from. I opened the bathroom window and the music soared up from the old airshaft below - music that mirrored my feelings so totally. I imagined a violinist from Rome's orchestra living in one of the little pensiones there, practicing for the evening's performance. Ah - the beauty of it all.... GOING BACK HOME Each of us planned very well - and I can honestly say that we both really only had one brain fart apiece! Dianne F was so busy looking up at the beautiful buildings that she fell off a curb - but thankfully, only skinned her knee. I lost our return tickets but luckily found them tucked in my journal! The flight to Dusseldorf, Germany was fine - the good night sleep we had at our hotel was even better (some people had to sleep at the airport). Air Berlin was great with good food, good service. Miami was hot and sticky (almost 90 degrees) and it took awhile for Leon to find us - but we made it home. We had our last dinner on Fort Lauderdale beach at one of my favorite restaurants named H20 - where an aging male model regaled us with stories of a modeling shoot he was on in Russia where he endured the sounds of a cross-eyed soprano opera singer in Moscow!!! It seemed the perfect way to end this wonderful adventure. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This is a review for first time cruiser by a 1st timer. Having never been on a cruise, I had nothing to compare so I read some reviews & hopefully you will read some different reviews before booking a trip. I didn't really think I ... Read More
This is a review for first time cruiser by a 1st timer. Having never been on a cruise, I had nothing to compare so I read some reviews & hopefully you will read some different reviews before booking a trip. I didn't really think I would like it that much and I was a little nervous, but it ended up being one of the best times I have ever had with my wife. If you are seeking a quiet, private, romantic getaway, away from kids, or if you are a food snob then a Jamaican cruise at the end of spring break is not for you. If you are xenophobic, racist, dislike kids or foreigners, or reggae, or intolerant of poverty, etc, then again, a cruise to Labadee/Jamaica is not for you. If that doesn't bother you, then you are probably in for a really good time. My overall review is very positive but I wanted to put this at the beginning in hopes that it has a better chance of being viewed by RCI. The service on Navigator was outstanding, some of the best service I have ever had anywhere. The wait staff was so on top of it, Every server called you by your name, anyone that took your card said "Thank you Mr. ...." Very friendly, accommodating, just fanstastic. With so much emphasis on service I can't for the life of me understand why they put people that aren't proficient in English in customer service positions. It is the thing I found most people complained about. The Ukrainian girl who ran trivia and guy that ran the sports are perfect examples of when it was appropriate. Both were attractive and vivacious. Her personality and accent made it seem like it was being hosted by Zsa Zsa Gabor, perfectly awesome. All us jocks were laughing because no one could understand a work the sports guy was saying, but he still did a good job, and It is only a ball game. I know the foreign accent makes it exotic, I get it. All of our waiters native language was not English, it was totally cool. Our tour guide, cave guide, falls guides, room attendants, the band, etc all had thick Jamaican accents, & totally added to the whole experience. Captain Patrick had a great voice/accent, loved it! BUT ...But when you need important info involving money, or booking an excursion, or need room service, or need to know when the sun goes down, etc. Then you need someone who can communicate, some one that can help, and here is the area RCI failed miserably. I would say 90% of the cruisers are English speaking Americans and I find conflict with putting someone that can't understand or speak English in those important customer service positions. It unnecessarily holds up the excursion lines, It delays room service (I failed to get room service twice), I missed a wake up call, I was given wrong times for events and sunset, and the list goes on. There are too many other positions available that could be filled that doesn't require important exchange of info. They are serving 3000 people, efficiency is too important!!!! The only other major flaw was the size of the pool(s). There is 3000 people and the only adult pool is 12'x12'? It is almost like they chose fashion over function. I LOVE my kids, I have coached 12 teams in 8 years, but we did not take our kids and I wanted to relax. It was impossible to get 2 chairs in the Solarium (adult area) and the tiny common area pools were ALWAYS jammed packed with kids. I just thought the boat could have been laid out a little better. I also thought there could have been adult swim at some times. The other thing that bugged me personally is that children are allowed to sit AT THE BAR in a nightclub with people drinking (just tacky and not right)!!!! They are allowed IN THE CASINO (wrong)!!! The night they had Teen night in the Dungeon, it ruined the best Club for the rest of the night! I think it ruined the atmosphere on several occaisions. Those are my only real complaints. The rest is mostly positive ... That said, let's get to the "Meat" of this review. Food: I read so many negative reviews on the food I expected the food to be really generic. I read 3 reviews comparing the food to Golden Corral. I was thinking that they were comparing the nightly sit down dinner with GC and that is very unfair. I was happy to find out that the sit down dinner had prime rib (very good), duck (good), lobster tail (tasty!), NY Strip (yummy), shrimp cocktail (Good, but small), some very good desserts ... So soon as Golden Corral has all that for $10 just let me know. Also, the waitstaff is off- the-hook awesome. We had 3 incredible waiters constantly bringing us everything we wanted. They knew all our names from the first night on. It is a really cool 3 floor dining room with balconies and chandeliers. .... Now the Windjammer has a buffet similar to GC or a decent casino buffet from morning until about 8:30 pm and that was fine with me! The other place is the 5th floor deli that is open 24 hours. It has small, tasty sandwiches always ready and some decent pizza served up until 3:00 am. The service there sucks, the guys are rude and surly probably cuz it is a late crowd and there is always kids there. So if you are not a gormet chef or the aforementioned food snob, then the food is pretty frickin' good considering they are feeding 3000 people for a week! My criticism of the food is that the sitdown dinner is limited to tea and water ... Boring. The soda package for a couple is 16.00 per day. My other dislike was we had a late seating and sometimes would be there at 10 pm!!! My other complaint Was that the Frozen Yogurt was always running out and no one would give me a pitcher of ice water. My dinner suggestions would be to follow the dress code and review table etiquette. Entertainment ... We liked the female singer in the Cosmopolitan. We loved the games shows and the Trivia was a blast (a little too easy when 10 groups get them all right, though). Ice carvings were cool, the basketball and dodgeball tournaments were a blast, too. Our friends did the some gambling tournaments and loved it. The NCAA finals were on the movie theatre screen, AWESOME! And there was lots of activities for kids/teens. Negative: The mall singers were terrible. I couldn't stand the piano guy. And it was one of the worst karaoke song lists that I have seen anywhere (only oldies!!!). Also, they had a Bartender competition during the outdoor dance party, but when it was over, it killed all the dancing for the rest of the night. Aside from the karaoke, none of that affected my stay one bit, and all can be avoided. Although the pool side band is too loud at some times Clubs: I was pretty skeptical about how good a club can be on a ship. And most of the clubs were pretty lame, but The Dungeon was one of the coolest bar setups I have seen anywhere. Great lighting, great lines, great theme, nice dance floor, cool lights, smoke machine and video screen of the dancers ... But extremely limited music selections. They didn't have anything we requested (Prince, no?) And basically played the same few songs every night. They had an 80s night that everyone went to and a MJ tribute. If you are looking for a quiet, laid back, more romantic vibe The Cosmopolitan Club is really nice. It is dark, the band has a smokey, loungy feel, the bartenders are mellow ... Pretty cool. The other bars weren't really our style, but there is something for everyone. The negative: the drinks are sooo overpriced. Alcohol is dirt cheap in the Carribean, we bought 2 LITRES (not fifths) of rum for $19.99!!! So they probably get it for $5 for a liter, or $3 for a fifth!!! Yet drinks are $7-8. Too much. The cheapest wine package was $135 for 5 bottles of mediocre wine (?!?!?!?!). Even the water package was something like $40 a gallon!!! You're on a boat in 3000 feet deep of water, every direction you look you see water, and the most abundant resource on earth is $40 a gallon? I think it is ridiculous. Labadee: The excursions were very limited and nothing seemed worth the price, so we just went to the beach and it was a great time. The beach chairs were free, don't forget to bring a couple beach towels from the ship (return them or be charged!). It is not the same soft white sand beaches like Florida but it is very beautiful and we took some cool photos. Dragon's Rock makes for some good photos, Weslie's Beach has some great pics, too. The zipline was $90 each for one ride, not worth it on our budget!. It looked fun, but it ruined the natural view and relaxing on the beach because every couple minutes, someone flew by screaming. Annoying. It was fun hiking around the island, but every thing had a fake, inauthentic feel. It reminded me of the old Jungle Cruise in Disneyland with fake handmade directional signs, and cheesy vending booths. If you can't handle aggressive, rude 'salespeople', or someone making suggestive comments to your wife or daughter, or trying to sell you pot, then avoid the vending area. It is kinda fun, but it gets annoying real fast. We were skeptical about eating in Haiti but all the food (& ice) was brought off of the boat. Actually the ribs/lunch was good! RCI advertises Labadee as an island, but actually it is a peninsula with a fence that separates it from Haiti. I think it is a private "island" owned by RCI. Also, considering the high rates of AIDS in Haiti and the recent tsunami, I would suggest taking insect repellant and not having sex with anyone from the island. Jamaica: New port in Falmouth, totally bad idea. It is 30-50 miles to Montego Bay & Ocho Rios. There is nothing in Falmouth so you have to pay $200 round trip cab ride or take excursion just to go anywhere. There isn't any decent shopping in Falmouth (or Labadee) so you almost have to take an excursion. We did the Green Grotto Caves/Dunn's River Falls tour. The falls are almost a requirement when visiting Jamaica and both excursions were fun, but overrated. The falls are beautiful, but there are literally hundreds of people climbing all at the same time, thus ruining the natural beauty. The "guides" are very aggressive, and groups joining hands and singing, and vendors bugging you to mug for the camera (and tips) are also very annoying. The park next to the falls is beautiful and picturesque. When you finish your climb you have to go thru a vendors area to get back to the bus. If you take the left path you go thru the hyperaggressive male section, but if you go right, you go thru the mellower female vendors where you can browse. All the vendors have the same generic stuff and they are all fighting for your tourist dollar. Two sets of our friends were very upset with the vendors, & reviews of vendors grabbing, physically blocking exits, separating couples etc are not uncommon. The falls are very dangerous and one should be in good physical condition to climb. The is a paved walkway right beside the falls if you don't want to climb. Personally, I loved it and would like to be there on a slow day. I wish we had more time in Jamaica. Two out of 5 