185 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Family Cruise Reviews

Loved our balcony cabin in room 1826 (more below in cabin review) and had great service from our room steward. PROS: Navigator was refurbished a couple of years ago and is still well maintained and looks great. The overall layout ... Read More
Loved our balcony cabin in room 1826 (more below in cabin review) and had great service from our room steward. PROS: Navigator was refurbished a couple of years ago and is still well maintained and looks great. The overall layout with the Promenade deck is nice. Service in the dining room was fantastic and food in the dining room was very good. The ice skating show is top notch. CONS: Drink prices are outrageous! $14 for a Moscow Mule in R Bar and over $10 for the drink of the day special. RCI's shore excursions really aren't great. In Cozumel we went with a snorkeling excursion and the water was way too rough for snorkeling (our guides assured us it would be better once we were actually in the water) and the equipment wasn't good quality (my daughter's mask never fit properly which we didn't learn until we were in the water, my fins had a defective strap that kept coming off, daughter's life jacket had a grimy blow-up tube that left black marks on her face). In Grand Cayman the ship arrived early so we were told to get off early only to arrive at our excursions meeting point and end up waiting an hour and 20 minutes in the heat (way past even the original meeting time). The shows weren't very good and did not seem to fit the audience on the ship. They debuted a brand new ballroom dance show one night and it had a very Latin them with lot of songs in Spanish. Most of the people around us had walked out before it was over. There was also an Elvis impersonator (really only appealed to the older crowd, and not to any of the younger couple/families) and a comedy show. I was surprised they didn't have an aerialist show or big singing/dancing show other than the ballroom dancing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Our first experience sailing out of Galveston. Had read some of the really bad reviews about this port so let me start there. We chose RCL transfers from Hobby to get priority attention for em/disembarkation. It was convenient and ... Read More
Our first experience sailing out of Galveston. Had read some of the really bad reviews about this port so let me start there. We chose RCL transfers from Hobby to get priority attention for em/disembarkation. It was convenient and comparably priced, worth it. We arrived around 12:45p. The lines were long and winded through the terminal. It was organized but you have to be patient. What was confusing was the number of people who carried on cases of water and twelve packs of soda, since RCL's site and agents told us we couldn't bring any of that onboard. It took about an hour to get on board. The disembarkation was more frustrating. We were provided information (where to be and when) the night before, so good start. The confusion began when a long line formed across the 4th floor leading to the meeting point (Metropolis Theater). After standing in the long line without moving for 15 mins, my wife went to the theater to find it 90% empty. The line was long because 1) people heading to the theater became mixed with self assisting passengers (the first off) rather than going around them to the theater. When we jumped out of the wrong line and headed to the theater many people got angry saying we were line jumping and they had been waiting a half hour. I said that the theater was empty and to follow me if they wanted. This could have been solved if there were RCL employees around to direct, reassure and answer questions. I saw one person, no exaggeration, the entire time from the point I left my room until my group was called and I began the process of leaving the ship. Overall the time to leave the ship was only about 30 mins from my original departure time, not bad at all. All the passenger angst came from the lack of communication and visibility from RCL. My suggestion...over communicate during disembarkation, it will go a long way to easing customer stress. The customs process was another long line and somewhat disorganized, no one directing traffic, but I don't blame RCL for this. Ok, enough with that. The cruise itself met all our expectations. We had beautiful weather and calm seas, and we had fun in each of the ports of call (Cozumel, Belize, Roatan). The ship was clean and well maintained. We enjoyed the various venues, shopping and bars. The surf rider and rock walls were fun, and we were always able to find chairs in the sun, albeit on the second level above the pool. The entertainment was good, but not great. The ice show was terrific. The food was good, but not OMG good, but that's ok for us. We realize that they are preparing food for 3,200 people so we don't expect a 5-star meal. I'd rate it good, and never disappointing. The windjammer served the same food every day, so no variety but enough choices that you don't have to have the same food every day. The sushi restaurant was the only specialty restaurant we visited and it was tasty. Our room was nice (2nd floor) and the window a nice view. The bead was a bit hard, but ok. The staff was outstanding throughout the ship especially our room attendant and dinner team. Overall a very fun trip and a satisfying experience on RCL and the Navigator. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
RCCL's Navigator has something for everyone! The activities are plentiful and non-stop, with lots of choices! We loved the sports deck, the music trivia,the ice skating show, karaoke and the Beatlemania performance! We enjoyed the ... Read More
RCCL's Navigator has something for everyone! The activities are plentiful and non-stop, with lots of choices! We loved the sports deck, the music trivia,the ice skating show, karaoke and the Beatlemania performance! We enjoyed the poolside band, "Ridden Wave" and the games. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The main dining room was very good, with great service(love Errol & Andre). The breakfast in the Windjammer(buffet) was fair-poor. By day 4, I stopped trying to eat the eggs at all. However, for lunch they have an excellent salad bar. The teen groups seemed to really have a lot to offer and my 13 year old mad some great friends! My daughter also competed in a basketball tournament, and my husband & I enjoyed the climbing wall. There were drink specials off & on and there is a specials flyer you can find around one of the bars that is helpful. We booked a private tour with Patrice Bailey in Jamaica and did Dunn River Falls, which was fun! In Grand Cayman, we took bus to 7 mile beach at Royal Palms. Beach & water was stunningly amazing, all I ever dreamed of. However, food was expensive(basic lunch for four was over $100 us with taxes & gratuities) In Cozumel, we chose to do the RCCL Tulum & Beach Break, which was okay at best. Tulum is cool, but we arrived at 11:30, and it was 88 degrees in the shade! The transport was extensive with a ferry of 200 people, then a bus of 50 people. Guides were awesome, but I wished we had done a private tour instead, or done a different tour on the water. The "beach break" was a joke. We went to rustic resort, food was decent, but beach was crowded, and small, and covered in seaweed. After Grand Cayman, it didn't compare well. The tour took up the entire day and there was no time before or after for shopping at all. Overall, I really enjoyed RCCL, our room, service, and experiences. We had the panoramic ocean view room, which was fabulous, but I missed having a balcony. I think the value for the cost was good, however, the drink prices are high. I would go with RCCL again, and I would definitely return to GCayman & Jamaica! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The food was quite good, particularly the chef's suggestions, service was outstanding, and enjoyed activities such as the Flowrider, rock climbing, the theater, pools/hot tubs, etc. Watching the sunsets in the Cosmopolitan Club on ... Read More
The food was quite good, particularly the chef's suggestions, service was outstanding, and enjoyed activities such as the Flowrider, rock climbing, the theater, pools/hot tubs, etc. Watching the sunsets in the Cosmopolitan Club on the 14th deck was a special treat. Ports, however, left something to be desired. First port at Falmouth was disappointing. Royal Caribbean built a harbor there to dock their ships so Falmouth is "artificial" and basically an outlet mall. Iron gates separate the shopping area from the town, and it's easy to see why. Falmouth is not much better than a 3rd world slum, if you venture there. Have to take some excursion to get away from Falmouth and see at least some of the "real" Jamaica. Grand Cayman was much more accommodating, in part because we took a very enjoyable excursion to Sting Ray City and snorkeling. But the island seemed to be a step or two up from Jamaica. Last port at Cozumel was sort of a cross between Port Aransas, TX and Nuevo Laredo--lots of Mexican tourist trinkets to buy, "party bars" for spring breakers, the ubiquitous high-end jewelry and watch stores (present on all three islands), which were interspersed with local bars, many featuring Tequila tastings. You have to wonder if the jewelry is really the bargain that not only the stores advertise as such, but also the cruise ship itself. Again, you have to get off the main drag in Cozumel--renting a motor scooter lis one option. Another is to visit the Mayan ruins--Tulum can be done in 4-5 hours. Unfortunately, the major Mayan ruin, Chichen Itza, is a good 4 hours by bus each way, leaving very little time to explore the ruins (guide books recommend at least 4 hours) and return to the ship on time. One major disappointment was I told RCCL my wife and I were celebrating our 50th anniversary and two of our grandchildren (28 and 23) were celebrating their birthday during the cruise. The only thing RCCL did was to give my wife and I and our two grandchildren one of the small, finger desserts (with one candle--that's about all that would fit) from the luncheon buffet at the Windjammer. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I'll keep this short since I really don't have a comparison point. My family had a great time on the Navigator. It was Spring Break for my school aged kids, so there were lots of families on the boat. This was great as my kids ... Read More
I'll keep this short since I really don't have a comparison point. My family had a great time on the Navigator. It was Spring Break for my school aged kids, so there were lots of families on the boat. This was great as my kids were easily able to find other kids to hang with either in Adventure Ocean or at the Arcade/Sports Court. My kids loved getting to be on a nice vacation with us and having some independence on the boat (10 and 12 years old). We brought walkie talkies so that we could make contact and check in with them when needed. We signed up for My Time Dining, which worked out perfectly for us. The food was great most nights, but we were most impressed with the excellent service from our wait staff. They really deserved the extra gratuity on the last night. All areas were clean and well maintained. My husband took advantage of the gym and spin classes. I enjoyed browsing the shops, attending the shows, ice skating with the kids, playing mini golf, and relaxing at the pool and on our balcony. Our room was small, but we made the this was perfect for first timers). Roatan was also our favorite port as we spent a little best of it. We enjoyed having a balcony on the right side of the boat (we could see the ports- Roatan & Cozumel from our side- I never really thought of that when I picked the room). We booked our own shore excursions online with independent companies, which worked out well, but if I ever sail to Belize again, I will book off the ship because the passangers who did had priority getting off of the boat (on earlier tenders). There was a long line and wait to get on the tenders in Belize- some people we talked to missed their excursions due to not getting to port in time. My family agrees that our favorite activity while in port was doing the zipline course at the Mayan Jungle Canopy in Roatan. It was worth the $45 per person cost and we would do it again (or a more advanced course, but extra $ and had a private driver (Best of Roatan Tours) who drove us around and took us to the zipline, sightseeing, and to a beach resort. Overall, it was a great family experience and I can't wait to cruise again! My kids are saying that they want to sail on Royal Caribbean again b/c they don't want to take a chance on another cruiseline...that's how much they enjoyed it! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
As a new cruiser, I have only small river barges as comparison, but I loved this trip on the Navigator! The crew, every one I encountered, were wonderful, professional and friendly. Dias, our Steward, couldn't have been kinder or more ... Read More
