This cruise is the perfect complement to the 9 night cruise which does Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Book them back to back and you have 14 nights and 15 days of great times. The cruise ship is out of Miami Florida. We booked a Jr Suite, it was the first time on any Royal Ship, we were in a suite. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. The room was very spacious, the balcony was big enough to do whatever you would like to do and relax. The walk in closet is oversized and clean. Our Stateroom attendant (Moose) was so great. Talk about taking care of his guests, Moose was flat out a perfect host. The Jr Suite was meticulous and clean from top to bottom. All kinds of room to store clothing. The only minus was the amount of slate RCL uses for mattresses. I am thinking only 2 inches slate with about 1/2 inch of foam which tempered the great room. Aside from that negative, the positive was how RCL keeps its cleaning staff so happy is a wonder. Moose was exceptional at what he did. This was our 11th cruise on RCL and I cannot remember any crew member better at keeping a room spotless.
We did not do any excursions. We actually wanted to spend as much time as possible on the ship. The Navigator is a bit older, but it is still a awesome ship. We were just on this ship a few weeks ago for the 9 night itinerary. There were a few changes - some positive and some negative so hopefully Royal will look at this feedback and attempt to tweak things for the better.
The Dining Room experience changed a bit. Royal was implementing some changes in there. We experienced those changes on Oasis of the Seas. The result was it took an 1 1/2 hours just to get dinner delivered. I spoke with our waiter, assistant head waiter, and head of the dining facilities as well as the senior manager of the dining facility. In every case, our concerns were heard. I saw the same thing on OASIS, it should not take over 1.5 hours to get an appetizer and dinner to the table. To their credit, on the last night, we were able to have a complete meal in an 1.5 hour. The concern is just two weeks ago there was never a time problem getting dinner once ordered within an hour. I would suggest someone at RCL's head office who is the MBA working on squeezing a few more sheckles out of the dinning experience, to take a hard look at the supposed operational efficiency they believe they are achieving . Perhaps getting out of the ivory tower and spending some time in the dining hall observing and asking questions may allow one to see there maybe other ways to achieve "cost efficiency". We saw the same problem on OASIS and now the problem may infect Navigator. Everyone on Navigator tried their best to correct the issue, I was quite impressed with the effort. But these get professionals do follow orders and sometimes those orders are not so good.
Entertainment and Activities:
Was very good. The ice entertainers were very very good, as were all the headliner acts. The cruise director staff had a bit of a shake up from two weeks ago. It appears that an existing member of the cruise staff was elevated to "Activities Manager". This new manager will do exceeding well in this new capacity, the activities on the shorter cruise were better than the 9 night cruise we were just on January 5, 2018. The Cruise Director (Cuddy) and his entire staff are really good at what they do. It was if they were family members making sure we were going to have a great time. From all the games, trivia, and sports activities they put on, really great fun. These are really good people too which makes it that much better.
For the most part 99.5%, the wait staff, hotel staff and bar staff are outstanding. They are so good and want to make the experience so great. However, Royal may want to re-examine their "top tier event" strategy.
As a Crown and Anchor member, we have traditionally been invited to one top tier event that lasts about 45 minutes. It typically has some type of special entertainment, some what of a limited open bar for the duration and recognition for a few of the Pinnacle Members. Well, just like the welcome aboard party, the top tier event was nothing more than a big marketing speech with the highlight being a 5 minute dance by two of the entertainers along with cheap sparking wine for about 10 minutes. We were told how much we were valued by the Captain, he spoke for about 6 minutes and as soon as he stopped speaking the booze was shut off. Then we were told to hurry up and get out because the lounge was going to be used for a private function. Two weeks earlier (with a different Captain), the Top Tier event on this shop was held in Studio B with a specially choreographed ice show and the open bar lasted a solid 40 minutes. Quite frankly, the way we were treated was Embarrassing. If Royal Caribbean International wants to keep its "top tier" cruisers happy, making them feel cheap isn't the way to go. Sadly, this was the worst "top tier event" we have ever attended.
Aside from the experience above and the slate top mattress, Navigator and its crew will make sure you have a great vacation.
The Junior Suite has exceptional size. The walk in closet, full size bathroom, and larger balcony are something to experience. This was the first time we had a suite - and it was great. Instead of running out to the promenade or larger areas, we could sit out on the balcony and really enjoy the space we had - made the cruise feel longer than it was. Our stateroom attendant Moose was incredible. Such a hardworking, detail oriented, caring professional he is.