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My family and I were very excited to be cruising from Southampton which is some 15 minutes from my home. A far cry from the transatlantic flights to cruise in the Caribbean that we normally have to endure. Although only 3 nights, we were as excited as we are to be cruising a long way from home. We have cruised with RCCL many times as well as Princess and the traditionally English P&O. RCCL has always been our favorite. We were accompanied by our friends - also a family of 4 who have never cruised before. How lovely it was too to travel with such good friends that were easily impressed by what they saw. We picked up our friends at 1030. My husband dropped us and the luggage at the terminal and within a few minutes was able to join us at the check-in. We were there with sea passes in hand and directed straight to a check-in desk. We were given priority passes along with our friends who were able to board with us. We were then put into a waiting area where there was free coffee and cakes. The cruise terminal in Southampton is new and by far the best one I have ever come across. Very efficient and very clean. It was an extremely pleasant experience. At 11.30 we were the first to board. Fantastic! We were lucky enough to have the most fabulous weather - the best the English summer had to offer this year. It has been a terrible summer, so what a treat for us sun starved Brits!! We took a few steps onto the ship and even though this is the third Voyager class ship I have been on, I am never beyond being impressed. Our friends just stood there and just said 'WOW'. The word 'WOW' came up many, many times during this first cruise for them. They were completely bowled over, even though I had shown them lots pictures and explained many times about the facilities (much to my husband's annoyance who insisted they find out for themselves). The first thing we did was purchase the soda package for the kids - this is always a great saving for us and it's great not to have to limit them as to what they buy to drink. This was the last time we saw the kids until dinner. We then went to the Windjammer for a quiet lunch. Again, more 'wows' from everyone. The food was OK to good. I don't think I have ever been very impressed with the food on RCCL. It's not bad and plenty of it, but not their best point. However, no complaints, but just very nice. As the weather was so good we were straight up on deck and using the pools and the hot tubs. We had taken our swimming costumes with us in our hand luggage. In fact my daughter was wearing hers ready to jump in. We had a great time whilst this part of the ship was quiet. We then toured the ship. The Navigator is just beautiful and the best Voyager class that I had been on. So clean and very impressive. The staff as always were very friendly, attentive and couldn't do enough for us. I was worried that things wouldn't be as I had been used to as travelling with the Brits and not American's was a different concept to me. However, I really enjoyed this aspect of the cruise. Everyone was friendly, many things had been 'anglified' and I felt very comfortable the whole time. We had a large family ocean view cabin at the front of the ship. This was better than I imagined. A fantastic view of the sea and the helipad and very comfortable. The main beds were amazingly comfortable. My only complaint here is that the sofa bed for my 2 teenage children aged 14 and 15 (boy and girl) was REALLY small. Their feet flopped over the top by a good foot to 18 inches. Really, really small!! Next door was a family ocean view which looked huge and had a separate area with 2 single bunk beds in. This would have been great, but they are few and far between. Still, this was only 3 nights and we could put up with this and we hardly spent any time in the cabin. We had late seating for dinner and a table for 8 for all of us. Excellent service from Rita - never saw the head waiter, but again, only 3 nights and they crammed everything in. The Italian night with the signing, lots of parades around the dining room and the whole experience was good. The kids really had a blast and we only insisted we saw them at dinner and kept in contact with 'walkie talkies'. They used the facilities to the full. The rock climbing wall was great for the kids. They really enjoyed the ice rink and the golf many times a day. The weather throughout the trip was amazing. This made it feel like the 'Caribbean experience' we are used to. The next day we came to the shores of Ireland by around 12 noon. Everyone was on deck watching this beautiful landscape which was bathed in beautiful blue skies and seas. Coming into Cobh was incredible. Many people were out to see the Navigator. We docked in the smallest place and was very impressed how the ship was squeezed and turned to be able to dock against 2 floating pontoons. Amazing! We ventured ashore. The place looked beautiful. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday and many shops were shut. There was a music festival going on and there were many drunk people floating around. The place was crowded and the streets were very dirty. Rubbish everyone. What a shame!! After an hour the kids were begging to get back on board. We didn't take much persuasion. We were up on deck swimming and making the most of the weather. Each night we went to the shows. English comedians, a fantastic acrobatic display and the RCCL singers and dancers. All of which were the best I have seen on a cruise ship. They really did cram the best into these 3 days. We also saw the ice show on the last day. Incredible!! Again, the best we had seen. On the last night in the Promenade they put on a 70's disco for everyone. It was really really good! Everyone danced and the cruise director and co danced and compared from the bridge across the main street. Huge beach balls were bounced through the crowd and the atmosphere was that of one big party. Everyone had fun - the kids joined in too and that left the most amazing feeling of fun that stayed with us when we had to disembark the next day. What a shame this was all over with so quickly. Of course we have converted our friends who will no doubt cruise again. As for us, we have the Brilliance of the Seas to look forward to at Christmas where we will transit the Panama Canal. I know that we will all miss the Voyager class that we love, but as it will be a 'hot' cruise time will be spent on deck and hopefully I won't crave the promenade as much as I think I will. I just love the Cafe Promenada and the whole atmosphere this place creates. There were lots of things we never experienced such as the nightclub - too much going on to join in such a short time. We have never been to Jonny Rockets, it just doesn't appeal. We never went to Chops or Portofinos, but that's fine. We have been to Portofinos before and loved it, but tend to only visit once during a cruise. One point to mention was that this ship was very busy, but they managed the crowds extremely well. During the busy times in the Windjammer they opened both Chops and Portofinos for additional seating areas. This was great! We never had trouble finding seats. If any of the staff saw you looking for a table, they found one for you and as we were a larger group - we nearly always ended up at a 'special' table. We were very impressed. Disembarkation again was the easiest ever. We were able to self disembark as long as we carried our own luggage whenever we liked. Breakfast wasn't crowded. No blocking of corridors or exits and we were off the ship all too quickly. We disembarked at 8.15 and by 9.00 I was home with the washing machine going. It was quite surreal. I would definitely recommend sailing from Southampton. Maybe next year when the Independent is at home in Southampton we will do this all again.....

Navigator of the Seas - Northern Europe

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by English Rose

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
My family and I were very excited to be cruising from Southampton which is some 15 minutes from my home. A far cry from the transatlantic flights to cruise in the Caribbean that we normally have to endure. Although only 3 nights, we were as excited as we are to be cruising a long way from home. We have cruised with RCCL many times as well as Princess and the traditionally English P&O. RCCL has always been our favorite. We were accompanied by our friends - also a family of 4 who have never cruised before. How lovely it was too to travel with such good friends that were easily impressed by what they saw.
We picked up our friends at 1030. My husband dropped us and the luggage at the terminal and within a few minutes was able to join us at the check-in. We were there with sea passes in hand and directed straight to a check-in desk. We were given priority passes along with our friends who were able to board with us. We were then put into a waiting area where there was free coffee and cakes. The cruise terminal in Southampton is new and by far the best one I have ever come across. Very efficient and very clean. It was an extremely pleasant experience.
At 11.30 we were the first to board. Fantastic! We were lucky enough to have the most fabulous weather - the best the English summer had to offer this year. It has been a terrible summer, so what a treat for us sun starved Brits!! We took a few steps onto the ship and even though this is the third Voyager class ship I have been on, I am never beyond being impressed. Our friends just stood there and just said 'WOW'. The word 'WOW' came up many, many times during this first cruise for them. They were completely bowled over, even though I had shown them lots pictures and explained many times about the facilities (much to my husband's annoyance who insisted they find out for themselves). The first thing we did was purchase the soda package for the kids - this is always a great saving for us and it's great not to have to limit them as to what they buy to drink. This was the last time we saw the kids until dinner. We then went to the Windjammer for a quiet lunch. Again, more 'wows' from everyone. The food was OK to good. I don't think I have ever been very impressed with the food on RCCL. It's not bad and plenty of it, but not their best point. However, no complaints, but just very nice.
As the weather was so good we were straight up on deck and using the pools and the hot tubs. We had taken our swimming costumes with us in our hand luggage. In fact my daughter was wearing hers ready to jump in. We had a great time whilst this part of the ship was quiet.
We then toured the ship. The Navigator is just beautiful and the best Voyager class that I had been on. So clean and very impressive. The staff as always were very friendly, attentive and couldn't do enough for us. I was worried that things wouldn't be as I had been used to as travelling with the Brits and not American's was a different concept to me. However, I really enjoyed this aspect of the cruise. Everyone was friendly, many things had been 'anglified' and I felt very comfortable the whole time.
We had a large family ocean view cabin at the front of the ship. This was better than I imagined. A fantastic view of the sea and the helipad and very comfortable. The main beds were amazingly comfortable. My only complaint here is that the sofa bed for my 2 teenage children aged 14 and 15 (boy and girl) was REALLY small. Their feet flopped over the top by a good foot to 18 inches. Really, really small!! Next door was a family ocean view which looked huge and had a separate area with 2 single bunk beds in. This would have been great, but they are few and far between. Still, this was only 3 nights and we could put up with this and we hardly spent any time in the cabin.
We had late seating for dinner and a table for 8 for all of us. Excellent service from Rita - never saw the head waiter, but again, only 3 nights and they crammed everything in. The Italian night with the signing, lots of parades around the dining room and the whole experience was good.
The kids really had a blast and we only insisted we saw them at dinner and kept in contact with 'walkie talkies'. They used the facilities to the full. The rock climbing wall was great for the kids. They really enjoyed the ice rink and the golf many times a day. The weather throughout the trip was amazing. This made it feel like the 'Caribbean experience' we are used to.
The next day we came to the shores of Ireland by around 12 noon. Everyone was on deck watching this beautiful landscape which was bathed in beautiful blue skies and seas. Coming into Cobh was incredible. Many people were out to see the Navigator. We docked in the smallest place and was very impressed how the ship was squeezed and turned to be able to dock against 2 floating pontoons. Amazing! We ventured ashore. The place looked beautiful. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday and many shops were shut. There was a music festival going on and there were many drunk people floating around. The place was crowded and the streets were very dirty. Rubbish everyone. What a shame!! After an hour the kids were begging to get back on board. We didn't take much persuasion. We were up on deck swimming and making the most of the weather.
Each night we went to the shows. English comedians, a fantastic acrobatic display and the RCCL singers and dancers. All of which were the best I have seen on a cruise ship. They really did cram the best into these 3 days. We also saw the ice show on the last day. Incredible!! Again, the best we had seen. On the last night in the Promenade they put on a 70's disco for everyone. It was really really good! Everyone danced and the cruise director and co danced and compared from the bridge across the main street. Huge beach balls were bounced through the crowd and the atmosphere was that of one big party. Everyone had fun - the kids joined in too and that left the most amazing feeling of fun that stayed with us when we had to disembark the next day. What a shame this was all over with so quickly. Of course we have converted our friends who will no doubt cruise again. As for us, we have the Brilliance of the Seas to look forward to at Christmas where we will transit the Panama Canal. I know that we will all miss the Voyager class that we love, but as it will be a 'hot' cruise time will be spent on deck and hopefully I won't crave the promenade as much as I think I will. I just love the Cafe Promenada and the whole atmosphere this place creates.
There were lots of things we never experienced such as the nightclub - too much going on to join in such a short time. We have never been to Jonny Rockets, it just doesn't appeal. We never went to Chops or Portofinos, but that's fine. We have been to Portofinos before and loved it, but tend to only visit once during a cruise. One point to mention was that this ship was very busy, but they managed the crowds extremely well. During the busy times in the Windjammer they opened both Chops and Portofinos for additional seating areas. This was great! We never had trouble finding seats. If any of the staff saw you looking for a table, they found one for you and as we were a larger group - we nearly always ended up at a 'special' table. We were very impressed.
Disembarkation again was the easiest ever. We were able to self disembark as long as we carried our own luggage whenever we liked. Breakfast wasn't crowded. No blocking of corridors or exits and we were off the ship all too quickly. We disembarked at 8.15 and by 9.00 I was home with the washing machine going. It was quite surreal.
I would definitely recommend sailing from Southampton. Maybe next year when the Independent is at home in Southampton we will do this all again.....
English Rose’s Full Rating Summary
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