As a new cruiser, I have only small river barges as comparison, but I loved this trip on the Navigator! The crew, every one I encountered, were wonderful, professional and friendly. Dias, our Steward, couldn't have been kinder or more helpful. He knew right away I didn't like to get up early. I thought the food was very good considering the number of passengers and crew. I wish they didn't have to resort to pre-made foods, but it is probably cost-prohibitive to make everything from fresh ingredients. The only bad meal I had was in the dining room--a crab cake appetizer I ordered for dinner--which was obviously not prepared fresh. I would sail on the navigator again in a minute! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our family of 4 drove from DFW area to Galveston. We parked right across from the Carnival cruise ship area so we didn't have to stand in line to take a shuttle bus. We gave our luggage to the porters. We got there about 12:30p and ... Read More
Our family of 4 drove from DFW area to Galveston. We parked right across from the Carnival cruise ship area so we didn't have to stand in line to take a shuttle bus. We gave our luggage to the porters. We got there about 12:30p and waited in one of the four lines. The check-in process took about 1 hr. We saw some people carrying all their luggage. We dropped our carry on in our rooms since they were ready. We went up to the Windjammer to eat. There was a pretty big selection of food including ethnic food (Chinese and Indian dishes). We went to explore the ship and put on our bathing suit and headed for the jacuzzi. There are 6 jacuzzis. The best ones are by the Solarium, if they are full or is too cold outside the one inside the gym is good. My husband couldn't go because our suitcase didn't come until 7p. Next time, we'll bring our suitcases with us. It would be actually easy to manage with luggage with wheels and elevators. For dinner we had the second seating which worked perfectly with our teenagers (if we got hungry before dinner, we would grab a snack at the promenade deck-open all day with sandwiches, pizza, dessert, drinks and fruit). The first night we were paired with unfriendly family. To our surprise, the second night they were moved to their own private table and we were paired with a wonderful, friendly family. I was concerned about getting seasick, so I put a patch on before boarding. I didn't get sick at all but my head was a little fuzzy so I didn't put another one after 3 days and I was fine. My son that gets seasick like me didn't put one on and after one day of taking it easy in the room and eating, he was fine. I believed that getting a ocean view room with the big window helped a lot. The ship looks great after the remodeling. Very elegant and well maintained and cleaned. Some people were slobs and left their alcoholic drinks all over the place and the crew always picked up after them. The shows were very good specially the ice show. We got tickets but were not really necessary. They didn't take them and there were plenty of seats for all. We liked the comedian, magic show, singers. We didn't take any excursions with the ship. They were too expensive. I read Trip advisor and selected our own tours. We had a great time. We'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Overall, we had an extremely enjoyable time!! This was our second RCCL Cruise; we have done 4 on Carnival. The embarkation process was fast, and everyone was smiling on Sunday, even though the weather was awful!! The shows were really ... Read More
Overall, we had an extremely enjoyable time!! This was our second RCCL Cruise; we have done 4 on Carnival. The embarkation process was fast, and everyone was smiling on Sunday, even though the weather was awful!! The shows were really good - we saw just about everything they offered in the theater! We missed the ice show, and would have loved to have seen it - heard it was VERY GOOD!! Our excursions (we did 3) were all top notch - the one we had a slight hiccup on was not the fault of Carnival; rather the tour operator, and it was minor in the grand scheme of things! The Cruise Director's Staff did a great job - we interacted with several of them, as we played Trivia with 2 of them, Bingo with another, and sat in on an informational class on watches with another!! Our cabin was nice, and our steward did a good job, besides being extremely personable!! We switched our table in the Main Dining Room after the first evening - the service was disjointed and very unprofessional. The table we switched to had a FABULOUS team, and we were so thankful we decided to switch - the Main Dining Room became our "look forward to" activity of the day!! Now, here are my NEGATIVES, of which there aren't many: --There are no robes in the cabins. If I had know this, I would have packed mine (there are on Carnival, and there were on our other RCCL cruise). --The Buffet actually CLOSES between breakfast and lunch, and then again between lunch and dinner. I understand the need to get prepped for the next round of service, but other ships close the buffet in a staggered circle, so that there is always one section open as they prepare to open the next meal. Not so on the Navigator. If you want to eat between 11 and 12 or 3:30 and 5, you must go to the little place on deck 5 and get a dried out, pre-made chicken salad sandwich. --By the end of the week, the Bar Tenders weren't quite so friendly. I know they can get frustrated, but we had several (more than 2) be rather short with us on the last Sea Day. None of my Negatives would preclude me from going again - 2 were a matter of me not knowing ahead of time, and the other, well...what are you gonna do? Like I said, overall, we had an extremely enjoyable time!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Over a four month period we sailed 6 times on the Navigator of the Seas and two times on the Magic. Which is the better ship to cruise on? After sailing 6 times on the Navigator of the Seas (two were back-2-back) and 2 times on the Magic ... Read More
Over a four month period we sailed 6 times on the Navigator of the Seas and two times on the Magic. Which is the better ship to cruise on? After sailing 6 times on the Navigator of the Seas (two were back-2-back) and 2 times on the Magic (back-2-back) we decided we got the best value and most enjoyable cruise by sailing on the Royal Caribbean ship. Below are the different areas we considered for making this decision. Area reviewed – Winner Ship Layout – Best Value: Royal Caribbean The Navigator of The Seas is much easier to navigate the ship and find places for fun or to relax. There was always a lot of turns and deck changes to make to get anywhere on the Magic, and no easy way to find directions to a desired location. The Navigator had touch screen interactive maps at the entrance to every block of elevators that would show you how to reach your destination. On the inside of each elevator there was a map above the door that displayed key areas to exit at. There were small trash cans in every block of elevators aboard the Navigator and Hand Sanitizers available at multiple locations. The Magic only had Sanitizers available at the entrance to the Dining area. The first number of your Dining Room table assigned on the Navigator represented the floor level of your table. There were tables starting from 1 to 6 on the Magic being assigned to desk 3 or 4 on the Magic. This was not very easy to understand for a new person on the ship. When the weather was bad we couldn’t find a nice quiet area to relax in and not feel closed in on the Magic. The Navigator has the Viking Lounge on deck 14 which is excellent to take a quiet break in. It overlooks the entire pool area and is perfect to prevent getting claustrophobic. Ship Amenities – Best Value: Royal Caribbean We really preferred the adult area on the Navigator that had a Pool and two Jacuzzi’s. It was partially enclosed so the hot tubs could still be used during inclement weather. The Magic did not have an adult only pool and none of the Jacuzzi’s were useable when the weather was bad. Besides pools, the Navigator has a Flowrider, Rock Climbing wall, a Basketball court, Mini Golf, Indoor Ice rink, and Gym (which is twice the size of the Magic) and an outdoor theater. The Magic has 2 water slides, a Basketball court, Mini Golf, a rope sky course, and Gym, and an outdoor theater. Carnival supports the outdoor theater a bit better by providing free popcorn to their viewing guests (the annoying thing about this was they didn’t start making it until the movie started, so long lines while the movie was playing). Child Care – Best Value: Royal Caribbean Child care appeared to be very well on both ships. However, we felt the Child Care and play areas were more secure on the Navigator because it was located on a remote deck area that people wouldn’t be walking in. We found some of the areas for children directly off main walk ways on the Magic. Dining, Main dining room – Best Value: Royal Caribbean In my opinion, the quality of food in the Main Dining room has gone down for both cruise lines these past few years. We did not like our experience in the dining room for Brunch or Dinner on the Magic. The tables were very cramped with too many people sitting on the round tables and the rectangle ones were too narrow to hold extra plates. The noise level was very uncomfortable while eating, with music piped in overriding and making conversation difficult at the table. We grew tired of singing and dancing shows with loud speaker interruptions that were annoying and disrupted a quiet dining experience. Several hot food items were cold and wait staff often forgot items or delivered the wrong order. After a couple of nights we quit going to the dining room for any meals. Dining, Buffet area – Best Value: Royal Caribbean I would rate the food quality in the buffet area for both ships as being between good to very good. The open floor plan of the food areas on the Navigator made getting food much easier. The Magic had booth areas that made navigating the floor a bit more difficult but it did create more privacy for your dining experience. The Navigator won hands down in the service in the Buffet area. Both ships would have wait staff walking around cleaning up while you were eating but only on the Navigator did we have people asking us if we needed anything else (and bringing it to the table). We counted, and only one time in two weeks on the Magic did a wait staff ask us and provide a refill on our drink. Dining, Pool side – Best Value: Carnival Last year the Navigator would have won this category when they had the Gourmet Hotdog stand by the pool. However this dining option was removed when the ship went in for refurbish January 2014? The Magic has a Hotdog/Hamburger stand and a Pizza bar in the pool area. Dining, Room Service - Best Value: Tie Both ships provided excellent service and food delivered to the room. The only advantage the Magic has is that the Navigator started charging a service fee for orders after 1am. Cabin accommodations – Best Value: Royal Caribbean Both ships offer a wide variety of rooms to meet any budget need. We did not like the curtains used around the shower stalls on the Magic as a lot of water always ended up on the bathroom floor. All of the showers on the Navigator have glass sliding doors that keep water where it belongs, in the shower area. We felt the Navigator had the advantage in the bigger rooms when we saw they offered larger screen televisions. We did a cabin crawl on the Magic and found the same small screen LCD TV in every room, regardless of room size. In one of the large aft balconies it was very hard to see the TV, which was located 3 times the distance from the bed as in our room. Room service was outstanding on both ships. Laundry - Best Value: Carnival The Magic, like many of the Carnival ships, actually has a laundry room with Washer, Dryer and Ironing equipment that guests can use. We didn’t consider the value of this to be high as you normally don’t need to do laundry unless you were doing a Back-2-Back cruise. Both cruise lines offer a laundry service where you pay a set price to clean everything in a bag. For both cruise lines we got very good cleaning services with an over-filled bag that we used duct tape to close. If picked up in the morning Carnival had it returned that same evening while Royal Caribbean would take 2-3 days. Royal Caribbean’s bag starts at $25 with discounts offered for past guests and free at Diamond plus. Carnival’s bag starts at $15 and provides it free when you reach Platinum. Carnival was definitely ahead in this category as they allowed just about anything in the ‘clean a bag’ category while Royal Caribbean had limitations for what they would clean. Casino - Best Value: Tie We don’t use the Casino often, so this was not a high scoring consideration for us. I like the old time 25 cent two line slots the best, which I couldn’t find on the Magic. On both ships, you really don’t have to touch money any more. When you cash out on the Magic the money is put on your sail & sign card while on the Navigator your winnings are printed out on a receipt. The casino on the Navigator is located in a secluded deck away from normal walking