hours were on the bus. The ship should have docked in Ocho Rios (Or Montego Bay). Green Grotto Caves: I am from Indiana and have been through a dozen show caves from Indy to Kentucky. I have never seen a cave so damaged, so poorly kept and it smelled like someone was roasting a skunk. American caves emphasize preservation, ecology, etc. But The Jamaican guides told pirate stories and at least 10 bat poop jokes. Rarely explaining any geological info & Letting people walk on stalactites. I love caves so it was still very cool to see. The cave was different than our karst caves, they are warm with lots of larger bats flying around everywhere. After the tour we all went back to the office and had rum punch. After a couple cups of the strong punch, we all had a nice buzz and continued on to the falls. The Jamaica you see on the tour is nothing like the Jamaica advertised on the commercials. The new highway makes it a much quicker trip, but it is not through the mountains, trees or by the ocean. You see a lot of trash in the streets, lots and yards. You see some depressing poverty next to extravagant mansions and lavish resorts and golf courses. I didn't see one recognizable chain restaurant in the hour drive, yet the falls, the cave and the beach at Labadee were very commercialized. We loved our tour guide, a beautiful, smart Jamaican woman, and our bus driver was really cool, too. Don't expect too much and it will be a fantastic trip. I wish we had gone to a cool beach. Our friends swam with dolphins and loved it. Some other people we met on the ship took a cab from Falmouth to Montego Bay to see the Jamaica not on the excursions. They said they had fun but were a little scared at times. It was almost $200 with tip and they said it was worth every penny. Tips: Here are a couple tips ... Buy cheap booze on the ship on the last day. If you don't like you dinner seating, change it on the first day. Book your excursion early, they fill up fast (one can book BEFORE you are on the ship). The back of the ship is less choppy than the front. There are no alarm clocks on the ship, so bring one if you want to see the time while in bed. If you want a spot in the Solarium or by the pool, then get there early! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Well, I have not written these for every cruise, I should. We started cruising just a year ago, have taken 5 in the last year. We consider ourselves seasoned travelers and when traveling by land, prefer to stay at luxury properties - 4S, ... Read More
Well, I have not written these for every cruise, I should. We started cruising just a year ago, have taken 5 in the last year. We consider ourselves seasoned travelers and when traveling by land, prefer to stay at luxury properties - 4S, Waldorf, Ritz. So we are bit spoiled and prefer the nicer things. And we just may have taken our last RC cruise. Blech describes the overall experience. We will stick with Celebrity and Princess and HAL moving forward. I already have Mem Day booked on the RC Freedom so we may stick with that one, we have a family suite and the ship is newer so am hopeful.BEST thing about the Nav was Portofino, DEEEEElightful! Best $20 I spent. Loved it, everything about it: food, service, superb.WORST think about the Nav - it is in terrible shape. Seriously - the bars inside the elevators looked as if they had been gnawed. The carpet was so disgusting down our hallway and the smell so bad, I had to hold my nose for the walk to the room. The whole experience was like a really bad Hilton. When we were on the Solstice, I felt like I was on the 4S at Sea...lovely! Ahh, happy memories.Bottom line - if RC gave me the Royal Suite for a trip the Mediterranean for FREE on the Nav, I would pass. It was in poor shape, the food in the MDR was decent, the buffet was disgusting, the service was hit or miss. Certainly there are always a few who just go above and beyond. Some awfully nice service people aboard but honestly, why anyone would say nice things about this experience is beyond me. If you like 'nice' and you want a lido that has at least decent food, you are on the WRONG ship and possibly the wrong cruise line. We'll see what I think of the Freedom in May. Meanwhile, I am on the HAL Westerdam next week, with high expectations! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Went on a 5 day cruise with Royal Carribbean on Navigator of the seas in February. Two ports of call were Grand Caymen and Cozumel. Embarkation was Fort Lauderdale. Had a great time, but wanted to share some tips and tricks with you so you ... Read More
Went on a 5 day cruise with Royal Carribbean on Navigator of the seas in February. Two ports of call were Grand Caymen and Cozumel. Embarkation was Fort Lauderdale. Had a great time, but wanted to share some tips and tricks with you so you can have a great time too. First of all, my husband and I went with my sister and her husband, so we had two couples in our group. Our ages range from 42-49. We did not have children with us. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale the night before embarkation, and my sister booked us a hotel on priceline. The hotel was great, Sheraton, $75.00 per night. The only problem was, it was a $40 taxi ride from the airport to the hotel, and another $40 from the hotel to the cruise port. ADVICE: find a hotel that has a free shuttle to and from airport/cruise terminal. The cruise line said to arrive no earlier than 2 p.m., but we had to check out of the hotel and were excited to get going. This was my sister's first cruise, and my fourth. All of my cruises have been on Royal. We arrived at noon. There were others ready to get on as well so no problem. My sister did not print out her cruise documents so she was a little concerned, but there was no problem at all. Once onboard we went to the Viking Lounge, had a frozen cocktail and waited for the ship to leave port. Overall the ship was great. I have been on the smaller class ships previously, and actually I prefer the smaller ships. The schooner bar is cozier on the small ships. On Navigator it was more of a walk by hallway kind've bar. Anyway, the Navigator has a huge promenade which reminded me of the hotels in Vegas, ie..shopping, bars, etc all along the hallway. They had singers and music there at night which was nice. We spent a lot of time in the casino playing black jack, and we won most of the nights. Granted, we play under $50 a night, but most nights we came out 20-50 ahead. My sister was positive at the end of the trip and I was down a bit, but I don't mind if I can sit at the table for a couple of hours and play on 20 bucks. Before we left home we spent a great deal of time reviewing things to do on Grand Caymen and Cozumel. I really wanted to do the stingray trip, (although it sounds cheesy). I booked a trip before we left, however, they did not take any money down to reserve the space. Once we got to Grand Caymen there were trip "sales people" all over the place offereing discounts. Plus, the stingray city was closed due to waves and winds. We booked a trip with Rowan, and they took us to a different location to snorkel. It was wavy but we are actually divers so used to the water. Couple of stingray showed up so we ended up having a good time. ADVICE: These trip sales people are all wheeling and dealing. Everyone on our boat paid a different price from 25-40 dollars each. Made me mad that I paid more so I did not feel the need to tip. BOOK YOUR TRIP AT THE PORT AND TRY TO NEGOTIATE YOUR PRICE. Our next stop was Cozumel. We booked a dive excersion through the ship because even though we are certified we have not done a dive in a long time and wanted a refresher. Cost was $99. Our dive master Adrian was great. The dive was ok, a little hokey..ie: not too much to see. We were able to walk right in from shore. After that, we got a taxi and asked him to take us to a beach. He took us to Paradise Beach Club. Do not go there. We tried to get some drinks and nachos and after 1 hour and 20 minutes we still were not served so we up and left. Everyone there was mad. We got dropped off at a cute little beach with a restaurant/shack. Had great food and a 40 minute massage on the beach for $30.00. Had a great time on the ship. Food was good, shows were great, except for some bad comedian, but hey it was fun and entertaining. Ice skaing show was good. Went to the trivia game, 80's dance night in the dungeon (cool kind've underground disco). Staff was nice. Drinks were priced reasonable. Disembarkation was a little annoying. We carried our bags off and they corralled everyone and made them wait. When we got off we had to go by a drug dog, many people were pulled aside. And, a young man had cuban cigars in his bag and he got detained, so don't get any ideas. Taxi back to airport was weird. The drivers were all trying to rip us off with different prices. We got a taxi for $30 price, and I think our driver was either drunk, high, or stupid because he was driving like a crazy person. The meter said $14 and we gave him a $20 and he said ok. ADVICE: GET A SET PRICE ON THE TAXI TO THE AIRPORT> All in all way had a great time. My sister is ready for her next cruise and so am I!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We are loyal members of the Royal Caribbean cruise lines. We love their ships, service, and staff. Over the past 7 years we have taken at least 8-9 cruises with them and every time we have come back with good things to say. We live in the ... Read More
We are loyal members of the Royal Caribbean cruise lines. We love their ships, service, and staff. Over the past 7 years we have taken at least 8-9 cruises with them and every time we have come back with good things to say. We live in the Midwest. We usually get a balcony cabin, but this time we talked our daughter into sharing a Royal Family Suite. We figured we would get "royal treatment". What a stupid thought. We were treated no different in our rooms than if we had a balcony cabin. Sure we had some chairs around the pool, and at the theater, but the lounge experience we were kicked out of just a few months before (we are only diamond members) was terrible. All five nights there were no places to sit and enjoy a drink or a snack. All five nights I asked if they were going to expand the area and each night i was told "IT WILL BE BETTER TOMORROW". It was not. I asked if I could take my glass of wine out of the area and it was taken away from me or I was told "NO!". One time the waiter actually took the glass out of my hand. I just related with whole story to two RCL reps and they said "we are sorry". That's it. Sorry. "It should not have happened." This is it for me. I played by their rules to become diamond to enjoy a perk they invented. They took it away to serve the suite members. I paid the money to get the Royal Suite to enjoy the perk they invented, and they took that away too.. Hope you have better luck. I am looking elsewhere. Petercal Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We did the Christmas cruise (husband and I). I've been on other Christmas cruises and didn't particularly like the large amount of kids/families. However, on this ship I never felt crowded or that the cruise was taking on a ... Read More
We did the Christmas cruise (husband and I). I've been on other Christmas cruises and didn't particularly like the large amount of kids/families. However, on this ship I never felt crowded or that the cruise was taking on a Disney theme. In fact, there were a few times we looked at each other and asked "where is everyone?" We had dinner in Chops and Portofino. Both were great. I felt it was well worth the extra money. It was a shame since we had some nice table partners at our large dining room. We only had dinner once in the main dining room. We both felt the staff kept the ship clean and that anytime that we were near the windjammer buffet, it felt clean and well kept. In fact, we ran into some of the best crew members in the windjammer. One night we had just wanted a light quite dinner with a bottle and spent it in the windjammer. This was not something we had ever done before and something I never imagined that we would enjoy quite so much. One suggestion that we had for the ship was to come up with more small crowd activities. I've seen enough belly flop contests to last for a long long time - and we like to party and have fun. . . i guess it just gets a little old to see the same activities. We had to smile at the changes RCCL made with the Quest game show. It was still fun to watch and we imagine that the new format helps with injuries! We took a rear balcony cabin. It wasn't nice. I would never do that again. The balcony doesn't overlook anything and it was our fault for not checking this ahead of time. We've had other rear cabins that were nice but this ship layout it wasn't good. Don't do it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We just got back from our b2b Med cruises on Navigator of the Seas which was booked through a Certified Vacation Planner at RCL. Check in went fine. Getting on board was easy and we avoided the long lines by using the diamond entrance ... Read More
