Sail Date: January 2013
Based on reviews from other websites of the 7 day Western Caribbean cruise on Navigator of the Seas departing from New Orleans during the latter part of 2012, my expectations for our Jan. 12, 2013 departure were somewhat reserved. ... Read More
Based on reviews from other websites of the 7 day Western Caribbean cruise on Navigator of the Seas departing from New Orleans during the latter part of 2012, my expectations for our Jan. 12, 2013 departure were somewhat reserved. Discussion with a co-worker who has sailed RCI and competing cruise lines did not help my expectations. There were many stories of cold food in both the regular dining room and buffet areas. Also prevalent were comments that the entertainment shows in the main theater paled in comparison to other cruise lines, with the "Ice Dancing" show being the lone exception. This was my fifth cruise, but the first with RCI and I found the decor inside the Navigator of the Seas to be as good as I have ever experienced on a cruise. I found the ship easy to navigate after exploring it the first day. The staff was also as friendly and accommodating as any I have experienced, from the room steward to the waiters to the ship's officers. A technical problem was experienced on my first wifi internet connection, but a quick visit to the customer service desk provided a quick and quite satisfactory resolution. Here are my views regarding the food onboard. I found the food to meet, and in many cases exceed, the quality of my previous cruises. I was never served cold food and a couple of the meals in the main dining area was nothing short of excellent. I would gladly accept the quality of the food I experienced this cruise on any future cruises I might take. All eight members of our party were very pleased with the food served. I found the Windjammer buffet area to have equal or better quality food as any of my previous cruises. The staff in the Windjammer provided the best service I have experienced in a buffet environment on my cruises. Mr. "Sanitize" who greets everyone entering the buffet and gets them to "sanitize your hands" is a treat itself. This man enjoys his job, and it shows. In my opinion the reviews I read about the "Ice Dancing" show were pretty much on target. I would consider it a "Don't Miss" just like many other previous reviews. You do have to get complimentary tickets, but the distribution process was quick and painless. I agree with many other reviews that most of the costumes for the Navigator of the Seas singers and dancers leave something to be desired, as compared to other shows I've attended on cruises. However, the singer's and dancer's talents were very comparable to the others I have experienced. The two stand up comedy shows were excellent and I overhead many favorable comments from other guests while leaving the main theater after both of these shows. "The Unexpected Boys", a musical show based on the music of Frankie Vallie was very entertaining with excellent harmony and vocals. Since I really enjoy music, I thoroughly enjoyed this show. That brings me to the musical acts stationed around the ship. Initially I was a little disappointed, not based on talent, but on styles of music. I really enjoy music and it is a big part of my cruise experience. My favorite music is 70's rock and there was not a cover band playing this type of music. There was a solo guitar performer, Scott Perham, in The Two Poets Pub on the promenade who played a lot of songs I like, even some Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZTop, but the venue was small and hard to get a seat. He had his own style and influence, but a lot of guests seem to enjoy it, as he had a loyal following. The Caribbean Force band played in the pool area, very talented, just not my style of music. The Tumbao Trio, a latin band, performed in Boleros on Deck 4, and seemed to have a good crowd gathered most of the time, but once again, not my style. There were at least two piano players on board, Rizaldy and Patrice Doucet. Both were very talented and a pleasure to listen to. The Cosmopolitan Club is located on Deck 14, offering great views and is one of the wifi hotspots. The Cosmopolitan Club is home to the Sunlight Band. The Sunlight band members are from the Ukraine. As far as music is concerned this band was my favorite on this cruise. They covered several styles of music and even though none of it was my favorite 70's Rock genre, I spent a lot of time listening to them, and really enjoyed it. Maria, the vocalist, naturally sings with a Ukranian accent, but it seemed to grow on everyone, as it certainly did on me. With each passing night the crowd in the Cosmopolitan Club grew larger. The band consists of Igor on keyboard, Anastasia on bass guitar, Yevhen on drums and Maria. All three of the musicians are quite talented. Anastasia is technically the best bass guitarist I have seen on any of my cruises. Maria is quite energetic and interacts very well with the guests while performing. It is obvious that she really enjoys singing. Guests had a great time dancing to Sunlight's music, and there was a dedicated crowd there every night. For me, the Sunlight band is the "Don't Miss" of musical acts currently on the Navigator of the Seas. Not to take anything away from the other musical acts, but, based on my taste, I would have been disappointed with the music experience on this cruise if not for the Sunlight Band. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Our cruise began December 15, 2012. It was our first cruise and I was nervous about cruising with kids (ages 11 & 6). We got through the security lines in less than an hour and were able to walk to the suite check-in with no line. ... Read More
Our cruise began December 15, 2012. It was our first cruise and I was nervous about cruising with kids (ages 11 & 6). We got through the security lines in less than an hour and were able to walk to the suite check-in with no line. Be sure to look for it if you are staying in a suite, as it took the people who were in front of us an additional hour to get on the boat. By then, we had already unpacked, and started checking out the boat. We went to the Windjammer for a late lunch and finished just in time to get to or muster zone for the drill. After the drill we went to our room and finished setting up our room and getting ready for dinner. I was beginning to the see a pattern! My son decided the theme of our trip was: Eat. Sleep. Repeat! Our stateroom attendant, Yara, came in and met the kids, asked us questions about some of our preferences, and gave us some tips and ideas. We were doing the 6 pm first seating dinner for the week, the food and service were great. It was nice to be able to look out and watch the sea as we started dinner the first night but before dinner arrived my youngest was not feeling well so I took him to the room and we both went to sleep. Thankfully that was the only time we experienced any uneasy feelings during our cruise. Our waiter prepared our food and let them bring it up to us. It wasn't necessary but very appreciated when I woke up starving. We had room service deliver breakfast every morning so that we could get ready at our own pace. On the days we were at sea we had a late breakfast and on the days we were in port it was earlier depending on what time we had to get off the boat. We were at sea for the first three days and my kids ended up spending a lot of time in the Adventure Ocean program. The youngest loved it and would cry when I would pick him up. This was especially shocking for us as we thought that he would not want to be away from us. We even ended up letting him stay for the late night events twice. For $6 per child they can stay until 2 AM. We were never able to stay up quite that late but they did get to stay until midnight. One night they had an adorable pirate parade and they painted their faces and walked through the promenade chanting. It was very cute and they all were having fun. They had events planned for them the entire cruise. On the last day at sea they hosted a talent show in the Cosmopolitan Bar for them and I swear it was the cutest thing ever. My oldest had fun the first few days, but I didn't want him to be a self signer so he decided he would spend more time hanging out with us. We didn't spend nearly as much time at the pool as I thought we would, we only ended up going swimming once. The pools were to deep for my youngest to reach the ground. The ice skating show was a hit with everyone in our family. We played bingo and even won a little money. We enjoyed the entertainment each night and the morning show was funny. We even sent a few shout outs to other family members that were on board. Next time we will probably do two beach days and one adventure day for excursions. Maybe zip line or a dolphin encounter? Some of the things I was very glad to have were: air deodorizer, highlighters for the daily compass, pens, waterproof camcorder (go pro), and good walking sandals. I used the packing list found on cruise critic and we found ourselves very well prepared. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
The food on this cruise is the worst that I have ever experienced on a cruise. There was not food available on the pool deck and swim suits were not allowed in the Windjammer buffet, so you would have to get dressed to go eat. They ... Read More
The food on this cruise is the worst that I have ever experienced on a cruise. There was not food available on the pool deck and swim suits were not allowed in the Windjammer buffet, so you would have to get dressed to go eat. They were extremely slow about clearing tables in the buffet. There was a lot of socializing among the crew when they should have been working. Supervisors would join in on the socializing. Who was minding the store? The food in the dining rooms was not good either. We ate at Johnny Rockets and Chopps a couple of times. The food in these venues was good, but it should have been because you pay a premium to eat there. If you wanted a late night snack and did not want to eat in your room there was only one place to get something. They had pre-made cold sandwiches, pizza under a heat lamp sponge cake and cookies. The pizza was not even grocery store quality. The bars where there was live music were small and so smoke filled you could not enjoy it if you were even able to find a seat. The ship was hot in all areas even the stateroom. Two days into the cruise there was a Norovirus outbreak. There were over 102 reported cases. This put a damper on the cruise for fear of catching it. The staff had to be pulled from other duties to constantly disinfect the public areas. The service on the ship suffered. I spoke with several seasoned cruisers and they expressed the same complaints that I had, so I feel I was not being over critical. Now please do not get me wrong we had a great time on the cruise but it was not to the standards that we are accustomed to. We were told that other ships in the RC line were great, that it was just the bad management of this ship. I may give one of their other ships a try but I could not recommend the Navigator of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Let me begin by saying that we spent months preparing for this trip and, together with the new friends we met on Cruise Critic along with valuable advice from our travel agent, it was a complete success! The time spent researching and ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that we spent months preparing for this trip and, together with the new friends we met on Cruise Critic along with valuable advice from our travel agent, it was a complete success! The time spent researching and planning in advance is well worth it ... the time on vacation flies by so quickly you'd hate to get home and realize you missed out on something you really would have enjoyed. We flew into Rome three days early and I'm so glad we did because the city is really magical. The history is rich and interesting, the Vatican is an experience everyone should have - regardless of your religious beliefs - and the people there are so warm, friendly and inviting. I'm also glad we did it because we had time to adjust to the time change (we are from SE USA) so when we boarded the ship we were refreshed and ready to go. (I could write for days about the wonderful things we did in Rome, but since this is a cruise review, I'll stop myself!) We took the train to the port ... it was easy and economical. Be advised though ... the track for the train is not in the main terminal so you'll have to walk about 10 minutes carrying your own luggage. You'll have to load your own luggage onto the train and when you arrive at Civitavecchia you'll have about another 10-15 minute walk to get to the port. It's not difficult, but be prepared. Boarding was not as polished as it is at other ports we've been to (Canaveral, Everglades and Miami). After all, it's a cargo port so no pretty embarkation area, no music, no friendly RCCL reps greeting you at the curb. But, don't stress, once you're on the Navigator it will be everything you expected it to be. Disembarkation is VERY early so all of the cabins were ready when we boarded around lunchtime. Three best things I packed for this trip: 1. Brita water bottle with built-in filter -- fountains are readily available all over Rome and ports on this trip, but having the bottle with the filter made me feel better about drinking it vs. purchasing bottled water (up to $5USD at some places). 2. Tova hiking sandals (another brand is called Chocko's) -- some of the pathways, rocks and steps in Turkey, Greece and Italy were quite slick. Several people I met on the ship fell at some of the sites. Get some sandals/shoes with good traction on the bottom. 3. A small umbrella -- if you go in the summer, it is HOT. Most of the ruins have no shade, so be prepared with sunblock, hat, umbrella, etc. Three best things about the ship: 1. The RCCL staff really goes out of their way to make the cruise special. Our waiter in the dining room (Leonardo) and his assistant (Carol) were just wonderful. Our room steward was friendly and happily left a bucket of ice in our cabin each night. Simone, the cruise director, was funny and charming and did an amazing job speaking in both English and Italian without missing a beat. (We did have a miserable experience with the guitar player in the Pub, but since it is such a rare exception from what we typically experience on RCCL, I won't go into it.) 2. The entertainment. I have been on many cruises and without a doubt, the best show we've ever seen was on this trip. The group was called the Beatle Maniacs and they were a tribute band. The costumes, music quality, corresponding video clips all proved to be ideal. The crowd was on their feet singing along and dancing. It was really great. The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers are great ... so versatile. 3. The size. Navigator is big enough to keep you busy for a week (Promenade, Ice Skating, Mini Golf, Very active sports desk, big theater, nice casino, etc.) but also small enough that you don't feel like you're getting lost or walking half a mile to dinner. You make friends on this ship easily and bump into them frequently. At the same time, it's big enough that if you want so have a little space it's easy enough to find a spot. Quick port reviews: Sicily - we did a private tour here (thank you Mary!) and that worked out really well because we got to move at our own pace. I loved Messina/Sicily. The views were breathtaking, everything you remember from any romantic Italian movie you've ever seen can be found in Sicily -- mountain views, stunning shorelines, quaint villages with cobblestone streets and winding alleys filled with verandas and little shops, quiet churches on hilltops, the list goes on and on ... Athens - we did Athens on our own and it was completely do-able. We walked up to the top of the Acropolis and it was amazing. Beautiful, so much history, view of the entire city with mountainscapes in the background. Really, really humbling. We paid $20eu for four people by taxi to get to the center of all the activity (lunch at Plaka then walked to Temple of Zeus and Hadrian's Arch) and walked from there. We skipped the museum but I heard it was very good. It was $12eu for adults to Acropolis and kids under 18 are free (bring your student ID). Turkey - we did the ship's tour here and I was glad we did because the sites were quite far from port. We visited Mary's House, which was inspiring and I especially liked the prayer/wish wall. We really enjoyed this tour and I recommend it highly. We visited Esphesus which was simply amazing. So well-preserved. At the end of the tour they take you to a "carpet presentation" (translation - sales pitch to buy rugs) but it's in the air conditioning and we got to sit and relax and have a cool drink, so nobody complained. but, nobody on our bus bought a rug either. From there you walk back to the ship. BEWARE ... there is a market area across from the port where everybody goes to buy gifts. The pickpockets there are bold. My husband caught someone opening the zipper to his backpack and when he yelled half a dozen shop owners raced out to the sidewalk to defend the guy. He didn't get anything from us, but we immediately returned to the ship. So, skip the Turkish Bazaar and get your souveniers at the sites you visit would be my advice. Also the shopkeepers are very aggressive. If you touch something and don't buy it, they will yell at you and chase you. So, if you go, look but don't touch unless you're buying. Crete - The beaches are beautiful. The ride to town is bleak. But there's a good little market area where you can pick up last minute souveniers for good prices. It's a short port stop but a nice little break. The photographers on the ship were wonderful -- friendly and creative. I was thrilled to get a nice family photo to take home. The casino is nice and the dealers are helpful. Lots of smokers in there late at night though. The food was very good, there wasn't a meal we didn't like. Usually, we visit the upgrade restaurants once or twice on a cruise, but we liked our waiters so much that we didn't do it this time. The drink prices were fair -- I never felt like I was being ripped off and the drinks were strong. Don't stay up too late on the last night, they were in our room at 6:30am to check the minibar on disembarkation day! Quest is raunchy but super fun -- don't bring your kids! Some people had kids in there and I was uncomfortable sitting near them. A note for families with kids ... not too many elementary/middle school aged kids on our ship. LOTS of high schoolers though. The ship had so many activities for them -- they were busy all the time. They loved it! Also, unlike the Caribbean cruises we've been on ... formal night really means formal night. Tuxedos, Flowing evening gowns, up-do's and everything. The folks in our dining room dressed up (cocktail dresses and suit jackets) for the other nights. And, finally, regarding pre-pay tips. We did it for the first time and I didn't like it. I felt badly the last night at dinner not having envelopes to leave and worried that my room steward would be disappointed when he went in on Sunday morning and didn't find anything. We ultimately wrote them thank you notes and let them know their tips had been pre-paid. We also left some additional cash for each. Enjoy your cruise~!!!! It really is the trip of a lifetime!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Our family decided to try the Grand Suite luxuries on the Navigator of the Seas as our first experience with Royal Caribbean and our first experience leaving from Port Everglades. We flew into Ft Lauderdale on Friday, March 30th and ... Read More
Our family decided to try the Grand Suite luxuries on the Navigator of the Seas as our first experience with Royal Caribbean and our first experience leaving from Port Everglades. We flew into Ft Lauderdale on Friday, March 30th and stayed at the Hampton Inn North for the night--nice room, free airport and cruise port transfers--good value. Sailed March 31st, Easter Caribbean itinerary. The ship is beautiful and we had a good time, however, the process of getting on board was greatly disappointing and left us rethinking our decision. Arrived at the port at 10:30, left our luggage outdoors with the porters (which was our first head-scratcher)and headed to the terminal. Not much organization outside the building while we waited, but oh boy, what a surprise awaited us when we got inside! The place resembled a warehouse--concrete walls with a few random RCI posters stuck to the walls and a check-in desk that looked temporary at best. Exposed ventilation ducts, industrial lighting, noisy, etc. Chin up--we still had the "priority boarding" area for GS and above to look forward to..and what a WOW factor THAT turned out to be(and not in a good way)! After check-in, ALL passengers were directed to large lines of connected chairs to await boarding---our "priority boarding" area was a roped off area of about 4 lines of these pretty-disgusting looking chairs. Ugh! Our rows WERE called first to board, but not at ALL a good first impression of RCI, and everybody knows what they say about first impressions. On Board a little after noon, we were told our cabins would be ready by 1:30--no big deal, we headed for lunch at Windjammer. Looking around the ship, we were impressed by the decor and especially the Grand Promenade. Beautiful! This ship really doesn't show it's age. Before going in to eat, we noticed it was raining outside, quite heavily, too. Nice buffet, good meal, and we were impressed by the number of choices. Our cabin, our Grand Suite, was ready as promised and it was beautiful! Birthday decorations were in place on the door and in the room for my daughter's birthday to her great surprise. For our family of four, there was more than enough room and tons of storage space for our things. We knew our bags would be delivered at some point, so we kept checking back throughout the afternoon to see if they arrived. Alas, they did not arrive before dinner. We like to dress for dinner but were forced to enter the beautiful Main Dining Room for the first seating in very casual clothes. We weren't alone. Checking our cabin after dinner, our bags had arrived---four out the the six were WET! Not sure why some of the first bags to arrive at the dock were STILL not on the ship or at least under cover in their trolleys or a holding area by the time that rain came. First the warehouse, now this? Time to find out how our GS Concierge service worked. Quite well, it turned out. Concierge Karen Hernandez is wonderful! Her customer service skills are outstanding. Commiseration, free laundry service and a bottle of wine later, we left her lounge happy. She must have been inundated with similar problems that day, but never appeared frazzled---what a gem she is!The Sail Away "party" was another disappointment--they just kept coming on Day 1 for us. This ship seriously is not for families with children--this "party" was a dud and we left. After that first day, things did get better. The ship is lovely, beautifully appointed and well-maintained. The cabin stewards are very friendly--we had Ray and he was terrific (although he did miss a pair of undershorts tucked into the vanity chair during the quick turnover from the previous occupants---or maybe that was just another perk for a GS?). I loved the day-of-the-week inserts in the carpeting of the elevators. Usually crowded though, and Spring Break travel brings lots of unsupervised teens who would quickly press ALL the buttons before exiting so that the cars stopped at all floors. Not impressed by how some parents can't teach their kids to behave. Our cabin doorbell was rung late hours a couple times, the Happy Birthday poster on the door was stolen, and, on the last day, the "make up the room" card was cut into pieces and inserted back into the door slot on just about every suite that we saw on our way to the aft elevators. The Casino was great fun, but the theatrical performances were blah-the RCI lip-syncing "singers" and dancers were not that good. The ice show was a WOW! The comedian Bobby Collins was hysterical--wish he had been booked for TWO shows. James the jewelry guy wasn't a favorite--I won a necklace in one of his drawings(on Day 2)and chased after him until Day 7 before I got my prize(thank you Karen for helping!). Labadee was beautiful--Barefoot Beach was beautiful and I'm SO glad I rented a cabana(B2)--it was comfy for the family and we had our best day there. Grandson loved the kid's club on board--the counselors there kept the children engaged and active in fun games and competitions. One of the nicest perks of the GS was the valet luggage service for debarkation--sign up with Karen early for this! We received our special tags for our bags, set them outside our door and off they went at 11:00pm the night before debarkation, not to be seen again until Baggage Claim at your home airport. No searching through the warehouse for your color section, no lugging them through customs yourself or shuffling them to transport. WOW! Overall, we liked this cruise although you might not be able to tell from all the verbiage above. WE had a great time despite the diversions. Will we cruise RCI again? Probably, but not soon. And never again out of Port Everglades. Overall, not even the Suite life can lure us away from our favorite, Disney. Our next cruise is booked on the Fantasy. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
My husband and I are new to cruising and we'd been to the fjords last year with P & O so chose a another cruise company to get a different experience. We had one week in Orlando before driving to Fort Lauderdale to board the ... Read More
My husband and I are new to cruising and we'd been to the fjords last year with P & O so chose a another cruise company to get a different experience. We had one week in Orlando before driving to Fort Lauderdale to board the Navigator of the Seas for a 6 night cruise to the Western Caribbean. Leaving the car at the airport was a breeze and instructions to get the shuttle to the ship quite straightforward. Embarkation however was very messy with queues right out the building in the morning heat. Staff were very efficient and we got on-board and into our cabins. We were advised to take our swimsuits in our hand-luggage as the suitcases didn't arrive for another couple of hours so we got our bearings and had lunch and went to the pools. We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 just in front of the bulge so couldn't see the back of the ship but the views were wonderful anyway. The bathroom was larger than expected and the shower with sliding doors very practical as water is kept inside and doesn't spill all over the floor.They also have shower gel in a container on the wall which is replenished as required. The queen size bed big enough but very hard even with a pillowtop. Our stateroom attendant Jorge was extremely helpful and couldn't do enough for us. Nothing was too much trouble as with the Freedom dining choice and staff in that dining room. We never tried the other two dining rooms which have a surcharge because we were quite happy with the choices we had. Food choices in the buffet style dining were excellent. You could not fault the freshness or quality. We found the staff not as cheerful but then you're in and out quicker than in the other dining options. Entertainment accommodated dining sittings with two shows in the evenings so you didn't feel you'd missed out one by choosing the other. The newsletter put in your cabin every evening allowed you to plot what you wanted to do the following day. The ice-skating show was very good as was the "Broadway show" with all the costumes on the last night. The casino seemed to attract a lot of custom but we made a point of going around it because the smoking allowed in that area was so intense it ruined it for us. We enjoyed the Solarium the most as it's adults only and with the salt water pool and two hot water jacuzzis you felt yourself unwind. The spa is beautiful with treatment rooms overlooking the sea but the Elemis treatments were too expensive to indulge in everyday especially with the 15% surcharge on top of the price. The fitness center was also very good and the kingsize jacuzzi excellent to melt away tight muscles. There were quite a few children on board but they had their own space onboard with their own activities so we didn't see much of them which for some is very important. We saw several families with young children in the dining room and a credit to their parents because they so well behaved. The negative is the 15% surcharge on everything. The drinks, treatments, wine, beer, cocktails and excursions we found to be overpriced because they have us as a captive audience and then you have to add the 15% on top. No alcohol is allowed to be taken onboard even when bought in the ports we visited. It is taken off you on embarkation and returned to you the evening before you disembark to pack in your suitcase. All in all though, a very pleasant experience. Something for all age groups from the sporty to the more laid back customer. I'll certainly be trying another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We went with a neighborhood group of 17 people who commonly cruise together. The embarkation process at pier 29 in Fort Lauderdale was terrible. Our luggage was outside getting wet in the rain. The line to get through security was long ... Read More
We went with a neighborhood group of 17 people who commonly cruise together. The embarkation process at pier 29 in Fort Lauderdale was terrible. Our luggage was outside getting wet in the rain. The line to get through security was long and very slow. They had 4 security stations for 3000+ passengers. Disembarking was worse. We couldn't get off the ship until 10AM and then waited another half hour to get through the customs line. I will never sail from Fort Lauderdale at pier 29 again. The dining room menu selection and food was not good. All of us were disappointed. Interestingly enough, the Windjammer buffet was very good. We at ate both Chops, their steakhouse and Portofino's italian restaurant. Chops was good. Portofino's was outstanding. The prices, $30 and $20 per person respectively, are very reasonable given the quality of the food and service. you have to try the sandwiches at the Sandwich Bar on the promenade. They're great! We sailed on Superbowl weekend. One of our group had a suite and wanted to set up a bar with finger food and have us all watch the game. They wouldn't do it. They won't allow you to buy a bottle of liquor and mixers for your stateroom. We thought that was odd since there are 14 bars on the ship. They encourage alcohol consumption, why not allow you to buy alcohol for your room. Even the mini bar in the room had no alcohol. The ice show was fantastic. The stage shows were good, although we could have done without the juggler. The parades on the promenade were also great. The ship is beautiful and the staff is absolutely great!! All in all, we had a good cruise. I'd recommend the Navigator to anyone who isn't overly concerned about the food. Other than that, you can't help but have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We are a family of 5 and cruised with my husbands parents, his sisters family as well as my girlfriend. We flew from Buffalo to Orlando a few days before via Southwest and drove to Fort Lauder dale the day of the cruise. We dropped our ... Read More
We are a family of 5 and cruised with my husbands parents, his sisters family as well as my girlfriend. We flew from Buffalo to Orlando a few days before via Southwest and drove to Fort Lauder dale the day of the cruise. We dropped our rental car at a Budget location next to the port as they provided free shuttle service. We will not do this again as we had to wait an hour for that free shuttle. Next time we will drop at the airport and just pay for a taxi. We arrived at Port Everglades at 1pm which is much later than we usually do and there was a long line outside as we had expected due to other reviews on Terminal 29. Fortunately the line moved quickly and we were on board by 2pm. We booked a Royal Family Suite which we have never had as its too expensive but we shared it with my sister n law and it was about the same price as us getting 2 inside rooms for our family of 5. Great deal!. The balcony is the best part and for the first time I finally ordered room service on my balcony because I could order eggs Benedict. We enjoyed the concierge each night but did not get to take full advantage of it as we were travelling with kids. We took them a few times but mostly left them in the room with my eldest. Another perk that worked for us is the private seating in Portofinos for breakfast and lunch. With a group of 14 we did not have to worry about finding seats together plus all the cutlery and drinks were there for you as well as an omelet station. We also took advantage of special seating at the pool and the shows. Our room steward was pleasant but our room was never cleaned until after 2pm which we did not like. We have cruised with Carnival and Disney and we have done every class in the RCI fleet. We love RCI but we did not love the demographics of this ship for a family cruise. I think passengers looking to get away from the bigger family centred cruises are choosing the voyager class. There were a lot of seniors which is fine with me as most of my cruises are like that but a lot of these seniors were not happy to be in the presence of my children. I thought my children were well behaved and supervised but I received many glares everywhere we went from fellow passengers. We also met some very nice seniors as well and they had nice things to say to my kids however I was not feeling the love on this cruise and in the future I will save our family cruises for the bigger ships and save this class for our adults only cruise. The elevators were very busy on this cruise and became annoying very quickly. The Navigator is another beautiful RCI ship. We all enjoyed the rock climbing wall, basketball court, minigolf and the inline roller blading track The shows were all pretty good and we especially loved the 2 musical comedians. My in laws "Joe and Gail" were on the Love and Marriage show which was a hit and they enjoyed the positive reaction they received throughout the rest of the cruise. Quest was really funny as usual and the ice show was spectacular. We thought that there could have been more family events like a family karaoke but most events were very late and for adults only. On Freedom and Allure they have pool volleyball which I really enjoy but they did not have on this ship. On Allure I took part in water aerobics every morning which I was also hoping to do but I think I only saw it one day and it was at a strange time. A lot of activities were at strange times that did not work for us. I am not trying to complain but I hope that RCI appreciates my suggestions. I found the food to be great and nothing different from the usual RCI fare. We went on a Carnival cruise after we got off this one and we really enjoyed their food as well as it provided a change. One of the favourite things about a cruise for my kids is Adventure Ocean. Not this time. I put my 12 year old in the 9-11 year old club because we were travelling with her 11 year old cousin. Due to low numbers they joined the clubs so all of their activities were done with the 6-8 years old which included my 7 year old son. The girls did not like it and did not go the rest of the week. On Day 5 we went and signed both girls up for the teen club. They liked this much better but again due to low numbers they joined them with the 15-17 year olds which they didn't like either. On our Carnival cruise the age groups were all done properly and my kids loved Camp Carnival. My kids will tell you that they loved Carnival but I did not as I despised the layout of their ships and the crowding. I will discuss more in my Carnival Valor review. We had a very active cruise critic group on this sailing and I enjoyed meeting a few of them and joining them for quest. I would have loved to have partied more with them but hard to do with the business of our kids and our big group. Weather was perfect on this cruise and except for the first few days the seas were calm. All of our ports were great and we all agreed ST. Kitts was our favourite but San Juan will remain one of my all time favourite ports. Labadee was also a great day and I will always look for this port on an itinerary. We collected eyeglasses to bring to Haiti. We gave them to guest services who is supposed to donate them. We talked to RCI's Haitian workers and they told us it is better to give donations to them personally as RCI's donations go to the government and the people that live on Labadee will not get them. They told us the best things we can bring them are educational materials as education is the most important thing they can get to improve life on their island Debarkation was easy and we found a taxi quickly which took us back to budget to rent a car to take us to the next leg of our cruise in Miami. This was another great cruise with awesome ports but as I said we will stick to the bigger ships for cruises with our kids. We also missed flowrider very much but the deal we got on the Royal Family Suite was too good to pass up! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
