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My frame of reference for this cruise was a cruise in 2013 on Norwegian Pearl to Alaska. Right off the bat the first thing I can tell you was the Service on RC didn't seem anywhere near the level we got on Norwegian. It did get better as the week went on and there were parts of five star service mixed with zero stars along the way. Perhaps thats a reflection overall of management but staff on Norwegian just seemed happy. Staff on RC for the most part did not. Embarkation: An absolute nightmare in Galveston. Waited in line 2 hours with 4 kids. They clearly did not have enough staff and the entry was not attended and we counted 100s of folks that would skip the line when they were not looking. It was chaotic to even figure out if you were in the right line until you made it inside the building. My suggestion is to skip the "assigned" time they give you and either come early or late. Once on board: not enough staff to help direct you. Apparently they were handing out lanyards for the kids but only on Promenade deck. By time we got there it was drill time so they told us to come back afterwards only there was nobody there and nobody seemed to know if they would return. Ended up having to pay $7 for 4 lanyards, two of which broke two days in. They should have notified us at check in where to take care of the kids stuff right away. FYI being your own lanyards for your kids sea passes. Luggage: Actually I was shocked how quickly most of the luggage was by our door. That is with exception of my husband's. We kept asking and kept being told of they will deliver it by 7. by 9:15pm when it still had not shown up we got a call that he had to go down to Deck 1 to retrieve it. When he got there they were rude and insisted that he had an iron in his luggage. He had absolutely nothing in there and proved it to them. There was a retired general that apparently was in the same situation and he gave them an earful. Get better scanners. We had another member of our family's luggage also detained for no reason. Drink packages: I was basically sent on a wild goose chase to order drink packages for the kids. They didn't appear to have stations set up like the Norwegian did right away that made sign up easy. I asked multiple people and got a different answer every time I asked. Finally waited in line at the bar and signed up at the bar after holding up other people in line wanting drinks. Trying just to get a bottle of water was difficult. The bar tenders at multiple bars were rude if you were not there to order mixed drinks. I paid $19/day for the upgraded drink package and you should not have to wander around trying to find water. The best places I did find was at Starbucks when I would get my morning coffee, or the windjammer bar BUT having to sign a zero pay receipt every single time was annoying. We paid for the drink package so it would be easier. It would be nice to have at least a machine or little kiosk dedicated to drink package so you could get a soda or bottle of water more easily. I finally started tipping the Starbucks guy extra so that they would allow more than one bottle. Unless you drink a specialty coffee, the fresh squeezed OJ and a smoothie ever day of your trip the package may not be worth it. I didn't drink much soda but did have coffee and OJ everyday and tried to get my two bottles of water a day. Food: Windjammer-this place like any of the common free eating spaces was packed and the food seemed to try to be too much to everyone. I would have preferred the staples each day like the salad bar but a theme for each day like Italian pasta bar or Mexican day. Often times hard to find a seat. When asked about Gluten free options like bread even though there was a sign they seemed to have no clue. They needed more obvious choices for GF. There didn't seem to be any other options for casual breakfast and dinner. On the Norwegian we had several different places that we could go. I don't think I saw them set up lunch ever on the pool deck like we had with our previous cruise. We had main dining room every evening. Again my issue was mainly with GF options especially for dessert. A staple should be a flourless chocolate cake which was available every day on the Norwegian Pearl. The creme brûlée ended up being the go to for this trip but the rest of desserts labeled GF were really not very good at all. For entrees it as easier and I stuck mostly to fish which for the most part was pretty good. Our wait staff- two of the three were phenomenal and one was horrible. We would fight over who got the good waiter's table every evening (we had a family group of 25). The same horrible waiter at end of the week kept insisting that we give the staff high marks and told us that if we didn't it would reflect poorly on the other two. Not wanting the other two to suffer we agreed to give them the best marks but its ridiculous that we were not able to evaluate him separately from the other to. He really had no business dealing with people, and he certainly had a lot of gall to insist that we give him high marks. Izumi- by far the best meal of the trip. Service was outstanding and so was the food and the view. Wish I had discovered before the last night! They did run out of edamame though so we didn't get any. Thought that was a bit weird. Food in the Cafe on the Promenade was nothing that was GF for me but the kids enjoyed picking up snacks. All in all for that many people they needed more options for breakfast and dinner to spread the people out from the Windjammer. Ship: The ship is beautiful and probably is the best part of the trip. I loved the open Promenade. You don't feel like you are always on a ship and feels like you have space to move if you need it. Norwegian Pearl was very compartmentalized and claustrophobic at times. RC has done a great job in designing their ships. There was plenty for the kids to do from putt putt, climbing wall, ping pong, arcade. They didn't have any interest in the kids program because they didn't have the best experience on Norwegian with that. I think RC