633 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas Family Cruise Reviews

My wife and I took our first cruise in October 2006. We sailed Navigator of the Seas to the Eastern Caribbean. Great ship, awesome ports but poor customer service and resolution. I have contacted RCI several times and still to this day ... Read More
My wife and I took our first cruise in October 2006. We sailed Navigator of the Seas to the Eastern Caribbean. Great ship, awesome ports but poor customer service and resolution. I have contacted RCI several times and still to this day over three years later, it still has not been resolved leaving me with a bad overall view of how Royal Caribbean treats the customer. I am the author of a travel website Around the World in Pictures http://www.dontenphotography.com/ and here is a copy of my trip log from the cruise, highlighting the good and bad. Eastern Caribbean Cruise 2006 October 21, 2006 Miami, Florida: We left our home in the early morning to begin the three hour commute to the cruise port in Miami as we embarked on our first ever cruise. The anticipation of the cruise made the drive feel more like 8 hours. As we climbed the bridge and caught a glimpse of the ship in the port, the excitement began to kick in we had finally made it. Embarkation was a breeze, having a toddler in a stroller was a golden ticket to advance to the front of the line. We were photographed for our Sea Pass and quickly stepped aboard the Navigator of the Seas. Once one board, it did not feel like a ship, rather its vast open promenade felt like a city block. We headed up to our stateroom on the ninth deck. We booked an superior balcony room near the front of the ship. The room was spacious and the private balcony was worth the extra money. My parents and sister arrived shortly after and checked in to the room next to us. They added airfare to their cruise package and were picked up and transported from Miami International Airport directly to the ship. Once they arrived we headed up to the Windjammer buffet for some food, a spot that will become our choice for the cruise. The convenience of the buffet and variety of food offered was easiest for us traveling with a 1 1/2 year old. We then headed to the front of the ship as we set sail from Miami to begin our cruise through the Eastern Caribbean. Once afloat, we played a round of golf at the Navigator Dunes miniature golf course as we watched the skyline of Miami slowly disappear into the Florida sunset. After a walk around the ship, we retired to the stateroom for the night. October 22, 2006 Atlantic Ocean: The began with breakfast at the Windjammer. Then my wife and mother went to play bingo while my dad, son and I set off to explore the ship. With 15 decks the ship has many places to enjoy. We started from the top down and visiting the Viking Crown, Bridge overlook, pool area and many more. During the evening we decided to break from our routine and have dinner at Johnny Rockets. After dinner we spent some time playing games in the arcade before heading back to the stateroom for the night. October 23, 2006 San Juan, Puerto Rico: Today marked the first stop of the cruise, San Juan. We started the day off with breakfast at the Windjammer and then got ready for the day. As we approached the coast of Puerto Rico, we went up to the deck to watch the ship sail into the harbor. We past the Fort El Morro on the point as the ship made its way to the dock. We were greeted by Puerto Rican dancers on the pier as we arrived in port. Disembarkation at the pier was hectic, a mad rush and the lines were slow moving. Once we were off the ship we began our shore excursion. We chose the Old and New San Juan City Tour. The tour consisted of a bus ride through the city of San Juan passing by many of the landmarks of the city. The tour guide was great, provided a great historical perspective of the city while mixing in the right amount of humor to keep it interesting. The tour bus stopped at Fort San Cristobal and we spent some time touring the fort on foot. Once back onboard the bus, we heading into the shopping district where the bus left us off. We walked around for a little before taking the short walk back to the pier. Back on the ship we ate dinner at the Windjammer and then headed back to the stateroom for the night. October 24, 2006 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas: Day four of the cruise began as the ship arrived at St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Living it Florida it was nice to see some elevation as the ship pulled closer to the island. Disembarkation here was much easier. We walked around the Havensight Mall by the port prior to beginning our excursion. For the excursion we book the Ultimate Island Experience. We boarded an open air bus and began a tour through the island. We drove along Skyline Drive and enjoyed the scenery that St. Thomas has to offer. First stop on the tour was Mountain Top overlook. We continued our climb through the mountains and made another stop at Drake's Seat overlooking Magen's Bay. After a brief stop, we began our descent from the mountains to Magen's Bay where we took a two hour beach break. It was easy to see why Magen's Bay has been rated one of the top beaches in the world, the water was crystal clear and refreshing. We then boarded the bus resumed our tour. The next stop on the trip was Blackbeard's Castle. Here we toured the castle and ground before boarding the bus and heading into town. The bus tour concluded in the down town shopping district of Charlotte Amalie. From here we hopped a cab and headed to our next destination, Skyride to Paradise Point. The Skyride took us to the top of Paradise Point and then return trip back to the base of the mountain. We then took a short walk back to the ship where we ate dinner and retired for the evening. October 25, 2006 Phillipsburg, St. Maarten: Another day, another island. This time marking the first time we set foot on land not under control of the United States government. We will be visiting to separate countries on one island; Dutch St Maarten and French St Martin. We took the St Maarten Island Tour excursion. We boarded the air-conditioned bus and began our tour of the Dutch side of the island, traveling through the great salt pond and past Orient Beach. A stop was then made for shopping in Marigot. Forty-five minutes later we boarded the bus to continue the tour back to the ship. Once back onboard we headed to the Windjammer for dinner and then to Ixtapa Lounge for karaoke and drinks before heading back for bed. October 26, 2006 Atlantic Ocean: Today marked our second day at sea and when our wonderful vacation turned bad. We encountered some rough seas after departing St Maarten and the ship was rocking pretty good. Between the rough seas and the drinks from the night before, my wife got seasick pretty bad. She went down to the clinic to see the doctor and get some medication to cure the seasickness. He misdiagnosed her with a viral disease rather then give her seasickness medication and quarantined my entire family to the stateroom. We were not allowed to leave the stateroom for any reason and all food would be delivered to us. During this time, the cabin attendant was not allowed to enter the cabin for clean linens or to clean the room and was ordered to keep an eye on us that we did not leave the cabin. Despite pleas to the medical staff explaining the circumstances of the night, the rhinovirus diagnosis remained an the quarantined restrictions we kept in place. We tried to speak to guest relations and all offers of assistance were turned down and eventually we were told if we were not happy with the results, we could get off at the next stop in Nassau and find our own way home. After that threat, we just dealt with it and could not wait to return to Florida. October 27, 2006 Nassau, Bahamas: Today was the second day of the quarantine period and the ship had pulled into port in Nassau. We were originally scheduled to do the Nassau and Paradise Island excursion but thanks to the restrictions put in place by the medical staff, we were unable to attend. Today we were extremely grateful to have had a balcony room so at least we could get some fresh air. But the four walls of the room were closing in quickly and the stateroom began to feel more like a prison. As the quarantined continued, the rudeness and hostility of the staff increased. Our meals arrived to the stateroom cold and when asking for drinks, all we were told is they couldn't do that. Well if we weren't restricted to our rooms, we would have gotten it ourselves, but it wasn't an option. By the end of the day, I was so furious with the situation I could not wait to return home in the morning. As the sunset over Nassau, we began the short trip back to Miami and off the prison boat. October 28, 2006 Miami, Florida: We arrived into Miami early in the morning and it could not be early enough as we could not wait to get off the SS Prison Boat. Well its not like we had a choice, since my wife was still "infected" she was given priority disembarkment and we were off the ship quickly. Not sure if it was because they didn't want to get anyone else sick or just because they were tired of hearing us complain but it didn't really matter since we were free. We gathered our luggage in the claim area and began the drive back home. The events of the last few days of the cruise really tarnished what started out as a remarkable vacation. Its hard to believe the amount of power they give to one person with no secondary opinion available. Seems like there should be a checks and balance system in place which there was not at the time. Once we returned home, I contacted Royal Caribbean's corporate office and advised them of the experience. The actions of the crew were justified in their minds and as a token of the inconvience, they gave us $500.00 towards a future cruise, but based on what happened that wasn't much since the experience prevents us from ever wanting to cruise again. Update: Three years later, the emotional scars of the last few days of the cruise have worn off my wife and she is ready to give it another try. I contacted Royal Caribbean to see about booking another cruise and using the credit they offered and I was told that the offer was no longer on the table, that too much time has passed since the offer was made. So the customer service aspect of Royal Caribbean has not improved, really leaves me disappointed. They offer such a great product but the poor service of a few has a lasting effect on the whole company. So it leaves me in a predicament, I am looking to try another cruise in April 2010 and they have the itinerary that we want, 10 night Jewel of the Seas. Do we suck up and deal with the poor relations we had with them to give them another try or do we go shopping for another cruise line? Only time will tell what we are going to do and you will be the first to know. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
We had already sailed previously with P&O (without our kids) and decided this time to try Royal Caribbean. What can i say... the Navigator is the most amazing ship - and surprisingly RC have even bigger and better ships as well. we ... Read More
We had already sailed previously with P&O (without our kids) and decided this time to try Royal Caribbean. What can i say... the Navigator is the most amazing ship - and surprisingly RC have even bigger and better ships as well. we were absolutely astounded at the Vegas style interior and the fantastic array of facilities. Having resided in America for several years, it really lived up to the American dream!! The quality of the shows were superb and the friendliness of the staff fantastic. We travelled with our two teenage boys - one of which is Autistic, and we couldnt have wished for a nicer cabin attendant. We were so pleased with our trip that we immediately booked again with RC for the next summer - we had an equally pleasing experience on the Voyager - although the ship is slightly older and tattier. I would highly recommed RC to anyone with kids or teenagers!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
This is my wife's 13th cruise on Royal Caribbean (my 12th). We are obviously diamond members and considering these were all taken since 2001 we are very loyal. We booked this cruise earlier in the year, but after my father was widowed ... Read More
This is my wife's 13th cruise on Royal Caribbean (my 12th). We are obviously diamond members and considering these were all taken since 2001 we are very loyal. We booked this cruise earlier in the year, but after my father was widowed over the summer we re-arranged our accommodations and invited him to come along. It was him who instilled my love of traveling. We arrived at the port at around 12:15 to find a very long line checking in. Since the ship had just returned from a transatlantic crossing I guess they needed extra time to ready the ship. We dropped my dad and son off with the bags and told them to get in line. The first ominous sign was that the garage across from the Navigator's bay was full and we were directed to part about 1 mile away, where we were to take a shuttle back to the ship. After that debacle, we got in the security line. I have never seen the security line so bad, but we waited about 20 minutes in that line. Because we are diamond, checking in was pretty easy. We went to the Windjammer to eat what was a late lunch. Of course, the place was absolutely packed with people. We purchased our soda cards on the way in, but the second ominous sign was when we tried to get a soda at the bar in front of the Windjammer. We waited, and waited and waited some more. Finally we walked away in disgust. Filling up at the Cafe Promenade was about the same - waiting while everyone else was getting waited on. We went to our staterooms which were next door but not adjoining. The staterooms were nice and clean and the mattresses and linens were in good shape. We met our stateroom attendant who was very nice and did a great job. After the exciting muster drill we were off to the Concierge Club before heading to early dinner. We got there about 5:35 (it opens at 5:30) and there were no seats. So we grabbed a drink and stood. Fortunately we were able to find seats the rest of the week. We were put at a table for 4 which is fine with us. But unfortunately we were stuck with a dud of a waiter. Dinner was at 6:15 and the show was at 8 - we didn't even have enough time for desert that first night in order to make the show. It took forever to get our food. And of course, the headwaiter never showed up that night. When he did show up the next night, we voiced our displeasure with the service the night before. While it improved a bit, we were almost always the last to eat. This considering we were on time every night while others showed up at 6:30, 6:45, etc. The headwaiter never really checked back to see if we were satisfied with the service. He did stop by on tip night of course! Of all the cruises we have been on, the service on this cruise in the dining room (and other venues) was by far the worst. Perhaps one of the most disappointing issues we had was our shower. It was draining slow the first day. On the second day, I took a short shower and it overflowed into the bathroom. Fortunately the bathroom has a high enough lip that it didn't overflow into the stateroom. On the positive side, the itinerary was good. Grand Cayman is a nice port. The weather was dicey the morning we arrived, but fortunately we were able to tender over. The weather turned out to be quite nice though windy. Ocho Rios, is well, Ocho Rios. We got out early and walked through the town, then came back to the boat for lunch before venturing out. We hired a taxi who showed us some sights and took us to Dunn River Falls. My 78 year old father, my son and I climbed it. Well, my dad got about 2/3 of the way up before stepping out onto the walkway. The really bad part was coming up. It was a lot of fun and makes me wish I would have done it before. The entertainment was very good on this ship. The comedian was excellent, the musical act (Spectrum) was a wonderful tribute to the old Motown groups and the juggler/comic the last night was a hoot. We really enjoyed those as well as the ice dancing. The 2 production shows were a mixed bag. The Broadway themed one wasn't my bag, but I think my dad enjoyed it more. The rock one was better in my opinion. We have 2 cruises booked with RCCI - the Grandeur in April and the Oasis in 2010. Honestly, if we find that our service on this cruise was indicative of where RCCI is going now, we will reconsider the Oasis and look for another line. We like the big ships, the amenities and of course like our Diamond Status. But we also demand good service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Quips, quirks, and biases One of the great things about cruise vacations is that, in many cases, they are what you make of them. Because of that, I always like to include this little introductory section where I describe where I'm ... Read More
Quips, quirks, and biases One of the great things about cruise vacations is that, in many cases, they are what you make of them. Because of that, I always like to include this little introductory section where I describe where I'm coming from, as context definitely colors any review. This was my 10th cruise on Royal Caribbean, and 20th cruise overall. I've been "loyal to Royal" lately because I like their ships, have received competitive pricing, enjoy the C&A perks, and enjoy the OBC I receive for NextCruise bookings. I made my booking directly through Royal Caribbean the Tuesday before the Saturday departure. I'm currently a graduate student, and I booked this cruise on a lark just under a week before its departure because a) the cruise rate was phenomenal ($281 base fare for a single person in an inside guarantee) b) the airfare was tolerable, and c) I needed a break from school (again after my October cruise, sheesh!). This was to be my first official Diamond cruise, though upon talking to C&A before leaving, it was clear that I would have a little leg-work to do once I got onboard because my most recent Majesty cruise was too recent for the computer system to count it as a credit. Pre-Cruise I dislike flying the day of the cruise, and I especially dislike doing it in/near winter. However, one benefit of booking so late was that I felt fairly confident when looking at the short-term forecast that there would not be any significant weather occurrences on embarkation day. I arrived at the new Indianapolis airport at about 6 in the morning, my 8:00 direct flight on AirTran to Fort Lauderdale left without a hitch, and I had my bags collected by 11 AM in Fort Lauderdale (which looked like a refugee camp at this point with all of the cruise passengers with late flights sitting around with their baggage. From these boards I knew that the airport was close so I hailed a cab and a $17.50 ride later (including the $2 airport fee), I was waiting for a porter in front of Navigator. Embarkation When I got out of the cab, I actually had a little trouble getting a porter to help me (they were all draw to taxis and vans with more people, etc). When I finally got the attention of one, I told him that I didn't have tags. He went looking for the manifest and couldn't find one, so he took the number off of my SetSail Pass, put it on a blank tag, and sent me on my way. Once in the terminal, things seemed a little confused. In going through security, I asked twice about needing to take my laptop out of my bag. The first agent said yes, but the person manning the scanning machine said no, so I was grateful not to go through the hassle. I then proceeded to the priority embarkation line, which was empty, and was immediately shown to a check-in agent. The lady came back with the wrong key, then the right one, and seeing I was "Platinum" on my card, she sent me on my way, remarking that of course I already knew everything (and failing to note, as I'd find out later, that my room assignment had changed). I made my way past that security photo stations (they weren't boarding yet) and was vaguely directed to waiting area. I approached one of the agents to ask where I was supposed to sit and, upon seeing my card, she brought me to a group of chairs and had people move their luggage so that I could have a seat. A few minutes later, a different agent got on the PA and apologized for the wait, but explained that the ship was going through a full Coast Guard inspection because she had just returned from Europe. I was not aware of this fact, but having been in a similar situation on the Brilliance last year, I knew that even at 11:15, there was going to be a bit of a wait. Another announcement was made a few minutes later, and after about 30 minutes of waiting, an agent came through to collect all Platinum and Diamond members and escort them through the security photo process and then on the ship. I ended up being about the 5th person to board (besides any wedding party or other group). My first stop on the ship was the Guest Relations desk. While waiting in the terminal, I spent time looking at my SeaPass and realized that my room assignment had changed. The day I had booked my inside guarantee, I had been fairly quickly assigned an accessible oceanview cabin on Deck 2 and this assignment had not changed on my reservation up to the time it disappeared off of the Royal Caribbean website. Since the numbers on my SeaPass signifying the last 3 digits of my cabin were different I knew I had been moved, but had no idea what deck. It took a little explanation to the guest relations person I spoke to (I would have thought that "What cabin am I in" was a standard question), but he told me that I was now in a cabin on Deck 6. I asked about my bags and the fact that they were going to another room and was told not to worry about it ... they knew they had changed my room. Figuring that accessible room had become needed and that I was back in an inside, I went off to explore the ship until we could access the cabins. I headed to the Windjammer, which was not open yet, so I shot hoops and played a bit of mini-golf until the Windjammer opened (I think around noon). At a little after 1, I went to look for my new cabin. As it turns out, I had been upgraded to a balcony cabin just off the aft hump (6334). This was a huge shock for me (I've never been visited by a category-jumping upgrade fairy) and I was suspicious that this was not my true cabin because it had been made-up with two Platinum books and a German version of the Compass. My key worked though, so in a flash of inspiration, I checked my onboard account on the TV and, sure enough, it had my name down. For the oddness to continue though, the room steward visited later and asked me if I was "Willie" ... it turns out that my upgrade was so new that she still hadn't received my name on her roster. She took my name, removed the Platinum books, and left me to my room which, since I was alone, was the first time I've ever looked around a cabin and though that I had an overabundance of space. Quest for Diamond Even with assurances from the C&A agent I spoke to that she would email the ship and let them know I would be Diamond, I was about 95% sure that the important order of business for embarkation day would be getting my status upgraded and getting ahold of that Concierge key. Guest services told me that I would need to talk to the Loyalty Ambassador (with hours starting at 6 PM the first day) in order get my status straightened out. At 5:55 I found a small line of people at the Ambassador's desk. She showed up a little after 6 and a short time later, she was telling me that she couldn't find my Majesty trip and, in fact, I my history only showed 5 cruises even though I had 9 credits. [side note: I still find the kinks, quirks, and shortcomings of the C&A system amazing considering it deals with such a valuable commodity as loyal, repeat guests ... I had to go through the same rigmarole when I moved from Gold to Platinum] Luckily, having anticipated this problem, I whipped out my SeaPass from Majesty and was quickly given a Diamond sticker on my Navigator SeaPass, a Diamond book, and most importantly ... that concierge key. The Ship I have been on two Voyager-class ships before, Voyager and Explorer, which are both the "early" versions of the ship. In truth, the only differences I noticed were art/sculptures on the pool deck and balconies on the outside of the superstructure rather than the "cave" balconies that can be found on the early designs. In fact, having had a cave-balcony at the end of July on Explorer on deck 6, I can say that I much preferred the deck 6 balcony I received on Navigator. The plexiglass front to the balcony offered a much better view of the water while in a seated position and the balcony just seemed to feel more airy. As for the rest of the ship, the Voyager-class staples were all present and working. The Royal Promenade was impressive, as always, though I was surprised to see the Explorer's sports bar replaced by the Navigator's wine bar. I thought that the insides of the ship were well-kept, and it was nice to be in a room that wasn't full of scratched furniture, dirty carpets, etc. The outside of the ship, in my opinion, seemed like it could use a little work as I noticed many rust spots as I walked around the outside promenade. Probably the most irritating issue about the ship on this voyage was the water ... it was generally a light shade of yellow for most of the voyage. It didn't have any extra odor that I noticed, but pulling a glass of yellow water out of the tap is pretty disgusting, as is using white towels with yellow stains all over them. I'm not sure what caused it, and I have no idea if an explanation or apology was ever given. The Staff and Crew I will say upfront that because I did not go to any show but the ice show and was usually in bed by 11:30-12, I really had no interactions at all with the cruise director. From my brief views of him on the television during his morning show and the love and marriage show, he seemed more suited to a European cruise than a Caribbean cruise (which makes sense). I enjoyed talking to the cruise director's staff and Vitality staff, especially Lara from Boston who ran the activities all day in Jamaica. My room steward, Elvie, was phenomenal and we'd spend time every day chatting in the hallway about various topics. I'd also rate my wait staff fairly high (and I feel bad that I can't remember their names). Javier and Allan in the CL did a good job, I thought, in keeping the show moving during the busy times, and both were very easy to talk to when it slowed down a little. As for the crew in general, I thought it was kind of a mixed bag. I was not usually greeted by other room stewards as I walked past them, nor others working on the deck. The bartenders all seemed very friendly (as is their job, right?), and the bar waiters seemed to be polite and non-harassing if you sat in their venue (for trivia, etc) and not making any purchases. I thought that the girls in the perfume shop blew me off a little, but who knows ... maybe they figured that the big money would be coming from the women buying makeup and not the guy just looking for a single bottle of cologne. In terms of service, I thought that the low points for me came in the casual eating venues. The Windjammer greeter in the morning was always smiling, friendly, and easy to engage, but everyone else seemed fairly shut down. I remember walking into the Windjammer for lunch on the last day and saying hello to the greeter who was standing there stoically. She looked at me, clicked her counter, and made no other expression or return on the greeting. In terms of service in the Windjammer, I thought it was a little lacking in comparison to my previous cruises. My plates were not cleared, and only once in the whole trip was I offered beverages (in my past experience, when sitting down for breakfast, usually 2-3 people would ask if I would like coffee each morning, etc). I was probably most irritated by the service at Johnny Rockets ... and this is such a minor thing in the grand scheme, but boy it made me mad. Anyway, I made the classic mistake of forgetting to use my JR coupon until the last day, a sea day, which is of course the absolute worst time in the world to visit JR unless you want to wait. I showed up after Bingo to a packed house with long line, so I came back around 3, and while it was still packed, I was the only person in line (until others joined, of course). As I'm standing there, the officer in charge comes up to me, says "There's a wait. I'll seat you later." and walks away. OK I think ... as I see some people about ready to leave. The people do leave, and the table is not bussed for about 5 minutes. At this point, the officer doing the seating has disappeared and I'm wondering if I should just go sit or wait. Another 5 minutes pass and a group of younger kids (8-10ish) by themselves push into the restaurant and of course go to the empty seats. At this time the officer returns, looks at me, then says something to one of the waiters who proceeds to grab menus and hands them to the kids who have just sat down in front of me and about 6 other people in line. At this point I'm just mad (at having wasted my time) and I walked out because I realized it was no longer worth my time or energy. I realize that they were busy and that no one really wanted to kick the kids out and tell them to wait their turn, but come on ... service on the last day counts for more, in my opinion, because that is what sticks in your mind. The ill-gotten cabin I was of course thrilled with the cabin upgrade, and it turned out to be a very nice cabin. I was placed in 6334, which was a balcony towards the aft a little off the hump (I think it was a D1 or a D2 but I'm bad with colors). It was essentially the same cabin I had had on Explorer, though obviously with just me instead of 3 in there, it seemed much more spacious. Actually, the cabin was really very nice overall with very little wear-and-tear on the furniture. The balcony was great, of course. For those of you who have never had a standard balcony on RCCL, it came with two chairs and a small table. Entertainment I did not make use of a lot of the entertainment onboard, but there seemed to be quite a bit available depending on your tastes. There were of course nightly shows (many of the late shows were pre-dinner) including two production shows (All-Access and the usual Broadway revue), the Welcome Aboard show, what was I believe a Motown show, and the Farewell show. The ice-show was Ice Dancin' and there were no tickets needed ... seating was first-come, first served and at the show I went to (second one on the first sea day), there were plenty of empty seats. There were also two parades in the Royal Promenade(first night and second to last) as well as a 70s dance party with the "Village People" making an appearance on the bridge. I believe that there was an piano player in the Schooner Bar and some sort of entertainment provided in the pub (Two Poets) as well. Sorry I can't be more helpful here, but to be honest, I hit the sack pretty early each night (keeps me out of the casino). There was also a midnight comedy show one night with Hal Spears. Concierge Lounge The lounge was very busy the first night with almost all of the chairs, couches, and extra chairs in use. After that night, it was my experience that the lounge ranged from quite busy to almost dead, depending on what time you went in. I usually headed in about 6:30-7 to drink/talk until 8:30 dinner. Usually it tended to get more crowded around 7:30-8 when the first seating folks came up for post-dinner drinks, but to be honest, past that first night, there seemed to be seating available as long as you were willing to make new friends and take the available seats. Food I'll put in a disclaimer here, just FYI, but I don't mean it to be negative. I'm currently taking Advair, which is inhaled steroids. One of the side-effects for me is that most food tastes awesome. With that being said, I thought that the food on the Navigator was quite good. I'll admit that it was a little boring (the same stuff I've seen in the Windjammer and dining room for a few years), but things seemed to be very well prepared. My standout "new for me" item were the triple-chunk cookies at the Cafe Promenade ... quite tasty. Lobster was offered on Grand Cayman night and though the tail was small, I thought it was prepared quite well and was actually not rubbery or mushy. My main complaint though, as always, is with the desserts. With the exception of a few nights, the desserts in the dining room were very forgettable. The desserts in the Windjammer, in my opinion, are mostly downright awful because they have a gelatin base between the nice looking (and tasting) topping and the crust. You could always tell that something was going to be fairly tasteless when your tart/pie wobbled when it was on your plate ... I'm sorry, but a piece of peanut butter pie should not wobble! Ports Let me start off this section by saying that I have been to both of these ports before (Cayman many, many times) and am actually returning in about 3 weeks. In other words, I'm not going to have any exciting stories here and I didn't take any tours, but I'll try to give some input where I can. Grand Cayman Cayman is a tender port, which for those of you who might be new to this cruising thing, means that the ship does not dock but instead floats out in the harbor and sends passengers ashore in "little" boats. This is obviously much less convenient than being at a docking port where you can just walk off. It can also lead to the cancellation of the port due to weather conditions as it is unsafe to transfer to the tender when there are large waves. It was extremely windy the night before arrival, and I was actually shaken awake at 3:30 AM due to ship movement, so I had it in my mind that we would probably not be able to call on Cayman the next day. As it turns out, I was only mostly wrong ... we were able to tender ashore, but an announcement was made onboard that because of the weather, all stingray city tours were cancelled (AKA, most of the tours in Grand Cayman). The night before Cayman, Javier gave priority tender tickets to people in the CL. Otherwise, tender tickets were distributed (supposedly starting at around 9 AM, I think, but didn't check) in a specified location (I'm thinking Royal Promenade, but may be wrong here). We actually arrived a little early, so a little before 9, a general call to board the tenders was made for anyone ready to go, no tickets required for about a 20 minute window. Since I was ready I went down, boarded, and the tender was off by 9:15 or so. I debarked at the pier which was a little hectic (there was also a Carnival ship in port using the same general area). The shops were all as I remembered them with plenty of clothing, jewelry, and liquor stores, many of which also sold over-priced "Cuban" cigars. Cayman is definitely one of those islands, however, where you feel pretty safe as long as, if you're an American like me, you remember to look the opposite direction when you step off a curb (British driving rules apply). I ended up walking all around, and even though it was early, it seemed clear that the most popular destinations were Senor Frogs, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, and the Hard Rock Cafe. I chose to buy some overpriced, color-changing board shorts at Del Sol ($42, but was in need of a new water duds and they aren't exactly selling them during this season in Indiana). Since I had also promised to buy a rum cake for someone, I spent my time looking at the differences and prices between the traditional Tortuga rum cakes and Blackbeard's. I was also looking at liquor and was actually thrown out of one store for having the nerve to pull out my iPhone and type in a few prices ... "Hey you! You can't do that. Our pricing is confidential." Since all of the pricing was pretty much the same anyway, I guess it didn't matter, but it was still a little irritating. I ended up purchasing a liter of Hendrick's gin (a recommendation I happened to remember from someone a few weeks before I left) for $28 ... take that confidentiality. I made this purchase at one of the Blackbeard's stores, so since I had bought a liter of alcohol (any), I was able to get a free large rum cake (a $20 value ... I was given a coupon that I had to take to another woman just down the alleyway ... no problem at all). Two birds, one stone. Check. Also, again for those of you new to the cruising thing or visiting Cayman, any liquor purchases are paid for in the store but delivered directly to your ship. In other words, you pay money, give them your ship and room number, and pray that on the last day of the cruise, your liquor arrives (mine did, no problem). After my wild expenditures, I made my way back to the tenders (it was about 11 at this point) and had to convince the security guard that I actually did want to go back. The tender was already pulling away by this point, so I had to wait in the outside area until the next one emptied and then I was quickly ushered in. At this point the tender was pulling up the gangplank, leaving me to shout ... I'M GOING BACK!! They look at me and shout back ... YOU GOING BACK??!!?? Anyway, after this model of clear communication, the gangplank was refastened, I boarded, and a few minutes later, I was back on Navigator. PS ... tenders at this point were running packed to shore. I don't recall more tender announcements so I don't know if it was open tendering or not, but if you are a late riser, expect a bit of a wait to go ashore. Ocho Rios, Jamaica This was my second time visiting Jamaica. My first time was with my mother, and to be honest, I was slightly disappointed that no one offered me any drugs (not that I would have bought them, of course). Remembering how adamant the people were, though, I had second thoughts about going ashore, but since I had promised to buy some coffee for someone, I was duty-bound to step off the ship. You start out at the famous