traffic, so you won’t see kids there. The Magic has the casino broken up amongst a major waking area, so gets lots of foot traffic. We didn’t like this setup as we had to walk through the casino smoking area when going to the other side of the ship. Entertainment - Best Value: Carnival Like Dining, entertainment also has diminished over the years on both cruise lines. We gave the Magic the nod in this category because they had a Comedy Club in addition to some of the entertainment being offered. We enjoyed the Comedy shows but thought only half an hour show wasn’t worth the effort to wait in line. So we spent more time in line that actually sitting down and enjoying the show. If we wanted to watch the next show we had to give up our seats and get in the back of another long line, hardly worth it for a 30 minute show. The comedian would just barely get started when they would get notified to quit. This would have been far more enjoyable if we could have sat through at least two shows without having to get out of our seats and get in another line. Back-2-Back – Best Value: Royal Caribbean Our experience doing a Back-to-Back cruise on the Magic was horrible. Two days before the end of the first cruise we could not find any directions on the disembarking process. Guest Services simply stated the directions would be put in our cabin the night before. The day before the end of the cruise directions finally showed up in our cabin. The printed directions were very unclear on what we should do to get off the ship. We took the directions to Guest Services and had to see 3 different people to find out we needed to show up there in the morning to get our new sail & sign card before getting off the ship. On Royal Caribbean you get an invitation to a Back-to-Back briefing a couple of days before the end of the cruise. They usually serve champagne and brief you about the entire disembarking procedures. There will be representatives there from the Dining and Specialty Restaurants to let you pick out a table or make any reservations for the following week. So as ships go, we felt the Navigator of the Seas offered the best cruise experience for the seasoned cruiser to even those on their first cruise. Another aspect to consider is how past guests are treated and rewarded for returning to cruise again. Check out the links below and you can see that Royal Caribbean offers far better benefits to continue sailing with them again. http://www.royalcaribbean.com/cas/benefitsLoggedout.do http://www.carnival.com/loyalty/benefits.aspx Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My frame of reference for this cruise was a cruise in 2013 on Norwegian Pearl to Alaska. Right off the bat the first thing I can tell you was the Service on RC didn't seem anywhere near the level we got on Norwegian. It did get better ... Read More
My frame of reference for this cruise was a cruise in 2013 on Norwegian Pearl to Alaska. Right off the bat the first thing I can tell you was the Service on RC didn't seem anywhere near the level we got on Norwegian. It did get better as the week went on and there were parts of five star service mixed with zero stars along the way. Perhaps thats a reflection overall of management but staff on Norwegian just seemed happy. Staff on RC for the most part did not. Embarkation: An absolute nightmare in Galveston. Waited in line 2 hours with 4 kids. They clearly did not have enough staff and the entry was not attended and we counted 100s of folks that would skip the line when they were not looking. It was chaotic to even figure out if you were in the right line until you made it inside the building. My suggestion is to skip the "assigned" time they give you and either come early or late. Once on board: not enough staff to help direct you. Apparently they were handing out lanyards for the kids but only on Promenade deck. By time we got there it was drill time so they told us to come back afterwards only there was nobody there and nobody seemed to know if they would return. Ended up having to pay $7 for 4 lanyards, two of which broke two days in. They should have notified us at check in where to take care of the kids stuff right away. FYI being your own lanyards for your kids sea passes. Luggage: Actually I was shocked how quickly most of the luggage was by our door. That is with exception of my husband's. We kept asking and kept being told of they will deliver it by 7. by 9:15pm when it still had not shown up we got a call that he had to go down to Deck 1 to retrieve it. When he got there they were rude and insisted that he had an iron in his luggage. He had absolutely nothing in there and proved it to them. There was a retired general that apparently was in the same situation and he gave them an earful. Get better scanners. We had another member of our family's luggage also detained for no reason. Drink packages: I was basically sent on a wild goose chase to order drink packages for the kids. They didn't appear to have stations set up like the Norwegian did right away that made sign up easy. I asked multiple people and got a different answer every time I asked. Finally waited in line at the bar and signed up at the bar after holding up other people in line wanting drinks. Trying just to get a bottle of water was difficult. The bar tenders at multiple bars were rude if you were not there to order mixed drinks. I paid $19/day for the upgraded drink package and you should not have to wander around trying to find water. The best places I did find was at Starbucks when I would get my morning coffee, or the windjammer bar BUT having to sign a zero pay receipt every single time was annoying. We paid for the drink package so it would be easier. It would be nice to have at least a machine or little kiosk dedicated to drink package so you could get a soda or bottle of water more easily. I finally started tipping the Starbucks guy extra so that they would allow more than one bottle. Unless you drink a specialty coffee, the fresh squeezed OJ and a smoothie ever day of your trip the package may not be worth it. I didn't drink much soda but did have coffee and OJ everyday and tried to get my two bottles of water a day. Food: Windjammer-this place like any of the common free eating spaces was packed and the food seemed to try to be too much to everyone. I would have preferred the staples each day like the salad bar but a theme for each day like Italian pasta bar or Mexican day. Often times hard to find a seat. When asked about Gluten free options like bread even though there was a sign they seemed to have no clue. They needed more obvious choices for GF. There didn't seem to be any other options for casual breakfast and dinner. On the Norwegian we had several different places that we could go. I don't think I saw them set up lunch ever on the pool deck like we had with our previous cruise. We had main dining room every evening. Again my issue was mainly with GF options especially for dessert. A staple should be a flourless chocolate cake which was available every day on the Norwegian Pearl. The creme brûlée ended up being the go to for this trip but the rest of desserts labeled GF were really not very good at all. For entrees it as easier and I stuck mostly to fish which for the most part was pretty good. Our wait staff- two of the three were phenomenal and one was horrible. We would fight over who got the good waiter's table every evening (we had a family group of 25). The same horrible waiter at end of the week kept insisting that we give the staff high marks and told us that if we didn't it would reflect poorly on the other two. Not wanting the other two to suffer we agreed to give them the best marks but its ridiculous that we were not able to evaluate him separately from the other to. He really had no business dealing with people, and he certainly had a lot of gall to insist that we give him high marks. Izumi- by far the best meal of the trip. Service was outstanding and so was the food and the view. Wish I had discovered before the last night! They did run out of edamame though so we didn't get any. Thought that was a bit weird. Food in the Cafe on the Promenade was nothing that was GF for me but the kids enjoyed picking up snacks. All in all for that many people they needed more options for breakfast and dinner to spread the people out from the Windjammer. Ship: The ship is beautiful and probably is the best part of the trip. I loved the open Promenade. You don't feel like you are always on a ship and feels like you have space to move if you need it. Norwegian Pearl was very compartmentalized and claustrophobic at times. RC has done a great job in designing their ships. There was plenty for the kids to do from putt putt, climbing wall, ping pong, arcade. They didn't have any interest in the kids program because they didn't have the best experience on Norwegian with that. I think RC probably does a better job with the kids program from what I could tell and I wish they would have given it a try. I loved the big screen TV by he pool but they were still showing Christmas movies for some reason even though we were two weeks into January. The best show was the comedy show which was high caliber entertainment. Never could figure out how to get tickets to the skating show although the kids would have loved it. They did ice skate and had a good time. The other salute to broadway show we saw was pretty bad with exception of the lead singer. I have seen better hight school productions. The other comedy show was pretty decent. Overall the entertainment was better than the Norwegian. Rooms: I thought the room (balcony) was really nice and a little bigger than what we experienced with Norwegian. The AC never really could figure out how to work right and it was a little stuffy and you can't really just open the door on the balcony without creating a wind tunnel. Plenty of room though for our two suitcases and to put all my clothes away. I also thought the shower was really nice. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperative leaving the Gulf of Mexico and we had 10 foot swells the first day at sea. Not a lot to see on the Balcony except waves crashing! The bed vibrated for two days which made it difficult to sleep. Also the pillows were so flat. Ended up with a backache every day I think from the bed. We had the kids across the hall in an interior four bunk room and they had a decent amount of space for them to retreat to. Our room attendant was really nice and one of the few on the ship with good customer service. Leaving the Ship: Again another total disaster. Not enough staff to help regulate the lines. We showed up at our appointed time and ended up waiting on a pile of luggage for over an hour just to get off the ship. People were cutting in lines again and we had folks that came off the elevator 45 minutes after we did disembark the same time we did. They have got to figure out a better system for this! Customs in Galveston was actually a breeze and for one was happy when the pushy non us citizens got a bit of Karma and had to wait in the longer non citizens lines. Earlier they had basically shoved one of my kids out of the way to get off the ship. People say Americans are rude but my experience was the opposite on this trip. Maybe Texans are just more friendly, polite and follow the rules. All this being said we are giving RC another shot in September with Allure of the Seas in Europe. I do love their ships and hoping for a better level of customer service next time.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
It seems RCI is lowering their standards to compete with other lines. Having cruise multiple times with Royal I and my traveling companions were disappointed with the main dining room menu selection. For example there was a time when Royal ... Read More
It seems RCI is lowering their standards to compete with other lines. Having cruise multiple times with Royal I and my traveling companions were disappointed with the main dining room menu selection. For example there was a time when Royal had a surf and turf night and other specialties in the main dining room, no more. This has now been added as an extra with the extra cost. We ate in the specialty restaurant, Chops, a couple of nights and it was excellent as usual. But I don't appreciate being directed to eat there by the lack of choice in the main dining room menu to eat at the specialty restaurants. The wait staff on the pool deck was practically non-existent for most of the cruise. Royal's crew members were using the passenger elevators and Royal Promenade for moving luggage carriers during peak hours. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Nicely redone Public Areas and Rooms - a lot more inside cabins added - which makes me wonder if Royal Caribbean is now trying to compete with Carnival? Note we were very comfortable in our cabins. Food in the Restaurants and Windjammer ... Read More