This was our 2nd cruise on the Royal Caribbean ship, Navigator of the seas. But our first Transatlantic cruise. We are a young couple travelling with a 3year old little boy, we choose this cruise for our 2nd anniversary. Transfer from ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise on the Royal Caribbean ship, Navigator of the seas. But our first Transatlantic cruise. We are a young couple travelling with a 3year old little boy, we choose this cruise for our 2nd anniversary. Transfer from Airport to port was good, the guide was quite talkative. Embarkation in Rome was Super fast and impressive, absolutely no complaints there. The ship itself is lovely, clean, well equipt, safe and sturdy. All facilities were working. (weather permiting) The crew and staff were all very friendly and helpful, although maybe a little too helpful and overbearing at some times. E.g one night we asked for Tomato ketchup and chips for dinner for our little boy, but then after that they continued to bring them every night without us even asking, until we asked them to stop as we didn't want our boy eating them EVERY night! Our Cabin was fabulous, it was the very top back corner of the ship, it is a rather unique cabin but perfect for us. It has more space than a normal balcony cabin but has a pipe type thing in the middle of the cabin and a metal beam on the balcony, but this was of no bother to us. The only possible downside is because of its location it is possible the cabin with the most movement on Rocky days. (but there wasn't too many of them) The First few days the weather wasn't very good in the Med, in fact we ended up being stuck in Toulon port for 24hrs by some very bad winds/weather. some called it a 'mini hurricane' this meant that we were a day late to our next port Barcelona, with in turn meant we had to miss a port out of our schedualed itinery. They chose to miss the Azores out instead of one of the 2 spanish ports, which we were all very dissapointed with most people who we spoke to had specifically booked this cruise because of that port. This also meant we were to have 8 straight days at sea crossing the Atlantic instead of the planned 5 which was a bit daunting. We were assured however that the captain had chosen this out of the safety and comfort of the guests?! All the ports we visited However were pleasant to visit. In Livorno we made our own way to the Leaning tower of Pisa. In Toulon we went on the tour train around the ports and had some lunch. In Barcelona we walked up 'La Rambla' and took our boy to the Zoo, and Cartagena we walked around the town and went to the Ruins. The only Royal Caribbean tour we took was when we disembarked at Ft. Laurderdale. We went on the Everglade airboat tour which we would recommend. (we also had booked a tour at the Azores with was refunded) I mentioned earlier that we were travelling with our little boy... out of 3000 passengers he was one of only 10 children on board this cruise and none in his age group. (I would say 70% were over 60.) we were aware that this is know to be an 'older' cruise but didnt realise there would be so little childen. This made our trip interesting as because of this they did not put any of the schedualed kids club activities on... Which we werent very happy with. Although they offered babysitting, it was at a price of $19/hr.....!!! So to say it was a 'family friendly' cruise it wasnt very family friendly. It was only because we met some lovely people onboard who offered to watch him that we were able to get anytime alone on our 14night anniversary cruise!! And speaking of anniversary, although we mentioned it when booking we got no recognition of this when onboard. (although others onboard did). Back to positives... food was fabulous, Steak, salmon, Escargot and of course Lobster! sports activities were great fun, and the evening shows were better than expected. (acrobats, dancers, comedians, magicians, singers) So all in all we had a great time and would cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
My family and I just got back from a 6 day cruise on Navigator of the Seas. Overall it was a wonderful experience. We had a junior suite which is about 50% larger than a balcony room. It was a perfect size for our family. The room also ... Read More
My family and I just got back from a 6 day cruise on Navigator of the Seas. Overall it was a wonderful experience. We had a junior suite which is about 50% larger than a balcony room. It was a perfect size for our family. The room also has a walk in closet that would envy many in their home. We also had several other cabins including the connector to ours. We were hoping we could be able to open the balconies between the two rooms like we have done on Freedom of the Seas however we were told no. This was a bit disappointing since it was so great to have the whole family congregate on the balcony and the kids slept inside. We found out that the Captain makes this decision so it is different per ship. Though the room was a great size the bed needs something to make it more comfortable. It needs a pillow or foam top. We found it hard to fall asleep since it was so hard. Our daughter was enrolled in Aquanauts which was perfect for her. We were surprised she would like it since we just went on a Disney Cruise last month and she wanted nothing to do with their kids club. Since it was Thanksgiving week there were many children on the cruise but though that was the case Aquanauts wasn't too overwhelmed with children that the counselors could not attend to each child. All meals were great. We attended dinner each night in the main dining room. Once the server (Falcoa)realized what our likes and dislikes were he adjusted his service to accommodate us. I highly recommend to see Nicolae in Boleros (bar on deck 4)! His service was impeccable and really tried to exceed any guests needs he encountered. One guest in particular was our 4 year old daughter. Nicolae realized how much she loved Maraschino Cherries so each night when we stopped to listen to the music he made her a special drink. In addition anytime we saw Nicolae on the ship or in port we greeted us and always asked how we were doing. By the end of the cruise we exchanged emails to keep in touch with him. We had 3 ports, Grand Cayman, Falmouth, Jamaica and Labadee. Labadee was a pleasant surprise for us. We were anticipating something like Coco Cay in the Bahamas and it wasn't. It looks newly contructed with so much to do. You can ride the new roller coaster or hang in a hammock under a palm tree. Also there are many merchants however a bit pushy to buy their goods. Overall it was a great cruise. We have become a Royal Caribbean loyal customer and will be going on many more cruises with them. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We took a great cruise to the western caribbean on Navigator. This was during the week before Christmas so there were a good number of kids on the ship - including our own (age 6 and 9). Embarkation was a little chaotic but moved ... Read More
We took a great cruise to the western caribbean on Navigator. This was during the week before Christmas so there were a good number of kids on the ship - including our own (age 6 and 9). Embarkation was a little chaotic but moved relatively quickly. We reserved a suite but there was no real priority boarding for us (as opposed to our experience with NCL which was much nicer). The ship is beautiful and in very good shape for being nearly 20 years old. Our room was in a great location (deck 10, midship) and was very nice. The food on the ship was only ok though. Dinners were occasionally good but, for instance, my salmon filet was dry and the selection was mediocre. We ate in Portofino once which was excellent. My 6 year old eats small meals all the time and we constantly had problems with her being hungry around 5PM and had no where to eat. It is tough to get to shows with first seating for dinner and kids (shows are often at 9P or later) but the ones we saw were forgettable. I was not impressed overall with the entertainment. The service overall was excellent! The kids suprised us and really enjoyed the Adventure Ocean camps. I am not sure why because it seemed a little lacking to me but it turns out the staff do a great job and the actificites are fun. We were under the impression they had their own pool area, but they do not (the newer RCL ships do though). In terms of ports, we first went to Grand Cayman. We like it here and arranged a horseback riding excursion on own own. The ship's excursion had a min age of 12 but the one we did (same place, I think, as the ship) had a min age of 5 so our 6 year old had her own horse! We loved it! We had them drop us off afterwards at 7 mile beach and hung out there until it was time to go back to the ship. The kids snorkled off the beach but there was nothing to really see. We had a tip though to go to the Paradise restaurant, which is near the dock, and to snorkle off thier beach. We did that and though there is no coral, the fish there were great and the kids loved it! We had to skip Jamaica unfortunately because of high surf. We had a day pass arranged with the Hilton Rose Hall whcih sounded great. Too bad.... Labadee Haiti was great, actually. I was afraid it would be too artificial. It was a little but the place is beautiful and we all had probably the bexst day of the trip there. We went to Barefoot beach, which is for suite guests only. The other beaches were beautiful but more crowded. We did not rent a cabana ($200 for the ones near the water, which did not seem worth it) but instead got under a little thatch umbrella and got chairs. This worked out great! No real snorkeling off the beach here either but had a great time. Went and did the Aqua Park with the kids which was an extra $15 each but worth it (and exhausting!!). Navigator of the Seas was a great ship and a little cheaper to book than the newer RCL ships. Overall we had a great trip and would recommend this itinerary to anyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2011
Background: This was our first cruise. We are a family of 5. We were joined by my sister, another first-time cruising family of 5, and my parents who have been on a number of prior cruises on various lines. The children's ages ranges ... Read More
Background: This was our first cruise. We are a family of 5. We were joined by my sister, another first-time cruising family of 5, and my parents who have been on a number of prior cruises on various lines. The children's ages ranges from 3 to 12 and my mother was in a wheelchair. Embarkation: Awful queues after bag drop where the health forms are completed in an unventilated tent with no air conditioning, which was a horrible experience. Also full of Italians who don't know how to queue! But after that the security and check-in process was very quick and efficient. Stateroom: We were in one of the Family rooms which was excellent - very large, separate sleeping area for the two bunk beds and a curtain to separate off the double bed from the sofa bed. I'd thoroughly recommend this room to any family of 5 or 6. Dining: Breakfast/lunch: The buffet in the Windjammer was a nightmare on most days. It seats about 700 for a ship of 3,600 passengers. Impossible to get a table (not helped by couples sitting on the large circular tables) and people were eating standing at the edge of the buffets. After the first day we either ate at times to avoid the queues (depending on when the excursions left) or ate in the restaurant on the days at sea, which isn't the same as even though anything can be ordered it somehow doesn't tick the boxes like a buffet does. Having said that the quality and choice of food was fantastic. Dinner: We ate fixed dining on the first sitting. Food was of an exceptionally high quality on 6 of the 7 nights. Our two waiters couldn't have done more - friendly attentive service, lots of little extras for the children and ensured that we were well catered for as most of our party were vegetarian. Activities: Plenty to do, especially for the children, with the swimming pools, rock climbing wall, ice skating rink, roller blading, mini golf etc. The mini golf was terribly disappointing - a few obstacles in the holes would have made it far more interesting. My only complaint was that the ice rink was only open twice for general skating the whole week - what's the point of having an ice rink and hardly ever being able to use it? My other complaint was concerning the arcade, which was fine in itself. However one machine took $1.25 from our card but then didn't work. I asked three times for the money to be refunded to our card, and was promised on each occasion that the refund would appear, but it never did. Although $1.25 is not a lot of money it was annoying to be promised something only to be let down. Children's Club: Disappointing. The range of activities was generally poor and the staff didn't seem so interested in the children. The activities in the 2 to 5 year old's club were mainly sticking, colouring and watching TV - something that can easily be done in the stateroom. Our three year old refused to go back again. After hearing from seasoned cruisers how amazing the children's clubs activities are we were disappointed. Service: on the whole fantastic. The waiters really excelled themselves and it was really only the table cleaners in the Windjammer that weren't so friendly. However we did have one cause to complain. At every opportunity you feel RCI are trying to sell you something or make money out of you. That's fine in itself. But when we left the ship in Athens (with someone in a wheelchair) we asked the people taking photos where to go and they said they'd only help us if we agreed to have our photo taken (which we didn't want). They then sent us to a building 100m away which was locked - it turned out we were supposed to wait for a bus. Back on the ship we complained to deaf ears - not even a hint of an apology. Entertainment: Mixed. Three great shows (Beatles review, ice skating and a street artist),one awful show (West End musicals review) and two uninteresting shows (Italian singer and ballroom dancing). No show on the first evening if eating at the first sitting which was also hugely disappointing. The cruise director (in charge of entertainment), a certain Warren Allen, was rude and awful. The evening ice show turned out to be the same as one the previous afternoon but this was never explained on the cruise compass (daily activity planner). That wasn't great as we had to sit there with the kids for over half an hour just to secure seats. When I asked the cruise director why it was the same show he reasonably explained that the ice rink only seats 700 so they need to repeat the show 4 times so everyone can see it. Fair enough. But when I asked why this wasn't explained on the cruise compass he told me it was. I still have the cruise compass and it wasn't. When I told him it wasn't he accused me of lying. All I was hoping for was an apology! Not the standard of serviceI expected. Excursions: Too expensive - we arranged our own. Disembarkation: Very efficient. We managed to leave 15 minutes before our allotted time. Luggage was easy to locate. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We enjoyed our experience on the RCCL Navigator of the Seas. The ship was clean, well maintained, and the crew/staff were excellent. The food was very good in the dining room, and fair to good in the Windjammer (casual dining room). We ... Read More
We enjoyed our experience on the RCCL Navigator of the Seas. The ship was clean, well maintained, and the crew/staff were excellent. The food was very good in the dining room, and fair to good in the Windjammer (casual dining room). We also ate at the deck 5 promenade 24-hour cafe, which had small sandwiches, pizza, cookies and drinks. We also enjoyed the nightly entertainment, which consisted of a Motown group (excellent), Beatles cover group (excellent), variety show with the "Mad Frenchman" (excellent), and circus performers (good). The ship's singers and dancers did a great job as well. We also had an ice skating show in Studio B. They were excellent especially considering the size of the ice rink. Our stateroom was a Junior Suite (handicap access, port side midships, deck 10). Stateroom 1608 was huge and provided a gathering place for the 11 trip members at certain times. We originally booked stateroom 1390 (aft balcony room (non-suite), but found our at the pier that we were upgraded*. If you can get this room, it is worthy it as it is bigger than the normal suites. The only drawback is the shower, which has no door. The water tends to wash into the rest of the bathroom when used (we put towels in the floor). The food was excellent to very good. A nice variety and selection. The portions were smaller than I expected, but that is a plus (my son received additional tiger shrimp at times when our waiter saw his woeful expression). The wine package is way, way overpriced but we enjoyed having a glass with dinner. The waiter staff were top-notch and the kids really enjoyed all of them. The best food at the Windjammer was Indian curries and other Asian entries. The activities such as rock climbing and ice skating can get crowded, but are manageable. Get there early. We really booked a cruise to visit the ports. Be sure to check out the various excursions before you depart or soon after you get on the ship, as some book up fast. We actually used third-party tour groups, they are more affordable, more flexible in terms of itinerary, and usually are run much smaller groups using mini-vans. These better because you can get in an out of sites easier. *Our travel agency did some type of upgrade for us without our knowledge. Royal Caribbean charged us over $360 for the upgrade and would not let us on the ship till we paid (they resold our previous stateroom and were booked up). This was later refunded to us (as per RCCL policy). However the confusion and stress that this episode caused put a damper on the first afternoon and night. Bottom line: if your travel agency requested an upgrade (or RCCL grants you one) but you yourself did not request it, you should not have to pay for the upgraded difference. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We're experienced cruisers (Platinum status on RCL) and this was our second time on the Navigator. Our first was a short Caribbean cruise in March of 2011. Overall, we had a wonderful time and they definitely have gotten most things ... Read More
