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Beware.... This is a long review as I have a lot to say!! Having thoroughly enjoyed a cruise round the Baltics last year with Royal Caribbean on Brilliance of the Seas, we were delighted to book this year on Navigator. However, it didn't live up to expectations. It seemed clear to us that Royal Caribbean are trying to maximise profit by cutbacks in many areas, and by increasing the activities that have to be paid for onboard. EMBARKATION Due to weather problems, the ship was late coming into Southampton, so we weren't able to embark at the time issued. Royal Caribbean had emailed passengers the day before but evidently, not everyone had read the email. There was also an accident on one of the main roads leading to Southampton on the morning of embarkation, which led to many people being delayed. So check in was VERY busy and crowded. However, staff did a fantastic job and the queues moved relatively quickly so check in was fairly smooth. CABIN We had a balcony cabin last year, but decided to try an outside cabin this year. cabin review below Our cabin steward, Evangeline was excellent, but I think the amount of rooms they look after has been increased, so they are able to spend less time in each stateroom. SHIP The ship itself seemed clean and well maintained. I've read a few other reviews saying it was tired and in need of some TLC, but that wasn't my impression. Maintainance staff were very visible throughout the trip, painting, varnishing and attending to general upkeep of the ship. I'm not sure of the layout of the ship before the refurbishment but adding 81 staterooms has reduced public space on the ship, and added more people using that reduced public space, so there was not enough public seating areas on board, particularly in the evenings or on overcast days when the sun worshippers weren't out frying themselves. TRAVEL After leaving Southampton two hours late, we had two sea days. The captain told us he was going to try to make up time, and reach Gibraltar at the original time. The first sea day was quite rough, with lots of people feeling sick. We had another day which was also very rough, and Guest Services were dishing out motion sickness pills to everyone who wanted them. They are great!!! They really do the trick. The sea was so rough that our TV kept swinging out, then back in again, bashing off the wall. We eventually had to sellotape it back to the wall to prevent it from being damaged, and so we could get to sleep! We spoke to a seasoned cruiser onboard, and he thought the captain was trying to make up time, so didn't have the stabilisers out to help stop the movement in the ship. I've no idea if this was the case but it seemed plausible to me DINING We ate in the windjammer most evenings. We had requested a table for 4 in the dining room when we booked the cruise, as my daughter is very shy and takes a long time to get to know people and become relaxed in their company. We were placed at a table for 10 with two other families. A family of 4 with teenagers roughly the same age as ours, and a mother and teenage son. They were lovely people and while we enjoyed chatting with them, it was not as relaxed and enjoyable as if we had been at a table on our own. We asked if we could be moved to a table for 4, and were told that the maitre d' would look at all the requests and we would find out by noon the following day. We did find out the next day that we could not be moved. I completely understand that not everyone can have exactly what they want (and in fact my in-laws, who are diamond plus cruisers, also were declined their requested table), but as it changed the experience for us, we decided to eat mainly in the windjammer. The few times we did eat in the dining room, our assistant waiter was excellent. He was very attentive, capable and efficient. Our waiter however, was not so good. All of the families at our table felt the same. He wasn't particularly friendly or mannerly. Windjammer experience was fine. There was usually no problem finding a table, although the staff were sometimes so busy, they couldn't keep on top of cleaning the tables. We went to Chops Grille one night which was €30 per person. It was superb. Every single thing was perfect. From being greeted at the door and taken to your table. We were introduced to our waiter by the Maitre D' He was friendly, knowledgeable and extremely efficient. He answered whatever questions we had, and gave recommendations and explanations of the menu. I would thoroughly recommend trying Chops Grille - it really is something special ACTIVITIES We played the mini golf course, which was fun. Attended quizzes, which were good, although the format was the same for most of them, so they became a bit stale after 2 weeks. Also, the venues for the quizzes were far too small. Even after a few days it became apparent that the Schooner bar was nowhere near big enough to host the morning and early evening quizzes, but there was no change to the venue. Evening quizzes were held in the Star Lounge, which was bigger, but again, by the second week, it wasn't big enough to cope with the amount of people attending. Flo rider looks like a fun addition to the ship, along with the ice rink. There are numerous activities onboard, with something to suit everyone. You can choose to do as