Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by mxp
- Sail Date: April 2016
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
We stayed at the Hyatt Place for one night before the cruise. Super easy and fast check in, staff was friendly and the hotel was clean. Breakfast was good, plenty of hot and cold choices and guests were polite. Walking distance to numerous restaurants, though we had dinner at the hotel due to pouring rain. Felt secure in leaving our car parked for the duration. We used the hotel shuttle to get to the port, it leaves every hour between 10 am and 1 pm. We chose the 12 noon departure, were the only ones on the shuttle and were onboard the ship by 12:40 pm. Somehow everyone was spread out enough that boarding was super fast.
We've been on the Mariner in the past, so the ship layout was familiar. Headed to the pool bar to order our first celebratory drink and wait for the cabin to be ready at 1 pm. After seeing the drink prices, I opted to purchase the package. Drink prices have gone up a lot and they really encourage the purchase of the package without being pushy about it. By the end of the cruise, we just didn't feel like drinking enough to meet the daily cost, so I don't know if it was worth it. Bar menus are few and far between. I only saw them in Boleros and Schooners. The roaming waiters for drink service seem to be limited to the main pool area. We spent most of our sea days in the Solarium and seldom saw them and when they did show up, it took another 30 minutes before they came back. Faster to get your own drinks.
We had dinner in Sabor the first night, the guacamole was excellent and I will now compare it in every other Mexican restaurant. Sabor set the bar pretty high. They were booked the remainder of the cruise, so I'm glad was took this opportunity. Would definitely recommend. We also had sushi in Izumi, pretty good, but I would not say spectacular. Pricing seems to be comparable to mainland Sushi restaurants.
Dinner in the main dining room was good, no complaints. The portions seemed a bit smaller, but between apps, soup, and salad, we didn't starve. The wait staff was very accommodating and made good recommendations. We had "my time" dining, never had to wait more than two minutes at the most to be seated and ended up in the same section with the same wait staff every night. Our server Mahendran and his assistant Jaikisshan (Maddy and Jai) did a great job. There was a sign out on the first formal night that "short pants were not permitted in the dining room for dinner," but I didn't see it the rest of the cruise and noticed men in shorts even during the second formal night. Food in the Windjammer was okay, plenty of options to include vegetarian. We had room service breakfast every morning, they usually delivered a few minutes before the requested time.
Had a D1 balcony stateroom, 8656. A little larger, but there was no table in the room. Standard balcony with two chairs and a table. Bed was hard as a rock, though our cabin steward Kevin added a couple of duvet covers which helped a little. Worst mattress and pillows ever. There was a definite sewage smell in the hallway during the first half of the cruise. I also noticed the smell on the last night on deck 4, both inside and outside on the promenade. Public areas were clean.
Entertainment was standard. The ice show is assigned by muster station, so read the daily newsletter. Chair hogs were definitely in the Solarium. If you didn't have a place by 8 am, your were just out of luck. But if you wanted space in the shade, it was available else. The gym was good, plenty of treadmills, ellipticals and weight machines. A small section of free weights. I don't recommend rooms on deck 10, under the gym, pool areas and Windjammer.
Labadee was pretty much rained out, though they still had the beach barbeque. The different beach areas looked nice, but we got soaked enough walking to the market. I'm sure it would be a nice beach day when not pouring rain.
St. Kitts is like a less developed version of St. Maarten. We took the grand tour with Thenford Gray, which starts with a drive through Basseterre, goes to the poor side of the island with stops at the Batik place and up to Brimstone Hill fort and then moves over to the other, wealthier side of the island and leaves you either at the beach or takes you back to the ship. There are no food stops on this tour until you get to Shipwreck beach, which has a restaurant.
St. Maarten is a beach day for us, since we've been several times. Had lunch at Caribbean Blend restaurant, based on a recommendation, food was very good. Three ships in port, but not too crowded.
We did self assist debarkation and were off the ship by 6:45. People were leaving before 6:30 am, so we grabbed our bags, headed to the Sapphire restaurant on deck 4, were routed through the restaurant, back out on deck, swiped sea passes, down the escalators to customs and out the door. This process was a little cumbersome, but it kept everyone spread out enough to stop bottlenecks. Had to wait about 10 minutes for a taxi, that took longer than anything else.
All in all, it was a good and relaxing cruise. The staff onboard was friendly, the ship is showing it's age and could use an overhaul, but clean. I'd sail Royal Caribbean again, but probably a newer ship.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
LabadeeIt was alternately drizzling and pouring most of the day, so we only walked to the markets. Seems like it would be a nice beach day during good weather.View All 1,795 Labadee Cruise Port Reviews
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St. Kitts (Port Zante)Good tour, covered a good portion of the island. There are no food stops, but I would recommend the company. We were celebrating our 25th anniversary and my 50th birthday, and they put that on the tour bus. Nice touch.View All 1,691 St. Kitts (Port Zante) Cruise Port Reviews
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