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This is my 18th cruise on RCCL ships since the 1980's, and now as a "super senior" cruiser, I can reflect upon the recent changes in the RCCL cruise experience. This cruise was on Navigator of the Seas, Sunday, March 11, through March 16, 2018, out of the Miami cruise port. GETTING THERE: Booked airfare independently from RCCL's Choice Air, arrived at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport on SWA. Purchased RCCL's round trip ground transportation (bus) to the Miami cruise port. If you do fly into FLL in the morning anticipate arriving at the Miami cruise port after 12 noon or later. EMBARKMENT: Once you arrive at the port, you luggage will be off loaded and porters will take your luggage to be transported to the ship. Getting into the cruise port building is somewhat chaotic, they first check you sea pass and passport, then up the escalator to go through the metal detectors, then you get into your designated lines dependent upon your cruise level status (I am at Diamond level) so the line wasn't that long. They take you information and credit card take your photo and present you with your seapass key card which is your on board charge card. Getting on the ship after that was quick. ON BOARD: Once on board, time to hit the Windjammer Buffet on Deck 11 aft (rear). The presentation and quality was okay, not great, but not bad. It will be crowded. The staterooms opened up shortly after 1:00 pm. YOUR STATEROOM: more details below, I was greeted by my cabin steward, they are now called "stateroom attendants", which sounds like a downgrade, I prefer to use "steward". My steward was Rupesh Kimar, who asked if I had any request, and I had only two a bucket of ice in the evening and only a evening bed turn down as I sometimes nap in the afternoons. ROAMING THE SHIP: This was my second trip on Navigator of the Seas it has a very nice promenade with the shops and where the sea day merchandise "sales" are located. Be prepared to be bombarded with the ship's staff trying to up sell you to the "dining" package/specialty restaurants, spa treatments, liquor and soda packages. MAIN DINING ROOM (MDR): I selected the "my dining time (MDT) in the Sapphire main dining room on deck 5 at 5:15 pm. I was seated at table 615 and received excellent service from Galwin and Mohammed through out my cruise. I dined in the MDR four of the five nights. I have noticed a streamlining of the service, the assistant waiter used to present you with a tray and serve you rolls or bread, now there is a basket of bread and rolls on the table (self service). The menu selections have been "standardized" on one page for the appetizers, main course and desserts. The dessert menu used to be on a separate menu. The quality of the food in the MDR is fine, not large portions but adequate to satisfy your hunger. There is a vegan, pasta, meat, poultry and fish selection with some daily offerings. On the appetizers, escargot was offered only three nights, it used to be served every night, but not too many people like snails. The shrimp cocktail is only four minimum sized shrimp, you can order two if you like. During this cruise, they did NOT service lobster tails, but did have prime rib on the menu on the last evening. Overall the quality of the food was average. ENTERTAINMENT: Production shows, music from the ship's band and a comedian, were fine, its not Broadway or Las Vegas. BEVERAGES: Mixed drinks are expensive, cocktails go for $10+ and beers ate $6.75 for a 16 oz aluminum bottle, specialty drinks are about $10, this plus the 18% tip can add up. It almost encourages you to purchase the drink package, but then you may have a tendency to drink to excess. THE CASINO: The casino has a variety of older generation slot machines, and quite frankly, during the entire cruise, I did not hear of any big winners, but alot of passengers who lost money in the machines. It now takes $5 to get ONE POINT, towards the quest for a free room under the casino program. To get a free interior cabin it takes 2400 points, an ocean view it takes 3600 points and for a balcony it takes 4800 points, so to get a interior room, you have to run about $12,000 through the slot machines. On the table games, I gambled about 20 hours for the entire five day cruise at the $5 minimum bet on Ultimate Texas Hold'em, which amounts to $20 a hand, and only "earned" a $300 cruise discount off a future cruise which must be booked within 30 days of this cruise. THE CROWD: Like I mentioned early, this was a college spring break cruise, so the ship was loaded with college aged "kids" (young adults). For the most part these "kids" were well behaved, there was enhanced ship security, which took care of the few minor problems. If you travel during the NCAA "March Madness" tournament, expect the pool bars to be packed five or six deep, as most of the "kids" get the drink package on these short cruises. Beverage waiters are few and far between by the pool on sea days as most of the young passengers get their drinks at the pool bars. SPA and SHORE EXCURSIONS: I did not do the spa or any shore excursions, as I have been to Mexico on several occasions and been there, done that. LIQUOR and SPIRIT PURCHASES on board: For the most part, you do get a deal on liquor and cordials from the ship's store, however, I have noted that the prices have increased about $5 a bottle for my Jack Daniels sipping whiskey. But you can still get vodka and amaretto for about $20 a bottle which is still a good deal. DISEMBARKMENT: Is a breeze, you can eat in the Sapphire Dining Room or the Windjammer Buffet. In the Windjammer, avoid what tastes like powder scrambled eggs, it is dry and tasteless. The last morning buffet ibreakfast is scaled down. Getting off the ship, once you tag number is called if you do not do the walk off with your luggage took only about 15 minutes, you go into the cruise terminal and pick up your luggage and go through customs. The whole process took about a half an hour. A final TIP: if you book via RCCL's Choice Air expect a very early flight on the day of departure and a very late flight on the way home. Consider booking via Choice Air to get to te ship, take the ground transportation, then book the return flight independently with RCCL's ground transportation to get a early afternoon flight for your trip home if it is offered by our airline of your own choosing.

