My family was excited to go on the Navigator as it was the largest ship we've ever been on and it had some features we'd never experienced before. The ship itself was nice, and the family oceanview room with separate bunks for the kids was awesome--that was probably the best part of the entire experience. The kids had fun at the kids camp and we enjoyed all of our shore excursions. And the ice skating show was great. Beyond that, we left fairly unimpressed with Royal Caribbean. This was our 8th cruise, and admittedly, our last was a Disney, so it was hard not to compare this one to it, but it just seemed like it was lacking many of the special touches that even the cheap 5 day Carnival cruises have had. While we are used to having to pay extra for SOME things, like alcohol, it really seemed over the top on this cruise. Everything seemed to have an upgraded version available, even dinner in the main dining room, where you could order a lobster or better steak for an extra $30. In the past, we have been happy to just sick with the included dining options, but much of it was really not good, and at times, inedible. Horrible, horrible instant coffee and iced tea...but of course Starbucks is right there....for an extra charge. Bland, unimpressive food at most meals in the main dining room and casual buffet...or you can pay extra to eat at one of the specialty restaurants. We tried Johnny Rockets one night, and even that wasn't great.
The staff did their jobs, but really weren't all that friendly or available if we needed something--we only saw our room steward a couple of times during the whole week. No extras in the room, such as toiletry kits, or even a pen (unless you wanted to pay for the snacks in the mini fridge), and the bed and pillows were flat and hard, making sleep difficult. We got just three towel animals the whole week, which has always been something the kids were excited to find in the room each night. It was quiet most of the time (aside from our own children), so that was good, but I think it was mostly due to the fact that many of the people around us had to be moved to other rooms after a pretty significant flood of the interior staterooms.
Again, we had a good time and nothing BAD happened, we just didn't leave feeling like we had really been pampered. Common areas were usually pretty congested, things didn't seem to be laid out to allow a good flow of the many people--like, instead of a hamburger grill and drink station right by the pool like we've seen on other ships, you had to go all the way in to the Windjammer cafe, so it was hard to even grab a quick snack or drink while at the pool. And the "blowout $10 sale" in the shopping area was total madness, with people elbowing each other in the face just to snatch up a crappy watch or hat. Think, Black Friday shopping at sea. Not my idea of fun! My husband said this cruise was like "taking a vacation on a city bus". So I think we'll stick to Disney or Carnival for any future cruises.
This cabin was great as far as size and layout are concerned. So much room compared to oceanview rooms we've had in the past, but there were also five of us, so we really needed the space. The older kids loved having their little bunk bed cubby and there was plenty of room to tuck the baby's crib out of the way over by the windows. We removed all the purchasable snacks and drinks from the mini fridge and kept milk and our bottle of wine in there. The bed and pillows were horribly uncomfortable, though. The bathroom was small, but worked fine.
Embarkation and debarkation were easy.
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