Nicely redone Public Areas and Rooms - a lot more inside cabins added - which makes me wonder if Royal Caribbean is now trying to compete with Carnival? Note we were very comfortable in our cabins. Food in the Restaurants and Windjammer were a mixed bag - I have found on Princess and Norwegian lines the food was better. Surprised that the Windjammer dining closed early every night - even when we had ports of call - only option then was the cafe on the Promenade - deserts across the board were some of the most lacking along with many of the entrees. Coffee and soups were either good or watered down. Had a smoked chicken appetizer that was sensational. Surprised there weren't more classes - given that it was a holiday cruise - would have been nice to be able to tour the kitchen or have a gingerbread challenge or even pottery painting. Thought I might try the scuba as a first experience but was told that it was an internet pre-register only - no exceptions. Should note there was plenty of holiday music. Got a lot of exercise walking on the track on the top and outside on lower decks, took the stairs, did the flow rider and while I didnt use it - seemed to be a very nice gym. Actually lost weight this cruise - no extra pounds. Entertainment was ok to really good - We enjoyed in particular the Ice Dancin, Broadway, and TheseGuys shows. The Photo Manager and the woman handling all of the omelette requests in the Wind Jammer were really good as were other staff - never saw a feedback from (even asked at guest services who referred me to the after cruise evaluation) - later my wife came across something as we were disembarking we could have used. The one thing that surprised us most - was the spirit of I cant do it. As two examples Waiters who said they had no ability to impact food temperature or specific requests "officially" - for some may have been trying to increase a tip - but for others it was different such as in the Wind Jammer. Guest Services suggested the best way to get something was to go to Captains reception and ask one of the officers - requests were to tour the kitchen or possibility of a pastry class.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This is a quick recap of our 2nd consecutive Thanksgiving Cruise on the Navigator. We submitted a review of the previous cruise here: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=245331 We had such a good time that ... Read More
This is a quick recap of our 2nd consecutive Thanksgiving Cruise on the Navigator. We submitted a review of the previous cruise here: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=245331 We had such a good time that we decided to do a repeat and invite extended family to join us. In many, many respects our shipboard experience could not have been more similar, including the mediocre weather and the missed call at Grand Cayman as a result. Both were great experiences: the shows, the enthusiastic staff, the dining and the lounge entertainment were equally wonderful. What made this experience different for us was travelling with extended family, changes made to the Navigator during recent refurb and our choice of shore excursions. The opportunity to get together with family was a plus for us, while the changes made to Navigator had overwhelming negative impact. Our shore excursions were very different this time around as they were geared to accommodate ages 15 to 75. First the positives: Having a year to get used to Galveston, the NOTS crew were no longer discombobulated as they were on their first cruise of the season last year, but a broken gangway (one of 2) delayed our embarkation and debark. Our wait staff was awesome: Glen & and assistant waiter Jioa doted over us and made every family dinner an event. The AMD was always present and made sure all of the special dietary requirements of DM were met by presenting her with tomorrow’s menu a day ahead of time so that her meals could be specially prepared. In preparation for China sailings, RCCL has been hiring from China, selecting special crew members such as Jioa who was ALWAYS there at exactly the right time with a gracious smile and whatever we needed. Again, the crew made the most of the opportunity to make Thanksgiving at Sea special when the Cayman call was wiped out, including NFL games on the new Big Screen at the pool. The new flow rider ran flawlessly and was never over crowded. DW thought the removal of the coffee table from the cabin was the biggest improvement as it felt much less cluttered. Perhaps the biggest plus was that we paid $850 less for our two cabins (a D3 balcony and an OV guarantee) – and we booked with almost the exact same lead time (6 weeks out) - and last time kiddos had an inside and this time they had a gigantic window in one of the new cabins on Deck 3. One could argue that the extra capacity installed during the recent refurb (along with NCL and Princess coming to Houston) made this possible, but the extra passengers made the pools, windjammer and promenade feel over-crowded. As to the negatives, one of the two biggies was the plumbing. Both of our cabins had “Bathroom issues.” RCCL defenders will always say it’s something the passengers did – but we had the same issues on two different floors and I doubt that our bathroom “habits” have changed since our last cruise. Most noticeably, several of the public restrooms had a commode or urinal out of order. 23 cruises (including 1 on the Navigator and 4 on her sisters), and this has never happened to us: yet we had it happen 7 times in two cabins including 3 calls from one of the brand new cabins. It would be very difficult to convince me that anything but the extra “butts” were at the root of the problem. I also sincerely doubt that they added any extra bar staff to accommodate the extra passengers after the refurb. It’s also true that more beverage packages are being purchased and it sure seems like RCCL is trying to limit consumption on these packages by limiting service. I gave up trying to get seated service at the casino and the pool and I was not alone. The bars at these areas were SWAMPED – at one point I waited 20 minutes at the bar to get a beer I already paid for! I very much enjoy a glass of wine with my bread and appetizer but did not even see our bar servere until the entrée was served the first two nights. I complained to the Maiter’d and he saw to it to some degree, but even then it was not up to par. This was also an area where my parents were disappointed. They haven’t cruised in 12 years but go to Atlantic City frequently. I put considerable effort in to prepping them for the fact that they would have to pay for drinks in the casino, but they were not pleased at all to have to leave their machine to fetch (and pay for) their own drink at the bar. Fortunately the machines they left did not “hit” while they were waiting, sometimes for as long as 10 to 15 minutes to be served at the bar (and they were not on a package). They also felt the machines were “tight” - but that could just be luck – and the comps are quite pitiful by comparison (a key chain vs a free resort hotel night for the same level of play). We also missed the Dungeon that was replaced by cabins and a Mexican restaurant as well as the back nine of mini-golf course that is was supposed to be where the in-line skating used to be (at least according to the deck plans). No problem with the extra cabins around the Spa, especially since it created more deck space on deck 13 forward: Unsolicited suggestion for RCCL, move the solarium for adults up there and turn the existing solarium in to something for the kiddos as the main pool area was completely over-run. With just two port calls and Grandparents in tow, it was difficult to come up with something that was right for everyone. I feel like we nailed it with Chuka at Falmouth and Chukakannab in Cozumel. Chukka was a jungle mountain resort, with a very lazy river tube ride, zip lines and a nice uncrowded pool. We bought a resort day pass on the dock (that was charged to my sea pass) that included transport and then paid for what we wanted at the resort as we went. Saved a bundle vs the prices on the ship. We had not been to Chukakannab in over 10 years and boy has it grown. Botanical Gardens, sea lion shows and walk in snorkeling for all and Scuba for DS and I, Manatee touch for DW and DD. Just took a cab and paid $22/pp to get in so all could do what they wanted from there. HUGE shout out to the woman at the information desk who recommended Jerry at Booth #3 for scuba. DS and I had never done this and (after a very good, 20 minute orientation) enjoyed our own private experience for over an hour under water that included caves, lobsters and thousands of fish we never would have seen while snorkeling. Just $60/pp (plus a very well deserved tip) to start what might be a very expensive hobby. Too bad Grand Cayman got washed out as we had a nice private charter scheduled for that day. Other random stuff: Pre Cruise we all rendezvoused at the Hampton Inn at the Hobby airport, I flew in from work in Cali, Grandparents and Uncle from NY, and DW and the kids drove up from the border. I originally intended to shuttle everyone to and from there (two 1.5 hr round trips) but in the end I burned some National comp days to park a second car at the pier. Parking rates have gone up due to new surcharges at the pier, but EZ cruise lets you pay less if you walk (after dropping bags at the pier). I love Texas and am proud to call it our home, but they are getting intrusive with what they expect while the ship is in Texas waters (no imported beers served, photo shop closed at 11pm Saturday) plus the duty table on the pier…. None of this is consistent with the business friendly mindset that has allowed Texas to prosper. In summary, we had a great time (even though DS did not win free cruise bingo like he did last time) and feel very blessed to have the opportunity to repeat and share a great experience with our extended family; However, in our opinion, the Navigator is not as good as she was before her $80 million dollar refurb. We’ll wait for a different ship before we cruise RCCL out of Galveston again.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My spouse, a couple of friends, and I just completed a 7-night cruise on the Navigator of the Seas leaving out of the Port of Galveston. Our cruise of the Western Caribbean included stops in Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel. The cruise ... Read More
My spouse, a couple of friends, and I just completed a 7-night cruise on the Navigator of the Seas leaving out of the Port of Galveston. Our cruise of the Western Caribbean included stops in Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel. The cruise began with a fairly smooth and easy embarkation process. The RCL embarkation staff were both friendly and helpful during the embarkation process. Once on board, we found our room which was a promenade stateroom. The room had a nice view of the promenade deck below and it was conveniently located near an elevator. Our room steward Juliette greeted us warmly as she did each day. Juliette was like a ray of sunshine each and every day and she did a wonderful job of keeping our cabin nice and tidy. One of favorite parts of cruising is the entertainment provided and I found the quality of the entertainment to be a mixed bag. We particularly liked the ice dancing show and the Motown tribute show. Both of these acts were better than many shows that I have seen in Las Vegas. The comedian and singer / impersonator were not up to the same standard as the other two entertainers by any means. I do have to compliment the Navigator of the Seas Orchestra as they were excellent musicians and always provided a quality musical contribution. Dining on the Navigator of the Seas was average at best. Our servers were quite good, but the food was forgettable. The "chef's choice" of vegetables always turned out to be mashed potatoes which lacked the variety that I was looking for. The coffee on the ship was extremely poor and I heard this sentiment echoed by numerous other guests as well. A change of coffee vendors is greatly needed. The shore excursions themselves were ok, but the amount of shore excursions offered was very limited compared to other cruise lines that I have traveled with to the same ports. For example, in Roatan, you could not take an excursion to Tabyana Beach. In Cozumel, you were not offered excursions to Passion Island or to the mainland (Playa del Carmen). When I compared the shore excursions that Carnival offered, I would have to estimate that RCL offered about 1/3 as many shore excursions. The cruise director was the best that I have encountered in my 14 cruises. He seemed like a real natural and he will hopefully remain a cruise director for some time to come. Disembarkation was painful, but that was not due to RCL, but rather due to the poor performance by the Port of Galveston. We had to wait over 2 hours in an extremely long line before we made it through to customs. Our experience in Galveston on a prior cruise was about as bad, so we are considering forgoing cruises out of Galveston in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Over the past 30 years, we've taken about 15 cruises, mostly on Royal Caribbean. However, we haven't sailed on RCI in about 5 years. The Navigator is the largest ship we've sailed on to date, and so we had very high ... Read More
