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In the last 8 years this would be our 11th cruise, 7 of which have been RCI. We chose this itinerary mainly for the overnight stop in Saint Petersburg and that it called in Oslo, Tallinn and Copenhagen. With a free Deluxe Drinks Package and Free Gratuities, the price for an outside accessible cabin (one of our party in a wheelchair) was quite reasonable. Over the years we've come to expect a certain standard from RCI, the food is normally great, the entertainment some of the best we've seen on land or at sea and the itineraries and arrangements very good indeed. Boarding in Southampton, we were not disappointed, at most 20 minutes from parking the car to boarding the ship. Rooms were ready so we were able to drop our hand luggage and straight off to explore the ship and grab a snack in the Windjammer. My first thought during the Muster Drill was that it seemed very disorganised. In fact, normally there would be a tannoy announcement about the mandatory drill happening at N o'clock, but we heard no announcement, only saw crew stood in stairways with hi-vis jackets and screens advising to proceed to your muster station. One kind crew member took a look at our cards and directed us to the Forward Starboard area where we would find our muster station. When we got there, we actually noticed on one of the way finder screens, that actually our muster station was on the Port side and to the rear of the ship! Our first experience in the dining room was that once again, even though we book a wheelchair accessible room, the table we were allocated for dinner was right at the back of the dining room, off to one side, probably one of the most awkward places to get to. We don't mind, but the other guests tend to get a little annoyed when you're trying to squeeze past them, interrupting their dinner. The menu on night one was ok, nothing special but we had to wait a considerable time as the waiter for our table was alone, and it was his first day. We didn't eat in the main dining room on night 2 as the menu had nothing on it that any of our party fancied, but we accept that this sometimes happens, so just went to the Windjammer, which worked out well as we also wanted to catch a show which would have made dining in the Main Dining Room a rushed affair. As we had purchased a speciality restaurant package for 3 nights and booked the Mystery Theatre Dinner, we ate in Chops grill on night 3, Giovanni's on night 4 and due to a long day ashore, the Windjammer again on night 5. We checked the MDR menu every night and apart from Spaghetti Bolognese or Strip Steak, there was hardly anything that all of us would eat, so we largely continued eating in the Windjammer or Chops. We did return to the MDR on two more occasions, the first of which was again an acceptable meal, but nothing special. The second I actually could not finish my main meal as it was incredibly salty and actually made me feel ill. I had the Strip Steak and honestly had i not ordered it, I'd have thought it was gammon instead of beef!. Entertainment on board was more or less what we expected from RCI. A few guests were not impressed but largely people seemed to enjoy the shows and guest artists. We mostly did our own thing in all the ports as most docked within a short walk to the main town or attractions. The only exception was Saint Petersburg where an organised tour was needed unless you had an independent visa or other escorted tour organised. As a first time in that port, we opted for the safety of the RCI tour, which was a most enjoyable two days, but did feel a little rushed in places. It might have been better to visit a few less churches or museums to have more time in one or two churches and museums, but we still enjoyed it anyway. I am not going to go in detail about each port as everyone has their own taste and can find out a lot of information by googling the locations or looking at sites like Trip Advisor. All I will say is I was not disappointed by any of the ports of call and would certainly return to all of them. In summary, I really enjoyed the cruise and the ports and the features on board the ship, but... RCI are clearly cutting costs, mostly in staff. Bar waiters were lacking, ending up going to bars ourselves to get drinks otherwise we'd be waiting until we were about to leave to get a drink. The food in the Windjammer was largely good with a wide selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we never struggled to find a spot to sit for our group of 4. The Main Dining Room menu has gone downhill in our opinion. The ingredients are simply too specific so people who do not like or are allergic to certain ingredients, such as mushrooms, had a limited selection to start with and nobody really wants to eat a Strip Steak every night for 12 nights! My incident with a salty meal aside, the service was pleasant enough but it did not feel special, or even like a top class restaurant. Chops Grille was as good as always. On the quieter nights the food and service was exceptional, more like that we'd expected in the Main Dining Room, but on the last night, it was very busy and they seemed to struggle to cook consistently good food in the same efficient manner. Once again it seemed that another waiter or two might have been needed, and probably another chef. Our room attendant "Dexter" was great. Very pleasant and helpful and took the time to get to know us and our routines so we was both visible but invisible too, if that makes sense. Finally, I was disappointed that for the first time on any RCI cruise, there was no "The Quest" gameshow put on. This has always been a really great night and something we look forward to, but it simply did not happen. I would certainly look at a baltic cruise again and would consider the Navigator, but I can't help feeling a little disappointed in the experience this time. I'm not sure if it's just being spoilt in the past with prior cruises, or if it's cost cutting, but this time the "special" was not there for me.

