We sailed on Navigator Of The Seas to the Baltics. The ship itself is adequate and well laid out. The touch screen devices around the ship however were useful for finding our way around. We did find it difficult to find anywhere quiet to sit and read as all the lounges had music playing in them at all times of the day and night. The 'library' was more of a games area and certainly not a comfortable place to sit. On sea days there was a distinct lack of sun beds.
The service from the stateroom attendant was excellent so too was the restaurant service staff. The food was average however in comparison to what we've experienced on other cruise lines.
The management on the ship is a joke and communication is poor. Even when you query something with guest services that you've heard on the tannoy, they have no idea. We also had issues with drinks being charged to our account, yet we had a drinks package and always ensured our choices were within the package. There were differences of opinion as to what was in the package depending on which bar you were in. Again more time taken up queuing at guest services only to be promised it would be sorted, but days later it was still occurring.
Most of the announcements made by the captain were incomprehensible. Many passengers were commenting that they just couldn't understand what he was saying. Again, more visits to guest services to ascertain the information, but even they said they had difficulty understanding him.
Our experience with RCI hadn't been the best but unfortunately this was set to get much much worse as the end of the cruise approached. Our last port of call was cancelled due to time having to be made up in order to get back to Southampton on schedule. We had experienced a delay in St Petersburg early on in the itinerary due to weather conditions making it unsafe to leave. These things happen and whilst disappointed not to be stopping at the last port, we fully understood the reason for it. Unfortunately poor communications resulted in passengers only being informed at the last minute that we would now be late getting back to Southampton. This resulted in many international passengers frantically try to rearrange transport for connecting flights and in many cases totally rearranging their flights altogether. People we spoke to in this situation said that guest services had been very unhelpful and only permitted them to make one phone call. In some cases, the prearranged transport organised via RCI had simply been cancelled and passengers were forced to make their own arrangements. Certainly not the relaxing last 2 days at sea they had hoped for.
The communications for the day of disembarkation were all mixed up. The old schedules, which had been given out previously, were replaced with the new timings to allow for the delay getting back to Southampton. Someone in charge however had omitted to change the information for cabin vacation arrangements and meeting in the designated areas. Passengers were therefore following different instructions. Again, no one in authority seemed interested even when it was brought to their attention. Even when the Cruise Director was making an announcement it was clear they didn't have a clue what was going on. Passengers who were now congregating in the designated areas just shook their heads in disbelief at yet more ineptitude.
As we began to dock in Southampton, RCI representatives in the designated areas were instructing passengers to form a line towards the gangway in readiness for disembarkation. The line on deck 4 was extending towards the casino and staff we sending families with small children into a smoking environment. Even when parents complained and refused to stay in there, staff did not appear to comprehend these concerns and in some cases stood arguing with passengers.
When the exit doors were opened for disembarkation, passengers started to move forward towards the gangway. There were hundreds of people all on the 'self assist' option so everyone had luggage too and it was difficult to move easily. Staff then started to bring passengers through from other directions and decks, preventing those who were lining up from getting off. People in wheelchairs and mobility vehicles were tossed aside and no regard was given to the vulnerable passengers onboard. With no management of the crowd and more and more passengers being crammed into one area, the staff on the exit door then refused to let us off. Now they decided we must use a difference area to exit. No one could turn around let alone move to another area. My husband was assaulted by a member of staff because he was unable to move. One young lady began to have a panic attack yet staff did nothing to assist her. Passengers at the front near to the exit were trying to get the attention of staff, pleading with them to open the doors as they feared they would be crushed with the volume of passengers now moving forward. Staff refused and at one point forced the doors shut on an elderly lady and her husband in their attempt to pen us in and prevent us from leaving. This poor lady was screaming in pain. I'm certain if it hadn't been for her husband having to force the doors open to free her, we might not have made it off alive.
Since my return I have contacted RCI who refuse to accept any responsibility for the debacle with disembarkation. Their response is to blame passengers for not doing as they were instructed. Passengers did exactly as they were instructed - the problem was RCI gave so many conflicting instructions, no one in authority took charge to rectify it soon enough. I've forwarded all the documents to them which detail the varying information given out to passengers. RCI say they have thoroughly investigated the matter but all this meant was that they'd spoken to the staff onboard! Hardly a thorough investigation. I call that a biased view. The assault on my husband appears to have been swept under the carpet whilst they concentrate their efforts on avoiding bad publicity than they do about establishing the facts.
This was our first cruise with RCI and will most definitely be our last.