much or as little onboard as you please. Many people choose to lie on the top deck on sun loungers...... A MAJOR issue on this cruise. My family are not sun worshippers, so this didn't cause us as much angst as it did for many others. There were not enough sun loungers for the amount of people wanting to use them, so people were lying on the decks on towels. Previously on RCI, staff would remove towels from loungers if they had been vacant for more than 30 minutes, but not this time. Staff seemed unconcerned and unwilling to get involved. The sun loungers in the solarium all had towels on them by 7.00-7.30 in the morning every day. I've no idea why RCI think its a good idea to have a combined space for library and games room. You can't expect games to be silent, but library users expected quiet. Unfortunately, as the cruise progressed, groups of teenagers became more obvious and would take over the games room, often they were extremely loud, and sometimes using foul and abusive language. Once again, even after complaints to guests services, very little was done - security staff would come and move the group on, only for them to return once security had left. ENTERTAINMENT Mixed bag on this trip. Some good, some very good, some mediocre. One act (who I won't name) was so bad there was a mass exodus from the theatre after about 10 minutes. Ice show was very, very good. CUTBACKS BY RCI *Not enough staff on decks to deal with the amount of passengers *Not enough staff in the windjammer to clear and clean tables *Windjammer has shorter opening times, now only open to 9pm *Reduction in TV stations provided (I'm sure last year we had BBC news 24, which made sense for a ship departing from the UK, where arguably the majority of passengers were from the UK. This year, the only "British" channel was BBC World News, which reported very little in the way of UK news) *Toiletries provided are much more basic. There used to be small tubes of shampoo, shower gel etc, now it's a pump with all in one soap/shampoo in the shower. Even the showers in the spa/gym have these basic pumps) *Time spent in ports...... We didn't arrive in Gibraltar til 12.00, giving 4.5 hours maximum ashore. We were scheduled to have 7 hours in Villefrance, but didn't dock there due to a terrorist attack the previous night. Civittavechia and Livorno allowed us 11 hours which was great, although 2 hours was taken up with travel to Rome/ Florence. In Genoa, we had 6.5 hours We could spend 5.5 hours in Malaga And we didn't dock in Lisbon until 12. Disembarkation was a total shambles in Lisbon, with only one gangway open. It took us over an hour to get off the ship. We were moved from queue to queue and eventually were taken down to deck one and through staff only areas to get off. Staff were arguing amongst themselves about where queues should be going, and for some reason, it was mainly the entertainment staff who were organising disembarkation. There were many unhappy passengers. So by the time we got off and into town it was around 2.30pm and we had to be back on board by 6.30pm. * Fewer stations on board where you could get yourself tea or coffee. Outwith windjammer opening times, there seemed to only be one place to get hot drinks - Cafe Promenade on deck 5. It was small and offered very limited variety of food. However, the staff in here was excellent, keeping on top of table clearing etc. *Food quality in the main dining room was, in my opinion, not as good this year. *More money making options on board..... Johnny Rockets isn't worth spending the service fee on. The food is no better than the windjammer. Starbucks and Ben & Jerrys are paid for. The cost of drinks if you don't have a drinks package is astronomical. I bought my son a whiskey to celebrate his 18th birthday. It cost €9.38 for a Johnnie Walker red label. This is a ridiculous mark up. A new Mexican restaurant is available on deck 4..... Sabor My biggest bugbear however, is the addition of gratuities..... Both to everything you buy from a bar, or from Ben & Jerry's or Starbucks. And the gratuities they add to your account every day...... €13.50 per person per day. It's up to RCI to pay their staff decent wages. It's not up to passengers to subsidise this. When we totalled up the daily gratuities, it was comparable to another cruise fare!! I'm absolutely delighted to tip staff who provide good service, and who make our cruise that little bit more enjoyable, but I will not be told by a company who I should tip, and how much I should tip them! RCI also don't make it very clear or obvious that you can have these gratuities removed from your onboard account by going to Guest Services DISEMBARKATION We walked off with our own luggage which was stress free. I've no idea if anyone also had any issues with disembarking at Southampton, but as far as I could see, it appeared to be a slick operation. Staff were at the exit thanking you and saying goodbye. Transfer through the terminal was easy with no hold ups, and exiting the car park was pretty painless too. I would book again with RCI, as despite all my moans, I still feel it's fairly good value for money when you consider all you get for your cruise fare. However, I would be reluctant to go on Navigator again because I feel there are too many passengers in too limited a space, especially when the sun is not shining.