We just got back from our b2b Med cruises on Navigator of the Seas which was booked through a Certified Vacation Planner at RCL. Check in went fine. Getting on board was easy and we avoided the long lines by using the diamond entrance line. We got settled in the room and went about seeing the ship. She is beautiful...and bigger than we remember. We ate in the windjammer and could not help but notice the difference in food offered and how it was prepared. We were assured that it was because of the Italian presence on board. For instance, they do not like crispy bacon. And they like more spice than I am used to. There was also a noticeable lack of choices compared to other cruises. This is our 15 cruise with RCL and the third time on this ship. We went to the nightly "Special Diamond Event"...the free wine and 25% discount. There was a great deal of confusion about that until at least day two of the cruise. I was originally charged for my drinks at full price, then they took those off the bill and charged me full price minus 25%, then I went to the customer service desk and they took them off altogether. The way were treated the first few days, set aside in a small area off of one of the lounges, someone dubbed us "the leper colony" and it stuck for the entire cruise. That whole event needs work. There could have been some snacks served at these gatherings. They threw away enormous amounts of food during the cruise that could have been directed up to the "special event" from the morning breakfast gathering (they did that in a small room off the main dining area for Diamond Members). They had one barman assigned. He did a great job, running most of the time, considering the second cruise there were about 40 people there drinking each afternoon/evening. The "special event breakfast" was a bust. No one came. We went 7 or 8 of the 13 times and never saw anyone but the wait staff. There was no representative of RCL to take requests for tender tickets or ice show tickets. At the end of the time (10AM) the waiters threw all the food in the trash. It was enough to make you cry, considering that it was still good food. To be specific, they set out two large cheese and meat trays (nice cold cuts) along with fruit and breads, rolls, cereal, juice and it was hardy touched. We ate a bowl of cereal and a couple pieces of fruit and at 10AM the extra that was not in boxes or prepackaged was all thrown away. The breakfast perk is a big waste of time and money, and as a shareholder I want to get it stopped if I can. The main dining area was a much better experience. At least you could order off the menu there, otherwise you just ate what was set out. We are not big breakfast people so food selection was not a problem for us. The main dining each evening has also changed. Besides the fact that there is no more lobster tail dinner, the food was not as good as in previous years. Some of the items were even rather bland and lacked taste. Any sort of beef seemed more tough and chewy than in previous years. At first I thought it was just me so I asked a table mate and they agreed. The quality has slipped. I was told I could order a Portofino steak and pay extra if I wanted. I declined. The rest of my experience was as in years before except for the coupon books, which are a joke. Many of the nicer coupons have disappeared.( i.e. 2 for one Johnny Rockets, the free photo, and the free wine tasting.) No pillow chocolates. Not for me, but my wife is addicted. As other people have already written, I noticed on the first cruise of the b2b, which started and ended in Rome, the cruise, the announcements, some activities, and the food were geared toward the Italian population on board. They take a bit to get used to. Everyone smokes. And the ship smells bad b/c of it. Rudeness seems to be cultural in nature. I looked for a movie in English on the TV and was hard pressed to find one. On the second part of the b2b it changed. The cruise started in Rome, but ended in Malaga, Spain. Many things changed back to what was more recognizable. Believe it or not, according to the cruise director, the largest group of people on board the second leg of the b2b were from Israel. There were also large groups of people from Canada and the UK. It was a much more pleasant experience. If I ever do Europe again, I will make sure it is not in the months the Italians are on vacation. (August and September) I hope someone from RCL reads this review and takes it to heart. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Just got back from the Navigator of the Seas in the Eastern Caribbean. This was my 5th cruise, 2nd with Royal Caribbean. I usually prefer Carnival Cruise lines. My first RC experience wasn't the greatest, but being that it was an ... Read More
Just got back from the Navigator of the Seas in the Eastern Caribbean. This was my 5th cruise, 2nd with Royal Caribbean. I usually prefer Carnival Cruise lines. My first RC experience wasn't the greatest, but being that it was an older ship I figured I should them another shot. I think I will stick with Carnival. I was 2 of my girl friends. All single, young professionals. I will admit that the cruise ship was very nice, however, I often found myself wandering around with nothing to do, which never happened on previous cruises. The entertainment offered was sub par. The shows were not impressive and found myself dozing off, so I eventually stopped going. The ice show was pretty good but got there to close to show time so couldn't find a seat. The dance club replayed the same music every night so stopped going. Had the best time at the piano bar at the Schooner Bar! My friends and I had to find our own entertainment so we still managed to enjoy ourselves. The pool deck, especially the adult only area The food offered for the breakfast and lunch buffet at the Windjammer was disappointing. The same buffet options were offered every single day. We tried going to the dining room for lunch, but was disappointed to find another buffet with almost the same options as the Windjammer. The food in the dining room was decent. I enjoyed my dining experiences and highly recommend going every night. I would definitely cruise again, but not in the mediterranean. I found a lot of the Europeans to be extremely rude, jumping in line at the buffet or rushing into the elevator while you are trying to make your way out. My friend even got into an argument with an Italian man and his family after he abruptly pushed her in the theater one night. I'd never experienced this in the caribbean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Overall, the cruise was great.  The food was decent (dining room was much better than general areas), the staff was wonderful, the shows and trivia were entertaining.  However, be careful when deciding where to spend your money for your ... Read More
Overall, the cruise was great.  The food was decent (dining room was much better than general areas), the staff was wonderful, the shows and trivia were entertaining.  However, be careful when deciding where to spend your money for your ports.  If you are able, I would highly recommend researching the local transportation systems and save yourself lots of money.Barcelona has a fantastic Metro.  You can buy a T10 card for less than 10 Euro and get around the city on your own.  When you get to the dock to board your boat, don't expect any help.  There is absolutely no information posted anywhere.  There is a bus stop and people waiting in line.  A bus will eventually show up, charge you 2 EURO per person and drive you to the ship.  I would give yourself an hour and a half to get to the boat.  OR you can find another couple and take a taxi.  Not sure what it costs, but you will get there faster.  With that said, the longer you wait to board the ship, the faster your boarding will go.  If you get there early, you will just wait in a longer line at the port.  Make sense?Cannes France - the train system here is not horribly reliable.  We took a train to Nice, and had very little time to do anything.  And there's not much to do.  I would just stick to Cannes and look around and go back to the ship.  You get to Cannes via a little boat tender that is free from your cruise ship.  Easy day.Florence - I would not recommend spending the $90 per person to take the cruise's excursion (bus) to Florence.  The train station is very easy.  You simply find another couple of people, take a taxi for 20 Euro which drops you right off at the train and will take you right back.  The taxi drivers know where you are going. The train schedule is posted on www.trenitalia.com.  You are going from Livorno Centrale to Santa Maria Novella and back.  The roundtrip ticket costs 13 EURO per person.  DO NOT get the ship's Shuttle Ticket at $12/person.  Complete waste of money.Rome - again, just go on your own.  There is a free port shuttle that takes you from the ship to the port entrance and from there is it is a 10 minute walk to the train station (train schedule on http://www.trenitalia.com/, you are traveling from Civitavecchia to San Peitro or Termini).  Again, the ship gives you no help.  YOu will have to walk off the ship and find somebody to direct you to the shuttle.  At the train station, buy the BIRG ticket, which costs about 9 EURO each.  It includes roundtrip ticket to Rome and includes the buses and local metro in Rome.  Great transportation.  You will need to do some research but the Rome train system is very user friendly and the Roman people are very helpful. The main train station in Rome is Termini.  You can also get off at St. Peter's.  There are two main lines, A and B, from Termini.  A travels between St. Peter's and Termini.  And B travels between Termini and the Colliseum.  Very easy.  Just do your research.When you get back to Barcelona, don't bother with the ship transport to the airport.  Just get a taxi.  I think the cost is the same and you don't have to wait for the bus to get full and sift through your bags when you get to the airport.Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
(INTRO - AIRPORT) This was our first cruise for my wife and I, so besides the great reviews I had read here on Cruise-Critic, we didn't know what to expect. We flew in from La Guardia New York to Fort Lauderdale Florida the same day ... Read More
