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We wanted to visit St Petersburg and considered a number of cruise lines but chose RCI as we thought it was a premium brand. How wrong we were! First the good areas; the “spacious ocean view” cabin and bathroom were very good - probably the best we’ve had on ship or in a hotel for a long time. Very friendly staff even when dealing with the problems below. However, the overall service provided was poor due to the lack of attention to detail, insufficient space for so many guests, getting it right first time and poor ‘systems’. 1. Our first evening meal was in the self service restaurant which was absolutely packed, very noisy and an unpleasant place to try to relax. It’s fine if you want to eat as much as you can in the shortest time possible and then get out. The second night, also a formal night, we tried the main restaurant but had to queue for 30 minutes despite having a reservation time. The meal then took 2 hours to complete for just a starter, main course and desert with 40 minutes waiting for the next course. The waiting time between courses seemed to be the main reason for the queues outside which were bizarre as we could see empty tables presumably for guests with later reservations. A complaint via Guest Services resolved the problem and we received prompt attention for the rest of the cruise. The waiting staff were NOT the cause of the problem as we could see how hard they were working. 2. Excursion tickets missing - quickly resolved by the excursion team but why did it happen? 3. Poor excursion description. A 3 hour Local Life tour that advised guests should be able to walk 2 1/2 miles over rough ground / cobblestones (which is what we wanted) was only a few hundred meters and included a non-advertised 1 hour visit to a coffee shop for cakes. My wife needs a gluten free meal and we would not have taken this excursion if we’d known about the coffee & cake shop. On another excursion, rated as 1/2 mile over rough ground involved 3 hours of walking around a (fabulous) palace. The disabled guests on the excursion found this very challenging. 4. There are far too few public spaces for guests whilst at seas, including the self service restaurant - possibly because so much space is given over to ‘extra cost restaurants’. When I mentioned this to Guest Services the reply was basically “there’s sufficient when we’re in port and guests spread their time using the facilities”. ‘At Sea’ time equaled one third of the whole cruise time. We found ourselves back in our cabin because there was nowhere to sit and relax. 5. Beware of unknown charges on your account. Whilst staff are meant to swipe the on board “credit card” for purchases inc bar service, they can also enter the cabin number. We had over $160 of restaurant bar charges on our account that were not ours. Obviously no one checked the signature against the name on the receipt. We’ve cruised 7 times before with P&O, MSC, Thomson and NCL and never had this much to say about quality issues. It’s a shame because, as I said, the staff (as individuals) were great and tried to sort things out - it’s just the way it’s managed.

Good cabin, friendly staff but appalling overall service management

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by KevinM1372

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Spacious Ocean View
We wanted to visit St Petersburg and considered a number of cruise lines but chose RCI as we thought it was a premium brand. How wrong we were! First the good areas; the “spacious ocean view” cabin and bathroom were very good - probably the best we’ve had on ship or in a hotel for a long time. Very friendly staff even when dealing with the problems below.

However, the overall service provided was poor due to the lack of attention to detail, insufficient space for so many guests, getting it right first time and poor ‘systems’.

1. Our first evening meal was in the self service restaurant which was absolutely packed, very noisy and an unpleasant place to try to relax. It’s fine if you want to eat as much as you can in the shortest time possible and then get out. The second night, also a formal night, we tried the main restaurant but had to queue for 30 minutes despite having a reservation time. The meal then took 2 hours to complete for just a starter, main course and desert with 40 minutes waiting for the next course. The waiting time between courses seemed to be the main reason for the queues outside which were bizarre as we could see empty tables presumably for guests with later reservations. A complaint via Guest Services resolved the problem and we received prompt attention for the rest of the cruise.

The waiting staff were NOT the cause of the problem as we could see how hard they were working.

2. Excursion tickets missing - quickly resolved by the excursion team but why did it happen?

3. Poor excursion description. A 3 hour Local Life tour that advised guests should be able to walk 2 1/2 miles over rough ground / cobblestones (which is what we wanted) was only a few hundred meters and included a non-advertised 1 hour visit to a coffee shop for cakes. My wife needs a gluten free meal and we would not have taken this excursion if we’d known about the coffee & cake shop. On another excursion, rated as 1/2 mile over rough ground involved 3 hours of walking around a (fabulous) palace. The disabled guests on the excursion found this very challenging.

4. There are far too few public spaces for guests whilst at seas, including the self service restaurant - possibly because so much space is given over to ‘extra cost restaurants’. When I mentioned this to Guest Services the reply was basically “there’s sufficient when we’re in port and guests spread their time using the facilities”. ‘At Sea’ time equaled one third of the whole cruise time. We found ourselves back in our cabin because there was nowhere to sit and relax.

5. Beware of unknown charges on your account. Whilst staff are meant to swipe the on board “credit card” for purchases inc bar service, they can also enter the cabin number. We had over $160 of restaurant bar charges on our account that were not ours. Obviously no one checked the signature against the name on the receipt.

We’ve cruised 7 times before with P&O, MSC, Thomson and NCL and never had this much to say about quality issues. It’s a shame because, as I said, the staff (as individuals) were great and tried to sort things out - it’s just the way it’s managed.
KevinM1372’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Spacious Ocean View
Cabin 1M 6680
Really good - spacious, well maintained. Comfortable beds and sofa. Plenty of storage space. A kettle with tea/coffee supplies but no water. Tip - after every meal, each person grabs two beakers of water from the restaurant. The kettle is on the American 110 volt system and takes about 15 minutes to boil!

Great bathroom with a spacious shower that did not leak (closing shower doors) and an extraction system that actually works. The mirrors did not mist up!
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins