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Following is my review of our Eastern Caribbean Christmas cruise onboard the beautiful Navigator of the Seas. Having sailed on the other 3 Voyager class vessels, I can say that the Navigator is the prettier of the Voyager class ships. EMBARKATION: This cruise was a last minute booking and thus our cruise documents were waiting for us at the pier in Miami. Upon arriving at the pier around 11:30 am, we explained to the RCI Rep that we had pier pick up documents and therefore did not have our cabin number or luggage tags. The Rep took our names and went to find what she could. A few minutes later she came back with luggage tags and our cabin number so we could check our bags with the curbside porters. After checking our luggage she escorted us through the security checkpoint and to the Chairman's Club. Once inside the Chairman's Club a very nice lady by the name of Lillian came over with our cruise documents and told us to fill out the attached embarkation forms etc and she'd be back to check on us in a few minutes. After about 10 minutes or so she came over with a check-in agent who took our forms and the credit card we wanted to use for our onboard account. A few minutes later we were handed our Sea Pass cards and wished a bon voyage by the staff. I must admit I was a little surprised by the "extra special" treatment we were receiving until I realized that we had been upgraded to a Cat. A Suite!!! It was a total shock, and I almost refused to believe it until I stuck my card into the cabin door. (More on that later). While our check in process was a smooth one, it's important to note that we did observe total chaos in the main boarding lounge area. I've never seen such long lines in my life and they didn't appear to be moving very quickly. We heard from others once onboard that they waited in line for almost 2 hours. Embarkation is usually a very smooth process with RCI, and I'm not real sure why there was such a problem with this sailing unless the fact that the Explorer was also embarking a full ship had something to do with it?? ONBOARD Once onboard we headed straight to our cabin (still not believing in the good fortune of our upgrade) I was anxious to see where we'd be calling home for the next 7 days. Our Suite, on Deck 10, was located on the "hump" of the ship and was a perfect location being near the aft elevators. The Cat. A Suites are huge (almost 600 sq. ft) and contained a queen size bed, large flat screen TV/DVD/Stereo, sitting area, wet bar, safe, and plenty of closet space and drawers. The bathroom was huge by ship standards and featured a shower, whirlpool tub and again plenty of storage space. Since the cabin was located on the "hump" we were able to get nice views down the side of the ship both forward and aft. The balcony was nicely furnished with a few chairs and a table. One new feature onboard the Navigator is the addition of "walls" of safety glass on all the balcony cabins, rather then the ½ walls of steel found on the other Voyager class ships. The balconies are also pushed out from the side of the ship which make them a little deeper then those of the other Voyager class vessels. The addition of the safety glass made the balcony feel more spacious and gave you great, unobstructed views of the ocean even when you were in your cabin. OK, cabin inspection over, it was time to get some shipboard business taken care of in the Concierge Club on Deck 9. The Concierge Club is available to anyone booked in Royal Suites or Cat. A and B Suites, as well as to any Crown and Anchor Diamond members. Due to a misprint in the RCI 2002-03 brochure all Cat. C suites will also have access to this lounge until the end of April 2003. Access to the Concierge Club also gives you authority to board any of the tenders on a priority basis as well. Marise is the Concierge, and she was extremely helpful and attentive to everyone's needs. Marise gave us a brief overview of all the services available to us such as special times for the rock wall, ice skating etc. She would also arrange reservations at Chops and Portofino's, book our shore excursions and take care of our tickets to the Ice Show. Also available in the Concierge Club is 24 hour coffee/tea, continental breakfast each morning, and nightly hors d'oeuvres and free cocktails. They also have a variety of music CD's and DVD's which you can borrow. The club was nicely decorated and had several small seating areas where you could read or play any of the board games that were also available. After arranging dinner reservations for Chops and Portofino with Marise, it was up to the Windjammer for a little lunch. The area where the Windjammer and Island Grill is on the other Voyager class ships has been greatly improved onboard the Navigator. This area is now known as The Plaza and houses the Windjammer, Chops, Portofino, The Plaza Bar, and RCI's first Asian restaurant-Jade. The design of the Windjammer has also been improved and rather then