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Seven Seas Navigator Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
290 Reviews

Seven Seas Navigator

Seven Seas Navigator Cruise Review by Dolebludger

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 1970
  • Destination:

Seward to Vancouver, by Dolebludger (with

input by Ms. Dolebludger)

This is a review of our experiences on this cruise which embarked in Seward on June 19, and

disembarked in Vancouver on June 26, where we took a two day Radisson post cruise stay. All

who read the Radisson boards on [Cruise Critic] regularly know that the Navigator is perhaps the most

controversial of all Radisson ships due to some negative posts about vibration and condition of

the ship. I'll get this topic out of the way first, then discuss FOOD AND SERVICE, ITINERARY

AND ACTIVITIES, AND POST CRUISE IN VANCOUVER; all by heading to allow you, the

reader, to scroll to the topic(s) that are of interest to you. In initial summary, this will be a very

favorable review. When you pay for the cruise, we suggest you use an American Express platinum

card as this gives you $300 in room credit. Other credits are sometimes available, depending on

which agent you chose and some frequent Radisson offers when you book your cruise.(We

understand that the Radisson credits are not available on all cruises, but are on some. Check with

your agent.)

VIBRATION AND "RIDE" OF THE SHIP

Yes, there is some vibration - in fact two kinds; both minimal. Our spacious suite #705 had well

over 300 square feet plus balcony, and was located starboard near the bow. From the bow to

midship, I felt a vibration that reminded me of driving a sedan over tiny tar strips on a concrete

highway. Sort of a muffled "thump-thump-thump" at intervals from one to four times per second.

I felt the intensity of these vibrations rise and fall like the harmonic or sine wave vibrations we all

learned about in high school physics. Like the classic story about how a little dog who trots at

constant speed over a large suspension bridge will have the vibrations of the trot amplified by the

bridge to the eventual point of damage. Here, these vibrations were minimal, and my wife swears

she never felt them - as did many fellow guests. But I was actually looking for them, as I had read

posts about them on the Cruise Critic board. Another factor was that these occurred only in fairly

smooth water. The harmonic vibration pattern was broken when the ship would hit a wave, and

was not present at all when we hit some mildly rough seas. I have felt similar vibration on many

other ships (not Radisson), and I didn't really think much about it as it interfered in no way with

the cruise experience.

The second type of vibration was felt near the stern. It was more rapid and felt like diesel engines

or other moving parts were transmitting vibration to the structure. This was most noticeable in the

show lounge and Galileo lounge, and was much more subdued in the cabin areas which were

nearer the stern. I have felt this mechanical vibration on ALL cruise ships we've sailed, so it's

nothing particular to the Navigator.

We had the good fortune to be invited to dinner with the Chief Engineer (a dead ringer for a

young Dustin Hoffman!) who was well aware that there had been previous complaints about

vibration, and said that work was constantly ongoing to eliminate them completely. As the

Navigator's hull was the extremely thick and rigid hull initially scheduled for a Soviet spy ship

(before the Soviet Union "went out of business"), and as rigid matter tends to conduct vibration

more than more flexible matter, total elimination may not be possible. But, as I said, her vibration

isn't any different from that I've noticed on many other ships.

Now vibration is not the only factor effecting ride quality of a ship, and the same massive hull that

makes vibration harder to control carries benefits with it, which I feel outweigh any vibration

issue. The very positive information is that she has a low center of gravity, so there is no yaw

(side to side tilting) minimal pitch (bow to stern rocking in reaction to waves), no roll or

"wallowing", and no darting of the bow from side to side as waves are encountered. So, ALL

factors considered, a very good ride in my opinion, and an excellent ride in the opinions of my

wife and several other guests.

