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We began our cruise from Germany so did not book the Pre Cruise or after cruise package in Barcelona. Recommend those coming from the US do this. We arrived day early and stayed at the Atrium Palace, Apsis Hotel Chain, in the center of town. A very good hotel. Double room was Euro 187 per night. It is near Ramblis, and within walking distance of shops, restaurants. Service and front desk was exceptional. English was spoken by everyone. Breakfast is Euro 16 unless you book via the Internet and then it is only Euro 8. Highly recommend you take this option. Taxi to the Hotel with 2 large bags was Euro 25. There is bus and subway connections but do not recommend if you have luggage. Taxis are clean, metered and fast. We were not part of any pre excursion group but there was a Royal Caribbean Representative in the hotel that was very helpful. She advised us about 09:00 AM that due to some kind of "gastrointestinal" infection on the ship, boarding would be delayed until 14:00. Check out is 12 but Hotel has holding area for bags so not an issue. The representative told us that since bus was not full we could catch a ride which we did. We arrived about 14:30 and there was no crowd and check in went very smoothly and efficiently. We had our sailing card and on board in less than 30 minutes. Very efficient compared to Civitavecchia (Rome). Debarking was same. Much better than in Civitavecchia. We never heard another word about the so called "infection" and I am not sure there was one as many folks were already on the ship, so they obviously came much earlier. Our late lunch was cut short, due to the mandatory Life Boat Drill. It was perfunctory at best and some never figured it out or did not care. Seems like it is just to say it was done. It took too long as lot of other messages were put out. No one was in mood to hear anything not related to the life boat drill plus it was hot and the vests were uncomfortable. Shortly after getting unpacked discovered that we had forgotten our toothpaste. We asked the cabin attendant if he had a complimentary paste, but were informed that he did not. On Carnival Freedom in May, shampoo, tooth paste, shower gel were provided daily. So we bought some at one of the stores on the main deck, for $6.00 for small tube. More on pricing later. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable. This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean so I cannot compare with others. We had a mid ship cabin with balcony on 8th deck. Room was very adequate and balcony was great. Our cabin attendant was friendly and did a good job with basic housekeeping but we noticed that the toilet had urine stains on the wall that had been there a long time and were there when we left. Average would be best grade I could give them on housekeeping. Another nuisance was the slowness of picking up the room service trash. It was on the floor in front of doors along the corridor, sometimes until mid morning. Do not know why it could not have been collected earlier. Our safe would not work and we had to call maintenance. They were there in less than 15 minutes and fixed it. It stopped working on the last day again and they had to come and open it for us. On our safe the numbers were worn off from use so you had to guess the first time where the Close and Reset buttons were. Smoking: Basically a non smoking ship, except in designated areas, but not enforced. On several occasions, observed smokers right under a NO SMOKING sign. To me this is a major irritant. Ships crew do not seem to want to enforce it. Our neighbors smoked on their the balcony, (which is permitted) it seemed around the clock, and we could not keep the balcony door open because it drafted the smoke, Especially bad at night as we preferred the sea air to the air conditioner, which by the way was always on either hot or cold. Never found a way to make it just neutral. Dining: We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer, and first dinner seating in the main dining room. The Buffet in the Windjammer was OK; lot of choices, hot food was hot and cold food was cold, the way it is supposed to be. However there were two issues that were annoying. First off the Windjammer is not adequate for the amount of people on the ship. It was always crowded and often announcements were made to depart when you finished your meal; made you feel guilty to stay and have an after meal coffee. Staking out your table was an issue because just putting your silverware down meant nothing. You had to park someone and alternate getting your food from the line. The bussing of the tables was just plain unsatisfactory. There were enough people but they did not seem very interested and spent lot of time socializing with each other. Most of the time they would not clear all the used dishes and rarely wiped the tables. It appears there was little if any supervision by ships cadre in the Windjammer. Some effort to fix this problem is required. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants so cannot comment. On Carnival Freedom they had excellent short order/sandwich facility that was free. On Navigator they had overcooked hamburgers and hot dogs and cold buns. In fact the buns were stale and cold. If you wanted a real Hamburger or snack then you had to go to Johnny Rockets and pay extra for it. On at least two occasions the only mail toilet on the 11th Deck, Windjammer was out of order and the door was locked. On one occasion the toilets were over flowing due to some kind of malfunction. I am not sure they ever got the problem fixed. Shore excursions: Only took one, Taormina in Sicily. Well worth the money. We arrived in Istanbul at about 14:30 and those who tried to do the afternoon tour to the Covered Bazaar found, due to the unbelievable heavy traffic that it took hour each way with a bus. You can walk to the Covered Bazaar in a shorter time; in fact you can walk to the Blue Mosque and other attractions. We were told you would find a taxi just outside the pier, but we did not; in fact you do not need one, if you are able to walk a mile or