This is our 6th cruise and 5th with Royal Caribbean. We were on Navigator last year for a Baltic cruise and even booked this cruise onboard, but we were a lot less impressed this time around.
Embarkation at Southampton was efficient and very fast as always. Upon boarding the ship, we were informed that due to the Norovirus outbreak on the previous sailing, the rooms wouldn't be ready until 2pm. This meant that we had to wait in the library for over an hour until the rooms were ready, which was an inconvenience as we had an early morning flight from Belfast and were exhausted.
Our room was in Deck 7, and the carpets here had a very unpleasant and musty smell. As well as this, even after midnight, you could hear children running up and down the corridors, shouting and screaming. This was very annoying, especially when you are trying to sleep. The room itself, while kept clean, was very dated and tired looking.
We chose to have My Time Dining, as we have had on all our previous cruises. On Navigator last year, this was not a problem - however, this time, we experienced a number of issues related to queueing and reservations. On the first night, we had to queue for 30 minutes before we even got to our table. We were seated at table 675 which was were we wanted to sit for the rest of the cruise. We subsequently booked this table for 7:30pm every night, and we got this table most nights, but some nights we ran into problems. On one of the nights, we went to the dining room at 7:30pm for dinner, only to be told that our table wasn't ready and we'd have to return in 20 minutes. We did this but we had to rejoin the lengthy queue and when we reached the end again, we were told to have a seat at the side. When we finally entered the dining room, we found that our usual table was taken and we had to sit elsewhere with different waiters. Other than that problem, the food in the dining room in general was excellent.
Food options at lunchtime were sparse. Windjammer was constantly packed, and it was almost like a fight trying to get a table. This often resulted in someone keeping the table while the other person went to get food. Despite this, the food here was also good.
We found that every day, especially on sea days, it was impossible to get a deck chair, as people were leaving towels on them and not returning for hours. The policy of "we will remove your towels from deck chairs after 30 minutes" was not enforced at all.
The entertainment was average. We enjoyed the Beatles tribute act, the hypnotist and the ventriloquist, but the Queen tribute band were awful.
Overall, the ports visited were excellent, but we felt that the time spent in port was very short, especially in Lisbon and the second day in Palma. For all of the ports we just walked off and got hop-on hop-off tickets ashore, with the exception of Palma as we had onboard credit to use. The excursions were extortionately expensive, and the tour in Palma was short and rather boring.
Overall, we had a good holiday, but it was let down by the short port days and tired ship. Navigator is in desperate need of renovation as it looks and feels rather dated. The crew also seemed rather bored in comparison to the other Royal Caribbean cruises we've done.
We would strongly consider trying a different cruise line for our next cruise, as Royal Caribbean haven't been as impressive as usual.
Clean but small. There was a lack of toiletries, just shampoo (had to buy extra shower gel in port) and soap was replaced until it was wafer thin. The double bed was too close to the bedroom furniture, so you had to roll over the bed to get in.
Flew from Belfast and went straight to port on the bus (arranged with RCCL) - embarkation here excellent as always.
Didn't stay long here as there isn't much to do - just visited the shops in the town centre.
Very nice city - got the free shuttle to the port exit and walked around the city by ourselves.
Tour was expensive and very short - just a drive around the city with a quick stop at Bellver Castle and the bull ring with a pearl factory opposite. The guide, while informative, was pretty boring.View All 77 City Tour Reviews
Took the free shuttle to the port exit and walked around town.
Stayed in Cádiz and got hop on hop off around the city - queues at the stop outside the ship were very long but tickets were cheaper than getting an excursion from Royal Caribbean.