(INTRO - AIRPORT) This was our first cruise for my wife and I, so besides the great reviews I had read here on Cruise-Critic, we didn't know what to expect. We flew in from La Guardia New York to Fort Lauderdale Florida the same day we were sailing. We arrived approximately 12:30, found a cab really quick outside at the taxi stand and told the guy TO THE SHIPS, and they knew where we were going. A fast, erratic, crazy cab ride had us to the port in literally 10minutes about 1:00. It cost about $20 with tip and all. (TIP: KEEP YOUR ID ON YOU AS YOU NEED TO SHOW ID TO GET INTO THE SHIP PORT) I have been warned that bad weather, flight delays, or whatever type of delay are dangerous for missing your cruise, but we got there with plenty of time and were glad we didn't go down the night before. (ARRIVAL) When we got to the ship we were absolutely amazed by the size and beauty of it. There were tons of Caribbean men at the drop off point all looking to take your bags and "ensure" your bag gets to your room, but they only want your money. I tipped as the guy practically asked for one which was rude, but realized it does nothing to expedite delivery. We didn't get our luggage till 5pm, so make sure you have whatever you want in your hands before you turn your luggage over. Oh and not to mention when it is finally delivered, it is left outside your door in the hallway. (EMBARKATION) Going through the initial screening for ID and weapons made me feel like I was back in the military inside some huge hanger with roped off walkways directing the way. It was fairly painless as the excitement of going on the cruise outweighs it all, and there were many workers to direct you where to go and what to do. When you have completed your check in, you are given a Sea Pass which is a charge card for all spending that you do on the ship. I.E, alcohol, shopping, alcohol, getting on and off the ship, alcohol.... (ROOM) We went to our room first thing and were quite pleased. No bigger or smaller than your average hotel room and the balcony was definitely a nice benefit. The bed was actually pretty big with both twins connected, the bathroom was small with a stand up shower, but served its purpose. The toilets were a bit slow to work before we left and a little bit after, but when they do flush be prepared for the suction. There is a huge vanity for the women, and most of the same things you will find in a hotel. After we were relaxed in the room and valuables were put in the safe, we went exploring. Our stateroom attendant always was very nice and did a great job straightening up our room. Towel animals were always awaiting us on our bed when we returned to the room at night. Our keepsake alcohol cup was washed, our stuff was straightened, bathing suits hung up, among other nice little things I didn't expect them to do. (BLAH) 15min on the ship, we were just blown away by the detail to the beauty and luxury on the ship so we felt compelled to take pictures immediately. I was doing the long arm self picture thing with my wife when a nice older couple offered to take our picture so we could get a nice one. This was common all over the ship throughout the cruise. The nice man took my camera, took the picture, and in trying to give it back to me dropped it and broke it. $200 digital camera gone just like that and all I got was a sorry. So of course my first stop was to the camera/picture store on-board as I could not go without a camera the whole cruise, but it was closed until we left US waters. (Duty free pricing) The ship was an hour late to leave the port for some reason that rumors said they lost someone's luggage in the water while loading it. Not confirmed but it's a valid reason we didn't leave on time. (DINING) 6:00pm came around and we attended our first dinner. We were upset to know that it wasn't acceptable to go into the main dining room in shorts and a t-shirt which was a problem since we only brought one pair of jeans. Other people did go dressed like that but we didn't want to be the odd balls so we wore our long pants. Dinner was very nice along with the people seated at our table (8 others) as well as the wait staff. You will find that most of all the employees are very nice and all from a different country with a great story to tell. The food wasn't amazing but it was the equivalent to an Applebee's quality dinner. Never many choices on the list but you could get as much as you wanted. (I got 3 lobster tail entrees on seafood night) Main dining or Second seating doesn't really prohibit you from doing activities as most shows and events have two time slots to accommodate both dinners. The Windjammer was a buffet restaurant on the 11th floor that had a great view off the back of the ship. It had tons of food, desert, and seats. This was our lunch choice everyday and always seemed to have what we were feeling like eating. They are also open for breakfast and dinner. We didn't see the need to pay $25 for Chops Grill or Pontifino but it looked nice. We did go to Johnny Rockets, a 70's cheeseburger joint that had good food and great service. It was only about $15 total for the two of us. (ACTIVITIES) Every evening your stateroom attendant will deliver a "Cruise Compass" which was a list of the daily activities for the next day and always was very helpful in planning our fun. Almost every day we went exploring as there was so much to see all over. We went to the Ice Show on the first night and absolutely loved it. A small ice rink, but that did not stop them from doing amazing tricks and jumps. Its definitely a show you cannot miss if you go on a ship with a rink. Casino - Was small but pretty fun. It is only open when the ship is out to sea. There were tons of slot machines and few tables. We set some money aside before we got to the ship solely for gambling which all smart gamblers' should do. (TIP: BRING CASH) You can use your Sea Pass, but there is a 3% charge. We lost a bit, won a little, lost a bit more, and finished a bit down as to be expected after we finished our third night in the casino. Art Auction - Park West, one of the largest art galleries in the world has a contract with Royal Caribbean to hold art auctions on the ships. I had a great time the first night as I bought 2 pieces which I had to carry off and that turned out to be kind of inconvenient. I was given 5 pieces of FREE ART for random things such as answering a trivia question or applying for the RC Visa Card. They say each one is worth $650 but in reality the prints are only selling on ebay for $25. Those are sent to your house , but the selection to choose from isn't large or nice. Even if you don't like art or think your not going buy anything you should go because as long as you sign up you get FREE CHAMPAIGN. Because I bought some art I had a FREE bottle delivered to our room as well. A nice VIP feeling. The Dungeon - A nice dance club near the casino. Small dance floor but nice seating accommodations and two bars. We had a good time dancing but the rocking ship and sometimes bad music didn't make it too conducive for dancing. Bingo - Everyone knows how to play bingo so there isn't much to say about it except it seems that everyone who won had the electronic card machine. I think it just takes away from the fun to pay and just watch a screen. The last jackpot game was for $5700 which would have been great to win especially since its only $30 to buy in. One couple won it, not ten, not five, but one couple. QUEST - Cannot tell you who, what, when, where, why or how, but I can say GO and WATCH and LAUGH YOUR BUTT OFF. Do not volunteer to be the representative of your team or you will regret it LOL. IT WAS HILARIOUS THOUGH. Love and Marriage Game show - Funny, not a must see but definitely worth it. Fair Well Show - A good entertainment for the evening. Trivia Games - Fun and random, something to fill the time in the afternoon. Shopping Onboard - The Royal Caribbean shop was expensive, but there are other things to browse through. Buy everything the last day when all the sales are going on. Midnight Snack - The 24 hour Cafe Promenade was a nice stop to fill those late night hunger feelings with a bite of complementary cheesecake, pizza, coffee, or small sandwichs. (PORTS OF CALL) Our first stop was in Cozumel, Mexico. The weather all the way from Florida was horrible and it wasn't much different in Mexico. We were planning on doing the Tulum Ruins tour on our own as my wife speaks fluent Spanish, I mapped out the complete details, and it would have been a lot cheaper that the ships excursion. Due to the rain and fear of missing the ship because the ruins are a few hours away we decided just to stay on the Cozumel strip. We took a 10min cab ride to the main shop strip which cost about $5 per person. It was neat to see and actually be in another country but we quickly got the feeling of being in a huge tourist trap. It was the same store and shop every 50 feet. Diamond International, Tanzanite International, Mexican Silver, among other things. We did buy a Mexican blanket and a picture frame but that was all we wanted to buy because no offense I don't care how much Royal Caribbean guarantees your Diamond purchases, I am not buying my wife a $1000 Diamond from Pedro in Mexico. We walked a bit and decided to have some lunch so we stopped at a nice out-door place named Las Palmeras. Great food and not expensive. I exchanged some money into pesos back in New York before we came to get a true Mexican experience but wished I had not. Everything has an American Price on it and is seems the Mexicans there didn't know how to calculate their own money. After lunch we walked all the way back to the ship (4miles) and were kinda bored and tired of the rain so we spent the rest of the day on the ship. We heard the beaches were amazing and it did seem that the water was nice and blue, but the rain ruined it all. Our second stop was Belize City, Belize and we wish the ship had just sailed on by. There is no port so the cruise ships park 15min out and are tendered by small 100 person ferry boats. We got off the ferry and walked around for about 10min and went right back to the ship. All the same things as Cozumel in the stores but these just said Belize. We couldn't believe how crappy and poor the area was and how many Jamaican/ Caribbean men were all over the place trying to get you to do an excursion. We had an excursion planned through Royal Caribbean to do the snorkeling caye adventure, but it was cancelled due to mechanical issues. I would have cancelled because of the crappy weather anyways. IF YOU GO TO BELIZE, PLAN AN EXCURSION AND HOPE FOR GOOD WEATHER, BECAUSE THAT PLACE IS HORRIBLE. (RANDOM THINGS) Alcohol - Beers were about $5, Daiquiri's and Frozen drinks were about $9, and all other mixed drinks ranged from $7-$10. Don't expect to get hammered every night unless you have deep pockets. The Royal Promenade - Was very nice and always had something going on. Made us feel like we were in a mall back home. The Service - Everyone was always very nice and helpful if you could get passed the language and accent barrier. Weather/Sea Sick - The weather was absolutely horrible the whole cruise and really impeded our plans so make sure you keep an eye on those forecasts. On the way back the weather was so bad that our ship was an hour late because of the waves. Let me tell you, don't let anyone say to you that you won't feel the ship moving. People were practically staggering like they were drunk that last night because of the rocking ship. We took some Dramamine that night to fight back the nausea. Other than that though it did seem like a smooth ride. Pool/Hot Tubs - They were very nice although we only went into the hot tubs at night when they weren't crowded. The pools were fairly cold to the touch. It was nice to have an adult side that kids couldn't bother you in. 1St Day Emergency Drill - About as annoying, inconvenient, and troublesome as you could imagine wearing big bright orange life vests and standing with a bunch of people you don't know. Yea for our safety but not a great way to welcome us aboard. (DEBARKATION) - Simple and easy for the people who signed up for the Expedited Departure. We carried our own stuff off, took 5min in customs, and were in a taxi heading for the post office to mail back my art. Although it does take up to an hour for customs to clear the ship, so make those flight plans for after 12. We had to change ours from 1045 because of the delay and customs clearance. Overall we enjoyed ourselves because of the many things to do on the ship. The weather would have made it the best time of our lives if it was warm and sunny but I guess you deal with what you get. We are already planning our next trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Do not even consider this ship if you have children under three or who are not potty trained. There is absolutely nothing for them to do. My 19 month old watched his 4 year old brother go to the kids club and swim in the pool and was ... Read More