blue-railed pier, then head into a waiting area where you can head in various directions ... to the left looked like some shops and straight ahead, through the main gate, was the main road that you would take to the closer shopping areas. I took the main gate, then headed into the first store on the right, which is where I remembered purchasing coffee on my last trip. Surprise surprise it was still there, with 8 oz of blue mountain coffee running for around $13 with 16 oz around $20. I seemed to have a recollection that it was a little cheaper at the Taj Mahal shopping center, so I walked that direction (just down the street and to the left). Of course I was harassed and propositioned (taxis, tours, drugs, sex, taxis) about every 30 feet on this walk, but when I made it to the Taj Mahal area (also home to the Hard Rock Cafe), I discovered that coffee was exactly the same price or more expensive. At this point, it was back to the first store and back through the gauntlet, but I made my coffee purchase and was back on the ship before 11. I know quite a few people spent their time at Margaritaville drinking shots and using the swim-up-bar and waterslide (it is located down that main road and to the right into a shopping complex ... Island Village, I think). Ok ... so bottom line ... I don't think I felt "unsafe" in Jamaica, but I definitely felt uncomfortable with so many people trying to get a piece of me even after seeing their buddies fail. Many others I talked to also had similar feeling about the place, and for the first-time cruisers I talked to onboard, they were absolutely horrified (thinking that other stops would be like Cayman). I just stuck to my rules ... be polite but firm, do not hesitate in refusing an offer (it just gives them the idea that they can change your mind), don't stop walking, and keep your party together. If you have kids, keep them in front of you ... I saw a family walking in front of me where one of the women selling hairbraids had latched on to the kid who was tailing a little behind, who had no idea what to do as the lady hung on and was telling the parents to stop because the little girl really wanted to get her hair braided, etc. Debarkation On the second to last night, the debarkation information sheet was placed in my cabin during turn-down. The standard two options applied: express debarkation (carry your own bags off without assistance) or standard debarkation (tag your large luggage and place your bags in the hallway the last night by midnight). If you wished to do express, you were supposed to go down to the deck 2 debarkation desk and get a ticket (numbered one through three). If you wanted to do standard, you would use the tags that were delivered to your room and the color of the tags would determine the order and around what time you would get off the ship. On the morning of debarkation, both the main dining room and Windjammer were open for breakfast. Those wishing to do express debarkation were to meet on deck 4 in the Boleros area, though passengers would be exiting on deck 1, aft. Each debarkation group had a specified place to meet (listed on the debarkation sheet). I went to the Platinum and Diamond lounge (deck 4 dining room ... and keys were checked for entry) to wait at about 7:30, just about the time when the people there got up to leave for express debarkation. I sat, ate some rolls and had some coffee, and waited for white tags (Diamond members, post-cruise tour groups) to be called. It was listed to be 8:15, but I think the express debarkation numbers surprised them and the tags were not actually called until about 8:45 (I think ... though I got the impression that the members in the lounge were about the last to know as we couldn't hear announcements and had to wait for the guy on the walkie talkie to tell us we could leave). I was slightly surprised that there was no escort off for Diamond members ... we were just told to go. The lines were not bad at all, however, except for people who clogged up the hallways digging through their bags for passports, customs declarations, or their SeaPass card. I was fairly quickly off the ship and outside where we then had to walk the length of the ship to the customs area. At this point it was obvious who could not handle their bags as these people would stop suddenly, fumble around, re-adjust, etc. Once in the customs area, white-tagged bags were spread across two rooms (and I was so glad my bag was standard black). I found my bag fairly quickly, however, and then proceeded in to the customs line which confused some people because a) there were a lot of non-US citizens onboard who had a different line and b) once you got past the sign saying which line to go in, the back of the sign was reversed so it looked like you were in the wrong line. As we waited in line, officers with dogs walked up and down the queue and there generally seemed to be more security than I've noticed in some other ports. I anticipated some grief for traveling alone (in Miami I thought I was going to get back-roomed), but after a few questions, I was waved through. Directly outside the customs area were the motorcoaches and taxis. I went to the right, to grab a taxi. At this point, a guy wearing a "taxi" shirt grabbed my wheeled bag, took it 30 ft, and put it in the trunk of a cab. I hadn't realized that this guy wasn't the driver until it was too late, so I pulled out a dollar and gave it to him (receiving dirty looks ... to which I responded ... dude, you rolled my bag 30 feet). In about 10 minutes and a $15.50 fare later I was at the airport. I was flying Northwest, and there were signs on the line that said no bags would be checked until 3 hours before the scheduled departure time. I had anticipated this, and glancing at my watch (it was now 9:15 and my flight was at 2:30), I grabbed a seat and made use of the free wireless internet watching people check-in (it is now a $90 fee to have an overweight bag on NWA, beyond the $15 single checked bag charge, so there was lots of content shifting going on as people's bags came in overweight). The line really thinned out at around 10:45, and worried about the weight of my bag, I went up to ask if I could weigh my bag to see if I needed to remove some stuff (and could do it while not having people wait behind me). The very nice check-in agent told me that I could go ahead and check-in as the time limit was really only for very busy times like the weekend. I thought that was nice, so I checked in (paying only my $15 first bag fee ... which came in at 50 pounds exactly) and headed through security and had lunch at the Chili's Too in the terminal. Interesting note, at around 2:00, the gate agent announced that boarding would begin immediately and that if everyone got on board, we'd leave early because the pilot had a Thanksgiving dinner planned with his girlfriend that he wanted to make. Miraculously, everyone who had already checked in was at the gate (all 30 of us ... tiny plane), and our 2:30 flight was actually pushed back from the gate by 2:15. Even more miraculously, our gate in Indianapolis was clear, so we actually arrived and were off the plane 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Final Thoughts I've now done two cruises where I've boarded the ship the day it had returned from Europe, and from those experiences, I've come to the conclusion that those first voyages are "not quite right" in terms of ship upkeep, scheduling, and service. My guess is that this comes from two areas ... first, I think there is a concentrated influx/outflux of crew members directly before/after the crossing, which perhaps leads to a larger number of new people still learning their jobs, the ship, etc. Second, the Coast Guard inspection upon arrival in the US is extremely thorough and taxing for the crew (most were telling me that they were up by 3 AM that day) beyond their normal duties, and after that, it may take them a few days to get back to normal. Add into this that the ship is still burning through "old" foodstuffs (which are easy to tell when they are foreign-branded) and may be missing some other supplies (I overheard several complaints that there was none of the cheap Cruzan flavored rum to be found in the gift shop), like I said, things are just a little off. With all of that being said, and taking into account the water problems, I still had a very fun time. This was my second cruise solo, and I met so many new people (passengers and crew) that the only time I really felt lonely was the unfortunate dinner where I was the only person eating at a table for 10 (and it was lobster night!). I thought that the upkeep of the ship was pretty decent, and even though the differences are pretty small, I think that I do prefer the "newer" Voyager ships to the older ones. No matter the age, however, I can't help but be impressed by this class of ship in terms of what is offered in your fare, and though I rarely used the sports court, ice rink, or rock-wall, they definitely kept people away from the areas that I frequented. There were always activities that I wanted to participate in during the day(trivia, shuffleboard, golf simulator challenges, etc), and had I wanted to do anything at night, there would have been a lot to do then, too. Sure, there are some areas where I think Royal Caribbean could improve (such as food choices and desserts), but even if I had received the inside cabin that I had paid for, I think I would have gotten a very good value for my money, which is a key for me (and why I'm not even looking at Oasis at the moment). Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
For our 40th Anniversary, we treated our family to this 4 day cruise to Cozumel. There were 7 adults and 7 kids, ages 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, 3 and 19 months. Everyone had a wonderful time. There were plenty of things for the kids to do. All ... Read More
For our 40th Anniversary, we treated our family to this 4 day cruise to Cozumel. There were 7 adults and 7 kids, ages 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, 3 and 19 months. Everyone had a wonderful time. There were plenty of things for the kids to do. All but the two littlest ones enjoyed conquering the rock wall, inline skate track, ice rink, and mini golf. Unfortunately, the weather was cool and windy, so we didn't get a chance to swim...but there was lots to do without that. The littlest one would have spent the entire time on the putting green, hitting the ball into the holes (and yelling "hockey" all the time. We had the most fantastic experience in the dining room. The staff was great with the kids. After the first night, when we arrived at our tables, they had the high chair waiting, with a bowl of fruit. They treated the older kids with such respect..they felt like important guests. I had thought we would only eat there once...that the buffet would suit us better...but they wanted to eat in dining room every evening. What a chance for these "meat and potato" kids to try new foods. They were very willing to experiment. They loved escargot..something we don't eat in Ohio....they will never forget eating it. They also loved that they could order two items if they wished. Our only rule was that they had to eat everything...and they did.We had a Junior Suite...what luxury...and had booked them into 3 D1 balcony rooms down the hall. We enjoyed being able to go out on the balconies and wave at each other. One evening we had a slumber party for all the grands so that their parents could go do some adult things. Our room steward was extremely helpful in setting up the room to accommodate all of them...he was able to fit three roll-away beds and put bedding on the couch. The only thing missing in my 3 year olds mind was that we didn't have any popcorn. LOL. In Cozumel we went to Chankanaab Park and they all got to swim with the dolphins (this was our early Christmas gift to them). What a great time they had. The Park is beautiful. Unfortunately, now that we are home, I am getting emails from them saying we owe them another $5.50 for the three year old's admission. Since I gave them close to $1000 for 12 people to do this, plus a lot more for souvenirs, snorkeling and lunch (which was very good!) it seems very tacky for them to be demanding another $5.50 now.About the only negative experience we had on the ship involved the soda cards. I had purchased them for all of us....at $6 for adults and $4 for kids this came to a another chunk of $$. Most of the bartenders just filled the mugs with no problem...but the jerk at the bar by the Jade would not. He demanded that he would only fill a mug if the person showed him their sea card with the coke stamp on it....so that when I went at lunch time with 3 mugs, he would only fill mine. He gave me a card that he said I was given at the time I purchased the mugs (I was NOT given the card) that states this. It was clear that he just didn't like taking the time to fill them..he was too busy hitting on the male patrons at the bar. I was told by other bartenders that the mugs were enough proof that you had bought the soda card, but he said that you could buy those mugs any place. The rest of the trip, I checked out every souvenir shop and never found one that sold those mugs. I asked him to have his supervisor contact me, but I never heard from them. Would I do this cruise again? YES. I have told the grands that for our 50th we will take a cruise to Hawaii or Alaska...and I would definitely got with RCI again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
The embarkation - very smooth. We were on the ship by 11:30 am and cabins were ready at 1:00pm. Cabins - PR cabin 7253 was great - right near the forward elevators and convenient to everything except MDR and Windjammer which are in ... Read More
The embarkation - very smooth. We were on the ship by 11:30 am and cabins were ready at 1:00pm. Cabins - PR cabin 7253 was great - right near the forward elevators and convenient to everything except MDR and Windjammer which are in the aft of ship. My 2 boys had an inside 7237 on the other side of the elevators and my eldest son complained of noise, which turned out to be a crew elevator that was in use all night. The cabins were well appointed, showing little to no wear, and adequate for 2 people. Food - absolutely no complaints. MDR, Cafe Promenade, and Windjammer all served a great selection of food. My family loved the Key lime pie they served in Cafe Promenade. I think we ate most of what they put out...sorry :). Staff - Our cabin steward Ivan was fantastic. And our DR staff at table 306 in the Nutcracker was great as well. Our head waiter was by far the best we've ever had. He was always present and went out of his way to make sure our needs/wants were met. We usually don't see much of the head waiter, so this was a nice surprise. Windjammer - they just didn't seem to have enough people on during busy times. Tables weren't getting cleared fast enough, so you had people hunting for tables quite a bit. But, the wait staff were very pleasant. Cruise Director - ho hum. His jokes fell flat and he didn't carry the shows like Quest, Love and Marriage as far as they could have gone...comedicly speaking. But he did look fabulous in his 70s wig and platform heels on 70s night! Ship itself - gorgeous. I'm not sure what they are working on during dry dock in January, but the interior looks fabulous. I'm thinking it is mainly the stabilizers and exterior. Entertainment - late night adult comedian was great. ICE show was great. I'm not a fan of production shows so we didn't attend them. I wish they had more comedians etc and less of production shows. Art auction - Too long and he never brought out half the art that people had requested to be auctioned. Instead, he pushed Dali art...which no one bid on! Cozumel - the pier's store vendors are getting real pushy. We've been there 3x and we've never seen them that bad. They were pretty bad in town as well. You couldn't walk 5 feet without someone yelling to me "Hey lady...beautiful silver etc". Many mentioned it on board that night. We went to Chankanaab to snorkel. Great place. $10 cab ride and $16 entrance fee. You can print out a coupon for $2 off on their site. Debarkation - very smooth. We were eating breakfast in the Windjammer at 8:30 and off the ship by 8:50 am. Luggage was easy to retrieve. Park N' Go in Ft. Lauderdale - great alternative to port parking. AAA discount and they are running a promotion for 1 day free. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Embarkation: I had read in one of the cruising "bibles" that Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) was one of the most unfriendly ports to embark on a cruise. In some ways it's not fair because at other embarkation ports, each ... Read More
Embarkation: I had read in one of the cruising "bibles" that Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) was one of the most unfriendly ports to embark on a cruise. In some ways it's not fair because at other embarkation ports, each cruise line has the option of sprucing things up. For example, Port Canaveral houses a few lines, and each of the embarkation points are unique. Disney's is the most appealing, but RCCL's spot isn't unpleasant. However, Port Everglades... the best way that I can describe the embarkation areas is a cross between a Sam's Club, Walmart, and a general warehouse. Concrete floors, rows of makeshift stations all contributed to the drab, sanitary look. I wish that Betty had been able to keep the pictures she took, but when she started to snap pictures in that area, the officials there weren't too amused and made her delete the photos. Ha. Ship Staff: The quality of the ship staff was uniformly higher than the previous two RCCL cruises I've been on. I'm not sure why that might be but all the stateroom attendants were quick to greet guests regardless of which room they were in. The buffet dining area had a wonderful staff as well - quick to smile and bring our beverages of choice. Our waiter and assistant waiter were both very jovial, and our assistant waiter had this droll habit of excessively rolling his R's. Although not speedy by any means, bar staff was friendly. As a total aside, the staff on this vessel seemed to have a higher mastery of the English language as a whole than my two other RCCL sailings. Public Areas: On the Sovereign class of sailings, the Centrum marks the flagship of the public areas. One nicer statue or display surrounded by boutiques on two levels. The Royal Promenade replaced the Centrum on this vessel. Spanning four or five stories, the Promenade featured shops, cafes, and bars along the way. The usual display or statue was replaced by a tall fiber optic creation. I was not able to take advantage of every single bar on board, but the ones I did go into and take pictures of were clean, appropriately lit, and comfortable. Outdoor public areas were pleasing as well. The main pool deck featured 4 whirlpools and 2 pools while the adults only solarium offered 2 whirlpools and 1 pool. Chaise-lounges were plentiful, and it seemed as if all the guests had enough personal space while outside. The obligatory basketball court was well maintained, as was the flagship rock wall. Certain areas of the miniature golf course could have used maintenance, but overall the course was extremely playable. The arcade featured age appropriate games for teens, but some of the machines were in ill repair or malfunctioning. Dining: Dining on any cruise vessel is my usual gripe, and over the years I've found that the buffet style dining areas are consistently better than the main dining room offerings. A large part of this is due to the fact that while the food on the buffet lines is consistently subjected to appropriate temperatures, food that comes out of the kitchen at the main dining rooms either become too cold or too warm depending on what food is being served. As usual, meat products were overcooked. I understand the need to cook things thoroughly due to health and liability reasons, but who wants to eat a super triple well done burger? At least it was warm, I suppose. The WindJammer was above average as usual, and offered a healthy variety of American and ethnic fare. Vegetarian options were also available. The main dining room kitchen clearly wasn't on the same boutique level as say, Chops or Portofino (the specialty restaurants) - and I would have to rate the food as being below average once again. I opted for steak both nights and the first night my rare sirloin came back medium. No surprise there, but the cut off beef and texture was mediocre. Outback Steakhouse makes a consistently better sirloin than the one I had. The second night I ordered the New York Strip. My rare order came back rare, which was a delight until I realized that the meat was stringy and texture underwhelming again. My only guess is that instead of grilling at a high temperature for a smaller amount of time in order to sear the outside and seal in the natural meat juices, they grill at a medium temperature for a longer amount of time. My theory was most likely correct as I noticed the grill marks, although present - were light in color and resembled what my George Foreman grill is capable of. And that's not saying too much. Onboard Activities and Entertainment: While lagging behind Disney's plethora of activities for all ages, the Navigator of the Seas offered much to do in comparison with my other non Disney sailings. Outdoors activities and the spa and fitness center were well equipped. I got to play Bingo aboard the vessel, but spent much of my "activities time" walking around and just exploring the ship. I did not get to take advantage of open ice skating time, though that would have been a treat. Entertainment on the vessel was brought to the forefront by the Ice Dancing show. I honestly must say that it was the most enjoyable live performance show I've seen since "O" at the Bellagio. Amazing that even with the ship movements, only 2 of the dancers fell on the ice. The comedian kept his humor clean, though a trend in black comics on predominantly white sailings gives the comics significantly more fodder to work with. The stage show was energetic, although not to my personal taste. They ended with a medley of ABBA songs, and for a split second I thought I had gone to Swedish hell. The cruise director and activities director were both gregarious and well-prepared for the sailing, and I appreciated that. Coco Cay: After being denied access to Coco Cay on my previous two attempts, I was excited to finally make it. The concept of cruise lines owning private islands, (or leasing them) seems to have paid off as the activities become exclusive to cruises guests only. Lines are shorter, and there's less risk of guests being bullied by local entrepreneurs. The beach was beautiful, and I got to snorkel in warm water that did not require a wet suit. The schools of fish in the water were breathtaking, as were the starfish, sea urchins, and coral. Debarkation: Debarkation occurred very efficiently on this sailing, most likely facilitated by the fact that a fair number of people brought their own luggage on-board and the need for luggage porters was decreased. The debarkation pier was sterile, although customs and immigration were a breeze this time. Final Thoughts: My only regret is that I didn't have 3 - 4 extra days on the vessel. I would have liked to take advantage of the bars and public areas. However - it was very enjoyable for the short two days. Our seatmates at dinner were friendly, and I met two nice ladies from Nashville who left the kids and hubbies at home. However, I also met a fairly annoying older man at the whirlpool who reminded me of the old man on the NCL commercial who said, "I sold, I sold 20, no 200, no 220 thousand units in Las Vegas...  that must have been a record." Amazingly, my theory to make him disappear worked. While in the whirlpool, I noticed that he was hard of hearing, so I said to my mates, "If we just talk softly among ourselves whenever he tries to speak, he'll just go away." Five minutes later, no more annoying old man. How bout that... Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Wow! I just returned from my first cruise last night. It was 5 nights on the Navigator of the Seas. I loved it! (I'm having a hard time getting my land legs back at this point. Everything still feels like it's moving.) Anyway, ... Read More
Wow! I just returned from my first cruise last night. It was 5 nights on the Navigator of the Seas. I loved it! (I'm having a hard time getting my land legs back at this point. Everything still feels like it's moving.) Anyway, to start, I and my 2 travel partners flew to Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Airport/Cruise Port. I highly recommend staying there if you are planning to cruise out of Port Everglades. The rooms are nice sized and clean. They serve a deluxe continental breakfast which is a great way to start off your day before boarding. (It started my week long love affair with food, that's for sure!) The hotel has a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel. They also have a free shuttle from the hotel to the cruise port. Ask them for the number of their taxi/transportation company they use and call them for transportation when you return to Fort Lauderdale. They will take you from the cruise port to the airport for $7 per person. I can't remember the name of the company, but the owner's name is Kendt (pronounced Kent). Ask for Angel to drive you if he's available. Nice kid. Embarkation was a very smooth process. We got there about 11 and that worked great! There weren't very many people there at that time so we were some of the 1st people on the ship. We got our luggage several hours before dinner. Debarkation was very smooth too, though it did take a bit longer as we had to stand in lines getting off. We stayed in room 9200, a family oceanview stateroom. It can sleep 6, so it was perfect for 3 people. The room was HUGE too as far as cruise ship staterooms go with 2 sitting areas (one with a couch that makes out into a bed) and 2 separate sleeping areas. The room is on the very front of the ship and has 2 large portholes. We felt a little movement but we all liked it. It was relaxing and made for good sleeping. It was perfect really. Our stateroom attendant was wonderful too! It seems like every time we came back to the room, things had been tidied up. He made our cruise just that much better. (It's too bad I don't have that kind of service at home!) The service that we received on the ship in general was excellent and all the crew members were very attentive. They always greeted us with a smile and a "how are you?" when we walked by them. The dining room staff was excellent as well. As for the food, I really enjoyed all of it. And I ate WAY more than I thought I would. I just didn't want to pass up anything. We ate in the dining room all 5 nights and had some wonderful dishes, including lobster tail and lots of shrimp. The desserts were scrumptious too! We had room service twice which was probably the least enjoyable of the dining experiences. The Windjammer restaurant (buffet) was delicious. The choices of food didn't change really for the breakfast times, but changed a little for the lunch times. I didn't care either way though. I went back many days for the same things. There seemed to be a fair number of things to do on the ship if you were interested in them. We didn't do too much though. Went to a show one night and basically just ate and spent time by the pool and time in the gym the rest of the time on board. We stopped in Grand Cayman and Jamaica. I definitely wouldn't go back to either place, but they were nice to see. We went on short tours in both places and then just walked around a lot. We were going to go ATVing in Jamaica but it rained a lot while we were there, so we decided to skip it as it would have been quite muddy. The next time I cruise, I think I'll just plan to get off at the different stops and spend the morning there and then get back on the ship and enjoy the pool or something... All in all, my first cruise was a wonderful experience. I can't wait for the next one! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Pre boarding and boarding: We drove to Port Everglades. The ship was docked at Pier 25. Around 11:30 AM we cleared the Port security and had secured a parking space in Parking Garage # 19 all in less than 10 minutes. We then walked ... Read More
Pre boarding and boarding: We drove to Port Everglades. The ship was docked at Pier 25. Around 11:30 AM we cleared the Port security and had secured a parking space in Parking Garage # 19 all in less than 10 minutes. We then walked approximately the distance of two city blocks where we left our luggage and entered the building to begin the registration process. We could have driven by and dropped off our luggage, but elected to park and bring it with us to baggage check-in. Once entering the building we never stopped... right up to the check-in counter, checked-in and then took the escalator upstairs where we showed our Sea-pass card and walked on the ship without stopping. You receive your SeaPass card at check in and is used for entry and exit to the ship and all purchases you make on board. You enter the ship on deck 4, right by the elevators and adjacent to the Schooner Bar. The Ship: The Navigator began cruising the end of 2002 and was the fourth ship built in the Voyager Class of Royal Caribbean fleet. The ship will be going to Freeport for dry-dock at the end our cruise. In addition to carpeting, paint, wood repair, etc they will be replacing the two stabilizers that they have been without since last spring. We wondered if there would be any problems with us being on board just before dry-dock... there were none. There was some carpeting replaced during the night, but no noise or inconvenience to passengers of which we are aware. The ship was stately and beautiful. The Royal Promenade Has the Cafe Promenade, The Smoking Bar (Connoisseur Club), the Two Poets, a pub-type bar with inside and outside seating. Smoking is allowed inside so if that bothers you we do suggest you sit outside if you want to enjoy the late evening music, it does get "Smokey". The Champagne Bar is on this deck and is beautiful. Also the Ixtapa Lounge which is used for a variety of events, including Bingo, Dance lessons and was used as the Diamond Lounge from 5-8:30 on the two night cruise. There is also shopping. If you have been on a Freedom Class ship you will notice that the Royal Promenade does not offer as many shops, however if you have never seen a "Promenade" on a ship... you will probably be "wowed". It is very interesting to see a full size Bugatti automobile sitting in the middle of a ship. Guest Services is also located on this floor. Stateroom: Our Junior Suite was on deck 9, mid-ship. There was very little movement while at sea. The room was very quiet, above, next door and the hall. The cabin had a couch, chair, stool and the mirror, drawers and shelving along with a refrigerator. The balcony had two chairs, a table and a chair with a stool. The closet was large enough for two people and had shelving on one side. The bathroom had a tub with the shower over the tub and a plastic shower curtain, a single sink, toilet and shelving behind the side mirrors. Adequate for two people. Overall a very comfortable room for two people. Dining Rooms: There are three, the main dining room is the Nutcracker on deck 3. The other two dining rooms have balconies that overlook the main dining room and the Captain's Table. The Coppelia Dining room is located on deck 4 and the Swan Lake is dining room is on deck 5. All are beautiful and the huge beautiful chandelier can be seen from any dining room. Bars and Lounges: The Boleros Bar is located on deck four near the aft (rear) elevator. There is generally live music here starting around 5 PM and is often has a Latin sound with many people dancing later in the evening. You can also smoke here on the starboard side of the lounge, not while sitting at the bar. At the other end of the ship you will find the Schooner Bar. This bar also has music in the late afternoon and evening. During the day this bar is used for activities such as Trivia, Spa presentations, etc. There is an area provided for smoking. The Dungeon is right next to the Schooner and is also on deck three. It is a very interesting bar and provides late night activities. Even if you can't or don't want to stay up late... do a walk-through.. the decorations are very interesting, including a couple of skeletons. In additions to the other bars mentioned on the Royal Promenade there is the Pool Bar on deck 11 and the Sky Bar on deck 12. On Deck 14 is the bar known on some ships as the "Viking Lounge"... we always referred to as the "signature" of Royal Caribbean. The bars on this ship are named the 19th hole, with a television to watch sports, Cloud Nine which is used for events and was used on the five night cruise for the "satellite" Diamond Lounge. The large, and very beautiful, bar is the Cosmopolitan Club. They have music in the evening and also do Karaoke on some nights. It has beautiful views of the sea or ports in the day and has great lighting and music in the evening. Food: The all important part of any cruise, right? In addition to the three dining rooms there is also the Cafe Promenade providing salads, sandwiches and pizza on deck 5, in the Royal Promenade. Both the Portofino and Chops are on deck 11. We made reservations at Portofino during the two night cruise, but there was a mix-up so we can't give an update for this report. The Windjammer is on deck 11. We ate lunch there a few times and found the food hot or cold, as appropriate and the selection varied and delicious. There is also Johnny Rockets, deck 12, for delicious hamburgers.. .yes, they do have other selections, we just can't get beyond the onion rings, French fries and shakes! We were very pleased with our dining. We had an awesome Head Waiter, Ashton and very efficient waiter and assistant. We had requested a small table for our group of three. We had a great table with just the three of us seated on deck 4 in the Coppelia, and a great view of the Chandelier. Our food was timely, the right temperature and delicious. We were very fortunate to also meet the Executive Sous Chef who made us a "special order" one evening. Entertainment: The most amazing for us was the Ice Dancin' Show. We went both on the two night and the five night. We saw two different Special Guest Stars and they were each great as was the entire cast. We also had Comedy, Juggling and Production Shows. All were great, some funny and all entertaining. The Metropolis Theatre is laid out very nicely with great views from all areas we sat... and we tried out the balcony, the center, the wing seats as well as even sitting in the front row for the Farewell Show the last night of the 5 night cruise... we wanted to wave a good-by and good luck to the Officers and Crew before their Dry-dock days. Ports: Ports: Coco Cay, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rio, Jamaica Coco Cay: This is the private island owned by Royal Caribbean and we were told the Navigator had not visited for a number of years. There is no dock so we tendered over to enjoy a beautiful day. As we boarded the tender each person was handed a large beach towel. Lunch was a bar-b-q with chicken, ribs, and lots of salad, sides and deserts, all fresh and at the appropriate serving temperature. There are several bars on the island and bar-servers are also walking around offering a coco loco, payments are made with your SeaPass card. There are many places to sit, lounges and hammocks additionally there are numerous water sports available. There is a small area with souvenirs available for cash. Also, if you like to take pictures, there are many "photo opportunities" all around the island. Grand Cayman: Another day to tender, since there are no docks at this Port. We were the only ship in port. We arrived on January 26, National Heroes Day. Many of the stores were closed, however there was a large celebration just across the street from where the tender boats let the passengers off. There was free food and non-alcoholic drinks for all. Also local musicians were entertaining. We enjoyed walking over to the Heroes Wall and looking for names of relatives of some of our friends. Regarding tours, be aware, one in our party is a very physically fit 71 year old who signed up for a tour to see the turtles, visit to "Hell" and the stingrays. He received a call at 11 PM the night before the tour to tell him he could not go. There was a disclosure, in very small writing, so he was okay, but a little surprised. They must check the ships records because there was no required disclosure when he purchased the tour. Other friends went and said there were people in wheel chairs on the tour and that there was really nothing strenuous. Ocho Rios: There was only one other ship in Port on this day, on the dock behind ours. A number of us went to the Island Shops that are before the street and where a Margaritaville is located. Since we had been at this port earlier this month we just enjoyed the new friends we had found on the ship, the music, the food, the refreshments and the entertainment. Weather: We were very fortunate. When we left Ft. Lauderdale the temperatures had "dropped" to the 40's that morning. By the time of Sail-away we had nice temperature for the Life Boat Drill... which can be a very "hot" experience. Our days were nice, sometimes with a very brief shower, and an occasional cloud... but we felt lucky overall. The seas were calm. There were a few hours where some of the passengers were concerned and took, wisely, precautions taking some type of sea-sickness pill, patch or bracelet. We did not find the trip uncomfortable at all. Other Comments: The pool area is very nice, the solarium area is beautiful and the Fitness Center well fitted. There is a Jogging Track on deck 12 and the Sports Court on deck 13. There also a window on deck 11 where you can look in to the Bridge. Comments on Consecutive Cruising: When you do two or more cruises "back to back it is now referred to as "Consecutive Cruising". We did a two day followed by a five day on the Navigator. On the two day cruise we went to Coco Cay and returned to Ft. Lauderdale. The ship did not return to the same dock we left from due to the Independence being at that dock. By 9:15 everyone not on the next cruise was being requested to leave the ship. Those staying on for the next, five day, cruise were given instructions the day before. We were to meet in the Champagne Bar by 10 AM. Just before 10 AM our new SeaPass cards were being handed out. Around 10:20 we were requested to follow one of the Staff off the ship to go through Immigration. We left the ship and waited a few minutes in line for Immigration then were told to go around and form a line to get back on the ship. We waited in that area 20 to 25 minutes then walked back on the ship. We were all invited to a special lunch in the Nutcracker Dining Room at noon. We had a special menu with two choices of Appetizer and three choices of the EntrEe. It was a very nice "extra". Disembarkation: We returned on Thursday, January 29 to the dock we had left on our first day. The disembarkation process started about 8:10 for the Express Departure Guests. The walk to get processed through Immigration and Customs is very very long, wear comfortable shoes. If you have parked your own car in the garage, you will have an even longer walk to your car, be prepared. Summary: We enjoy the Voyager Class Ships. The Navigator is a beautiful ship. The Captain, Officers, Staff and Crew are professional, competent and very nice. We have two more cruises already booked on this ship. 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Sail Date January 2009
