We chose the Navigator for a change as it was visiting Boston, where we had never been, and overnighting in New York. We have completed many Transatlantics on board Independence and Queen Mary 2 as it’s a convenient way to get to and from Florida.
Boarding at Southampton was extremely quick and easy and we were very pleased with our cabin, 9500, which is an enormous family stateroom directly under the bridge so it has a fantastic view. The ship is very nice, just a shortened version of Independence, and the Royal Caribbean ships are the easiest to find your way around with the Royal Promenade in the middle and stairs/lifts at each end. It is however looking a bit ragged around the edges and dated now. There are a lot of gapping carpets in the corridors, chipped paint on the bunk beds in our cabin and the bathroom was quite marked around the shower, in the cupboards etc. It looks in need of a refresh. Everything else was clean and well maintained considering it’s age.
We decided to try a 3 speciality dining experience for a change, starting with the Galley Brunch with bottomless sparkling wine; very well presented with an interesting tour of the galley. We made our next trip lunch in Chops which was very disappointing, there is no real ambience in there, not helped by the disappearance of all the fresh flowers in the last couple of years on the line. The restaurant is fairly featureless and the “gigantic “ prawn cocktail arrived with 5 average sized prawns sitting on a pile of ice. Mushroom soup was excellent as were the steaks however the only choice of vegetables was asparagus. After asking for green beans they took more than 10 minutes after the steak was served to arrive. Dessert choice was small but gigantic portions and then staff just seemed to disappear. When we informed the customer service desk that we wanted a refund for the remaining meal the manager of Chops contacted us to apologise and asked us to go back for an evening meal, which we did on the second New York night and were very impressed. The manager was extremely pleasant and helpful and a credit to the company.It was completely different, very good service and all the food up to standard. We then went to Giovannis Italian restaurant for lunch which was faultless, great service and an extensive tasty menu almost the same during the day as at night. These speciality restaurants need to be kept special to justify charging upwards of $25 per head, the meal and service should be even better than the dining room and smart casual dress code observed, also not great to see Pinnacle passengers wandering around with bowls of food from the Windjammer in there!