Recently returned from a wonderful cruise on Navigator. This was our first time on a voyager class ship and I was overwhelmed but thrilled by the experience.
Embarkation: We had Royal Carib do our airfare (we would not do this again). They booked our flights so late that we only arrived at the pier 30 minutes before the ship sailed, thus there were no lines at all. They were in a big rush to get us on board by that point. Still we didn't miss having to wait in line and we didn't have to take part in the muster drill as it was half over. Cabin and ship facilities: We had an atrium room on deck 7 midship. Overall we were satisfied with this room but noise was sometimes an issue even on deck 7. There was ample room for your things and the room was nicely decorated and pleasant. The common areas of the ship were most impressive. This ship was kept extremely clean and it shined, even though it was school vacation week and there were more children then usual.
The kids stayed busy with their activities and even though there were over 800 kids they were rarely an issue. There are numerous places to go on this ship and all are inviting. The pool we frequented the most was the solarium. It was beautifully designed and the lounge chairs in this area were more comfortable then in the main pool area. We took advantage of many areas of the ship, including the deck 4 when we wanted to simply get away from the crowds and read. Very nice ship shape spa. We used the hot tub in the gym as there were no kids unattended in it.
Entertainment: The shows were excellent. We were on Monarch last year and the singers were a little better on that cruise but still were good on Navigator. The ice show was a must see. I watched one of the parades from our atrium room which was nice as I wasn't crowded and could see beautifully.
Food: Good but not great. Much has been said about the food on Royal Carib but overall we were satisfied. The prime rib was excellent and my husband really enjoyed the lobster. We ate dinner in the dining room all but the first night. We had lunch and breakfast in the Windjammer most days. We did not try out Chops as we waited too long to try for a reservation. We did eat at Johnny Rockets once and that was fun. The food was excellent and nice and hot. The lunch we had there the waiters did a dance to a Saturday night fever medley.
Shore Excursions: Our first stop was in Nassau. We did a harbor tour and Discover Atlantis. We did book this through the cruise line. My only complaint is that the stop in this port was really not long enough to fully enjoy the beauty of Nassau. Atlantis was very impressive but again not enough time to fully enjoy it. Out next stop was St. Thomas. We had decided ahead of time to basically skip St. Thomas and take the ferry to St. John. This was by far our best port of call. The ferry ride was VERY ROUGH but well worth it. We did the snorkel excursion to Trunk Beach. The water was more beautiful then anywhere I've ever been. Our bus driver to the beach, Wesley was a riot. He sang and entertained from start to finish. He's won numerous awards which he was happy to show us in his scrapbook! My only complaint here is I wish the excursion left for St. John's earlier in the day. We had several hours to kill before leaving on the ferry which did give us time to go to the close mall. I'm not a big shopper so that didn't do much for me. Our next stop was San Juan. This was my least favorite stop. We ended up having a very extended day in San Juan as the next day's stop Labadee was cancelled due to the situation in Haiti. We didn't leave San Juan until 10 PM to give us more time in a port. We took the city tour and Bacardi Rum Factory tour.
The main problem was the tour was VERY early AM and we really weren't interested in rum at 10 in the morning. We went back to the ship after our tours and had planned to head back into town later. The wait for taxis was horrible thus going back into town was not worth it. The ship had docked at the Pan American Pier which is way off the beaten track and not at all convenient. Areas that Could Be Improved: Chair Hogging, Chair Hogging, Chair Hogging!!!! This was an unbelievable problem. If you didn't have a chair by 7:30 AM you wouldn't have one until after 3 PM. Royal Carib is not enforcing the rule of not saving chairs at all. I did save a chair on two mornings but only for a few hours and gave it up so others could enjoy. I felt bad even doing that but as I paid good $ for this cruise I wanted to be able to sit by the pool at least some of the time. Windjammer-it would be nice if the food could be kept warmer. I know this is difficult given the amount of food and the # of people.
Shore excursions-giving more time in one port due to skipping Labadee is not the best option, particularly if you don't like the port you get the extra time in. I've heard that they are now doing another day in the Bahamas which would be an excellent option. Children-parents should more closely monitor their kids. Many children were allowed to race up and down the hall ways at very late hours and were in the hot tubs with no adult supervision. Pool staff did at times monitor this but not consistently.
Disembarkation: No complaints here. We were the second group to leave the ship as we had an early flight. The only issue was we had to wait at the luggage carousel for over 45 minutes for out bags to come out. We took the bus arranged by the cruise line to the airport. Big mistake. The bus driver dropped us off at the part of the airport that was the furthest it could possibly be from our airline. We were exhausted by the time we got to our ticket counter. Overall a very memorable experience.