Spring Break Cruise, College Crowd Well Behaved!

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by wisnir

Trip Details
This is my 18th cruise on RCCL ships since the 1980's, and now as a "super senior" cruiser, I can reflect upon the recent changes in the RCCL cruise experience.

This cruise was on Navigator of the Seas, Sunday, March 11, through March 16, 2018, out of the Miami cruise port.

GETTING THERE: Booked airfare independently from RCCL's Choice Air, arrived at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport on SWA. Purchased RCCL's round trip ground transportation (bus) to the Miami cruise port. If you do fly into FLL in the morning anticipate arriving at the Miami cruise port after 12 noon or later.

EMBARKMENT: Once you arrive at the port, you luggage will be off loaded and porters will take your luggage to be transported to the ship. Getting into the cruise port building is somewhat chaotic, they first check you sea pass and passport, then up the escalator to go through the metal detectors, then you get into your designated lines dependent upon your cruise level status (I am at Diamond level) so the line wasn't that long. They take you information and credit card take your photo and present you with your seapass key card which is your on board charge card. Getting on the ship after that was quick.

ON BOARD: Once on board, time to hit the Windjammer Buffet on Deck 11 aft (rear). The presentation and quality was okay, not great, but not bad. It will be crowded. The staterooms opened up shortly after 1:00 pm.

YOUR STATEROOM: more details below, I was greeted by my cabin steward, they are now called "stateroom attendants", which sounds like a downgrade, I prefer to use "steward". My steward was Rupesh Kimar, who asked if I had any request, and I had only two a bucket of ice in the evening and only a evening bed turn down as I sometimes nap in the afternoons.

ROAMING THE SHIP: This was my second trip on Navigator of the Seas it has a very nice promenade with the shops and where the sea day merchandise "sales" are located. Be prepared to be bombarded with the ship's staff trying to up sell you to the "dining" package/specialty restaurants, spa treatments, liquor and soda packages.

