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

Just Great

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by sultan84

0 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2008
  • Destination: the Western Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: undefined

This was our second cruise on the Navigator; we took the cruise to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday. The last cruise on the Navigator was 2 1/2 years ago and she has not aged one day. It is incredible to see how well maintained everything is. The ship was full (and more) and still everything was clean and well kept. The ship sailed from Barcelona, where we stayed for two days before and explored the city with the tourist bus (26 Euros for two days, well worth it as the bus takes you to all the major sites with commentary in quite a few languages). The tourist info at Sants Train station had told us about a shuttle bus from DRASSANES metro station, since we only had one trolley style suitcase between the two of us we decided to try it. You have to walk a couple of minutes as you get out of the metro station, cross the giant round-about at the Colon monument and wait for a blue bus at a bus shelter (just behind the red hut where you can buy tickets for the tourist bus and get tourist info). The shuttle trip costs 2 Euros, together with the metro ticket of 1,30 Euros, we had the cheapest embarkation ever. As we got off the bus porters were there to take our luggage, there were more than 20 check-in stations and no line. We were on the ship just minutes after getting off the bus. Not only the cheapest but also quickest embarkation ever. Interesting for European citizens : although the RCCL web-site said that you needed a passport, my husband wanted to try checking in with his ID card only - no problem. They never asked for a passport. We had a promenade cabin, normal standard, everything clean and in good working order. The cabin attendant was fun, we did not spend a lot of time in the cabin. The cruise was completely booked, half of the guests from Spain, with the guests from South America, this made more than half Spanish speaking. The ship was well prepared for this, most crew seemed so speak at least some Spanish. There was a welcome show in English and one in English and Spanish. The Love and Marriage Game show was separated by language (English in the Ixtapa Lounge, Spanish in the theater) but other than that we did not see anything radically different from a 'regular' or 'American' cruise. Well, yes, there was one big difference: this was the weekend when school holidays/vacation started so there were LOTS AND LOTS of kids on board WITHOUT the usual problems with kids on Caribbean cruises. The Spanish youngsters (including teens) were exceptionally well behaved. We never saw one drunken teen misbehaving. We do not have kids ourselves and I was not looking forward to cruising with hundreds of kids, but no problem at all. I cannot say anything about the ports as we only went ashore to take pictures of other ships in port and quickly returned on board. I cannot say anything about the main dining room either, as we did not go. We went to Portofino on my husband's birthday and it was great: Food and Service just perfect. We also ate at Jonny Rockets one night, enjoyed this a lot. In both places we had the impression that the pay-restaurants are used as the officer's dining room. More staff than paying guests were present. A pity for everybody who did not go as these places are well worth the extra charge. We did not go to Chops Grill as neither of us is fond of big slabs of meat, so no comment on Chops Grill. However, a long comment on Windjammer: Jade seemed kind of faded out. There was a hidden pot of miso soup for breakfast and a bit of Asian food at each service, but nothing like it was when we sailed on the Navigator before. This might have to do with the fact that there were hardly any Asian guests on board. However, since we had quite a few Indian fellow guests we were lucky and found Indian food items at every meal. The rest was kind of lack-luster buffet food /junk food - hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta, salad bar, tacos, pizza, and a carving station. It was not bad, but nothing special either. Service in the Windjammer was BAD - I guess due to the fact that there were many large families. The service staff could not keep up, was stressed and not very friendly. We were unlucky enough to eat there one lunch during rush-hour. There were incessant announcements asking us to vacate our seat as soon as we were finished eating (in Spanish and English) - this does not contribute to a relaxed meal. I guess they did the best they could but the best in this case was not good enough. They ran out of strange staples : no strawberry jam (as I am allergic to strawberries, we never buy it at home and my husband looks forward to eating it whenever he travels), no honey, no more portion size milk from the middle of the cruise (at the beginning they still had jars of milk where you could serve yourself, but then it was down to small packages of creamer, some of it advertising that it was made with vegetable fat, not very appealing). However, they had also added to their selection of condiments - Marmite for the British and sweet mustard from Germany. The pools were great - the pool patrol made sure that no kids went into the pools in the Solarium, but the atmosphere was so festive around the main pools that we went there and did not mind getting splashed from time to time. All pools were open during "rush hours" and were cleaned at night when hardly anyone wanted to swim, so there was never a real shortage of cool water. The best: there was never a shortage of freshly laundered towels either. With the masses of people going through the pools and towels, they did a better than perfect job. The bars were hopping during the cruise, I guess European cruisers party a bit more than we saw on previous cruises in the Caribbean with RCCL. The show were good - the production shows updated, the ice show the same as 2 1/2 years ago but still as good. There was a singing quartet as a head liner act - it would have been more appropriate to a cruise with more Americans as they sang mostly American staples. The comic/juggler in the welcome show (I forget his name) was the stupidest act I have ever seen - I nearly peed my pants from laughing. Such a pity he did only one show, he was perfect for any language. The cruise director was so so, I guess it is hard to get into his regular spiel when he has to wait for a Spanish translation. Still, he and his staff did a great job at keeping everybody occupied. Disembarkation was quicker than we wanted. It started at noon the day before we arrived back in Barcelona - the captain made his noon speech and farewell speech at once. This seemed a bit early because we were still in full vacation mode. The following morning we were told that we needed to meet in the public rooms, because these were the only places where you could hear the disembarkation announcements. Guess not: 6.45 am we had the first announcement in the hallways and from there on nearly non-stop. You knew your vacation was over and you had better get out. The suitcases were offloaded earlier than planned, so our color was called earlier and we felt kind of pushed out. We preferred leaving and waiting in the train station. Getting your suitcase back at the terminal was easy and quick, there were hardly any taxis but a long line of guests trying to leave by taxi. So we took the bus back to the Colon statue and the metro to the train station. I think we were a lot faster than those waiting in line of a taxi. I feel that disembarkation and the trip home is part of my vacation, so I did not enjoy being pushed off like last week's faded lettuce, but I guess that was the price we had to pay for the early embarkation we had on the beginning of our cruise. They cannot allow new cruisers on board if the old ones have not left. Good news on the bill - we previously had had problems with the automatic conversion of currencies at the end of the cruise. This time everything worked perfectly, we got our final bill in USD and not in Euros, just as we had always wanted but not always had. All in all it was a great cruise, a great ship, nice fellow passengers but the majority of the crew seemed a bit short of smiles and patience.

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