(INTRO - AIRPORT) This was our first cruise for my wife and I, so besides the great reviews I had read here on Cruise-Critic, we didn't know what to expect. We flew in from La Guardia New York to Fort Lauderdale Florida the same day ... Read More
(INTRO - AIRPORT) This was our first cruise for my wife and I, so besides the great reviews I had read here on Cruise-Critic, we didn't know what to expect. We flew in from La Guardia New York to Fort Lauderdale Florida the same day we were sailing. We arrived approximately 12:30, found a cab really quick outside at the taxi stand and told the guy TO THE SHIPS, and they knew where we were going. A fast, erratic, crazy cab ride had us to the port in literally 10 minutes about 1:00. It cost about $20 with tip and all. (TIP: KEEP YOUR ID ON YOU AS YOU NEED TO SHOW ID TO GET INTO THE SHIP PORT) I have been warned that bad weather, flight delays, or whatever type of delay are dangerous for missing your cruise, but we got there with plenty of time and were glad we didn't go down the night before. (ARRIVAL) When we got to the ship we were absolutely amazed by the size and beauty of it. There were tons of Caribbean men at the drop off point all looking to take your bags and "ensure" your bag gets to your room, but they only want your money. I tipped as the guy practically asked for one which was rude, but realized it does nothing to expedite delivery. We didn't get our luggage till 5pm, so make sure you have whatever you want in your hands before you turn your luggage over. Oh and not to mention when it is finally delivered, it is left outside your door in the hallway. (EMBARKATION) Going through the initial screening for ID and weapons made me feel like I was back in the military inside some huge hanger with roped off walkways directing the way. It was fairly painless as the excitement of going on the cruise outweighs it all, and there were many workers to direct you where to go and what to do. When you have completed your check in, you are given a Sea Pass which is a charge card for all spending that you do on the ship. I.E, alcohol, shopping, alcohol, getting on and off the ship, alcohol.... (ROOM) We went to our room first thing and were quite pleased. No bigger or smaller than your average hotel room and the balcony was definitely a nice benefit. The bed was actually pretty big with both twins connected, the bathroom was small with a stand up shower, but served its purpose. The toilets were a bit slow to work before we left and a little bit after, but when they do flush be prepared for the suction. There is a huge vanity for the women, and most of the same things you will find in a hotel. After we were relaxed in the room and valuables were put in the safe, we went exploring. Our stateroom attendant always was very nice and did a great job straightening up our room. Towel animals were always awaiting us on our bed when we returned to the room at night. Our keepsake alcohol cup was washed, our stuff was straightened, bathing suits hung up, among other nice little things I didn't expect them to do. (BLAH) 15 min on the ship, we were just blown away by the detail to the beauty and luxury on the ship so we felt compelled to take pictures immediately. I was doing the long arm self picture thing with my wife when a nice older couple offered to take our picture so we could get a nice one. This was common all over the ship throughout the cruise. The nice man took my camera, took the picture, and in trying to give it back to me dropped it and broke it. $200 digital camera gone just like that and all I got was a sorry. So of course my first stop was to the camera/picture store on-board as I could not go without a camera the whole cruise, but it was closed until we left US waters. (Duty free pricing) The ship was an hour late to leave the port for some reason that rumors said they lost someone's luggage in the water while loading it. Not confirmed but it's a valid reason we didn't leave on time. (DINING) 6:00pm came around and we attended our first dinner. We were upset to know that it wasn't acceptable to go into the main dining room in shorts and a t-shirt which was a problem since we only brought one pair of jeans. Other people did go dressed like that but we didn't want to be the odd balls so we wore our long pants. Dinner was very nice along with the people seated at our table (8 others) as well as the wait staff. You will find that most of all the employees are very nice and all from a different country with a great story to tell. The food wasn't amazing but it was the equivalent to an Applebee's quality dinner. Never many choices on the list but you could get as much as you wanted. (I got 3 lobster tail entrEes on seafood night) Main dining or Second seating doesn't really prohibit you from doing activities as most shows and events have two time slots to accommodate both dinners. The Windjammer was a buffet restaurant on the 11th floor that had a great view off the back of the ship. It had tons of food, desert, and seats. This was our lunch choice everyday and always seemed to have what we were feeling like eating. They are also open for breakfast and dinner. We didn't see the need to pay $25 for Chops Grill or Pontifino but it looked nice. We did go to Johnny Rockets, a 70's cheeseburger joint that had good food and great service. It was only about $15 total for the two of us. (ACTIVITIES) Every evening your stateroom attendant will deliver a "Cruise Compass" which was a list of the daily activities for the next day and always was very helpful in planning our fun. Almost every day we went exploring as there was so much to see all over. We went to the Ice Show on the first night and absolutely loved it. A small ice rink, but that did not stop them from doing amazing tricks and jumps. Its definitely a show you cannot miss if you go on a ship with a rink. Casino - Was small but pretty fun. It is only open when the ship is out to sea. There were tons of slot machines and few tables. We set some money aside before we got to the ship solely for gambling which all smart gamblers' should do. (TIP: BRING CASH) You can use your Sea Pass, but there is a 3% charge. We lost a bit, won a little, lost a bit more, and finished a bit down as to be expected after we finished our third night in the casino. Art Auction - Park West, one of the largest art galleries in the world has a contract with Royal Caribbean to hold art auctions on the ships. I had a great time the first night as I bought 2 pieces which I had to carry off and that turned out to be kind of inconvenient. I was given 5 pieces of FREE ART for random things such as answering a trivia question or applying for the RC Visa Card. They say each one is worth $650 but in reality the prints are only selling on ebay for $25. Those are sent to your house , but the selection to choose from isn't large or nice. Even if you don't like art or think your not going buy anything you should go because as long as you sign up you get FREE CHAMPAIGN. Because I bought some art I had a FREE bottle delivered to our room as well. A nice VIP feeling. The Dungeon - A nice dance club near the casino. Small dance floor but nice seating accommodations and two bars. We had a good time dancing but the rocking ship and sometimes bad music didn't make it too conducive for dancing. Bingo - Everyone knows how to play bingo so there isn't much to say about it except it seems that everyone who won had the electronic card machine. I think it just takes away from the fun to pay and just watch a screen. The last jackpot game was for $5700 which would have been great to win especially since its only $30 to buy in. One couple won it, not ten, not five, but one couple. QUEST - Cannot tell you who, what, when, where, why or how, but I can say GO and WATCH and LAUGH YOUR A$$ OFF. Do not volunteer to be the representative of your team or you will regret it LOL. IT WAS HILARIOUS THOUGH. Love and Marriage Game show - Funny, not a must see but definitely worth it. Fair Well Show - A good entertainment for the evening. Trivia Games - Fun and random, something to fill the time in the afternoon. Shopping Onboard - The Royal Caribbean shop was expensive, but there are other things to browse through. Buy everything the last day when all the sales are going on. Midnight Snack - The 24 hour Cafe Promenade was a nice stop to fill those late night hunger feelings with a bite of complementary cheesecake, pizza, coffee, or small sandwiches. (RANDOM THINGS) Alcohol - Beers were about $5, Daiquiri's and Frozen drinks were about $9, and all other mixed drinks ranged from $7-$10. Don't expect to get hammered every night unless you have deep pockets. The Royal Promenade - Was very nice and always had something going on. Made us feel like we were in a mall back home. The Service - Everyone was always very nice and helpful if you could get passed the language and accent barrier. Weather/Sea Sick - The weather was absolutely horrible the whole cruise and really impeded our plans so make sure you keep an eye on those forecasts. On the way back the weather was so bad that our ship was an hour late because of the waves. Let me tell you, don't let anyone say to you that you won't feel the ship moving. People were practically staggering like they were drunk that last night because of the rocking ship. We took some Dramamine that night to fight back the nausea. Other than that though it did seem like a smooth ride. Pool/Hot Tubs - They were very nice although we only went into the hot tubs at night when they weren't crowded. The pools were fairly cold to the touch. It was nice to have an adult side that kids couldn't bother you in. 1St Day Emergency Drill - About as annoying, inconvenient, and troublesome as you could imagine wearing big bright orange life vests and standing with a bunch of people you don't know. Yea for our safety but not a great way to welcome us aboard. (DEBARKATION) - Simple and easy for the people who signed up for the Expedited Departure. We carried our own stuff off, took 5 min in customs, and were in a taxi heading for the post office to mail back my art. Although it does take up to an hour for customs to clear the ship, so make those flight plans for after 12. We had to change ours from 1045 because of the delay and customs clearance. Overall we enjoyed ourselves because of the many things to do on the ship. The weather would have made it the best time of our lives if it was warm and sunny but I guess you deal with what you get. We are already planning our next trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Just a quick review for our navigator cruise. Embarkation and debarkation were very smooth, but one family member found long immigration lines when they left at 9:30. No problems at 8:15 am. Our first time on a mega ship, and was ... Read More
Just a quick review for our navigator cruise. Embarkation and debarkation were very smooth, but one family member found long immigration lines when they left at 9:30. No problems at 8:15 am. Our first time on a mega ship, and was pleasantly surprised that I never got lost once, a first. The lay out is very user friendly. Family had cabins ranging from an inside, to a promenade, to a balcony. All cabins were nice. Our D1 had a full sized sofa, a first for us in a balcony cabin. Our room steward, Melaena, was the best we have ever had she met every request from emptying the fridge, providing extra ice and towels. A few glitches a very long process to get hot water in the sink, and a remote for the tv that wouldn't process a 1 or go down through channels, only up. But nothing to be very bothered by. Food was good, pretty much. New York strip looked peeked, however, and desserts were generally wanting in flavor. Wait staff was very accommodating. The gluten intolerant member of the family was treated with spectacular care by our head waiter. I would suggest changing the salad lines in the Windjammer coupled with the pasta and pizza line made it inconvenient for those who just wished a salad at lunch. I would also suggest that for breakfast, fruits be all together, rather than spread out between the Jade area and the Windjammer grapefruit and prunes in the Jade, melon in the Windjammer, so it took some time to locate what we wanted. Nice to be able to get good coffee and a snack for free at the cafe on the promenade. Entertainment was decent. Good Broadway production number, although I would have chosen more recognizable Broadway musical excerpts. Comedians were very good; adult comedy show pretty raw, and I am no prude. Even adult comedy should be clever. Dance production show was good, but voices of solo singers not uniformly strong. Dancers were excellent. Ice show was spectacular much better than I had expected, and a must see. Ixtapa musical group, ok, but on the weak side. Ship orchestra, excellent, as was the pool band. A bit disappointed that the only time for adult ice skating was one night which conflicted with late seating (children did have a separate time), as one of our family wanted to try it, but that was no big deal. The parade down the promenade was the last night, at 11pm, which precluded children, late packers, and for us, picture-screw-up-fixers, from attending. But overall a great ship, a fantastic crew (friendliest I have ever seen), a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
I was gravely disappointed with this cruise on the Navigator of the Seas with Royal Caribbean on March 18th. It started from the time I called Royal Caribbean to learn they did not rent wheel chairs while aboard the ship. I was ... Read More
I was gravely disappointed with this cruise on the Navigator of the Seas with Royal Caribbean on March 18th. It started from the time I called Royal Caribbean to learn they did not rent wheel chairs while aboard the ship. I was trying to get one for my mother who was traveling with us and has Multiple Sclerosis. Then I found out as we were on the ship they did have Royal Caribbean wheel chairs, we saw them quite frequently aboard the ship. I can not understand why they told me they did not have them when I called and no they did not tell me they where out for that sailing. It was a direct "no" we do not rent wheel chairs. So my mother spent most here time in her cabin without a wheelchair. I was extremely disappointed with everything on the ship. They served the same food in the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch everyday of the week. Breakfast I can understand, but not lunch!! I have never had that even cruising three times before with them. I went on my first cruise on Carnival in December 08 and was quite impressed with them compared to this cruise. They had a wide variety of food everyday and it was never the same. Who wants to eat the same food over and over? Carnival even offered FREE Sushi on there three day cruise. On past ships with Royal Caribbean they have the Seaview Cafe that offered chicken wings, onion rings, and a variety of other options. They do not have that on their newer ships. Instead they give you Johnny Rockets and charge you a fee of 4.95. How much more greedier are they going to get? My experience with dinner in the formal dinning rooms was not as well as expected. Our service was terrific but the food was mediocre. We were told they do not offer lobster on there 3 or 4 day cruises. On my recent three day Carnival cruise we had lobster, plus paid much less for the cruise itself. Even the shows on this cruise were only average, the shows on Carnival for excellent actually incredible compared to this cruise. They have also changed there delivery policy on alcohol. They use to deliver it to your room on the day before departure. Now you have to pick up you alcohol the day you depart. I guess they don't think you have enough to do on departure day. I asked the two men working "how am I going to pack it if my luggage is already packed up and gone". The two gentlemen looked at me like I don't care that is your problem. We all know the reason they started this policy is greed again. They want to make sure you buy their watered down drinks, so they can make more money off of you. We also noticed on departure day a few people in are area alone that had forget to pick up their alcohol. One person had been waiting over an hour for them to bring it out to her. Royal Caribbean is not looking out at all to what could make your departure easier. I booked this cruise for ten of us and one person who went with us had only been on Carnival ships. She had cruised with Carnival about fifteen times and I had raved so much about Royal Caribbean I was embarrassed by the end of this cruise. She won't be going back on a Royal Caribbean ship ever. In short the comparison from this four day cruise on Royal Caribbean compared to the three day on Carnival. Which, this is something I never thought I would say Carnival well surpassed by expectation. I don't believe I will be traveling on Royal Caribbean anytime in the near future. I hope everyone reads this and it helps make your decision if you are considering a cruise between the two. Please don't make the same mistake. Remember you are on this cruise with no other food but what they serve you and I don't think anyone wants to eat the same thing over and over!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
We arrived at the port around 12:30pm, dropped off our luggage, parked the car in a 5 story parking garage, and entered the security / check in line which was about a 15 min. wait each. Very smooth and organized. We walked up ramp, got our ... Read More
We arrived at the port around 12:30pm, dropped off our luggage, parked the car in a 5 story parking garage, and entered the security / check in line which was about a 15 min. wait each. Very smooth and organized. We walked up ramp, got our welcome picture taken, and walked into a stairway on deck 4. (No welcome music or staff around; no matter if you went left or right after getting the welcome picture.) The safety drill was a joke; there were about 300 people crammed into a lounge area and not positioned on the deck near a lifeboat. If there was a real situation ... lets hope not! (We sat in chairs and the floor and people stood along the walls; we were told in a real situation groups A and B would be called to line up to get into a lifeboat.) Ship review (small misc. summary) ~ clean yet not much detail to the little things like dust on vases. Friendly staff and very tentative in the dining room; we dined in the Nutcracker. Staff in the Windjammer / Jade restaurants were constantly removing finished plates, cups, etc. If you wanted a soda, one would have to provide the fountain purchased cup or show a sea pass with the sticker of fountain beverage purchase to a bartender to receive a soda; the ship doesn't include self-service for soda. I would recommend the fountain soda package, $6 / day for adult & $4 /day for under 12. (Of course, you can purchase sodas each time separately.) Entertainment ~ fair. The singer and dancers were okay; the 70's, 80's, 90's show was long and I would of rather heard the real voices of the musicians than the gals and guys sing on the ship. Our favorite entertainer was Jonathan Clark, the vocal impressionist and comedian; we was the only entertainer that received a standing ovation. Teen Room (12-14) ~ teens only and my son liked that! They didn't have many activities, so my son was extremely bored during the day. The night activities were okay with some dancing and little pool activity to the high winds. Fitness Room ~ lots of equipment, but the first morning on board (while at sea) the machines were almost 100% occupied from 8am-10am. Theater ~ about 150 chairs; my son found it to be like a home theater than a movie theater which was fine. One movie a day with 3 showings during the day. (Iron Man, Get Smart, Hancock, Wall-E) Shops ~ lots of jewelry, a liquor store, souvenir shop; on the last full day, they put out discounted t-shirts . . . 3 for $20 or 4 for $20. Swimming Area ~ very nice adult area and quiet. The other side of the ship had 2 pools and 2 hot tubs that were filled with kids under 11; good music and the live band played Caribbean tunes on and off during the day. During the days at sea only, the deck because a mess with food, plates, cups, etc.. Sports Area ~ packed with cruisers; we didn't try anything because all of the clubs were out, the rock climbing wall had at least 20-25 people waiting, and only one out of two nets were available on the basketball court. In Summary ~ it's hard to beat Disney, yet the family atmosphere was a plus on the Navigator. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Embarkment : Flew into Ft Lauderdale for another cruise, and getting use to it. Waited in line for about ten minutes for check in at the pier, not bad. Got to the room around 1:30 and straight to the WindJammer for lunch. Being that time , ... Read More
Embarkment : Flew into Ft Lauderdale for another cruise, and getting use to it. Waited in line for about ten minutes for check in at the pier, not bad. Got to the room around 1:30 and straight to the WindJammer for lunch. Being that time , the lunch crowd was in full swing. Got our luggage in our room around 4:00 and started to unpack before the muster drill. After finishing with the luggage, headed to the dinning room for 6:00 dinner. Met the wait staff and others at our table, a family of five from Detroit MI. Day one at sea: Great weather for a day at sea. Smooth water and lots of sun. Pool deck was alive with music and contests. Explored the ship to see what the Navigator had to offer. Promenade deck and shops and pizza and coffee and ice cream, etc...it had it all. Not much going on in the ice rink until later that evening. Johnny Rocket , game room, basketball court, putting course, roller blade area,solarium.... you get the pic. Met back at the dinning room for the Captains Dinner. After dinner we took in the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers. Great show and lots of energy! Day four at sea: After day two and three, we slept in and did late breakfast. Windjammer tables were a challenge to find , but managed. Found some things to do during the day, Johnny Rocket, Ben and Jerrys, ping pong,"watched" climbing wall, shops, Promenade Cafe,duty free shop, photo shop/gallery. Service : From our room attendant to the dinning staff, the service on The Navigator of the Seas was up to the RCCL standards. When passing service members in halls ,we would be greeted with hello or good morning, questions were answered or Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas had a one-time trip from Barcelona to Rome beginning in early June 2009. We had a large family group on this cruise, made up of 6 adults, 3 children ages 12, 9, and 5, and a 14-month old ... Read More
Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas had a one-time trip from Barcelona to Rome beginning in early June 2009. We had a large family group on this cruise, made up of 6 adults, 3 children ages 12, 9, and 5, and a 14-month old daughter. We flew to Barcelona via Atlanta, and stayed two nights at the Gallery Hotel in Barcelona. We found this hotel neat and cozy, and preferred its quieter location than many other hotels amid the bustle of Las Ramblas. We booked this hotel on our own, not through a ship program. We boarded the Navigator of the Seas on June 6th in Barcelona. The boarding process was very fast and easy compared to others we've experienced in the past. It was almost too fast - our luggage was taken and whisked away before we could even think! Luckily, we had everything we needed with us and didn't lose any bags. My husband and I shared an 8th deck balcony room (located near the front elevators) with our 14-month old daughter. The room was as expected; just like other cruises we've been on before. A pack-n-play was provided for our daughter to sleep in, which made us even more cramped than usual. But that's cruising! Our itinerary was as follows: Barcelona, Valencia, Palma De Mallorca, Marseilles/Provence, Nice, Livorno/Florence/Pisa, and Civitavecchia/Rome. This was a one-time itinerary, as Navigator will now be continuing on to Greece, Turkey, and Malta for a regular sailing. Our ports and excursions were lovely, but we were disappointed in RCCL's communication about port days and transportation. At most ports, we had to take buses to get to city centers, and tickets were supposed to be purchased ahead of time. They were selling at the port as well, but it made for confusion and lines that we did not expect. We should have had regular communication the afternoon before each new port to explain what would be happening the following morning. Stateroom attendant service was outstanding, and every attendant we saw made a special point to speak to us and laugh with the baby. Our wait staff was also good, but we had an assistant waiter who was on his first cruise, and his service was sometimes slow and forgetful. But our dining experience was fine, and we understand he needs a learning curve to get used to his new job. He really caught on towards the end of our trip, and even anticipated our bread and drink requests. We did have a problem with the pre-paid gratuities, however. Two of our traveling parties never got their vouchers. On the final night of the cruise, they spent a lot of time in lines trying to get vouchers for our wait staff. They ended up only getting copies, and we certainly hope the wait staff receives the money that is due to them. One fellow passenger was irate and embarrassed that she did not have any vouchers to present to her waiters at the final meal. We certainly hope RCCL fixes this problem for future cruisers. My husband and I did not take part in most ship activities or entertainment, since we had our 14-month old with us and needed to get her to bed after dinner. But the other parties traveling with us saw several shows and commented on how much they enjoyed them. They especially talked and laughed about the comedian afterwards. My mother-in-law enjoyed a brief French lesson the day before we sailed to Marseilles/Provence. The children loved the sports deck, especially playing ping-pong and mini golf. And everyone enjoyed the ice cream machines found throughout the ship. Our at-sea days were spent by the pool. Some of us swam a little bit, but the water was pretty chilly. Hopefully it warms up as the ship continues sailing through the summer. The food on the ship was surprisingly disappointing. We've traveled with RCCL before, and we thought the food was outstanding. We expected that again. But this time it was not as enjoyable. The Windjammer food was not up to par. I only enjoyed the custom-made Mongolian Grill, but the wait for my plate was a good 10 minutes or so. The bacon available on the Windjammer buffet every morning was terrible. It had a bad taste and was soggy and fatty. The turkey sausage was decent. The best thing I had at the Windjammer was a chocolate tart on the dessert bar on night 6 or 7 of the cruise. That was fantastic! I had a couple extra, it was so good. The formal dining room food was good most of the time, bad a couple times, and outstanding a couple times. If you're a steak lover, don't bother with any steak on the ship! What they call medium rare comes on your plate 100% gray all the way through. It's not tender and it's fatty. Stick with some of the seafood dishes. I don't eat much seafood, so my favorite entrees at dinner were the potato & leek pie and the roasted half chicken with vegetables. The gnocchi with ham & peas was also very good. I enjoyed many of the appetizers, including an onion tart, spinach dip with tortilla chips, exotic fruit plate, and a few of the chilled fruit soups. Desserts were very good! Disembarkation was quick & easy. We were able to get the white tags, as my mother-in-law is a platinum Crown & Anchor member and we were all traveling together. Communication was once again confusing though, as it told us we had to be off the ship "BY 6:15", when in fact we could be off anytime 6:15 or later. This made us rush to get ready & out too early, and we spent an hour in the hot terminal waiting for our transfer to Rome. But our baggage was ready and easy to find, and there were toilet facilities available in the terminal. Overall, I'd give this cruise experience a 7 out of 10. I think there were several kinks because it was a one-time itinerary and they were more concerned with moving the ship and getting ready for their regular sailings through Greece, Turkey, and Malta. I'm not sure the food will improve for those sailings, but hopefully some of the communication will become clearer and the confusion will be limited for future passengers. Despite the kinks, we had a lovely time and saw some amazing sights! Thanks, Navigator of the Seas. We miss you! Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
This was our 4th cruise with RCL, so we knew what the standards should have been and we were definitely disappointed when they were way below the norm. -         The Standard and quality of food served was very poor in the dining ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with RCL, so we knew what the standards should have been and we were definitely disappointed when they were way below the norm. -         The Standard and quality of food served was very poor in the dining room. The windjammer was like going to a feeding trough. The fact that lunches are now buffet style is sad. -         The entertainment was very poor and poorly presented. It looked more like rehearsals for a show than a quality show. Normally, RCL shows are packed and you can hardly get a seat. These shows started off half full and then emptied before the shows were finished. The ICE show was excellent and well presented. -         The boarding process in Citavecchia was disgraceful. We went to the trouble of registering online to expedite the boarding process and it made no difference. Everyone was just huddled into the same line, no matter what. When we finally got to the desk the agent didn't seem to know what she was doing and could not find our cards to use on board. We stood there for about 20 minutes while she walked up and down looking in boxes.  -         We also took the time to order the soda package for our children online. Guess what, that was a waste of time also. Everyone who bought it when they got on, got their cups straight away. Our cups were supposed to be in the room. Never happened. In fact I ended up being sent to SEVEN different locations to get them. Everyone just pointed me somewhere else. I finally went to the guest services desk and asked them to get them. They made a call to get them sent to the room. Guess what, they never got there. I finally found a place where my children could get the cups. -         Docking at Ville Franche.............. Disorganized and chaotic. We were supposed to disembark at around 8am. At 10am there is still no sign that we were being allowed to get off. Announcement made that local officials would not permit us off. No indication why!  11am, same announcements......Finally 1pm allowed to get off. It was obvious to me and my husband that someone had to be sick on the ship, yet no one told us anything. When we got to the tender boats it was like being herded like cattle onto the boat. The tenders had to wait one at a time to dock! This port is obviously not equipped to handle the volume of people off these cruise ships. The return back to the boat was disgraceful. Once again we were herded like cattle into a line in extremely high temperatures to stand and wait for a tender. It was like being in Disney world waiting to get on a ride. The lines were extremely long. Once again this was due to the fact that the tenders could only get in one at a time and also the lack of boats. By the way, we finally got a letter in our room later to say someone was confined to their room because of flu symptoms.  Oh, yes we were harassed in Palma by TV crews looking for information about the supposed Swine flu issue on board.- The Miniature golf/sports area needs renovation. -         The towels in our room were supposed to be white, but had actually turned grey! -         The Bathroom smelled horrible. I had to buy a stick up air freshener in France! -         We used to praise Royal Caribbean for being the best. We even met first time cruisers on the way to the cruise and we were telling them how great it was going to be and that they would be impressed. Well, we met them on the way back also and they were terribly disappointed. They had a similar experience to ours. We had dinner with another family at our table each night and they have cruised Princess Cruise lines and many others. They said they would never cruise Royal Caribbean again! -         We were also disappointed, because we paid so much for a quality cruise and we were told that just weeks before the cruise that Royal Caribbean sold a significant amount of cheap rooms to local Italians, just to fill the ship. That is obviously why the short cuts were made with food and entertainment on the ship to adjust for the cheaply sold slots. There were 2000 Italian people on the ship and they were extremely rude and impolite.  Pushing onto elevators, onto shuttle buses, skipping lines, filling their bags with food from the buffet, standing up on top of you in elevators and buses, even though there was ample space. Don't get me wrong, I have many good Italian friends, but they act nothing like the cruisers on the RCL ship and looking at other reviews, others have had the same experience. I am European myself. So this is not an American bias. We all know the economy is bad. I can understand that they are trying to cut back. But they have sacrificed their reputation for the sake of saving a dollar, yet are still charging me and others a lot to cruise. So many cheap seats may have been sold to locals, but RCL lost the confidence of their repeat customers. They have to weigh up the benefits of keeping their standards versus selling cheap.  Selling cheap and reducing their standards just did serious damage to their reputation with people from different parts of the world, not just Americans. We used to rave about the food, entertainment and service. Unfortunately, all of their short cuts may have just reduced their standards to PARTY BOAT, Not luxury cruise.  Value for money - Absolutely not. Quality - Absolutely not A cruise line that is above the rest - Absolutely not I think we'll be trying another cruise line next.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
The trip got off to a great start.  The boarding process was organized and unstressful.  Our rooms (2) were a comfortable size and the only reason things were a little tight is mostly to our over-packing.  We shared a dinner table with ... Read More