Maximisation of profit has reduced the overall experience.

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by Clorty Midden

22 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Beware.... This is a long review as I have a lot to say!!

Having thoroughly enjoyed a cruise round the Baltics last year with Royal Caribbean on Brilliance of the Seas, we were delighted to book this year on Navigator.

However, it didn't live up to expectations. It seemed clear to us that Royal Caribbean are trying to maximise profit by cutbacks in many areas, and by increasing the activities that have to be paid for onboard.

EMBARKATION

Due to weather problems, the ship was late coming into Southampton, so we weren't able to embark at the time issued. Royal Caribbean had emailed passengers the day before but evidently, not everyone had read the email. There was also an accident on one of the main roads leading to Southampton on the morning of embarkation, which led to many people being delayed. So check in was VERY busy and crowded. However, staff did a fantastic job and the queues moved relatively quickly so check in was fairly smooth.

CABIN

We had a balcony cabin last year, but decided to try an outside cabin this year. cabin review below

Our cabin steward, Evangeline was excellent, but I think the amount of rooms they look after has been increased, so they are able to spend less time in each stateroom.

SHIP

The ship itself seemed clean and well maintained. I've read a few other reviews saying it was tired and in need of some TLC, but that wasn't my impression. Maintainance staff were very visible throughout the trip, painting, varnishing and attending to general upkeep of the ship.

I'm not sure of the layout of the ship before the refurbishment but adding 81 staterooms has reduced public space on the ship, and added more people using that reduced public space, so there was not enough public seating areas on board, particularly in the evenings or on overcast days when the sun worshippers weren't out frying themselves.

TRAVEL

After leaving Southampton two hours late, we had two sea days. The captain told us he was going to try to make up time, and reach Gibraltar at the original time.

The first sea day was quite rough, with lots of people feeling sick. We had another day which was also very rough, and Guest Services were dishing out motion sickness pills to everyone who wanted them.

They are great!!! They really do the trick.

The sea was so rough that our TV kept swinging out, then back in again, bashing off the wall. We eventually had to sellotape it back to the wall to prevent it from being damaged, and so we could get to sleep!

We spoke to a seasoned cruiser onboard, and he thought the captain was trying to make up time, so didn't have the stabilisers out to help stop the movement in the ship.

I've no idea if this was the case but it seemed plausible to me

DINING

We ate in the windjammer most evenings. We had requested a table for 4 in the dining room when we booked the cruise, as my daughter is very shy and takes a long time to get to know people and become relaxed in their company. We were placed at a table for 10 with two other families. A family of 4 with teenagers roughly the same age as ours, and a mother and teenage son. They were lovely people and while we enjoyed chatting with them, it was not as relaxed and enjoyable as if we had been at a table on our own. We asked if we could be moved to a table for 4, and were told that the maitre d' would look at all the requests and we would find out by noon the following day. We did find out the next day that we could not be moved.

I completely understand that not everyone can have exactly what they want (and in fact my in-laws, who are diamond plus cruisers, also were declined their requested table), but as it changed the experience for us, we decided to eat mainly in the windjammer. The few times we did eat in the dining room, our assistant waiter was excellent. He was very attentive, capable and efficient. Our waiter however, was not so good. All of the families at our table felt the same. He wasn't particularly friendly or mannerly.

