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Let me start off by saying that my boyfriend and I were first timers. I am a big-time researcher and planner when it comes to vacations and family trips and I read everything I could about cruising and I watched YouTube videos for tips and hints for months before the trip. This post is going to include tips that I did not read about (even though you may have). So if you want to stop reading now, know that I absolutely LOVED my experience on the Navigator and I can't wait to book next year's trip! Day 1 We stayed at the Hilton FL Marina which was good enough for one night. They had a shuttle service they used named Quick & Safe Transportation. They were very unprofessional when I tried to book my trip from the airport to the hotel. We ended up taking a taxi instead (about $25). They had a table at the hotel the day of our departure to take the guests to the various ships at Port Everglades for $6pp via shuttle bus. It was pouring raining so as luck would have it, the Navigator was the 4th of 5 stops. The entire trip took 45 minutes (we got on at 1:45p) because of the rain and there was MUCH traffic heading to all of the ships (6 in port in total). We arrived close to the ship and dropped our luggage with the porters in an outdoor, covered area however a passenger later informed us that his wife's luggage was soaked and she had to hang out most of her clothes to dry. My recommendation is that if it's raining, cover the inside of your luggage with plastic trash bags. Ours was fine however. We then went inside and waited in line (think Disneyland corrals) for about 15 minutes for the first security check-in, then 10 minutes to the counter. Since it was 2:30p when we arrived, I'm guessing it was quicker than those that got there first thing. At the counter, we then had to show our Passports, fill out a form stating whether we were ill, had our photo taken and SeaPass card given to us. On the way to the ship (after an escalator or 2) we had our official boarding photo taken. After that we boarded. Our room was ready (as evidenced by our key working) but the luggage did not arrive until after 5p. Day 2 We spent the day at sea. I read that you should get the Ice Show tickets on the first day but they were only distributed from 3:30-4:30p outside Studio B so I went to the Guest Services desk at 11a on this day. The tickets were all lined up on the counter for the various shows, you just had to select which time you wanted. Breakfast is over in the Windjammer at 11a. Lastly the World's Sexiest Man by the pool was a lot of fun. A 50-something year old beat out the young guys! Day 3 On the day before the Captain announced that the CoCoCay port was cancelled because of the poor weather making it difficult to tender (taking a smaller boat to land) so Costa Maya, Mexico was to be our new port. They sent a list of excursions that could be purchased on your television or at Guest Services but since I did not get a chance to do any research, I declined. They refunded RCI CoCoCay excursions of course. If you purchased a non-RCI excursion you were on your own. We hadn't purchased any. There was no tendering necessary and there was a trolley-like bus taking guests down the pier. At each port an RCI staffer has a station to take photos in front of the ship so you can view them later but we declined. I did not enjoy the Costa Maya port. It is still developing and there was construction going on. You could see a waterpark from the boat and our cabin neighbor said they rented a golf cart and drove around to see the sights. We just shopped for souvenirs. There is a bar and a pool, and a beach, but it wasn't a nice or big beach. More like something you'd see at a river. After our shopping, we went back to the ship for lunch and never came back. We finally went to the Main Dining Room this night (My Time Dining). Our table was 660 and our servers were Bovino and Anecito. They were great and brought us extra appetizers, an extra entre to try and an extra dessert. Day 4 Tendering was also not necessary for Cozumel, which was far more modern than Costa Maya. We did the Dolphin Push, Pull & Swim at Chankanaab Park. After checking in at the pier, and a 15 min wait, we piled into taxi vans for about a 15 min drive. Not only was this excursion the highlight of my trip, the park also had free Wi-Fi! I will post more on the excursion under the excursions review but let me say this...haggle, haggle, haggle for the photos if you do this. They ARE willing to make a deal. We ended up getting almost an 80% discount off the first price quoted. As for the Wi-Fi, if you have Google Hangouts on your cell phone, remember you will be able to make