This was the third time we have done the Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao itinerary and the 4th time I have been on navigator. Each time gets better! We left the day after Thanksgiving out of the Port of Miami.
The only real huge drawback of the entire trip was the cruise-port!
This cruise-port in Miami is now borderline abysmal. We left out of terminal G. Boarding the ship took far too long. As a Diamond member the "expedited process" taking over 40 minutes was a joke. Note to the Royal Caribbean senior management bean counters - when you treat people like cattle, you have a problem. You need to fix this process. It was pretty sad.
But once on board, the Navigator Magic was there. The entire staff knows this ship is going to dry dock for a major overhaul, but there they were, a crew committed to making sure their passengers would have a great time. Sure the ship is in need of updating, but the staff who run the ship dulls the age of it. The captain and his crew were awesome and the cruise director and his staff were equally all in.
We had an inside cabin on Deck 7 - Aft. Our stateroom attendant Melky was simply awesome. The room was spotless everyday. Anything we asked for, he had it there in a flash. The bed however had the typical 4 inch slate pool table slab for a matress. If you want to feel like toothpaste can be squeezed out of you then you'll find out it feels. Melky did try to remedy the situation with a padded insert. It was successful in making the 4 inch slate feel like padded 4 inch slate. The toothpaste just doesn't squeeze out as fast.....
Dinner in the dining room was very good. Our waiter Yu and her assistant Awayan were totally attentive and did their absolute best every night. They were impressive. Our Head Waiter Naji also was visible and made sure all the details were spot on. The whole team was top notch.
We had the opportunity to spend time in the Diamond lounge and Crown Viking Bar. We were served by an outstanding staff. Zoltan was behind the bar with his colleague O'jarvis. Cruisers, it you want to be served, these two are two of the best. Zoltan gets the nod for being the absolute best, both were engaging, helpful, made the experience that much better. The viking crown is a special place, looking out at a port or stars at night, the planners at RCL knew what they were doing. But these two made the place that much better.
The entertainment was excellent. The comedy, ventriloquist, dancing and ice show were all great. One thing that the Navigator has is a orchestra with a horn section. Trumpets, trombone and Saxophones. Everytime on board we enjoy this orchestra that much more. Whether they are playing in the Metropolis Theater, Royal Promenade or any other venue, the shows they put on are amazing!
Aruba - did an Island tour the last time, but we wanted to do some jewelry shopping and play in a few casinos. We wound up buying a very nice pair of earrings and palm tree with opal inlay at Kay's Jewelry. Aruba is a great place. The beaches are nice and so are the people.
Bonaire - Spent time perusing the local shops, like Aruba, we toured the Island the last time there. But we should have taken the sunset cruise. Next time there we will do that excursion. We saw the boat go buy our ship and then we saw pictures of someone who did the excursion and took amazing sunset shots of the sun setting. Like the Grand Canyon, pictures just don't tell the whole story, you want to see it.
Curacao - Another great Island. The locals are so Friendly. We did the Island tour the last time so we stayed local to Port. There is plenty of great shopping in Port and the locals are so friendly there. Next time back we will go to a beach for a few hours and enjoy it.
I might not have said a lot about these three Islands, but they are all exceptional to visit. These Islands have so much individual personality to suit anyone's tastes so before going, check out travel sites and this one for ideas on excursions.
Labadee was part of the itinerary - it is a great beach Island. Taking the jetski's out for a ride is a great thing for anyone old enough to do. You will enjoy RCL's island!
The Fitness Center is pretty good - except they keep MSNBC on the TV's. It ruins the good vibes in the place. There should not be political on board a cruiseship - stop the nonsense. There should be music and fans too. But instead, you see the crackpots on while you are working out. Think about it...
Aside from the 4 inch slate mattress which RCL likes to outfit in each cabin, the room is large enough to easily accommodate two people. Our Stateroom attendant was excellent. We have cruised on Royal many times and this is one area that they have done. Melky was an absolute joy, our room while dated was spotless. He deserves many cudo's.