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Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,315 Reviews

Navigator of the Seas - Western Mediterranean

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by will sinclair

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2007
  • Destination: the Western Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Junior Suite

This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise, having sailed on P&O previously, but with a three generation party we were tempted by the facilities on offer on the Navigator. First impressions were good - boarding, even on such a large ship, was effortless, and the ship's public areas were clean and well-appointed. Our cabin was spacious and seemed to provide more for the money than P&O. A high point for us was the gym. It had 20 treadmills, which were well-maintained , and even repaired en route, plus cycles, cross trainers and weights. We also signed up for a programme of spin classes, which were among the best we've been to on land or sea. The ship was large and had clearly been filled by discounting. We spent a lot of time in our spacious cabin as it was a haven from the overcrowding in the public areas, where tattooed obese smokers took up all the available space. One evening at around 11pm we tried every public room on the ship to get a seat and could not find one. The large ship also moved alarmingly in not particularly rough seas. The Captain informed us that the Bay of Biscay would have rough seas in 30 knot winds, which didn't alarm us too much, but we were all very seasick, despite having seen much worse conditions on smaller ships. Catering was variable. Dinner in the main dining room had clearly been formulated with American customers in mind, so coffee came before the dessert, and our waitress was efficient but insincerely familiar. Some nights we would be treated to the waiters singing, a feature which increased in frequency as tipping time came closer. Some people clearly like this sort of thing but we prefer to finish our meal quietly. Food was plentiful, but managed to be both bland and salty at the same time. Grilled meat was OK, but anything else was too ambitious. Breakfast and buffet lunches in the Windjammer displayed a huge variety, and crowd management was very efficient. We preferred room service breakfast, which gave us the chance to enjoy our large cabin, but was a little haphazard in what actually turned up. On the subject of drinks, RCI has a very American nanny state approach to alcohol consumption which is probably motivated as much by economics as concern for our safety. I suspect many British cruisers enjoy a sundowner in their cabin, but it is not possible to buy spirits for on board consumption and a team of heavies are poised at every port to relieve passengers of any on shore purchases. I'm afraid we resorted to smuggling, but being treated like a criminal when you've spent a five figure sum to go on holiday is not on. Service on board was disappointing to anyone used to the imperial style of P&O. Our cabin steward cleaned the room but that was it, and bar staff clearly hated being out of the Caribbean. Bar tariffs include 15% service charge but that doesn't stop waiters hanging around intimidatingly for tips. Fortunately on board prices in dollars made them cheap for sterling tourists this year. It's very hard to get out of the compulsory tipping regime. We wanted to tip our waiter and steward - they have a tough job - but we didn't feel the need to tip our head waiter. However unless you opt out of all tips you have to tip everyone RCI thinks you should. Be prepared for this or carry a load of dollars or sterling in cash, as cashing cheques on board is not possible. A number of other reviewers have commented on having to pay for shuttle buses into ports. We found taxis, where you were allowed to use them (and sometimes there was a shuttle bus monopoly) were cheaper and, like the alcohol policy, showed RCI's aim is to fill the ship as cheaply as possible then whack on as many extras as they can. For such a young style ship children's facilities were really poor. Our children (14 and 12) hung around with a gang of others, but never returned to the kids' club, where activities were poorly organized by badly motivated staff. Perhaps we're too traditional for RCI but we were very disappointed overall. The ship is set up to take Americans round the Caribbean, so the staff clearly hate a season in rainy Europe, and there is not enough space inside on bad weather days. We missed being treated as special and we'll be back on P&O next year

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Junior Suite

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will sinclair
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