1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Navigator of the Seas
My wife and I, our son 9, daughter 10 and my in-laws had a fantastic time on the July 28th 14 night cruise. Here is a brief review including ports. The Ship, Passengers and Crew We had previously been on the Adventure of the Seas so knew what to expect. The facilities, scale and general fit-out is just breathtaking. It will be hard to ever go back to a small ship although I've heard great things about the Brilliance. The ship was crowded, much more so than the Adventure with many many more Brits (I am a Brit who emigrated 9 years ago). There were 1100 kids under 18 and as another poster mentioned more working class Brits than you'd expect; not a bad thing as this was certainly more of a party cruise with a better atmosphere in the pub, lounges and clubs than I've seen before. I was worried about comments on this board of "moaning Brits" but they were anything but. We also heard accents from North America, Europe, Russia and regular posh people like me. Lots of disabled on board as the ship obviously had good disabled facilities such as a motorized chair to lift people into the swimming pool. The crew was mainly eastern European with excellent customer service, friendly and cheerful and with a sense of genuine comradery between many of them. Almost everyone dressed up on this cruise whereas in the Caribbean many people just don't bother. Entertainment The shows bar one crass welsh "entertainer" were excellent. The huge main theatre puts on West End quality production shows while the smaller Xtapia and other lounges put on smaller shows and entertainment. The Ice show is astonishing and the final night in the main theatre outstanding. The Cruise Director was a capable standup comedian (with his own adult show one evening) . Bingo was expensive but a laugh with a $15,000 jackpot on the last day (I was a Bingo Virgin prior to this cruise). The Cigar Bar was my favorite with a charming hostess who had been taught to pour Guinness perfectly by a crowd of paddies the cruise before. Champagne bar was a good place to get chatting to other passengers and the pub was packed every night with a very good singer/entertainer. The Wine bar was great for people-watching especially between dinner seatings when hundreds of people mill about on the promenade. Sunset in the "Viking Crown" on the 14th deck is perfection with panoramic views of the ship and its passage. The Casino was a good place to donate $20, especially the "Stampede" slots. Didn't make the Salsa bar. We had the early seating for dinner, which could be a struggle to be ready for but gives you more options for the shows and a packed evening of entertainment. From 8:00 am to 1:00 am there was something going on somewhere that we wanted to see - you have to accept that you will miss out on things and probably miss out on sleep! This is not a relaxing holiday. Food & Drink I believe that the people who complain about the food either expected gourmet 7 course dinners every evening or wanted chips/fries and ketchup with everything. We ate in the main dining room most evenings where service was prompt and efficient. The soups were excellent, our kids loving the cold soups such as apple and pear and myself the hot cream of asparagus or French onion. Other starters included anti-pasta, snails, cheese plates, melon and prosciutto, prawn cocktails, tuna tartar, Caesar salad etc. Mains were varied with plenty of choice from Duck to Steak to fish to pasta. Deserts were too good. Often when we couldn't decide what to have our waiter would place an extra plate on the table to try and we always asked for extra vegetables being British. The portions were just right leaving you full but not bloated. We'd finish off with an espresso or regular coffee. All in all as good as a decent restaurant in London but with a different menu every evening. The "Murder Mystery" dinner in Portofino was US$49 including wine and great value with excellent food and a funny, tong-in-cheek performance. Chops was OK, the food was great but they were trying too hard on the service which made it uncomfortable - maybe because the Captain was at another table while we were there. My only complaint would be that the Wine list was too limited with not enough French/Italian/Spanish wines considering that's where we were cruising. Message to RCL here - If you won't let me buy a nice Borolo in Italy and bring it aboard to drink then for Gods sake put decent European wines on the wine list. Prices of drinks were OK to pricey depending what you were drinking. Cocktails were reasonable. Sports and Activities Climbed the wall with my son. There are several "routes" from very easy to extreme. Ice skating was too crowded the day we did it, but we left it too late. The kids learned to skate on the Adventure rink last year! Rollerblading is a laugh, golf putting a dead loss at sea but OK in port. Belly flop competition was very "Butlins" but funny. We missed the parades down the royal promenade but made it to the Gala buffet - amazing what they can do with several tons of chocolate. The main pools were full of teenagers, the Jacuzzis comically so, but the Solarium pool and Jacuzzis were fine and another place to meet people!. Finding a sun lounger on a sea day was difficult after 9:00 am with lots of reserving of loungers. That said we always