so. In Thessaloniki we walked on our own. You can easily walk to the White Tower and some of the ancient ruins in the city. It is a beautiful city with many cafes and coffees you can enjoy. If you want to see sites outside of the city then a tour would be necessary. In Sicily we took the bus tour to Taormina a beautiful resort city about 45 minutes away. It is very touristy but worth a visit. We almost got left there because our guide told us to meet at a specific time in front of the cathedral; we were there way ahead of time but at the wrong cathedral. There are several so pay attention. Hint: take a picture, remember the number on your camera, and review it ahead of your meeting time. If you miss your rendezvous head to the exit, take the elevators down to the huge underground bus and car parking lot. If your bus is gone try to hitch ride with another tour from your boat. There are many busses. In Malta, one can walk to the center of town in about 15 minutes (it is uphill and you can take the steps for a shortcut) or take one of the very colorful Leyland Malta Busses to and from the pier. Bus stop is directly across the street from the terminal; on left side of the street. In Malta they drive on the left side like in UK. It is bus 187 and cost 1 Euro each way. Main Bus stop is about 3 minutes from city gates. Return bus stop is marked "Bus to the Piers) the buses seem to run continuously, so you wait until one shows up. Pricing on the ship: It was obvious that Royal Caribbean adjusted their prices in dollars upwards, because most of the passengers on this voyage were Europeans, whose currency was the Euro, British Pound, or Canadian Dollar. Prices in dollars were very high in all the on board shops and restaurants. For those on non dollar currencies the prices might be reasonable. For those on dollar standard they are not! One of the store keepers told me that they had elevated the prices slightly. I would say way more than slightly. In my opinion 3,000 passengers is too many for this ship. The ship felt crowded most of the time. Never felt I had space. Main Street promenade was packed at peak hours. I do not know what the word for excuse me or thank you in Spanish, English, French, and German is but never heard it when it was apparent it should have been used. Bumping and shoving at the buffet lines was normal. I think some of the Europeans feel they are going to run out of food! Sanitation: Why does Royal Caribbean not have hand sanitizer dispensers by rest rooms, dining areas? Carnival Freedom had them everywhere and they were used. Seems it would help control any infectious outbreak. No one from the Ship's crew told us but you may pick up a condensed newspaper, sports, and finance at the Library on the 7th Floor aft. They are there about 09:00 from France, German, Spain, and the US. Was the cruise worth the money? Yes but with just a little effort on part of Royal Caribbean could be much more enjoyable. Someone in the supervisor line needs to pay attention.

Could have been better

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by Paul B.

Trip Details
We began our cruise from Germany so did not book the Pre Cruise or after cruise package in Barcelona. Recommend those coming from the US do this. We arrived day early and stayed at the Atrium Palace, Apsis Hotel Chain, in the center of town. A very good hotel. Double room was Euro 187 per night. It is near Ramblis, and within walking distance of shops, restaurants. Service and front desk was exceptional. English was spoken by everyone. Breakfast is Euro 16 unless you book via the Internet and then it is only Euro 8. Highly recommend you take this option. Taxi to the Hotel with 2 large bags was Euro 25. There is bus and subway connections but do not recommend if you have luggage. Taxis are clean, metered and fast. We were not part of any pre excursion group but there was a Royal Caribbean Representative in the hotel that was very helpful. She advised us about 09:00 AM that due to some kind of "gastrointestinal" infection on the ship, boarding would be delayed until 14:00. Check out is 12 but Hotel has holding area for bags so not an issue. The representative told us that since bus was not full we could catch a ride which we did. We arrived about 14:30 and there was no crowd and check in went very smoothly and efficiently. We had our sailing card and on board in less than 30 minutes. Very efficient compared to Civitavecchia (Rome). Debarking was same. Much better than in Civitavecchia. We never heard another word about the so called "infection" and I am not sure there was one as many folks were already on the ship, so they obviously came much earlier. Our late lunch was cut short, due to the mandatory Life Boat Drill. It was perfunctory at best and some never figured it out or did not care. Seems like it is just to say it was done. It took too long as lot of other messages were put out. No one was in mood to hear anything not related to the life boat drill plus it was hot and the vests were uncomfortable. Shortly after getting unpacked discovered that we had forgotten our toothpaste. We asked the cabin attendant if he had a complimentary paste, but were informed that he did not. On Carnival Freedom in May, shampoo, tooth paste, shower gel were provided daily. So we bought some at one of the stores on the main deck, for $6.00 for small tube. More on pricing later. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable. This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean so I cannot compare with others. We had a mid ship cabin with balcony on 8th deck. Room was very adequate and balcony was great. Our cabin attendant was friendly and did a good job with basic housekeeping but we noticed that the toilet had urine stains on the wall that had been there a long time and were there when we left. Average would be best grade I could give them on housekeeping. Another nuisance was the slowness of picking up the room service trash. It was on the floor in front of doors along the corridor, sometimes until mid morning. Do not know why it could not have been collected earlier. Our safe would not work and we had to call maintenance. They were there in less than 15 minutes and fixed it. It stopped working on the last day again and they had to come and open it for us. On our safe the numbers were worn off from use so you had to guess the first time where the Close and Reset buttons were. Smoking: Basically a non smoking ship, except in designated areas, but not enforced. On several occasions, observed smokers right under a NO SMOKING sign. To me this is a major irritant. Ships crew do not seem to want to enforce it. Our neighbors smoked on their the balcony, (which is permitted) it seemed around the clock, and we could not keep the balcony door open because it drafted the smoke, Especially bad at night as we preferred the sea air to the air conditioner, which by the way was always on either hot or cold. Never found a way to make it just neutral. Dining: We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer, and first dinner seating in the main dining room. The Buffet in the Windjammer was OK; lot of choices, hot food was hot and cold food was cold, the way it is supposed to be. However there were two issues that were annoying. First off the Windjammer is not adequate for the amount of people on the ship. It was always crowded and often announcements were made to depart when you finished your meal; made you feel guilty to stay and have an after meal coffee. Staking out your table was an issue because just putting your silverware down meant nothing. You had to park someone and alternate getting your food from the line. The bussing of the tables was just plain unsatisfactory. There were enough people but they did not seem very interested and spent lot of time socializing with each other. Most of the time they would not clear all the used dishes and rarely wiped the tables. It appears there was little if any supervision by ships cadre in the Windjammer. Some effort to fix this problem is required. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants so cannot comment. On Carnival Freedom they had excellent short order/sandwich facility that was free. On Navigator they had overcooked hamburgers and hot dogs and cold buns. In fact the buns were stale and cold. If you wanted a real Hamburger or snack then you had to go to Johnny Rockets and pay extra for it. On at least two occasions the only mail toilet on the 11th Deck, Windjammer was out of order and the door was locked. On one occasion the toilets were over flowing due to some kind of malfunction. I am not sure they ever got the problem fixed. Shore excursions: Only took one, Taormina in Sicily. Well worth the money. We arrived in Istanbul at about 14:30 and those who tried to do the afternoon tour to the Covered Bazaar found, due to the unbelievable heavy traffic that it took hour each way with a bus. You can walk to the Covered Bazaar in a shorter time; in fact you can walk to the Blue Mosque and other attractions. We were told you would find a taxi just outside the pier, but we did not; in fact you do not need one, if you are able to walk a mile or so. In Thessaloniki we walked on our own. You can easily walk to the White Tower and some of the ancient ruins in the city. It is a beautiful city with many cafes and coffees you can enjoy. If you want to see sites outside of the city then a tour would be necessary. In Sicily we took the bus tour to Taormina a beautiful resort city about 45 minutes away. It is very touristy but worth a visit. We almost got left there because our guide told us to meet at a specific time in front of the cathedral; we were there way ahead of time but at the wrong cathedral. There are several so pay attention. Hint: take a picture, remember the number on your camera, and review it ahead of your meeting time. If you miss your rendezvous head to the exit, take the elevators down to the huge underground bus and car parking lot. If your bus is gone try to hitch ride with another tour from your boat. There are many busses. In Malta, one can walk to the center of town in about 15 minutes (it is uphill and you can take the steps for a shortcut) or take one of the very colorful Leyland Malta Busses to and from the pier. Bus stop is directly across the street from the terminal; on left side of the street. In Malta they drive on the left side like in UK. It is bus 187 and cost 1 Euro each way. Main Bus stop is about 3 minutes from city gates. Return bus stop is marked "Bus to the Piers) the buses seem to run continuously, so you wait until one shows up. Pricing on the ship: It was obvious that Royal Caribbean adjusted their prices in dollars upwards, because most of the passengers on this voyage were Europeans, whose currency was the Euro, British Pound, or Canadian Dollar. Prices in dollars were very high in all the on board shops and restaurants. For those on non dollar currencies the prices might be reasonable. For those on dollar standard they are not! One of the store keepers told me that they had elevated the prices slightly. I would say way more than slightly. In my opinion 3,000 passengers is too many for this ship. The ship felt crowded most of the time. Never felt I had space. Main Street promenade was packed at peak hours. I do not know what the word for excuse me or thank you in Spanish, English, French, and German is but never heard it when it was apparent it should have been used. Bumping and shoving at the buffet lines was normal. I think some of the Europeans feel they are going to run out of food! Sanitation: Why does Royal Caribbean not have hand sanitizer dispensers by rest rooms, dining areas? Carnival Freedom had them everywhere and they were used. Seems it would help control any infectious outbreak. No one from the Ship's crew told us but you may pick up a condensed newspaper, sports, and finance at the Library on the 7th Floor aft. They are there about 09:00 from France, German, Spain, and the US. Was the cruise worth the money? Yes but with just a little effort on part of Royal Caribbean could be much more enjoyable. Someone in the supervisor line needs to pay attention.
Paul B.’s Full Rating Summary
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