Over the past 30 years, we've taken about 15 cruises, mostly on Royal Caribbean. However, we haven't sailed on RCI in about 5 years. The Navigator is the largest ship we've sailed on to date, and so we had very high expectations. Our itinerary was Roatan, Belize and Cozumel out of Galveston, and we brought along my son and his family of 5. We did not set out to find disappointments or limitations, but they did arise. However, none of them kept us from having a great time with our family, and we're glad we went. I just want to outline some of them here, so that others can be prepared. Note: all rooms are non-smoking, AND all balconies are non-smoking as well. Nice! Elevators were usually available, except at peak times. Speaking of muster, you no longer have to arrive with your life vest. Yay! It's still a really long, slow and hot process. Boo! There are numerous hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the ship, and there was never a shortage of staff disinfecting railings and doorknobs. You saw them everywhere. We were required to use hand sanitizer before entering the dining rooms. The attention to keeping germs from spreading was comforting. We opted for two Grand Suites, side-by-side, which were really great. Lots of room, lots of storage, nice big balconies (we had them open the partition between our balcony and my son's), huge bathroom, flat screen TV, refrigerator, I could go on and on. Lights in the closets would have been nice, but no big deal. However, the king mattress was by far the most HORRIBLE mattress we've ever slept on ANYWHERE in our travels. Having dropped a serious chunk of change to travel suite style, we could not believe how awful the mattress was. Very thin, very hard, very lumpy. It actually hurt my hips to sleep on my side. We didn't get one decent night's sleep the entire week. The mattress in the sleeper sofa was actually better. In looking back, I suppose we could have asked for another mattress, and will do so next time this ever comes up. And don't be fooled that because you're in a suite and paying higher tips, you'll get better cabin steward service. That wasn't the case for us. It wasn't bad service, just not what we expected, based on what's written on the website. However, by staying in a suite, you do get LOTS of perks that we enjoyed again and again, in particular the concierge lounge and priority debarkation, but even that still takes a few hours. We waited in a special lounge until we were called to get in line, but the concierge didn't give us any directions. He just said "time to go" and then disappeared, so a lot of people were confused about where the line actually was. Just keep in mind that debarkation is inherently long and slow, no matter what, so patience is key. Also, priority embarkation doesn't seem like a perk because it also takes a long time, but at the end of the day, it still takes less time than it does for other folks. Recommendation: arrive really early, ahead of the crowds. The food in the dining room was good, although the selections weren't as plentiful as they used to be. There is no midnight buffet any longer. There are no more "theme nights" in the dining room, so no more decorations or dancing with the wait staff, fun stuff like that. But our wait staff was exceptionally good, which made dinner enjoyable each night. The food in the Windjammer was the same over and over, as usual, and not particularly hot. But even with 7 of us, we never really had a problem finding a table that fit all of us comfortably. There are several ice cream stations on board, which the grandkids took advantage of....many times! Never did try room service, but as suite guests, you get a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. By having access to the concierge lounge, we could get coffee/tea/snacks 24/7, continental breakfast in the morning, cookies and desserts in the afternoon, and hors d'oerves and open bar in the evenings before dinner. We received two special invitations to cocktails and meet-and-greets with the captain and crew, but both times they fell right in the middle of our early dining time. Didn't understand that at all, and we were pretty disappointed at such obvious bad planning. There is a beautiful promenade deck, but very few shops, and all of the merchandise, especially jewelry, is high end, so not very affordable. Very few souvenirs for the children. Booze prices were not much better than we get at Spec's here in Austin. The "$10 merchandise night" offerings were nothing more than really cheap, poorly made items, and the experience was pure chaos. My advice? Don't go to that! Evening shows were mediocre at best, and many of them were held out in the open on the promenade deck, not the theater. ??? We had all looked so forward to good shows each night. Seems RCI is saving those for the megaships. Lots of bingo each day, but it's now really expensive, and the payouts aren't that great. Pools were usually crowded, as was miniature golf, no big surprise here. Don't know about the rock wall or the Flowrider. Plenty of places by the pool to catch some rays, or hang out in relative peace in the Solarium. Not very many poolside games, though, just mostly music, but they often used live bands, which was nice. There's a reserved area of seating and a bar for suite guests. That was great. Photo gallery is now high tech, and you'll pay the price. Like as much as $40 per 8x10, if you purchase less than 10 photos. Process of viewing, ordering and picking up is pretty slick, though. My advice: go for the photos settings with the white and/or black backgrounds. Those are usually a lot better than the cheesy backgrounds. Casino is very smokey, even on the non-smoking side, so be prepared for that. You win often enough to play for a while, but don't expect to come home with your money! There are plentiful shore excursion offerings, unless you're traveling with small children. Most of the excursions have a height limit. As a result, we had to opt for the beach breaks and shopping, but we still had lots of fun. Because we traveled with family, and our grandkids had never cruised before, this was a special trip for us and we had a good time. Cruising is a great way to travel, and we'll keep on doing it for as long as we can! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Well, I'll start out by saying I've now been on 4 cruises, 3 with Royal and this time around it is very apparent that Royal is starting to cut corners to save money. A few things I noticed changed from my last cruise on Royal in ... Read More
Well, I'll start out by saying I've now been on 4 cruises, 3 with Royal and this time around it is very apparent that Royal is starting to cut corners to save money. A few things I noticed changed from my last cruise on Royal in 2009: 1. drink of the day keepsake glasses are now plastic instead of glass 2. trivia/participation winners mostly receive keychains (I started turning them down after 3) instead of medals & RC fun prizes 3. My Time dining is a hassle - we had to arrange to have dinner at 5:45 every night just to get our party in the dining room. Luckily, because we were so large of a group (18), we ended up at the same tables with the same waiters every night so it was like we had early dinner but had to work a lot to get it. When we booked My Time was our only dining option given. Some new things that I was impressed with: 1. the drink package - if you like to drink during the day (poolside for instance) and at dinner (wine) and late night, then the package is good. Things to consider are your port days and whether you can keep up a pace of 8+ drinks per day. I liked being able to just show my card and not have to sign receipts for every drink but learned that the included tip for the bartender(s) wasn't that generous. We frequented the R-Bar (amazing Mixologist) and tipped the 3-person staff extra at the end of the week because of the outstanding service we received. 2. Flo-rider - this new addition to the ship was fun to watch. My friends joined in while I photographed and they had a blast. It usually had a line which was to be expected but at least there was the entertainment of other riders to help pass the time. We sailed on 2/23 and there was a fog delay. Caused a nightmare at the port. We arrived earlier than we were told to, but quickly dropped off our luggage and found a line to wait patiently in. The problem was that when they started boarding, the terminal employees would let the hoard of people gathered near the door who had arrived after us through the doors, therefore extending our wait time. Very disorganized. We kept good spirits and it wasn't too hot but we were probably in the last 100 or so onboard. Missed dinner in the dining room and had to go to muster almost immediately after boarding. I'm not sure if this is the fault of RC or if the Galveston terminal employs separately but either way it was a disaster and I will avoid sailing in the winter since fog frequently causes delays. I noticed more this time the average age of RC cruisers has increased dramatically. I'm 30 and don't mind being one of the younger people but nightlife was pretty much non-existent. The room was nice, not large by any means but plenty of storage space - we had 3 girls with lots of luggage in an interior room and had plenty of space to put everything. Our room steward was nice and friendly. Did a good job cleaning around all our stuff. We tried to pick up but with 3 of us in the room it was just difficult. If you end up using the ceiling Pullmans, ask for an egg crate the 1st day because they go fast and the top beds aren't as comfortable as the bottom. Overall it was a great trip, but having cruised with RC in the past I just didn't see the level of service I was used to getting. In May I am going on Carnival again and hope to get a good comparison of the two lines. Disembarking was fine - we chose to carry our own luggage off and even though that seemed a bit messy we were directed of the ship pretty efficiently and through customs in under an hour (total process). Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was our second cruise but our first on RCCL. I was really impressed with the way RCCL made sure my daughter's needs were met. We had a lovely accessible balcony state room, the largest I have seen, with the deaf kit installed ... Read More
This was our second cruise but our first on RCCL. I was really impressed with the way RCCL made sure my daughter's needs were met. We had a lovely accessible balcony state room, the largest I have seen, with the deaf kit installed after we arrived. I was late in requesting sign language interpreters and was ok that I would be my daughter's interpreters however I was surprised by a knock at the door by 2 very professional gentlemen that were her interpreters for the week. They reviewed the schedule with her every evening and promptly attended all shows and activities the following day. My daughter had the best time ever and I was able to relax and enjoy myself! Food quality was great and service was even better. My daughter has trouble chewing and therefore eats mostly soft foods. Dining staff made sure she had something she enjoyed and plenty of it! I am grateful for the way staff treated her. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We chose this cruise primarily based on the fact we would be traveling from Canada and were looking for a nonstop flight to the port. Galveston is only a relatively short drive from Houston Bush International airport so this worked. ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily based on the fact we would be traveling from Canada and were looking for a nonstop flight to the port. Galveston is only a relatively short drive from Houston Bush International airport so this worked. (Nonstop flight where less chance of weather delay in Dec. was a priority for us). Galveston itself is not a place to spend more than one night in though we had extended the trip for a longer holiday. Stay near the port to make sure restaurants are near by. The ship itself is very nice, and the service aboard the boat met our expectations of Royal Carribean who we had traveled with before. No issues with service at all. My only disappointments were the dining room meals seemed less gourmet than our previous cruise and more tailored to a north american palate. We were advised that a seafood soup was spicy - but it was not spicy at all. Main courses and even appetizers were stuff you might cook at home, when I travel I am looking for meal options I don't prepare myself. We were initially seated at a table for 4 by ourselves. We did ask to move to a bigger table so we might meet other diners and this was accommodated. I wish the organizers at Royal Carribean made a better effort to place families with other families at meal time. The entertainment was not much to speak of. Silly comics, jazz dancers pretending to do latin dancing etc. I expected better given that inclusive resorts I have stayed at have better entertainment. The teen club was overrun as it was Christmas so difficult to meet the same kids each time but this was minor. It's more of a place to hang out in and not much activities that are actually carried out. The schedule of events for the teens is just a way to get them together. The ports visited were Falmouth, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Having been to there places before we chose excursions to suit our needs. The Bamboo Beach Club and Dunns River Falls was a hit and miss. The Falls is worth doing if you have never done it before but be sure to bring water shoes as you are in waist deep water at times. Also, it is very crowded. The Bamboo Beach Club was a real disappointment. Hardly a club and hardly a beach. In fact the beach was so narrow to get the sun you had to pull your beach chair into the water as the shade from the trees blocked the sun on the little beach area. And the so called local cultural entertainment was 3 guys in shorts dancing to music plus the recruitment of passengers to model beach clothes they were hoping to sell. And don't expect the tapas lunch to be a meal or be served hot. In fact it comes in dribbles (Jamaica time) and is mostly vegetables. Would not call this a beach club at all. While Grand Cayman has lots to offer it is pricey and Cozumel has plenty of options and will be a treat. The excursion we took in Grand Cayman included a trip to Sting Ray City where you stand in waist deep water while the sting rays swim around you. This can be fun and much of the time the tour operator is conducting a photo op for each person. (You can purchase the digital pics and he emails them to you-ours arrived before we got home). Unfortunately the Barrier Reef snorkling got cancelled due to wind conditions. If snorkling is a must for you I suggest booking it in Cozumel as we missed out because we had it scheduled in Grand Cayman and then it got cancelled. Cozumel Beach Club at Playa Mia was excellent. Really nice beach, alcoholic drinks included, and lunch was served buffet style in a huge open building. (Good for rain coverage when it suddenly showers). Tour operator was well organized and no delay in getting to the beach. I appreciated that this ship's crew did not push their photographers on you at every opportunity. They were there to capture moments but didn't intrude or be pushy. Sailing in Dec. you are not guaranteed sunshine and the first 2 days at sea offered only one day of rays so be prepared to rest and relax but not necessarily come back tanned at this time of year. A good option for a family Christmas getaway but not necessarily a great getaway to see the islands. It's a large ship with lots of activities if you like to take part. Royal Carribean does a nice job with the personal service and if the itinerary was right I would probably look at booking them again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This cruise was full of celebrations for our group of 15: two birthdays and Thanksgiving. This was my second time on the Navigator of the Seas, 3rd Voyager-Class, and 4th Royal Caribbean cruise. Coming in, we had high expectations. In most ... Read More
This cruise was full of celebrations for our group of 15: two birthdays and Thanksgiving. This was my second time on the Navigator of the Seas, 3rd Voyager-Class, and 4th Royal Caribbean cruise. Coming in, we had high expectations. In most cases, we had a great journey. But in some aspects, we were disappointed. To start with, the weather produced some rough seas midweek so we missed a port call in Grand Cayman. THE SHIP: Overall, it was in good shape but definitely had some things that will be addressed (I hope) in dry dock (scheduled for early 2014). The cabin faucets had trouble distinguishing from hot or cold water -- it was always just warm. A fellow traveler complained 3 times, but nothing was ever fixed. We had a closet door hinge break, but it was fixed quickly. Some of the carpet and theater seats look worn and ready for replacing. But overall, everything was functional and still kept in good shape. CABIN: We were in Aft 1392 - our favorite on this ship. The covered area of the balcony is big enough for two sitting chairs, a table, and two lounge chairs. It is quiet - not much traffic. There is a little more side-to-side vibration movement at full speed, but there is almost no up-down motion being in the very back. Our room steward was very efficient and kept us very happy. DINING: For the first time on a ship, we opted for a big table with 15 seats. The dining room appears to have two right in the center, near the stairs. It was exciting to be near the action and activities. But I think the size also caused major service issues On the first night, we all were seated close to the 5:30 time. But the actual service was very extended with long pauses between courses. Finally at about 7:45, our desserts started to arrive. We were the last table in the dining room, and we could see the people lining up at the door for the 8:00 seating. One of the head waiters finally came over and said we would have to leave even though our dessert/coffee had been on the table for just minutes. We explained the situation, and he indicated it would be addressed. For the rest of the nights, service was inconsistent and still took a long time. What bothered me is that we never saw an Asst. Head Waiter at our table or appear to help our Waiter out. The Asst. Waiter did a great job of keeping drinks and bread refilled, but she did not help with food distribution at all. For the first time on a RCCL ship, I never saw or met our Assistant Head Waiter! The Head Waiter stopped by a couple of times, and he said he did some things to have the problem addressed. But I don't think it helped much. Was our table too big for their system? Maybe...but our waiter may have just been over her head. The food itself was good. Some dishes were excellent (turkey and sole), but some items were tough and rubbery (steak and lobster). STAFF: Outside the dining staff, the staff was pleasant and friendly. Some did seem "tired", and many of them said this was their final cruise before vacation. It seems the transatlantic voyage and some missed port calls for time off was weighing on them. There just didn't seem to be that energy with the crew that I have seen on previous ships. ENTERTAINMENT: The stage shows were well acted, but they do need to be refreshed. We had taken a Spring Break 2012 cruise, and much of the content was the same. The guest ice show performers and the guest headliners were excellent. We really enjoyed the "Man of 1000 voices" and the Russian ice skaters. CHILDRENS AREA: The kids said Adventure Ocean was pretty crowded at time, but there were 900 kids/youth onboard this ship (out of 3,690 guests!) PORT OF GALVESTON: Having taken a previous Galveston cruise, I learned some tricks: 1) Entry Into Port: Avoid Harborside completely and go through the "Strand" area to enter the port directly around 22nd street. You bypass the massive line of cars coming down Harborside. There is still a 1-car-wide funnel just inside the port before the Terminal 1/Terminal 2 divide that needs to be fixed. 2) Check-In: The agents were pretty efficient for normal cruisers, but the handicap/wheelchair area was backed up. We arrived about 11:30, but the wheelchairs were still be used by disembarking passengers. 3) Disembarkation: This was much improved. We had two wheelchairs with us so we got a little priority but not much. We waited about 30 minutes onboard, then it took about 15 to get to our bags. Once we had our bags, we were outside in 10 minutes. They had 8+ customs lanes open. OVERALL: We love cruising from Galveston as we can drive so I hope that the drydock and crew change that should occur will revive the Navigator for its year+ stay in Texas. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We booked quite late and didn't have much time to review the comments on Cruise Critic etc but did manage to gather sufficient information together to have most things sorted before we boarded. We booked two tours, which after great ... Read More
We booked quite late and didn't have much time to review the comments on Cruise Critic etc but did manage to gather sufficient information together to have most things sorted before we boarded. We booked two tours, which after great deliberation we booked directly through RCI, more for ease than anything else. I did look at booking through various recommended companies such as Ephesus Tours and was very happy with their response to my emails and the fact that they only wanted a small deposit upfront. I will certainly consider external tour companies next time we cruise. We also took the soft drinks package option, since this had worked well for us previously. Other than the fact it took ages for us to get our cases on arrival, the transfer from Rome airport to the Navigator went smoothly. The RC staff were clearly marked at the airport and were very assuring when the cases were delayed, advising us all that the coaches were aware of the situation. The actual transfer to the ship was just over an hour. Embarkation also went smoothly and much quicker than on our previous cruise. First we checked out our cabin and since the cases had not yet arrived, we went to the Windjammer and had lunch and lots of drinks. We then decided to explore the ship and worked from top to bottom with the boys guiding us using the many maps available. We made the Kids Club our first port of call to get the boys registered before the rush (worth doing even if you don't know whether they will use it - they give all the children a lanyard to attach their sea pass card to allowing them to keep it around their necks and reducing the risk of losing it - (Suggestion - if you don't like bags take a lanyard with you and ask Customer Services to put a hole in the card for you so you can attach it). I had packed swimming trunks in the hand luggage so my husband was then able to take the boys swimming whilst I unpacked. We then had a leisurely evening meal in the Windjammer, followed by a welcome show in the theatre. Sicily Next day we were in Sicily. We had decided to do this port on our own based on various comments on Cruise Critic. Immediately outside the port we were able to take a tour on a horse drawn carriage (40 euro for 45 mins). There was also the option of a City Tour Bus or a small land train, both of which covered a larger area. The boys loved the carriage, although it was a little cramped since they had to sit on a fold down seat. (I noticed later there were larger carriages too). We then walked back into town to see the clock strike 12. The clock had various levels of mechanical scenes which told a story (though I am not sure what the story was). It was interesting to see, but not as spectacular as I had hoped. There were other sites and we walked a long way, climbed lots of steps and several hills. The views of the ship were great from the top of the hill and we even had a photo stop with Mickey Mouse who we realised was up there waiting for the tourists on the land train. It was a nice enough visit but in hind site we wished we had booked a tour to Etna. The port town was not very special, lots of graffiti and a bit disappointing. Our reason for not choosing the tour was we didn't want to travel the 2 hours each way to Etna with the boys. As it was we were able to go back to the ship, have a late lunch and a swim whilst the boat was relatively quiet, which the boys enjoyed. Day at Sea One recommendation is to get up at a sensible hour if you have young children since the sun beds near the pools get taken very quickly. Despite the policy of not being able to leave your bed unattended for longer than 30 mins we saw lots of beds with towels on which were hardly ever sat on. We were lucky because our boys are good swimmers, so we were happy to be further away. This was also the formal night, which was the only one we made the boys attend. Since they were not too keen on the show the previous night we allowed them to go to the Kids' club after dinner, which allowed us to enjoy a glass of champagne at the Captains' reception and take in the show ourselves. Greece We did the RC half day tour to the Acropolis. It was well organised. This was one that I wanted to do but the boys both enjoyed it too. It was unfortunate that the Acropolis was surrounded on three sides by scaffolding which took away some of the views, but was still worth a visit. We returned in time for a late lunch and a swim. That evening we ate in the Windjammer, since we found this the easiest option with the boys, due to the variety of food available. The boys then chose to go to the kids' club whilst we took in the evening show. Turkey We chose the half day tour to the House of the Virgin Mary and Ephesus. After an early breakfast we went to the tour meeting point. Being one of the first groups ready, we got on one of the first coaches, and were amongst the first visitors at the House of the Virgin Mary, arriving whilst it was still quite cool and before the queues. This was an enjoyable and interesting stop. Ephesus was spectacular and exceeded my expectations. I won't say any more other than in my opinion it is a must see. Although still early, it was very hot and the reason all the tour guides use an umbrella as identification was immediately apparent. There was very little shade