managed to find space somewhere and if you wanted a quite corner there were plenty on deck 4 or forward on 12. Kids Club Brilliant. We had to bribe our kids to come out to shows etc. Picking them up before midnight would elicit begging and promises of anything we asked just to stay an hour longer. It's one long organized party for the kids with sports, games, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, movies, chill-out time etc. each day with a different theme (e.g. Harry Potter, Pajama Party or Sports Day). The club is divided by age groups with the teens having their own lounge and club. The arcade was popular and LOUD and unfortunately right outside the kids clubs. If you haven't heard of "Gaga Ball" and the Hal of Fame yet you will do. Cabins We had a balcony and two an insides on deck 9. The beds were comfy enough, there was enough storage, the shower was tiny. What can I say. If your a family of 4 try getting the Grand Suite instead of 2 cabins if you can as we did last year. At the end of the day you don't spend much conscious time here though having a balcony on which to sunbathe and watch the port arrival/embarkation is well worth the extra $200. Inside cabin is great for a long deep sleep as they are pitch dark so you have absolutely no idea what time it is. Getting to Southampton As we don't have a car in the UK we got a taxi to Waterloo and then the train to Southampton Central where it's a 5 minute taxi ride to the ship. Sounds like a lot of hassle but I booked first-class tickets online weeks in advance for a huge discount and the whole thing was smooth. Certainly less stressful than being stuck in traffic as my in-laws were. Ports of Call Gibraltar A military base with a large rock and aggressive monkeys which we didn't see because the cable car line was too long. The high street was good for tax-free shopping including very nice Cuban cigars. Getting back to the ship was a long long walk and no taxi's available. Book a tour if you want to see the rock, or stay on the ship. Friends we met had a great time on a private tour. Ville France We organized a private tour with TravelWithFriends on the Internet. Our English speaking French guide met us in a new minibus from the dock and took us to a perfume factory and then Eze before the crowds got there. Eze is a stunning "eagles nest" village above Nice with a labyrinth of lanes, alleyways and tiny hidden shops. A short drive up the mountainside took us to a park where we got panoramic photos of the coastline, Eze and the ship in the bay of Ville France. Then off on a longer drive past Nice and Cannes to St Paul, a beautiful walled town inland in Provence famous for its artists. We wandered around the lanes and shops before a traditional lunch with a local blush wine. As we still had time we stopped in Nice on the way back for a quick wander and Crepes for the kids. Finally our guide dropped us back in Ville France where we had a sea front beer before going back aboard. Much better than getting a coach to Monaco! My daughter asked me why we couldn't live in Provence. (A. the French and the cost) Florence I'd booked a private tour with Paola and Giuseppe of Tuscany Tours on the Internet again. The port was changed at the last minute from Livorno to La Spetse. Paola called me on my cell phone the night before (even before the ships captain had announced it) to let me know. Giuseppe drove up to La Spetse to collect us and rather than go to Florence as originally planned took us to Lucca so that we'd spend less time driving and more time sightseeing. Lucca is a medieval walled city as pretty as Florence but with very few tourists or crowds. He had a pass that enabled him to drive us through incredibly narrow streets into the heart of the City where we spent a couple of hours wandering around and of course a long Italian lunch after the shops shut at 1:00. Then we went to Pisa, where again Giuseppe's pass took us right up to the tower. If you want to climb the tower you have to book ahead, which we didn't. Pisa was crowded and touristy so after getting the obligatory "kids holding up the leaning tower" photo's and watching some street performers we headed back to La Spetse. When we got there my wife left her cardigan on the minibus but Giuseppe managed to track us down just before we got on the tender. Giuseppe and Paola live in Florence and Giuseppe clearly knows just about everything about Tuscany from history to wine. Next time we'll book him for his Tuscan wine tour and leave the kids on the ship. I can strongly recommend Tuscany Tours. Rome The ship docks at the unpronounceable Civitavecchia which is a long drive from Rome. However the train station is a 5 minute walk from the port. We got tickets for the Express which only took 30 minutes into Rome. Warning, the cruise line recommends getting the 9 Euro roaming ticket so we watched dozens of cruise passengers get ushered to another platform to get a 1hr 20 minute train while we got on what my son called "The Harry Potter Express" because the compartments looked like Harry Potters train. At Roma Termini we got on one of the open top bus tours which was a great way to see the sites with limited time. We got off 3/4's of the way round to see the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, then wandered off to find lunch in a small restaurant and got a taxi back to the Termini station. All