Enjoyable Itinerary but didn't feel like the WOW experience

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Review by mikek03

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View
In the last 8 years this would be our 11th cruise, 7 of which have been RCI. We chose this itinerary mainly for the overnight stop in Saint Petersburg and that it called in Oslo, Tallinn and Copenhagen.

With a free Deluxe Drinks Package and Free Gratuities, the price for an outside accessible cabin (one of our party in a wheelchair) was quite reasonable.

Over the years we've come to expect a certain standard from RCI, the food is normally great, the entertainment some of the best we've seen on land or at sea and the itineraries and arrangements very good indeed.

Boarding in Southampton, we were not disappointed, at most 20 minutes from parking the car to boarding the ship. Rooms were ready so we were able to drop our hand luggage and straight off to explore the ship and grab a snack in the Windjammer.

My first thought during the Muster Drill was that it seemed very disorganised. In fact, normally there would be a tannoy announcement about the mandatory drill happening at N o'clock, but we heard no announcement, only saw crew stood in stairways with hi-vis jackets and screens advising to proceed to your muster station.

One kind crew member took a look at our cards and directed us to the Forward Starboard area where we would find our muster station. When we got there, we actually noticed on one of the way finder screens, that actually our muster station was on the Port side and to the rear of the ship!

Our first experience in the dining room was that once again, even though we book a wheelchair accessible room, the table we were allocated for dinner was right at the back of the dining room, off to one side, probably one of the most awkward places to get to. We don't mind, but the other guests tend to get a little annoyed when you're trying to squeeze past them, interrupting their dinner.

The menu on night one was ok, nothing special but we had to wait a considerable time as the waiter for our table was alone, and it was his first day.

We didn't eat in the main dining room on night 2 as the menu had nothing on it that any of our party fancied, but we accept that this sometimes happens, so just went to the Windjammer, which worked out well as we also wanted to catch a show which would have made dining in the Main Dining Room a rushed affair.

As we had purchased a speciality restaurant package for 3 nights and booked the Mystery Theatre Dinner, we ate in Chops grill on night 3, Giovanni's on night 4 and due to a long day ashore, the Windjammer again on night 5.

We checked the MDR menu every night and apart from Spaghetti Bolognese or Strip Steak, there was hardly anything that all of us would eat, so we largely continued eating in the Windjammer or Chops.

We did return to the MDR on two more occasions, the first of which was again an acceptable meal, but nothing special. The second I actually could not finish my main meal as it was incredibly salty and actually made me feel ill. I had the Strip Steak and honestly had i not ordered it, I'd have thought it was gammon instead of beef!.

Entertainment on board was more or less what we expected from RCI. A few guests were not impressed but largely people seemed to enjoy the shows and guest artists.

We mostly did our own thing in all the ports as most docked within a short walk to the main town or attractions. The only exception was Saint Petersburg where an organised tour was needed unless you had an independent visa or other escorted tour organised. As a first time in that port, we opted for the safety of the RCI tour, which was a most enjoyable two days, but did feel a little rushed in places. It might have been better to visit a few less churches or museums to have more time in one or two churches and museums, but we still enjoyed it anyway.

I am not going to go in detail about each port as everyone has their own taste and can find out a lot of information by googling the locations or looking at sites like Trip Advisor. All I will say is I was not disappointed by any of the ports of call and would certainly return to all of them.

In summary, I really enjoyed the cruise and the ports and the features on board the ship, but...

RCI are clearly cutting costs, mostly in staff. Bar waiters were lacking, ending up going to bars ourselves to get drinks otherwise we'd be waiting until we were about to leave to get a drink.

The food in the Windjammer was largely good with a wide selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we never struggled to find a spot to sit for our group of 4.

The Main Dining Room menu has gone downhill in our opinion. The ingredients are simply too specific so people who do not like or are allergic to certain ingredients, such as mushrooms, had a limited selection to start with and nobody really wants to eat a Strip Steak every night for 12 nights! My incident with a salty meal aside, the service was pleasant enough but it did not feel special, or even like a top class restaurant.

Chops Grille was as good as always. On the quieter nights the food and service was exceptional, more like that we'd expected in the Main Dining Room, but on the last night, it was very busy and they seemed to struggle to cook consistently good food in the same efficient manner. Once again it seemed that another waiter or two might have been needed, and probably another chef.

Our room attendant "Dexter" was great. Very pleasant and helpful and took the time to get to know us and our routines so we was both visible but invisible too, if that makes sense.

Finally, I was disappointed that for the first time on any RCI cruise, there was no "The Quest" gameshow put on. This has always been a really great night and something we look forward to, but it simply did not happen.

I would certainly look at a baltic cruise again and would consider the Navigator, but I can't help feeling a little disappointed in the experience this time. I'm not sure if it's just being spoilt in the past with prior cruises, or if it's cost cutting, but this time the "special" was not there for me.
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 8N 2620
The cabin was quite spacious and being an accessible room, had a roll in shower.
All in all it was clean and well appointed and we had no complaints.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews