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We have cruised nearly 50 times on a total of 6 lines with over 20 on RCCL. We have cruised many times out of Galveston over the years. The cruise port facilities have historically been below average when compared to other ports not in the third world. Earlier this year RCCL accomplished a dry dock on the Navigator. This dry dock accomplished many positive changes on this ship. Notable improvements were the specialty restaurants, additions like the flow rider and a relocated and improved diamond lounge. Passenger capacity was increased from 3114 to 3686. The change in the cruise experience was quite noticeable. Pretty much every venue was significantly more crowded. From dining to all entertainment venues to just walking in the promenade were all affected. Big surprise. Not. Now for the really bad news. The Galveston port facilities were simply overpowered by the additional 572 passengers. Access to the terminal by private car has always been a problem and is now clogged. Parking is also becoming difficult as most passengers arrive by car. The terminal has the same number of metal detectors and the check in has the same number of check in stations. Now add in 18% more passengers and the system is gridlocked. Lines go outside the building and to the end of the passenger drop off area. Literally several hundred feet. I did not see any RCCL employees out there to “direct traffic”. I did see a few people exchange unkind words about line jumpers. The backlog was so bad the muster drill was delayed over an hour. Baggage delivery to the cabins was also noticeably slower. As to the departure, there are the same 9 Immigration/Customs checkpoints. The same poor drive up access for customer pick up. Guess what – a much greater hassle. Much more than 18%. I must add that the RCCL personnel who were there were working hard and maintaining a pleasant professional attitude in a tough situation. Royal Caribbean management needs to “get off the dime” and come up with some immediate improvements. Underline IMMEDIATE. A very bad customer experience especially when compared to our cruise on Princess at the new Port of Houston cruise terminal in December. While I saw no conventional cigarettes in undesignated smoking areas many passengers had electronic cigarettes and were using them openly in the interior promenade, late night disco, and Schooner Bar. I can understand the bar staff and waiters looking the other way but during the entire cruise I never saw security or any management personnel attempting to intervene. Both English speaking and Spanish speaking passengers flouted the smoking ban. Probably also in their cabins. Now for the good news – the passenger service personnel all provided us with excellent service. Cabin stewards, wait staff in restaurants, windjammer, room service, and the concierge areas did their jobs and did them well. We enjoyed the Bubba Feathers Band and Phil Anderson in the Schooner Bar. Phil Anderson and Joe Lamont, from Bubba's band, put on an excellent "Dueling Pianos" show on day 4. This show was to be for one hour but they were having a fine old time and the crowd interaction was also great so they went on for two hours. Bubba was relegated to the small Boleros Lounge where seating was at a premium and the Mexican Band “Latin Vibes” was in the larger Star lounge as this sailing had over 1000 Spanish speaking passengers. And only 2500 or so English speakers. We understand there were some disagreements between Rednecks and Mexicans on the selection of music in the disco but did not see it ourselves. One of our new friends was in an interior cabin with the new video wall. They were pleased with it versus a standard inside cabin. Bottom line: In spite of the negatives we had an enjoyable cruise and booked another one while onboard. Now --- about the embarkation, debarkation, and the 18% more passengers: RATS.  

What a difference an extra 572 passengers make.

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by gunka

Trip Details
We have cruised nearly 50 times on a total of 6 lines with over 20 on RCCL. We have cruised many times out of Galveston over the years. The cruise port facilities have historically been below average when compared to other ports not in the third world.
Earlier this year RCCL accomplished a dry dock on the Navigator. This dry dock accomplished many positive changes on this ship. Notable improvements were the specialty restaurants, additions like the flow rider and a relocated and improved diamond lounge.
Passenger capacity was increased from 3114 to 3686. The change in the cruise experience was quite noticeable. Pretty much every venue was significantly more crowded. From dining to all entertainment venues to just walking in the promenade were all affected. Big surprise. Not.
Now for the really bad news. The Galveston port facilities were simply overpowered by the additional 572 passengers. Access to the terminal by private car has always been a problem and is now clogged. Parking is also becoming difficult as most passengers arrive by car. The terminal has the same number of metal detectors and the check in has the same number of check in stations. Now add in 18% more passengers and the system is gridlocked. Lines go outside the building and to the end of the passenger drop off area. Literally several hundred feet. I did not see any RCCL employees out there to “direct traffic”. I did see a few people exchange unkind words about line jumpers. The backlog was so bad the muster drill was delayed over an hour. Baggage delivery to the cabins was also noticeably slower. As to the departure, there are the same 9 Immigration/Customs checkpoints. The same poor drive up access for customer pick up. Guess what – a much greater hassle. Much more than 18%. I must add that the RCCL personnel who were there were working hard and maintaining a pleasant professional attitude in a tough situation. Royal Caribbean management needs to “get off the dime” and come up with some immediate improvements. Underline IMMEDIATE. A very bad customer experience especially when compared to our cruise on Princess at the new Port of Houston cruise terminal in December.
While I saw no conventional cigarettes in undesignated smoking areas many passengers had electronic cigarettes and were using them openly in the interior promenade, late night disco, and Schooner Bar. I can understand the bar staff and waiters looking the other way but during the entire cruise I never saw security or any management personnel attempting to intervene. Both English speaking and Spanish speaking passengers flouted the smoking ban. Probably also in their cabins.
Now for the good news – the passenger service personnel all provided us with excellent service. Cabin stewards, wait staff in restaurants, windjammer, room service, and the concierge areas did their jobs and did them well.
We enjoyed the Bubba Feathers Band and Phil Anderson in the Schooner Bar. Phil Anderson and Joe Lamont, from Bubba's band, put on an excellent "Dueling Pianos" show on day 4. This show was to be for one hour but they were having a fine old time and the crowd interaction was also great so they went on for two hours.
Bubba was relegated to the small Boleros Lounge where seating was at a premium and the Mexican Band “Latin Vibes” was in the larger Star lounge as this sailing had over 1000 Spanish speaking passengers. And only 2500 or so English speakers. We understand there were some disagreements between Rednecks and Mexicans on the selection of music in the disco but did not see it ourselves.
One of our new friends was in an interior cabin with the new video wall. They were pleased with it versus a standard inside cabin.
Bottom line: In spite of the negatives we had an enjoyable cruise and booked another one while onboard. Now --- about the embarkation, debarkation, and the 18% more passengers: RATS.
 
gunka’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin
The coffee tables have been removed in all cabins. We missed it when having room service breakfast but otherwise liked the extra room it provided.
  Navigator of the Seas Deck Plans