MAIN DINING ROOM (MDR): I selected the "my dining time (MDT) in the Sapphire main dining room on deck 5 at 5:15 pm. I was seated at table 615 and received excellent service from Galwin and Mohammed through out my cruise. I dined in the MDR four of the five nights. I have noticed a streamlining of the service, the assistant waiter used to present you with a tray and serve you rolls or bread, now there is a basket of bread and rolls on the table (self service). The menu selections have been "standardized" on one page for the appetizers, main course and desserts. The dessert menu used to be on a separate menu. The quality of the food in the MDR is fine, not large portions but adequate to satisfy your hunger. There is a vegan, pasta, meat, poultry and fish selection with some daily offerings. On the appetizers, escargot was offered only three nights, it used to be served every night, but not too many people like snails. The shrimp cocktail is only four minimum sized shrimp, you can order two if you like. During this cruise, they did NOT service lobster tails, but did have prime rib on the menu on the last evening. Overall the quality of the food was average.

ENTERTAINMENT: Production shows, music from the ship's band and a comedian, were fine, its not Broadway or Las Vegas.

BEVERAGES: Mixed drinks are expensive, cocktails go for $10+ and beers ate $6.75 for a 16 oz aluminum bottle, specialty drinks are about $10, this plus the 18% tip can add up. It almost encourages you to purchase the drink package, but then you may have a tendency to drink to excess.

THE CASINO: The casino has a variety of older generation slot machines, and quite frankly, during the entire cruise, I did not hear of any big winners, but alot of passengers who lost money in the machines. It now takes $5 to get ONE POINT, towards the quest for a free room under the casino program. To get a free interior cabin it takes 2400 points, an ocean view it takes 3600 points and for a balcony it takes 4800 points, so to get a interior room, you have to run about $12,000 through the slot machines. On the table games, I gambled about 20 hours for the entire five day cruise at the $5 minimum bet on Ultimate Texas Hold'em, which amounts to $20 a hand, and only "earned" a $300 cruise discount off a future cruise which must be booked within 30 days of this cruise.

THE CROWD: Like I mentioned early, this was a college spring break cruise, so the ship was loaded with college aged "kids" (young adults). For the most part these "kids" were well behaved, there was enhanced ship security, which took care of the few minor problems. If you travel during the NCAA "March Madness" tournament, expect the pool bars to be packed five or six deep, as most of the "kids" get the drink package on these short cruises. Beverage waiters are few and far between by the pool on sea days as most of the young passengers get their drinks at the pool bars.

SPA and SHORE EXCURSIONS: I did not do the spa or any shore excursions, as I have been to Mexico on several occasions and been there, done that.

LIQUOR and SPIRIT PURCHASES on board: For the most part, you do get a deal on liquor and cordials from the ship's store, however, I have noted that the prices have increased about $5 a bottle for my Jack Daniels sipping whiskey. But you can still get vodka and amaretto for about $20 a bottle which is still a good deal.

DISEMBARKMENT: Is a breeze, you can eat in the Sapphire Dining Room or the Windjammer Buffet. In the Windjammer, avoid what tastes like powder scrambled eggs, it is dry and tasteless. The last morning buffet ibreakfast is scaled down.

Getting off the ship, once you tag number is called if you do not do the walk off with your luggage took only about 15 minutes, you go into the cruise terminal and pick up your luggage and go through customs. The whole process took about a half an hour.

A final TIP: if you book via RCCL's Choice Air expect a very early flight on the day of departure and a very late flight on the way home. Consider booking via Choice Air to get to te ship, take the ground transportation, then book the return flight independently with RCCL's ground transportation to get a early afternoon flight for your trip home if it is offered by our airline of your own choosing.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 10-1305
Due to my mobility limitations, I was able to obtain a handicap interior cabin with a virtual balcony. The room is large, with a queen bed, desk, occasional chair, ottoman, and a desk chair. Ample closet and drawers to stow your stuff. The handicap bathroom has a ADA toilet, a roll in shower stall with a a fold down stool, and roll under sink and large medicine cabinet/mirror. As I said early the cabin steward was excellent.
The virtual (French) balcony is basically a large vertical TV screen about 5' x 7', no sound, it is a fixed camera, and as I was on the starboard side, the view was of the starboard side of the ship. The only problem with a virtual balcony is that you cannot look out to the left or right and see anything.
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