We're experienced cruisers (Platinum status on RCL) and this was our second time on the Navigator. Our first was a short Caribbean cruise in March of 2011. Overall, we had a wonderful time and they definitely have gotten most things right on the Navigator. A few aspects could use improvement. THE FOOD: Okay, this sure isn't in the class of Celebrity but we didn't expect it to be. Still, the food in the Windjammer cafe is just a notch or two above institutional fare. It need not be that way. The food in the dining room was good but the service at dinner (at table 418) on this July cruise was little more than competent. Unlike on other cruises and unlike our experience in March on this same ship, the wait staff never learned our names and were not engaging. Yes, we received our selections but it went little beyond that. THE MUSIC: On both of our cruises on the Navigator, we found the musical entertainment to be poor. Either whoever does the booking has an inadequate budget, is incompetent, or both. Jazz consisted of a mediocre piano or guitar player with a backing track. The entertainers in the lounges were barely passable in terms of their their abilities and talents. The band out at the pool muddled through well-known pop tunes with the vocalist reading the lyrics and often getting the melody wrong. THE GUEST RELATIONS STAFF: While most of these staff members were quite helpful, responsive, and cheerful, don't try to ask questions late at night. At that time, one can still get totally nonsensical answers. PLANNING AND LOGISTICS: Overall, the thousands of passengers were managed well. A glaring exception was after the 2:30 PM "all aboard" in Crete. As one would expect, many passengers returned to the ship in search of a bite to eat. the barbecue out by the pool closed at 2:00 PM and the dining room closed early. This turned the Windjammer cafe into a madhouse! It was over-capacity with some less-than-cordial people virtually fighting over tables. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
To start off I would like to say that I have cruised twice before this cruise. Both times were with Disney once in the Caribbean and also just like this one in the Mediterranean.The Cruise was great, we had a good time onboard the ship and ... Read More
To start off I would like to say that I have cruised twice before this cruise. Both times were with Disney once in the Caribbean and also just like this one in the Mediterranean.The Cruise was great, we had a good time onboard the ship and a lot of fun. The Check-In in Civitavecchia was ok. It was not the newest port, so things were a little worn out, but that is not RCIs fault. Everything worked smooth and we were onboard the ship in about a half hour.The ship itself had many attractions, like an ice skating rink, a rock climbing wall or a small golf course. Though these things look great in the ads, they're not really that good. The golf course is actually a boring mini-golf course with no hills or real obstacles. The ice skating rink is tiny and only about 30 people are allowed at once, so you're bound to wait. As with the rock climbing wall, it was open pretty long, but still you will always have to wait about 15 min before getting a turn.For the activities I was pleasantly surprised. Having sailed with Disney, I didn't think a cruise could put anymore activities in one week, but I was wrong! The cruise was filled with fun times for all ages including a belly flap contest, mens sexiest legs contest, 70s night and on on on... There was an extra area for teens with their own part of the deck and a disco.Entertainment was good, not perfect. Many people enjoyed it very much but my opinion is that it was just good. If you're into music and musicals with JUST singing and no plot whatsoever, then this will be great for you, but I only enjoyed two of the shows. Both were with Michael Menes a juggler and comedy artist.The shows were the following:-Michael Menes (Juggling, Comedy) & Majestic (An acrobatic duo) - 5 stars-Gary Lavini (violin) - 1 star-Ice Dancing Spectacular - 5 stars-Michael Menes and Majestic (different show) - 4 stars-3 black dudes singing Motown music - 2 stars-Now & Forever (Musical w/o plot) - 2 stars Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
We sailed on Navigator of the Seas, an impressive ship, for five nights with our son (10) and daughter (5). We had a fantastic trip, enjoyed the sun, the ship itself, the food, and more...Our embarkation was smooth and easy. Once ... Read More
We sailed on Navigator of the Seas, an impressive ship, for five nights with our son (10) and daughter (5). We had a fantastic trip, enjoyed the sun, the ship itself, the food, and more...Our embarkation was smooth and easy. Once onboard, we had packed a carry-on of items to be able to enjoy the ship without having to wait for our luggage, which arrived before dinner. After exploring some of the ship, we headed right to the pool. The pools were beautiful! My only wish was that there was a pool for kids. The pool was deep and salty, and we should have had a tube for our daughter. The many adults sitting around it made it difficult to enjoy and swim. Our weather was simply perfect and we enjoyed our time swimming and sunning. Our children both loved the "camp" as we called it in Adventure Ocean. They begged to go back and this left my husband and I with some time to ourselves. Because of their hours, we spent time in the middle of the day together in the pool (on days at sea) but once they had enough of the water, the kids asked to go back to the camp. Our favorite feature was the time after dinner when the kids enjoyed time at the camp, with the new friends they made, while my husband and I enjoyed some time at a pub, seeing a show, or just sitting on the deck watching the sunset.The shows were fantastic! We especially loved the Ice Dancing, the comedian duo, and the magician. The pirate parade from the kids right before the comedians was such a treat! I felt so lucky to be able to enjoy a day of sun, swimming, followed by a delicious dinner, and a fantastic show. The dinners in the main dining room were delicious and plentiful. The wait staff was friendly, quick, attentive, and flexible. Contradictory to the reviews I have read, the food was delicious, fresh, and creative. The best way for us to enjoy the food the way we wanted to, was to have breakfast via room service, lunch from the Windjammer at the pool, and dinner in the dining room. The Windjammer was a bit of a disappointment in quality of food.Our Stateroom Attendants were so kind, attentive, and thorough. We trusted them and the kids even made them something special to remember us by. We loved the little towel-critters they left each evening.Our ports of call-- Grand Cayman and Cozumel-- were a hit all around. We especially loved Grand Cayman and the peaceful ocean with beach side snorkeling. The kids loved finding coral. However, keep in mind the restaurants are slow and expensive. I only wish I had researched my excursions more carefully, and then booked onshore. There were many, many to choose from for a fraction of what we paid. Choosing to visit a beach on either Island is a sure thing.While this review is positive overall, I have a few criticisms. First of all, everywhere we went, the ship was always trying to upsell us. There were auctions constantly in the Promenade, advertisements everywhere we looked, sales, sales, sales. We were constantly reminded to give gratuities to everyone we met. Drinks were $10 each, including gratuity. Even after we paid gratuity, we were given envelopes to give more gratuity. And when something did not cost extra, they called it "complimentary," as if the cruise itself hadn't cost a dime. This was the biggest surprise-- the amount of $$ we spent over five days above and beyond the cost of the cruise. Finally, I would highly recommend this cruise for families like ours--five days was just enough and the western Caribbean was peaceful and calm. Sometimes we forgot we were on a boat! Just gorgeous! Again, we felt so lucky and blessed to be able to enjoy this wonderful vacation! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
My husband and I cruised with RC to the Bahamas for our honeymoon years ago, and thought it would be the adventure of a lifetime to take our children on a cruise for spring break. Unfortunately, we expected RC to take the same care of ... Read More
My husband and I cruised with RC to the Bahamas for our honeymoon years ago, and thought it would be the adventure of a lifetime to take our children on a cruise for spring break. Unfortunately, we expected RC to take the same care of passengers now as they did in the 90s. We expected too much. There were a few little things and a few bigger things that eventually made this one of those "I wish it hadn't ended up like that" vacations. While the Navigator is a beautiful ship - very clean, with wonderful activities offered - we had some "let-downs" that, in my opinion, could have been avoided. Our certified vacation planner told us that we would have a connecting stateroom with our kids, and that we could even open up the divider on the balcony to make it one big area. Neither one of those things was accurate. Maybe some staterooms do connect, but ours did not - not a really big deal, just annoying to be told one thing and have something different be discovered upon arrival. Also, we had asked our vacation planner about the types of soda offered with the soda package. All she would tell us was Coke products. We all know that Coke makes MANY different varieties of soda. The soda package includes three - Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite. My guess is that RC wants you to assume you'll have many choices, when in reality, you only have 3! Again, nothing major, just something we would have liked to have known before purchasing the soda package. We also purchased a Pets at Sea package for my daughter as a special treat, because she wasn't old enough to do an excursion the boys would be doing. They made it seem a bit like Build-a-Bear, but the animals are nowhere near as cute, and there were only about 8 or 10 outfits to choose from. A bit of a disappointment for her.Most of the crew that we interacted with was incredible - helpful, attentive!! We had only one complaint about a crew member - our Asst. Waiter. He was so overwhelmed through dinner every night, that we spent several evenings with empty glasses and nothing to drink. After a long day in the hot Caribbean sun? Unacceptable. Even after asking for refills, he would forget. By the last couple evenings, I almost requested he leave a water pitcher on our table, so we could refill them ourselves! Port Labadee was our first stop. Here, our boys did the Dragon's Breath Flight Line. They loved it!! It was a bit expensive, but they thought it was incredible. The workers at the end who help you get off were a bit rude, but it was still a good experience.We also relaxed at the Arawak Aqua Park. It was fun - and funny - seeing everyone try to haul themselves out of the water to get on the inflatables!! What a riotous good time!The other gem of our visit was the Haitian Cultural Tour. It was something that we weren't sure we wanted to do, yet it ended up being our family's favorite part of the entire cruise!! Paradise Cove is just that - paradise! A quiet beach, with crystal waters, warm as a bath. It's a nice place to slow down and bask in the Caribbean sun! The cultural part was a bit staged, but still very interesting. I'm not sure everything being sold there was "manufactured" by the folks there, as we were told, but it was still an insightful visit.We scheduled the zip line first thing in the a.m. followed by the aqua park. RC provided a lovely buffet lunch, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and we still had time to take the afternoon Haitian Cultural Tour. A lovely day! (If you are a blood donor, keep in mind that you'll be deferred for a year after visiting Haiti - including Port Labadee.)Our second stop was Falmouth, Jamaica, which is being developed into a lovely, clean port. Greeters were very friendly and welcoming, helping to start the day off on a positive note!We had booked excursion FY55 - Catamaran Snorkel and Dunn's River Falls, and we expected WAY TOO MUCH! After a 1+ hour bus ride, seeing how very run down and not pretty much of Jamaica's north coast is, we arrived to minor chaos in Ocho Rios, where we waited for our catamaran. We sailed for about 10 minutes out to our snorkel site. It was way too close to other vessels, so sand and silt kept getting churned up. We could hardly see anything - of what little there was to see there to begin with.Our guide kept standing on the coral - something I always thought was wrong - to show us marine life he had picked up. He showed us a sea urchin that he proceeded to kill so we could see a fish feeding frenzy. I thought that was a bit disrespectful to the environment. There were way too many people on this particular catamaran tour, so as we "followed" our guide, everyone was kicking each other with their flippers. Overall, not an enjoyable snorkeling trip.We took the catamaran a short distance (during which we were harassed onboard to buy trinkets and beer and to have hair braided) to Dunn's River Falls. We were assigned two guides - who were way less than helpful. I think during the entire climb, they assisted us 3 times. Yet, they followed us to where our bags were at the end to hover for a tip. I will gladly tip anyone who provides an adequate service for me. However, these guys didn't deserve one! Dunn's River Falls is a definite MUST DO! Just hope that you are lucky enough to have a wonderful guide.I'm sure you've heard about the market vendors at the top of the falls. We knew to expect the pushiness and to say "No, thank you." I didn't expect to have a man physically block our way as we attempted to catch up with the rest of our family. Beware - you may need to be rude.After the falls, we rode the bus to Shaw Park Beach Hotel for a buffet lunch. It was decent, but by this time in the day (2:00 ship time) I was tired of Jamaica. My advice - DON'T spend $135 each to do this excursion! If you do, hope for a better experience with better guides. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We had a good trip on the Navigator. It was a spring break cruise and loaded with kids -- from college students down to young children. We were told there were over 800 kids on the ship. The ship itself is quite nice - certainly the ... Read More
We had a good trip on the Navigator. It was a spring break cruise and loaded with kids -- from college students down to young children. We were told there were over 800 kids on the ship. The ship itself is quite nice - certainly the best ship in the industry for a trip of less than 7 days. Typically the ships that cater to the 3-5 day market are older and don't have the bells & whistles of a ship like the Navigator. It was nice to have the ice rink, the upgraded mini golf, the inline skating, Johnny Rockets, 2 speciality restaurants, the Royal Promenade shops and bars, etc. The ship was also in good condition. The staterooms might be a bit tired (it was launched in 2002) but I think the public rooms are generally good. There are areas that could surely use some sprucing up but in general it is in good shape. The food was good. We found the food in the dining room to be better than the Windjammer but I think most people feel that way. The Windjammer and Jade did have a great variety of foods - from typical American fare to Indian, Chinese, Italian, etc. But based on the massive quantities that they serve they do an excellent job. The Dining room was also very good and a step up from the Windjammer. The portions in the dining room are very reasonable. I think if we had all of our meals in the Dining room instead of at the buffet, we would have eaten better and much less. The service in the dining room was excellent the first 3 nights and then slow the last 2 nights. I think it took 20 minutes to even take our orders the last 2 nights. But we weren't in a big rush to it wasn't a problem. I would say the dinners took 2 full hours. We did go to the Windjammer one night for dinner and they had the exact same food as in the dining room only buffet style. Jade has a nice selection of sushi and that was very popular. The ship is quite casual, or perhaps it was more casual on our cruise based on the young demographic. Years ago you had to dress up for dinner - on this cruise it was common to see people in shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops. Even on the formal night there were many people who were dressed in just a polo type shirt. I personally do not love getting dressed up in a formal suit or tuxedo (as it is perhaps too formal) but I think there is a balance that needs to be achieved in separating the ambience of dining room to that of the Windjammer. The ports were decent. Grand Cayman is built to a much better standard than Cozumel. The town is also much nicer. Both have lots of excursions, mostly beach or water type activities. In both places we found that you could very easily organize your own excursion right off the ship. We did not have any problems getting a lounge chair at the pool (which is something I have read is problematic) but we were outside by 9:00am. The band that plays Caribbean music poolside was great, the jacuzzis were hot, the bar service at the pools were also great. The drink prices have gone up in recent years (a pina colada at the pool was $7.00 ($8.05 with tip); beers were $4.75-$5.75 plus tip). Its not unreasonable but it surely adds up over the course of the cruise. Also, the tips came to $48 per person for the waiter/asst waiter/head waiter/room steward for the 5 day cruise. Embarcation took about 30 minutes but we arrived at peak time. Leaving the ship was a breeze. It was very well organized in Fort Lauderdale. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
BACKGROUNDWe traveled with a family of 10, myself, DH and our 3 girls (9, 8 and 4), my sister and her 2 boys (7 and 4) and my parents. We are diamond members and have cruised with RCI many times. We are huge RCI fans, so I hope this ... Read More
BACKGROUNDWe traveled with a family of 10, myself, DH and our 3 girls (9, 8 and 4), my sister and her 2 boys (7 and 4) and my parents. We are diamond members and have cruised with RCI many times. We are huge RCI fans, so I hope this review doesn't seem too negative. We stayed in cabins 9520, 9522 and 9524.PRE-CRUISE HOTELStayed at the Westin Beach Resort for two nights pre-cruise. Hotel is very nice. Pool felt like bath water, and there is a skywalk to the beach. Hotel has a Shulas, a poolside cafe and a Starbucks. We ate breakfast each morning at Starbucks. The poolside cafe had horrible service, took us nearly 45 minutes to get our lunch. We ate dinner both nights at Shula's. Great food and service at high prices. If you have more than an overnight, this hotel would be a good choice. Otherwise, save your money and stay someplace less expensive. EMBARKATIONWe arrived at the port around 11, and were on the ship in the Windjammer at 11:45. Embarkation was a breeze.STATEROOMSStateroom attendant was Leevaw. Cabin was fine, but we had to request robes and diamond invites, all the while he seemed rather annoyed. 9520 has a great view (is the first balcony cabin facing the front). The welcome aboard package for diamond members is lame. They left us 3 waters, 1 coke and some trail mix. Then we had mini bar charges on our account when we drank the waters! I had to stand in the line at guest relations to get the charges removed. Also, we requested that the mini bar items be removed. The mini bar attendant told us that she would stack the stuff on the TV?!. I explained to her that we had small children and did not want the mini bar items stacked on the TV, so she packed the items in our upper cabinets instead of taking them away. Then she turned our refrigerator off! We missed the old amenity. Kids still got crayons and my oldest got an RCI bag, but nothing for adults. We would have rather had a hat than trail mix that we did not eat and bottled water that RCI tried to charge us for. Just one more obvious cut-back.FOODThe food in both the Windjammer and the main dining room was very good. There were many options in the Windjammer and the menu in the main dining room included a great variety of foods including lobster (which I had read was not available in previous reviews). We did not eat at the specialty restaurants because we enjoy family meal time and the dining room experience. We did eat at Johnny Rockets and it was okay at best. The onion rings were delicious. We aren't fast food people, so my kids were very disappointed with the burgers and the club sandwich (probably has more to do with our personal eating habits than a true reflection of the food).SERVICEThe service on NOS was not on par with other RCI ships. For example, in the Windjammer I was refused iced tea for breakfast. I know it isn't a big deal, but on other ships the staff did not tell us "no" for simple requests. The tea is made from concentrate. They pour it over water. Also, in the Windjammer there was a guy walking around soliciting sales of orange juice, Perrier, and wine decanters. He frequently interrupted us while trying to enjoy our breakfast or lunch to sell us stuff. This was extremely irritating. Have they resorted to trying to nickel and dime us during meals? For the first time, we felt like a number instead of a valued customer. All the while, tables were not bused, nobody walked around with coffee or water. This is bad policy and should be stopped immediately. Service in the MDR was good. We had the dynamic duo of Carlos (waiter) and Carlos (assistant waiter). Leslie was our head waiter. Dinner took at least 2 full hours every night. Granted, we had a table of 10, but it made it difficult for the children to sit for so long. Not sure who to blame for the length of the meal, we did feel that Carlos was working extremely hard the entire time, and it could have been the kitchen (I guess). Regardless families, don't let this dissuade you from enjoying the MDR together. It truly is one of the highlights of the cruising experience. And on previous cruises, dinner never took so long.DRESS CODEThe relaxed nature of the attire worn in the MDR was unbelievable to me. I am not sure if this is industry wide, or just because NOS has a shorter itinerary, but people were so underdressed. RCI - please enforce the dress code. If someone choses to wear shorts to dinner, let them eat at the Windjammer. I am trying to enforce etiquette and good manners with my children, and want them to enjoy a formal dining experience. It is difficult when they are surrounded by shorts, flip-flops and wife-beater tank tops. I am not asking for people to be decked to the nines, but I do expect some effort to be made.And if you chose not to dress for dinner, then chose to eat elsewhere.SPORTS DECKThe sport deck (like the rest of NOS) seemed understaffed. We were 2nd in line at the rock wall one morning when it opened. We waited 45 minutes before we began climbing. At 9:40 when finally opened the wall, there was only one attendant working the ropes, and it appeared that he was also working the inline skating desk, because he kept running back and forth between the two! Mini golf and ping pong were fun. We did not play on the sports court.ENTERTAINMENTThe ice dancing show and Paul Boland (comedian impressionist) are MUST SEES. Paul Boland had me belly laughing. Make sure to bring your kids to both. Paul Boland called all the kids onto the stage. If you have a budding superstar like I do, this will be a huge hit. The other shows were good, but these two stood out.TIME CHANGENOS has you turn your clocks back the first night and forward the last sea day. I have never been on a ship that changed ship time. Normally, we are just told when going ashore to stay on ship time. That proved problematic for us in Grand Cayman, since it didn't occur to me that I had turned my clock back 1 hour, and I ended up 1 hour late for our excursion. Fortunately we had booked privately with Native Way watersports online, and they couldn't have been nicer about the mix up. Please heed my warning - make sure you are clear on time AND time zone when booking a private excursion. Read more about our fabulous Native Way adventure below! OVERALL EXPERIENCEPlease take my complaining with a grain of salt, we really did have a great vacation. Cruising is such a wonderful way to please everyone. But for the first time on NOS, I felt like RCI has some real improvements to make with regards to service, particularly if they want to make first time cruisers want to return to RCI. DEBARKATIONWas a nightmare! Spoke to a woman who works in the terminal. She claims that the terminal used for NOS is too small to handle the size of the ship. She said that they are going to reconfigure the terminal when NOS leaves for Europe. Be prepared for long lines outside in the FL heat. We have never taken advantage of priority departure before, because we are never in a hurry to get off of the ship, but this time we wished that we had. If you have the status to be able to take advantage of priority departure, you should consider it on NOS. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We decided to take a short cruise for a long weekend and picked RCCL to cruise with. We usually cruise with Seabourn but short hops have been on Celebrity and Princess. Check in was fairly smooth and embarking the ship and finding our ... Read More
We decided to take a short cruise for a long weekend and picked RCCL to cruise with. We usually cruise with Seabourn but short hops have been on Celebrity and Princess. Check in was fairly smooth and embarking the ship and finding our cabin was effortless. Our cabin steward was there to greet us with a friendly smile. Our first encounter at the Windjammer Restaurant for a buffet lunch was fairly hectic with a limited selection, which included pasta, stir fires, a different carved meat each day, hot dogs and hamburgers which had previously been cooked and stacked in a pan, small salad selection and a dessert bar with fairly unattractive offerings. One nice touch, self service soft serve ice cream in the Windjammer and on the pool deck, was appreciated by young and old. Breakfast and lunch can also be enjoyed in the main dining room which is a nice alternative to the Windjammer Cafe. We spent our days reading in the rather large Solarium pool area for adults only. This was adjacent to the main pool and was a fairly quiet place to spend our time.Two out of the four nights we ate in the specialty restaurants and the remaining two we did My Time Seating where we requested and were seated promptly at 8:00PM at a table for two, without a wait. It was a welcome change from the traditional 6:30 and 8:30 seatings. Service was fair and we felt rushed in the main dining room. There was a good selection of appetizers and entrees but the food was only fair. Desserts were much better than expected and the wine list offered a good selection of reasonably priced bottles. The second night we ate in the Portofino specialty restaurant for $20 a person and the food and service were very good. I was able to make this reservation online although the restaurant did not appear to be at capacity. The fourth night we ate at Chops for a $25 per person surcharge. The food was good there but not as well prepared as it was at Portofino. No one told us to leave room for the midnight buffet that was held that night, so we just went up to the pool deck to watch others gorge themselves on hot dogs, chicken fingers, desserts, etc. and we had a good laugh.Entertainment on the ship was good although one of the revues was music from very old Broadway shows and rather boring. The show on the last night was more contemporary and we enjoyed it a lot more. The huge seating area was never full. We saw the Ice Dance show and it was very professional and entertaining and we were amazed at the quality of the skating in a fairly small ice rink. We also got to watch the end of the NCAA final game in the same room and that was a nice touch as well.The Promenade is fun to walk on but fairly limited in the quantity and quality of items for sale. Each day there were new "sales" of cheap items put out to entice you to spend money but nothing was very appealing. The last day tee shirts were brought out to the main pool and sold for two for $20 which was a good way to get souvenirs for friends and relatives. Perfumes were relatively expensive and there was a very limited selection. Liquor was well priced but had to be picked up on the day of departure which seemed like a hassle, unlike other lines that deliver it to your door the night before.The casino is large and there are a lot of slot machines. It may have filled up later in the evening but between 10 and 12, there were not that many people playing. As expected, there were art auctions, dance lessons, bingo, etc. but we preferred to read our books. Another nice touch was the "Make a Wish" walk which RCCL does to raise money to take deserving children on cruises with their families. Eight of the ten dollars spent on the shirt went to the charity. My birthday was the last day of the cruise and when my husband went to the Front Desk to see if he could buy a card, they offered to send chocolate dipped strawberries. They also threw in a bottle of champagne, which was quite a surprise and we were both very appreciative.All in all, the staff was very friendly, the ship was fairly well appointed and clean and we had a really nice weekend away. Disembarkation was not quite as smooth as embarkation since there were many people, all trying to drag their bags down to the first floor. It was nice that we could leave any time up to 10:15 which would have been leisurely if we didn't have to wait on line to go through customs along with people from an even larger Carnival ship but one can't blame RCCL for that. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
First a little background on me: I'm a Cleveland native, live in Miami. I've been on 6 cruises now, all with RCI (Royal Caribbean Intl), 3 Navigator of the Seas, 1 Adventure of the Seas, 1 Explorer of the Seas, 1 Liberty of the ... Read More
First a little background on me: I'm a Cleveland native, live in Miami. I've been on 6 cruises now, all with RCI (Royal Caribbean Intl), 3 Navigator of the Seas, 1 Adventure of the Seas, 1 Explorer of the Seas, 1 Liberty of the Seas. I've cruised starting from 2001-2010 and am 25. With that stated short of the bingo's and arts and crafts I've experienced a good deal of what many of RCI's ships offer (short of Oasis' and Allure's new offerings) One thing I can tell you off the bat is, even after being 8 years old, Navigator of the Seas is NO SLOUCH! There were some area's I could see some very slight wear, but there are many places with much more wear and tear than this ship! The public spaces for the most part are just as immaculate as they were the first of my three times on this ship. And for anyone who thought that all of RCI's best talent was transferred to Allure and Oasis, your DEAD WRONG. You can obviously see some of the people aren't as good as the lofty standard I've come to expect from RCI but there were a couple others that were way way way better than any other's I've experienced on RCI or anywhere else in the world for that matter! The transportation to the port royally sucks if you dont either A: take Royal's transfers or B: stay at a local hotel offering a shuttle. As a local I had to take a shuttle to FLL to take a shuttle (my mom stayed at a such hotel) to the port. Local shuttle services do not go from home's or hotel's to the seaport only airport. It wasn't fun! However if you do your research and book a hotel with a shuttle you shouldn't have problems. Also I HIGHLY RECOMMEND FLYING IN A DAY IN ADVANCE!!! This is for multiple reasons, first if your flight is late or delayed a day you have a planned buffer to protect you. Second if luggage is lost by the airline. Usually the time lost or late luggage is delivered in the late afternoon or evening hours. If you arrive the day before, you have a chance to get your bags before shipping out. If you arrive the same day, well not so much. I work for a major hotel in Miami and have worked for RCI as a port agent and have seen it FAR TOO MUCH!!! Transportation by taxi in either city isn't expensive for short distances. However dont take the cheaper flight to Miami for Port Everglades or to Fort Lauderdale for Port of Miami. Taxi's to the respective areas cost 70-100 USD based on traffic! Embarkation: smooth! Actually very smooth! They caught me by surprise! The last time I sailed out of Port Everglades I absolutely hated it. Port Everglades is finally coming into its own as RCI, Holland America, and Carnival are beginning to base more of their ships there vs Port of Miami. The day we left there were 5 megaships (2 RCI, 1 Holland America, 1 Celebrity, 1 Carnival) in port. Traffic in the port flowed well. Clearance to enter the port likewise flowed well no bottleneck. The buildings now seem to resemble terminals more than just converted warehouses (the feeling I felt before). The feeling still is there but they are so much more efficient with it its not as bad. I'm a Platinum member with them now so I had priority check-in. Really didn't need it. I arrived around 12:30 and while all the agents were occupied when I stepped up, there weren't lines. As usual lines bottlenecked around the seapass machines as some cards didn't work and people stopped to bicker about what to do. Even this did flow ok still. Activities: I found plenty to do. At first I was slightly bored in port. In port on embark day there's not much to do until after the mandatory muster drill. All the shops are closed same as the casino in a port. Some bars are open same as windjammer. Otherwise no real coordinated activities. So I made a phone call and BS'd a bit while I was still in port and able to get a cell tower not belonging to RCI's $7 + p/minute network. I also went to find if the Auburn SCarolina game or Oregon Oregon State game was going to be shown. This is where I met hands down the best bartender I have ever had. He was patient and non confrontational with the drunks and demanding people in the bar. He was kind and remembered my name from night 1 and forward plus what I drank. One of the bartenders in the Dungeon (dance club) also remembered my drink every night. After embarkation all the fun begins when the ship sets sail. The shows are still excellent. Now thats not to say they are all perfect. I still find show's I'm not enthused over but I'm sure there's people who don't like what I liked and thats what the hospitality business is about. Trying to find things that please all of the masses even if it cant be done all at once (which it usually cant). There were plenty of activities for all types of people. There were sports activities, gaming activities, children activities, trivia, music trivia, karyoke, etc. Its hard to be bored once the ship has left the first port! Dining: This is one area I was somewhat disappointed about. In the past I found that I enjoyed the food from the Windjammer and Main Dining Room (MDR). I found that the Windjammer was lacking in taste compared to MDR. Also I was less than thrilled with the service in Windjammer all day and the MDR for breakfast. Evening service as usual was above average which of course is par for RCI. Shore excursions: I've been to cozumel 3 times now. I've done the ATV jungle and the Jeep experience. First I'd like to say for the ATV jungle tour, if you're not an adventurous person wanting to learn something new, not somewhat in shape/athletic, or experienced with ATV's this isnt for you. The first one I did was somewhat challenging but the one I did this time was very challenging. I had others who did ATV's many more times than I who said the same. It was fun but I imagine for the lady who was struggling along (even thats putting it gently) it wasnt fun for her and probably was a waste of money (80 USD). If your in shape and down for some adventure its fun to learn and experience. Lastly for the ATV one the ATV's are semi-automatic, meaning there's no clutch but you still shift up and down. For the Jeep experience (last year '09) the Jeeps are MANUAL! If you cannot drive a manual transmission (stick shift) either find someone who does or you might not wish to go. The course isn't super super challenging but some parts can be. The better your 'driver' the softer the ride. I recommend someone who has experience in stop and go traffic on a stick take the wheel as there is much shifting up and down and quick reflexes will be needed. Both excursions were a great time for me, but you should plan in advance by reading BEFORE you get to the ship. DO NOT BOOK BEFORE ENTERING THE SHIP (unless you've done that exact excursion before) Your first day will usually be an 'At Sea' day. That day usually the excursion desk is busy with people booking for the next port. However the embarkation day usually there's a few hours it'll be open. There'll be modest lines but most excursions wont be sold out! Book what you want on that day. If you book in advance and misunderstand you're not getting anything. If you talk to them on the ship there's still the chance you get squat but there's a larger chance they'll have compassion and do something if they remembered you asked them questions and maybe they made a mistake (it happens we're all human). I found they are completely willing to take time (within reason, dont milk it they have 3k + to deal with) and explain their experience with the tour and what they've seen and experienced to help you book. Lastly, be smart with excursions. I recommend sticking with the cruise line. If something happens on their tour and you don't return in time, RCI will help in someway otherwise you're out on your own if you found your own tour operator. Stateroom: The cabin was great. If you have a D1 cabin 1388 is a pretty good choice. Balcony is definitely larger than average due to its position at the rear of the ship. The cabin (perhaps I'm wrong but I dont think so) also felt larger than the average. Downside, you're at the opposite end of the ship from the Metropolis theatre and nightclub. Positive your one deck from the windjammer for breakfast and lunch, one deck from open air deck 11 for sun lounging and pool swimming, 3 decks from the sports court, 4 decks from sports bar. This basically means you can walk to most of the public areas on the stairs when those elevators back up (which they will) Entertainment: Entertainment was spectacular this trip. Like I said it comes and goes because they want to please as many as possible which will always leave some people unpleased. We had a guy named Finest Hanson who was great! He was a voice impersonator singer. And to tell ya the truth he had it nailed for many of the people he impersonated. He did NSync, Elvis, Ray Charles, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Rocky, and many others. About 1 hours worth of songs and maybe 10 min of talking. He was amusing as well. I always sit in the row thats interrupted by the sound board because its one of the best seats in the theatre. I kept looking at the sound board because I'm a skeptic. I believe the worst before the best. And I couldnt find any place in which it looked like something was being played for him to lipsync with. I think he's the real deal and if he's not he's pretty damn close and really damn good! The late night comic was good too, of course not for all. If your not cool with R rated comedy dont go, you'll probably be offended. For the rest, the guy was good, I only wish I remembered the name. Of course there's the Quest which is amusing. Overall I rate this voyage: 8.5/10 I'll be putting up compasses of my trip soon on the boards so if you're interested look for those. Along with some pictures. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2010
Hello, hola, buenas noches, good evening. I'm not good at introductions, so I'll start things off with a disclaimer: I am 17, so this review will not include extensive information on the Casnio, nightclubs, bars, spas, or other ... Read More
Hello, hola, buenas noches, good evening. I'm not good at introductions, so I'll start things off with a disclaimer: I am 17, so this review will not include extensive information on the Casnio, nightclubs, bars, spas, or other adult hot spots on the ship. This review is unique because it's through the eyes of a teen, which is not common. Having said that, let's get to the review! Background: This is my fourth cruise and my second with Royal Caribbean. My previous cruises were on the Carnival Fascination, Majesty of the Seas, and Carnival Imagination in that order. All of those ships are considered small by today's standards, and I am skipping the middle size ships and going right up to the megaships (unless Oasis and Allure now push the Voyager class down a level). Either way, this is my first cruise on a ship larger than 80,000 GT. I am on this cruise with my 14 year old sister (this is her second cruise, her first was the Majesty) and with my mom (almost a cruise virgin. I say "almost" because her only other cruise was almost 30 years ago on NCL, and times have changed greatly). We booked this cruise back in March and have been waiting patiently ever since. Embarkation: I live in Plantation, Florida, so the port is only a half an hour car drive away. We left the house around 11:35 in the morning (driven by my grandmother so we wouldn't need to park in the garage) and we arrived at Port Everglades close to the top of the hour. After passing through a couple long car lines, we arrived at the Navigator of the Seas's pier at 12:10. By 12:35 we were walking on the ship. Much quicker than my other recent cruises, but with those we arrived much closer to the call time. The point is, the earlier you come, the quicker you get on the ship. The Room: I would like to use a quote from one of the ship's comedians, Billy Garan, who I will talk about more later. His opening joke was "By now you've realized those pictures of your room were taken with a wide angle lens." We had a standard balcony stateroom, which seems like it would be on the low end of decent space for two people, but it was tiny for three. The bathroom was also tiny, but the little space was efficient. My mom and sister took the two twin beds, and I was on the sofa bed. However, it is a step up from Hotel sofa beds, as it comes with a very nice set of sheets and is not on a bouncy spring mattress. On the third night we slept without air conditioning, it was only the next day we realized that the balcony door was just slightly open, which automatically shuts down the room's AC. The Ship: Centrums and Promenade: Everything on the ship revolves around the two massive lobbies and the football field of food and shopping that lies between. While it did seem a bit wider in the pictures, the Royal Promenade was no disappointment. It was the heart of the ship (literally. It had a giant expanding ball in the center that changed colors and size during the evening. Like a pumping heart). The Promenade was home to the Promenade Cafe (Ill talk about that magical place later), The Two Poets Pub (home to nightly live music from guitarist Rob McNay. I sat in on some of his shows, they were alright, not my music preference), Vintages (complete with a classic car), and the RCI logo show. Towards the back of the deck are the guest relations desk and the Champagne Bar, but I don't know if they are considered part of the promenade. I had a great conversation with the bartender of the Bar one night prior to one of the production shows. The two Centrums run up the sides of the Promenade. The Aft Centrum has eight elevators, four of which are glass facing the promenade. Four of the elevators run up to the Viking Crown Lounge. The Forward Centrum has six elevators, two which are glass. The Aft Centrum is the larger of the two, and includes access to the dining room(s), casino, Boleros, Studio B, and the photo gallery. The Forward Centrum provides access to the Metropolis Theater and The Schooner Bar. Many of these places will be discussed later in more detail. The Theater: Seating 1,359 people, the Metropolis Theater is the heart of the ship's entertainment. It housed 2 production shows, 2 comedians, and a Motown group, all of which I will talk about later. It's not as classy aesthetically as some of the other theaters in the Voyager Class, but it is a little more energetic. In many of the pictures, you can see the giant lights on the theater's ceiling, but it's not generally known that they are actually used and change color during the shows. The theater is very beautiful, and in a moderately good condition. Some of the seats had bottom's falling off, and some of the wood bars need to be treated. There is a pit for the band on the front of the stage, but it wasn't used in any of the shows I saw. As for the seating, there are ground level seats, slightly elevated seats in the back of the first floor, and balcony seats. There are some obstructed views due to the pillars supporting the balconies, but there are not many of them. I took a backstage tour of the theater on the last day of the cruise, which was very interesting. This is what I learned: Each show takes one month to program the lights for. The backstage is 2 floors, the bottom floor houses the sets and costumes for that day's shows. The second floor (only access are very steep steps) acts as a storage place for costumes not being used that day. All the singers are live during the shows, but they do have pre-recorded tracks that they use in case a microphone is broken or one of the singers is sick. Studio B: Home of Ice Dancin' (will be discussed later, yada yada yada) and The Quest, Studio B was a fun part of the ship. Although it is an ice rink, it is not freezing cold. I was fine watching the ice show in a shirt and shorts, and I live in Florida, home of heat. It seats 900, and was not full for any of the events. I would say it was about 75% full for The Quest, and just a little more populated for each of the ice shows. A good amount of seats have obstructed views thanks to the many support beams in the room. Ixtapa Lounge: This is the secondary lounge on the ship. I only went in there a couple times, mainly when they had the Nintendo Wii set up and for Karaoke. It seats about 350 people, but I never saw it near capacity. The lounge was in a generally good condition. Screening Room: I honestly did not expect this makeshift movie theater to be as packed as it was at times. It sits 60, but I often found people sitting on the floor or watching from outside because the room was filled. The room shows one movie a day, and repeats the movie every three hours. On our cruise, the movies were "Iron Man 2", "Knight and Day", "Clash of the Titans", "Shrek 4", and "Twilight: Eclipse". Many of these movies were constantly replaying on the TVs in the staterooms. The Dining Rooms: The three (or one, depending on how you view the structure) rooms are beautiful and elegant. The room's red carpet is in great condition and contrasts well with the gold pillars and bright table cloths and the chandelier. My family was seated on the first floor, close to the center of the room. The first floor of the room seats about 900 people, with the second and third floors seating 540 each. Windjammer and Jade: First and foremost, I don't see how Jade stands on its own as a restaurant. For breakfast and lunch, it is just an extension of the Windjammer, and it's just a single counter (one on each side of the Windjammer) serving Sushi and other Asian food at dinner. I guess the counter just gets its own name so RCI can claim that it's another "free" eatery on the ship. Just a minor nitpick though. The real problem here is that there was a lack of tables, at least during lunch. It was hard to find a place to sit and eat, and many people were competition to get an open table before the crew had a chance to clean it up. Long lines were a rarity here though. In fact, the only time I saw long lines were at the morning omelet stations, and that is fairly understandable. The Plaza Bar, in front of both Jade and the Windjammer, was very pretty. It had a miniature waterfall running down it's back wall. Overall, very clean and organized, if a little short on the tables. The Viking Crown Lounge: This is the only aspect of the ship that I found lacking as compared to my cruise on the Majesty of the Seas. On that ship, the VCL had a full 360 degree view, a full circle lounge, providing great views in all directions. The VLC on the Navigator still has a decent view, but I still missed the full observation of the Majesty. Anyways, Navigator's VLC was home to the Cosmopolitan Club, which housed live music nightly. On one side of the VLC were the Seven Hearts card room, Cloud Nine, and The 19th Hole Golf Bar, in which I watched the Steelers obliterate the Raiders. For some reason, Cloud Nine had a "Diamonds Event" sign outside of it the entire cruise, I don't know why though. The sports bar was packed during game nights on the cruise, and when games weren't on, the TVs were showing either ESPN highlights or FOX News. The lounge was generally clean, though the carpet was looking rugged in some areas. Adventure Ocean: The kid and teen programs took up a large part of the ship (at least in comparison with my previous cruises). All the separate rooms were adjoined by one of the largest arcades I had ever seen. As a teen, I was a frequent visitor to The Living Room and Fuel, the two teen lounges on the ship. The first of the two is where we played video games and trivia, while the second lounge was our dance club at night. While I did not spend much time in them, the rooms for the younger age groups were very spacious, although the carpets were looking stained and worn. Sports Deck: Behind the Viking Crown Lounge lies the sports deck, the biggest and best one on any ship I have been on yet. Immediately behind the VLC is RCI's signature rock wall, which I was surprised to see was not used as much as it was on the Majesty. It's not just used for normal climbing though. There were various "speed climbing" contests held throughout the cruise that were fun to watch. In front of the rock wall are two ping pong tables, placed carefully so the strong winds would not affect the game. One deck below was the full basketball court. I don't know what material it was built from, but it held up very well after some constant raining during our stay in Cozumel. It doubled as a dodge ball court for multiple tournaments during the cruise. Furthest back on the sports deck was a miniature golf course. Even though it is open 24 hours, it is best to play it during the morning or early afternoon, because it becomes difficult as the winds pick up later in the day and night. Finally, there is an inline skating track, but it was considerably small and underused. Pool Deck: What would a ship be without the pool deck? Overlooked by the Viking Crown Lounge, the Navigator's pool deck features two pools, side by side, with two hot tubs. For some reason, it was common for one of the pools to be closed at any given time, though both were open during the afternoon. The deck was clean, and not very slippery. Be sure to get your towels early, or else you will face long lines at the Towel Exchange Desk. Loose them, and it will cost you $20 each. Chairs were easy to come by, especially if you are a Crown and Anchor member, in which prime stadium seating chairs are roped off for you by the Pool and Sky bars. During the day, live music can be heard, or if the band isn't playing, modern pop music through speakers. The pool deck was home to a pool party and buffet on the third night from 11:30 PM through 1:00 AM, but more on that later. The pools themselves were never very crowded. Solarium: This enclosed adult's only space was a mixed bag. While it was in good condition, it was always very packed. Go early to get a chair. Additionally, while children were kept out of the area, it didn't solve the "noise" problem of the main pool deck. Many adults in the Solarium, mainly college kids or those in their young twenties, were loud and disruptive, if only for brief amounts of time. The Solarium was Italian themed, which was elegant and pretty. On the fourth night, the Solarium became Club 20, an adults only club, so I don't know what it was like, but there were many multi colored lights and it looked like fun. Schooner Bar: Full of smoke and the carpet was getting worn out. Had entertainment nightly from Don Alexander, a very talented singer/pianist (more later, yada) and trivia contests. Also, full of smoke, it deserves mentioning twice. Casino: Surprisingly, not as full of smoke as the Schooner Bar, at least in the couple seconds I spent by the glitzy entrance. Cruise Director Simeon Baker: At first, I didn't know what to expect from the cruise director. Obviously, being a Voyager Class ship, he would have more material to work with than previous cruise directors I have watched. My first impression of Simeon was that he was a bit off, but as the cruise went by I realized that it was because he had much more of a personality than my previous CDs. If you are wondering if my opening line to this review (Hello, hola, buenas noches, good evening) came from, its from Simeon. That is how he opened every show in the theater. It was weird at first, but it grew on me (and the rest of the cruisers) throughout the five days, and by the time the cruise was over, we were repeating each of those greetings after he said them. Simeon was very spirited during the cruise, but he contained his excitement properly so he was not just a flying ball of hyperactivity like my CD was last summer on Carnival. He also went the extra mile to entertain the guests. I don't know if this is an RCI standard, but on day four when we were leaving the ship to go to Cozumel, Simeon (who is bald, the kind with the shiny head) wore a short pink Lady Gaga type wig, glasses, and danced on deck one to remind us that that night was 70s night. One of my favorite things he did throughout the cruise was make a "special announcement" after every show time in the theater. For example, one of his announcements was "If someone lost a diamond encrusted 18 carat gold watch, the time is 8:01). The last thing we saw before walking in Mexico was our cruise director dancing, and it was clear he was having fun. He was a very friendly individual, and I spoke to him multiple times throughout the ship. In fact, during an elevator ride with him, he told me that his brother is a cruise director for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Matt Baker anyone? Teen Program: This was a mixed bag for me, which was a disappointment because this was (incredibly likely, barring a miracle) my last cruise as a teen (by cruise line standards, aka 17 and under). It had every reason to be great. There were organized activities, two great teen clubs, and a lot of interested teens. The main problem however was the person in charge of my age group (not giving names). I know RCI likes to hire an international crew, but the head of the teen program is probably a job best served by an American. The problem with the teen consoler on my cruise was that she didn't understand what American teens are like. She tried to control our language, she wanted us to dance apart from each other, and she didn't know how to make activities appeal to our group. The worst part was when someone spread a rumor that she was drinking in a bar one night, so instead of playing Capture the Flag like was on the schedule during day four, she called us all into The Living Room and gave us a 30 minute speech about how she doesn't drink and was afraid the rumor would hurt her job. Just not something you want to talk with teens who want to play games. I agree that the rumor should not have been started, but don't interrupt the entire schedule to make a point of it to all of us. On vacation. Anyways, the activities themselves were very fun and the teens were really into it. RCI's teen program has always been better than the one on Carnival. On my Carnival cruise last summer, the teen club was only open (doors unlocked) when there was a scheduled activity in there. Additionally, the