Do not even consider this ship if you have children under three or who are not potty trained. There is absolutely nothing for them to do. My 19 month old watched his 4 year old brother go to the kids club and swim in the pool and was miserable as he was not allowed in either. Many of the excursions were 6 hours or more, too long for young children. And some of the excursions had minimum age requirements (typically 8 or older). So you are stuck on the boat with nothing to do with a toddler. There were lots of other discomforts. The whole thing seemed to just not be family friendly. For example early dinner in the main dining room was at 6 pm. But if you didn't want to subject everyone to your children who couldn't sit through a three course meal, the buffet didn't start until 6:30. It seems to me you would want to feed the kids first. They advertise all you can drink beverage cards for the kids, but it turns out they are only good for soda. You can only get juice or milk in the dining rooms. So your kids end up drinking way too much soda. I would recommend skipping the beverage cards. Finally, since the excursions don't really work for families with small children, you end up on the ship when in port, which is exactly the time when the older crowd is looking to enjoy the ship. I can't tell you how many times we went up to the pool only to have the people seated near us cringe. There is an adult area only, but the larger pool deck is the one for kids. Seems like they might want the smaller area to be for kids. Finally there is an arcade right next to the kids center. There is no way you are getting off the ship without spending a small fortune on the video games (which a good part of the time seem to take your money but not work correctly). The boat has other problems that are not child specific. It seems there is a theft problem. Members of our group had their digital camera stolen. We had our ID card stolen. The food was only mediocre. And there was often room service trays left in the hallways which created an unpleasant odor. The good points: our penthouse suite was quite large, the service was good and there were cookies and ice cream available all the time. I would definitely try another cruise line. If you have kids Disney seems to be more family friendly. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
I would rate this cruise very highly. The ship is beautiful and the staff worked like an efficient team. Ours was a balcony stateroom, and a bit larger than the inside stateroom we booked for our kids. The public areas are well maintained, ... Read More
I would rate this cruise very highly. The ship is beautiful and the staff worked like an efficient team. Ours was a balcony stateroom, and a bit larger than the inside stateroom we booked for our kids. The public areas are well maintained, with enough variety to keep us entertained for the whole week. We used the ice rink, the pools and the gym, and all of them were high quality. The ice rink is small, but adequate, and they played good skating music. I did my running on the track on level 12 and it was good enough, though pretty windy. We really liked the gym. There are plenty of machines, free towels, a water fountain, and fantastic views. It was always in use when we went, but never too crowded. There is a library where you could sprawl on comfy leather couches and chairs for a good read, a business center, and a large internet center. It costs $.50 per minute to do your email. There were plenty of lounge chairs by the pool, but we could never find any vacant ones, due to the overabundance of chair hogs. I got into it with them on one occasion, but after that I just didn't bother. I took a chair when no one was there, sunbathed for an hour, then put their towel back. They never knew. Overall the food was good, but I honestly eat better at home, though there is the cleanup to deal with at home. The kids were thrilled, however. There were two soft serve ice cream stations and kids were walking around eating ice cream at all hours. The girls were big on room service, too. A couple of nights while we went out they spent the evening in our bigger cabin with a movie, getting a late snack delivered. We usually ate dinner in the dining room, a beautiful three level Russian themed extravaganza. Our wait staff was efficient, but a little too eager to please. It was obvious they had their minds on the end of cruise tip. However, they were very good and we tipped accordingly. The buffet was busy, but the food was good. Out of around 3000 people on board I heard there were over 1200 children. I happen to like that, and the fact that this was a spring break cruise was probably the main factor in the high ratio of adult/child. There were tons of activities, but our kids were a little aloof. They used the facilities, but didn't go in for the organized activities. This did not dampen the fun for them at all. (They're 11, 15, and 16 years old.) Our itinerary had been changed a lot due to the unrest in Haiti, so we were in Nassau on Easter Sunday, when almost everything was closed. It was a bit on the tacky side, so we went back to the ship early. St. Thomas was fantastic, however. We took the Turtle Cove Snorkeling trip, and had a ball. The boat was pretty, the crew was a riot, and they had very clean snorkeling gear. They took us to one of the little Islands near St. Thomas, showed everyone the ropes, and we 'walked the plank'. The water was warm, there were lots of huge turtles, sting rays, and swarms of the most beautiful fish. I loved it and it seemed like everyone else did too. We weren't in San Juan, Puerto Rico long enough to do much but tour the old fort and lighthouse, and we almost missed the ship. That was pretty exciting, but I wouldn't want to repeat the experience! All in all, this was a great vacation experience. I got to nap every day, didn't have to lift a finger, and we were in beautiful surroundings almost all the time. I give it 5 stars. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Here is my review of the Navigator of the Seas Member Cruise 4/26/03-5/3/03. We are Platinum Members, we had 2nd Seating for Dinner, our wait staff was Edwin(Waiter) and Wencey(Asst. Waiter), Our Cabin Attendant was Allan. We left on ... Read More
Here is my review of the Navigator of the Seas Member Cruise 4/26/03-5/3/03. We are Platinum Members, we had 2nd Seating for Dinner, our wait staff was Edwin(Waiter) and Wencey(Asst. Waiter), Our Cabin Attendant was Allan. We left on Friday April 25th for our long awaited Cruise aboard the NOS. We stayed at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay Hotel in Downtown Miami. We booked this hotel, through Priceline, and paid $47 plus a service fee of $5.95 and tax. This was a bargain. We had a spacious corner room on the 14th floor. It was very clean and the hotel was very busy that nite. We thought the staff was very friendly and the hotel one of the nicer ones we have stayed in. We went to the Bayside Marketplace and took an boat ride on the Island Queen. This was $15 per person and well worth it. The weather was sunny and warm that day and we enjoyed our time in Miami. The next morning (Saturday) we woke up to rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning. It was a gloopy day of rain and thunderstorms all day. We took a short taxi ride to the pier and arrived at 10:30 a.m. We hadn't sailed out of Miami since 1996 so we were very impressed with the new RCCL cruise terminal. A porter took our luggage outside and said that it would be in our room in one hour (never happened). We went up the escalator to a waiting area and waited until the ship was cleared for check-in. When the ship was cleared we proceeded to a special "Priority Boarding Lounge" for C &A members and waited to be checked in. Lemonade, water and cookies were available. A lot of people were waiting for the "Priority Check-In" so an RCI employee came over and took some of us to the regular check-in area. We then went back to the lounge, to wait, to board the Ship. We got on the ship at 12:00~noon. We went right to our stateroom #7592~DB Category~to drop off our carry-on and then went to the Windjammer Cafe for the Welcome Aboard Buffet. We were planning on going to the CC get together at 3:00 p.m. but fell asleep!! Muster Drill was at 4:30 p.m. We went to our station about 4:15 p.m. as did a lot of other people. This helped the drill go smoother and faster. The ship did not depart on time (5:00 p.m.) as it was waiting for passengers with delayed flights. We sat up on the pool deck waiting for the ship to leave and finally a little after 6:00 p.m. we left following the Explorer of the Seas. I was amazed to see that people still stopped their cars on the side of the road and some got out to watch the cruise ships leave. It was still raining at this time too. Now we were officially "cruising" on our way to Nassau........let the fun begin! We were at Table #427~Coppelia Dining Room (Deck4). Dinner was at 9:00 p.m. only for that nite. The rest of the week was at 8:30 p.m. Our tablemates were Don and Bonnie from Georgia, Larry and Theresa from Michigan, Ruth from Toronto, Canada and Diane from Tampa, Florida. Ruth and Diane have been best friends for 30 years. Ruth is visiting Diane for a month so Diane surprised Ruth with a Cruise, since Ruth had never cruised before! What a great friend!!! We had a lot of fun at our table. After dinner it was off to the Casino for our nightly nickel slot playing! This whole week, with the exception of a few winning spins, I lost playing the nickel and quarter machines and video poker. I still had fun though. My husband, Barry, was luckier than I. He turned $5 into $84 just playing nickels on the first nite! and he had good luck playing the rest of the cruise. Someone did win $20,000 playing the $1 Wheel of Fortune Machine during the week. The payouts were low on the slots and we lost on our BJ match play coupons also. Cabin~we booked a Category DB and it was spacious and seemed bigger than the D9 cabin we had on the Adventure of the Seas last year. Our balcony also seemed larger with glass panels so you could see out while sitting or doing the "horizontal mambo". Just some FYI. Our cabin attendant was Allan and he was just OK. He did a good job keeping our cabin clean but was not overly friendly. Other cabin attendants spoke to us daily saying "Good Morning or Good Evening". Cruise Critic Party-I wasn't impressed with the CC Party. People were too spread -out, didn't seem to want to say their name etc. I was very surprised at the low attendance considering the amount of people that had signed up. We met Carl and Margaret (Sea Travelers) that morning, at breakfast, and we met Pat H and Tina B at the party. Coupon Booklets-We are Platinum Members and our coupon booklets had (2) $5.00 Casino Match Play Coupons, (2) buy $10 get $12 in the Casino, 15% off a spa service, buy 3 get 3 bingo cards, buy an 8X10 picture get one 8X10 picture free, a complimentary glass of wine or beer, 15 minutes of free internet service, cpn for up to $300 shipboard credit on a future cruise if booked onboard, (2) cpns for 10% off @ the RCCL Logo merchandise shop, complimentary wine tasting seminar. We each got a booklet also. Food-The food was better than excellent. Had a variety of choices in both the dining room, Windjammer and Jade. Portofino's and Chops Grille are located inside with the Windjammer and the Plaza Bar. There is a HUGE variety of breakfast items~cereal, toast, bagels, pancakes, oatmeal, omelettes, waffles, French toast, grits, bacon, sausage, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, muffins, croissants, assorted danish, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, bananas, apples, pears, peaches, prunes, figs, donuts, Austrian raisin bread (my favorite), yogurt, milk, tea, coffee, apple juice, orange juice, ice water and more...........The same items are offered, in the Windjammer everyday. Lunch items change but there is a variety of foods including sliced meats, cheeses, breads, hamburgers, hotdogs, soups, pasta, carved meats, potatoes, French fries, rice, Waldorf salad, pasta salad, lettuce salad w/toppings and dressings, and lots more. There are a variety of desserts and cookies. The WJ also offers sugar free desserts. We did not eat dinner at the WJ, Jade, Portofino's or Chops Grille. Jade also offered a variety of foods for breakfast and lunch as well as desserts. There are also 2 soft serve yogurt machines in the WJ. The Plaza Bar is right inside so it is convenient to get to from all the eating areas. Dining Room-we did not eat breakfast or lunch in the Dining Room only dinner. The food was the best of all the cruises we've gone on. The portions are smaller though, so you may want to order accordingly. Some of the desserts include: Ivory Chocolate Fondue, Pecan Pudding, Grand Marnier Souffle, Tiramisu......................they also offer 2 Sugar Free Desserts each nite. The chilled soups were fantastic! There is also an alternative menu to order from that includes a beef and chicken entree, a pasta entree, rice, potato, vegetable, etc. Our waiter-Edwin-made a lot of mistakes. 