CONDITION OF THE SHIP

Perfect. No "deferred maintenance". Looked as new inside and out. Interior decor was a detailed

contemporary with art deco influences. The art hanging about the ship was more neo classical. It

was for sale, but no tacky art auctions or price tags on them. Sale was done by silent auction or

by private dealings with the Art Director. The cabins were all suite, over 300 square feet, and

most included a balcony. The bathrooms were large, all marble, with separate tub and shower

stall. A true walk in closet was provided. Also included was a living room, much wood trim

including crown moldings, cabinets, and Radisson's famous complementary stocked mini bar.

There were no odors as on many ships, indicating that the Radisson Company really stresses the

overall feel as well as condition of their ships. We did not utilize the hot tub on the pool deck, but

we did notice that several guests seemed to be enjoying themselves there. The glass elevators

were a nice touch, giving the more sparkling feel of the megaliners, yet in a more intimate

manner. We did not utilize the laundry either, but those who did told us there was ample soap

and supplies, and the room was kept clean. Incidentally, there were several families traveling with

school age children who were all extremely well behaved. I don't know if this was a result of

parental influence or the activities Radisson provided for them. Perhaps a bit of both.

FOOD

Considering our last cruise was on Radisson's Paul Gauguin, she had hard act to follow. But she

followed it very well indeed. One dinner in the Portofino Italian restaurant made me realize that I

would have to seek lighter fare if I were to remain able to exit the ship through other than the

cargo door! I certainly found it in the Compass Rose main restaurant. There was a variety of

options, suited to any palate. You could even chose the lean menu, but alas, neither of us could

resist the temptation of the regular menu and desserts. My wife had several seafood dishes and

indicated they were excellent. Since I do not eat seafood, I choose from the other items. In each

case there was always more than one suitable option for me. The open seating for dinner from

7:00 PM to about 9:00 PM is much better than fixed seating, and there was never a line or wait

for a table. Also, we always had an option to dine with others, or dine alone. We choice to dine

with others when we had a chance, as we meet so many interesting people on the cruise. Our

breakfasts were always via room service, the food was also very tasty and quickly delivered.

Breakfast in the dining room was reported by others as excellent. Wine, beer, and mixed drinks

are included with dinner, as they are at the many cocktail parties on this cruise. For lunch, when

we ate, we tried the Portofino grill and the dining room. My wife stated that the crab meat on the

buffet in the grill was not to be missed for a seafood lover from Oklahoma. On several days, we

skipped lunch and had a lighter fare at the 4:00 PM Teatime in the Galileo lounge. They had

small sandwich and desserts, and provided a musician who played either the piano or the harp in

the lounge. A very relaxing way to visit and chat with others on the ship.

SERVICE

Again, outstanding. Our room stewardess Zana and her assistant Leo deserve a special mention in

this category. Once we told Zana that we liked bottled water and Diet Coke, she made sure our

refrigerator was always full of these. The wait staff was exceptional, and always prompt,

courteous and efficient. On one occasion, it seemed to be taking a bit long for our lunch orders

to be served at the Compass Rose. The Hotel Director appeared and took care of the problem,

and apologized to all guests present, although none of us at the table had expressed a complaint.

He had been called in not by a guest, but by the waiters! I feel the true test of performance is not

when no difficulties occur, but when they do. The test, then, is in how they are handled. Here, the

crew passed with flying colors. Radisson's very high number of crew compared to the number of

guests was very much in evidence here. No lines. No crowds. Just great.

ITINERARY AND ACTIVITIES

Our air was booked through Radisson. On June 18, the day before the cruise, we flew out of

Oklahoma City on American to Dallas and transferred to another American flight to Anchorage.

There, we were transferred to the Hilton for a good night's sleep and a morning breakfast. We

have noted on the other major lines, if your arrival time does not allow you to meet the ships

departure time, you are on your own to find and to pay for a hotel room, whereas Radisson

provides the room for you-one of their many nice touches that makes the trip more hassle free.