very easy with the exception of the incredibly long walk to the platform for Civitavecchia which caused us to miss our intended train and get a later, slower one back. From the entrance of the Termini station you need a good 15 minutes to make the platform. Sardinia It was Sunday so most of the shops were shut - excellent. With no plans we strolled off the shuttle bus and walked up to the Cathedral and then around the narrow lanes and back down to the sea front. The old town up near the Cathedral is lovely. Along the seafront old men in sharp suites spoke with their hands and exaggerated expressions while drinking espresso exactly as you'd expect. My in-laws got on a tour bus and went off to see the nearest beach etc. and weren't that impressed. We bought a local cheese as a souvenir and got back onboard! Cadiz My son was sick and we were all tired so decided to stay on board and relax. It's nice to have the ship without the crowds. We kept both kids out of kids club as our daughter needed the downtime as well. Lisbon We got the ships' bus into town and wandered up the main shopping street. Had a nice lunch (Sardines of course for Nanny and my son) and then got back on board to watch the ship sail under the huge suspension bridge there. Vigo Vigo looked like a rough fishing and shipbuilding port so we got a taxi up the estuary to a holiday fishing village called Barona which also had Celtic ruins. Great views of the beaches on the way and a nice place to wander round. It's like a spanish cornwall and seemed totally undiscovered by Brits - absolutely no one spoke English! As it was my son's birthday and he loves seafood we had a huge seafood lunch which cost the earth. Summary So would we do it again. Definitely. We loved the ship, loved the activities, loved the ports. I couldn't imagine a better holiday, nor could my wife and certainly my kids. Nanny and Grandad may have found the ship a little too big but managed to find their way around OK and loved the shows and entertainment. If you imagine the cruise of your dreams to be elegant dining with polite company followed by a jazz quartet and an early bedtime then this is not the cruise for you. However if you have an open mind and want to experience the best variety of activities and entertainment then as the box says "Get out there". Now I just need a holiday to recover - skiing perhaps!

Navigator of the Seas - Western Mediterranean

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by rogermellie

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
My wife and I, our son 9, daughter 10 and my in-laws had a fantastic time on the July 28th 14 night cruise. Here is a brief review including ports.
The Ship, Passengers and Crew We had previously been on the Adventure of the Seas so knew what to expect. The facilities, scale and general fit-out is just breathtaking. It will be hard to ever go back to a small ship although I've heard great things about the Brilliance. The ship was crowded, much more so than the Adventure with many many more Brits (I am a Brit who emigrated 9 years ago). There were 1100 kids under 18 and as another poster mentioned more working class Brits than you'd expect; not a bad thing as this was certainly more of a party cruise with a better atmosphere in the pub, lounges and clubs than I've seen before. I was worried about comments on this board of "moaning Brits" but they were anything but. We also heard accents from North America, Europe, Russia and regular posh people like me. Lots of disabled on board as the ship obviously had good disabled facilities such as a motorized chair to lift people into the swimming pool. The crew was mainly eastern European with excellent customer service, friendly and cheerful and with a sense of genuine comradery between many of them. Almost everyone dressed up on this cruise whereas in the Caribbean many people just don't bother.
Entertainment The shows bar one crass welsh "entertainer" were excellent. The huge main theatre puts on West End quality production shows while the smaller Xtapia and other lounges put on smaller shows and entertainment. The Ice show is astonishing and the final night in the main theatre outstanding. The Cruise Director was a capable standup comedian (with his own adult show one evening) . Bingo was expensive but a laugh with a $15,000 jackpot on the last day (I was a Bingo Virgin prior to this cruise). The Cigar Bar was my favorite with a charming hostess who had been taught to pour Guinness perfectly by a crowd of paddies the cruise before. Champagne bar was a good place to get chatting to other passengers and the pub was packed every night with a very good singer/entertainer. The Wine bar was great for people-watching especially between dinner seatings when hundreds of people mill about on the promenade. Sunset in the "Viking Crown" on the 14th deck is perfection with panoramic views of the ship and its passage. The Casino was a good place to donate $20, especially the "Stampede" slots. Didn't make the Salsa bar. We had the early seating for dinner, which could be a struggle to be ready for but gives you more options for the shows and a packed evening of entertainment. From 8:00 am to 1:00 am there was something going on somewhere that we wanted to see - you have to accept that you will miss out on things and probably miss out on sleep! This is not a relaxing holiday.