a long buffet line, the area is divided into separate food stations (similar to the Radiance class ships). The Windjammer offered daily buffet breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and dinner. The food in the Windjammer was good and there was a nice variety including salads, soups, sandwiches, fish and meat entrees, burgers, and desserts along with a self-serve frozen yogurt station. Coffee, tea and lemonade stations were also available. Jade is a nice buffet style restaurant that served a nice variety of good Asian food as well as sushi and there is no fee to dine here. THE SHIP As I stated at the beginning of this review, the Navigator is the most beautiful of the Voyager class ships. She is more lavishly decorated in rich carpets and furnishings then her older sisters, and boasts an impressive $8.5 million art collection. Her more "upscale" dEcor is similar to that of the Radiance and Brilliance. The use of rich fabrics, textures and wood accents give this ship a more intimate and cozy feel. In addition to the dEcor changes, the addition of more external glass on the balcony cabins and the creation of the Plaza area, Navigator of the Seas has a few other changes. Onboard Navigator is Bolero's Latin Jazz club, Vintage's in the Royal Promenade is the first dedicated wine bar at sea and offers several wine tastings throughout the week. Also in the Royal Promenade is the addition of a Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Parlor and yes there is a charge ($2.50) but those of you who object to paying can find free soft serve machines at Sprinkle's right next door in the Cafe Promenade area. Another major change onboard the Navigator is the addition of 6,000 sq. ft. of space in the Adventure Ocean facilities. The additional space was created out of the area used for Adventure Beach on the other Voyager ships, so you will not find the children's pool and slide onboard the Navigator. Instead that area was used to create the "Back Deck", an outdoor area dedicates to teens, with buffet area, seating and music. Additionally, teens have their own disco "Fuel" and "The Living Room" with its coffee/non-alcohol bar, internet stations, TV's, games etc. FOOD AND SERVICE Nobody will ever go hungry onboard the Navigator! We mostly ordered breakfast from room service and ate out on our balcony. Room service was very prompt, our orders were always correct and the food arrived at the proper temperature. It was nice to receive a call from room service advising that our order was on the way about 5 mins before it actually arrived. We also received calls about 15 mins after delivery to check and see if everything was satisfactory-nice touch! One thing to note, the breakfast order card you place on your door each night offers a very limited menu-if you wish something else or in addition to those items, simply place a "post it" note or write your preferences directly on the card and all will be delivered without a problem. All of our lunches were eaten in either the Windjammer, Jade or Johnny Rockets and again the variety and quality of food was good in each place. Dinners in the beautiful 3 story main dining room were also very good and the service was excellent. I've had better meals onboard the Sovereign, Vision and Radiance class ships but that's to be expected since they aren't cooking for as many people, but all in all the food in the Navigator's main dining room was good. We also dined one night in Chop's Grille and one night in Portofino's ($20.00 per person fee in each) and the meals there were excellent with very attentive service. I would highly recommend both of these dining options. Additionally the Cafe Promenade in the Royal Promenade area offers 24-hour snacks, sandwiches, pizza, cookies etc. Room service is also available 24 hrs a day with a limited menu. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner from the main dining room menu can be ordered from room service during "normal" meal hours. The service on this ship was in typical Royal Caribbean style-EXCELLENT! The crew really went out of their way to see to it that everyone was well treated and having fun. Our cabin attendant kept our cabin spotless throughout the 7 days and left us with a towel animal each night. One night he almost gave me a heart attack-I walked into the cabin to find "Mr. Cool" sitting on my bed. This towel "man" was something to see.. he was wearing my ball cap, sunglasses, shoes, necktie and was propped up on the bed with the TV remote in one hand and the daily Compass spread out over his lap. Very creative and after the initial shock of seeing him - very funny! ENTERTAINMENT AND NIGHTLIFE Just as you won't go hungry onboard the Navigator, neither will you be bored. Cruise Director Ken Rush and his staff did a nice job of offering plenty to do during the day (and night). Between the rock wall, rollerblading, ice skating, putt putt golf, sports deck, shipshape center, pool games etc you could literally spend all 7 days onboard