telephone or video calls using Wi-Fi. We did and it worked great! The shuttles returned to the port every hour so we left after the sea lion show because it began to rain. There are restaurants there, a coffee shop, and a zip line activity as well. Now here is the worse part of the trip. The ship was scheduled to leave at 3:30p. Once returning to our room (on the starboard side), we watched the people returning to ship. Every 10 minutes after 3:30 1 or 2 people would show up late...for 45 MINUTES!! Yes the boat left about 50 minutes after we were scheduled to be back. I thought boats left people! The only highlight to the experience was that about half the balconies on this side of the ship had people shouting down to the stragglers, whistling and clapping and booing (OK I was the booer). It must have been very embarrassing for those people but I cannot find any sympathy (more on that on Day 5). This night we attended the Ice Dancing and Love & Marriage shows which were awesome! I had read about the Ice Dancing and was not disappointed. It is a must-do. Being a novice I was curious how the L&M participants were chosen (I thought you had to sign up) but they are chosen from the audience. We also ate at the dining room on this night, which was the last time for us. Nothing against it. Our servers and the food was good. It was just faster/easier to eat at the Windjammer. Day 5--Thanksgiving We woke to the Captain's announcement that we were arriving to the port late due to headwinds and LATE ARRIVALS the day before so that meant possible less time at port. Also, tender tickets were available from 8-10:30a. To avoid the mad rush we lined up at 9:30a, waited a bit only to be told that tickets ran out and that we would have to wait until the Open Tender Call at around 12:30p. SERIOUSLY?! People with RCI excursions were allowed to get off without tender tickets, but if you had a non-RCI excursion you were out of luck. Luckily we didn't have any plans so we just ate and waited. Finally the call came at noon. The tender was comfortable (they have 2 levels and hold 300 pp) and it was a 15 min ride to shore. There were many taxi vans taking people to the various beaches so we took one for $5 to the Public Beach. I would not recommend this beach. It was very crowded. I've since read that Royal Palms Beach is the best. We went left of the beach instead of right (which looked more crowded) and found 2 lounge chairs and an umbrella so we set up camp in a less crowded area. About 15 mins later an older woman showed up and said there was a fee to sit in her chairs. We were skeptical at first but decided to pay. It was $10 for the umbrella and $5 per chair. It turns out she was sitting nearby so I guess she was monitoring her section of chairs. In the end it was worth it and the one time I didn't haggle. There were many rentals within an arms reach like jet-skis ($50), banana boat, climbing floats, and a floating trampoline. When leaving the lady actually helped us get a taxi van but there were plenty waiting to take people back to the port. Back at the pier there was plenty of shopping but only one place to buy alcohol (I don't drink but I was thinking of buying a souvenir). I felt very comfortable using my debit card in the shops, as I had only used cash before. There were very long lines waiting to get back to the various ships at port so be prepared. Also something to note, at Cozumel and George Town, the areas near the piers were gated off from the town. You had to show your SeaPass to come back to the port/shopping area. I guess this protects the passengers from possible criminal activity and the ships as well. On this night we did the Quest event which was the 2nd highlight to the trip. It's an adult (yes, ADULT) scavenger hunt type game. I don't want to give any spoilers, just trust me and GO. Day 6 This was a day at sea so I used this day to take photos of the ship that I didn't have already. It's also a good time to visit the Next Cruise office (need an appointment). I also picked up my official RCI photos. These were ridiculously expensive...