Windjammer experience was fine. There was usually no problem finding a table, although the staff were sometimes so busy, they couldn't keep on top of cleaning the tables.

We went to Chops Grille one night which was €30 per person. It was superb. Every single thing was perfect. From being greeted at the door and taken to your table. We were introduced to our waiter by the Maitre D'

He was friendly, knowledgeable and extremely efficient.

He answered whatever questions we had, and gave recommendations and explanations of the menu. I would thoroughly recommend trying Chops Grille - it really is something special

ACTIVITIES

We played the mini golf course, which was fun.

Attended quizzes, which were good, although the format was the same for most of them, so they became a bit stale after 2 weeks. Also, the venues for the quizzes were far too small. Even after a few days it became apparent that the Schooner bar was nowhere near big enough to host the morning and early evening quizzes, but there was no change to the venue.

Evening quizzes were held in the Star Lounge, which was bigger, but again, by the second week, it wasn't big enough to cope with the amount of people attending.

Flo rider looks like a fun addition to the ship, along with the ice rink.

There are numerous activities onboard, with something to suit everyone. You can choose to do as much or as little onboard as you please.

Many people choose to lie on the top deck on sun loungers...... A MAJOR issue on this cruise.

My family are not sun worshippers, so this didn't cause us as much angst as it did for many others. There were not enough sun loungers for the amount of people wanting to use them, so people were lying on the decks on towels.

Previously on RCI, staff would remove towels from loungers if they had been vacant for more than 30 minutes, but not this time. Staff seemed unconcerned and unwilling to get involved.

The sun loungers in the solarium all had towels on them by 7.00-7.30 in the morning every day.

I've no idea why RCI think its a good idea to have a combined space for library and games room. You can't expect games to be silent, but library users expected quiet. Unfortunately, as the cruise progressed, groups of teenagers became more obvious and would take over the games room, often they were extremely loud, and sometimes using foul and abusive language. Once again, even after complaints to guests services, very little was done - security staff would come and move the group on, only for them to return once security had left.

ENTERTAINMENT

Mixed bag on this trip. Some good, some very good, some mediocre. One act (who I won't name) was so bad there was a mass exodus from the theatre after about 10 minutes.

Ice show was very, very good.

CUTBACKS BY RCI

*Not enough staff on decks to deal with the amount of passengers

*Not enough staff in the windjammer to clear and clean tables

*Windjammer has shorter opening times, now only open to 9pm

*Reduction in TV stations provided (I'm sure last year we had BBC news 24, which made sense for a ship departing from the UK, where arguably the majority of passengers were from the UK. This year, the only "British" channel was BBC World News, which reported very little in the way of UK news)

*Toiletries provided are much more basic. There used to be small tubes of shampoo, shower gel etc, now it's a pump with all in one soap/shampoo in the shower. Even the showers in the spa/gym have these basic pumps)

*Time spent in ports...... We didn't arrive in Gibraltar til 12.00, giving 4.5 hours maximum ashore.

We were scheduled to have 7 hours in Villefrance, but didn't dock there due to a terrorist attack the previous night.

Civittavechia and Livorno allowed us 11 hours which was great, although 2 hours was taken up with travel to Rome/ Florence.

In Genoa, we had 6.5 hours

We could spend 5.5 hours in Malaga

And we didn't dock in Lisbon until 12. Disembarkation was a total shambles in Lisbon, with only one gangway open. It took us over an hour to get off the ship. We were moved from queue to queue and eventually were taken down to deck one and through staff only areas to get off. Staff were arguing amongst themselves about where queues should be going, and for some reason, it was mainly the entertainment staff who were organising disembarkation. There were many unhappy passengers. So by the time we got off and into town it was around 2.30pm and we had to be back on board by 6.30pm.