this ship and still never do everything there is to do. The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers did a nice job with the production shows. We only attended one production show "Now and Forever" which was a production of music from popular Broadway shows like Mamma Mia, The Producers, Dreamgirls etc. It was entertaining and the Metropolis Theater was a stunning Art Deco styled room with comfortable seating and good sight lines. The celebrity headliner was comedian Yakoff Smirnoff and as he'd been on several other cruises we've been on and I don't particularly find him funny we didn't attend. By far the best show was " Ice Dancin" in Studio B. Whatever you do, make sure you get your tickets and attend this show! Most other evenings we spent in the different lounges onboard. Matt Yee in the Schooner Bar was very talented and entertaining. Bolero's offered Latin Jazz and specialty Latin drinks. The Ixtapa Lounge had karaoke and other events like The Quest (those of you who have not seen this adult game show MUST attend or better yet participate). The Two Poets Pub in the Royal Promenade was a nice place to people watch, but it was my least favorite bar. The Cosmopolitan Club in the Viking Crown Lounge had smooth jazz and the 19th Hole Sports Bar not only gave you plenty of TVs to watch the games but a nice view from the 14th Deck. It seemed no matter what we did each night we always found ourselves in the Dungeon Disco which rocked until the early morning hours. One thing we did not do on this cruise was view the parades in the Royal Promenade. It just gets too crowded and that type of thing just isn't my cup of tea anyway-yes I even hate the Ringling Bros Circus J. PORTS We were on the Eastern Caribbean cruise, with port calls at Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan and Labadee with 2 days at sea. I really won't go into details on the ports for 2 reasons... 1) I've been to these islands so much over the years, I only got off the ship in St. Thomas and Labadee and 2), In 8 years of cruising over Christmas this was the first time the weather was less then perfect. We left Miami with overcast skies, cool temps and VERY windy conditions. It remained cloudy and cool in Nassau and during our day at sea. St. Thomas had on and off rain throughout the day and it totally poured while we were in San Juan. By far the best day was Labadee, where it was hot and sunny, but again the closer we got to Miami the cooler and more windy it got. If you have any questions regarding these ports, please feel free to email me at Rdeagazio@aol.com and I'll be more then happy to offer advise from my past visits to these islands. SUMMARY Overall this was an excellent cruise on a beautiful ship with great food and service, however I think this will be the last time I sail on a Voyager class ship. This is strictly a matter of personal preference, but I prefer the smaller ships (Radiance class are my all time favorite) due to the fact that when on the Voyager class you don't get the feeling you're on a ship. I don't want to have to go to my balcony or to the top decks to feel a connection with the ocean and the smaller ships offer you more views of the ocean with their floor to ceiling windows throughout. Also, the Voyager class ships attract WAY to many kids, especially when school is out. While I think these vessels are beautiful and very impressive, they just don't give me the feeling that I'm cruising. I do think that everyone should sail on these ships at least once and if you're sailing with a large group they're perfect. The only real negative comment I have regarding this cruise is the behavior of the children onboard. I've never sailed with such an unruly bunch. With all that's available for kids (and teens) on this ship, there's NO excuse for them to be running around like wild animals! I not only fault their parents for the lack of supervision, I also fault RCI for not enforcing their Guest Satisfaction Policy which clearly states such behavior will not be tolerated by the cruise line and can result in being "offloaded" at the next port. Why have this policy if you don't enforce it?? Maybe if RCI started putting off the parents and their wild kids at the next port, word would get out and people will act responsibly. This should be a ZERO TOLERANCE policy like Carnival has with smoking on the Paradise. This was also the first cruise that I did not see RCI staff address this. On previous cruises, like last year on the Enchantment they had on deck "Pool Patrols" that kept kids tame around the pools, out of the hot tubs, out of the Solarium etc. On that cruise the Bar staff and ships officers kept the kids under control in the various public rooms as well. I didn't see any of this on the Navigator. I've rambled on long enough... I'm sure I left out a lot, but if any of you have specific questions about the ship or the ports, please email me and I'll do my best to answer them. Happy Sailing Everyone!!! Rdeagazio@aol.com March 2003

