We spent 3 nights in Rome prior to taking a very convenient, comfortable 1st class train ride to the Port. The train terminal in Civitavecchia Northbound was awkward no escalators so down and up the stairs with 4 suitcases, I certainly felt sorry for the older passengers.
The Embarkation was rapid and quick took all of 15 minutes before we were having lunch in The Windjammer.
Our room was very comfortable an inside 6th floor and our room steward was always very friendly and efficient.
This was our 20th cruise but our 1st Transatlantic and we can say that the 14 days flew by and that sailing on the Atlantic at this time was very comfortable. We will certainly be doing more crossings. The average age was 75 we're 63 with the majority being return cruisers not surprising for 14 days in November.
Dan Dan the Party Man the cruise director is certainly better suited to a party crowd such as Florida sailings. The night time scheduling did not take into consideration this age group needless to say that the 10:45PM Headliner Showtime as well as the 11:45PM comedian were poorly attended. The specialty acts: Il Divo and Motown revues were excellent. The least entertaining shows were the Ships own song and dance productions you can certainly get better entertainment watching TV shows such as Glee,Sing-Off or X-Factor. The ice skating show was a real highlight these performers on a moving small ice surface were beautiful to watch As previously informed on Cruise critic we did get in line 30 minutes before the show, when the doors opened it was a shambles resembled Black Friday store openings every passenger for himself surely a better way to proceed can be found.
The ports visited were wonderful we took a ships excursion to Florence and Marseilles well worth the views and plenty of time to shop and visit. Barcelona and Cartagena were an easy walk to the main sections and enjoyable to soak in Old Europe.
The Windjammer for breakfast and lunch was above par the choices were excellent. The idea of no trays actually added a sense of class the table waiters were very attentive. There was always a table to satisfy your tastes if you looked a little.
The Nutcracker dining room was the principal weakness on this ship compared to other similar cruise lines. The food selections were inferior and the quality/preparation of the red meats was the worst we have had in 20 cruises. Surf and Turf usually means a whole small Lobster tail on other ships NOT a half a small lobster tail with so-so filet mignon.The choices of Desserts was even poorer. We ate 1 breakfast and 1 lunch in this Dining room sorely disappointed and looked forward to getting back to the Windjammer. Many passengers chose to eat Dinner in the Windjammer with a similar or better selection along with Jade that offered Sushi and atmosphere.
We dined in the Chops steak restaurant the portions are exceptionally large the Desserts exquisite however the steak cuts and preparation we're not worth the extra 60$/couple.
Captain Erick was the most present and prominent Captain we have ever had you could even understand his English Noon Message. He did take the proper decision of staying in Port 12 extra hours in Toulon due to high seas(15 to 20' waves) and therefore had to skip the Azores, security and health of the passengers is always Number 1.The Captain's night cocktail was better than other Cruise lines drinks and champagne for all for an hour. The Welcome party for Returning Guests could have taken place in a better Lounge than the ice skating rink.A Major weakness in all the dining areas was the attention to health and passenger sanitation. There are hand sanitizer stations at all the entrances however their usage is not enforced by the hostess who stands 20 feet away inside the Restaurant scrutinizing passenger dress code rather than the health and well being of all. Other Cruise lines enforce this discipline. The captain's answer at his talk was that the ship didn't feel responsible to police hand sanitization which was a major concern especially in the self serve Windjammer where all the salad dishes had nowhere to deposit tongs except back in the middle of the salad platters.Coincidentaly by the last 2 days the excessive coughing and sneezing of fellow passengers was very noticeable including ourselves.
The Gym was very well equipped and plenty of different machines It was nice to see how crowded and well used it was especially in the early morning certainly reflects an older clientele. The lockers were disgraceful the original locks took everyone 5 minutes to open and close, replace these locks their only worth $4.The floor tiles were not slip proof and were even dangerous to walk on when wet. Half the shower valves were dangerous for scalding and impossible to adjust.
We chose to self debark at 7 AM and we were waiting for our shuttle 15 minutes later a very smooth process.
In closing this was our 5th cruise with RCCL The Navigator would now be rated as follows
Celebrity a 10,Princess a 9,Carnival an 8 finally Navigator a 6 which is certainly far less than a few years ago. Would we sail this ship again YES if the price was as exceptional as it was this year.
The cabin was a typical 6th floor inside cabin and met our expectations