$400+ for the grand package, so I just bought 2 photos for $20 each. There were deals in the shops (I purchased 2 watch/necklace/earring sets for $20 each). They called it "Black Friday" but I read that they already offered these deals on the last day. This day also featured the Belly Flop Contest at the pool which was fun. That evening the customs document and 3 luggage tags were left on our bed. Your luggage must be placed outside your cabin door by 11p so we packed instead of going to see the "adult comedian." Day 7 Our luggage tag indicated that we were a part of group 30 so we were scheduled to meet in the Metropolis Room on the 4th deck by 9:30a. After breakfast (which wasn't scaled back just because it was the last day), we arrived at 9:10a and were called at 9:20a. We showed our SeaPass card for the final time getting off the ship and were led back into the Port Everglades building to find our luggage. I had read that this could be unorganized but it wasn't that bad. There were clear numbers posted along the walls for the groups of luggage and #30 initially was not hard to find. The only problem is, only 1 of our bags was there, but I asked a porter and he showed us to where another #30 was posted, which had our other bag. Yes, that was odd. After that, you get in line for Customs, you show your Passport and you head out, which took about 15 mins in total. We found a taxi van that was heading to FLL airport and we paid $11pp. I'd say we got there at around 10:30a. Since our flight wasn't until 8:30p that night we had already reserved a rental car with Advantage for $33 so we picked it up (they're at the airport, not off-site like some of the other companies) and spent the day in South Beach, which was about a 35 min drive. We were thinking of a Ft. Lauderdale excursion but this was better. It was a place to keep our luggage and cheaper than all the excursions they offered. Plus I had never hung out in SoBe before so I got a chance to do it at my own pace, with my own transportation. General Tips -Do the Daily Trivia forms the library provides (about 6 themed trivia questions, Sudoku, and a word search) -Tip your attendant daily-on Day 2 I asked the Guest Services attendant to remove the $12/day tip because I wanted to do my own tipping. We actually are good tippers. We tipped $5/day our cabin attendant (plus a larger bonus at the end), $10/formal dining room server, $2 here and there for the Windjammer servers that took away our plates, and I even gave $5 on the final day to the poor guy that has to stand outside the Windjammer to dispense hand sanitizer. -If you use or know someone that uses a flat iron for hair, bring it to do a quick pressing out of wrinkles in your clothes -Not many do it but remember that food can be taken out of the Windjammer on plates -Lemonade is not available in the Promenade, only iced tea. And for a ship that leaves from the south, I was surprised they didn't offer pre-sweetened tea. -Keep your SeaPass out when returning to the ship. You may have to show it to get back into the port area, then again to go down the pier, and definitely to get onboard the ship. -When entering the ship, be prepared to have your glasses off for the identification scan, and your pockets empty, and your bags ready to be scanned to board again. Think airport except no need to remove your shoes. -Beverages in cups cannot be taken along the pier when heading back to the ship. We saw a few people rushing to finish their drinks. And obviously alcohol bottles purchased must be claimed. They return it to you on the last night. Don't try to smuggle it in your bag because I think the scanner can pick it up. -Fruit is not allowed to go off or go on the ship -I saw a few hats fly overboard so be careful -The washcloths are rough...just saying -My boyfriend insisted that I warn that the pillows are on the flat side. I was perfectly fine with them but it is my girlfriend duty to report this. Tips for Techies -Set up a Google Hangouts account for when free Wi-Fi is available. You can make calls using it without incurring cell phone charges -You do not need to turn off Airplane Mode to use your Wi-Fi but if you do, you will get a nice message from your cell company with a rate for your continued usage -The TV has HDMI ports and the standard A/V port (red/white/yellow) if you'd like to hook up a tablet to watch your own movies or your laptop -Remember to turn on the in-cabin announcement knob on your desk. Only the Captain's announcements can be heard in-room. Other announcements can be heard through speakers throughout the ship. -Google Wallet works on the ship but does not work internationally. We tried to pay for items at various ports and kept getting declined (luckily we had cash and credit cards). It wasn't until we tried to use the ATM at Chankanaab that we received a message that it could not be used overseas. OVERALL, I loved my experience on the Navigator but I admit I have nothing else to compare it to. I will also admit that I am not a picky person and don't set unreasonable expectations just because I'm spending a few dollars. I feel like I received first-class treatment but that's probably because I don't usually go first-class. If you are accustomed to that type of lifestyle and don't like this experience, maybe a luxury line is more your style. Have fun!!

Awesome cruise; read this if you're a first timer (like we were).

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by FirstTimers from MD

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Let me start off by saying that my boyfriend and I were first timers. I am a big-time researcher and planner when it comes to vacations and family trips and I read everything I could about cruising and I watched YouTube videos for tips and hints for months before the trip. This post is going to include tips that I did not read about (even though you may have). So if you want to stop reading now, know that I absolutely LOVED my experience on the Navigator and I can't wait to book next year's trip!

Day 1

We stayed at the Hilton FL Marina which was good enough for one night. They had a shuttle service they used named Quick & Safe Transportation. They were very unprofessional when I tried to book my trip from the airport to the hotel. We ended up taking a taxi instead (about $25). They had a table at the hotel the day of our departure to take the guests to the various ships at Port Everglades for $6pp via shuttle bus. It was pouring raining so as luck would have it, the Navigator was the 4th of 5 stops. The entire trip took 45 minutes (we got on at 1:45p) because of the rain and there was MUCH traffic heading to all of the ships (6 in port in total). We arrived close to the ship and dropped our luggage with the porters in an outdoor, covered area however a passenger later informed us that his wife's luggage was soaked and she had to hang out most of her clothes to dry. My recommendation is that if it's raining, cover the inside of your luggage with plastic trash bags. Ours was fine however.

We then went inside and waited in line (think Disneyland corrals) for about 15 minutes for the first security check-in, then 10 minutes to the counter. Since it was 2:30p when we arrived, I'm guessing it was quicker than those that got there first thing. At the counter, we then had to show our Passports, fill out a form stating whether we were ill, had our photo taken and SeaPass card given to us. On the way to the ship (after an escalator or 2) we had our official boarding photo taken. After that we boarded. Our room was ready (as evidenced by our key working) but the luggage did not arrive until after 5p.

Day 2

We spent the day at sea. I read that you should get the Ice Show tickets on the first day but they were only distributed from 3:30-4:30p outside Studio B so I went to the Guest Services desk at 11a on this day. The tickets were all lined up on the counter for the various shows, you just had to select which time you wanted. Breakfast is over in the Windjammer at 11a. Lastly the World's Sexiest Man by the pool was a lot of fun. A 50-something year old beat out the young guys!

Day 3

On the day before the Captain announced that the CoCoCay port was cancelled because of the poor weather making it difficult to tender (taking a smaller boat to land) so Costa Maya, Mexico was to be our new port. They sent a list of excursions that could be purchased on your television or at Guest Services but since I did not get a chance to do any research, I declined. They refunded RCI CoCoCay excursions of course. If you purchased a non-RCI excursion you were on your own. We hadn't purchased any.

There was no tendering necessary and there was a trolley-like bus taking guests down the pier. At each port an RCI staffer has a station to take photos in front of the ship so you can view them later but we declined. I did not enjoy the Costa Maya port. It is still developing and there was construction going on. You could see a waterpark from the boat and our cabin neighbor said they rented a golf cart and drove around to see the sights. We just shopped for souvenirs. There is a bar and a pool, and a beach, but it wasn't a nice or big beach. More like something you'd see at a river. After our shopping, we went back to the ship for lunch and never came back. We finally went to the Main Dining Room this night (My Time Dining). Our table was 660 and our servers were Bovino and Anecito. They were great and brought us extra appetizers, an extra entre to try and an extra dessert.

Day 4

Tendering was also not necessary for Cozumel, which was far more modern than Costa Maya. We did the Dolphin Push, Pull & Swim at Chankanaab Park. After checking in at the pier, and a 15 min wait, we piled into taxi vans for about a 15 min drive. Not only was this excursion the highlight of my trip, the park also had free Wi-Fi! I will post more on the excursion under the excursions review but let me say this...haggle, haggle, haggle for the photos if you do this. They ARE willing to make a deal. We ended up getting almost an 80% discount off the first price quoted. As for the Wi-Fi, if you have Google Hangouts on your cell phone, remember you will be able to make telephone or video calls using Wi-Fi. We did and it worked great! The shuttles returned to the port every hour so we left after the sea lion show because it began to rain. There are restaurants there, a coffee shop, and a zip line activity as well.

Now here is the worse part of the trip. The ship was scheduled to leave at 3:30p. Once returning to our room (on the starboard side), we watched the people returning to ship. Every 10 minutes after 3:30 1 or 2 people would show up late...for 45 MINUTES!! Yes the boat left about 50 minutes after we were scheduled to be back. I thought boats left people! The only highlight to the experience was that about half the balconies on this side of the ship had people shouting down to the stragglers, whistling and clapping and booing (OK I was the booer). It must have been very embarrassing for those people but I cannot find any sympathy (more on that on Day 5). This night we attended the Ice Dancing and Love & Marriage shows which were awesome! I had read about the Ice Dancing and was not disappointed. It is a must-do. Being a novice I was curious how the L&M participants were chosen (I thought you had to sign up) but they are chosen from the audience. We also ate at the dining room on this night, which was the last time for us. Nothing against it. Our servers and the food was good. It was just faster/easier to eat at the Windjammer.

Day 5--Thanksgiving

We woke to the Captain's announcement that we were arriving to the port late due to headwinds and LATE ARRIVALS the day before so that meant possible less time at port. Also, tender tickets were available from 8-10:30a. To avoid the mad rush we lined up at 9:30a, waited a bit only to be told that tickets ran out and that we would have to wait until the Open Tender Call at around 12:30p. SERIOUSLY?! People with RCI excursions were allowed to get off without tender tickets, but if you had a non-RCI excursion you were out of luck. Luckily we didn't have any plans so we just ate and waited. Finally the call came at noon. The tender was comfortable (they have 2 levels and hold 300 pp) and it was a 15 min ride to shore. There were many taxi vans taking people to the various beaches so we took one for $5 to the Public Beach. I would not recommend this beach. It was very crowded. I've since read that Royal Palms Beach is the best. We went left of the beach instead of right (which looked more crowded) and found 2 lounge chairs and an umbrella so we set up camp in a less crowded area. About 15 mins later an older woman showed up and said there was a fee to sit in her chairs. We were skeptical at first but decided to pay. It was $10 for the umbrella and $5 per chair. It turns out she was sitting nearby so I guess she was monitoring her section of chairs. In the end it was worth it and the one time I didn't haggle. There were many rentals within an arms reach like jet-skis ($50), banana boat, climbing floats, and a floating trampoline. When leaving the lady actually helped us get a taxi van but there were plenty waiting to take people back to the port.

Back at the pier there was plenty of shopping but only one place to buy alcohol (I don't drink but I was thinking of buying a souvenir). I felt very comfortable using my debit card in the shops, as I had only used cash before. There were very long lines waiting to get back to the various ships at port so be prepared. Also something to note, at Cozumel and George Town, the areas near the piers were gated off from the town. You had to show your SeaPass to come back to the port/shopping area. I guess this protects the passengers from possible criminal activity and the ships as well. On this night we did the Quest event which was the 2nd highlight to the trip. It's an adult (yes, ADULT) scavenger hunt type game. I don't want to give any spoilers, just trust me and GO.

Day 6

This was a day at sea so I used this day to take photos of the ship that I didn't have already. It's also a good time to visit the Next Cruise office (need an appointment). I also picked up my official RCI photos. These were ridiculously expensive...$400+ for the grand package, so I just bought 2 photos for $20 each. There were deals in the shops (I purchased 2 watch/necklace/earring sets for $20 each). They called it "Black Friday" but I read that they already offered these deals on the last day. This day also featured the Belly Flop Contest at the pool which was fun. That evening the customs document and 3 luggage tags were left on our bed. Your luggage must be placed outside your cabin door by 11p so we packed instead of going to see the "adult comedian."

Day 7

Our luggage tag indicated that we were a part of group 30 so we were scheduled to meet in the Metropolis Room on the 4th deck by 9:30a. After breakfast (which wasn't scaled back just because it was the last day), we arrived at 9:10a and were called at 9:20a. We showed our SeaPass card for the final time getting off the ship and were led back into the Port Everglades building to find our luggage. I had read that this could be unorganized but it wasn't that bad. There were clear numbers posted along the walls for the groups of luggage and #30 initially was not hard to find. The only problem is, only 1 of our bags was there, but I asked a porter and he showed us to where another #30 was posted, which had our other bag. Yes, that was odd. After that, you get in line for Customs, you show your Passport and you head out, which took about 15 mins in total. We found a taxi van that was heading to FLL airport and we paid $11pp. I'd say we got there at around 10:30a. Since our flight wasn't until 8:30p that night we had already reserved a rental car with Advantage for $33 so we picked it up (they're at the airport, not off-site like some of the other companies) and spent the day in South Beach, which was about a 35 min drive. We were thinking of a Ft. Lauderdale excursion but this was better. It was a place to keep our luggage and cheaper than all the excursions they offered. Plus I had never hung out in SoBe before so I got a chance to do it at my own pace, with my own transportation.