Navigator of the Seas

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by RDeagazio

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 1899
  • Destination:
Following is my review of our Eastern Caribbean Christmas cruise onboard the beautiful Navigator of the Seas. Having sailed on the other 3 Voyager class vessels, I can say that the Navigator is the prettier of the Voyager class ships.

EMBARKATION:
This cruise was a last minute booking and thus our cruise documents were waiting for us at the pier in Miami. Upon arriving at the pier around 11:30 am, we explained to the RCI Rep that we had pier pick up documents and therefore did not have our cabin number or luggage tags. The Rep took our names and went to find what she could. A few minutes later she came back with luggage tags and our cabin number so we could check our bags with the curbside porters. After checking our luggage she escorted us through the security checkpoint and to the Chairman's Club. Once inside the Chairman's Club a very nice lady by the name of Lillian came over with our cruise documents and told us to fill out the attached embarkation forms etc and she'd be back to check on us in a few minutes. After about 10 minutes or so she came over with a check-in agent who took our forms and the credit card we wanted to use for our onboard account. A few minutes later we were handed our Sea Pass cards and wished a bon voyage by the staff. I must admit I was a little surprised by the "extra special" treatment we were receiving until I realized that we had been upgraded to a Cat. A Suite!!! It was a total shock, and I almost refused to believe it until I stuck my card into the cabin door. (More on that later). While our check in process was a smooth one, it's important to note that we did observe total chaos in the main boarding lounge area. I've never seen such long lines in my life and they didn't appear to be moving very quickly. We heard from others once onboard that they waited in line for almost 2 hours. Embarkation is usually a very smooth process with RCI, and I'm not real sure why there was such a problem with this sailing unless the fact that the Explorer was also embarking a full ship had something to do with it??

ONBOARD
Once onboard we headed straight to our cabin (still not believing in the good fortune of our upgrade) I was anxious to see where we'd be calling home for the next 7 days. Our Suite, on Deck 10, was located on the "hump" of the ship and was a perfect location being near the aft elevators. The Cat. A Suites are huge (almost 600 sq. ft) and contained a queen size bed, large flat screen TV/DVD/Stereo, sitting area, wet bar, safe, and plenty of closet space and drawers. The bathroom was huge by ship standards and featured a shower, whirlpool tub and again plenty of storage space. Since the cabin was located on the "hump" we were able to get nice views down the side of the ship both forward and aft. The balcony was nicely furnished with a few chairs and a table. One new feature onboard the Navigator is the addition of "walls" of safety glass on all the balcony cabins, rather then the ½ walls of steel found on the other Voyager class ships. The balconies are also pushed out from the side of the ship which make them a little deeper then those of the other Voyager class vessels. The addition of the safety glass made the balcony feel more spacious and gave you great, unobstructed views of the ocean even when you were in your cabin.

OK, cabin inspection over, it was time to get some shipboard business taken care of in the Concierge Club on Deck 9. The Concierge Club is available to anyone booked in Royal Suites or Cat. A and B Suites, as well as to any Crown and Anchor Diamond members. Due to a misprint in the RCI 2002-03 brochure all Cat. C suites will also have access to this lounge until the end of April 2003. Access to the Concierge Club also gives you authority to board any of the tenders on a priority basis as well. Marise is the Concierge, and she was extremely helpful and attentive to everyone's needs. Marise gave us a brief overview of all the services available to us such as special times for the rock wall, ice skating etc. She would also arrange reservations at Chops and Portofino's, book our shore excursions and take care of our tickets to the Ice Show. Also available in the Concierge Club is 24 hour coffee/tea, continental breakfast each morning, and nightly hors d'oeuvres and free cocktails. They also have a variety of music CD's and DVD's which you can borrow. The club was nicely decorated and had several small seating areas where you could read or play any of the board games that were also available.