Food & Drink I believe that the people who complain about the food either expected gourmet 7 course dinners every evening or wanted chips/fries and ketchup with everything. We ate in the main dining room most evenings where service was prompt and efficient. The soups were excellent, our kids loving the cold soups such as apple and pear and myself the hot cream of asparagus or French onion. Other starters included anti-pasta, snails, cheese plates, melon and prosciutto, prawn cocktails, tuna tartar, Caesar salad etc. Mains were varied with plenty of choice from Duck to Steak to fish to pasta. Deserts were too good. Often when we couldn't decide what to have our waiter would place an extra plate on the table to try and we always asked for extra vegetables being British. The portions were just right leaving you full but not bloated. We'd finish off with an espresso or regular coffee. All in all as good as a decent restaurant in London but with a different menu every evening. The "Murder Mystery" dinner in Portofino was US$49 including wine and great value with excellent food and a funny, tong-in-cheek performance. Chops was OK, the food was great but they were trying too hard on the service which made it uncomfortable - maybe because the Captain was at another table while we were there. My only complaint would be that the Wine list was too limited with not enough French/Italian/Spanish wines considering that's where we were cruising. Message to RCL here - If you won't let me buy a nice Borolo in Italy and bring it aboard to drink then for Gods sake put decent European wines on the wine list. Prices of drinks were OK to pricey depending what you were drinking. Cocktails were reasonable.
Sports and Activities Climbed the wall with my son. There are several "routes" from very easy to extreme. Ice skating was too crowded the day we did it, but we left it too late. The kids learned to skate on the Adventure rink last year! Rollerblading is a laugh, golf putting a dead loss at sea but OK in port. Belly flop competition was very "Butlins" but funny. We missed the parades down the royal promenade but made it to the Gala buffet - amazing what they can do with several tons of chocolate. The main pools were full of teenagers, the Jacuzzis comically so, but the Solarium pool and Jacuzzis were fine and another place to meet people!. Finding a sun lounger on a sea day was difficult after 9:00 am with lots of reserving of loungers. That said we always managed to find space somewhere and if you wanted a quite corner there were plenty on deck 4 or forward on 12.
Kids Club Brilliant. We had to bribe our kids to come out to shows etc. Picking them up before midnight would elicit begging and promises of anything we asked just to stay an hour longer. It's one long organized party for the kids with sports, games, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, movies, chill-out time etc. each day with a different theme (e.g. Harry Potter, Pajama Party or Sports Day). The club is divided by age groups with the teens having their own lounge and club. The arcade was popular and LOUD and unfortunately right outside the kids clubs. If you haven't heard of "Gaga Ball" and the Hal of Fame yet you will do.
Cabins We had a balcony and two an insides on deck 9. The beds were comfy enough, there was enough storage, the shower was tiny. What can I say. If your a family of 4 try getting the Grand Suite instead of 2 cabins if you can as we did last year. At the end of the day you don't spend much conscious time here though having a balcony on which to sunbathe and watch the port arrival/embarkation is well worth the extra $200. Inside cabin is great for a long deep sleep as they are pitch dark so you have absolutely no idea what time it is.
Getting to Southampton As we don't have a car in the UK we got a taxi to Waterloo and then the train to Southampton Central where it's a 5 minute taxi ride to the ship. Sounds like a lot of hassle but I booked first-class tickets online weeks in advance for a huge discount and the whole thing was smooth. Certainly less stressful than being stuck in traffic as my in-laws were.
Ports of Call Gibraltar A military base with a large rock and aggressive monkeys which we didn't see because the cable car line was too long. The high street was good for tax-free shopping including very nice Cuban cigars. Getting back to the ship was a long long walk and no taxi's available. Book a tour if you want to see the rock, or stay on the ship. Friends we met had a great time on a private tour.