3 different nites, out of 6 (I was sick one nite), I got the wrong food. It was getting to be a joke at our table what food I would get served? Even though he wrote it down and I would point to it on the menu. He would mix up others appetizers, salads and desserts too. Our table was his only table so we couldn't understand why he had so much trouble? It wasn't until the tips were given and we were ready to leave the dining room that he told us this was his first week as a waiter. He had been promoted last week. We wish we would have known that at the beginning of the cruise. We did adjust his tip, according to the service we received, but did not mark him down on his service on the guest satisfaction survey. He did admit that he made a lot of mistakes. Our Asst.Waiter-Wencey-was absolutely fabulous. Friendly, accommodating, Bubbly, Funny. ShipShape Center-Visited here everyday. Not for exercise, of course! Had to sit in the Mineral Bath everyday. This was very relaxing and a bit different from the Hot Tubs. Also, went into the Steam Room a lot. My husband did work out everyday and enjoyed going there. He said they play funky upbeat music to exercise to. Didn't get to have any spa treatments either. Pool Area-2 pools and 4 hot tubs. They keep 1 pool and some hot tubs open 24 hours a day. I never saw anyone in either one when I walked by at nite but that doesn't mean they didn't get used. One afternoon both pools were closed. Someone went into the pool, with a glass, and dropped it on the bottom of the pool and it broke. They had to close the pool for awhile and we don't know why the other pool wasn't open? Later, we found out that the ship can't drain the pool until they are 15 miles away from shore. I never did hear when they drained the pool as I had left the pool area shortly after the "glass incident". There is a sign on the hottub though. No eating, drinking or smoking while in the hottub. This should include the pool too!!! Or people should have common sense not to bring a glass into a swimming pool especially since there were a lot of kids in the pool. Medical Facility-I had to visit the medical facility twice while on the cruise. I woke up with a horrendous sore throat one morning and went to see the Doctor. He took a strep test (negative) and gave me some antibiotics, throat lozenges, ibuprofen. The next day I had to go back because I had non stop coughing and a different Doctor gave me a nebulization treatment, cough medicine (w/codeine!!!!) and more pills. The total bill was $250. I received quite a bit of medications and services for this money. The Doctors and nurses are professionals and very nice. Since it went on my seapass account I will get double points on my new Royal Caribbean Visa Card. Well.....I was down and out for a couple of days, it didn't ruin my vacation and it didn't affect my appetite-LOL and I get double points. What a deal! My husband has it now:(:( but no double points. LOL LOL Royal Caribbean Online-.50 a minute to get online. At St. Thomas there is a place to go, at Havensight Mall, where you can make long distance calls, get on the internet etc. The cost is $5.00 for 30 minutes for using the internet. C &A Member Gifts-lots of neat things. Sunblock lotion on a clip, sunglass straps, magnets (that someone took off of all the doors on our floor), Fanny Packs, Pens, Organizers, etc. We had a private showing of Ice Dancin' in Studio B. There were also lots of different events during the week too. We didn't get to many tho. We had robes to use onboard too-that was really nice. Upgrades-There was a long line at the Pier Coordinator at Check-In. Didn't stand in the line to find out the prices of upgrades. We did hear one lady say that she wasn't going to pay $400 for an upgrade if she wasn't going to get a doorbell! Too funny! Entertainment-Only went to one production show-"Now and Forever". I didn't care for it but my husband loved it. We did go to see "Chuck Roast and the Mashed Potatoes" in Studio B. They put down a parquet floor over the ice so people could dance. Our Cruise Director, Jeffrey Arpin, was "Big Daddy" . It was a tribute to the music of the 50's, 60's and 70's. We thought it was fantastic. Jeff was fantastic as was the band. At the end they had the "Village People" come out and sing Y.M.C.A. One of our tablemates thought that the REAL Village People were going to be there! LOL There were bands and singers at different spots on the ship. The music during dinner was especially nice and relaxing. There was horse racing, bingo, belly flop contest, hairy chest contest, music by the pool etc. Cruise Staff-Captain Leif Otto Bang was the Master of the Ship, Jeffrey Arpin was the Cruise Director and "Double D" was the Asst Cruise Director. Jeffrey has retired on our cruise. I talked with him about retiring. He was the best cruise director that I have sailed with. Very enthusiastic and fun. Sorry to see him go.........I also asked about Captain Johnny. He left the Navigator 2 weeks before our sailing:(:(. He's my favorite Captain. So funny and personable. I heard that he should be bringing out the Mariner of the Seas later this year. Tidbits- The Navigator has a Business Center Onboard. You can book a future cruise or get information here also. Book your shore excursions early for Labadee. Our tablemates said these fill up fast! especially Parasailing and Waverunners. Try to watch the 3 part series, on your cabin TV, about the building of the Eagle Class Ships. It is sooo interesting. There is so much detail that goes into these ships. I started looking at all the details on the ship after watching the series. It is amazing. The colors and patterns in different areas-lots of things that I've never noticed before. The Royal Promenade floor that was laid by hand. The interior design of the ship etc. A taxi ride to or from the Airport to the Seaport is $18. A flat rate. A Taxi Ride from the Airport to a downtown hotel, on the Super Shuttle, is $24 (2 people). Room Service is available 24 hours. You can add your tips to your seapass. Everyone has to report to immigration at St. Thomas. There is one room for US Citizens and another for NON US Citizens. It goes a lot faster now. There is an American Airlines Counter at the Pier in Miami. You can check-in, at the pier, if your flight is after 1:00 p.m. Customs is at the Cruise Terminal. This is new to us. Previously we had to go through customs on the ship. We were able to use a Private Departure Lounge on Debarkation Day. They served OJ, Coffee and Pastries. We stayed there until our luggage color was called. The RCI Holiday and Entertaining Cookbook is $19.95 and available at the Purser's Desk. There are lots of opportunities for pictures especially on formal nites. Make sure you go to Decks 3,4,5 for picture opportunities. They are also taking pictures on casual nites now. The price of a non alcoholic "fu-fu" drink is $4.60 including tip. A can of Coke is $1.73 including tip. There is a Ben and Jerry's onboard and the price for a regular cup of ice cream (4 small scoops) is $3.00-no tip. A waffle cone is .75 extra. There is free frozen yogurt next to Ben and Jerry's and Sprinkles too! The Frozen Yogurt Flavors are Choc/Vanilla/Swirl and Choc/Strawberry/Swirl. The service at Johnny Rockets wasn't so great. The Coke was horribly and flat. The food was good tho. Great Burgers and BLT's! The Cafe Promenade has great food and Ranger Cookies!!! I will miss those for sure. There is also a bar, coffee drinks to purchase, frozen coke. Seattle's Best Coffee, a large variety of tea's, hot chocolate and water are free. There is free lemonade and iced tea available at many spots around the ship. A glass of soda, from the bar, is $1.44. We did not check into the price of drink cards. It was quite a bit warmer in the Solarium than by the regular pool area. Towels-your seapass acct will be charged $20 per towel if the 2 that you are given at the beginning of the cruise are missing at the end of the cruise. I'm sure there I missed a lot of things so......if you have any questions feel free to ask me. I tried to cover a variety of areas and hope that this review is helpful to many. I apologize for any spelling error that I may have made typing this!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2003
We sailed on this newest of the Eagle or Voyager class vessels on Sunday, December 8th, on a two night pre-inaugural voyage for the Travel Industry and press. To get right to the point, if you enjoy these floating mammoth resorts at sea, ... Read More
We sailed on this newest of the Eagle or Voyager class vessels on Sunday, December 8th, on a two night pre-inaugural voyage for the Travel Industry and press. To get right to the point, if you enjoy these floating mammoth resorts at sea, and it is hard not to, then chart your course in a straight line to the Navigator of the Seas. She's a beauty... and, to this cruiser's taste, she's far and away the most attractive and inviting of them all. Navigator has a different look about her that's noticeable even from a distance. Her balcony cabins have a much more open design than her earlier sisters and it gives the ship a very different look... in a sense she looks sleeker... less formidable... it is hard to put the effect into words, but it is clearly evident... and to me it represents a remarkable and significant improvement. By the way, I'm still not sure of exactly what her Gross Registered Tonnage is. Most of the material passed out on board shows her to be 139,000 GRT. Others on board, including some senior Royal Caribbean folk speak in terms of 142,500 GRT. Given her huge size, I suppose this small difference will be of interest only to cruise ship statistical gurus (nerd's?), and I suppose Royal Caribbean will figure it out before too long. I liked each of the builds in this class and noted that each new vessel's interior seems to have been toned down from the original Voyager. While this is clearly a matter of personal taste, to me it was a good trend. What we have with the Navigator of the Seas is quite special indeed. It seems to me almost as if Royal Caribbean designed the ship and then gave over the interiors to a Celebrity designer. Navigator is a classic, top to bottom and if you've been on any of her siblings, you cannot miss the difference. Extensive use of fine woods throughout the public areas is just superb. The entire aft area on Deck 11, leading to the Windjammer Buffet area and the Chops Grille and Portofino Restaurants, is magnificent. The Royal Promenade, as breathtaking in size here as it is on her sisters, has a very different look and feel to it. It is elegant and restrained... with the addition of several new and interesting shopping, dining and drinking venues... including the much talked about "Vintages"... acclaimed as the first totally dedicated wine bar afloat. If you're a fancier of wine, you'll love Vintages... it is more than just a bar... in fact, far from it. Want to learn more about wine? This is the spot! The main dining room is a three deck high enormous space, each deck with a different theme, but all based upon ballet motifs. The effect is dramatic. Tables are very well spaced and the vast open areas make for a very comfortable noise level indeed. One can actually have a conversation with tablemates in normal tones! The room works well and is simply gorgeous! The main theater, the "Metropolis" is stunning. If you like art deco, as I do, you will love the Metropolis. It is the most appealing and attractive new large space done in art deco that I can recall seeing. And, it works as a theater too... great sight lines across the board, easy access and all the modern gimmickry that one expects to see. What a grand and beautiful space this is. They have done some job here! Navigator of the Seas has most of the passenger amenities found on the other ships in her class... the signature Rock Climbing Wall, Golf Course, Other Worldly Disco and a significantly enlarged Club Ocean kids facility. Of course the Casino is huge and the center bar is quite active all the time. There's an large Internet Cafe (internet connections in the cabins, too), a comfortable and fairly well stocked library, a Wedding Chapel on top of (yes, on top of) the Viking Crown Lounge and, of course, Johnny Rockets. Speaking of food, the Windjammer is nicely laid out and functional. We found the selections at breakfast and lunch to be attractively presented, varied and good. (We understand that this is a special sailing for the Industry and Press, so it really is hard to judge the food.) The addition of Chops Grille is the icing on the cake. If I were to design a restaurant, it would come out looking a lot like Chops and I'd do exactly the same menu... New York Steak House fare... from a specially provisioned kitchen. It is a knockout! Make your reservations early. Portofino is beautifully designed too... and located just across from Chops. Then, if you're in need of more sustenance, there's a new Ben and Jerry's ice cream stand (with a charge) and a nearby frozen custard station (without a charge) and the Cafe Promenade serving sandwiches, deserts and coffee and other beverages round the clock. You won't go hungry on Navigator of the Seas. We visited examples of most categories of cabins on the ship and they are quite similar to what one finds on her sister ships... with the exception of course of the balconies, which are a great improvement in terms of their openness and the airy feeling that creates. A great improvement is found here. These huge vessels are not to everyone's taste. I think that serious cruisers should experience them at least once... they are very special indeed. If I were to have the opportunity of sailing only on one of them, my choice, hands down, would be Navigator of the Seas. She's a class act in every sense of the words! Bravo Royal Caribbean... you've managed to take an innovative and spectacular class of ship and polish and hone it to a fine luster, with a good helping of taste too boot! In my mind, that is a hard to beat combination! erniemcc@attbi.comDecember 2002 Read Less