After arranging dinner reservations for Chops and Portofino with Marise, it was up to the Windjammer for a little lunch. The area where the Windjammer and Island Grill is on the other Voyager class ships has been greatly improved onboard the Navigator. This area is now known as The Plaza and houses the Windjammer, Chops, Portofino, The Plaza Bar, and RCI's first Asian restaurant-Jade. The design of the Windjammer has also been improved and rather then a long buffet line, the area is divided into separate food stations (similar to the Radiance class ships). The Windjammer offered daily buffet breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and dinner. The food in the Windjammer was good and there was a nice variety including salads, soups, sandwiches, fish and meat entrees, burgers, and desserts along with a self-serve frozen yogurt station. Coffee, tea and lemonade stations were also available. Jade is a nice buffet style restaurant that served a nice variety of good Asian food as well as sushi and there is no fee to dine here.

THE SHIP
As I stated at the beginning of this review, the Navigator is the most beautiful of the Voyager class ships. She is more lavishly decorated in rich carpets and furnishings then her older sisters, and boasts an impressive $8.5 million art collection. Her more "upscale" dEcor is similar to that of the Radiance and Brilliance. The use of rich fabrics, textures and wood accents give this ship a more intimate and cozy feel. In addition to the dEcor changes, the addition of more external glass on the balcony cabins and the creation of the Plaza area, Navigator of the Seas has a few other changes. Onboard Navigator is Bolero's Latin Jazz club, Vintage's in the Royal Promenade is the first dedicated wine bar at sea and offers several wine tastings throughout the week. Also in the Royal Promenade is the addition of a Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Parlor and yes there is a charge ($2.50) but those of you who object to paying can find free soft serve machines at Sprinkle's right next door in the Cafe Promenade area.

Another major change onboard the Navigator is the addition of 6,000 sq. ft. of space in the Adventure Ocean facilities. The additional space was created out of the area used for Adventure Beach on the other Voyager ships, so you will not find the children's pool and slide onboard the Navigator. Instead that area was used to create the "Back Deck", an outdoor area dedicates to teens, with buffet area, seating and music. Additionally, teens have their own disco "Fuel" and "The Living Room" with its coffee/non-alcohol bar, internet stations, TV's, games etc.

FOOD AND SERVICE
Nobody will ever go hungry onboard the Navigator! We mostly ordered breakfast from room service and ate out on our balcony. Room service was very prompt, our orders were always correct and the food arrived at the proper temperature. It was nice to receive a call from room service advising that our order was on the way about 5 mins before it actually arrived. We also received calls about 15 mins after delivery to check and see if everything was satisfactory-nice touch! One thing to note, the breakfast order card you place on your door each night offers a very limited menu-if you wish something else or in addition to those items, simply place a "post it" note or write your preferences directly on the card and all will be delivered without a problem. All of our lunches were eaten in either the Windjammer, Jade or Johnny Rockets and again the variety and quality of food was good in each place. Dinners in the beautiful 3 story main dining room were also very good and the service was excellent. I've had better meals onboard the Sovereign, Vision and Radiance class ships but that's to be expected since they aren't cooking for as many people, but all in all the food in the Navigator's main dining room was good. We also dined one night in Chop's Grille and one night in Portofino's ($20.00 per person fee in each) and the meals there were excellent with very attentive service. I would highly recommend both of these dining options. Additionally the Cafe Promenade in the Royal Promenade area offers 24-hour snacks, sandwiches, pizza, cookies etc. Room service is also available 24 hrs a day with a limited menu. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner from the main dining room menu can be ordered from room service during "normal" meal hours.

The service on this ship was in typical Royal Caribbean style-EXCELLENT! The crew really went out of their way to see to it that everyone was well treated and having fun. Our cabin attendant kept our cabin spotless throughout the 7 days and left us with a towel animal each night. One night he almost gave me a heart attack-I walked into the cabin to find "Mr. Cool" sitting on my bed. This towel "man" was something to see.. he was wearing my ball cap, sunglasses, shoes, necktie and was propped up on the bed with the TV remote in one hand and the daily Compass spread out over his lap. Very creative and after the initial shock of seeing him - very funny!

ENTERTAINMENT AND NIGHTLIFE
Just as you won't go hungry onboard the Navigator, neither will you be bored. Cruise Director Ken Rush and his staff did a nice job of offering plenty to do during the day (and night). Between the rock wall, rollerblading, ice skating, putt putt golf, sports deck, shipshape center, pool games etc you could literally spend all 7 days onboard this ship and still never do everything there is to do.