to be had. Many tourists also carried umbrellas or parasols and if you have trouble with the heat, or are travelling with very small children or the elderly, I would recommend you taking one. The other essential is the complementary bottle of water provided as part of the tour. Don't forget your camera! I would have liked to see the Terrace Houses, but didn't want to extend our tour to more than half day. I was glad I had made this choice because by lunch time it was exceptionally hot. After the obligatory visit to a carpet store, where we were given a demonstration on carpet weaving and shown many different types of carpet, accompanied by a drink and some kind of pastry, we decided to return to the ship. Fortunately our tour took us to a carpet store near the port, so we were able to make our excuses and return to the ship in time for lunch and a spot of sun bathing. We had our evening meal in the Windjammer, then the boys went to kids' camp and we went to see the show. Crete We did Crete on our own, and since we didn't have long at this port made sure we were ready to disembark as early as possible. This was a very enjoyable morning. There were lots of taxis immediately outside the port should you prefer, however, we caught a bus which was also immediately outside the port. This was very easy to do - there was a kiosk where we bought a return ticket for 3 euro each and the trip took less than 30 mins. They do allow passengers to stand so they can become quite busy, but we were lucky and had seats in both directions of travel. The buses also seemed to be very regular and we had no waiting around. Drop off and pick up was at the same spot, near the indoor market and was easy to find. We were able to explore the town at our leisure. We started by heading to the harbour area where we walked along for a while before stopping for a drink. We then returned to the town/market area and spent some time visiting the many interesting shops and stalls. Crete was a lovely stop, everywhere was clean and tidy, even the back streets. It was a pleasant change after the graffiti and unkempt appearance of the port in Sicily. Once we had finished we found the return bus and went back to the ship. We had a very late lunch after which they boys chose to go to kids' camp. At their request we booked them into camp for tea and agreed to pick them up at 10pm after the evenings show. This meant we were able to relax on deck for a while, and then get ready for the last formal night. It was nice to dress up and eat in the formal dining room and our table companions were great company. This turned out to be one of our more hectic evenings. After a leisurely meal in the dining room, as Crown and Anchor Members were invited to a champagne gathering in the theatre, where they put on a welcome back show for us. Unfortunately, we had to leave this show early because our youngest had spent the afternoon at pirate camp and all the small camp members were to be part of a pirate parade on the Promenade. It was fantastic. They had all coloured in their own pirate bandanas and learnt various pirate songs and shanties. It was really cute and worth the challenge of removing all the face paint when we returned to the cabin. Thank goodness for baby wipes (which I still take everywhere even though my youngest is nearly 8!). Once the boys were tucked up in bed we were then able to go to one of the more adult shows. At Sea After a final exploration of the ship, taking pictures and playing mini golf the boys chose to spend most of the day in the kids' camp. I was able to relax on deck and enjoy my book, whilst various activities went on by the pool below. I spent some time in the afternoon packing, since the cases had to be packed and ready for collection by 11pm the night before departure. That way we could enjoy our last evening together. We then had our evening meal in the Windjammer and the boys asked to go back to the kid's camp, whilst we took in the final show. There was also a farewell circus parade on the promenade, after which we took the boys to bed, before venturing out for a drink. In brief The main reason I have done this review is that during my search I found very little information from a family perspective. My overall opinion is do what works for you. If you prefer the formal dining then do it. For us we only did the formal dining on the two formal nights. We found that eating in the Windjammer was faster, and meant the boys were able to have an evening session in the kids' club, whilst we took in the early show. We were lucky that our eldest is both old enough and was willing to look after our youngest on an evening, so each evening when kid's camp closed at 10pm, we took them back to the cabin got them settled then were able to go out again to some of the more adult and sometimes "cheesy" entertainment and quizzes. It meant that we were able to get as much out of the cruise as the boys. We kept out tours to half day, which meant the boys were able to enjoy them as well as the activities on the ship. It was a good balance that worked well for us. Main advice 1. Whatever their age, if your child likes kids' camps, then enrol them and use it. It will give you some time to relax knowing they are in safe hands. They will look after small children whilst you do the shore excursions, or take them to dinner if you do not think they would appreciate formal dining. 2. Do what works for you. Read Cruise Critic, Trip Advisor etc, gather as much information as possible, then, decide what you want to do. The key to cruising seems to be lots of preparation. Try to book tours and drinks package in advance so you don't have to do this on the ship. One less thing to worry about. 3. If you have cruised with RCI before, or if think you may again, join their Crown and Anchor Society online. You receive discount vouchers for use on board, an invite to a return/welcome reception and other benefits. Also try and find your cruise on Cruise Critic and register for the Meet and Mingle. This can be great way of finding out who is on your cruise and even sharing shore excursions. 4. Be aware drinks are very expensive and I would say the only downside to cruising with RCI. Recommended wine by the bottle in the formal dining room seemed to be upwards of $40 and the wine lists do not have prices so make sure you ask. Check out the drinks packages and decide if you would benefit. In most cases I think the soft drinks package is a must, but if you don't want to commit then there is always water on the bars and free drinks from the Windjammer when it is open (not a big selection - lemon cordial/ice tea/orange). The big question is would I sail with RCI again and the answer is Yes. I would also be more than happy to sail on either of the ships I have being on again. Having read reviews saying the Navigator was tired I did wonder, but the ship was clean and well maintained. There were signs of her age, but then again I am sure anyone travelling on the newer ships will also encounter similar issues.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
In sum, our cruise was wonderful. We had no complaints and no major mishaps until our final night. More about that later. This review will be more of a cautionary tale than anything else because our experience was so positive. We did ... Read More
In sum, our cruise was wonderful. We had no complaints and no major mishaps until our final night. More about that later. This review will be more of a cautionary tale than anything else because our experience was so positive. We did encounter a few things that could be improved, especially as newer and larger cruise ships are coming out. None of what I will describe will keep us from cruising in the future. First, we were a group of six: two senior citizens, three adults, and a teenager. The seniors were in their own Junior Suite cabin (expansive!) on Deck 9, and the rest of us were in two separate Balcony cabins on deck 8. This cruise was chosen by the teenager who is a history/mythology buff and it was in celebration of her 13th birthday (her sister's 13th birthday was celebrated by cruising to Alaska). Traveling to Rome was lengthy but uneventful. We enjoyed two days of touring Rome before our cruise. I highly recommend the tour company we used and a PM on the boards will get you their name. They arranged our Rome tours and meals, tour of Mt. Etna in Sicily, and tour of Kusadasi in Turkey all for about 1/2 of the cost of what those tours arranged by the cruise line would have cost. Embarkation was a breeze, the trip to Civitavecchia was scenic and speedy. We breezed through check-in and were on board the Navigator and in the Windjammer in record time for a very nice meal. We headed to our cabins afterward, mustered for the safety drill and were sipping pina coladas by the pool as we sailed away. We loved Sicily, touring Mt. Etna and Taormina. We loved the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum, however, we did not really enjoy Athens itself. Our tour was arranged by taking private cars arranged on the street just outside the port area who drove us through some not-so-great neighborhoods to arrive just down the hill from the Acropolis area. We never felt unsafe, just not as well protected as we would have been taking an arranged tour. Other folks have walked to the subway or taken other public transportation, don't do what we did. Kusadasi was the real highlight. Our tour was arranged with a private guide a mini bus and a lunch stop with a side trip to Sirinice village. We loved our guide's descriptions of the ancient ruins along with her enthusiasm as another minibus pulled up along side us with her husband guiding other tourists. Very cute moment. Crete was nice, but a bit of a disapointment as we wanted to visit a beach for a swim in the Med, but, the beach tours were sold out. So we settled for a bus ride into Chania and a walk around the town. Return to Civitavecchia and the US was also uneventful, with one exception: the teenager came down with food poisoning on the final night of the cruise. How do we know it was not Noro? No one else in our group came down with it and we were sharing everything. However, after a quick visit to the ship's infirmary, the girl was confined to the cabin, her picture was circulated around the ship, and we were told that she could order toast to be delivered for breakfast the next morning. She wound up sleeping from about 5 pm Saturday until we landed in NYC Sunday evening. All in all, a very wonderful time was had by all. So, as the title indicated, what are my wishes for the future? First, smoking needs to be better controlled. Not in the private areas like cabins and balconies, but, in the public areas like bars and the casino. The Navigator has a wine bar and a pub located on the promenade and at night smoke from these areas can be somewhat overwhelming. Further, there were times when the smoke from the casino wafted up the stairs connecting to the promenade. My wish is that cruise ships ventilate these areas with exhaust fans. My second wish is that the My Time Dining be looked at again with an eye toward refining it a bit. On a prior cruise on another line my wife and I used My Time Dining and we never waited more than about 10 minutes for a table to become available. However, on this cruise, for some reason, you could not just walk up whenever you wanted and be seated, the dining staff was really pushing for reservations to be made ahead of time. But even this didn't guarantee a table at a time you wanted; one night we could not make a reservation at all. Once we figured this out, we never had a problem, but, on formal night, we were turned away and wound up having a wonderful meal in Windjammer albeit overdressed for the venue. If making a reservation ensures that you have a table, how is this different than using the regular seating times? I think MTD needs to be reformulated, even if MTD diners are relegated to a separate dining room. One final wish: As cruise ships are designed to being larger and larger, it seems to me that they can be designed so that one can walk from public spaces in the bow to public spaces in the stern without having to change decks. If this means that a venue (like an ice rink) needs to be made smaller to accommodate a hallway around it, I think that's valuable. Many times we were blocked from reaching a bar or performance venue because there was another bar, dining room, or night club in the way. In conclusion we had a wonderful time and after we finish paying for this trip, we will definitely be going back to Italy and cruising again somewhere special.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
12 year old Navigator not a sign of its age clean bright almost as new. Two splash pools plenty of sun beds very colorful sun deck , negative points only 2 showers on sun deck the bar prices ( over £5.00 a drink ) the chops grill way over ... Read More
