Navigator of the Sea or Carnival/Southern Caribbean 9 day cruise
I have traveled 4 times with Carnival and once on Royal Caribbean. My husband and I are in our early 60’s and work full time. We like to cruise a couple times a year and pick cruises from 8- 10 days in length. We chose this RC trip due to the dates and itinerary. We don’t drink but do buy the Wi-Fi package. The following are my observations:
PROS for Navigator of the Sea, Royal Caribbean:
Fast loading on the ship, virtually no lines.
Better and healthier food selection from the buffet (Windjammer) better than Carnival’s buffet.
Quiet at night after 9:30pm (not much to do – possibly a pro or a con).
We took a Lyft and it was fast and cheap from FLL to Port of Miami.
Wi-Fi was good but slower at busy times.
CONS for Navigator of the Sea, Royal Caribbean:
They over sold the early dining and any-time dining by about 200 people! Cruisers had confirmation for early or any-time dining but were told after going on the ship they would be eating at 8:30pm. Perhaps a deal breaker if they were told earlier. Not a professional way to conduct business. RC over packed the early dining so all but 90 cruisers were able to eat at their desired time. The waiters were run to death and even upper management tried to help out during the early dining – mass confusion! I truly felt upset for the waiters who were doing their best but with too many cruisers-not a good situation for the employees or cruisers.
The food in the sit down dining room (Sapphire) on RC was NOT as good as the Carnival line. We experienced lack of flavor except for the fish dishes, which were very fishy. The texture for many dishes was mushy even the fried entrées. Carnival wins hands down for its formal dining room experience and quality of food in their formal dining area. The buffet on Carnival was not as good or healthy as RC ‘s buffet but I did love the other stations offered on the Carnival (Guys Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina etc. and they were free!). This is not an option on the RC.
RC has additional areas to dine (with spending additional money) but I did not try these and did not notice any lines for these venues.
Carnival has much better entertainment and more of it!
So I think if you want to only eat at the buffet and go to bed early the RC is a great choice, but if you enjoy formal dining (and want to received the time selected) and want to enjoy the entertainment choose Carnival. I hope to cruise the Panama Canal next and will use Carnival or Princess.
Carnival also had cute towel animals on your bed at night and this only happened a couple of times on RC. Not a problem for us but a nice touch.
Age was a mix on Carnival and tended to be an older group on Royal Caribbean.
There is a library and game/card room on RC but never had the time to find it on the Caribbean cruises I have been on.
Nice and quiet. Virtual Balcony did not work at times but the employees were able to fix it each time.