The trip got off to a great start.  The boarding process was organized and unstressful.  Our rooms (2) were a comfortable size and the only reason things were a little tight is mostly to our over-packing.  We shared a dinner table with a wonderful family who was travelling with kids about the same ages as mine.  We thoroughly enjoyed their company.  The food and wait-staff were also very accommodating and the food was excellent.  My 14 year-old son is a chow hound and seconds were brought to him when we asked for more.  Giovanni was our cabin steward.  No problems there.  He was available and took very good care of us.  The problems that created the negative position of this review was to behavior of our fellow shipmates.  Most were from Europe and spoke no English.  My family is also of European descent and I had actually looked forward to some communication and mingling with these folks.  Although I had read in other reviews about the rude behavior of some guests, I did not believe it.  The bad part is that the staff did nothing to intervene when problems arose.  Typical examples are:  not controlling their children who were loud, screaming and disruptive, guests pushing through to the front of the  beverage and buffet lines, removing chairs from our table while we were sitting there waiting for others to join us-without asking, cutting to the front of a long line of passengers waiting to get back on the ship in one of the ports.  (One Italian man walked past all of us and placed his camera on the scanning machine right in front of my son and I took it off and told him to go to the back of the line)  On the basketball court, some of the older men would run the younger boys and girls off the court to play soccer.  The Navigator staff did nothing when these and similar incidents occurred even when reported.  It was THE topic of discussion for the US guests and some of the other English-speaking peoples on board this cruise.  Please understand.  These were not isolated happenings.  It was constant for every meal and typical for every encounter with these folks.  Plain and simple, they just behaved badly.  I expected that as an American I would  be in the minority due to the fact that we sailed from Rome.  However, I was not prepared for the lack of manners and the refusal of the staff to maintain some order.  I believe that the employees of these ships rely on tips.  I suppose that if corrected, many of the disorderly people, would not have been as generous. Crete-No problems- Very nice. Palace of Knossos was a little disappointing following Athens and the Acropolis, but interesting anyway. Sicily had anti-American posters up. My daughter lost her digital camera there and the police would not take a lost and found report. (Neither the local or the port police) Expect the port employees in Sicily to be outwardly abrupt and unfriendly if you are English-speaking. Ephesus was our favorite. I would go back there tomorrow. The Turkish people were beautiful and kind. My daughter and I did the Turkish Baths. What fun!!!! In Athens, the tour guide held her cell phone next her her microphone and there was constant feedback through our headsets. She was difficult to understand due to her strong accent. Our guide on Crete was fabulous. She tried to help us find the camera that had been lost previously. Back on the Navigator, the shore excursion desk was closed every time we went to check about the camera or to make new reservations. I was grateful that we had booked a few trips while still at home. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Overall the cruise was enjoyed by my family (husband,me and our 19 year old daughter who came with us). We had been on RCCL twice before. Last year to Alaska on Radiance and 5 years ago to the Carribean on Voyager (the sister ship of ... Read More
Overall the cruise was enjoyed by my family (husband,me and our 19 year old daughter who came with us). We had been on RCCL twice before. Last year to Alaska on Radiance and 5 years ago to the Carribean on Voyager (the sister ship of Navigator). So as far as the ship layout and theme restaurants they were familiar to us. We chose this cruise based on available dates and itinerary as we had to work around my daughter's college schedule. We felt that after the Alaska cruise last year there was a decrease in the level of service of staff and quality of food and entertainment when compared to the first cruise 5 years ago on Voyager. Sadly we would have to say the same was true on this cruise even when compared to last summer's Alaska trip. The main dining room fare and Windjammer food selections were average, lower in quality, no lobster dinner for instance.One day they promoted the luch buffet as a special thing when we were in Crete (1/2 day in port) beginning at 1:30 to 3pm. We showed up at 2 and were turned away as the main dining room (only one level was open we guess) was full. They sent us to the Windjammer which was overwhelmed and there was no silverware or seats for 30 minutes at least!!!!! The main dining room waiter was very good and attentive. Other service personnel were fair, and especially noticed in the bars and pool areas a lack of service personnel when a drink was desired. Previously (other cruises) our room attendant was seen daily and would greet us- I honestly did not know who our guy was on this ship although he had greeted my husband on the first day. We went to three shows- one of which were were impressed with Three Tenors- it was very good. The two others were song and dance type shows- and were average. Only had two days when we were not in ports so had some poolside activities (which we did not participate in) on those days. Thank goodness for the Solarium as it was relatively kid and smoke free.. the main pool area was very loud... Had a dance club on this ship called the Dungeon- a multilevel complex that was cramped and not as nice as the larger room overlooking the pool that was on the Radiance. Our table mates were lovely and we had the early seating. Since this ship has probably 1/2 of the clients from Italy or Europe- the late seating is very,very..... late like 9:30pm. We had a young married couple at the table who had gone on this same route last year with Carnival Cruises and preferred that ship for food and cabin layout/design. We would definitely try another cruise line next time also. No laundry facilities for self service (evidently other lines have this available)but we did take advantage of the laundry service special they offered on Wed- clothes were back by Friday night. Internet service was available and would recommend buying a pre paid plan for say 60 minutes if you have kids. Also make sure to check your phone plan. On the ship they own the airwaves- so you will pay $2.50 per minute on the cell phone regardless of which port or country you are in!!!! We turned off the phones.. as even email notices that you don't read will cause you to incur data charges... We purchased phone cards in the ports and used payphones... Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Just off this Rome-Sicily-Athens-Turkey(Ephesus)-Crete. A total waste of time.First, these are not great ports. Sicily was 100 degrees, and only had a 2 1/2 hr drive each way for 45 minutes on MT Etna or a vist to an ampitheatre in a ... Read More
Just off this Rome-Sicily-Athens-Turkey(Ephesus)-Crete. A total waste of time.First, these are not great ports. Sicily was 100 degrees, and only had a 2 1/2 hr drive each way for 45 minutes on MT Etna or a vist to an ampitheatre in a tourist town that closes 12-3 pm. This gives you an hour for sites and barely an hour for shopping which is limited. The port town is awful.Our kids stayed in town and the highlight was a car on fire. Athens was fine, but all tours sold out very early, forcing us to find a taxi/pseudo guide. Kusadasi was the best stop, and the highlight. Great town and the ruins of the town of Ephesus were outstanding. Crete...why even stop. Dock and off around 8am, and on the ship around 1pm, with a 55/pp trip to a crowded beach the only main option, and a riun site, which we did, which was very poor compared to Ephesus. As per the ship...crowded!!! The 3 small pools were never accessable in any daylight hour. You don't want to walk the periphery unless you are prepared for the gauntlet of cigarette smoke...awful. All outside decks were loaded with smokers, which was allowed. THe food was poorer than any other cruise we ever were on and the buffett often had no seats. Another thing I never read about Royal Carribean (our first, usually Princess), was the limited access for the kids to the things they brag about. Ice skating...most days it is open only for 2 hours, with the exception, the last day at sea. Same with the rcok climbing and in line skating. You book with the expectation these are 6-10 hours a day and easy access. Not so. When open, the rock wall was 30-45 minute wait. Skating was a parking lot and often they ran out of common sizes. It was laughable the inline "dog walk" (about a 40 ft narrow oval) was closed due to "wind". I checked...ship was at 20 knots and wind speed 8-10 on the monitor. It's a ship at sea for goodness sake! First and last time on Royal C. Our kids totally agreed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I traveled with my husband and teen daughter on the 8/2 Western Med sailing on Navigator of the Seas. For my husband and me, this was our 5th cruise, and second on Royal. We had wanted to take a Med cruise last year, but ended up putting ... Read More
I traveled with my husband and teen daughter on the 8/2 Western Med sailing on Navigator of the Seas. For my husband and me, this was our 5th cruise, and second on Royal. We had wanted to take a Med cruise last year, but ended up putting it off, so this was a long-awaited trip that we were very excited about. In the past I'd acted as my family's travel agent, but this time we used a professional and were very happy to have the assistance. We flew into Rome and spent a night at the Mecenate Palace Hotel. We used Rome Cabs for the transfer, and had them come again the next day for the transfer to the port. They were reliable and this worked out very well. The scene at the port was a bit chaotic. No one helped us with our bags; it seemed that porters were going to everyone else but us, even after we directly approached them asking for help. Finally, someone agreed to actually take our bags, and we went on to check in. Check in was smooth and quick, and in no time we were on the ship. The ship was beautiful. It was the largest cruise ship we'd been on, but generally did not feel crowded. We had a balcony cabin. It was not large, but was adequate, especially since we were able to stow our suitcases under the bed, giving us the maximum amount of storage space possible. We did My Time Dining. This was our first time using this. We had chosen it because we wanted the flexibility of eating at different times. In general, it worked well. We were always able to get a table for 3. On the third night, though, we dined later than usual. We had been unable to make a reservation, as we were out at port all day and thus not on the ship during the limited hours they had the phone line open to make a reservation. We ended up having to wait quite a while for a table. Worse than the wait, though, was the absence of any communication. Along with the other passengers, we all just stood in line- there were no names taken, or lists made, as there would have been at any land restaurant in the U.S. I'm not even sure how a reservation would have helped, as there was no separate line for people with reservations, and they were not going through the line looking for people with reservations. Additionally, the same person was both assigning tables and walking people back to their tables, thus leaving the podium empty for long periods. After this, we realized that it would be best to arrive at the dining room before 9:00. When we did this, the process was very smooth and we did not have to wait for a table. The food was good; definitely better than what I remembered getting on my previous RCCL cruise. The assistant waiter took drink orders. This was a welcome innovation, as it was nice not to have to wait for the bar staff to place an order for a glass of wine. We dined every night in the dining room. We had made reservations for Chops, but eventually decided to cancel them. The menu didn't look like anything that special, and we were enjoying our dinners in the main dining room enough so that we didn't feel we needed the specialty restaurants. We tried Johnny Rockets one late afternoon after a long day in port, and enjoyed the comfort food there. The Windjammer buffet was good for breakfast and lunch, although on port days we had lunch in port. The entertainment was the usual kind of cruise ship stuff. The singers and dancers were talented, but the productions were kind of cheesy. Nevertheless, it was fun to go see the show after dinner. This ship had a first for me- an ice show. I hadn't been expecting much and was very impressed. There were multiple costume changes and it was quite elaborate. Because most of our days were spent in ports, my daughter did not really participate in the teen program until the very end of the cruise. When she did, she had a great time meeting kids from other countries. I loved the itinerary. We stopped at Genoa, Villefranche, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, and Cagliari. We had only one sea day; it would have been nice to have more to enjoy the ship, but I wouldn't have wanted to skip any of the ports. When I could, I also really liked relaxing in the solarium. It was nice to get away from the screaming, splashing children in the main pool. I was always able to get a chair when I wanted one, and I saw ship personnel clearing towels off of unused chairs. On the sea day, my husband and I tried an Italian class. I thought it was terrible and left early- he stuck it out. We also played Bingo- it's a cruise tradition. Disembarkation was very easy. We waited in the theater for only a few minutes, and then walked off. We were traveling independently after the cruise, and the RCCL personnel were not helpful in locating the free port shuttle, sending us first to wait in the wrong place. We did eventually find it, though, and I left feeling that it had been a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
When I was a kid (a long time ago, now) I remember the book published in the late 1950's titled "The Ugly American." Its thesis is that Americans are ignorant and rude, especially when traveling in other parts of the world. ... Read More
When I was a kid (a long time ago, now) I remember the book published in the late 1950's titled "The Ugly American." Its thesis is that Americans are ignorant and rude, especially when traveling in other parts of the world. I've just returned from a cruise on the western Mediterranean and discovered that Americans are total amateurs when it comes to being ugly. More than half of the passengers on the ship (at least it felt that way) were Italian. And they were, without question, the most rude, abusive, obnoxious, pushy, ugly, loud, arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless people I have ever encountered. They had absolutely no consideration for others. Their behavior ranged from pushing onto an already full elevator before allowing the people on the elevator to get off; to pushing into line in the Windjammer, to elbowing people out of the way to get to the front of the line for the ice show; to smoking in non-smoking areas; to hollering across a room to a friend half a room away; to ignoring children throwing tantrums at the same table. The list could go on. Suffice it to say that I will never again take a cruise, or any trip, if I know that the journey will be populated by a majority of Italians. I need to add that every American, Brit, or other non-Italian person I spoke with on the ship agreed, most without even being asked, that the Italians were obnoxious. There, now I feel better. I realize that RCCL cannot change the behavior of an entire category of passenger, but I've gotten it off my chest. Otherwise, the cruise was spectacular. It was our third, so I have some basis for comparison. The food, if it had been our first cruise, would have been rated first-class. But the quality has deteriorated somewhat from earlier RCCL cruises. Still, it's quite good - no complaints. Service is superb. There is nothing that we could ask for that the staff would not go out of their way to provide. Embarkation and disembarkation has been perfected. We arrived deliberately mid-afternoon to get on the ship and our room was ready for us to get in and start unpacking. We've learned to pack a change of clothing to "ship-board" attire in our carry-on and were able to hit the pool right away. By the time we got back, our luggage was waiting and we had plenty of time before the life-jacket drill. Entertainment was good - the ice show is always a treat, there was a juggler who was great. One complaint: the people who control the sound seem to think that the entire audience is hard-of-hearing. The volume was, always, much too loud. This also applied to the live music and "games" at the pool. Ports of call for us were delightful. The highlights were Barcelona and Mallorca but all were wonderful to visit. Disembarkation was extremely well organized. Although I would have enjoyed a few more hours of sleep, I do acknowledge that it was necessary for us to be off the ship before 7:00am; both in order to get to the airport in time for our flight home, and to enable the crew to turn the rooms around for the next cruise. We appreciate having our room ready when we arrived and acknowledge that it works both ways - we had to leave early enough for them to re-fit. Suitcase delivery was faultless and easier than any prior cruise. All in all a great cruise. But Lord deliver me from rude Italians. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
PRE-CRUISE My BF and I took this cruise (starting on august 30), we are on (very) late forties, professionals, both working for an Italian government agency. We had choice this cruise because we wanted to show to my mother how wonderful ... Read More