I normally would not take the time to write a review of a cruise but this situation warrants a few words. My wife and two teenage sons (ages 16 &17 ) booked the Navigator of the Seas because of the great reviews for teenage cruisers. ... Read More
I normally would not take the time to write a review of a cruise but this situation warrants a few words. My wife and two teenage sons (ages 16 &17 ) booked the Navigator of the Seas because of the great reviews for teenage cruisers. This could possibly be our last family vacation for some time so we paid much more to go on this ship. That proved to be a costly mistake. We found that a senior class trip was on the ship and this caused some problems with drinking. I have no problem with controlled drinking for 18 year old kids. They could be in Iraq fighting instead of cruising. I do have a problem with "out of control" drinking and that is what we experienced all week. The group of 20-30 kids were drinking in every possible place on the ship. The elevators, chapel, and library were not off limits to this crowd. The ship security was not able to keep up with this group. They were buying beer for underage kids all week long. This put an additional worry on parents of 15-17 year old kids. The swearing we heard was as good as any heard on a US Navy ship. If there were any chaperones traveling with this group I never saw them. They certainly never had them under control. When security told them they could not drink beer in the hot tub a volley of swears was slurred. The people at RCI should restrict the drinking of 18-20 year olds to the places they purchase the drink. This would keep them more under control and less likely to slip some beer to an underage person. The food was good, the service was excellent and the cruise director was the best. Raise the age limit and we might come back. USFenceBoston@aol.com July 2003 Read Less
By Vincent N. & Mary Finelli This was our 12th RCI cruise and our 4th on a Voyager (Eagle) Class ship, having sailed on all Navigator's sister ships: the Voyager, the Explorer and the Adventure of the Seas. The Navigator is the ... Read More
By Vincent N. & Mary Finelli This was our 12th RCI cruise and our 4th on a Voyager (Eagle) Class ship, having sailed on all Navigator's sister ships: the Voyager, the Explorer and the Adventure of the Seas. The Navigator is the "spitting image" of the other three; in fact, berthed in the Port of Miami next to the Explorer, she could only be differentiated by her name. Even though, the Navigator is 1,000 tons bigger, thus making it the largest cruise ship afloat, the increase in size is only due to larger balconies, a difference not easily discerned. We eagerly anticipate each new cruise experience and this voyage on the Navigator was one to remember, not only for the wonders of a new ship, but also to visit once again with old friends and make new acquaintances. Captain Leif Otto Bang commands a bright, eager to please staff with Hotel Manager Raimund Gschieder orchestrating the superb service. Cruise Director Jeffrey Arpin sets the pace for a lively and enjoyable time aboard, and Chief Purser Jorge Lynch makes sure all sails smoothly (more about these integral men later). The Navigator of the Seas is quickly located in port, just look for the BIGGEST. This time we saw the twin biggest! (Docked one after the other were the Navigator and the Explorer.) The aqua blue glass superstructure and the almost all glass exterior with the Crown & Anchor atop are the identifying characteristics. Be prepared to literally look down upon other ships in ports of call, since, this ship is tall: We did dwarf the Nordic Empress and enjoyed an aerial view of her in Cozumel. She is one of the older and the smallest of RCI's fleet, but quite charming with her gigantic Chess Board Game on deck and vestiges of former glory. Captain Bang speaks fondly of her. It was an advantage to have sailed on the Navigator's sister ships and be familiar with her deck plan; comparisons and differences quickly become obvious. The Navigator's decor is elegant. There is nothing glitzy about her (no glaring neon or overly decorated areas). She is outfitted beautifully with fine woods, cleverly carved and in interesting combinations. We enjoyed her stunning grandiosity and stylish simplicity with attention to detail, a perfect combination of "beauty & practicality." EMBARKATION As Diamond Members of RCI Crown & Anchor Society, we know well the hospitality RCI so warmly extends to repeat cruisers. Boarding was simple, since a special lounge is set up for members with seating, refreshments and a priority check-in. We arrived at the port 12:30pm and, with a minimum of security checks, were on board by 1:00pm. We went immediately to the dining room to check on our table assignment and saw a familiar face, Asst. Maitre D' Apolo Coelho who arranged for a table for two, then we were off to the buffet - - a very nice spread! THE SHIP This 650 million dollar wonder took 18 months to build; she is 1,020 feet in length; tonnage of 139,000 tons; cruising speed of 22 knots; she can accommodate 3,835 guests (this voyage had 3,400) in her 1,557 rooms on board. Her crew numbers 1,256 and all of this on a ship with a draft of only 28 feet! These are staggering statistics, but all soon to be surpassed by the already under construction Queen Mary II by Cunard Line (150,000 tons), and the race to bigger and better cruise ships keeps on going. A hint to cruisers: Whenever on board a large ship, it is best to pick up a deck plan early. FOOD & SERVICE The food on board the Navigator is similar to that on all RCI ships. This line has reached a high level of homogeneity or equality of fare among the ships. Cruisers can be sure that the offerings and quality, designed for American palate, are tempting. Meats are exceptional and served as ordered, say "medium rare" and that's what comes! Portions are regular, not too large or too small; however, we still could do with less, so many times we share to avoid wasting food. The General Manager explained the new and more stringent innovations of the Outbreak Prevention Program (OPP) and about some of the additional sanitary precautions being taken to avoid transmitting any infection brought on board. For instance breadbaskets are no longer placed on tables; instead, the bread is served with tongs by a waiter. Dining room staff and other crew no longer shake hands with passengers; they politely apologize that stringent rules are for safety of all. Ice buckets are no longer placed automatically in staterooms; however, if you ask for one, it will come "hot" from the sterilizer with fresh ice. Ill passengers are isolated immediately to avoid any possibility of transmission. Common areas, door handles, elevator buttons, rest rooms etc. are constantly being sanitized. At dinner with Captain Bang, we joked about the necessity for "Elevator Etiquette," like standing aside to allow passengers off; moreover, in these days of Norfolk virus, we also need "Sanitary Etiquette," like covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing. Passengers need to wash their hands often as a protection for both themselves and others! Whatever new procedures RCI has implemented, they seem to be working. We found the food to be presented neatly and appealingly - - - - salads were crisp, soups were hot, and entrees cooked perfectly. However, the best meal on board was at Captain Bang's table. Mary, seated on the Captain's left, had ample opportunity to ask questions and he proved to be both intelligent and jovial. The Captain had spent most of the 18 months it took to build the Navigator at the Kvaerner Masa Shipyards in Turko, Finland. He knows his ship intimately. The conversation with the Captain and the other guests at the table made this a very enjoyable dining experience. We were also pleased to have at the table Ms. Debbie Nylund, an RCI Environmental Officer, whom we had previously met on the Radiance. Vincent enjoyed once again chatting with her about environmental activities aboard ships and other interesting topics. Mary asked the Captain: Since the Navigator, after all, is the largest cruise ship afloat, and carries over (what some captains still refer to as) 5,000 SOULS, how does he sleep at night under all that pressure? He answered simply, "I sleep like a baby. It is 'trust' which allows me to do so. I know my bridge mates personally and for many years. I have the utmost confidence that whether I am on the bridge or in bed every regulation and procedure is followed strictly." We slept well that night, too! We had a terrific meal of Sun Ripened Pineapple Delight, House salad of escarole and oakleaf lettuce, and vine ripened yellow tomatoes (with Florida orange dressing), Lobster Tail Royale (with garlic butter, paella rice and broccoli florets), which Vincent pronounced "Excellent!" Mary opted for the Rosemary Roasted Chicken (au jus, with pearl onions and polenta fingers) all exceptional. Desserts are great on RCI, and this meal was no exception: An Almond Meringue with Tutti Frutti or the soufflE from the main menu. Delicious! Service at the Captain's table was top notch by Asst. Maitre D' Apolo. Every evening we had prompt service at our table for two, #423, in the Coppelia Dining Room. Head Waiter Christopher kept a close eye on everything and our Waiter Koray Baysal was affable and quick. His Asst. Waiter Antonio Gordon has a good teacher and is learning the ropes. Service all over the ship was excellent. We used Room Service for breakfast every morning and it was friendly, accurate and quick. CABIN We had booked stateroom #7600, but we received our third upgrade in thirty-three cruises to #1268, a Category B Suite, thanks to the friendly Chief Purser Jorge. It was lovely, and contributed to making this cruise unforgettable. When entering on the left there is a full bath with double sink, tub/shower (granite, marble and tile abound) Look for a mosaic of the "Wind God." Next there is a desk/vanity, a queen size bed with nightstands in a drapery enclosed alcove and a large screen interactive TV. When entering on the right there are four mirrored armoires, a full Bar Island with refrigerator, dining area, large coffee table, hide-a-bed sofa, lamp table and two upholstered barrel chairs. The far wall is windows to the oversized balcony and the sea. The draperies and linen in this room are quite nice: heavy woven brocades in blues and gold. There were three framed silk screens of cymbidium orchids and narcissus on the walls. Our first steward seemed a bit distracted; we later found out he was ill. His replacement