* Fewer stations on board where you could get yourself tea or coffee. Outwith windjammer opening times, there seemed to only be one place to get hot drinks - Cafe Promenade on deck 5. It was small and offered very limited variety of food. However, the staff in here was excellent, keeping on top of table clearing etc.

*Food quality in the main dining room was, in my opinion, not as good this year.

*More money making options on board.....

Johnny Rockets isn't worth spending the service fee on. The food is no better than the windjammer.

Starbucks and Ben & Jerrys are paid for.

The cost of drinks if you don't have a drinks package is astronomical. I bought my son a whiskey to celebrate his 18th birthday. It cost €9.38 for a Johnnie Walker red label. This is a ridiculous mark up.

A new Mexican restaurant is available on deck 4..... Sabor

My biggest bugbear however, is the addition of gratuities..... Both to everything you buy from a bar, or from Ben & Jerry's or Starbucks. And the gratuities they add to your account every day...... €13.50 per person per day.

It's up to RCI to pay their staff decent wages. It's not up to passengers to subsidise this. When we totalled up the daily gratuities, it was comparable to another cruise fare!! I'm absolutely delighted to tip staff who provide good service, and who make our cruise that little bit more enjoyable, but I will not be told by a company who I should tip, and how much I should tip them! RCI also don't make it very clear or obvious that you can have these gratuities removed from your onboard account by going to Guest Services

DISEMBARKATION

We walked off with our own luggage which was stress free.

I've no idea if anyone also had any issues with disembarking at Southampton, but as far as I could see, it appeared to be a slick operation. Staff were at the exit thanking you and saying goodbye. Transfer through the terminal was easy with no hold ups, and exiting the car park was pretty painless too.

I would book again with RCI, as despite all my moans, I still feel it's fairly good value for money when you consider all you get for your cruise fare. However, I would be reluctant to go on Navigator again because I feel there are too many passengers in too limited a space, especially when the sun is not shining.
Clorty Midden’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 1808
We booked a P2 category stateroom on deck 12. This was apparently one of the 81 staterooms added to Navigator in the 2014 refurbishment. It had floor to ceiling Windows to the front of the ship, overlooking the helipad, which gave fantastic views.
It was a family room with a king size bed and a double sofa bed.
Room was a good size with plenty room in the wardrobe and drawers for our clothes (2 adults and 2 teenagers) Also, plenty storage under the bed for suitcases.
Bathroom was standard size with wraparound doors, which was a huge improvement on the old clingy shower curtains.
  Navigator of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Florence & Pisa Tour
    Booked with TuscanyBus.com
    Transfer from port to Florence, where we had a few hours to explore by ourselves, then back in the bus for the trip to Pisa, where we had an hour before being driven back to our ship.
    This is not a guided tour, just a transfer, but it's very good value for money
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  • Genoa
    No map of Genoa was provided by RCI, and very little information about it
    Genoa is not the most picturesque place in Italy. I wonder if it's cheaper to dock there than other places?
    It's quite dirty, and there were a lot of beggars and people pestering you to buy carved elephants "for the children of Africa"
    Not my favourite port
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  • Gibraltar
    Walked into town which took around 20 minutes. Planned to go on the cable car but it was closed due to high winds.
    Gibraltar is a nice place to have a wander. And if you are planning to buy alcohol, get it here...... It's very cheap.
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  • City Tour
    Disembarkation from the ship was a complete shambles and took over an hour to get off.
    It was extremely hot the day we were in Lisbon, so I think we didn't make the most of it, as we were quite uncomfortable in the heat.
    It's a lovely city, and I'd love to go back. Plenty to see and do.
    My son would have liked to have gone to see one of the football stadia but unfortunately the HOHO bus didn't go near any of them....... Next time!
    View All 82 City Tour Reviews
  • Malaga
    Malaga was a lovely surprise. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was an easy walk into town. Beautifully clean and well looked after.
    Prices at cafes are very reasonable.... Only €10 for 4 drinks and 2 churros with chocolate.
    People are very friendly and make you feel welcome.
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