When we arrived in Anchorage it was daylight. It is so far north that it never really becomes dark

in the summer, so use of the thick drapes in the room was very necessary. About noon the next

day, we were put on a bus to Seward. In usual Radisson style, the bus was far larger than required

for the number of guests, so there was plenty of room to stretch out for the three hour ride. They

could have crammed us all in one bus, but they chose to use more buses so everyone would be

more comfortable. There is much impressive scenery on the route, only marred by the fact that

the predominant Sitka Spruce evergreen trees are dying from a disease at an alarming rate in that

area. But, no dead forests were observed south of Seward on the cruise.

Embarkation was quick and easy. After the complimentary champagne at check in, we were

shown to our suite, and our luggage was already there. We also had a chilled bottle of champagne

waiting for us in our room.

Available shore excursions were plentiful. At each port, land, sea, and air observation excursions

were usually offered, along with more rigorous activities such as fishing, kayaking, and hiking.

The second day (or first full day) was at sea, but was by no means a typical sea day. The ship

cruised the Hubbard Glacier while lecturer Terry Breen explained the science of glaciers and a

group of Native Americans (called the "First Nation" in this part of the world) explained their

heritage and way of life. Scenery was spectacular. After spending some time on the upper deck,

sipping the hot-spiced wine they offered, we retired to our room and relaxed on our balcony while

listening to the lecturer on channel 10 on the TV in the room.

Sitka was visited on the third day. This was an important city in Alaska's Russian past, and we

chose to tour the small city on our own, visit historical sites, and shop for gifts in fine shops

featuring Russian made goods. Fellow guests reported an excellent experience on the sea otter

and whale watching boat excursion. We chose to watch a movie after dinner rather than go to the

show on board. When my wife picked up the video for us, she asked the steward in the library

where she should sign for the video. He said no signing for it was necessary, as they trusted us

completely. Another nice Radisson touch.

Juneau was visited for the first part of the fourth day. Here, we went on the whale watching boat

experience and saw a fair number of whales, sea otters, bald eagles (with some eaglets), and doll

porpoises, along with magnificent scenery. We talked to several other cruisers who indicated that

they had been fishing for salmon. They brought the salmon back to the ship and the chef prepared

it for them for dinner. The second part of the day was spent on the ship cruising Tracy Arm,

where the most impressive glaciers and icebergs of the trip were encountered. We sat leisurely on

our balcony, sipping champagne and munching on cheese, fruit and crackers from room service.

The balcony was especially great for this part of the trip, (I highly suggest you purchase this

upgrade) we wrapped ourselves in blankets and felt like we could almost touch the beautiful blue

glacier ice.

Skagway was the port of call on the fifth day. Here, we rode the White Pass narrow gauge

railway up to White Pass, which was an important route for prospectors during the gold rush.

Again, in Radisson style, cars were reserved for Radisson guests only, with plenty of vacant seats

to allow guests to switch positions for best view. The rest of the cars on which guests of other

ships in port rode were totally packed. This railway tour is also a must see if you enjoy

spectacular scenery and are interested in the history of the famous Alaskan gold rush. We also

enjoyed our tour of the very historic town of Skagway by a horse drawn carriage. A very nice

option you might consider when you are there.

Ketchikan was the port on the sixth day. Here, the good weather we had been enjoying failed us,

and the all too common Alaska summer rains set in. Once again, you could count on Radisson to

be on top of things. They had ample, large umbrellas for everyone when we left the ship.

Fortunately, our planned activities were inside for that day; we had been invited by our cruise

group (one that our agent is a member of) to a "potlatch". This consisted of a meal of reindeer

sausage, salmon and fried bread with blueberry jam and presentation by a group of local Native

Americans ("First Nation") on totem pole carving, heritage, dance and music. An extremely

interesting day.

Cruising the Inside Passage took up the seventh day. This was more of a true sea day than the

second day, as the scenery from Ketchican to Vancouver is not as spectacular as that further

north. But, this provided a good opportunity to pack for disembarkation the next day and to chat

with friends made on the cruise. Also a good chance to relax for us old folks!

Disembarkation unfortunately came on the morning of the eighth day, but it was handled

seamlessly, and we were quickly taken to the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver.MBR


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