12 year old Navigator not a sign of its age clean bright almost as new. Two splash pools plenty of sun beds very colorful sun deck , negative points only 2 showers on sun deck the bar prices ( over £5.00 a drink ) the chops grill way over priced , the portafino on the other hand well worth a visit.Food very average in restaurant windjammer self service very good one negative egg station for fried eggs and ommletes very very slow even when little demand people turning away due to amount in line after giving your order taking a numbered ticket up to 10 to 20 people waiting really let down it upset a lot of people. The shows when on great on two night show had one act each time lasting 1 hour on two shows other nights very entertainment team productions. Ice skating only one show all week but great show well worth a visit my first and loved it wow what a show.Finally please be aware when your account bill is left outside your state room last night check it many people being charged for not returning pool towels ( 50 dollars ). Overall good holiday not cruised for a few years noticed drop in standards but cannot complain check out the prices.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We flew in to Rome on the morning of the cruise (the flights were included in the package, so no option to arrive the day before). Flights, transfers and embarkation all went smoothly, and we were soon exploring the ship. It was a very ... Read More
We flew in to Rome on the morning of the cruise (the flights were included in the package, so no option to arrive the day before). Flights, transfers and embarkation all went smoothly, and we were soon exploring the ship. It was a very favourable first impression. Our D2 balcony stateroom was comfortable, and spacious, and it was well positioned just before the hump, sandwiched between suites. It had everything we required, and the stateroom attendant was efficient. We had extremely noisy neighbours in one of the suites next door who smoked and talked very loudly on the balcony until 3 or 4am most nights, and this did bother us I have to say. We found the food to be of a high standard, but possibly not quite as outstanding as on previous RCI cruises. The variety and quality of food in the Windjammer was good, but it could get so busy and difficult to get a table at lunchtimes. The waiting staff in the MDR was friendly and efficient, but perhaps a little lacklustre this time. We actually felt that the crew throughout the ship generally wasn't as upbeat and happy in their roles as we have experienced previously with RCI. We noticed this particularly in the shops and at the Pool area. I wondered if this difference in service levels was a result of the automatic upfront gratuities policy which has been adopted? We didn't buy the Drinks package. We just don't drink enough to merit it. We enjoyed the variety of bars and lounges on board, and spent some time in most of them I think. The Two Poets was a bit smoky for us,so we didn't sit inside but it was nice to 'people watch' outside the pub while having a drink. We enjoyed Boleros and also the Schooner Bar, where they had a nightly singalong. It was good fun, but the pianist/singer could perhaps broaden his repertoire, and he isn't a great singer. It was the same stuff each night and got a bit repetitive, although if you hadn't been before it was good fun. There are plenty of alternatives around the ship though if it's not your cup of tea. The entertainment in the theatre was OK, but not great in our opinion. You can't please all of the people all of the time though, and they did a pretty good job of trying to get it right. We really enjoyed The Emperors of Soul, but not so much the Production Shows. The Ice Show was fabulous. We had a tour of the Bridge and the Galley, and a behind the scenes tour of the Theatre etc. All very interesting, especially the Bridge Tour, meeting the Captain etc.We spent more time on board on this cruise than we normally do, but we have been on this itinerary a couple of times before. It is a fabulous itinerary! How else can you see parts of 3 different countries in one week? A highlight was the ship's excursion to Ephesus, which we have visited before,and love it. This time we were on a half day, early visit which was great, because our coach was first to arrive before the crowds, and we were back on the ship for lunch! I would advise anyone who goes on an organised excursion from Kusadasi to be aware that you do NOT have to go to the Carpet Factory if you don't want to! The tour guides give the impression that it is a compulsory part of the tour. Of course, it isn't! It's your vacation and you can do what you like. The fact is that the ship is berthed just a few hundred yards from the Carpet Factory. You can just get off the coach and walk back to the ship. We met several people who said that they didn't like the 'hard sell' tactics at the Carpet Factory (sold as a 'Demonstration')but they didn't know that they could say No and leave the tour when the coach returned from Ephesus. We just always politely but firmly say "No thank you, we will just make our own way back to the ship now" As on previous cruises, we were very impressed by the efficiency of our disembarkation and transfers back to the airport. For us, it's a good idea to have RCI arrange the flights as the price includes transfers to and from the airport. We overheard several people at the Guest Relations desk complaining about the price of transfers when they bought them seperately. I think it was about $90pp for a one way transfer from airport to ship, which is ridiculous. It's a pity that Navigator is returning to the States. We had a great time and would have loved to do another Med cruise on her after the refit :( Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We are a family of five who all enjoy cruising, and to date have tried the major cruise lines but only on Caribbean itineraries. Though this was our first time to Europe, we had come to expect a certain level of service with RCI and they ... Read More
We are a family of five who all enjoy cruising, and to date have tried the major cruise lines but only on Caribbean itineraries. Though this was our first time to Europe, we had come to expect a certain level of service with RCI and they did not disappoint. We flew into Rome the day before embarkation and spent a whirlwind 24 hrs exploring as much as the city as we could in a jet-lagged state. We chose to save some euros by taking the regional train from our hotel near the Vatican to the port of Civitavecchia and everything went extremely smoothly. We met some crew from the ship at the train station and they stayed with us, even helping us with our luggage up and down the steep stairs at the train station. Thank you Francis!!!! We did the easy walk from the train station to the shuttle busses to the ship, arriving about 2 p.m. Embarkation was a breeze. The ship is required to keep your passports until you leave the last port of call. We dropped our carry-ons in the stateroom and headed to the Windjammer along with hundreds of other starving and excited passengers. Our 7-nights went by so fast! Our children loved the Kids' Program, leaving DH and I to fully relax and take in all the amenities around the ship. One of the highlights of our onboard experience was ice-skating! We also took advantage of the activities on the Sports Desk--DH took in several really good volleyball games--as well as the rock-climbing wall, the inline skating track and the mini-golf. We didn't use the pool much as it was a little breezy, but took advantage of the hottubs a couple of times. Dining on board was really good. Usually we love the dining room and avoid the Windjammer as it can be such a zoo. The Windjammer was always a zoo but I must say that the variety of food, and the quality of food was exceptional. Loved the dining room for breakfast, especially the mini-buffet. Lunch was always in the Windjammer and dinner was with our waiter Rey in the dining room. The dinner menu was varied and the food was okay (good, but not mouthwatering) but for some reason, it was a little too slow to be really enjoyable. The kids almost always ditched us after the soup course to escape to the kids' playroom. The evening entertainment is the only area where we felt let down. There was something every night, but I could have easily passed and not missed a thing. We did feel that the cruise director (Ciao, Bella!) was very good at her role. The one exception to the blah entertainment was the ice-skating show. It's worth attending. We had one issue with customer service at the front desk. I had made a point of going to the desk early on the last day to settle my account in cash and avoid the long line ups that would crowd the area for the rest of the day. On our morning of departure, the paper statement that came to our room had no indication that I had made a cash payment and showed the full balance owing. I had to return to the desk, delaying our disembarkation, and wait in line again to clear up the error. The only explanation they offered was a computer glitch??? Come on! At least I had kept my receipt, otherwise I would have had a nasty surprise on my credit card when returning home. Disembarkation was smooth. Royal Caribbean did not disappoint. The only thing that seemed to be lacking was a place to get a quick bite or snack, such as a poolside grill or Solarium cafe that we've seen on other ships. All of the staff we met were friendly and outgoing and you got a sense that they were happy employees. I must mention again that Francis in the Schooner Bar deserves to be recognized for his exceptional friendliness and helpfulness. Our ports: In Sicily, we arranged a group tour on the Cruise critic roll call to Taormina and Castelmola with a private company. The tour was okay; the views were breathtaking. In Athens, we took the metro/subway to the Acropolis and met up with the group Athens Free Walking Tour, which was fabulous! Lots of reviews mentioned how easy it was to take the metro to the Acropolis and I just want to say that while it wasn't complicated, it wasn't exactly simple, especially since the walk from the ship to the metro station was about 2 km. and we arrived at Thissio station to face another long, hot, uphill walk to the meeting point. After the tour, we had time to walk around the acropolis. Kusadasi, Turkey was our best port day. We took a half day tour with Ephesus Plus and they were A1. My goal in Crete was to swim in the Mediterranean but unfortunately mother nature did not cooperate, imposing high winds and rain during our brief stay on the island, so we just took the bus into the town and walked around a bit before returning to the ship. We chose to carry our own bags off the ship, and after breakfast and one last game of minigolf, we left the ship and headed straight to the FCO airport by pre-arranged cab to fly home. This was definitely one big tick off the bucket list, but unfortunately for my hard working DH, it just whet my appetite to plan another European cruise adventure! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
While this was our eighteenth cruises, it was the first with our extended family consisting of five married children and their 15 children ranging in ages from 1 to 11 years. Overall the embarkation process was extremely smooth once in ... Read More
While this was our eighteenth cruises, it was the first with our extended family consisting of five married children and their 15 children ranging in ages from 1 to 11 years. Overall the embarkation process was extremely smooth once in the terminal. However, traffic around the port was terrible boarding on gridlock. We last cruised from New Orleans several years ago and felt the traffic situation deteriorated rather than improve. We had requested the early dining room seating. Prior to the cruise, seating for the group was arranged through travel agent. We had three tables on the outside edge of the dining room away from the flow of traffic and great for the children. We had two waiters assigned to our three tables. Both were great and extremely flexible in accommodating our needs. The supervisor of our waiters was particularly helpful in arranging for the needs of my daughter one year old child. RCCL originally told us they did not puree food for babies and that we could buy baby food on-board. However, every evening the wait staff supervisor served our baby a three course meal. We were not sure if it was processed baby food or pureed but the baby loved it. We were a little disappointed with the menu. RCCL recently introduced a new menu that offers escargot every night. However, escargot was never available. Our waiter told us that it has not been available due to a "world shortage" of snails. It must be a "world shortage" that is limited to RCCL! This was our first time visiting Jamaica. What a disappointment! The port that RCCL built in Falmouth is great but outside the boundary of the control port area is a nightmare. We only made it about a 100 yards beyond the fence. We were bombarded by locals selling, begging, harassing and just be annoying. We really felt unsafe and returned to the port. Disembarkation went smoothly until we got beyond security. The exit was on the opposite site of the terminal. We were herded down a corridor like cattle. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

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