In 2013 we sailed out of Rome on the Navigator of the seas. It was our first cruise and it was almost perfect. The ship was spotless the crew were friendly and polite. We learned a lot from this cruise. And one of the things we did learn was to travel from Canada to Europe a few days earlier than the sailing date, and get over the jet lag.
The Navigator of the Seas was due to depart from Southampton on October 12th so we spent a couple of days in the U/K getting into the time zone. Two days before we were due to depart I received a phone call telling me that the ship was on its way back to Southampton and that some passengers had been taken sick with the Norovirus. Our boarding would be delayed by 3 hours while they sanitized the ship. They gave us a new boarding time for our deck. I received two more calls over the next two days and also one e-mail telling me about the delay.
We arrived at the departure terminal at the time they told us to. Our bags were taken away from us as soon as the taxi stopped. Then we had to join a long line of passengers waiting to check in. The longer we waited the darker the clouds got, and just before we hit the part of the queue where there was a roof it started to rain. Nowhere to go just stand there and take it. Lucky for us it was not raining to hard and after a while they called our deck number and we went into the terminal. Also lucky for us we had sailed with Royal Caribbean before so a lady stuck a gold sticker on my shirt and we joined a shorter line up. I felt sorry for all those that we in the other line up it snaked back and forth for a long way.
Our check-in was not too bad the agent scanned our passports and we were on our way within a few minutes. It took her about the same time to check us in as it did the agent at the airport in Toronto.
Once on board the ship we went to Deck Six we got there around 5.15pm. But we could not go to the cabin because they were still cleaning. So we all went downstairs to listen to the emergency drill instructions. After this was completed we went back upstairs but we could not go to our cabin as they were still cleaning. So we all went for dinner at the Windjammer. At 7pm we returned to Deck 6 and found that we could now go to our cabin the luggage was outside the door.
As far as the cruise was concerned at was a lovely cruise we went to some nice places and saw lots of interesting things. We did one ship tour at Gibraltar but other than that we made our own arrangements. In most cases we went on the red hop on and hop off busses.
Unfortunately the Norovirus cast a big shadow over the cruise. In the buffet (Windjammer) you could not serve yourself they had staff standing out in front serving you. It was obvious that they had to use staff from all parts of the ship to do this job. One day there was a man with wellington boots and coveralls serving. He had gloves on but it was obvious that he did not know how to serve people and he spent some time chasing the vegetables around the dish before he caught some and put it onto my plate.
Now you cannot blame these members of the staff for not doing a great job. First of all they do not want to be there, second they are not trained as waiters and in the case of my guy with the wellington boots I am sure he does a great job somewhere down in the depths of the ship doing what he is trained to do. As the cruise went on it was obvious that they were being overworked and were not enjoying life at all. But they were doing their best and I thank them for that.
My really big beef about Royal Caribbean is the disgusting price that they charge for use of Wi-Fi. Their prices are outrageous. We spent some money on Wi-Fi but then when we went onshore we just went to MacDonald’s or Burger King or to a restaurant and sent out e-mails free. In this day and age where most people went to keep in touch with family at home WI-FI should be free.
After we arrived back in Southampton we choose to walk off with our suitcases and we had no problems doing this and no delay. We find it easier to do it this way. In general the choice of ports was good and the ship arrived and departed each one on time. But this ship is nowhere near as well run as the Navigator of the Seas was and it was starting to show its age even after having an alleged refit this year.
For 2015 we had picked out two cruises both the same length and this cruise helped us make up our mind which one to take. In 2015 we will not be on Royal Caribbean we are going to try another cruise line.
Nice cabin just forward of the front elevators.