probably does a better job with the kids program from what I could tell and I wish they would have given it a try. I loved the big screen TV by he pool but they were still showing Christmas movies for some reason even though we were two weeks into January. The best show was the comedy show which was high caliber entertainment. Never could figure out how to get tickets to the skating show although the kids would have loved it. They did ice skate and had a good time. The other salute to broadway show we saw was pretty bad with exception of the lead singer. I have seen better hight school productions. The other comedy show was pretty decent. Overall the entertainment was better than the Norwegian. Rooms: I thought the room (balcony) was really nice and a little bigger than what we experienced with Norwegian. The AC never really could figure out how to work right and it was a little stuffy and you can't really just open the door on the balcony without creating a wind tunnel. Plenty of room though for our two suitcases and to put all my clothes away. I also thought the shower was really nice. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperative leaving the Gulf of Mexico and we had 10 foot swells the first day at sea. Not a lot to see on the Balcony except waves crashing! The bed vibrated for two days which made it difficult to sleep. Also the pillows were so flat. Ended up with a backache every day I think from the bed. We had the kids across the hall in an interior four bunk room and they had a decent amount of space for them to retreat to. Our room attendant was really nice and one of the few on the ship with good customer service. Leaving the Ship: Again another total disaster. Not enough staff to help regulate the lines. We showed up at our appointed time and ended up waiting on a pile of luggage for over an hour just to get off the ship. People were cutting in lines again and we had folks that came off the elevator 45 minutes after we did disembark the same time we did. They have got to figure out a better system for this! Customs in Galveston was actually a breeze and for one was happy when the pushy non us citizens got a bit of Karma and had to wait in the longer non citizens lines. Earlier they had basically shoved one of my kids out of the way to get off the ship. People say Americans are rude but my experience was the opposite on this trip. Maybe Texans are just more friendly, polite and follow the rules. All this being said we are giving RC another shot in September with Allure of the Seas in Europe. I do love their ships and hoping for a better level of customer service next time.  

Great Ship but lacking in customer service

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by hbrooke1124

Trip Details
My frame of reference for this cruise was a cruise in 2013 on Norwegian Pearl to Alaska. Right off the bat the first thing I can tell you was the Service on RC didn't seem anywhere near the level we got on Norwegian. It did get better as the week went on and there were parts of five star service mixed with zero stars along the way. Perhaps thats a reflection overall of management but staff on Norwegian just seemed happy. Staff on RC for the most part did not.
Embarkation: An absolute nightmare in Galveston. Waited in line 2 hours with 4 kids. They clearly did not have enough staff and the entry was not attended and we counted 100s of folks that would skip the line when they were not looking. It was chaotic to even figure out if you were in the right line until you made it inside the building. My suggestion is to skip the "assigned" time they give you and either come early or late.
Once on board: not enough staff to help direct you. Apparently they were handing out lanyards for the kids but only on Promenade deck. By time we got there it was drill time so they told us to come back afterwards only there was nobody there and nobody seemed to know if they would return. Ended up having to pay $7 for 4 lanyards, two of which broke two days in. They should have notified us at check in where to take care of the kids stuff right away. FYI being your own lanyards for your kids sea passes.
Luggage: Actually I was shocked how quickly most of the luggage was by our door. That is with exception of my husband's. We kept asking and kept being told of they will deliver it by 7. by 9:15pm when it still had not shown up we got a call that he had to go down to Deck 1 to retrieve it. When he got there they were rude and insisted that he had an iron in his luggage. He had absolutely nothing in there and proved it to them. There was a retired general that apparently was in the same situation and he gave them an earful. Get better scanners. We had another member of our family's luggage also detained for no reason.
Drink packages: I was basically sent on a wild goose chase to order drink packages for the kids. They didn't appear to have stations set up like the Norwegian did right away that made sign up easy. I asked multiple people and got a different answer every time I asked. Finally waited in line at the bar and signed up at the bar after holding up other people in line wanting drinks. Trying just to get a bottle of water was difficult. The bar tenders at multiple bars were rude if you were not there to order mixed drinks. I paid $19/day for the upgraded drink package and you should not have to wander around trying to find water. The best places I did find was at Starbucks when I would get my morning coffee, or the windjammer bar BUT having to sign a zero pay receipt every single time was annoying. We paid for the drink package so it would be easier. It would be nice to have at least a machine or little kiosk dedicated to drink package so you could get a soda or bottle of water more easily. I finally started tipping the Starbucks guy extra so that they would allow more than one bottle. Unless you drink a specialty coffee, the fresh squeezed OJ and a smoothie ever day of your trip the package may not be worth it. I didn't drink much soda but did have coffee and OJ everyday and tried to get my two bottles of water a day.