type of teens on the Navigator (and RCI in general) are just generally nicer than ones on Carnival. On the Navigator, we were welcome to come and go as we pleased. Activities ranged from Dodgeball to nightly dances to poker. I didn't spend much time with the teen program as I thought I would (too busy eating at Cafe Promenade), but I did enjoy the time I had, even though it needs a better person in charge. I don't think not being allowed in the teen program will hurt me on future cruises, because many of the activities offered in the teen program (casino games, Nintendo Wii, dodgeball, speed climbing, etc) are already offered to adults. Entertainment: All Access (Production Show): There are three production shows on the Navigator of the Seas. The two that were preformed on our cruise were "All Access" and "Ballroom Fever". The third show, "Now and Forever", is supposed to be inspired by Broadway music and tunes. "Ballroom Fever" was themed around ballroom dancing, something that didn't interest me, so I skipped it. "All Access", which I did see, is a collection of rock songs from the 70s. Of all the production shows I have seen on any cruise, this was the most bland. That is not to say it was bad, but it just wasn't very special. One of my biggest gripes was the set, or more specifically, the lack of variety. On other RCI and Carnival shows, there are constantly changing backdrops and props rotating throughout the show. All Access's set consisted of an elevated bandstand, flashing LED lights in the background, and a lot of bars. There were also a couple of ladders that moved in from the sides of the stage, but nothing colorful or unique. Additionally, while the singers were good (more on them later), none of them had a voice for Rock and Roll. Their voices were not edgy enough to sing classic 70s song. Listening to "We Will Rock You" by Queen (the show's opening song) was difficult, because the lyrics should not sound smooth and pretty, they should sound gritty. The dancers were very talented, but the cerography for the show was nothing new. The entire package was just very bland compared to the shows I saw last summer on Carnival, and my favorite cruise production show, "Boogie Wonderland" on the Majesty of the Seas. The RCI Singers and Dancers: All four singers had talent, there is no doubt, but there is only one that left an impression on me, Michael (don't know his last name). Not only was he a great singer, but he also had a fantastic stage presence, and the way he carried himself was very loose and relaxed. He seemed to be having more fun than the other singers, and he also had the best chemistry with the other singers and dancers. The dancers were also talented, though they did not have the best material. During the backstage tour I took of the theater, I met some of the dancers, one of which is 19. He told me he auditioned over video. I think he said he was one of the youngest dancers in the entire fleet. Billy Garan (Headlining Comedian): Billy, who was the performer on our welcome aboard show, was a very interesting comedian. Interesting because there were times when he was really funny, but other times when I was wondering why RCI hired him. His opening joke ("By now you've realized those pictures of your room were taken with a wide angle lens") was funny, but holding up a giant cardboard cut out of Stewie's (from Family Guy) head and repeating the name "Lois" really quickly isn't funny at all. It's annoying actually. Billy was also a good impressionist, but he didn't use them in a comedic purpose (except for one about the TV show CSI). It was more like him doing impressions just so we know he can. His adult show was a bit of an improvement, but when he got to the impressions again, his show started to die out. He capped his performance off with an incredible boring "every TV movie acted out in 5 minutes", which had a lot of potential, but came off as corny and a waste of time. Levent (Headlining Comedian/Magician): Levent, the performer on our farewell show, on the other hand was fantastic. He was very funny, incorporating humor into magic (or vice versa) much better than many others have tried. He had humor for kids and adults alike. It is clear he was a comedian first and a magician second, as every "magic trick" he did, save for a couple serious ones scattered throughout the show, were accompanied by comedy. For example, he put a bottle of wine into a paper bag, and "turned" it into a fake bunny, which he proceeded to take a sip from the top of. Another great moment was when he made a cane disappear from inside a newspaper (tribute to Houdini), and then walked around the stage without being able to bend one knee, and kicking the cane out loudly offstage. My favorite joke from him came from when he wanted the audience to vote on what his last trick should be, either sucking a potted plant up the nose or juggling two balls. The audience voted for the potted plant up the nose one, and Levent said that the juggling won by electoral vote. He called it democracy in action. I call it funny. Spectrum (Headliner Musicians): Preforming on the third night, Spectrum is a Motown music cover group who performed in the theater. They were fantastic, and collectively were much better singers than any of the RCI Singers and Dancers, save for Michael. Spectrum comes from Las Vegas, and has been doing shows on RCI ships for a while now. Each of the four members took turns singing songs, all successfully. Having been born in 1993, there were many songs I did not know, but the ones I did know were performed beautifully. Highlights included their versions of "Soul Man" and "Stand By Me", which got the most applause from the audience, all earned. Royal Promenade Parades: There were two parades on the Royal Promenade during the cruise. The "Welcome Aboard" parade on the first night (which seems to have replaced an ocean themed parade) and a "Mardi Gras" parade on the final night. Both were very entertaining, if a bit bland. The first one focused on the crew and where they came from. Many different cultures were introduced on the bridge in the Promenade. Additionally, the ship's staff was split into their individual groups (Cooks, Casino, Stewards, etc.) and carried banners throughout the promenade. The second parade had the RCI Singers singing (duh) as the rest of the ship's entertainers (Dancers, Ice Skaters, Cruise Director's Staff, etc.) danced in Mardi Gras type outfits. Both parades were about 15 minutes long, which is a good length. Any longer and they would have become repetitive. The only problem is that if you are not in the Promenade a couple minutes before the parade starts, you won't get a good view. The promenade is roped off literally seconds before the parade begins, and once you're behind the rope, you are pretty much trapped for the duration. Ice Dancin' (Ice Show): Does it need to be said? It has been repeated so many times on this entire forum. I know you know it, I know I know it, but I will say it anyways: WOW. This show is spectacular, a surprising delight. Even with all the buildup and hype from reading about it on here, I was not prepared for the triple spins and backflips that powered this wonderful performance. See it. That is all that really needs to be said. I saw it twice. The show is preformed four times on the cruise, twice on the two sea days, at 3:00 and 5:00 PM. The guest act was a hoola hooper, who was very talented. I don't have her name with me right now, but when I get it I will post it. Don Alexander: Don was the piano player and singer at the Schooner Bar during our cruise. He began on the ship during the end of its Mediterranean season back in September, and seems like he will be on it for the foreseeable future, which is good, because he is very talented. Every night (I believe, not positive) he played music and sung along in the Schooner Bar, which attracted big audiences. On the first night he played a tribute show to both Elton John and Billy Joel, and on the last night he took requests. I know he was playing on the other nights, but I don't know what the playlists were. Either way, this man was very good, and he earns bonus points for surviving all the smoke in the Schooner Bar. Rob McNay: He was the guitarist in the Two Poets Pub. He played on pretty much the same schedule as Don, but Rob was far less interesting. Rob played guitar with prerecorded music in the background. I don't know if he sang or not. Either way, he did not garner much of an audience. Various Bands and Orchestra: The Navigator of the Seas Orchestra was talented, as all of the main ship orchestras are. At night (don't know if it was multiple or only the last one) they played Jazz music in the Viking Crown Lounge. There was a separate music group that played regularly Boleros, called the "Latin Express Trio", and they were talented. When they were playing, there were many people dancing on the floor. They knew their audience well. I don't know which group played at night normally in the VLC, but they played good slow background music in case you wanted to relax. Finally, the pool band played live music throughout the day. I didn't spend much time listening to them, but what I heard was good. They played a lot of tropical themed music. The Love and Marriage Game Show: This is one of the main reasons I love cruising. This show is always entertaining, because even though the questions might always be the same (which thankfully, they have changed since my last RCI cruise, as I feared they would be the same), the best aspect of the show is how the contestants react to and answer the questions. On this cruise, the players were a couple married for 20 days, a 2 year old married couple, and one married for 36 years. The 2 year couple were the funniest (and the winners). They were very comfortable with giving out information, and you could tell they were partiers. Simeon Baker was very entertaining during this, and seemed prepared for many scenarios with the contestants, such as when one revealed he had a bad farting habit. Overall, this part of the cruise did not disappoint at all, and I would recommend it to all. Well, not children. The Quest: Also fun and entertaining and not recommended for children comes The Quest, RCI's wild "adult" game show, as they advertised it. Just like the Love and Marriage show, the real fun here is how the audience reacts to the specific quests. I don't know if all cruise directors follow the same questions and do the same things, but I could tell that Simeon had a lot of fun here, especially when at the end, he removed his shirt to reveal he was wearing a bra, and led 11 men also wearing bras (part of the last quest) through Studio B like they were in a fashion show. Nighttime Deck Party: Sorry I don't remember the name at the moment (I don't have access to my compasses right now), but on night four from 11:30 PM to 1:00 AM, the Navigator had its midnight pool party. On the sidelines they had a great buffet, featuring many meats, appetizers, an ice cream bar, pork, and deserts. In the middle of the deck they had the main party, which strangely was not hosted by Simeon. Instead it was hosted by activities director Darren. The pre-party consisted of an ice carving demonstration, which was very cool to witness. The party itself started off with a lot of dancing songs (like the Cha Cha Slide) by the pool. After about 30 minutes or so, around midnight, they cleared the floor and set up a table with various bar tools. Everyone knew what was going to happen and got the best view possible. The bartenders were going to put on a show. The best views were gone quickly, so hurry up when you see they are getting ready for this. About four bartenders put on a presentation for us all individually, making their own signature drink with as many tricks as possible, and they proceeded to give the drinks they made out to audience members for free. After this I decided to go to sleep. I wanted to be rested well for my last day on the ship. Poolside Games: In the early afternoon of the second day of the cruise was the traditional belly flop competition, and the crowd was really into it. The contestants were also having fun, with some signing themselves up under funny nicknames (some which humorously reflect on that persons weight), and others doing funny dances or movements before jumping into the pool. In the end, the person who earned the most applause was actually a woman, who might have actually had the biggest splash of all the competitors. And no, she was not overweight. This was very fun to watch. The second poolside game I watched was the Mr. Sexy Legs competition. Again, very funny to watch. In fact, I am sure some of the belly floppers participated in this as well. Some people have no shame in making fun of themself for entertainment. All the more power to them. Mr. Sexy Legs was also very entertaining. Other poolside games included Mrs. Biceps and the Poolside Olympics, both of those I unfortunately missed out on. Food: Overview: Before I get to talking about the individual eateries on the ship and what they serve, I want to discuss the food overall. It was a very mixed bag, depending on what you ate, where, and when. When originally planning the review, I knew I was going to compare this food to that on my Carnival cruise from last summer, but I didn't think I would need to compare it to the food from my cruise on the Majesty. Even both they are both RCI ships, there are noticeable differences between the food quality. Pizza: I included this as its own category for a few reasons: For starters, pizza is one of the most important food products on a ship. Secondly, I need to compare it to both Carnival's pizza and the Majesty's pizza. Finally, because Pizza is served on multiple parts of the Navigator. Many say that Carnival has the best pizza at sea, but I disagree. I believe the best pizza belongs to RCI. Or more specifically, the Sorrentos pizza found on the Freedom and Oasis class ships, as well as the Majesty. Sorrento's is a land based pizza restaurant, like Johnny Rockets, so it's food is of a higher quality than the normal cruise line food. The difference is, Sorrento's is free on the ships that it is on, and is much better than Carnival's pizza, and that of the Navigator's. As for the Navigator's pizza itself, it's quality differed depending on where you received it. The pizza in the Windjammer was disgusting on the first and only time I tried it (lunch on embarkation day). It had very little sauce, and the cheese didn't taste like cheese. On the other hand, the pizza served in the Promenade Cafe (which is baked there, so it is entirely separate from the Windjammer pizza makers), was a big improvement. It was about as good as the pizza on my Carnival cruise last summer. They have plain and pepperoni available almost all the time, with a flavor of the day as well. Even better than the pizza though were the miniature calzones at the Cafe. When I was on Carnival, they were made by request, but on the Navigator, they had a big plate of them, almost always full, and they were very good. I believe I ate more calzones than any other individual food item on the ship. Cafe Promenade: Normally you would expect the Windjammer or the Dining Rooms to be first, rather than this little Cafe, since they are more important, but I am writing about this first because the Cafe Promenade is the place I visited the most during the cruise. Open 24 hours a day, the Cafe always has treats for you. In the morning, they had breakfast pastries such as doughnuts, bread rolls, muffins, and danishes. After around 11:00 AM, they served pizzas and calzones, and continued to do so until around 2:00 AM the next morning. Also after 11:00 AM is when they served their signature cookies and cakes. Additionally, Seattle's Best Coffee, both regular and decaf, was available free all 24 hours. I made sure to visit the Cafe every morning for breakfast items. They served miniature challah rolls every morning, and I couldn't stop eating them, I loved them so much. The danishes were also tasty, if a little stale. I already talked about the pizza products, so I will move on to the cookies and cakes, which is what the Cafe is known for. The cookies they had were not always fresh (as in hard and crunchy rather than soft), but they were tasty. From what I observed, Chocolate Chip and Triple Chocolate Chunk were some of the favorites. Other flavors included Mudslide and Toffee, with what I think had Heath bar pieces in it. Overall, the Cafe Promenade was my favorite eatery on the ship, and I don't know how I will be able to live without it. Not just on other ships, but on land. I need my daily cookies and calzones. Main Dining Room: Even though I already mentioned it, the Main Dining Room looks fantastic. I just wish that the food was of the same quality. Not that the food was bad, but it just wasn't very special. I ate in the dining room on three of the nights, and had a good meal, but nothing that I miss. On the first night, I had an Alfredo linguini with mushrooms. The Alfredo sauce was not very flavorful. I could tell it was there because of its creamy texture, but it didn't add much to the flavor. Same with the mushrooms. The pasta itself was good, but it's not really anything you can mess up. On night two, I had a shrimp cocktail appetizer, which was pretty good, and the Filet of Beef, ordered medium rare. Filling and better than the linguini (in terms of amount of flavor), but it still did not have a very big impact. I skipped the room for nights three and four, and returned on night five, the last of the cruise. On that night, I had a Ceaser Salad for an appetizer, which was dry and flavorless. I had two entrEes that night, a New York Strip Steak, which was better than I expected, and Turkey, which was mixed: The white meat was dry and dull, but the dark meat was juicy and tender. I ate breakfast in here on disembarkation day, and it was very good. The food was timely, and well prepared. I had buttermilk pancakes, and tried my sister's French Toast, both of which were better than I was expecting. Overall, the food here was good, but nothing special, and met my expectations, except for the Ceaser Salad, which was a joke. Despite the quality of the food however, it was always plated excellently. Windjammer: The Lido Buffet was comparable to the dining room. It is a much better choice for lunch and for a breakfast on the go but with a drop in the quality of the food. I only had breakfast once in the Windjammer, on the second day (first morning) on the ship. I had a French toast, and it seemed like a solid triangle of egg yolk. After that, I ate in the Cafe Promenade for breakfast. If you do choose to go to the Windjammer for breakfast, expect long lines, especially at the