Marvin was terrific. The opportunity for a simplified method of tipping the service staff is great. We had the recommended amounts charged to our account and, on the final evening, envelopes and vouchers were delivered to our room. Yet, we always feel free to tip on a daily basis anyone who is helpful and we added cash to the prepared vouchers; after all, excellent service deserves a reward! ENTERTAINMENT The heart and soul of a ship, as Captain Bang explains, are the people on board. The daily COMPASS is the best guide to activities, and the Navigator has more fun opportunities than any other ship. Cruise Director Jeffrey Arpin has a huge assignment and he executes it with aplomb. He is funny, friendly, and fast on his feet since he travels between so many venues - - - keeping all the balls up in the air. This ship is a "destination in itself." Sports, dancing, music and spectacular shows nightly. The Navigator, like her sister ships, boasts of her ice shows, and she should: "Ice Dancin," with Violetta & Peter Dack and the International Ice Cast lived up to the publicity: EXCELLENT! The regular shows with comedians Rodney Johnson and James Stephens III and the production shows by the RCI Orchestra, singers and dancers are quite good. Perhaps the most memorable single act was the "Duo Iouvilov," a combination of dancing and acrobatics. We didn't think those positions were possible! If passengers prefer to rest in their stateroom, many of these attractions are shown on their cabin's TV. PORTS OF CALL As frequent Caribbean cruisers, we have seen all of these ports many times over, but every cruise is different and the dynamics are always changing. The weather can change plans, but when on vacation it's best to go with the flow. CONCLUSION The more we cruise, the more intrigued we are by the artwork on each ship. Suddenly, we are more interested in what differentiates one ship from another and what gives each ship her "personality." We admire unique pieces of art and frequently recognize recurring themes from ship to ship, especially on those within the same class, e.g. the Voyager class. On recent cruises, we made a point of visiting each ship from top to bottom (or vice versa), to see and enjoy her art collection; it is like Art Appreciation 101 or maybe 102. But it gives us pleasure and we are improving at recognizing common characteristics and styles of certain artists whose artwork is frequently present on various ships of the same cruise line. Sometime the names are not easily remembered, but once identified, we can recalled them as authors of other pieces on other ships. We were told that the art collection on the Navigator costs $ 8.5 million. Surely, she can be compared to a nice art museum. We enjoy cruising, especially on new ships. The smell of new, the desire of seeing, feeling and comparing the new ambiance with that of other ships are the reasons for booking cruises early on the ships' inaugural season (or voyage). We are ready to book cruises on both the Serenade and on the Mariner for this coming fall; however, we have already booked three cruises on RCI ships, two in May on the Grandeur (back-to-back, transatlantic and Baltic Capitals), and a family reunion in October on the Explorer (Western Caribbean). It'll be nice to revisit both ships; it will be our third and fourth cruise on the Grandeur and our second on the Explorer. It looks like this will be for us another year of intensive cruising. Happy Cruising! finellivn@mindspring.comApril 28, 2003 Read Less
The Navigator of the Seas is an absolutely spectacular ship. Once you have been on a Royal Caribbean Voyager Class ship you may not want to cruise on anything else. The ship is full of imagination. This is the largest cruise ship afloat ... Read More
The Navigator of the Seas is an absolutely spectacular ship. Once you have been on a Royal Caribbean Voyager Class ship you may not want to cruise on anything else. The ship is full of imagination. This is the largest cruise ship afloat (which the crew reminds you of several times a day) and it uses that space to its every advantage. The most incredible concept on the ship was the Promenade on Deck 5. This is really the ship's Main Street. The street has a cafe with food and pastries which is open 24/7, a coffee bar (espresso-type drinks are extra), a frozen yogurt station (also 24/7), and a Ben & Jerry's stand (also for an additional charge). That's just the beginning. There are shops, a wine bar and a pub. All on the main street. On two nights during the cruise, the promenade is used for Disney-style parades, including colorful costumes, comics on stilts, music and streamers. On other nights there are "street" performers and singers who sing from the bridges over the promenade. It amazed me more each time I went down there. The other amenities on this ship include the rock-climbing wall, miniature golf, inline skating, a full basketball court, and ice skating in the ice rink which also hosts a wonderful ice show (get your free tickets early so you don't miss this great show) which are apparently typical for the Voyager-class ships. This was part of what I loved about the ship. Although these activities (and even the Promenade) seemed very contrived at times, they really added to the fun of being on this ship. Note that the rock-climbing is pretty strenuous. You may want to pass on this if you are not in decent shape or if it is an especially hot day. Instead you can work out in their fitness area, which has plenty of good workout machines and a great view. The ship is beautifully appointed. I loved taking the stairs so that I could see the different artwork on each landing (and fool myself into thinking I was burning off all of those extra calories). However, the perspective from the elevators is also interesting. It was cute how they had a carpet tile with the day of the week in each elevator. The kids loved trying to be in the elevators at midnight to see them change the date. The staterooms were large and comfortable. The architects outdid themselves in finding places for storage. We had more than enough. They have also replaced those pesky shower curtains with glass enclosures. What an improvement! We were on the eighth deck which we felt was just right for us. It was very quiet and everything was easily accessible. The ship's size has another advantage-it is extremely smooth sailing. There were times when I looked at the ocean to see whether we were still moving. The ship is that stable. The seas were not rough so maybe we just got lucky. But I never had to regain my land legs after this cruise as I have on the other five cruises we have been on, even those of short duration. The food was the best I have had on a Royal Caribbean cruise. It was very good to excellent. The dining rooms are beautiful and the quality of the food was good. We recognized the menus from our RCI cruise last year on the Nordic Empress. The execution of the menu was much better on the Navigator. I was never disappointed in anything I ate (and I sampled a lot). We did not try the steakhouse or the Italian restaurant, which costs an extra $20 per person only because we were having such a good time with our tablemates. However, everyone who tried them thought they were excellent. The Windjammer was good, with more ethnic food than I remembered from other ships. In addition, they have added Jade, which is Asian food. Jade was outstanding. The cuisine ranged from Japanese to Indian to Thai to Chinese stir-frys. All very good. Finally, this ship has a Johnny Rockets. Although primarily a hangout for the teens, plenty of adults were caught eating some of their delicious onion rings and sipping cherry Cokes. It was odd to pay for the drinks but not the food (not that I'm complaining). Johnny Rockets had great food and was also a lot of fun. Just like on land, the wait staff would dance to certain songs, which made it even more entertaining to go up there. The entertainment on the ship was terrific. The production shows were excellent, especially the Broadway review. We had two good comedians, one of whom we saw last year on the Nordic Empress and we laughed just as hard this year even though we knew all of the punch lines. One of the singing acts was the Osmond Brothers (Merrill, Wayne and Jay). They were very entertaining and nice guys. They were on the ship with their families and spoke with many of the other passengers. The setting was also a beautiful art-deco theater (the Metropolitan Theater). By the way, Jeff Arpin, the Cruise Director and host for the shows, was extremely funny and he was everywhere. No one worked harder on that ship than he did. Also, Captain Johnny was engaging and fun. A professional who does not take himself too seriously. The ice skating show is not to be missed. The skating runs the gamut from figure skating to ice dancing and other forms in between. It is amazing that they can do the tricks they did on a relatively small rink. There are also open skating sessions during the week. The lounges had wonderful entertainment. Matt Yee was in the Schooner Lounge piano bar. He would have crowds of 150 people singing songs with him. He was a hoot. The Cosmopolitan Club is a beautiful art-deco lounge on the 14th deck with great jazz nightly. In addition, there was a wonderful singer in the pub and a great disco (The Dungeon) which was busy and had a great atmosphere. Our teenage daughters had a great time (or so they tell us since we almost never saw them). They have a special area of the ship geared for teens which serves as a good meeting place for them even if they do spend most of their time walking around the ship. Our friends who had younger children could not get their kids out of the "camp." They did not want to go ashore with their parents because they were having so much fun on the ship. One negative about the children's area: you have to enter and leave through the video arcade. If you like to buy art, the art auctions have great deals. However, hold onto your wallet tightly. Richard, the auctioneer, is the best I've seen on a cruise ship. One shore excursion tip: If you are going to Cozumel, the BOND adventure ("Catch the Wave") is not to be missed. A BOND is an underwater scooter that allows you travel along the ocean floor while breathing normally as a scuba tank brings air into an enclosed helmet which forms a huge air bubble around your head. You are guided by a scuba diver who will show you interesting sea life and around the coral reef. According to the person who runs the boat, you must book this through the ship. It costs more and it's worth every penny. It was a great adventure. The only things that I did not like about the ship were that they no longer had a water and iced tea station on the pool deck. It was hard to get a glass of water while sitting at the pool. You had to go into the Windjammer which is well inside the ship because it has a large (but beautiful) entryway or go to a bar. (It took me three days to find the drinking fountains on deck.) Another minor annoyance is that certain fitness classes cost an additional $10. I did not feel it was worth it and stuck to the machines. The other bigger problem is that I found that although smokers were in the minority they were very noticeable. The smoking areas on the deck should be more limited. Likewise, we found it unpleasant to sit on our balcony because the people in the next cabin were smoking on their balcony. They should do a better job of having separate corridors for smoking and nonsmoking. This ship is for anyone who wants to be in the middle of all of the action. It has over 3000 passengers and 1200 crewmembers. In short, this is a wonderful ship if you are very active and/or your are part of a group with varying interests. However, while there are places on the ship where you can be alone, this is mainly for people who like to be a part of something big and exciting. I had several friends on the ship and I could go for days without running into them. It is just that big. We are already contemplating a family reunion in December for the Navigator or its sister ship, the Mariner of the Seas, which will go into service later in the year. If I could find a way to go back sooner, I would. Nhwelber@aol.com June 2003 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

Find a Navigator of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click