Ville France We organized a private tour with TravelWithFriends on the Internet. Our English speaking French guide met us in a new minibus from the dock and took us to a perfume factory and then Eze before the crowds got there. Eze is a stunning "eagles nest" village above Nice with a labyrinth of lanes, alleyways and tiny hidden shops. A short drive up the mountainside took us to a park where we got panoramic photos of the coastline, Eze and the ship in the bay of Ville France. Then off on a longer drive past Nice and Cannes to St Paul, a beautiful walled town inland in Provence famous for its artists. We wandered around the lanes and shops before a traditional lunch with a local blush wine. As we still had time we stopped in Nice on the way back for a quick wander and Crepes for the kids. Finally our guide dropped us back in Ville France where we had a sea front beer before going back aboard. Much better than getting a coach to Monaco! My daughter asked me why we couldn't live in Provence. (A. the French and the cost)
Florence I'd booked a private tour with Paola and Giuseppe of Tuscany Tours on the Internet again. The port was changed at the last minute from Livorno to La Spetse. Paola called me on my cell phone the night before (even before the ships captain had announced it) to let me know. Giuseppe drove up to La Spetse to collect us and rather than go to Florence as originally planned took us to Lucca so that we'd spend less time driving and more time sightseeing. Lucca is a medieval walled city as pretty as Florence but with very few tourists or crowds. He had a pass that enabled him to drive us through incredibly narrow streets into the heart of the City where we spent a couple of hours wandering around and of course a long Italian lunch after the shops shut at 1:00. Then we went to Pisa, where again Giuseppe's pass took us right up to the tower. If you want to climb the tower you have to book ahead, which we didn't. Pisa was crowded and touristy so after getting the obligatory "kids holding up the leaning tower" photo's and watching some street performers we headed back to La Spetse. When we got there my wife left her cardigan on the minibus but Giuseppe managed to track us down just before we got on the tender. Giuseppe and Paola live in Florence and Giuseppe clearly knows just about everything about Tuscany from history to wine. Next time we'll book him for his Tuscan wine tour and leave the kids on the ship. I can strongly recommend Tuscany Tours.
Rome The ship docks at the unpronounceable Civitavecchia which is a long drive from Rome. However the train station is a 5 minute walk from the port. We got tickets for the Express which only took 30 minutes into Rome. Warning, the cruise line recommends getting the 9 Euro roaming ticket so we watched dozens of cruise passengers get ushered to another platform to get a 1hr 20 minute train while we got on what my son called "The Harry Potter Express" because the compartments looked like Harry Potters train. At Roma Termini we got on one of the open top bus tours which was a great way to see the sites with limited time. We got off 3/4's of the way round to see the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, then wandered off to find lunch in a small restaurant and got a taxi back to the Termini station. All very easy with the exception of the incredibly long walk to the platform for Civitavecchia which caused us to miss our intended train and get a later, slower one back. From the entrance of the Termini station you need a good 15 minutes to make the platform.
Sardinia It was Sunday so most of the shops were shut - excellent. With no plans we strolled off the shuttle bus and walked up to the Cathedral and then around the narrow lanes and back down to the sea front. The old town up near the Cathedral is lovely. Along the seafront old men in sharp suites spoke with their hands and exaggerated expressions while drinking espresso exactly as you'd expect. My in-laws got on a tour bus and went off to see the nearest beach etc. and weren't that impressed. We bought a local cheese as a souvenir and got back onboard!
Cadiz My son was sick and we were all tired so decided to stay on board and relax. It's nice to have the ship without the crowds. We kept both kids out of kids club as our daughter needed the downtime as well.
Lisbon We got the ships' bus into town and wandered up the main shopping street. Had a nice lunch (Sardines of course for Nanny and my son) and then got back on board to watch the ship sail under the huge suspension bridge there.
Vigo Vigo looked like a rough fishing and shipbuilding port so we got a taxi up the estuary to a holiday fishing village called Barona which also had Celtic ruins. Great views of the beaches on the way and a nice place to wander round. It's like a spanish cornwall and seemed totally undiscovered by Brits - absolutely no one spoke English! As it was my son's birthday and he loves seafood we had a huge seafood lunch which cost the earth.
Summary So would we do it again. Definitely. We loved the ship, loved the activities, loved the ports. I couldn't imagine a better holiday, nor could my wife and certainly my kids. Nanny and Grandad may have found the ship a little too big but managed to find their way around OK and loved the shows and entertainment. If you imagine the cruise of your dreams to be elegant dining with polite company followed by a jazz quartet and an early bedtime then this is not the cruise for you. However if you have an open mind and want to experience the best variety of activities and entertainment then as the box says "Get out there". Now I just need a holiday to recover - skiing perhaps!
rogermellie’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email