General Tips

-Do the Daily Trivia forms the library provides (about 6 themed trivia questions, Sudoku, and a word search)

-Tip your attendant daily-on Day 2 I asked the Guest Services attendant to remove the $12/day tip because I wanted to do my own tipping. We actually are good tippers. We tipped $5/day our cabin attendant (plus a larger bonus at the end), $10/formal dining room server, $2 here and there for the Windjammer servers that took away our plates, and I even gave $5 on the final day to the poor guy that has to stand outside the Windjammer to dispense hand sanitizer.

-If you use or know someone that uses a flat iron for hair, bring it to do a quick pressing out of wrinkles in your clothes

-Not many do it but remember that food can be taken out of the Windjammer on plates

-Lemonade is not available in the Promenade, only iced tea. And for a ship that leaves from the south, I was surprised they didn't offer pre-sweetened tea.

-Keep your SeaPass out when returning to the ship. You may have to show it to get back into the port area, then again to go down the pier, and definitely to get onboard the ship.

-When entering the ship, be prepared to have your glasses off for the identification scan, and your pockets empty, and your bags ready to be scanned to board again. Think airport except no need to remove your shoes.

-Beverages in cups cannot be taken along the pier when heading back to the ship. We saw a few people rushing to finish their drinks. And obviously alcohol bottles purchased must be claimed. They return it to you on the last night. Don't try to smuggle it in your bag because I think the scanner can pick it up.

-Fruit is not allowed to go off or go on the ship

-I saw a few hats fly overboard so be careful

-The washcloths are rough...just saying

-My boyfriend insisted that I warn that the pillows are on the flat side. I was perfectly fine with them but it is my girlfriend duty to report this.

Tips for Techies

-Set up a Google Hangouts account for when free Wi-Fi is available. You can make calls using it without incurring cell phone charges

-You do not need to turn off Airplane Mode to use your Wi-Fi but if you do, you will get a nice message from your cell company with a rate for your continued usage

-The TV has HDMI ports and the standard A/V port (red/white/yellow) if you'd like to hook up a tablet to watch your own movies or your laptop

-Remember to turn on the in-cabin announcement knob on your desk. Only the Captain's announcements can be heard in-room. Other announcements can be heard through speakers throughout the ship.

-Google Wallet works on the ship but does not work internationally. We tried to pay for items at various ports and kept getting declined (luckily we had cash and credit cards). It wasn't until we tried to use the ATM at Chankanaab that we received a message that it could not be used overseas.

OVERALL, I loved my experience on the Navigator but I admit I have nothing else to compare it to. I will also admit that I am not a picky person and don't set unreasonable expectations just because I'm spending a few dollars. I feel like I received first-class treatment but that's probably because I don't usually go first-class. If you are accustomed to that type of lifestyle and don't like this experience, maybe a luxury line is more your style. Have fun!!
FirstTimers from MD’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9344
Perfect with LOTS of storage in the room, closet and bathroom. I brought along a shoe organizer after reading the suggestion online but I didn't need it. Sure the drawers were on the small side (8 all together plus a center desk drawer that accommodated a MacBook), but with my set, enough for me to put undergarments in one, swimsuits in another, small tops in another, and my makeup case in the smallest one. At both ends of the mirror there were about 5 small storage shelves behind mirrored doors (good for toiletries). There were 2 larger shelves above the safe. There was small storage behind a mirror in the bathroom and also a long shelf under the sink. The shower had a small caddy. If you bring large shampoos and shower gels then it would be tight but all of our stuff was small. The suction hooks I brought was nice for holding my shower sponge inside the shower and my shower cap outside the shower. Lastly there were about 5 deep shelves in the closet that was great for the clothes we didn't need to hang, like shorts and tees, and for shoes.
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