omelet station. Thankfully, they have premade omelets available for those who hate waiting and are willing to sacrifice custom omelets. I generally came in here for lunch, in which they always served various meats and pastas. I tried a burger one day, and found it very lacking, which is to be expected. Why offer a good burger for free when you have Johnny Rockets? The hotdogs were good though, it's hard to mess those up. I would say the Windjammer was best during lunch. For dinner, they served the same general choices that they had in the dining room, but they were not as fresh. Johnny Rockets: I love hamburgers. A lot. I knew I would be going to Johnny Rockets at one point on my cruise, and I decided to go on day three, after coming back from Georgetown, Grand Cayman. It was never incredibly busy, and the food doesn't take too long to get to you. I ordered the St. Lewis burger, with Swiss cheese and bacon, and ate it quickly. I ordered a second burger (I love hamburgers. A lot.), this time a standard original (plain with regular condiments) and ate it as well. And if that was not enough, I ordered the Royal Caribbean Oreo Sunday, which is 2 or 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream with Oreos and chocolate syrup, and ate it (although I knew I shouldn't, as I was already feeling full from the burgers), and it was delicious, as were the burgers. They are always fresh and cooked to order. And seeing how it was $4.95 for all of the food together (the cover charge covers everything except for milkshakes, which cost $4.50, and Floats, which cost $3.95), it was a great value. Soda Package: I don't know how much this cost, but it was defiantly worth it. I had more soda in a day than I normally would have in 2-3 weeks, but hey, it's a cruise. If you are a huge soda drinker, get this, because not only do you get access to all the soda you want, but you also get a special colorful plastic bottle that is yours to keep. I love soda, and did not have the package on my previous 2 cruises. There is so much temptation on the Navigator, so many places where you can buy soda, and it's hard to resist. I believe a single soda can on the Navigator costs $2.25, and the card is about $6 or $7 a day (much less for kids), so if you plan on having at least 3 cans of soda a day, buy the card, or the bills will add up quickly. Crew Service: Overview: For the most part, the service on the ship was very quick and efficient. I didn't know what to expect from the crew, since the Navigator was very recently back from its Mediterranean season, and I have read reports of low crew morale and efficiency on the cruise following a major home port change. Nevertheless, the crew was always enthusiastic and happy. Room Service (not food): I want to talk about the room's cleaning and service staff first because they were the only group that we had a problem with. On the second day of the cruise, our room was not cleaned until around 8:00 PM. We were calling the front desk every few hours throughout the afternoon to have someone clean the room and make the beds (its hard to type this without sounding like an ignorant selfish brat, but this is what cruising is like lol). We saw the cabin crew cleaning the other rooms early in the day, but for some reason ours was skipped. Anyways, it was fixed up by the time we were done with dinner. Otherwise, the crew was great. Dining Room: The staff here was fantastic. Unfortunately I do not remember the names of the waiter for my table and the other crew members who served us, but they were all great. They were more than happy to accommodate my eating (I have a big appetite, on or off a ship). The crew also had a great memory, as I ordered a Sprite on the first night, and they gave me one without me needing to ask on the other nights. They even brought one on the two nights I skipped. My only complaint would be that the food was a little slow on the second night. It took about half an hour for the main dishes to be served after the appetizer. I'm not sure if it was intentional though since it was formal night. However, its normally much quicker on cruises, and when you have second seating, getting the main dish after 9:00 PM just doesn't feel right. Bars and the Cafe: The service at the Promenade Cafe and the other bars on the ship were also very quick. For drinks, it was as simple as taking out my soda card and telling them what you want. It was a bit slow at the Cafe Promenade though because of the lines. When picking up a snack from the Cafe, it might take you longer for you to decide what you want than for the server to give it to you. There are multiple bars in both Studio B and the Metropolis Theater, each with multiple bartenders. I would recommend you go directly to them for a drink before a show, because the servers who walk the ground are hard to come by, especially if you are in anything but an aisle seat. Conclusion: Wow, what a cruise. It might sound like I found this cruise average, but it was huge improvement over my previous cruises because there was simply so much more stuff to do. The Promenade became my home. I think the only way you can't enjoy this cruise if you've been on the Oasis class. Every morning, on this cruise and my two other recent ones, I made my schedule for the day either the previous night or that morning with the compasses, but for the first time, I couldn't decide what to do. Teen dodgeball tournament or Battle of the Sexes? Soccer or trivia? Ice skating or the Love and Marriage Game Show? There are so many things to do on this ship, you will never be bored. As my last cruise as a teen, I was surprised that I did not participate in the teen activates as much as I wanted to, but I am now actually happy for that. This was my first cruise where I was given enough freedom to do what I wanted, and I took all those liberties. This is a great ship, and I had a great cruise. Of all the cruises I have been on, this is my favorite, followed by the Majesty of the Seas, and the Carnival Imagination and the Carnival Fascination. Thank you for reading this incredibly long review, and you can look forward to another one whenever I sail again. Ports: Georgetown, Grand Cayman: When we were at Grand Cayman, my mom and sister dragged me on to what I like to call the "Ooh, lets buy this" excursion. For two hours, I moved from clothing store to perfume store, just waiting to get back onto the ship. If you're a collector of Hard Rock Cafe pins, there is one very close to the port. I am sure there is a lot to do here; we just didn't do much of it. For me, the highlight was trying a coconut rum cake. Delicious. I wish I bought some in the port. If for some reason you forget to do so, they sell them on the ship in the Logo store. Cozumel, Mexico: We spent our time in Mexico down by the San Francisco beach. There are many fun things to do, including a very big water fun zone section including water trampolines, inflatable slides, and a giant rock wall type inflatable structure. It cost about 12 dollars, but was worth it. There I met people from the other ships in port, and had a very fun game of "push each other off the trampoline" with kids on the Carnival ships also in port. The water itself was very salty compared to the waters here in South Florida. The food we ordered from one the bars/restaurants was good, but pricy and low in serving size. Seeing how it's a tourist destination, I would expect that. Also, the roads were very bumpy, it's worth mentioning. Disembarkation: Even though my mom wanted to get home as early as possible, my sister and I wanted to spend the most time on the ship we could, so we took the latest disembarkation time, 10:15 in the morning. Until then, I spent my time at the Cafe Promenade, saying good bye to each product. Individually. And tastefully. They called our luggage tag to leave at around 10:00 AM, after which the process was very simple. We filled out our customs cards before disembarking, so that was an easy process, and since we were among the last leaving the ship, it was not hard to find our luggage. Overall, disembarkation was a quick and painless process, which was still negated by the pain of having to leave the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
My two grandsons and I flew by Alitalia (not the best airline, no food only a cold drink) to Rome. I cannot fault the RC staff at the airport, plenty of staff to meet and greet and as soon as we recovered our luggage there were plenty of ... Read More
My two grandsons and I flew by Alitalia (not the best airline, no food only a cold drink) to Rome. I cannot fault the RC staff at the airport, plenty of staff to meet and greet and as soon as we recovered our luggage there were plenty of porters to take it from us and the next time we saw it was in our stateroom. The boys case arrived quite promptly but I had to wait sometime for my suitcase but I expected this as there was over 3000 passengers. Had lunch in the buffet but the food wasn't too exciting although the boys liked the idea of unlimited self-service icecream. Ports of call were interesting and where RC really score is the teen club. My boys were able to join the 12 - 14 years and there was plenty for them to do, rock climbing, iceskating etc, in fact I only saw them at mealtimes. The iceshow was spectacular but the show put on by the singers and dancers was only average. There was a fairly good Italian singer and a good Elton John takeoff. The ship was very clean and all the crew very friendly and helpful. It was good value and if you have children they will thoroughly enjoy the cruise and for grownups who want some peace and quiet there was a solarium area with a pool, sunbeds and jacuzzi only for adults. If I was cruising just with my husband and no children I wouldn't particularly choose this line but for families it ticks all boxes. Go and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
My wife and I have been on several cruises with our kids and without. We have sailed with Princess, Disney, Carnival, Thompson and now Royal Caribbean. THE SHIP - Navigator of the seas is by far the largest ship we have been on. We ... Read More
My wife and I have been on several cruises with our kids and without. We have sailed with Princess, Disney, Carnival, Thompson and now Royal Caribbean. THE SHIP - Navigator of the seas is by far the largest ship we have been on. We were impressed. It had something for everyone. The kids loved the ice skating, in line skating, mini golf and the rock climbing. Mom and dad enjoyed the very large casino. The texas hold'em table was a pleasant surprise! At first we were worried that being on such a big ship with over 3,000 guests would feel crowded and we would have to wait in lines and the service would not be individual. This was not the case. In fact we were surprised at how easily things flowed and the lack of lines or waiting (rock wall included) The food was very good and the service was comparable to the other cruise lines if not better If there was one area where we were disappointed it was the entertainment. The shows were no where near the quality of the other ships. Fantastic large theater but 2nd rate shows. The only exception was the Ice skating show but it never changes for the various showings throughout the week. PORTS If you like ancient history and seeing cities of the "past," this is for you. Ephesus in Turkey was amazing as was the Acropolis, temple of Zeus, etc... We were less impressed with Sicily but overall the balance of sea days to ports and the ports themselves were very interesting. We would recommend the ship and ports to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
We're Diamond members on RC. We've cruised a lot, and I still find much value in these reviews. As I re-read this review, I realize I sound quite negative. Overall, we loved our trip, but I do feel I need to point out some issues ... Read More
We're Diamond members on RC. We've cruised a lot, and I still find much value in these reviews. As I re-read this review, I realize I sound quite negative. Overall, we loved our trip, but I do feel I need to point out some issues you may encounter. We would totally do this trip again. We LOVED it! But, here are some things to keep in mind. 1. Internet is terrible slow. I wasted 10 minutes.....a full 10 minutes, to open one email in yahoo. I gave up after that. $6.50 down the drain (65 cents per minutes is the on-board internet charge.) Don't expect to use the on-board internet to really get any work or any research done. It's painfully slow. I overheard one guy say out loud at the internet stations, "This is a scam. It's so slow, yet they charge 65 cents a minute. What a ripoff." I tried again during the day, when the internet area was less crowded. It was usable then. So, my recommendation would be to try to use it off-peak if you can. 2. I've cruised a lot over the years and I've noticed RC "nickel and diming" us more. It's not even close to an all-inclusive vacation. Charges for all-you-can-drink soda are extra. Internet is extra (most hotels have it at least free in the lobby), fresh squeezed orange juice is extra, parts of kids club costs extra. Each cruise, I see more and more ways for them to get money from us passengers. When I first started cruising 15 years ago, it was glamorous and everyone was treated like royalty. The waiters knew our name at dinner and knew our preferences after the first night. Not any more. Wait staff service is bad, no one even tries to learn your name, and every time I turn around, they want more money from us, and there is no raving about the service any more. Our first two nights in the dining room were terrible. We sat at a different table each night and had a different waiter each night. They were both equally bad. The third and following nights, we had the same table and waiter and the service got much better. But, those first two nights left a really bad taste in our mouth. (no pun intended) Windjammer service is terrible. The water station didn't have water at it the whole time we were there. I'd go up for three glasses and he'd only have one ready. 3. I think this was the lamest cruise director I ever saw. I do believe he had a harder job than a cruise director on a Caribbean ship, because he needed entertainment that transcended different languages. One night, it was a violinist...any language-speaker could enjoy that. The violinist was excellent...lively and lots of fun! But, if it was a comedian from the US, Italian and Spanish speakers probably wouldn't enjoy it. However, this guy just didn't seem to enjoy his job. He didn't smile much, didn't crack a lot of jokes, and didn't have a knack of getting the passengers psyched up for a future event. I've read other reviews where people said the same thing. 4. Excursions 4-1 Cinque Terre (Genoa) - booked through the ship. This was a great trip, but our tour guide was horrible. She had a heavy accent and a poor audio system that projected her voice. Between the two, it was hard to understand her. Plus, she didn't say much on the tour. We would overhear other guides talking, when ours was quiet, and we wished we were in their group. Our guide was just hard to understand and not as chatty about the area as we would have liked. Even so, I would recommend the Cinque Terre tour. I tried to find one privately and not do the ship's excursion, but I could not beat the ship's price. 4-2 Villefranche - did today on our own. Took the train from Villefranche to Monaco. Then the bus from the train station to the Prince's Palace in Monaco, and we toured that. Bus to train station, then train straight to Nice. In Nice, we did the flower market and a little beach time. Then train back to Villefranche. 4-3 Barcelone - did a bike tour with Fat Tires Barcelona. Booked this privatley, not through the ship. Much cheaper. See tripadvisor reviews for it. 4-4 Mallorca - did ship's excursion - Drach Caves and Pearl Factory. Caves portion was very interesting. You walk through the caves. It's not cold inside. You don't need long pants or sweaters as you would with most caves. There is no tour or signposts to guide the way. Just follow the path and use your own imagination. The pearls factory was a huge disappointment. It's just a big sales pitch. These are basically beads, that they call pearls. They are not real pearls. They are made of glass and then painted with a pearl-like finish. I tried to book this caves tour privately, but again couldn't work it out. 4-5 Sardinia - decided to do a beach excursion on our own to Poetto Beach, just a 10-minute drive from the port. Got off ship and asked where to get a taxi. Discovered that a group called Sina runs a shuttle bus every half-hour to the beach. Cost is 10EU. We took that and had a great beach day. Rented two beach chairs and an umbrella table for 15 EU. Water was warm and shallow...nice soft sand. Not rocky or heavy with shells. Got the Sina bus back to port with no issues. 5. Ship is getting shabby. Menus have leather covers and are worn and shabby. There are bits of mold in the showers. Not enough to be gross, but enough to notice that it's not sparkly clean. Sheets have stains on them. Again, not gross, but not as crisp and clean as I would expect. 6. Another ship issue...we wanted to do the family disco at 9:00pm. We arrived about 9:20 to find the place lit up, but totally quiet. No music. About 5 other families came in right after us, but no staff member was around. Finally, the bartender came in, and he was as confused as the rest of us as to why there was no music. He didn't offer to help or anything. I suggested he call someone to get the music going and he just sort of looked befuddled and didn't do anything. He just disappeared himself. My husband left the disco to find some help, then found out the dance part was supposedly "cancelled." Interesting, there was no sign indicating a cancellation, and the bartender didn't know it was cancelled either. RC really disappointed us on this one. Really low-class to have 25 people there wanting to participate and not a staff member in site for 30+ minutes. 7. Room service for breakfast on two days was great. Timely, food was warm. It's a great thing to do on a day you need to get off the ship early and want to have a faster breakfast than the dining room or windjammer would allow. 8. Formal nights - we had two. Very few men wore a tux. Ladies were typically dressed up. Men had suit coats on, but most didn't wear a tux. Some did though. If you have a tux and want to wear it, you won't feel too dressed up. All this being said, we had a great time. I just wanted to prepare someone who reads this for the issues we ran into. Have fun! Read Less
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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