The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers did a nice job with the production shows. We only attended one production show "Now and Forever" which was a production of music from popular Broadway shows like Mamma Mia, The Producers, Dreamgirls etc. It was entertaining and the Metropolis Theater was a stunning Art Deco styled room with comfortable seating and good sight lines. The celebrity headliner was comedian Yakoff Smirnoff and as he'd been on several other cruises we've been on and I don't particularly find him funny we didn't attend. By far the best show was " Ice Dancin" in Studio B. Whatever you do, make sure you get your tickets and attend this show! Most other evenings we spent in the different lounges onboard. Matt Yee in the Schooner Bar was very talented and entertaining. Bolero's offered Latin Jazz and specialty Latin drinks. The Ixtapa Lounge had karaoke and other events like The Quest (those of you who have not seen this adult game show MUST attend or better yet participate). The Two Poets Pub in the Royal Promenade was a nice place to people watch, but it was my least favorite bar. The Cosmopolitan Club in the Viking Crown Lounge had smooth jazz and the 19th Hole Sports Bar not only gave you plenty of TVs to watch the games but a nice view from the 14th Deck. It seemed no matter what we did each night we always found ourselves in the Dungeon Disco which rocked until the early morning hours.

One thing we did not do on this cruise was view the parades in the Royal Promenade. It just gets too crowded and that type of thing just isn't my cup of tea anyway-yes I even hate the Ringling Bros Circus J.

PORTS
We were on the Eastern Caribbean cruise, with port calls at Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan and Labadee with 2 days at sea. I really won't go into details on the ports for 2 reasons... 1) I've been to these islands so much over the years, I only got off the ship in St. Thomas and Labadee and 2), In 8 years of cruising over Christmas this was the first time the weather was less then perfect. We left Miami with overcast skies, cool temps and VERY windy conditions. It remained cloudy and cool in Nassau and during our day at sea. St. Thomas had on and off rain throughout the day and it totally poured while we were in San Juan. By far the best day was Labadee, where it was hot and sunny, but again the closer we got to Miami the cooler and more windy it got. If you have any questions regarding these ports, please feel free to email me at Rdeagazio@aol.com and I'll be more then happy to offer advise from my past visits to these islands.

SUMMARY
Overall this was an excellent cruise on a beautiful ship with great food and service, however I think this will be the last time I sail on a Voyager class ship. This is strictly a matter of personal preference, but I prefer the smaller ships (Radiance class are my all time favorite) due to the fact that when on the Voyager class you don't get the feeling you're on a ship. I don't want to have to go to my balcony or to the top decks to feel a connection with the ocean and the smaller ships offer you more views of the ocean with their floor to ceiling windows throughout. Also, the Voyager class ships attract WAY to many kids, especially when school is out. While I think these vessels are beautiful and very impressive, they just don't give me the feeling that I'm cruising. I do think that everyone should sail on these ships at least once and if you're sailing with a large group they're perfect.

The only real negative comment I have regarding this cruise is the behavior of the children onboard. I've never sailed with such an unruly bunch. With all that's available for kids (and teens) on this ship, there's NO excuse for them to be running around like wild animals! I not only fault their parents for the lack of supervision, I also fault RCI for not enforcing their Guest Satisfaction Policy which clearly states such behavior will not be tolerated by the cruise line and can result in being "offloaded" at the next port. Why have this policy if you don't enforce it?? Maybe if RCI started putting off the parents and their wild kids at the next port, word would get out and people will act responsibly. This should be a ZERO TOLERANCE policy like Carnival has with smoking on the Paradise. This was also the first cruise that I did not see RCI staff address this. On previous cruises, like last year on the Enchantment they had on deck "Pool Patrols" that kept kids tame around the pools, out of the hot tubs, out of the Solarium etc. On that cruise the Bar staff and ships officers kept the kids under control in the various public rooms as well. I didn't see any of this on the Navigator.

I've rambled on long enough... I'm sure I left out a lot, but if any of you have specific questions about the ship or the ports, please email me and I'll do my best to answer them.

Happy Sailing Everyone!!!

Rdeagazio@aol.com
March 2003
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