Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas had a one-time trip from Barcelona to Rome beginning in early June 2009. We had a large family group on this cruise, made up of 6 adults, 3 children ages 12, 9, and 5, and a 14-month old daughter. We flew to Barcelona via Atlanta, and stayed two nights at the Gallery Hotel in Barcelona. We found this hotel neat and cozy, and preferred its quieter location than many other hotels amid the bustle of Las Ramblas. We booked this hotel on our own, not through a ship program. We boarded the Navigator of the Seas on June 6th in Barcelona. The boarding process was very fast and easy compared to others we've experienced in the past. It was almost too fast - our luggage was taken and whisked away before we could even think! Luckily, we had everything we needed with us and didn't lose any bags. My husband and I shared an 8th deck balcony room (located near the front elevators) with our 14-month old daughter. The room was as expected; just like other cruises we've been on before. A pack-n-play was provided for our daughter to sleep in, which made us even more cramped than usual. But that's cruising! Our itinerary was as follows: Barcelona, Valencia, Palma De Mallorca, Marseilles/Provence, Nice, Livorno/Florence/Pisa, and Civitavecchia/Rome. This was a one-time itinerary, as Navigator will now be continuing on to Greece, Turkey, and Malta for a regular sailing. Our ports and excursions were lovely, but we were disappointed in RCCL's communication about port days and transportation. At most ports, we had to take buses to get to city centers, and tickets were supposed to be purchased ahead of time. They were selling at the port as well, but it made for confusion and lines that we did not expect. We should have had regular communication the afternoon before each new port to explain what would be happening the following morning. Stateroom attendant service was outstanding, and every attendant we saw made a special point to speak to us and laugh with the baby. Our wait staff was also good, but we had an assistant waiter who was on his first cruise, and his service was sometimes slow and forgetful. But our dining experience was fine, and we understand he needs a learning curve to get used to his new job. He really caught on towards the end of our trip, and even anticipated our bread and drink requests. We did have a problem with the pre-paid gratuities, however. Two of our traveling parties never got their vouchers. On the final night of the cruise, they spent a lot of time in lines trying to get vouchers for our wait staff. They ended up only getting copies, and we certainly hope the wait staff receives the money that is due to them. One fellow passenger was irate and embarrassed that she did not have any vouchers to present to her waiters at the final meal. We certainly hope RCCL fixes this problem for future cruisers. My husband and I did not take part in most ship activities or entertainment, since we had our 14-month old with us and needed to get her to bed after dinner. But the other parties traveling with us saw several shows and commented on how much they enjoyed them. They especially talked and laughed about the comedian afterwards. My mother-in-law enjoyed a brief French lesson the day before we sailed to Marseilles/Provence. The children loved the sports deck, especially playing ping-pong and mini golf. And everyone enjoyed the ice cream machines found throughout the ship. Our at-sea days were spent by the pool. Some of us swam a little bit, but the water was pretty chilly. Hopefully it warms up as the ship continues sailing through the summer. The food on the ship was surprisingly disappointing. We've traveled with RCCL before, and we thought the food was outstanding. We expected that again. But this time it was not as enjoyable. The Windjammer food was not up to par. I only enjoyed the custom-made Mongolian Grill, but the wait for my plate was a good 10 minutes or so. The bacon available on the Windjammer buffet every morning was terrible. It had a bad taste and was soggy and fatty. The turkey sausage was decent. The best thing I had at the Windjammer was a chocolate tart on the dessert bar on night 6 or 7 of the cruise. That was fantastic! I had a couple extra, it was so good. The formal dining room food was good most of the time, bad a couple times, and outstanding a couple times. If you're a steak lover, don't bother with any steak on the ship! What they call medium rare comes on your plate 100% gray all the way through. It's not tender and it's fatty. Stick with some of the seafood dishes. I don't eat much seafood, so my favorite entrees at dinner were the potato & leek pie and the roasted half chicken with vegetables. The gnocchi with ham & peas was also very good. I enjoyed many of the appetizers, including an onion tart, spinach dip with tortilla chips, exotic fruit plate, and a few of the chilled fruit soups. Desserts were very good! Disembarkation was quick & easy. We were able to get the white tags, as my mother-in-law is a platinum Crown & Anchor member and we were all traveling together. Communication was once again confusing though, as it told us we had to be off the ship "BY 6:15", when in fact we could be off anytime 6:15 or later. This made us rush to get ready & out too early, and we spent an hour in the hot terminal waiting for our transfer to Rome. But our baggage was ready and easy to find, and there were toilet facilities available in the terminal. Overall, I'd give this cruise experience a 7 out of 10. I think there were several kinks because it was a one-time itinerary and they were more concerned with moving the ship and getting ready for their regular sailings through Greece, Turkey, and Malta. I'm not sure the food will improve for those sailings, but hopefully some of the communication will become clearer and the confusion will be limited for future passengers. Despite the kinks, we had a lovely time and saw some amazing sights! Thanks, Navigator of the Seas. We miss you!
Close to front elevators. Easy to access the Promenade cafe on 5th deck for coffee, milk, and snacks (open 24 hours). A bit of a walk to the back-of-ship areas like dining rooms and sports deck.