PRE-CRUISE My BF and I took this cruise (starting on august 30), we are on (very) late forties, professionals, both working for an Italian government agency. We had choice this cruise because we wanted to show to my mother how wonderful it is cruising on such a big ship and because the port it's enough close to home to avoid flight expenses. We booked about 6 month in advance and we found available some aft rooms. BOARDING Since we live in the southern part of Rome we have had just a short drive, about one hour, to arrive on the Port. As soon as we arrived to the terminal at about 12.20, we left the luggage to the porter (tipped with 10 euro) and we entered the terminal. The terminal it's made by a huge tent about 300 * 100 feet, and it was quite uncomfortable to be inside it because of the heat. We got our SeaPass quickly since we did the online checking. Seems that at least 70 % of the cruise mate forgot to get the Online SetSail, inside there were two lines one very long and crowed for the people that didn't on line check-in and the other almost empty (we waited just 1 minute to be assigned to the 1st free counter). In less than 10 minutes we had in hand our SeaPass and we exit from the tent to the side of the ship and walked to entrance, took the photo on the SeaPass and we was on top of the ship about 20 minutes after we left the car. Apparently about 60% of our cruise mates were Italians. We've read a lot of negative comments about the Italians the only thing I can say is that not all the Italians are equal e very often some of them embarrassed us for their behaviour. By the way the ones "unfriendly" were a minority. We checked if the room hallway was open but it wasn't, so we went on the side of pool for a little while, when we came down the door was open and we headed the cabin, in about 30-40 minutes the luggage arrived so we were able to put all things in order. We also met our friendly room Steward Denis. A special thanks to him for his courtesy and for all the time he spent for us. We did buy the Coke package on line, and never had trouble getting a bartender to fill our containers. Unluckily the Information System of the SeaPass didn't worked well so ours didn't had the pre-printed soda stamp on it, we had to head the Cafe-Promenade, showing the online receipt of the soda package and we had sticker put on them THE ROOM The vanity area was quite large, we had a good sized frig, more drawers than we knew what to do with, and a door connecting to the next JS cabin (if you doing the family thing). There it was a sofa-bed and coffee table All beds, including the sofa-bed were comfortable. Toilet set at angle, so you had to sit sideways, a good use of the space. The windows and sliding door were the wall; plenty of light, but also blackout drapes and then a sheer curtain for privacy Balcony was really huge, I think was more than double, probably three time bigger than the side balconies, we found 3 chairs, 1 small table, and 2 lounger and still had a lot of free space on it. THE SHIP AND THE CREW Ship was in a very good shape and looked really beautiful; we never felt crowded. Windjammer Cafe (buffet) was fine; good selection, waiters staff was very nice. We felt very cold on the late dining in NutCracker Dining Room on deck 3 so we was moved on the Swan Lake on deck 5; amazing staff, good food All the staff were friendly. No problems at all; everything organized and easy, just few lines during breakfast, lots of things to do, plenty of activity and/or plenty of peace and quiet. We had perfect weather and very smooth seas except for the last day (at sea) that was a "bit" rough. We think that the captain was forced to deploy the stabilizers for let us feel less sea motion. Cruise staff spoke up on the solarium to enforce the ships rules about being reserved to adult only. The Captain was Capt. Bang. We have met him at Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle. We ate three times to Chops the food was really great. The manager Joao, and all the staff, were very nice and friendly. They made the difference. ENTERTAINMENT We didn't spend time on the show, so we cant speak about it. Sorry, but we felt much more excited to spend our free time on our huge balcony. DISEMBARKING Disembarking was a breeze. We didn't left our luggage on the door and waited for all people had gone for leaving the ship after we get the last breakfast on the WJ. We did a good choice since we saw on the terminal that there are no carousel for the luggage but they are just all left on the sides of the tent, each side having the usual "luggage tag colour". PORT OF CALLS GENOVA We had booked Beautiful Portofino - GN08 on Genoa port of call, instead GN01 - Portofino, Rapallo & S. Margherita. The excursion was quite similar, the only difference its that on GN01 the lunch its included and for this reason its a bit more long and expensive than this one (we had lunch at WJ when we was back and saved some hard earned euro). The excursion originally was planned to be on land but the day of embarkation they told us that will be using a motorboat, this was great, we had a magnificent view of the nice coast, we also seen the San Fruttuoso small town that its only accessible by boat (it's where there is the church of abyss, you can find a copy of it inside the water of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on Key Largo Florida). Was well worth the money we spent, this excursion exceeded our expectations. VILLEFRANCHE/NICE We didn't left the boat since we was been there many times, so we enjoyed a great relaxing day. BTW there was a fabulous view of the gulf from the ship. BARCELLONA We didn't booked any excursion but we took a taxi for a quick view of the Sagrada Familia and the Gaudi Home, then we was left on the begin of the Las Ramblas (25 euro + 5 euro tip). Was nice walking thru all the touristic spot, we liked it even if it was very hot. We ended keeping another taxi to come back at the ship (8 euro + 2 euro tip) and we spent the afternoon after had lunch on WJ taking a NAP. At the end of the day was nice having the dinner at CHOPS while the ship sailed away from Barcellona. What a nice night view. PALMA DE MALLORCA We did the Drach Caves - PJ38 excursion on Palma de Mallorca port of call. Was very interesting, apart the caves itself that are stunning, we saw how it's the inside part of the island and we also took a stop over one of the most famous factory of pearls (my BF bought me as gift a nice necklace and matching bracelet). CAGLIARI We tried to have a small walking on the city, but after a couple of miles we headed back to the ship since it was too hot and humid (even was September). We ended taking a nice nap again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
We flew to Rome on Saturday, the day before the cruise started. 'We' are DH and I, and his 18 yr old son, who are all diamond members, and DH's mother taking her first cruise. After a smooth BA flight, helped by a glass of ... Read More
We flew to Rome on Saturday, the day before the cruise started. 'We' are DH and I, and his 18 yr old son, who are all diamond members, and DH's mother taking her first cruise. After a smooth BA flight, helped by a glass of champagne enroute, it was 6p somewhere in the world, even though it was only 9a with us! We caught the Leonardo Express into Roma Termini for €11pp. From there it was a short walk, hauling luggage to the Hotel Baileys booked via ebookers.com (Orbitz in the USA) for our one night stay for only £93 per room. The hotel was chosen for the good reviews on tripadvisor and the closeness to our favourite restaurant in Rome -the Trattoria Cadrona at Via Raffaele Cadrona. We dumped the bags and set off for a stroll. Turned out to be a rather long stroll: Up to the Spanish Steps, down via Condotti and then over to the Vatican. Dinner was fantastic in the aforementioned restaurant. Sunday morning we took another walk before our car, from zelitlimousine.com turned up -€140 for all of us down to Civitavecchia. We were on board by 12.30. It became quickly apparent that 60% of our cruise mates were Italians, and that Italian children don't return to school as early as British ones do, as there were far more children than we thought! We had one promenade room (for the boys) and a balcony (for the girls -naturally) We noticed the Italian touches on board, bottles of Olive Oil and Balsamic on the tables in the MDR, and even opera playing by the main pool. There was even a special wine list which had local wines at very reasonable prices: Chardonnay Villa Jolanda $5 glass, $17 bottle Gavi di Gavi Villa Jolanda $5 glass $20 bottle Pinot Grigio Zonin $5 glass $18 bottle Lambrusco diSorbara $6 glass $23 bottle Chiani classico Rocca dele Macie $7 glas $28 bottle Barbera d'Asti Villa Jolanda $5 glass $18 bottle Mateus Rose $5.50 glass $21 bottle San Giovise Canaloso $5.50 glass $21 bottle Local barrel - glass of red or white $2.95 All prices need 15% added, and for some reason all of the above were available in WindJammer but not in the MDR!. No Rose in MDR but they did offer a glass of Limoncello for $5.50 We did MTD again, and after the first night we were lucky enough to secure the 'dream-team' of Edgardo and Nuthoo - we asked to be in their area every night. I have never mentioned waiters before but these guys rock. Edgardo is moving to Oasis shortly so he is obviously one of their top guys. We booked a table every night at 8p but there were many who did not, the line for MTD stretched back across the bridge into the Royal Promenade most evenings, so I expect their MTD experience is not as positive as ours. MTD was open from 6:30-10p - again to accommodate the Mediterranean later dining times. Food was hot and freshly prepared, and the service was at our speed. We only ate breakfast once in the MDR and never took lunch there - not enough time! The WindJammer was usually very busy but it never took long to find a table. Chops was excellent - the service was great. Unfortunately Portofino's seemed to be slacking. We arrived at 8p to see a table with a baby and a child, another table with 2 children of around 6, another table with children and then finally a family with a 10yr old arrived around 9p. It was beginning to resemble a children's crèche...... Service was slow - we waited with empty glasses, there was no clove of garlic, Caesar salad was not prepared at the table. It just seemed to have slipped and it was not the experience I have known before. As the ship was 60% Italians of course the dress code was stylish and adhered to on the most part. I did see a 'bingo' winner's tee shirt being worn in Portofinos, and cargo shorts and flip flops in MDR on Smart Casual night though. There are always some who do not adhere. RCI were good at keeping children out of the Solaruim, but paid little attention to chair hoggers. Seats next to me remained empty for 2 ½ hrs..... They were enforcing the $20 if you do not return your towel, we even received a note in the room reminding us to return ours. This was the first cruise under the new Diamond members benefits. We were given Cloud Nine on deck 14 for our pre dinner drinks, and it was open from 5:30-9p. There were never more than 11 in the room, including us. Drinks served were champagne, La Terre Chardonnay and La Terre Merlot. The DL guy was called Tulio (sp) and he was very efficient at keeping our glasses filled up - after the first day he knew exactly our order and our drinks were being prepared as we walked through the door. On the second night he bought some nibbles from the bar next door. On the 3rd night we dropped by WJ on the way up and bought a plate of sushi; on the 4th night others were bringing in cheese plates they had ordered from room service! It was becoming a picnic. Perhaps RCI will get the hint and provide a few canapEs? We never used the Diamond Breakfast room so cannot comment. In the room we all had bathrobes. The boys also had a full selection of mini shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion. The girls did not, however one day we got a mini lotion but I think this was to replace our bottle which had been broken by the steward. We got a plate of petit fours on the first formal evening, but nothing on the second. There was no C&A gift. The Captain is Capt Bang, and the CD was called Simeon, an English guy who was very very very low key. His Italian side kick was a bundle of energy called Pietro. Navigator seemed to be in very good shape - must admit that I didn't notice any knocks or dents! The carpets down the cabin corridors looked a bit tired though. The guy in the Schooner Bar was singing al the old favourites, but he insisted on playing 'Who the F*** is Alice' which I though was pretty unnecessary. Never went to the pub either as it was smokey but he seemed to have a good audience every evening. We saw the Backbeat Beatles, but skipped the Celine Dion impersonator! The ice show was a featured performance by a Russian skater - no tickets just turn up. The ports of call were Messina, Athens, Kusadasi and Crete with 2 ½ sea days. In Messina we took the 'Taormina on your own trip' at $49pp. We did this last year too as research has shown that it is pretty difficult to catch the trains there. A pretty town, we could just see Etna smoking...and we had lunch in a great tavern called Da Zita, which is where we ate last year too! In Athens we were docked at the furthest berth -we caught the free shuttle to the port gates which left at 7:45. Out of the port building then we turned left through the coachpark until the road. We walked, keeping hte water on our left, for around 10 mins until we found a news kiosk selling bus tickets. The bus stop was right outside Starbucks, on the other side of the road. The tickets cost €1 and you validate them as you board in the little box, they are good for 90mins from that time and you can use them on the bus, metro or tram. A short hop to the station and we caught the metro at 8:12. Pireaus is the start of the line. We changed at Omonia and went to Akropolis as reports said it was a shorter walk with fewer steps. Entrance to the Acropolis is €12 and this gives you entrance to 5 sites. Over 65s were half price at €6 and 18s were free. We reached the top at 9:15 and managed to see all before the crowds from the 3 other ships in port arrived. Next we went to the brand new Acropolis museum. Entry is €1 until the end of the year, and 18s were free. Not sure if it was intentional but there is a wonderful reflection of the Pantheon in the glass windows on the upper tier outside. Athens was far nicer than we were expecting. We walked the Plaka, which is a quaint area full of restaurants and shops. We had a misguided impression that it was a smoggy car infested noisy city but it was very pleasant indeed and we may return there for a weekend to see the bits we missed. We had lunch and saw the changing of the guard at 3p in Syntagma Square. It is a let down when the new guards arrive by army jeep! Exhausted we caught the metro back. On leaving the station at Pireaus you walk over the bridge and turn left and the bus stop is right there. Caught the #843 back to the port. The busstop was right by the entrance to the coach park area, so I think perhaps if you turn right out of the coach park and cross the road there may be a closer bus stop than the one we took into town (a thought only!) In Kusadasi we had arranged a private tour with a lady highly recommended on Tripadvisor but only mentioned once here - she is Fatma Acar of Helliantus Anadolu Tours and we cannot recommend her highly enough. She is a bundle of energy, information, enthusiasm that makes the ruins come alive. We had a large van, brand new, with driver for the 4 of us. The cost was €240 for all of us including entrance to the Ephesus site, the terraced houses (not to be missed) and the little museum. She took us to a local restaurant for lunch - €30 for 5 of us including 2 beers, and left us with a small gift each of the 'blue eye' and a large bag of grapes! What other tour guide does that!? Epehsus was amazing, and we really enjoyed our day, and we believe this was totally down to Fatma. Crete was a wash out. It was pouring, so I skipped on going ashore. The others caught the free shuttle to the port gate and then turned right, as had been advised on CC. Several others did this too but it was soon apparent this was the wrong way! The bus station is on the left as you leave the port gates! Bus fare was €1.10pp and entrance to the site was €6. It was a let down after the previous two days, and the weather was atrocious. They arrived back like drowned rats at noon. I meanwhile had had a quiet morning in the sauna and steam room snd the jaccuzzi outside the gym area. Always empty. Disembarking in Rome: RCI was offering a transfer to Civitavecchia train station for $23pp. We took the port provided courtesy coach to the port gates and had a pleasant stroll along the front to the station. This was for free. At the port we did notice a smaller bus that said it was going to the train station too but we were already on the coach and there was no way we could retrieve our luggage to take this. RCI provided a coach transfer to Ostiense train station on the outskirts of Rome for $91. We caught the train into Roma Termini, which also stopped at Ostiense for €4.50pp. Go figure. We left our luggage at the station for €4 a bag, strolled to have a leisurely lunch and then caught the train back to the airport. Collapsed into the BA club lounge. Exhausted! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
We travelled on a 5 day cruise from Malaga to Corsica and Toulon.This was our third cruise,previous cruises being with NCL again in the Western Mediterranean. We arrived at the port in good time but were faced with a time of around 1 hour ... Read More
We travelled on a 5 day cruise from Malaga to Corsica and Toulon.This was our third cruise,previous cruises being with NCL again in the Western Mediterranean. We arrived at the port in good time but were faced with a time of around 1 hour to do the necessary parerwork etc On board the ship first inpressions were good,a larger ship than the NCL,s GEM with more facilities on offer such as rock climbing, in line skating,ice ring etc. On arrival on the Ship we went to the Windjammer.There were 6 of us and it was impossible to sit together.Cruise ships need to get this problem sorted out.They reckon to be 4/5 star establishments but where else do you have to fight to get a table to sit down and eat a meal.The best way to solve the problem would be to restrict the numbers in the buffet at any one time and somehow encourage people to leave once they have eaten. The windjammer was a problem at every breakfast sitting and on the 2 days at sea. Now on to the food which can be summed up in three words SAME,SAME,SAME. The Main Dining room had very little variation on the menu and it took around an hour and a half to have a 3 couse meal.By the time it came to coffee you were sick of hanging around waiting.The waiters were good but the problem was with the kitchen.I had a steak on 3 seperate occasions which was always served with mashed potato.Have they not heard of fries!!!!!!!!!!!!! . You could go in the self service restaurant in the evening but again the food on offer never varied so i have to say do not expect good food it is just plain mediocre food. Now on to the facilites offered.if you read the brochure it promises rock climbing etc etc swimming pools ,skating etc.what it does not tell you is that the water is freezing in the pool and nearly all the facilities have very limited time openings The good point on the cruise was the room which was larger than NCL with more space for clothes etc Now on to the worst part of the cruise which was having to cruise with 1800 ignorant,bad mannered,chain smoking Spanish who stood around in groups of around 20 to 30 so you could not even get past them on the boat.What a disaster!!!!!!!!!! To sum it up you can get good deals but think about the bad points such as who you have to sail with ,visiting crap ports such as Toulon and corsica and wrestling to get a seat to eat breakfast Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
20th October from Malaga Like a previous reviewer the embarkation hall was a free for all,although we did manage taxi to ship in under 2 hrs. Of the 3000 passengers on board,2000 + were Spanish most of whom I can only assume had ... Read More
20th October from Malaga Like a previous reviewer the embarkation hall was a free for all,although we did manage taxi to ship in under 2 hrs. Of the 3000 passengers on board,2000 + were Spanish most of whom I can only assume had been fasting for at least a week prior to embarkation--- our first and only visit to the Windjammer buffet Cafe was like feeding time at the zoo and the noise was unbelievable they all seemed to be talking at the same time and again seating was a big problem. For the remainder of the cruise we used the Nutcracker dining room for breakfast, lunch and 1845 dinner,altogether a much more civilised and enjoyable experience. As with previous RCI cruises the wine and drinks remain overpriced and I now notice as well as the 15% "service charge" on each drink ,there is now an additional tax amount,which brings the cost of a G&T to around £5 and a mediocre bottle of wine in the dining room package to £20. Having said all that,RCI cruising is still very good value for money,the food, entertainment and service are of a very high standard Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
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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