Food: Windjammer-this place like any of the common free eating spaces was packed and the food seemed to try to be too much to everyone. I would have preferred the staples each day like the salad bar but a theme for each day like Italian pasta bar or Mexican day. Often times hard to find a seat. When asked about Gluten free options like bread even though there was a sign they seemed to have no clue. They needed more obvious choices for GF. There didn't seem to be any other options for casual breakfast and dinner. On the Norwegian we had several different places that we could go. I don't think I saw them set up lunch ever on the pool deck like we had with our previous cruise. We had main dining room every evening. Again my issue was mainly with GF options especially for dessert. A staple should be a flourless chocolate cake which was available every day on the Norwegian Pearl. The creme brûlée ended up being the go to for this trip but the rest of desserts labeled GF were really not very good at all. For entrees it as easier and I stuck mostly to fish which for the most part was pretty good. Our wait staff- two of the three were phenomenal and one was horrible. We would fight over who got the good waiter's table every evening (we had a family group of 25). The same horrible waiter at end of the week kept insisting that we give the staff high marks and told us that if we didn't it would reflect poorly on the other two. Not wanting the other two to suffer we agreed to give them the best marks but its ridiculous that we were not able to evaluate him separately from the other to. He really had no business dealing with people, and he certainly had a lot of gall to insist that we give him high marks. Izumi- by far the best meal of the trip. Service was outstanding and so was the food and the view. Wish I had discovered before the last night! They did run out of edamame though so we didn't get any. Thought that was a bit weird. Food in the Cafe on the Promenade was nothing that was GF for me but the kids enjoyed picking up snacks. All in all for that many people they needed more options for breakfast and dinner to spread the people out from the Windjammer.
Ship: The ship is beautiful and probably is the best part of the trip. I loved the open Promenade. You don't feel like you are always on a ship and feels like you have space to move if you need it. Norwegian Pearl was very compartmentalized and claustrophobic at times. RC has done a great job in designing their ships. There was plenty for the kids to do from putt putt, climbing wall, ping pong, arcade. They didn't have any interest in the kids program because they didn't have the best experience on Norwegian with that. I think RC probably does a better job with the kids program from what I could tell and I wish they would have given it a try. I loved the big screen TV by he pool but they were still showing Christmas movies for some reason even though we were two weeks into January. The best show was the comedy show which was high caliber entertainment. Never could figure out how to get tickets to the skating show although the kids would have loved it. They did ice skate and had a good time. The other salute to broadway show we saw was pretty bad with exception of the lead singer. I have seen better hight school productions. The other comedy show was pretty decent. Overall the entertainment was better than the Norwegian.
Rooms: I thought the room (balcony) was really nice and a little bigger than what we experienced with Norwegian. The AC never really could figure out how to work right and it was a little stuffy and you can't really just open the door on the balcony without creating a wind tunnel. Plenty of room though for our two suitcases and to put all my clothes away. I also thought the shower was really nice. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperative leaving the Gulf of Mexico and we had 10 foot swells the first day at sea. Not a lot to see on the Balcony except waves crashing! The bed vibrated for two days which made it difficult to sleep. Also the pillows were so flat. Ended up with a backache every day I think from the bed. We had the kids across the hall in an interior four bunk room and they had a decent amount of space for them to retreat to. Our room attendant was really nice and one of the few on the ship with good customer service.
Leaving the Ship: Again another total disaster. Not enough staff to help regulate the lines. We showed up at our appointed time and ended up waiting on a pile of luggage for over an hour just to get off the ship. People were cutting in lines again and we had folks that came off the elevator 45 minutes after we did disembark the same time we did. They have got to figure out a better system for this! Customs in Galveston was actually a breeze and for one was happy when the pushy non us citizens got a bit of Karma and had to wait in the longer non citizens lines. Earlier they had basically shoved one of my kids out of the way to get off the ship. People say Americans are rude but my experience was the opposite on this trip. Maybe Texans are just more friendly, polite and follow the rules.
All this being said we are giving RC another shot in September with Allure of the Seas in Europe. I do love their ships and hoping for a better level of customer service next time.
 
hbrooke1124’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8662
Good room layout. Plenty of space for two. Nice shower.
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